State minister for Tourism Kiwanda (r) leads local into the newly purchased UWA boat at the Lake Mburo​ National Park (Photos Patrick Jaramogi)​​
State minister for Tourism Kiwanda (r) leads local into the newly purchased UWA boat at the Lake Mburo​ National Park (Photos Patrick Jaramogi)​​

MBARARA, Uganda; Excitement, humor, energy and tranquility is what filled the souls of the local surrounding the Lake Mburo National Park located in Kiruhura district at the weekend.

For the first time, scores of Ugandans, mostly those nearby the Lake Mburo National Park were entitled to a free entrance to the park, courtesy of Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).

The park Open day that started with a wild run within the park, didn’t attract many, though, but the few who graced the inaugural event had a colorful feel. Scores of runners did the 5, and 10 kilometers run, from the Nshara gate along the Kiruhura- Mbarara highway to the park main entrance.

Among the runners, was State Minister for Tourism, Godfrey Kiwanda Suubi who graced the heat, to complete the 10km race.

The day was to allow locals have a feel of what transpires in the park, including seeing animals such as zebras, buffaloes and elands.

But the main excitement was when the locals were ushered into the newly imported UWA executive boats. The boats with a 45 seating capacity shall be used for boat cruise along the Lake Mburo.

Kiwanda said UWA has purchased three boats to serve the parks with lakes and rivers such Lake Mburo National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Murchison Falls National Park.

“Our target is to boost local tourism and attract revenue. That is why we have purchased these executive boats. Similarly, we also recently ordered for five executive buses to ferry Ugandans interested in visiting the parks from Kampala to the various parks,” said Kiwanda.

He told the gathering at Lake Mburo National Park that the executive buses will come full with free wifi and internet services, a restaurant and bar as well as state of the art digital screen complete with a GPRs to show the occupants where they are and where they are heading too.

Kiwanda who represented the senior minister for Tourism Prof, Ephraim Kamuntu said the open park days will be held annually in all the 10 national parks of Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo, Kidepo Valley, Mt. Elgon, Bwindi, Mgahinga, Kibaale, Semiliki, Pian Upe, and Rwenzori Mountain.

“This is to inform all Ugandans that we shall have one open park day per park per month for each of the 10 parks. The minister has instructed Uganda Wildlife Authority to organize these open park days starting from next month. UWA should note that this is an instruction, and you ignore it your own risk,” he roared.

Hon Kiwanda ( in black holding flag) flags off the Wild Run 10km race from the Rwakobo Gate
Hon Kiwanda ( in black holding flag) flags off the Wild Run 10km race from the Rwakobo Gate

Kiwanda amidst thunderous laugher urged Ugandans to have swag and enjoy the beauty of the parks especially at this time when there is peace and security.

He hailed the Federation of Uganda Tourism Initiative (FUTI) for organizing the wild runs. FUTI team leader, Abdul Muhiire said they have so far held similar wild runs in Bwindi, Mgahinga and Kidepo, with a view of sensitizing the communities neighboring the parks to love nature and be part of the conservation. Muhiire said they have organized similar wild runs in all the parks for the entire one year.

UWA publicist, Gesa Simplicious, said the management would sit and come up with a national park open day calendar to be followed for all national parks spread across the country.

Patrick Jaramogi

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