By Nicholas Oneal
I have travelled to many African countries for adventure, but I have never been this close to a gorilla,” said Raul de Molina, the Emmy award winning TV show host with Univision network in the US.
This was during his encounter with mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
At one of the stops
De Molina is in Uganda with a television crew to track and film mountain gorillas and other wildlife. The tour is on the invitation of the Prime Minister of Uganda, in conjunction with the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
It is aimed at marketing Uganda’s tourism to the Latin American audiences. The TV production is expected to reach a viewership of over 53 million Spanish-speaking people in the US and South America.
Selfie time for de Molina
“I have just shared my pictures on my instagram about this experience, but the reaction of my followers is just great,” De Molina gushed.
Kabukojo, the main silverback gorilla, was the main attraction of the day.
He heads the Rushegura gorilla group, which is always within an hour of tracking for the visitors.
Edwin Muzahura, the marketing manager of UTB, said the strategy is to reach out to the Latino and Spanish communities, after trying out Europe, North America and Canada where Uganda has its best markets.
Capturing the sights during the trek
“There are only 880 mountain gorillas globally and Uganda has half of them, which makes our country a number one top destination for gorilla tracking,” said
UWA spokesperson Jossy Muhangi. Gorilla tourism started in Uganda in 1993, with two habituated groups.
Habituation is when gorilla groups are made familiar with human beings, thereby facilitating close interaction without the danger of gorillas displaying aggressive behaviour in self-defence.
Each day, only eight visitors are allowed to visit a gorilla group for a maximum of one hour.
Gorilla tourism is currently the leading revenue earner among Uganda’s tourism attractions.
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