Displaying items by tag: Uganda

It took a bit longer than usual this winter, but it finally seems to be getting consistently cold (can you say “global weirding?”). That means it’s time to start planning those winter vacations, and the NYTimes list “The 45 Places to Go in 2012” has some great ideas. Whether you’re a mountain man, a city slicker, a beach bum or a snow bunny, the NYTimes has got you covered (for the record, you don’t have to be any of these things; this list is long enough for everyone to find something they’ll enjoy). Two of the most intriguing destinations on the list are Uganda and the Dominican Republic, places where the Undiscovered Travel Collection is heavily represented.

Coming in at No. 33 on the list is Uganda, the “pearl of Africa.” Home to over half of the worlds’ remaining population of mountain gorillas, Uganda also boasts high numbers of bird species as well as a breathtaking variety of terrain, from some of the highest mountains in Africa—the Rwenzori Mountains—to sprawling savannahs and dense jungles. Pearls of Uganda, a collection of community tourism enterprises represented by the UTC, allows visitors to experience all of what this beautiful country has to offer while giving back to the communities in which they stay. All Pearls, such as the Batwa Trail and Katwe Salt Lake Tour, employ local people as staff and the funds generated go to community development projects such as schools and health clinics. Uganda is the perfect place for all you philanthropic adventure seekers.

Now for all you beach bums out there, two spots down from Uganda at No. 35 is the Samaná Peninsula in the Dominican Republic. While the Undiscovered Travel Collection does not have clients on the peninsula itself, a number of them are quite close, such as the Dominican Treasures Fair Trade Chocolate Tour and the Caño Hondo Ecolodge, and all tourism enterprises benefit from an increase in positive attention. The article highlights the peninsula’s beaches and its potential for ecotourism, two things the DR as a whole has a lot of, but warns that the crowds are coming, so you should hurry there.

So if you’re looking to escape from the cold and also want an adventure with a hint of responsible tourism, you can’t go wrong with Uganda or the Dominican Republic. Be sure to check out the Collection’s initiatives in both countries while making your plans, and feel free to take a look at our other destinations to give yourself some ideas for future trips!

Published in Our Journal

With a swathe of activities in Uganda, it is no surprise that Lonely Planet has ranked this African destination as the #1 country to visit in 2012. This distinguished ranking is strongly related to the growing stability in the country as evidenced by the capital, Kampala, being one of Africa’s safest capitals. Safety and security aside, Uganda is a veritable paradise for a variety of tourists with activities that range from bird watching and safaris to cultural attractions and ecotourism.

Uganda’s scenery and wildlife is amazing and draws in many visitors. The country is home to more than 1,000 bird species, which make up over half of the birds in Africa. Some of these are globally threatened, endemic and near endemic, forest/papyrus/woodland rarities, and vulnerable bird species. For these reasons and others, Uganda is one of the best bird watching sights in Africa. Visitors can expect to spot birds like the African Green Broadbill, Shoebill, Grant’s Bluebill, Archer’s Robin-Chat, and Dwarf Honeyguide. In addition to birds, travelers might happen upon tree-climbing lions, rhinos, elephants, and chimpanzees. For more information about the birding opportunities in Uganda, please visit Collection member Birding Uganda.

While wildlife and safaris are a huge draw for visitors, the rich culture of Uganda provides endless opportunities for exploration. The Bawta people, an indigenous group of fierce hunter-gatherers and fierce warriors native to the dense forests at the foot of the Virunga Volcanoes, offer a glimpse into their culture and former home on the Batwa Trail. This nature walk shows visitors where the Batwa used to reside with its rich culture and diverse wildlife inside the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The Batwa tour includes demonstrations of the local hunting techniques, honey gathering skills, and a view of the various plants that can be used for medicinal purposes.

For another glimpse at local life, Katwe Salt Lakes offers visitors the opportunity to watch locals participate in traditional salt-mining activities. The Mubako perform vibrant songs and dances around the campfires at local lodges bordering Murchison Falls National Park. Additionally, visitors can find exceptional handmade carved wooden sculptures and hand-woven items created exclusively by these local community members. More cultural community attractions and experiences can be found on the Pearls of Uganda website

While visitors are in Uganda, they have many opportunities to partake in various give back programs that help out the local community. For example, money generated during the Katwe Salt Lake tours and sales of handcrafted wares are used to help improve the educational facilities and send children to school.

These are a few of the many reasons why people should visit Uganda in 2012. Additionally, this is why Lonely Planet has ranked Uganda as the #1 destination in 2012 and why Uganda is a very important member of the Undiscovered Travel Collection. We hope you will discover Uganda soon!

Published in Uganda

Uganda’s Sustainable Tourism Media Awards Gala took place on September 16, 2011 to much fanfare. The Awards Gala honored journalists from various local newspapers, television and radio stations for their responsible coverage of tourism and conservation related issues in Uganda. The awards recognized three categories: print, radio, and television broadcast. Awards were presented to the winner and two runner-ups in each category. Our partner STAR highlights various organizations who were involved in making this evening a success.

The journalists and media outfits submitted over 160 articles that highlighted Uganda’s tourism treasures through the promotion of responsible travel and coverage. Many articles showcase tourist attractions and cultural experiences that Uganda has to offer. A collection of community based tourism enterprises, the Pearls of Uganda offers authentic cultural encounters and experiences throughout Uganda; some which are located in or near key destinations or attractions.

