UCOTA news for December 2013

The Uganda Community Tourism Association has established itself as not just the voice of community tourism initiatives, publicizing news and information from across Uganda, but has also promoted ways and means for local communities to benefit from tourism activities in a meaningful way. Homestays is one such initiatives, giving visitors the opportunity, like in conjunction with other tourism activities like the hiking or canoeing in South Western Uganda, to spend time with local families and get an insight into what life in rural Africa really is like.
Feedback from my readers indicates that their newsletter is now one of the most awaited ‘re-postings’ I started earlier in the year, so that more of you can get such information through my blog, though direct subscription to the UCOTA mailings is of course possible.
Enjoy.

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Dear Reader,

As we close the year 2013, we want to thank you for your continued readership of this E-newsletter; a commitment that is clear through feedback that we receive from you, our readers. The year 2013 was a wonderful year for which we are very grateful.
As we prepare for 2014 with anticipation of your support and commitment to help the local people change their livelihood through sustainable Community Tourism Enterprises (CTE’s).
Again, thank you for a wonderful year. Have a fantastic Christmas and a Great New Year Enjoy!

UCOTA News

  • UCOTA Brands Five Community Tourism Projects around Lake Mburo with Sign posts to help in the marketing of the newly developed Community Tourism Products. Please look out for them while in the area you shouldn’t miss them.
  • UCOTA participates in the 50 Year celebrations of Uganda-Norway cooperation: When Norway thought of of exporting their services, they set off to Uganda 50 years ago and a plane with 16 Fredskopsets set off from Norway and took them 3 days to get to Uganda. Since then more programs have been unveiled one after the other. Then it was volunteering which has now changed into the reciprocating where each of the participating organization sends a participant. At 50 years ceremony at Imperial Royale, FK unveiled yet another program which will look at involving the youth.
  • Homestays an alternative to diversify the community experience

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For many economies, tourism has become a key driver for socio-economic progress in developed and developing countries. The future of the tourism industry is bright as the World Tourism Organization (WTO) with current global travel estimated at one billion tourists.
With travel trends becoming more about experiential holidays, Uganda stands a better chance of reaping from the enthusiastic travelers seeking to touch and enjoy the warmth of rural community lifestyles in the simplest of pleasures sharing in the traditions and cultures of the people.
A Homestay is a unique hospitality system in which the tourist stays with the family sharing their way of life as any member of the family. It is a non-commercialized, private residence with paying guests and a private residence where the primary aim is residence, and the secondary purpose is providing accommodation to a few paying guests. These guests enjoy staying in the comfort and security of a family home for an extended period of time and a tourist stays with the family sharing their way of life as any member of the family; such as the agricultural system, folk arts, sculptures, sports and cuisine. In all, it is for visitors looking to experience and learn the host’s lifestyle.

This makes the potential for Homestays in Uganda, providing affordable and secure accommodation options for today’s enlightened tourists. Its development does not only bridge the gap of quality accommodation but also provide a unique opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves into the rich and diverse cultural exchange and enhance the spread of the benefits of tourism to the local communities around the country.
Why Homestay?
Homestays are increasing in number due to the rising demand by tourists for experiential tourism, visitors lookout for authentic products. They provide an additional form of accommodation to the tourists at the same time creating a source of income to the owners and the communities that live in the surrounding area.
Current developments
Uganda Community Tourism Association (UCOTA) developed criteria for Identifying and development of Homestays and presented it to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities for approval and final adoption. Once the criteria is finalised, the process of identification of new Homestays will be carried out by the ministry in collaboration with UCOTA for the purpose of accreditation, approval and licensing.

UCOTA Community of the Month:

Ruboni Community Camp an Eden of the Mountains of the Moon

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Have you considered including the Ruboni Community Camp on your itinerary? You may just be missing out the gist of that itinerary.
Ruboni Community Camp located in Ruboni Village, is a tourist hub for all travelers heading to the Western region of Uganda. The camp is more than a home away from home, it is a perfect sanctuary reserved for your delight. The camp has two categories of rooms all on twin basis, the self-contained have eco-san toilets while the non-self-contained rooms have flashing toilets just outside the rooms and both have hot overhead showers.
Being a community owned and managed camp, all the income is reinvested in the local community development and conservation activities. The camp is equipped with all the basics to give you comfort during your stay. The culinary is mostly local to give you a taste of the African cuisine and in this case you will unlikely miss the famous and favorite Ugandan dish, ‘matooke’ alongside a range of western dishes on the menu, for those who may not be interested in local dishes.
Located in Mubuku Valley at the foot of the Rwenzori Mountains, also known as Mountains of the Moon, Ruboni camp has a great scenic view of these mountains. The energy in this area gives you a feeling that everything around here gives birth to life, the magical glacier streams sparkle as they flow gracefully and endlessly joining river Mubuku that feeds Lake George in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The sound of the streams combined with the beautiful singing of the birds allows you to forget all just for a moment, take a breath and relax.
Situated at the entrance of Rwenzori Mountains National Park, Nyakalegija gate and approximately 118 km from Kibale Forest National Park, and 40km to Queen Elizabeth National Park makes Ruboni Camp ideal spot for tourists on all lowland trips of the Western Uganda. You will not only have the experience of wildlife from the three national parks but also a community experience coupled up with mountain climbing. For the non-trekkers, the lowlands of the mountains are a perfect terrain for morning and evening lazy walks as you journey through the farmlands where villagers tending their farms are always quick to offer pleasant smiles.
Ruboni village is home to the Bakonjo people; these friendly and hospitable people own and manage Ruboni Community Camp. They have also opened their homes to guests, to give tourists first-hand experience of their intriguing way of living. Villagers practice both crop and animal farming and like many other African tribes, duties are distributed according to gender. The unique culture and heritage of this people is what will leave you mesmerized.
Ruboni Camp is accessible both by road and air it is a 6hrs drive from Kampala. As an advantage, the road is a tourist circuit allowing travelers to enjoy the drive. A chartered flight from Entebbe airport to Kasese airstrip, is 45 minutes, advance booking is required. The distance from Kasese airstrip to Ruboni Camp is 26km.
Arriving to a glass of chilled fresh organic fruit juice, smiling faces, and breath taking views, Ruboni Camp will always be waiting to charm you. The camp’s location is on a route that leads either ‘to or from’ a number of national parks making it a perfect stop over for a night or two. Read more about Ruboni Community Camp

