Tourism & Travel

Tourism & Travel UWA to relocate rhinos at Zziwa sanctuary over land wrangle

The Uganda Wildlife Authority has announced that it is going to relocate all the rhinos currently at the Zziwa Rhino sanctuary over an ongoing land wrangle.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority has announced that it is going to relocate all the rhinos currently at the Zziwa Rhino sanctuary in Nakasongola district over an ongoing land wrangle.

In a statement released on Saturday, UWA said that the land wrangle between Zziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranches(ZRWR) , the owners of the land where the sanctuary is located and Rhino Fund Uganda, an NGO managing the rhinos has necessitated their intervention.

“UWA has beefed up security of the rhinos to ensure their safety. It is our hope that the misunderstandings will be resolved soon so that the operations at the sanctuary return to normal. In the medium and long term, the rhinos will be introduced to UWA managed protected areas,” the statement said in part.

UWA is a government body mandated to ensure sustainable management of wildlife resources and supervise wildlife activities in Uganda both within and outside the protected areas.

According to them, plans are underway to relocate the rhinos from Zziwa sanctuary to a safer place, having completed a feasibility study to identify the most suitable locations for the introduction of the animals and the conditions to be met.

Land wrangle

There has been an ongoing land wrangle between Captain Charles Roy’s family that owns the land where the sanctuary sits under the Zziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranches and Rhino Fund Uganda, an NGO that manages the animals at Zziwa Rhino sanctuary.

In 2002, Roy was approached by the NGO with an idea of re-introducing rhinos into the country and was asked to provide land for the same.

Consequently, Roy gave away his 16,000 acres of land after relocating over 7000 heads of cattle that he had on the same land.

Both parties signed an agreement in which Roy was to be part of the board of directors and was to be part of all the decision-making processes for the sanctuary, a thing that happened until sometime when he was allegedly kicked out.

The wrangle escalated when the Rhino Fund Uganda put a caveat on the 16000 acres housing the Zziwa Rhino sanctuary and barred Capt.Roy, the owner of the land from accessing his farm and carrying out any additional development on it.

This, Roy interpreted as a move to grab his land and consequently demanded the sanctuary is taken off his land.

Rhino Fund Uganda recently dismissed as untrue, reports of seeking to grab Capt.Roy’s land.

“The land wrangle being referred to in the media is twisted and misinterpreted. Rhino Fund Uganda, its Executive Director and D & D International Ltd (Amuka Lodge) have no desire or have never attempted to “steal” any Leasehold or Mailo land from Joe Roy. What is referred to as a “land wrangle” is merely the above contesting the early termination notices and protecting their interests and investments on the said land,” a statement released in 2019 read in part.

The impasse over the land has been ongoing for a number of years and is yet to come to an end.

It has escalated and consequently seen Uganda Wildlife Authority intervene by seeking to relocate the rhinos for the animals’ own safety.


Tourism & Travel UTB Boss Tips Women On Investment Opportunities In Tourism Sector

Members of the Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association Limited (UWEAL) have been urged to position their businesses in line with Uganda’s tourism in order to fully harness the opportunities presented by the sector.

Lilly Ajarova, the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), Chief Executive Officer, highlighted the above while speaking to participants during a monthly UWEAL networking meeting held at the association’s offices located at Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA), Lugogo earlier today.

She explained that positioning of their various businesses such as agriculture, craft, and accommodation; among others in line with tourism would enhance their opportunities to benefit from the sector.

“There are so many opportunities in the tourism sector. Right now for instance, the sector could benefit from more accommodation facilities ranging from homestays, budget and luxury lodges and hotels. Kampala has a number of facilities but once you are out of the city, the need for more investment in accommodation facilities is quickly evident,” Ajarova said.

She also revealed that UTB had formally written to the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development requesting for incentives to be extended to investors looking to set up accommodation facilities in different parts of the country. This she hopes, will help alleviate the deficit.

Ajarova further encouraged the participants to set up homestays given that there is a growing number of tourists who prefer this arrangement.


Lilly Ajarova, flanked by Connie Kakihembo, the UWEAL CEO during the networking meeting

“Here, you have a home that you only need to renovate then offer it for visitors and start earning money without having to set up a new building. However, you need to register with UTB, then we license and then grade your facility and eventually classify it. This is the only way we can promote your business,” Ajarova said.

She added, “Tourism is now about branding, storytelling and immersing tourists into an experience. Once you add this to your product, then you will be on the right track to benefit from tourism”

Connie Kekihembo, the CEO of UWEAL acknowledged UTB for sharing the information with the association’s members saying that the session was an eye opener for many of them.

