Standard Procedures (SOPs) for Accessing National Parks in Uganda

SOPS FOR PARK ACCESS AND EXIT

  • UWA shall provide hand washing/sanitisation facilities at the entrances of all its premises and protected areas. All persons, including tourists and researchers accessing the PAs shall wash and or use an alcohol based hand sanitizers (containing at least 60% alcohol) at all entry points.
  • All UWA staff, tourists, researchers, research assistants and other categories of visitors, shall, at all times correctly and consistently wear the recommended masks prescribed by GoU/MoH. The mask shall cover the nose and mouth at all times when in use.
  • All tourists and researchers shall come with their own masks and correctly and consistently wear them as prescribed by MoH.
  • Tourists and researchers to Bwindi Impenetrable, Mgahinga Gorilla and Kibale and Kyambura Wildlife Reserve shall be required to wear N95 masks, surgical masks or cloth masks with filters.
  • Tourists with disposable masks such as the N95 and surgical masks shall be required to carry at least two (02) or more masks to ensure single use for each day of visitation.
  • It is mandatory for all tourists going for primate tracking activities to carry at least two N95 masks or surgical masks or double layered cloth masks with filters.
  • Visitors without masks or those who do not abide by the hand washing and sanitisation measures shall not be permitted to enter protected areas.
  • UWA staff shall use non-contact infrared thermometers to conduct body temperature screening of all visitors at the tourism gates of the various protected areas.
  • Visitors with temperatures body above 37.5 degrees Celsius shall be denied entry into the protected areas and shall be reported to the respective district medical teams through the mechanisms set by MoH.
  • International tourists shall be required to provide proof that they have undergone the necessary GoU / MoH measures for inbound travellers as shall be advised from time to time. The required documentary proof may include but not limited to clearance by MoH of mandatory quarantine or rapid test results where applicable and any other documentation that the MoH shall prescribe as a requirement for entry into Uganda and the wildlife protected areas
  • All common areas with heavy tourist contacts shall be disinfected at least thrice a day – before, during and after visiting hours. These include information counters, service desks, waiting areas, park offices and toilets. Toilets in particular shall be cleaned every 2 hours. Regular sanitisation of workstations, doorknobs and other susceptible surfaces shall be carried out.
  • All staff shall be trained on correct and consistent use of masks, infrared thermometers and other general measures required when handling tourists.

5 SOPS FOR TOURIST VEHICLES AND BOATS WITHIN THE PROTECTED AREAS
i) The National guidelines issued by GoU and MoH shall apply to tourists visiting the National Parks i.e.a) Buses, mini buses and omnibuses – As prescribed by MoH and GoU
b)Over landers – As prescribed by MoH and GoU
c) Concessionaire delivery vehicles, pick-ups and lorries – As prescribed by MoH and GoU

ii) In addition to the above, the following guidelines shall also apply:
a) Private boats and launches – Half capacity occupancy
b)Tour operator game drive vehicles and UWA owned game drive vehicles – 6 persons. 7
c) Saloon car vehicles shall not be permitted to carry out game drives activities in the protected areas.

Note: The guidelines in (i) and (ii) above are subject to change from time to time as shall be guided by GoU and MoH
iii) Social distancing of one free vacant seat between any two occupants shall be observed in the vehicles.
iv) Tour operators and service providers shall disinfect their vehicles regularly.
v) All tour operators shall provide their drivers with an alcohol-based rub/hand sanitiser.
vi) UWA owned vehicles shall be washed every day before use and disinfected daily.
Procedures to manage chemical wastes shall apply while disposing the used disinfectants. Every protected area shall provide a safe location where vehicle spraying shall be done and where tour operators can disinfect their vehicles.

vii) All other precautionary measures must be enforced i.e. washing hands, social distancing and using masks correctly.

6 SOPS FOR SPECIFIC TOURISM ACTIVITIES
6.1 Briefing of tourists Before engaging in any tourism activities, tourists shall be briefed regarding the activities they are about to engage in. The briefing will be done at the designated briefing areas in the various PAs. COVID-19 prevention measures shall be an integral part of briefing messages in addition to having Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials displayed in appropriate access locations

6.2 Gorilla and Chimpanzee Tracking
i) At the briefing points, visitors and staff shall wash hands or sanitise and have their body temperature taken.

ii) Briefing and debriefing shall be done in small groups of eight (08) tourists after they have been assigned gorilla families for tracking.
iii) Tourists, staff, and porters who, during the briefing, are observed to be sick shall not be allowed to track. These include anyone with signs of flu, and those who report to have diarrhea, stomach upsets and malaria among others.
iv) All the visitors, staff and trackers must wear masks.
v) A maximum of eight (8) tourists shall be allowed to track a gorilla group per day.
vi) A maximum of six (6) tourists shall be allowed to track a chimpanzee group at a time.
vii) The tourists must keep a distance of not less than 10 meters away from the gorillas and chimpanzees during this period.
viii) The assigned UWA guides shall ensure there is social distancing of 2 meters among the tourists while tracking, where practical.
ix) Before the gorilla and chimpanzee viewing commences, all people in the group shall sanitize their hands again.
x) The tourists shall carry light equipment to minimize the need for porters while they undertake the tracking. This information shall be communicated to potential tourists through the tour operators and other UWA communication platforms such as the UWA website and social media platforms.
xi) Due to the reported side effects of wearing masks for long periods and in high altitudes, visitors shall take frequent breaks during the tracking give themselves time to breathe fresh air.
xii) During these breaks, social distancing shall be strictly observed.
xiii)In case a tourist or accompanying members of the team experiences a health-related problem, UWA staff shall apply the established evacuation and first aid guidelines to move the affected individual from the field.

6.3 Game Drives in National Park
i) The regular park rules in place shall apply.
ii) The vehicle guidelines in section 6 above shall also apply.
iii) Where a guide is requested to accompany tourists on a game drive, the guide shall sit in the front of the vehicle and shall continuously remind the tourists to observe social distance requirements
iv) Masks shall be worn at all times and disposed of appropriately in accordance with the guidelines on use of masks.
v) Where a tourist experiences side effects due to wearing a mask for long, the tourist shall inform the guide who shall find a safe and secure place to park the vehicle and allow the tourists to get fresh air while maintaining social distance. Should there be no improvement, UWA shall arrange immediate evacuation and transfer to the nearest health facility. The game drive activity shall be suspended.9 6.4

Boat Cruises
The regular park rules shall apply.
The boat and launches guidelines in section 6 above shall apply.
All boats operating in the protected areas shall be cleaned and disinfected daily before deployment on any boat cruise activity.
The guide shall ensure that passengers on the boat strictly observe social distancing requirements – one free vacant seat between any two occupants.
All passengers and crew shall wear masks at all times while on the boat.
Where a tourist experiences side effects due to wearing a mask for a long time, the tourist shall inform the guide who shall find space within the boat for the client to get some fresh air for a few minutes.

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