GORILLA TOURS: Gov’t to construct an all-weather road in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

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Stranded. UNRA executive director Allen Kagina’s convoy negotiates through a muddy section in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Kanungu district on Sunday, June 11, 2017. Daily Monitor/File

Kampala, Uganda | AFRICATEMBELEA | One of Uganda’s favorite tourism parks, Bwindi could soon have an all-weather road as the government takes steps to make road designs. The park is home to an estimated 400 mountain gorillas – roughly half of the world’s population.

The proposed 40-kilometre road from Kisoro to Kanungu is expected to ease access to tourist attractions in the Bwindi Forest and Mgahinga Park tourism value chain. The new road will replace the existing murram road which had become impassable especially during the rainy seasons yet it had no safety signage.

Area residents have previously accused the government of neglecting the road from Kisoro via Nyarusiza to Muhabura in Kisoro district forcing them to traverse a longer route -137 kilometres from Kisoro via Rubanda to Kanungu.

Eng. Emmanuel Twinamatsiko, the Assistant Commissioner at the Ministry of Works and Transport says the ministry has finalized design studies for the new road, shared cabinet documents and held planning meetings with Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to have the road works start next financial year.

“We have finalised plans and UNRA has been involved to expedite plans for an all-weather road to be constructed in the Bwindi, Mgahinga conservation area,” Eng. Twinamatsiko said.

UNRA spokesperson Allan Ssempebwa says the road is needed to have tourism and other development activities in the conservation areas carried out well and in a timely manner. But the people familiar with the Bwindi, Mgahinga conservation area say that an all-weather road alone is not a solution to the current challenges facing the country’s most popular conservation area for tourism.

According to Bashir Hangi, the Uganda Wild Life Authority (UWA) Communications Manager, the roads in Bwindi, Mgahinga conservation area must be improved to improve access for tourists and locals alike. He added that also needed are roads that will provide safety for wildlife and the ecosystems and their preservation.

According to the Ministry of Tourism strategic plan 2017 to 2022, road construction was set in several tourism zones. The South Western zone including Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and associated environments have nine roads measuring 340km.

(URN)

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