“One of the things we look at when planning for these networking sessions is government priorities. We noticed that there’s high investment and prioritization of tourism and yet our women were not well positioned. We have heeded to this advice and we shall identify the areas to invest in because we have the capacity to grow tourism just like the agricultural sector,” she noted.

Kekihembo also said, “We have always spoken about value addition because most of our members are in agribusiness. Today, we have found out that agribusiness can also be turned into a tourism product. So our members will not only add value to their products.”


Tourism & Travel Uganda Heads To Cannes To Market Film Potential

As Uganda looks to strengthen its potential as a premier tourist and film hub in the region, Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and Ugandan filmmakers will take part in the prestigious Cannes Film Festival that runs from today, May 14 to 25, 2019 in France.

The Festival is one of the world’s widely publicized film events and also regarded as the most important festival in terms of worldwide impact.

For first time at Cannes, an African Pavilion will be erected and is expected to be a beehive of activity as it opens for film business and monetization of content from the African continent and its diaspora.

Running under the theme, ‘Connecting the Past, Present and Future’; the African Pavillon packs a full schedule with a mix of private and public sector roundtables, discussions on film financing and content distribution, a series of country produced destination seminars, celebrity-hosted panels, leadership workshops, film screenings and more.

Lilly Ajarova, the Chief Executive Officer UTB said that Uganda has in recent years received more attention given its beautiful landscape and ideal weather that has seen internationally acclaimed movie producers choose it for filming of blockbuster movies.

“Uganda is an ideal filming destination given its beautiful scenery. We have the best filming locations and with a good road network across the country, filmmakers looking to come to Uganda will be pleasantly surprised to find a ready-made set for them,” she said.

Ajarova also noted that the Cannes Festival is also a befitting platform for not only selling Uganda as a leading film destination, but also an opportunity for Ugandan filmmakers to learn from people who have mastered the art.   

Ugandan independent film makers who will be attending the festival include like Nisha Kalema, Malcolm Bigyemano, Sharpe Ssewali George, among others.  

The Cannes Film Festival will among other opportunities give participants access to resources seldom accessible to filmmakers from developing film markets, give opportunity to countries to present their film industry potential, showcase innovation and technologies that disrupt the movie making process and costs, among others.

World over, the film industry provides vast employment opportunities. In Uganda, the film industry has in recent years gained prominence. The country now targets to gazette film shooting districts and centres of excellence across the country that will provide affordable production services in the next five years.

Godfrey Mutabaazi, the Executive Director UCC notes; “Uganda is creating a unique venue for its local film trade and promotion that outlines the diversity and plurality of Uganda at the International level in television content”

Adding, “Our ambition is to become a centre for filming in Africa, through this exclusive business platform where film industry stakeholders meet, discuss, trade, make deals and take advantage of the unique atmosphere of the Festival de Cannes.”

Commenting on Uganda’s participation at the African Pavillion, Oscar nominated Director and Founder of Maisha Film Lab, Mira Nair said that the festival is a great opportunity for the Ugandan film industry to tap into a global network of professionals who will enable the country harness her film potential.

“The Ugandan film industry has been on an upward trajectory given its unique storytelling tradition. The Cannes Festival therefore presents an enormous opportunity for knowledge sharing as well as establishing contacts with people who can help our industry grow more,” she stated.

Pavillon Afrique will be the first tent within the Film Market section of the Cannes Film Festival dedicated exclusively to the business of Film in the African continent and among its diaspora.

This will be situated within the heart of the Marché du Film, the world’s biggest gathering of film industry professionals who come to sell films, find partners and expand their professional network.

The film industry in Uganda was discovered as early as 1893 when its first movie was produced. Like any industry that is still growing, the industry has been plagued by numerous challenges, including funding, lack of passionate people, among others. In recent years, however, the industry is experiencing an upsurge in appreciation of its content.


Tourism & Travel Museveni Intervenes In Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary ownership Row

President Yoweri Museveni has intervened and brought the two parties embroiled in the fight over the ownership and management of Rhinos at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Nakasongola to a round table.   

Sources reveal that Museveni met Captain Charles Roy’s family led by his daughter Bonnie Wendy and lawyer Richard Omongole of Omongole and Company advocates on one hand and Angie Genade, a South African national currently managing the Nakasongola-based Rhino Fund Uganda (RFU) that runs the sanctuary.

