Eyes on Uganda as it’s declared a birding hub

Tourism Minister Maria Mutagamba (R) enjoys a view in the company of other birders at Kasenge Forest in Mbalala, Mukono District at the weekend. The news of the country being a key bird watching destination will boost the tourism sector. Photo by Martin ssebuyira

What you need to know:

Tourism boost. According to Birdlife International and Nature Uganda, the country accounts for 50 per cent of Africa’s bird species.

Uganda has been declared a preferred bird watching destination 2013/14 a development expected to promote birding and uphold the country as a major tourist destination.

The declaration by the government was made after Birdlife International, a global programme on conservation and protection of birds and their habitats, and Nature Uganda announced that there were 34 important bird watching areas in Uganda, with diverse bird species.

“Allow me to declare Uganda a preferred bird watching destination as we begin our journey through the next 50 years as we mark the country’s independence jubilee celebrations,” the Minister for Tourism, Ms Maria Mutagamba, said during the launch of the birding campaign that attracted various birders and guides at Kasenge Forest Resort Beach in Mukono District at the weekend.

Ms Mutagamba said they had been priding in the recent accolades by Lonely Planet, which voted Uganda as the best tourism destination for 2012 and Africa Bird Club, which voted Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Africa’s number one birding site.

The minister said the accolades provide an important avenue for showcasing Uganda’s rich bird diversity, accounting for 10 per cent of the world’s total bird species and 50 per cent of Africa’s bird species population.

Tourism boost
The executive director of Uganda Tourism Board, Mr Cuthbert Baguma, said as the year closes in, it was important to start promoting the country as a major bird destination.
Mr Baguma said they were forming a crisis management committee to respond to all negative publicity on either social media as well as other media outlets.