three amazing waterfalls has made it an ideal location for visitors to set up camp to enjoy the trek on Mount Elgon or escape into nature.
There are accommodation and catering services available for the numerous visitors coming to the waterfalls. The presence of visitors is inevitably providing employment to youth who are engaged on daily basis to provide as guides to trek to the waterfalls.
A trek on the Mount Elgon and having a magnificent view of the communities beneath made me wonder what will be left of these towns in the next 10 years. The landscape was breadth taking. The green vegetation, the mountains and the water fall which thousands of visitors travel to this little town in the Eastern part of Uganda. The annoying sounds of the chainsaw machines roaring as they fell off trees.
On our journey up the mountains, we met families most women and children carrying stacks of firewood and gallons of water. My childhood experience in Adzokoe Peki in rural Ghana, I was aware of this daily routine of fetching firewood from the farm but the volumes at which wood was been carted made me think on the future of these beautiful village. Families continue to depend on firewood for cooking and lighting.
With increase in visitors, most accommodation providers are expanding their facilities and new guest houses are springing up. Locals are also building and renovating their houses to upgrade to the tourist village. All these activities are having a toll on the vegetation cover. One could literally count few old trees left on the mountains.
Most Ugandans are completely reliant on natural sources to survive. Forests provide fuel wood and cleared land frees arable soil for agriculture. Uganda looses about 6000 hectares of forest every 30 days and if no action is taken, Uganda’s per capita forest cover will be zero. (NEMA, 2009). Already,28 districts have lost their entire forest ecosystem, while 19 districts have a forest cover lower than 1%.
Tackling climate change is high on the Agenda in Africa. The approach in tackling it should be a bottom up strategy where communities should be empowered to be in the fore front of the fight. The need for more afforestation projects and the use of alternative source of energy (solar, wind or biogas) in the communities.
As we depart this beautiful village, my thoughts and questions still remain vague on the future of this beautiful community. Rural communities in Africa are the most vulnerable to climate change because very little resource to adapt (financially and technologically). When all the vegetation is lost, the falls dry up, the land loses its fertility………Really hope we have a plan.