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Two reasons to choose Uganda for your wildlife holiday.

According to the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), animal populations in the country’s national parks and game reserves have soared over the past decade, with some species having doubled since 1999, reports the BBC. Happily, everyone’s favourites, giraffes, elephants and zebras are on the increase, as are buffalos, hippopotamuses, waterbucks and especially the Impala, a grazing antelope.

Spokeswoman Ms Nsubuga puts this success down to a reduction in poaching through improving monitoring of national parks and reserves and by offering incentives to local communities to protect wildlife. The expulsion of LRA rebels from northern Uganda has also helped limit poaching in Murchison Falls National Park, the country’s largest.

The UWA, together with the United Organisation for Batwa Development in Uganda, has also launched the Batwa Cultural Trail, a fairly gentle five-to six-hour nature walk through the lower slopes of the Virungas in the far southwest of the country, reports the Guardian. The Batwa are ‘Pygmy people’ indigenous to this forest area. When it became the Mgahinga Gorilla national park in 1991, they lost the right to hunt small animals, collect wild honey and pick fruit, and were threatened with extinction.

Although they have not recovered their traditional lifestyle, at least acting as guides and demonstrating their forest skills to visitors, they have a stake in the park’s tourism and receive payment which allows them to buy food and other basics. Tourists benefit by getting a rare opportunity to see the forest as both an animal and human habitat. Though small, the park is home to a great diversity of plants, animals and birds, including the famous mountain gorilla, so important to Uganda's tourist industry.

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