Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park (BINP) in South-western Uganda witnessed the launch of a $350,000 lodge last week to boost gorilla tracking in the Ruhija sector.According to Charles Tumwesigye, the Conservation Manager of BINP, the opening of a luxury lodge in the south-eastern sector of the park, will boost the number of tourists ready to track the gorilla family that was habituated a year ago.
He said there has been a challenge to track the Bitukura gorilla family that has 13 members with one silverback because of lack of a luxury lodge in the area.
„Tourists tracking this sector would endure a 60-kilometre four-wheel drive on a steep terrain on a not-so-good murram road from the nearest town of Kabale on the morning of tracking or a 50-kilometre four-wheel drive from Buhoma in Kanungu district.
This has been draining tourists for close to two hours in the morning before tracking. Developing a luxury lodge in this sector is, therefore, welcomed by UWA management and it will be much easier for permit holders to track the Bitukura gorilla family,“ Tumwesigye said. Tumwesigye explained that there are six families that are tracked out of 30 that are in the Bwindi/Mgahinga National Parks.
The six families include Rushegura, Mubaare and Habinyanja which are found in the northern sector of the park near Buhoma in Kanungu district where a number of luxury lodges are found. He said there is also the Nkuringo group in the southern tip of the parks and the soon to be launched Nshongi group that has 34 family members. The Bitukura group has 13 members but has been lacking a luxury lodge for tourists who would otherwise be near the tracking point but have been driving long and winding distances to access the group.
The lodge, which is just one kilometre away from the tracking point of the Bitukura family, was developed by Asyanut Safaris and Travel and is named Asyanut Ruhija Gorilla Lodge. According to Ismail Onim-Giu, the Project Coordinator Asyanut Safaris and Travel, about $350,000 has been put into the putting up of the luxury lodge which can accommodate up to 16 tourists.
„The rooms are self-contained with warm running water and a fire place and we hope that in about two years, we shall expand our lodging facilities considering that in that period another family of gorillas will have been habituated for tracking,“ Onim-Giu revealed.Onim-Giu said the lodge has taken about one year to put up and has eight twin rooms built from natural Bwindi forest products.
Two of the chalets (cabins) have fire places in the room and are fitted with sit-on toilet facilities, expansive rooms, lounges, cloth shelves and shower bathrooms. Each room has a lifetime panoramic view of the forest national park.
The lodge has a well-stocked bar and the restaurant serves exquisite buffets, oriental and continental cuisines. And for breakfast, the restaurant offers fresh fruits from the ‚Switzerland of Africa,‘ otherwise Kigezi region.
Quelle: East African Business Week. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).