Uganda Tourism Industry News:

  • Domestic tourism: The way to go this Christmas: The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) in partnership with the Pearl Guide Uganda and Geo Lodges has embarked on a Holidays at Home campaign to promote domestic tourism, especially in this festive season. Read more
  • Murchison Falls offers hot after-eclipse spots: Comprehensive repairs and servicing of the ferry, which links the northern and southern banks of the Victoria Nile, have been accomplished ahead of the special occasion, while all the boats, including Kiboko, Shoe Bill and Mamba, are in sound condition. Read more
  • The ‘Switzerland of Africa’: Its history dates as far back as 1889 when Uganda was still a British protectorate and was nicknamed ‘Switzerland of Africa’ because of the hilly nature and coldness. Read more
  • Awe at Bwindi: A first-time visitor will appreciate the beauty of this park. As soon as we drove through the Buhoma entrance at Bwindi Forest, we were struck by the piercing chills amid tall trees of over 1,000 species. Read more
  • BIRDS OF UGANDA: The Cattle Egret: When making nests, the males collect the sticks, while the females arrange them. These small sticks are a hot item as they will steal them from other birds when they are scarce. Read more
  • Patiko: The fort of death: Oringa said this humiliating walk was purposed to give us (tourists) a pinch of “the walk to oppression”, that the slaves endured as they trudged thousands of miles to Fort Patiko from different parts of central and East Africa. Read more
  • Exploring Uganda’s lakes by dug out canoe: The local lakes, like Bunyonyi, though that one is nearer to Kabale, as well as lakes Mutanda and Mulehe offer plenty of opportunity to hire a local canoe, boatman included, and go out to explore the rich birdlife along the shores as well as visit some of the islands, free of any dangers by hippos or crocodiles, as none of those species are present in these lakes. Read more
  • Wang-Nyamulia rock: The hidden wonder of Nebbi: Located in Ogul Valley, Alwi Sub-county in Nebbi District, Wang-Nyamulia Cultural Site has for many years been little-known to both Ugandans and tourism enthusiasts across the globe. Read more
  • The 84 islands of fish, oil and vast tourism potential: Kalangala is comprised of 84 islands on Lake Victoria with only 63 of them inhabited. The Ssese Islands that make up Kalangala District are located 55km from Entebbe, Northwest of Lake Victoria. The district boasts of some of the greatest natural gifts awaiting exploitation in the tourism sector. Read more
  • Uganda named among 10 emerging tourist destinations in Africa: Harnessing Tourism for Growth and Improved Livelihoods report indicates that Uganda together with Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the Seychelles are scaling up tourism and emerging as a tourism destination. Read more
  • Wanale: Bugisu’s temple of nature: If you are into mountain climbing or trekking, Wanale should be a great attraction. The ascent to its peak is exhilarating. Wanale or Nkokonjeru Mountain, as some people call it, is an impressive mountain replete with precipices, escarpments, deep valleys, water streaked cliffs, caves and rocks. Read more
  • Moyo: The cock district: There are three main categories of geological formations in Moyo District. These include gneiss, alluvial deposits and schists, quartzite and marble. Alluvial deposits and moraines distinguish West Moyo and Obongi. Schists, quartzite and marble occur in the mountains surrounding Metu. The district’s soils are moderately fertile. Rolling hills are found in Metu Sub-county and along the Nile River, rising at 900m above sea level to a series of hills and peaks. Mountain Otze is the highest peak (1500m above sea level). Read more
  • Vision Group, NFA partner to restore forests : “We have agreed to cooperate in the area of reforestation of critical landscapes through the planting of trees to contribute to the environmental conservation and curbing the impact of global warming and climate change in the country,” he said. Read more
  • Eclipsed opportunity? “The number of visitors was great, including the international media,” he said, adding, “Marketing of a tourism destination is not an event; it is a continuous process. Read more
  • Lango’s first palace: Just as Kabalega had requested before his death in 1923, the construction materials for the house such as iron sheets, timber and cement were delivered to Owiny. The palace was built in 1935. The bricks were red rocks dug up from the soils around Kabalega’s palace and trimmed into big cubes, three times the size of the usual bricks. Read more
  • Know Your Hood: Pakwach, the home of the leopards: “Long before the Luo settled here from Bah-el-gazel, it used to be the home of the leopards, a fact that led to naming the area Pakwach, a word in Alur language meaning “Where the leopards stay,” Mr Okaba said. Read more
  • Vision Group in tree planting campaign: The Plant a Tree project is part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsiblity. Read more

Recommended Reading:

Funding Opportunities:
Rufford Small Grant: How to apply

Upcoming Events:

Tourism sustainability leaders

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

Lodges:

Tour Operator

Announcements:

  • 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 event 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 January, 2014.

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Copyright © 2012 Uganda Community Tourism Association,
winner of the TODO! Award 2012 For Social Responsible Tourism
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