Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tourism Visa fees for foreigner residents in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya Waived

Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda have waived visa fees for foreign residents to allow easy access to the region’s diverse tourism experience.

According to Yamina Karitanyi, the Rwanda Development Board’s Head of Department for Tourism and Conservation, the waiver was agreed on under the Northern Corridor Integration projects initiative.

Known as the East Africa Tourist Visa (EATV), foreign residents nolonger have to pay the $100 fee for the visa that is valid for 90 days effective December 15, 2014.

Karitanyi, said the waiver on the single East Africa Tourist Visa was the next step in consolidating and enriching the region’s tourism potential.

“We are approaching the rest of the world as a unified and rich tourist destination with varied experiences for travellers. We are also positioning East Africa’s tourism assets collectively as part of the Northern Corridor Integration Projects,” Karitanyi said at the weekend.

She added that joint marketing programmes will be carried out annually and will cover road shows such as the International Tourism Board (ITB) and World Travel Market (WTM) in 2015.

She pointed out that going forward, the partner states will lobby for a single stand during international tourism marketing events.

Outlining the modalities of implementation, Karitanyi said eligible foreign residents shall be issued with inter state pass on exiting the host state and visitor’s pass endorsed in their passports on arrival by presenting valid work/resident permits.

Other immigration procedures and regulations will, however, be maintained.

In preparing for the joint marketing programmes, she noted that the partner states were already gearing up the teams involved by conducting destination training workshops and disseminating information on the use of national identity cards, student/voters cards and the East Africa Tourist Visa.

Uganda Tourism Board’s Chief Executive Officer Stephen Asiimwe, said the development will bring exponential benefits to foreign residents living in the region.

“Our countries have a rich tourist menu on offer; from serene beaches, to pristine wildlife and nature, exquisite reserves, to hospitable people. It is the place to visit. Our products are inexhaustible and this waiver offers our region the best place to live and work. We encourage this community to be a part of the endless discovery, encounter and adventure of the best tourism episode of Africa at the least affordable price,” Asiimwe said.

“We encourage the private sector to take advantage of this opportunity to offer unbeatable packages while maximising win-win offers.”

According to Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Managing Director, Muriithi Ndegwa, this gives an opportunity to foreign residents in the three Partner States to explore the immense diversity of wildlife, landscapes, culture, and heritage, among other renowned attractions either for weekend gateways, corporate retreats or annual family holidays.

The just concluded 8th Northern Corridor Integration Summit attended by Presidents; Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Paul Kagame, and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, held in Nairobi last week, also directed Rwanda’s Minister of Infrastructure to convene a meeting of Airline Industry stakeholders and finalise negotiations on the 5th Freedom Traffic Rights on Entebbe-Nairobi-Juba-Nairobi meant to address outstanding issues to reduce the cost of air travel in the region and report to the next Summit that will be held in Kigali.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Uganda 2015 April May Gorilla Trek Permit Prices Reduced to $350 (special promotion)

The Uganda Wildlife Authority has cut all gorilla tracking permits prices in Bwindi for the month of April and May 2015. For promotional gorilla tracking tour packages please visit www.gorillasandwildlifesafaris.com  and remember to ask for this discount to be passed on to you when booking your gorilla tour for April/May 2015..
The discounted prices apply to gorilla tracking permits for April and May 2015.
Prices for gorilla trek permits go as per the following tourist types:
Foreign Non-residents = $350
Foreign Residents to $250
Ugandans - 100000 UGX

Industry observers have see this move as an intention by to draw more tourists to the gorillas in the low season months to Uganda, more especially the Ugandans.

However, Rwanda has maintained the gorilla tracking permit price at $750 and there seems to be no hope of reviewing this price in the near future in consideration of the low tourist seasons. We have in the passed documented comparisons in gorilla trekking experiences and costs in Rwanda Vs Uganda.

Mountain gorillas are only found in DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda and the total number for this critically endangered species is estimated at 780. Almost half of these are believed to be in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the rest leaving in the Virungas (Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Congo’s Virunga National Park).

Because of the insecurity in parts of DR Congo, it is only safe to track mountain gorillas either in Rwanda Volcanoes National Park or Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Mgahinga’s gorillas are quite unreliable as they keep crossing borders, which makes tracking them uncertain. The experience offered by the three parks is broadly similar, so the biggest factor now determining where you go is either the cost or availability of the gorilla permit.
Only 8 persons can visit a given gorilla family per day. In Uganda, ten families have been habituated in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP, nine of which are available for tracking and one is dedicated to research thus making the total permits available per day 77 gorilla families. Rwanda can only take 56 persons per day.

