New gorilla groups set to welcome adventurous tourists in Uganda
Animal-lovers taking Africa overland trips are to enjoy an even better chance of coming face to face with critically-endangered mountain gorillas as the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) prepares yet another group for tourists.
Gorilla-trekking is already a major contributor to the economy, with tourists buying special permits to spend an hour with the great apes living in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
Now the wildlife authorities are looking to boost their revenues further still and give even more people the opportunity to see their forest-dwelling cousins in their natural habitat by opening up the Oruzogo and Kahungye groups to visitors.
As such, over the next few months, trackers will be spending increasingly longer periods of time sitting quietly alongside the gorillas, allowing them to get used to humans and meaning that they will be accessible to tourists.
This will bring the total number of 'tourist groups' in the whole of Uganda to eight, with UWA executive director Andrew Sseguya confident that the benefits that come with an upturn in tourist numbers will trickle down to local communities and also help ensure that the gorillas' habitat is protected for generations to come.
At the same time, the authority is also seeing a growth in the number of travelers enjoying adventure holidays in Africa who opt to tackle the recently-opened Batwa trail.
Running alongside the edge of Bwindi, the trail takes tourists through the villages of the indigenous Batwa people, allowing them to see how they live, with a journalist having recently tackled it for the Daily Telegraph, reporting back that elephants and tree-dwelling lions can also be spotted in between the community settlements.
Other tourist highlights of Uganda include the green tea plantations of the west of the country and the water sports opportunities found in the east, as well as the hustle and bustle of the modern capital, Kampala.