Savannah Parks Re-Open in Uganda Amidst Covid-19 Pandemic
Savannah Parks Re-Open in Uganda Amidst Covid-19 Pandemic: On June 5th 2020, the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the body that is concerned with the protection and conservation of the country’s protected areas, issued a public statement that had the savannah parks re-open in Uganda amidst Covid-19 pandemic that is ravaging the world. In the statement, the Uganda Wildlife Authority emphasised that only savannah parks are to re-open in the meantime and are to operate under strict standard operating procedures, as quoted; “The management of Uganda Wildlife Authority wishes to inform the public that after consultations with various stakeholders and putting in place standard operating procedures for the containment of the possible spread of Covid-19 in our protected areas, the savannah parks are now open for tourism. Primate parks however remain closed to the public until further notice.”
This means that parks like Kidepo Valley National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Semuliki National Park, Mount Elgon National Park and Mountain Rwenzori National Park are the savannah parks re-open in Uganda amidst Covid-19 pandemic, and tourists can visit them to enjoy the various tourist activities in those parks as before. Having savannah parks re-open in Uganda amidst Covid-19 Pandemic comes after they were closed about a month or so ago due to Coronavirus disease. During the time that they have been closed to the public, the Uganda Wildlife Authority has been taking different measures to deal with the situation and it is after a careful study, consultation and preparation that the savannah parks have been re-opened to the public. Standard operating procedures are however to be followed at all time.
Primate parks that include the beautiful Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Kibale Forest National Park are to remain closed to the public amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. This is because these primates that include gorillas, chimpanzees and golden monkeys are very susceptible to human infections. Gorillas share about 98% DNA with humans, meaning that whatever illnesses affect humans can also affect the gorillas. Protecting these primates is very important given that they are endangered and threatened already.
Also, the offices of Uganda Wildlife Authority in Kampala were re-opened to the public and they operate under the set standard operating procedures to avoid the spread of the Coronavirus disease.
Having savannah parks re-open in Uganda amidst Covid-19 pandemic requires strict adherence to the set guidelines by the government and the Ministry of Health whilst undertaking the various tourist activities in the parks. They include;
- Carrying half capacity in vehicles including tour cars as well as boats when on a boat safari in any of the waters. This half sitting capacity guideline is to effect the social distancing guideline to contain the spread of coronavirus. Concessionaire delivery vehicles are also impacted.
- Mandatory temperature screening using non-contact infra-red thermometers at the key tourism gates and check points of the protected areas.
- Mandatory hand washing or sanitizing at all entrances of all Uganda Wildlife Authority premises and protected areas.
- Large groups of travellers exceeding 25 people shall not be permitted in the park at the same for the same tourist activities.
- Events like destination weddings, conferences, workshops and marathons shall not be permitted in the interim.
- Visitors going to the savannah parks that are re-opened to tourists are encouraged to carry their own hand sanitizers and facemasks to protect not only themselves but others as well from Coronavirus disease.
With the above guidelines followed to the dot, having savannah parks re-open in Uganda amidst Covid-19 pandemic to the public to enjoy various tourist activities wouldn’t be an issue. The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has trained its staff and provided all of them with the appropriate protective gear that they shall wear at all times to protect themselves and the visitors. The UWA staff on duty shall continuously sensitize the visitors on the general government-approved Covid-19 operational guidelines as well as the standard operating procedures developed by UWA management.
Travellers who would like to visit savannah parks re-opened in Uganda amidst Covid-19 pandemic should be assured of their safety for all the necessary measures to protect travellers are put in place. Travellers are however also reminded to strictly adhere to the laid out government guidelines to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus disease. Longing for a getaway from the chaos and bored at home? Get in touch with a reputable tour operator to help you plan a safe and memorable Uganda safari.