Another hotspot mentioned in Uganda, Queen Elizabeth National Parks is one of most popular and scenic National Parks in Uganda. The park has a variety of accommodations that will appeal to all audiences and their budgets. Visitors to the park can participate in chimp tacking, game drive, or boat cruise expeditions. Communities surrounding the park share awareness of their local culture through music, dance, drama and crafts. Additionally, there are ample opportunities for bird watching in this location and throughout Uganda.


We hope that you too will soon discover Uganda.

Published in Uganda

Great news for all the bird enthusiasts out there! A brand new, comprehensive site on birding in Uganda was launched last week from partners of The Undiscovered Travel Collection, www.birding-uganda.com. Uganda is renowned for having two of the top ten birding spots on the African continent: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Murchison Falls National Park. On the site you can learn about the literally 1000's of unique and exotic birds in the country as well as how to easily plan a trip to see them all.

Published in Uganda

An incredible new music video was released by Aziz Azion, featuring the Mwambe Children's Choir, which shows all of the amazing attractions that Uganda has to offer. Take a look!

 

Published in Pearls of Uganda

As you may have heard, the innovative new Pearls of Uganda program is reinventing community-based and culturally-rich tourism in Uganda. So what exactly do the Pearls of Uganda represent? A new video tells the story:


Published in Pearls of Uganda

The official Destination Uganda Guide for 2011-2012 was published this week in partnership with the Uganda Tourism Board and Solimar International through USAID-STAR project. This is the first promotional collateral of its kind for Uganda and the 10,000 copies printed will be strategically distributed to targeted travel agents and media at upcoming trade events and sales outreach activities. The high quality color guide is a stunning representation of Uganda and its sure to attract new visitation to the country.

View the online version of the guide here: Destination Uganda  2011-2012

Published in Uganda

Pearls of Uganda launched in March with partner Uganda Community Tourism Association (UCOTA) amidst plenty of fanfare and support from the tourism industry as well as the media. The concept involves partnering cultural tourism packages offered by communities in Uganda, with leading local tour operators and lodges in order to showcase these amazing experiences which have to date been overlooked becuase of their remote locations and difficulty in finding a system sutiable for marketing and reservations. Experiences range from African Craft Workshops to hiking The Batwa Trail with decendents of the oldest indigenous peoples of Africa. Why the name Pearls of Uganda? When Winston Chirchill traveled to this lush destination teeming with wildlife and natural attractions he named Uganda the "Pearl of Africa'. And as the community tourism experiences are also gems, the name "Pearls of Uganda' seemed most suitable.

Published in Pearls of Uganda

The Frugal Traveler: How to go birding without going broke By MYSCHA THERIAULT; McClatchy-Tribune News Service was published by over a dozen print and online newspapers this week and seems to be be going viral. Read the article.

An excerpt: "Uganda is home to half the bird species in Africa, according to the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Numerous national parks offer spotting opportunities there, including the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Murchison Falls."ccording to Amos Wekesas, owner of Great Lakes Safaris, the entire nation is fair game. Says Wekesas, "In Uganda, birding starts at the airport and continues throughout the country."

Stay tuned for Uganda's new national birding web portal coming in May/June 2011: www.birding-uganda.com
Published in Uganda

The Batwa people are among the oldest known indigenous communities in Uganda. The creation of the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in southern Uganda displaced many Batwa from their traditional way of life, but through the creation of The Batwa Trail, the local community has regained access to the park in a way that celebrates both their culture and biodiversity conservation. The Batwa Trail launches May 2011.

Published in Community Enterprises
Stretching along the Congo border, the spectacular Rwenzoris are the third highest mountains in Africa. On clear days their snow-capped peaks preside over the verdant landscapes of the Rift Valley.
Published in Community Enterprises
The remote community of Mubako is located beside the sprawling savannah of Murchison Falls National Park, in the arid, sun-drenched northwestern region of Uganda.
Published in Community Enterprises
Set in a lush hillside bordering Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with dramatic views towards Congo, Nkuringo is perfect for those who want both a cultural experience and beautiful scenery.
Published in Community Enterprises
Discover how residents live day-to-day in Nyundo by learning traditional skills such as millet-bread preparation, ghee and yoghurt making and craft making, as well as visiting a traditional birth attendant.
Published in Community Enterprises
This unusual lake is far too salty to support any wildlife, but it ensures the survival of the Katwe villagers, who harvest salt from its milky waters.
Published in Community Enterprises
Kikorongo Women Community invites you to learn some of their traditional craft skills, such weaving baskets and bowls using natural fibers, from two experienced teachers.
Published in Community Enterprises
Boomu, meaning "together" conveys the aim of the community tourism organization to work together in order to improve quality of life, while preserving culture and the natural environment.
Published in Community Enterprises
Enter an enchanting world of flora and fauna on the unforgettable Bigodi Women's Swamp Walk, with local guides interpreting the natural and cultural world of Bigodi's Magombe Wetlands.
Published in Community Enterprises
This unforgettable African adventure imparts the beauty of the forest through the eyes of the Batwa, the so-called "First People" who have lived in this region for millennia.
Published in Community Enterprises

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