Also in attendance were district officials from Nakasongola, Uganda Wildlife Authority officials and the Tourism Minister Ephraim Kamuntu.

The meeting comes in the wake of a bitter fallout between Roy and Genade over the management of the Rhino sanctuary.

 Capt. Roy accuses Genade of attempting to grab his 16,000 acres of land he had leased to RFU while Genade has been accusing Capt. Roy of wanting to evict them from the ranch.

ALSO READ: Investor, Capt. Roy Fight Over Multi-Billion Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Media reports indicate that the President summoned all the parties involved after he received four different petitions from RFU led by Genade, Captain Roy, Nakasongola District and the another one from  Nakasongola Resident District Commissioner, Dan Muganga.

The President gave each of the two parties time to explain their case and after listening ruled out that the land in question belonged to Capt. Roy and nobody would forcefully take it away from him, reports say.

 He however tried to ask both parties to reconcile and run the business jointly but the Roy family rejected the move, noting that they had tried to engage RFU way back before chaos at the sanctuary escalated but were not given the opportunity.

Wendy noted in the meeting that all they wanted was RFU out of the sanctuary and that they planned to transform the Ziwa Rhino sanctuary into a private game reserve and that the Rhinos would stay and that they had been granted permission to introduce other animals at the ranch by the Uganda Wildlife Authority.

According to Saturday Vision,  President Museveni directed State House head of legal department Flora Kiconco to review documents handed over by bought parties and report back to him within the two weeks.

Kiconco confirmed the President had directed her to write a report. “I was directed to study the documents relating to the matter and submit the report to the President,” Kiconco said.

This would not be the first time attempts are being made at resolving the Sanctuary wrangles. Late last year, Kamuntu met Roy and Genade to try and resolve the impasse but failed. Saturday Vision has also learnt of a move by sections of some staff of the Office of the President and Nakasongola district who were scheming to have the government forcefully take over the ranch and compensate Roy in the pretext that the wanted the Rhinos kept safe.

The meeting comes in the wake of a series of stories published by online publications as well as Saturday and Sunday Vision indicating that the fate of over 24 Rhinos at the Zziwa Rhino ranch sanctuary in Nakitooma village in Nakasongola district appears to hang in balance following a rift an impasse between Captain Charles Joy Roy the owner of the ranch and RFU.

The sanctuary initially a ranch, is owned by Captain Roy however he accuses the RFU of trying to drum up public support and sympathy in order to blackmail him and grab his land.

Captain Roy was among the few who initiated the idea of re-introduction and breeding program of Rhinos into Uganda. He voluntarily offered his 16,000 hectares of land for the conservation of Rhinos and opted to purchases another land where he shifted all his cattle.

 Roy used his own plane to transfer some of the Rhino’s that were donated from the US and brought others from Kenya including setting up the entire infrastructure which included digging up boreholes and securing using donations to set up a fence.

He later entered into a 30 year lease with RFU but terminated it last year after they failed to honor terms of their agreement.

 In return the RFU threw Roy and his representatives out of the board and used police to deny them access to the ranch including his own homestead which he had built and that the RFU was using police who are illegally deployed at his ranch.


Tourism & Travel Gorillas Pose For Selfie With Rescuers

Two gorillas have been photographed posing for a relaxed selfie with the rangers who rescued them as babies.

The image was taken at a gorilla orphanage in Virunga National Park, DR Congo, where the animals were raised after poachers killed their parents.

The park’s deputy director told BBC Newsday that they had learned to imitate their carers, who have looked after them since they were found.

The gorillas, he added, think of the rangers as their parents.

Innocent Mburanumwe, deputy director of Virunga, told the BBC that that the gorillas’ mothers were both killed in July 2007.

The gorillas were just two and four months old at the time.

Shortly afterwards, they were found and taken to Senkwekwe Sanctuary in Virunga, where they have lived ever since.

Because they’ve grown up with the rangers who rescued them, Mr Mburanumwe added, “they are imitating the humans” – and standing on two legs is their way of “learning to be human beings”.

But it “doesn’t happen normally”, he said.

“I was very surprised to see it… so it’s very funny. It’s very curious to see how a gorilla can imitate a human and stand up.”

Being a ranger, however, is not always fun – it is mainly dangerous work.

Five rangers were killed in Virunga National Park last year in an ambush by suspected rebels, and more than 130 park rangers have been killed in Virunga since 1996.

Eastern DR Congo is mired in conflict between the government and various armed groups.

Some of these armed groups are based in the park, where they often poach animals.