Sunday July 16 2017

Cheap slumber at Queen Elizabeth

Elephants graze in the  Murchison Falls National Game

The rich wild life makes Queen Elizabeth National Park a popular tourism attraction. file photo 

By Enid Ninsiima

To boost domestic tourism, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has established a modern students’ hostel called ‘Education Centre’ to cater for the increasing numbers of students. The new hostel has three self-contained wings, the West wing that accommodates female students, East for males and North for teachers at affordable price of Shs5,000 per student per night.

As one enters Mweya Pennisula that sits over Kazinga channel, where the Education Center is situated, the white, lemon green and blue colour attract the eyes.
The hostel has the makings of a residential and will accommodate 118 students per night an increase from 78 students who were previously accommodated in the old structures at the park.

Cheaper options
According the Edward Asalu, the manager, Queen Elizabeth Protected Area, the new structure cost the institution more than Shs500M.

“We decided to put up this education centre/hostel following the over whelming numbers of students that visit the park and the increasing number of schools being established in the country,” Asalu said.

Asalu revealed that the facility hosts more than 300 students on average per week. The number is predicted to go higher in future. “Even when we established this new education centre, the number of students who use the facility is high, leaving us with no option but to transfer them to the old buildings so that we can accommodate 118 per night,” Asalu said.

The facility is one of the revenue enhancements to the park as it will provide comfort to tourists. Besides accommodation, the centre will also disseminate information on conservation to the students.

“We wanted to impact conservation education from primary to university level so that they can take the information back home to their parents so that poaching is minimised,” the manager said.

He noted that as their slogan stands ‘conserving for generation’, thus UWA intends to keep the young generations updated once they visit the park so that they appreciate the usefulness of conserving the park as one way of reducing the challenges faced.

“We believe that once we educate the young ones about the uses of the park and the reason we conserve the Fauna and Flora, we would have delivered the message to their parents who are engaged in poaching and with time, the challenge will reduce once they appreciate.”
The modern hostel has flash toilets and indoor bathrooms in order for security purposes. UWA believes that Shs5,000 charge per night is affordable.

“We have a big plan for the Education centre. We want to be hosting 150 students per night, an increase from the present number of 78 and also put up a lecture hall and kitchen,” says Asalu.

UWA has also established affordable accommodation lodges to give an alternative while in the park at Mweya peninsula. Price ranges from Shs20,000- Shs300,000 and descent meals at Thembo Restaurant that is managed by the park. The bandas have self contained single, double and family rooms as well as non self-contained rooms.