Many travelers are looking for unique places to visit on their holiday in Africa. There are several amazing destinations developed to protect natural flora and fauna. These places include national parks, game reserves, forest reserves, wetlands and more protecting biodiversity in Africa! Here are some of the major ecotourism destinations in east Africa include;
Mabira Forest Reserve – Uganda
This is among the largest natural forests in Uganda located along the Kampala Jinja highway. The forest has unique wildlife species that include over 300 tree species, 320 birds, and primates especially monkeys, about 220 butterfly species and many insects. All these wildlife species can be viewed by tourists on nature walks along the well-developed trails leading to the deep jungles. Other major ecotourism activities one can enjoy while at Mabira include birding, camping and primate tracking.
The forest has a number of geo friendly accommodation facilities that include bandas, a camping ground and Mabira forest lodge. All these facilities ensure that their activities aim at enhancing tourism conservation.
The Lake System In The Great Rift Valley – Kenya
Kenya is crossed by the eastern arm of the Great Rift Valley and has a network of lakes and other attractions that were formed through Vulcanicity processes. The most outstanding and seen attractions include lakes like lake Nakuru, lake Elementaita, hot springs and many others.
This area has a number of wildlife species especially birds that mainly includes large crowds of flamingos, African spoonbills, eagles, pelicans and many others.
This area attracts a number of tourists especially those interested in birding. This ecotourism site however needs a lot of conservation efforts because the its encroached by the local people creating lands for agriculture and settlement.
Volcanoes National Park – Rwanda
This is one of the most visited ecotourism sites on the planet. Volcanoes national park is a home to mountain gorillas some of the most endangered species remaining only about 900 and located in only 3 countries on earth that are Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Volcanoes National Park has half of the remaining mountain gorillas in the Virunga Region and is the backbone to Rwanda’s tourism development. Most travelers looking for gorilla safaris in Africa opt for Volcanoes National Park given that the park is more accessible than any other gorilla parks. Being very endangered and very vulnerable to human diseases, only 8 tourists are allowed to visit one of the 10 mountain gorilla families a day and only spending one hour with them.
All these are made to ensure proper carrying capacity of the mountain gorillas and reduce chances of disease spread from the people. Related to this is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga gorilla national park located in Uganda. They also have mountain gorillas and are among the most visited destinations in Uganda. Bwindi impenetrable forest has 13 mountain gorilla families and Mgahinga Gorilla Park has one gorilla family. Just like Rwanda, only 8 tourists are allowed to track one mountain gorilla family a day spending just one hour with them.
Selous National Park – Tanzania
It’s located in the southern circuit of Tanzania and the largest national park in the country. Selous national park is blessed with a number of wildlife species that include elephants, rhinos, crocodiles, hippos, giraffes, and a number of birds. It’s most visited by eco tourists most interested in less crowds and solitudes. Tourists to this national park get a chance of getting closer to the wild through nature walks listening to the great sounds of nature. Its not visited by many tourists and therefore offers the real feel of nature with many less disturbed ecosystems.
Most of the above ecotourism destinations in east Africa have local communities around where pro poor tourists go and extend support.
Eco tourism promotion has brought along a number of benefits to those various destinations in terms of social and economic empowerment of the local people and most importantly conservation of the major tourism resources.
If continuously relied on, responsible tourism will ensure a steady growth of some of the most endangered species like mountain gorillas especially through tourist regulation (carrying capacity) and other conservation efforts.