Animals are Wiser

By | Category: Travel destinations

So spoke the Ugandan minister for tourism, Serapio Rukundo yesterday. He was talking about the boarders between nations in East Africa yesterday. You might have Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda who are trying to make crossing their borders as easy as possible for tourists but animals take no notice of things like national boundaries.
If you have seen the pictures in Metro and other news media this morning of the annual wildebeest migration, you will know what I mean. Crossing the Mara river from Kenya to Tanzania is an inconvenience, nothing more for animals. The papers seemed to show a young exhausted wildebeest and a zebra being guided over the last few metres by a hippo. They made it. Can visitors?
Certainly these nations are trying to help. With the formation of the East African Community some years ago, the minister pointed out that going from one country to another you meet your next of kin. They are all brothers and, as family, are welcoming. Come to East Africa, he said, and I will meet you. And if you go to another country he would call his ministerial colleague. The impression is that East Africa is there as a whole to make the visitor feel welcome whichever country you go to.
The visitor draw of this part of Africa is wildlife closely followed by the coastal areas of Kenya, Tanzania and the island of Zanzibar. But there is Lake Victoria, said by my much travelled uncle who lived there for some years about 40 years ago, as one of the most beautiful places he had seen.
At present we need no visa to visit and there are two gateways, Nairobi in Kenya and Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania. The other three countries have no direct links and that may be one reason why the countries need to work together to attract visitors. The next thing to examine is how visitors can travel fairly easily and cheaply between the countries. The flight from Entebbe in Uganda to Nairobi is one for the most expensive. Different landing charges apply so these need to be resolved before multi-national tourism comes about on a larger scale.
But when you arrive, the scenery is staggeringly beautiful in the parks, not surprising given that, for example, seven eighths of Tanzania is conservation controlled. It would be hard not to enjoy the area but if you don’t… Was the minister joking when he said that if you didn’t like it he’d refund your money?

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