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Announcing The Opening of The Mahoma Nature Trail and Visitor Information Center in the Rwenzori Mountains

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Posted August 27, 2012 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Wildlife ~ 3,656 views

     

Press Release-The Rwenzori Mountains, the fabled ‘Mountains of the Moon’ described by the Alexandrine geographer Ptolemy 2,162 years ago, lie in western Uganda along the Uganda-Congo border. The equatorial snow peaks include the third highest point in Africa, while the lower slopes are blanketed in high altitude moorland, bamboo and rich, moist montane forest. The 996km2 Rwenzori Mountains National Park was established in 1991 and was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994 and an international Ramsar wetland site in 2008.

The national park hosts a variety of species of wildlife that include 70 mammals and 217 birds, including 19 species that are endemics to the Albertine Rift, as well as some of the world’s rarest plants. The Rwenzoris are a world-class hiking and mountaineering destination that offer multi-day (6-12 day) treks around and up to the highest peaks. For those who prefer something a little less strenuous, neighboring communities also offer nature walks, cultural performances and accommodation. Despite this, the number of visitors to the region is limited, due in part to limited tourism activities and facilities offered in the area.

To address this gap, the USAID funded Sustainable Tourism in the Albertine Rift program (USAID-STAR) with support from US Forest Service, and in partnership with Ecotrust, the Uganda Wildlife Authority and Geolodges worked together to improve the tourism products being offered in and around the mountain to promote greater visitation to this incredible destination.

Together a new Rwenzori Mountains Visitor Information Center has been built with interpretive information about the mountain as well as restaurant and other services. Geolodges, in partnership with Ecotrust have also just opened a new lodge, called Equator Snow that is linked to the Visitor Center, to service visitors to the park and compliment the existing community camps in the region. To build on these facilities, UWA and USAID-STAR with support from US Forest Service built a new trail on the mountain that allows visitors to experience the destination in shorter 1-3 day walks and therefore attract a broader market to the region.

The New Rwenzori Mountains Visitor Information Center is a multi-function facility next to the park, providing information and services for visitors to the region. The Center offers information about the history and ecology of the mountains and their people, it also has space for UWA briefings and registration before entering the park, a restaurant and space for a craft shop. The Visitor Information Center will allow people traveling to the region to learn more about the National Park and the mountain, its people and their culture.

The New Trail – Mahoma Nature Trail is a 28 km long loop-trail starting and ending at the Nyakalengijo Gate of the national park. USAID-STAR with support from US Forest Service and in partnership with UWA developed the trail as a way to diversify the options available to visitors to the region. The trail traverses the lower slopes of the mountains culminating at Lake Mahoma where the trail joins the existing ‘Central Circuit’ trail to return to the park gate. The entire circuit could be completed in 1-2 nights, or parts of it as a day hike.

The New Lodge – Equator Snow is a four-room lodge with spectacular views of the mountains, located along a rushing river. The facility is linked to Geolodges other lodges around the country and will serve guests on their way to or from the mountain. The hope is that its presence, along with the other community camps in the region can boost visitation to the park and benefit the local communities.

USAID, UWA, Ecotrust and Geolodges hope that the addition of these new tourism facilities and the trail will help to boost tourism to the mountains, increasing revenues for the people of the region as well as support UWA and Ecotrust in their ongoing conservation efforts. For more information, call USAID-STAR on 0312266653/4or email info@star-uganda.org


About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

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