Uganda is gifted by nature

By Amos Wekesa

It is always great thinking and writing about this great nation called Uganda. A country with a population of 41.5 million people and more than 40 languages has amazing facts and I will bring out one or a few more in this column of mine.
Uganda is the source of the river Nile which is the most ancient and might river covering a distance of about 6853 kilometres.
Along the Nile, up-to until recent, Uganda boasted of the best rafting opportunities in the world in terms of two to three days and the main reason was that most rivers across the globe are seasonal rivers and yet the Nile here is almost constant.
The construction of the dams is killing that opportunity. The Nile in Uganda has probably the most powerful waterfalls of the world in a place called Murchison Falls National Park.
The whole of the Nile struggles to pass through a canyon which is seven metres wide, falling more than 30 metres deep, something which gives us a bragging right that we aren’t utilising.
The same Nile in Uganda could probably offer Africa’s biggest opportunity for cruises aiming at the wildlife views at its banks.
The stretch between Murchison Falls National Park and Nimule is about 220 kilometres of calm waters for massive potential of cruises which would give a visitor opportunities of going through former Aswa Olilim game reserve degazatted by president Idi Amin, Ajai game reserve and east Madi game reserve.
Uganda boasts of hosting more than 53 per cent of the population of the mountain gorillas which are in both Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga National Park.
This is a very special asset to this country because each gorilla permit allowing a guest an hour of viewing not taking away or touching is $600 (about Shs2m) and that does not include accommodations, transport, food enroute.
The mountain gorillas and chimpanzees are an addition to the big five Uganda already has making the country a unique destination.
The tour operators are slowing adopting the idea of selling Uganda using the big seven idea. Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) should use the similar idea in their marketing campaign.
Uganda, which is about the same size as the United Kingdome (UK) or Oregon in the United States of America, has about 1,078 different species of birds making it 50 per cent of Africa’s species and 73 per cent of East Africa’s.
I have told many Ugandans, that if we brand and market the country well, we could use our bird species to become a donor country.
Those in doubt please google about how much money America makes out of birding as an activity and yet have less in terms of species.
Uganda having a diverse environment including water bodies, rivers, forests, savanna areas, swamps, woodland act as habitat for the different species.
Uganda is on the major migratory route for birds escaping the bad weather during the winters in Europe.
The birds tend to come to the Mediterranean, partly follow the Nile and end up mainly on the islands on Lake Victoria. These birds leave again for good weather in Europe using their internal clocks.
Uganda has 22 game reserves and national parks combined which makes us unique.
It is impossible to find a place anywhere in the world with a concentration of primates like the Kibale Forest National Park.
Those that have written about Kidepo Valley National Park think it is the most beautiful scenically on the continent, let alone the wildlife opportunities therein which is also a big attraction in its self.
Kidepo is surrounded by lots of hills and mountains, which offer a photographer a life time opportunity of photography.
Queen Elizabeth National Park, which is about 1998 kilometres squared, is believed to have the highest concentration of birds in the world.
This park also offers the best opportunity of seeing the tree climbing lions which is very rear. We can’t forget to say, it has a very special water channel connecting two major lakes, Edward and Lake George.
This channel is a birders paradise and offers close opportunities of seeing the giant hippos who laze around during day time.
We can’t mention Queen Elizabeth National Park without talking about Kyambura Gorge, hosting many primate species, including the chimpanzees.
A visitor to Queen Elizabeth National Park will enjoy visiting the communities surrounding the park, the salt mining areas and big numbers of craters across the national park.
In conclusion, Uganda is not just gifted by nature but it is Africa compressed.

The writer is an investment expert
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