The Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has just opened its latest attraction, the ‘Batwa Trail’, which gives visitors the option to hike for several hours along the pathway with their guides, experiencing the inside of the mountainous rain forest ‘close up’ and coming face to face with trees and vegetation, forest insects and birds and an occasional glimpse at spoors or even game, hiding deep inside the forest.
Ordinarily visitors come to Mgahinga to track the mountain gorillas, but with the habituated groups prone to migrating across the common borders to Rwanda and even Congo that can often not be guaranteed. This has in the past left the park with fewer visitors than what it deserves, considering it scenic setting, and the opening of the ‘Batwa Trail’ has now added an attraction ‘nearly as good’ as one source from within UWA had described it.
The trail extends over 8 kilometres, and the guided walks reach elevations of about 2.700 metres above sea level but are comfortable nevertheless as no climbing is required. Notably is the Memorandum of Understanding the Uganda Wildlife Authority signed largely in favour of the local communities, where the guides are also drawn from, as they get a revenue share of 50 percent from the income accrued from such hikes, while of course in addition the communities get a further 20 percent of the gate receipts, which is mandated by law so as to give those living near national parks a stake and finance facilities which otherwise these rural communities would find hard to put up.
All round, this is good news for the Kisoro area, now well connected by tarmac from Kabale as recently reported here and with only a gap of 10 miles remaining in the completion of this scenic road, Kisoro and its natural attractions like Mgahinga, Lake Mutanda and Bwindi, all reachable from the township in a short time, can look forward to finally getting its own share of the growing stream of tourists coming to ‘The Pearl of Africa’
Compiled by Jackie