The first floor of a new floating hotel intended to help generate revenues for the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) at Entebbe is now ready for guests. The project involves a restaurant and another two floors before completion.
UWEC Board chairperson Flavia Kahabenda said recently, “We are here to finish what our predecessors started like the floating hotel. The demand for accommodation is shooting up by the hour. Today we had more than 100 schools booked in for a tour. This is in addition to the usual visitors we get seeing mammals, reptiles, birds and you name it. We have to prepare to handle increasing volumes.”
She was speaking after chairing a first sitting of the newly appointed Board which has three years to show positive results as challenged by tourism minister, Prof. Ephriam Kamuntu. Previously a small zoo and sanctuary for injured recovering wildlife animals, the picturesque site has become an integrated complex that caters for the curiosity of its human visitors and the welfare of the animals.
Kahabenda said they have the space to construct more units to accommodate visitors on the 72-acre piece of land near the shores of Lake Victoria. The aim is to make UWEC a window to the upcountry attractions of offer in Uganda. At UWEC visitors get a chance to feed giraffes, elephants cheetahs and reptiles.
“UWEC is no longer based in Entebbe, but we have been challenged to open up other centres upcountry. We will soon be in Gulu, Karamoja and West Nile as we spread out to different parts of the country. The challenge is for us to sell our ideas to government and other partners,” she said.
She said, “We have to communicate conservation information and enable people understand why they need to protect the environment. The information is needed by policy makers as well as the grassroots people.”
UWEC executive director James Musinguzi said the government will not hesitate to plough in more money, knowing more than 50 jobs are going to be created. “Besides that, divulging knowledge about the environment and salvaging the endangered species is a noble cause for future generations,” he said.
Musinguzi said, “In the future, students and other guests will not have to travel to Entebbe to see an elephant, cheetah, lion or snakes since we will have branches spread across the country. We are opening up other centres so that people from Karamoja or Moyo do not have to travel all the way to Entebbe to see what you have in store.”