Uganda has reopened its savannah national parks for tourism after a significant control over the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) said in a statement that all the savannah national parks are open for tourism after standard operating procedures have been put in place to avoid the spread of COVID-19 in the protected areas.
“All tourism activities within the protected areas shall be undertaken in a manner that ensures all guidelines of the ministry of health and the directives of His Excellency the President are adhered to,” the statement said.
The UWA said primate parks, however, remain closed to the public until further notice.
UWA confirmed that, there will be mandatory temperature screenings of tourists at all the key gates of the protected areas. Hand sanitizing and social distancing will be adhered to in vehicles and boats in the parks.
Large groups exceeding 25 tourists shall not be permitted in the parks at the same time for the same activity, according to the UWA.
Although the parks are open, the country’s borders, including Entebbe International Airport, remain closed as one of the government measures to avoid importing COVID-19 cases.
Tour operators like SunTrack Adventures are now focusing on increasing domestic tourism after international travel was interrupted by the pandemic.
Tourism is one of Uganda’s leading foreign exchange earners. The country’s President Yoweri Museveni said the country would lose over 1.6 billion U.S. dollars in tourism revenue because of COVID-19.
Savannah national parks in Uganda include: Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Kidepo National Park, Semuliki National Park and others.
Primate national parks in Uganda include: Kibale National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga National Park and other protected reserves.