TOURISM OPPORTUNITIES IN KAMWENGE DISTRICT
The general beauty of Kamwenge district goes beyond imagination with magnificent Flora and fauna and diverse cultures. The history itself is spectacular, the district was formed in 2000 from the former Kabalore district, the struggle started way back in 1990s when the one county of Kibale was divided into two to form Kitagwenda and Kibale county. Currently the district has three counties of Kitagwenda, Kibale and Kibale East (Created in 2015).
Kamwenge district is accessible by road from Kampala-Mbarara-Ibanda-Kamwenge, Kampala-Lyantonde-Ibanda-Kamwenge or Kampala-Fortportal-Kamwenge via Mubende. It’s geographically endowed being on an altitude ranges of 1,300-3,800ft above sea level and receives rainfall ranges 700-1,400mm which gives her the two season. It boarders two national parks ie Kibale national park in Kibale and Queen Elizabeth national park and L. George in Kitagwenda. The vegetation is basically savannah grasslands and shrubs, the main forests are found in Kibale and Kakasi forests. Natural forest remains safe in Katonga game reserve and Queen Elizabeth with most challenge being wild fires.
The creation of value in tourism in Kamwenge can be determined by the specialization through the creation of products targeted toward specific market segments. This can be possible by identifying different opportunities that these natural and cultural wonders have to offer.
Therefore, this concept note is intended to give a hint on different tourism resources of Kamwenge district and what opportunities do they offer to investors who may get interested. This paper will help in publicizing the proposed tourism sites, designing the proposal to investors and the government of Uganda.
TOURISM POTENTIALS AND THEIR OPPORTUNITIES
Cycads in the Gorge- Kanara
The cycads in Mpanga are prehistoric plants that lived at the time of the Dinosaurs (several millions back), they inhabit in Mpanga gorge in Kamwenge district and is the only natural cycad forest in the world. They are categorized as some of the most endangered species of the world by IUCN Red list and act as a source food for baboons. Their scientific name is encephalartos whitelockii locally called MUHULE, the forest offers spectacular views of the Lake George and mountains of the moon as you enjoy the breath of rare birds like Great blue Turaco.
§ Tented camps and cottages
§ Water based activities
Lake George the Ramsar wetland
Lake George is one of the five major lakes in Uganda and is located in the southwest of the country. It lies in the western branch of the Great Rift Valley. Also the lake lies on the equator at 0'N30" 12'£ and at an altitude of 914m above sea level and covers all area of 250km2 with a catchment area of 9,705km2 Lake George has its main catchment area in the Rwenzori range. The lake is very shallow with the mean depth of 2.5m and a maximum depth of 4.5m. The lake is fed by numerous rivers that arise in the Rwenzori Mountains to the northeast of the lake. The main inflows include rivers; Rwimi, Mubuku and Nsonge from Rwenzori und Mpanga, Dura from northeast of the lake. The northern lake shore is lined with papyrus swamp up to 21 km long and 14km wide that occupy more than half the area designated as a Ramsar site The Lake has a single outlet, the Kazinga channel which drains the southwestern corner of the lake and runs 36km into Lake Edward.
Despite the lake's shallow depth, seasonal changes in water levels are less than a millimeter with the highest level occurring in May to June and November to January, shortly after two seasonal peaks in rainfall Therefore, hydrologically, the lake is stable. The most remarkable feature of Lake George compared with other tropical lakes is the high productivity coupled with high stability of the biomasses of its organisms. This is due to its shallowness, stable water level and the frequent winds in all seasons which circulate nutrients from mud almost continuously.
§ Sports fishing
§ Water based activities
§ Lodges and other accommodations
The Mpanga River is the eighth biggest river in Uganda. It starts in the Rwenzori Mountains, in western Uganda, and flows successively through the towns of Fort Portal (Kabarole district) and near Kamwenge (Kamwenge district) down to Lake George. The Mpanga region is mostly covered by protected areas (Rwenzori Mountains, Kibale Forest and Queen Elisabeth National Park around Lake George) and rural areas dominated by small holder subsistence farming and tea estates.
§ Commercial farming (Agro-Tourism)
§ Water related tourism activities like water rafting
Katonga game reserve
The reserve covers an area of 207km2, and is located in western Uganda between 30°34’ and 30°55’E, and 0°12’ and 0°18N in Kamwenge District, although it is contiguous with Kyenjojo and Ibanda districts to the south. Occasionally visitors come to Katonga wildlife reserve for statunga viewing. 20% of the accrued revenues is shared by Uganda Wildlife Authority to the local communities adjacent to these protected areas to support community initiated projects (SCIP).
Kakasi forest (Kashoha-Kitoomi)
This is found in Buhanda Sub County and boarders the famous Kashoha- Kitoomi game reserve and it is 7.89 square kilometers. Currently tourism is not yet developed but with amount of flora and fauna in place, I believe eco-tourism can be ideal in the area. The major activity taking place in the region now is mining
§ Nature walks
§ Community walks
The Bigodi wetlands sanctuary features 8 primates species, numerous other interesting mammals, over 200 bird species, many reptiles and uncounted varieties of trees, shrubs and vines. The sanctuary office is located at the edge of Bigodi trading centre on the edge of Bigodi trading center.
§ Traditional homestays
§ Handcraft industry
To develop tourism in Kamwenge District
§ To identify and encourage investors to invest in tourism potentials in Kamwenge District
§ To increase the number of tourists that will visit Kamwenge District
Kamwenge District is endowed with unique tourism potentials which if developed can offer a satisfactory experience to tourists. For example if the area of Mpanga gorge can be developed by erecting a recreational facility like a resort can enhance the experience of tourists who enjoy solitude. However apparently there is no serious development taking place because of insufficient information about the area. Therefore the foregoing gap between the development of tourism potentials in Kamwenge District and lack of information about these tourism potentials necessitated the writing of this concept note.
Apparently about 1500 tourists visit the district annually, so I believe if tourism potentials like Mpanga can be developed to the standards tourists needs, it will lead to an increase in the number tourists that visit the district.
Good climatic conditions, vegetation and land scape are the greatest endowment for Kamwenge district. Ample bimodal annual rainfall averaging 1200mm throughout the year and temperatures averaging between 200 -250C(maximum) in most parts these climatic condition favour a variety of farming systems.
Other unique potentials include;
For God and my country.
|Total land area||2,375,3 km2|
|Number of House holds||88,687|
|Total female (Projection 2014)||215,668|
|Total male (Projection 2014)||205,802|
|Population Density||173 Persons/Km|