Wednesday, 29 August 2012

New Tourist Resort Centre Opens in Mt. Rwenzori National Park

The Rwenzori Mountains best known as the Mountains of the Moon named by Alexandrine who was a geographer Ptolemy about 2,162 years ago.  It is in the western part of Uganda along the Uganda-Congo border. It is an Equatorial Mountain with snow peaks among which is the third highest point in Africa mean while the lower slopes of it are covered with the high altitude moorland, bamboo and rich, moist montane forest. The park was gazzeted as a national park in 1991 but was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994 and as an international Ramsar wetland site in 2008. Currently the park is a home variety of wildlife species for example; there are over 70 mammals and 217 birds, including 19 species that are endemics to the Albertine Rift and some of the world’s uncommon plants.
For those who love mountain climbing and hiking, the Rwenzoris are a world-class hiking and mountaineering destination, offering multi-days of between 6-12 days treks around and up to the highest peaks and those who are interested in a less tiresome activity, you can always go for nature walks in the communities close by, enjoy the  cultural performances and hospitality.

Despite this, the number of visitors to the region is limited, due in part to limited tourism activities and facilities offered in the area. And to help bridge this gap, USAID funded Sustainable Tourism in the Albertine Rift program (USAID-STAR) together with the help of the US Forest Service, along side Ecotrust, the Uganda Wildlife Authority as well as Geo lodges worked together to improve the tourism products being offered in and around the mountain in an effort to increase on the number of people who visit this place.

They have worked together and opened up the new Rwenzori Mountains Visitor Information Center which will also be a source of all information that a tourists may need to know about the mountain, there will be restaurants and other services. Geo lodges together with Ecotrust have also just opened a new lodge they named Equator Snow with 4 rooms and it is connected to the Visitor Center, to service visitors to the park and compliment the existing community camps in the region.

In an effort to improve on these facilities, UWA and USAID-STAR with the help of US Forest Service have established a new trail on the mountain called the Mahoma nature to provide the visitors with an opportunity to experience the destination in shorter 1-3 day walks and therefore attract a wider market to the region.The New Rwenzori Mountains Visitor Information Center is a multi-function facility next to the park, providing information and services for visitors to the region, in here you can get all the information about the  history and ecology of the mountains and their people, provides  space for UWA briefings and registration before entering the park, a restaurant and a craft shop. With this visitors will learn more about people around their cultures which might attract more tourists.

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