UCOTA turns 15

In recognition of the work done by the Uganda Community Tourism Organization, in short UCOTA, which is now turning 15 (already, time flies), I am re-broadcasting their latest news letter to showcase the scope of their work done across rural Uganda and how to involve, AND benefit, ordinary Ugandans through tourism related activities.
Happy Birthday UCOTA and I hope, you, my readers, enjoy this added information.

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Dear Reader,

Uganda Community Tourism Association is celebrating 15 years since its inception in the year 1998 July. The voyage of UCOTA has been nothing short of what entails any organization that strives to bring positive change in the tourism sector. From that 1st member, UCOTA has grown to 60 registered member community groups. In order to fully market Uganda as a world-class tourist destination, UCOTA foresaw the need to incorporate authentic cultural community attractions and experiences as an addition to Ugandan wildlife safari that ensures that the benefits stay as much as possible in the local community and gives us a better opportunity in this fragile yet competitive industry.

Thank you for your continued readership and positive feedback on our monthly e-newsletter. UCOTA and our Pearls of Uganda program have had a busy month and we are excited to share with you all about it here. You will also find other news on tourism industry, our member communities, funding opportunities, and many more. We are looking forward for your feedback and new ideas on this issue. Happy reading!


  • UCOTA conducted a technical follow-up to the community tourism Groups undertaking the 5- module training program around Lake Mburo National Park. The activity was aimed at assisting the team to effectively plan for the forthcoming Module-5, Marketing and Sales training for the same groups. All the 9 groups were visited and introduced to the new indemnity and visitor feedback forms and at the same time those groups which operate on land that does not belong to the groups were advised to draw and sign MOUs with the land owners for safety. During the same activity, all the community tourism products were tested and it was found that almost all were ready for client consumption.
  • One of our Pearls supporterPrimate lodgePocketed a prestigious award from trip advisor

Uganda Tourism Industry News:·

  • Spend a day with chimps: According to sources from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), the habituation process takes up to two years. As tourism switches attractions, one can now be part of that process for one memorable day in the forest. Read more
  • The 3 legged lion at Paraa Safari Lodge: Clarence overcame the odds after having been saved from a poacher’s snare in 2011. He lost his leg in the process but is still the Alpha male of his pride in Murchison’s falls national park.Read more
  • The hot springs and cool birds of Semiliki: “These natural springs have a geyser shooting up from an eight-meter wide hole at hot temperatures. It is the largest of its kind in the country,” says Noel Bayo, a tour guide. His narrative is interrupted by tweets and flapping wings. “See, there flies the blue–breasted kingfisher and Frasier’s ant-thrush,” he says. Read more
  • The mystery hill of Lugbara origin: This site is revered as the old gravesite of a somewhat superman that the locals have come to know as Oli Banyale, their ancestor. Not far from the legendary grave is a natural crater that the locals named Mbindri, whose waters they claim have never dried.Read more
  • Scaling the Rwenzori: To reach Margherita peak, we were to trek through seven biospheres, namely the savannah grassland, the natural rainforest, the bamboo zone, the heather zone, the alpine zone, rock zone and lastly, the snow zone. I looked forward to experiencing these great wonders.Read more
  • Security concerns raised ahead of launch of EAC tourism visa: We want to ensure our immigration system is shared among EAC member States. For instance, if visitor enters Uganda from Kenya, all other member States are able to know through the integrated immigration system.” Read more
  • Mburo will impress you: The attractions at Lake Mburo National Park will interest even the most sophisticated person. The long list comprises nature walks conducted on foot with a guide to furnish guests with knowledge about butterflies, flora and fauna. Read more
  • New tarmac road to open up Semliki game reserve and National Park: The new road from Fort Portal, located at the north eastern side of the Rwenzori Mountains, to Semliki and the border with the Congo DR, will upon completion open up this part of Uganda, for locals as much as for tourist visitors. Read more
  • The tour guide with an undying love for birds: For the past decade or so, Byaruhanga has been involved in marketing bird-watching in Uganda, other African countries as well as in Europe and America. “Since 2006, I have been selling Uganda to the American market. Now, we get a number of American birders coming here.” Read more
  • Tourism doesn’t grow on trees: What policymakers must understand, (and to be fair some do), is that tourism is an extremely cut-throat business. No quarter is given; so there is rarely anytime to feel smug about your position.Read more
  • Elgon encroachers use sorcery to scare rangers: This is what the encroachers have been doing to scare us from evicting them from the park,” Mr Matanda said. According to UWA, the practice of witchcraft increases when they intensify operations to forcefully rid the park of encroachers.“Just last month, they slaughtered a dog, skinned it hanged it at the fence of our gates. Read more
  • UWA, operators fight over gorilla permits: However, tour operators are concerned that this move could put them out of business because it exposes them to international competition, whereby foreign travel companies could now directly buy gorilla permits from UWA instead of going through them. Read more
  • Monkeys are fun to track: This golden monkey trek gives one a chance to see the apes in action, petting and having a siesta. According to researcher Sandra E. Gray, their groups are single male multi-family, meaning there is only one resident male and several adult females, plus young ones of varying ages. Read more
  • Sailing the Kazinga Channel: It is an oasis that quenches the thirst of both humans and numerous animals, including elephants, hippos, warthogs, antelopes, crocodiles, buffaloes, cattle, goats and even birds.Read more
  • Two million quelea birds killed to save rice: “Some of these birds migrated from Kween district where they were discovered. While in Kween, they destroyed over 1,000 acres of sorghum leading to a loss of over sh1b,” according to Magara. Read more
  • The story of Punishment Island lives on: The lake was tranquil, only disturbed intermittently by the ripples of the odd cormorant or kingfisher diving for an early lunch. I was relieved to finally get to Akampene Island, after paddling for that long, and grateful because the sun was gone. Read more
  • Mburo will impress you: The attractions at Lake Mburo National Park will interest even the most sophisticated person. The long list comprises nature walks conducted on foot with a guide to furnish guests with knowledge about butterflies, flora and fauna.Read more.
  • World body calls for East African tourism pact: Taleb Rifai, the Secretary General for the United Nations’ World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), believes Uganda can use its prestigious tourist attractions to create a pact with her East African counterparts, and promote tourism in the region. Read more
  • The Pearl Guide Uganda on Friday 12th July 2013 officially launched their brainchild, the Uganda Guide Mobile Application, Uganda’s first ever tourism mobile application in an event was officiated by the United States Ambassador to Uganda H.E Scott H. DeLisi and Maria Mutagamba, Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities at the Kampala Serena Hotel. Read more

Recommended Reading:

Funding opportunities

Upcoming Events:

Tourism sustainability leaders

Tour operators and lodges that excelled in supporting community Tourism initiatives 2012


Tour Operator


  • This is to remind our valued stakeholder that as of March 1st 2013, UCOTA stopped using this e-mail address, ucota .Kindly update your address books UCOTA’s new e-mail address is: ucota. Thank you for your continued support.
  • Call for submissions: Kindly send in articles, article ideas, photographs and other content including calendar submissions for the next Pearls of Uganda Post or UCOTA e-newsletter, E-mail:info for more information or to submit content. Be reminded that the post will be released July, 2013.

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Opportunity for advertising in the next issue of Pearls of Uganda Post and UCOTA e-newsletter. For rates, e-mail: info or call +256(0)414-501-866.

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For queries, please e-mail the UCOTA team at info.
Copyright © 2012 Uganda Community Tourism Association,
winner of the TODO! Award 2012 For Social Responsible Tourism
All rights reserved.
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