Charles Kikomeko, a second year Bachelor of Commerce university student and Simon Seruyange a self employed entrepreneur in construction industry, last week became the latest celebrities who joined international tourists in tracking the much coveted mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park courtesy of Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
The duo who tracked Habinyanja family in Nyamishamba ridges adjacent to the neck of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, won themselves the tracking permits after emerging the second runners-up in a quiz administered by UWA during the third annual Buganda Tourism Expo 2011 at Lubiri palace grounds, Mengo in July this year.
After getting their tracking certificates, an elated Kikomeko said he enjoyed his entire trip that took him over nine hours through the trolling ridges of the Western rift valley escarpment locally known as Enengo up to Buhoma the seat of the national park which is also a world heritage site.
His colleague, Simon, observed after closely viewing the playful gorillas for one hour under the professional guidance of Mr. David Agenya and his colleagues, that the long journey and physical fatigue had been mitigated by the immeasurable excitement. “I had always heard about the mountain gorillas locally known as Ebisodde in folk stories but never imagined they were as amazing as I have discovered,” he said vowing to convince his family and friends in central Uganda to spare time for this lifetime experience.
During the long trek to the location of the gorillas which were found resting and grooming one another in a mid morning breeze, the youthful trackers learnt a lot about the medicinal values of various plants, the cultural traditions of the neighbouring communities, the importance of gorilla tourism to their frontline communities and other animal species found in the forest.
Kikomekko and Seruyange also paid a courtesy call o the acting manager, Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Area ,Mr. Pontious Ezuma and the warden in charge of Friend a Gorilla Communication, Mr. Gessa Simplicious. The two were earlier flagged off at UWA head office, Kampala by the UWA Concessions manager Mr. Raymond Engena who stood in for Mr. Stephen Masaba the acting director for Tourism and Business Services.
Mr. Masaba says UWA is partnering with Buganda Kingdom and other stake holders to promote domestic tourism and linking conservation to cultures.