Africa's new frontier - National Geographic
KAMPALA - Jan 8, 2012 -- When National Geographic recently named Uganda among the world's top 20 destinations for tourists in 2013, it may have not been the first time a ranking of its kind was in favour of the country. However, the catch line used to describe Uganda spoke volumes.
Describing Uganda as "Africa's new frontier" in the rankings, which only had Malawi as the only other African country. National Geographic, one of the world's largest non-profit scientific and educational institutions, has done a good job blowing Uganda's trumpet.
It describes the country as "the land [that] mixes savanna, enormous lakes, rain forests, and the glacier-clad Rwenzori mountains, one of Africa's tallest ranges." It adds: "Uganda's parade of animals is amazingly diverse. Hippos graze along the shores of Lake Edward in Bwindi Impenetrable national park, while lions lounge in the trees of Ishasha, in Queen Elizabeth national park. The star in Bwindi is the mountain gorilla, a species down to about 720 animals visible in their tiny habitat."
CNN, one of the world's top news groups, also released its rankings that still favoured Uganda. CNN's first list of Africa's 10 best national parks had Kidepo Valley national park, making its debut in the rankings. Kidepo came third after renowned and well-marketed Maasai Mara (Kenya), and Botswana's Central Kalahari game reserve. Another CNN list of the seven new places ready to be discovered had Uganda in fourth position.
Industry players feel that Uganda's appearance on these lists is another indication that the country could be the region's tourism bigwig. Over the last two years, Uganda's international rating has improved tremendously. Lonely Planet, the world's leading travel magazine, ranked Uganda in 2011 as the world's number one tourism destination for 2012, while Mt Rwenzori was voted among the top hiking places in Africa. It was the only mountain in Africa that made it to the top 15 best hiking spots in the world.
Uganda is regarded as Africa's best destination for birders. The country, which is the size of United Kingdom, boasts of over 1,058 bird species, accounting for 11% of the globe's total, and half of Africa's.