In a momentous return to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Sylvia Nagginda, the Nnabagereka of Buganda, revisited the breathtaking landscapes where, eighteen years ago, she first encountered the majestic mountain gorillas. This symbolic return marked not only a personal journey but also celebrated the 20-year milestone of Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH), an organization dedicated to the well-being of both wildlife and communities.
The queen’s visit unfolded on a Sunday, where she embarked on a gorilla tracking expedition in the Buhoma sector. Prior to the three-hour trail through the rugged impenetrable forest, the Nnabagereka and her entourage received a briefing from the knowledgeable staff of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), outlining the dos and don’ts of the immersive experience.
Setting off with high spirits, Queen Nagginda expressed her appreciation for the remarkable developments in services and infrastructure surrounding the national park. The progress observed was a stark contrast to the state of affairs during her initial visit almost two decades ago. The dedication to enhancing the visitor experience reflects a commitment to conservation and sustainable tourism.
The royal entourage, led by Queen Nagginda, tracked the gorilla family of Katwe, consisting of nine members. Accompanied by Dr. Gladys Kalema Zikusoka and her husband Lawrence Zikusoka, founders of CTPH, the group delved into the heart of the impenetrable forest, forging a connection with these endangered creatures in their natural habitat.
After successfully completing the gorilla tracking expedition, Queen Nagginda and her entourage were honored with certificates, recognizing their contribution to the conservation cause. The queen, known for her advocacy in environmental and community issues, seized the opportunity to encourage all Ugandans to partake in the gorilla experience, emphasizing that Bwindi National Park offers an unparalleled encounter at the most reasonable rates in the region.
In addition to the wildlife adventure, the Nnabagereka immersed herself in the local culture, enjoying a traditional dance performance by a group of community ladies showcasing the Bakiga culture. This cultural exchange highlighted the interconnectedness between conservation efforts and the communities living in proximity to the national park.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, home to over 400 gorillas subdivided into 26 families, boasts the highest concentration of mountain gorillas globally. The success of conservation initiatives and sustainable tourism practices has not only preserved this unique ecosystem but has also contributed to the economic development of the surrounding communities.
As the Nnabagereka of Buganda departed from Bwindi, her visit left an indelible mark on the ongoing efforts to conserve the endangered mountain gorillas. Her advocacy for sustainable tourism and conservation through organizations like CTPH reinforces the importance of collaborative efforts between governments, communities, and non-governmental organizations in safeguarding our planet’s precious biodiversity. The queen’s return to Bwindi serves as a poignant reminder that the protection of our natural heritage is a shared responsibility, transcending boundaries and generations.