Uganda’s Responsible Tourism
Respectful, Considered, Culturally Immersive Experiences-Uganda’s Responsible Tourism
At Msafiri Tours, we believe that it’s our responsibility to help preserve the planet for the next generation of travellers and the communities – and animals – that call Africa home that is why we support Uganda’s responsible tourism
Over the years, thousands of youth, families and people from all walks of life have travelled to Uganda with Msafiri tours. They’ve been welcomed with open arms by the partner communities in Uganda that we’ve worked with for years, who have shared their lives and their hearts. This has allowed travellers to gain an unprecedented understanding of Uganda and its culture, and the daily challenges and joys experienced by local communities. They’ve worked alongside them to build classrooms, plant trees and clean water systems. And along the way, they’ve expanded how they see Africa and become part of a story of transformation. Our goal is to promote Uganda’s responsible tourism.
Our Uganda responsible travel policy is about the attitude we and our clients exhibit and the choices we make when travelling concerning the benefit of the local population in Uganda and its culture. All our Uganda tours are not only saturated and interesting but also provide benefits to the environment and the local communities.
Community-based tourism in Uganda
We strive to preserve the uniqueness of fragile remote places and small communities in Uganda and to minimize the negative impact of tourism on local natural and cultural environments.
We aim to give our a chance to our tourists to explore and experience Uganda, its culture, wildlife and breath taking landscapes, not only in an exciting way but also safely and responsibly. We create travel experiences for our customers which ensure that local communities get benefits from Uganda’s responsible tourism
To ensure Uganda’s responsible tourism, our tours are created by taking into account the following environmental principles:
- Avoid renting a car if possible by using varied local transport, such as local buses and forms of public transport when appropriate, thereby maximizing contact with local people
- Inspect and conduct maintenance of our vehicles so they perform at full efficiency, thereby limiting the formation of carbon emissions while ensuring our client’s safety and comfort.
- Reduce waste and pollution by minimizing the use of plastic bags, plates, bottles etc.
- Prefer small Uganda hotels and guest houses, which use energy from renewable sources (sun power)
- Clients are briefed on how to minimize the overall impact of tourists on the country they are travelling to, such as electricity conservation, avoiding buying animal products etc.
- Recycle, repair and reuse as much as possible on tours and at our administrative offices;
- Reduce the waste of water and electricity. Tourism can put pressure on local resources services and supplies which can, in turn, reduce the supplies available to local people. We inform clients about local issues such as the availability of hot water, the scarcity of water in a particular area, about the style and limitations of local plumbing.
- Guidelines to minimize the effects of people’s presence to preserve and protect delicate ecosystems, wildlife and natural habitats (to dispose of all rubbish); many of our tours include opportunities to view local wildlife on safari in Uganda national parks. Whilst these excursions can benefit both the animals and the local people who depend on them for a living, they need to adhere to strict animal welfare standards to ensure that the animals aren’t exploited.
- We employ local citizens to manage our operations.
- We support local tourism in regions where it exists in Uganda such as rural tourism or historical trips.
- We encourage our clients to buy locally-made things. We also advise them to buy craft items and other gifts from local stores, which serve as great monuments.
- We ensure that local economies benefit from our business by using locally-owned accommodation, employing local Ugandan people as specialist guides, working with local operators and suppliers, sourcing food from locally-owned stores and eating and drinking in local bars and restaurants. In doing so, we are not only investing in local communities but also offering our travellers a genuine insight into a country and its people.
We deal with locally owned, managed and staffed ground agents and, where possible, try and stay in locally owned Ugandan hotels and lodges. The ground agents pay a fair salary to staff and provide regular training to support their future development. By doing so all wages paid to the staff generated from our partnership remain in their community and are spent by them as they see fit.
We aim to produce authentic experiences on our trips so guests to Uganda and other countries where we go can learn about the communities and cultures they visit for the benefit of both locals and visitors. We encourage all visitors to respect local customs and religions: through positive interaction with local communities not only does this generate mutual respect between cultures it helps produce a more enriching experience for visitors and locals alike.
Guidelines for interacting with wildlife, whether at national parks or reserves
Travel to national parks and wildlife areas in Uganda can bring positive economic benefits as entrance fees contribute to the maintenance and conservation of local flora and animal species, while visitors benefit from the educational aspects of the area and take away with them an increased awareness of the need and place for conservation.
- Stick to roads and established paths, keep to speed limits and do not drive the truck off-road except in the case of an emergency
- Avoid damaging local flora and fauna – this can take years to regenerate
- Follow the instructions of local guides regarding appropriate conduct
- Maintain the legal distance from animals, as instructed by your local expert guide, especially on gorilla tracking tours.
- Do not feed the animals – this can make animals sick, and overweight, and be stressful for them
- Do not touch the animals – this can transmit diseases to the animals and you may also put yourself at risk of transmission at the same time.
- Approach animals quietly, cautiously and slowly to avoid distressing them, but avoid approaching nesting or breeding sites as this can cause stress to parents and young alike.
- Consider getting a camera with a long-range lens so you can take candid shots of the animal’s natural behaviour
- Turn off the flash when taking photographs and avoid shining lights directly at animals or in their eyes at night
- Do not support attractions which use animals as entertainment for profit.
- Avoid animal parts such as teeth, or whole specimens like butterflies
- Avoid wild animal or game meat on restaurant menus, even if it does sound adventurous
Guidelines for visiting historic sites:
Many of our Uganda tours offer opportunities to visit ancient places such as UNESCO World Heritage Sites where our entrance fees contribute to the maintenance and restoration of these unique places.
- Respect signage
- Take only photographs and leave no litter or graffiti behind, even if others have done so
- Do not attempt to bring home any rocks stones or other souvenirs of the location
- Don’t purchase such items from vendors as this can encourage the ongoing destruction of local areas of interest
Environmentally conscious tours in Uganda
We believe the development of responsible operations is a process, not a step. So we would welcome any comments that would help us become more established in this sense. We are constantly refining our policy and any questions, comments or need further information about our Uganda Responsible Tourism Policy, please contact us.