Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda - Sustainable Tourism Development

Tourists will see some noticeable improvements to the Rwenzori Mountains National Park in Uganda. This follows the newly developed Rwenzori Mountains Conservation and Environmental Management project, set up to preserve the biodiversity of the park and also improve its surrounding community’s livelihood. The project is supported by the WWF Uganda Country Office, the European Union and the French Facility for Global Environment.

The Rwenzori Mountains are a Unesco World Heritage Site, at 5109 metres above sea level. The outstanding scenic beauty, the year-round snow and glaciers all set this national park apart as one of the true beauties that Uganda has to offer.

The park contains 106 mammal species, three of which are not found anywhere else. Alongside an abundance of wildlife and unique flora and fauna. Despite its draw as a natural tourist attraction, the park is less visited than other national parks in the area, with its resources such as water, food and firewood constantly under pressure from the communities based in the park.

The Uganda Tourism Board, Uganda Wildlife Authority, District Local Governments and other concerned stakeholders are all working closely on the project, to increase tourist numbers through introducing a more diverse range of products, whilst also ensuring that everyone including the community benefits economically from tourism spend.  

A recent assessment conducted of the area’s natural resource issues, included an evaluation on the knowledge, attitude and practices of the communities within the park. This research acknowledged the challenges facing the Rwenzori Mountains relating to; community use of the park, park and community relations, tourism development, park management, agricultural practices and population growth. Already the project has made significant positive changes to the Rwenzori, working to promote rural development activities and reduce the pressure on the environment through educating the community on alternate resources and improving their conservation awareness.

Relations between the park and communities have significantly improved with the Kinyampanika Chimpanzee Conservation and Development Association as well as the WWF. All parties are positively collaborating to develop a chimpanzee tourist trail that will also be ideal for bird watching and sightseeing. This is organised alongside the Rwenzori cultural tourism experience, which mainly focuses on the Bakonzo culture. The Kyanjuki Handcraft Women’s Association has supported local women in Rwenzori to prosper from tourism by supporting their local craftmanship, displaying their beautiful assorted crafts made out of both home-grown and recycled materials, which include baskets, shopping bags, and jewellery for tourists to buy whilst visiting the mountain.

Tourists who want to go off the beaten track and experience something truly unique can visit the Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda, where they can now leave satisfied knowing that there visit to these mountains have benefited the local community and supported the conservation of the environment and incredible wildlife.