A thrilling tour of Uganda’s parks through a board game

Friday September 09 2011

Playing the Snapshot Safari game at Cafe Ballet in Kampala. Pictures: Morgan Mbabazi

A new board game that hopes to promote the sustainable use of Uganda’s natural resources and conserve the country’s wildlife heritage has been launched in the country.

The environmental education board game, called Uganda Snapshot Safari, targets local schools and is centred around Queen Elizabeth and Rwenzori Mountains national parks in western Uganda.

The idea is the joint effort of the USAid-Star programme — which supports sustainable tourism and biodiversity conservation in the Albertine Rift in western Uganda — with the Wildlife Clubs of Uganda (WCU), Uganda Wildlife Authority, the Jane Goodall Institute and Nature Uganda.

The game, designed for children above 10, features snap photo cards, question cards, two dice, six coloured pawns, a ranger badge, a direction fact sheet and answer key. It also features two communities — the Basongora and Bakonzo — four birds (the lesser flamingo, white-throated bee-eater, klaa’s cuckoo and painted snipe), as well as four wild animals (a warthog, hippopotamus, elephant and banded mongoose).

The game is played by three to seven players, one of whom is the park ranger, who monitors movement on the trail, making sure the rules are followed and questions are answered correctly.

Nicholas Kagongo Arinaitwe, an artist and wildlife and bird guide provided the illustrations and concept direction. The design and art direction was done by Patrick Papania and Tareq Abdalla. The graphic design was done by Christopher Lwanyaga.


The director of WCU, Joel Musasizi, termed the game as a fun educational tool for children that will increase their knowledge about the country’s parks.

“It puts the national eco-system on the board and superimposes a typical tour around it. Participants encounter wild animals, other cultures, flora and fauna,” said Musasizi at the launch of the game in Kampala on August 29. “We hope that as more people play the game, it will inspire them to visit the park.”

The UWA acting director of tourism and business services, Stephen Sanyi Masaba, said: “The game is an interactive tool that promotes conservation efforts by moving away from the traditional classroom methods.”

Another feature of the Uganda Snapshot Safari programme is a series of 11 children’s books titled The National Treasures of Uganda, authored by Denis Lubega.

“We hope the project will boost wildlife clubs’ capacity to recruit future naturalists and spread conservation awareness to both local and international recipients,” USAid-Star said.

The organisation has handed over 850 board games and 850 books to WCU to distribute to schools around Queen Elizabeth and Rwenzori national parks.

The programme also includes other fun activities such as art competitions, writing contests and reading lessons.

It is aimed at revitalising the extensive network of Uganda wildlife clubs by combining non-formal education techniques with biodiversity conservation information.

The Uganda Snapshot Safari also aims at promoting the country as a tourism destination and improving environmental awareness both locally and internationally.

Commercial copies will be made available through WCU. Proceeds from the sale will support further biodiversity efforts through wildlife clubs in participating schools.