To claim you cut off the gorilla tour price please send an email to info@gorillasandwildlifesafaris.com or visit the website  (http://www.gorillasandwildlifesafaris.com) and ask for reduction in gorilla tour price to reflect this discount.

See you on trek!
Related articles:
Comparing Gorilla Trekking Tours : Uganda Vs Rwanda – Compare prices, experience, hardness,etc
My mountain gorilla tracking experience in Bwindi's Oruzogo gorilla family
How To Book Gorilla tracking & Trek Permits in Uganda and Rwanda
Uganda Cuts Gorilla Trek Permit Prices to $350
Mountain Gorillas Aside, Why Does Earth need Bwindi so badly?

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rwanda now screening visitors from USA, Spain too for Ebola

Rwanda now screening visitors from USA, Spain too for Ebola

The Rwanda ministry of Health has issued health safety guidelines to incoming passengers from Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, USA and Spain or traveled to those countries in the last 22 days.

The passengers are to call a toll free line (114) on a daily basis to report about their health status for the duration of their stay in the country or for 21 days if they are to stay longer.

Spain recorded deaths of two missionary priests who separately contracted Ebola in Sierra Leona and Liberia. However the Spanish nursing assistant who worked on them successfully recovered from the virus.

USA has recorded one death, two confirmed infections of two nurses while more than 100 are being tracked.

More than 45,000 have died of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria (yesterday declared Ebola-free).


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Press Release: Health Status of Uganda Regarding Marbug Virus, Ebola

Press Release
October 15th, 2014
Health Status of Uganda

Uganda Tourism Board informs all visitors, travellers and tourists, domestic and international that the Health status of the country is okay contrary to some media reports.
On 28th September 2014, one case of the Marburg hemorrhagic fever was reported and the people closest to this individual were immediately quarantined. Results after screening them confirmed negative of the Marburg virus and they still remain under the watch of health professionals.

As a country, we pride in the safety of all our visitors, tourists and nationals both in safety and health issues. To this effect, the Ministry of Health has urged members of the public to avoid unnecessary body contact such as handshakes.

We further wish to reiterate that Uganda is Ebola-free and to-date not a single case has been reported within our borders.

Whereas we pledge to keep all our visitors and travelers informed about the situation in the country, we also urge the media to report accurately and encourage visitors to come to our country.

Uganda Tourism Board
Plot 42, Windsor Crescent, Kololo
Tel: 0414 342 196/7 or Fax: 0414 342 188
E: utb@tourismuganda.info

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Construction of Uganda Martyrs Museum Commences

The construction of Uganda Martyrs Museum in Namugongo yesterday picked steam with Uganda president Yoder Muse Venice donating shs.410m during a special service for fundraising and laying its foundation stone. 

The shs 36bn multipurpose complex Museveni was told, is expected to be built in phases with its tentative completion date being late 2018. 

The site upon which the museum is being built is the place where 23 Anglican and 22 Catholic martyrs were burnt to death in 1886 on the orders of Kabaka Manga the then king of Buganda kingdom the biggest tribe in Uganda. 

The leadership of the church of Uganda hope the complex will help add value to a historical site that annually draws thousands of pilgrims and tourists to Uganda on account of its significance to the Christian faith. The Martyrs Day is celebrated every June 3, at the shrine. 

Drawing parallels between history of Uganda martyrs and Ugandan's struggle to free their country from fangs of tyranny, a jovial Museveni lacing his speech with biblical verses, said "the culture of heroism and martyrdom is part of Uganda's history. 
"Bazillion Okello confronted some peasants in Luwero and gave them a condition to either reveal where the rebels were or face death. They chose to die although they knew where the rebels were hiding, " Museveni said.

"So, Uganda's heroes, just like the Martyrs died for a noble cause for which we remember them every year." 

Museveni, who had carried along shs 40m in cash, increased his pledge to shs 400m with the balance of shs 360m to be paid this week. 

Museveni also auctioned a portrait of Petero Kisosonkole - the landlord who donated 48 acres of the land where the museum is being built - at shs 65m, with himself forking out shs 10m for it.

In order to raise the tourism potential of the museum and the annual Uganda Martyrs fete in Namugongo, Museveni promised that the road from Kireka to Namugongo will soon be revamped with public walkways. 

