Uganda National Parks and all other protected areas and tourist destinations underwent into a lock-down for about 3 months with efforts of combating the global pandemic of the Coronavirus. A world with limited traveling was not ever projected to have exhibited up hurriedly as this displayed.
Since the outbreak of world pandemic COVID-19 in the sunset of much 2019 that originated from Wuhan city in China. Terror for the pandemic manifested globally where in the short while the plague had binged almost to all continents. Virtually everything went on a lock-down where even Uganda National Parks were completely closed out of bounds for tourists to avoid blowout of the virus to the wildlife.
Prior in the advanced March of 2020 the government of Uganda drew a tilt of guidelines to avoid the spread of coronavirus in Uganda. And among were to impose a total lockdown, this silenced most of the activities within the country including tourism. But later on, after about 3 months of lock-down, the lock-down was hauled down and tourism was open to to domestic tourists except to the primate tracking parks.
As health experts and scientists globally are battling to get come up with a pandemic vaccine, The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a list of standard operating procedures (SOPs) to minimize the spread of Coronavirus in communities. The same prevention measures have been deployed in the national with aims of avoiding the possible transmission of the pandemic to parks and its wildlife. With much research from the (WHO) it was confirmed that COVID-19 can also be infected in animals as some domestic dogs and cates were tested and confirmed to have been infected by the pandemic virus.
Guideline for Tourist to follow when visiting Uganda National Park;
The Uganda Wildlife Authority after consultations with various stakeholders and putting in place standard operating procedures for the control of the possible spread of COVID-19 in all protected areas. All the parks are now open for tourism including the primate parks of Bwindi Forest, Kibale Forest and other forest parks. Ugandans are encouraged to go on gorilla trekking tours in Bwindi and Mgahinga National Park and a gorilla pass is still being sold at UGX 250,000.
The UWA head office in Kampala is also open to the public who require any of their services. All tourism activities within the protected areas shall be undertaken in a manner that ensures all guidelines set by the Ministry of Health and the directives by His Excellency the President are adhered to.
Among the guidelines to follow include;
- Mandatory temperature screening using non-contact infra-red thermometers at the key tourism gates of the different protected areas.
- Mandatory hand washing / sanitizing at the entrances of all UWA premises and protected areas.
- Wearing a face mask while inside the protected area. All tourists hopping for primate tracking activities should carry at least two N95 masks or surgical masks or double layered cloth masks with filters
- Observing social distance. Government guidelines of vehicles carrying half capacity in order to observe social distance shall apply to the use of vehicles and boats in the parks, these include concessionaire delivery vehicles. Saloon car vehicles shall not be permitted to carry out game drives activities in the protected areas.
- Visitors going to the parks are encouraged to carry their own hand sanitizer. The UWA management has ensured a trained staff provided them with appropriate wear to protect them and the visitors from any possible infection. Staff on duty shall sensitize the visitors on the general government approved COVID-19 operational guidelines including the ones developed and approved by UWA management.