Uganda Re-Opens National Parks for Tourism amid Covid-19 – Uganda Wildlife Authority Announced
Following the outbreak of COVID-19, many safari destinations including Uganda were forced to suspend tourism activities in their protected areas in order to protect primate species and other endangered wildlife species from wide-spreading corona virus. However, the move never meant the end of travel! We kept hoping and believing that one day we shall get back on Uganda safaris to enjoy authentic wilderness experiences that the pearl of Africa has to offer the world.
Amazingly, it is high time we got back to the wild to make our travel dreams come true. Uganda through Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has announced re-opening some of her magical national parks for tourism amid COVID-19 crisis. This revelation was made on 5th June 2020 by the management of UWA after conducting consultations with other stakeholders while considering standard operating procedures to contain any possibility of wide-spread of COVID-19 in the protected areas.
The savanna national parks are now open to tourists and can be explored on Uganda safaris. These include among others Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Mburo National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park.
However, primate parks (Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Kibale Forest National Park) still remain closed to the public till further notice. The head office of UWA is also open to the public for any inquiries on the services.
All the tourism activities in the protected areas shall be carried out while observing the set restrictions or guidelines by the Ministry of Health and the directives by the president to curb further spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
The new guidelines include;
- Big groups exceeding 25 people won’t be allowed in the parks at the same time for the same with activities.
- Temperature screening is mandatory using non-contact infra-red thermometers at the major park gates.
- Hand washing or sanitizing is a must at the park and UWA premises.
- As directed by government, vehicles have to carry half capacity to ensure social distance is observed and this will apply to use of vehicles and boats in the parks.
- Saloon cars won’t be allowed to conduct game drives in the parks.
- Events like destination weddings won’t be allowed in the interim.
- Tourists or visitors on Uganda safari in the parks are advised to carry their own hand sanitizers and facemask.
UWA further said that it has trained its staff and equipped with the required wear to safeguard them and travelers from any possibility of COVID-19 infection.
The staff on duty will sensitize visitors on the general government approved corona virus operational measures and this includes those developed and approved by the management at UWA.
In the statement issued on 5th June 2020 by UWA; an organ in charge conservation and management of wildlife in Uganda, the safety of staff and visitors is essential and the authority shall continue operating with caution to ensure safety of persons.