Earlier, the archbishop of Uganda,the Most Reverend Stanley Ntagali led the service graced by Vice President, Edward Ssekandi, the Catholic Bishop of Kampala Diocese,  Dr. Cipriano Kizito Lwanga and the top echelon of the Anglican Church in Uganda. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

2014 Africa Ebola Spread– Are travellers to Uganda, Rwanda Affected?

We understand that there is concern over the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and we would like to reassure everyone  that to date there have been no reported cases of Ebola in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania,  Botswana, South Africa or Zambia.

The World Health Organization (WHO) states: 'The risk of a tourist or businessman/woman becoming infected with Ebola virus during a visit to the affected areas and developing disease after returning is extremely low, even if the visit included travel to the local areas from which primary cases have been reported. Transmission requires direct contact with blood, secretions, organs or other body fluids of infected living or dead persons or animal, all unlikely exposures for the average traveler’s.'

The WHO is also taking stringent measures in asking countries affected by Ebola to conduct exit screenings of people leaving at international airports, seaports and major land crossings in order to prevent the virus spreading. The Government of Kenya has further decided to temporarily suspend entry into Kenya of passengers travelling from and through the affected West African countries.


See more details at http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/resources/distribution-map-guinea-outbreak.html

The map above is a cartographer's representation highlighting the vastness of Africa in comparison to other countries. This will help you to better visualize the distance between the affected Ebola areas and our camps and lodges.

Ebola Spread in 2014
In March hospital staff alerted Guinea's Ministry of Health and then the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, (MSF). They reported a mysterious disease in the south-eastern regions of Gueckedou, Macenta, Nzerekore, and Kissidougou.

It caused fever, diarrhoea and vomiting. It also had a high death rate. Of the first 86 cases, 59 people died.

The WHO later confirmed the disease as Ebola.

The disease spreads

Gueckedou is a major regional trading centre and by the end of March, Ebola had crossed the border into Liberia and it was confirmed in Sierra Leone during May.

In June, MSF described the Ebola outbreak as out of control.

Nigeria had its first case of the disease in July and in the same month two leading doctors died from Ebola in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

We will update you accordingly should this position change.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Habinyanja Gorillas Family Gets New Baby



It was one of those very best moments everyone and every family would cherish! A NEW BORN JOINING FAMILY!

An adult mountain gorilla female Nyamuhango(meaning the giant) of Habinyanja mountain gorilla family in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda gave birth to a a bouncing baby.

Both the mother and the baby, (and silverback dad?) are visibly healthy.

the-habinyanja-adult-female-mountain-gorilla-giving-birth-bwindi-ugandaA recently released report by the Uganda Minister for Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities and the Uganda Wildlife Authority (2012), the new census reveals a minimum population of 400 gorillas, up from 302 animals in 2006. The census was conducted by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) from the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB). The increase can be attributed in part to improved methodology, but also reflects real population growth.

When combined with the estimated 480 gorillas inhabiting the Virunga Volcanoes to the south (the only other location where mountain gorillas exist) , the world’s population of mountain gorilla now stands at 880. The mountain gorillas of Bwindi and the Virungas are the only gorilla populations known to be increasing; all other populations are thought to be in decline due to hunting and habitat loss.

The rise in mountain gorilla populations also indicates the success of a continued collaboration between the Uganda Wildlife Authority with the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB); the Virunga Mountains lie on the borders of three countries, requiring the participation of agencies from Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda for effective monitoring and enforcement. Bwindi, however, is located in Uganda, but in the spirit of regional collaboration, the ICCN and RDB sent support teams for the 2011 Bwindi census effort.

Although far fewer in number than their western relatives, mountain gorillas have had a profound effect on both the public and the naturalists who have encountered them. While collecting specimens in Africa for the American Museum of Natural History in the early 20th Century, U.S. explorer Carl Akeley became concerned about the future of the mountain gorilla, helping to establish Africa’s first national park—now Virunga National Park—in 1925 to protect the gorillas.

In the late 1950s, WCS field biologist Dr. George Schaller conducted the first ecological study of mountain gorillas, estimating the total population at that time to be 450 individuals. The Virunga Volcano gorillas were made world-famous by Dr. Dian Fossey’s long-term gorilla study in the 1970s and 80s, a period during which the gorilla population declined dramatically as a result of poaching and habitat loss. In 1979, WCS conservationists Drs. Bill Weber and Amy Vedder helped establish the Mountain Gorilla Project—forerunner of the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) —that combined pioneering ecotourism and education programs, with a more traditional anti-poaching effort.

WCS continues to protect mountain gorillas through applied research on key conservation challenges, and by providing support for the national protected area authorities and the Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation (ITFC) in Uganda.

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