In an effort of diversifying tourism products, the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) is committed to promoting mountaineering as an avenue through which both nationals and foreigners can embrace Uganda as a definite destination. Lilly Ajarova the UTB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) noted that 10,000 tourists (on average) engage in mountaineering annually. “Efforts are being made with telecom companies to improve their network services in mountainous areas and also have other development partners improve on accommodation among other facilities in a sustainable manner,” Ajarova stated after the hiking excursion of Mt. Rwenzori. At least 20,000 mountaineers are targeted by UTB this year.
She however noted that glaciers are beginning to melt off some mountain peaks as a result of climate change which is likely to lead to snow-less mountain peaks. “This however, should not change people’s interest in climbing Rwenzori and other mountains, as there’s more to experience beyond glaciers. There are different scenery, biodiversity, hikes to other peaks among others,” Ajarova allayed. Most of the molten glacier from Mt. Rwenzori find its way into the Mobuku valley before pouring into lake George. Through the Kazinga channel, the same water is shared with lake Edward. On the northern side, molten glaciers from Mt. Rwenzori, pour into river Semliki which subsequently pours into lake Albert from where the Albert Nile develops before joining river Nile.
Tim MaCartney Snape a 64year-old renown international mountain climber narrated of his experience after hiking Rwenzori mountains early this year. He described the excursion as a “dream come true.”
“To Margherita peak, the mountain range is tough due to rocks everywhere, but really beautiful with amazing birds and a very special fauna. You can’t compare the Rwenzori to anywhere else in the world,” said MaCartney. After conquering several mountains including Mt. Everest with the highest peak in the world, the Tanzanian-born, Australian national describes Uganda as the best part of East Africa with a variety of animal and plant species plus people who are “practical, friendly and helpful.”
As of last year, Uganda had registered an increased tourism revenue from Sh5.3trillion (US$1.45b) in the financial year 2017/2018 to Sh5.8trillion (US$1.6b) in the year 2018/2019 making tourism sector the country’s top foreign exchange earner. The number of tourist arrivals was registered from 1,402,409 tourists in the 2017/2018 to 1,505,669 tourists in 2018/2019 financial year. From such statistics, it is evident that tourism sector contributes to over 7.7% of the total National Gross Domestic Product.