The communities around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are known to be friendly and ready to welcome visitors. There is a group of Uganda gorillas living in the forest and they hope tourists will soon be allowed into the park to visit them.
This is because gorilla tourism is this regions new cash crop. It is changing not only the lives of the Africans who live around the Bwindi National Park but the landscape of Uganda as well. Although Uganda is rich in natural resources, it remained one of the world’s poorest and least developed countries until the 1990s.
Political stability and economic reforms have turned things around, clearing the way for tourism and new opportunities. These days, tourism is one of the largest sources of revenie in Uganda just like Agriculture. A bigger percentage of this money is generated by the adventurous tourists who come to see the Uganda gorillas.
Bwindi is a small national park of about 127.8 mi². Before the park was gazetted, the locals here were depending on only tea growing as a source of income, but currently, most people here are depending on tourism. These locals mostly depend on gorilla trekking and park entrance (gorilla permit) fees.
A percentage of these fees goes into the community’s coffers, boosting incomes, and funding projects like building schools. This money also helps boost the conservation efforts of the endangered Uganda gorillas.
Tourism makes the Uganda gorillas valuable resources and gives local people incentive to preserve them. As long as tourism in Uganda is managed carefully, the gorillas may have a better shot at survival, and local people will have reason to hope and kick up their heels to celebrate.