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Cultural Safaris in Uganda, Culture in Uganda

Uganda comprises of numerous Cross Cultural traditions of people from various destinations around the country and these vary as according to the customs they follow. With various cultural sites, the country ranks one of the must to do countries in Africa while on cultural safaris. These cross cultural encounters are very exciting due to the experiences they offer visitors looking to adventure the various cultures of Ugandans.

The cross cultural safaris begin with visiting sites like the Kasubi tombs, the catholic Namugongo martyrs shrine, the Bulange King’s palace, the Naggalabi coronation site, the King’s palace in Fort portal, the clans/ chiefs in Northern Uganda etc. From the East to the West then North to South, you will find different tribes with culture and customs that are different. Enjoy these cross cultural experiences while on vacations holiday in Uganda as you transfer from one region to the next i.e.

  1. Culture in Bwindi

In Bwindi, there are various Cross cultural traditions and customs of the Batwa communities as well as the customary Bakiga while on village walks from one place to another within the communities. These have a lot to offer from the crafts that can be got from the shops, black smith visits and exciting dances and performances. This is an amazing experience since other than offering these exciting experiences, it also offers scenic views of the forest covered hills of Bwindi in the back drop.

  • Buhoma Community Tours

These take a period of about 3 hours and involve transferring to the hand craft shop that sells handmade artifacts like fabrics, beeswax candles and wood carvings that are made by craftsmen and women that are very good at this. The indigenous Batwa community performs various songs, dances representing their former lifestyle in the forest before civilization. There is also a traditional healer who treats the sick with medical plants and a primary scholl with both teachers and pupils of the ordinary school. You will also be taught on how to make juice, beer and gin out of bananas. The Batwa receive all gains from their performances where as all the other proceeds, are used to develop and support the community development projects.

  • Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation (NCCDF)

This is suitably located in the verdant hillside along the edge of the vast Bwindi Impenetrable Forest offering magnificent views of the greenery DR Congo. While walking around this, you will visit the blacksmith who will bring back the memories of the Stone Age period since you will be hearing the sound of sheepskin bellows emitting air into a charcoal fired furnace from where the blacksmith makes red hot metal and hammers into tools like knives, machetes. Other than the blacksmith, you will visit the numerous traditional huts so as to learn about the millet grinding stone, cooking pots and apparatus for distilling local waragi banana gin. You can visit Pena the traditional healer in the village who uses ordinary plants to make tea, ointments. And herbal powders that distilling local waragi banana gin. Pena is the village´s traditional healer cure illnesses. The community promotes ordinary artists through the various craft shops where these sell various products to all their customers/ visitors.

  • Buniga Forest Nature Walk

Being among the three remaining pocket forests overlooking the vast thick Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, buniga Forest is a very exceptional forest that should be discovered by every visitor due to the numerous beautiful flora and fauna as well as biodiversity. The Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation (NCCDF) created a trail that can be experienced so as to protect the forest and handle its various ecotourism activities. The profits gained from the tour benefit the neighboring communities through encouraging them to fully take part in the conservation process.

  • Nkuringo Cultural Centre (NCC)

While at this cultural center, you will opt to do African cooking, traditional weaving and dance as well drum a very unique and remarkable experience for everyone. You can as well take on a guided village walk during the day so as to meet and interact with the local people where you will learn more about the life style of these people in Rubuguri while participating in a crafts presentation. After this, you will transfer to visit the primary school to watch the area’s most prominent attraction i.e the lively kiga dance where the dancers will step the ground giving a unique touch of Uganda’s culture while making the earth shake. The cultural center provides employment opportunities for the people which have improved their standards of living.

  • Rubuguri Village Walk (NCC)

Take a walk to the beautiful Rubuguri village that can be accessed through following various rural roads which are hanging exactly onto steep hillsides. While on the village walk, you will transfer via a swamp to a candid homestead where you will meet the locals and learn about their livelihood in the village for example the way they make the crafts from raw materials. You will also proceed to the beautiful ST Peter’s Primary school to meet and interact with the pupils as well as the teachers and participate in the Kiga dance.

  1. Kibale

Experience cross cultural encounters at Kibale since the destination has beautiful climate as well as weather that is so conducive for all. With an experienced ordinary guide, transfer through the Magombe swamp wetlands where you will spot various wildlife-bird species and lush vegetation. While on the village walk, you will get to learn about the unique day to day life of the Batooro people as well as the primary school, church and traditional healer who is believed to cure the different diseases that affect the local people. There are various organizations as well as projects that have been founded to eradicate people about the values of tourism and these include;

  • Kibale Association for Rural Environment Development (KAFRED)

The KAFRED is a community-based organization that was founded to promote the livelihoods of the local people as well as the bio diversity and eco tourism conservation. While here, you will take on a guided nature walk via the Magombe swamp wetlands where you will spot various wildlife species i.e 200 bird species, many butterflies, and 8 different primates as well as unique swamp vegetation. You will learn about the Batooro people and how they evolved, the existence of the village primary school, the traditional healer who uses local herbs to heal the locals of diseases and the church. The proceeds gained from here are to improve the people’s standards of living in terms of education, health, sanitation as well as raise awareness about the importance of biodiversity through music, dance, and drama performances at local schools.

  1. Mgahinga Gorilla

  • The Batwa Trail

Mgahinga’s Batwa trail is an exciting trail to take while in the vast National Park since it offers people/ visitors an opportunity to spot and experience the indigenous Batwa people and their unique culture. These are known to be hunter gatherers and brave warriors who depended on the forest for shelter, medicine and food. Today, these lead visitors through the forests so as to tell/ inform them about their old home and methods they used to survive in the forest. After the establishment of the park, the Batwa were evicted from the forest which made them change their lifestyle from nomadic pastoralism to civilization and they are only allowed to enter the forest when taking visitors on the Batwa trail when they take them to their former house so as to learn about them. They demonstrate various techniques like gathering honey, pointing out medicinal plants and showing how to make bamboo cups. You can opt to go visit the consecrated Garama cave which was once a haven for the Batwa where women perform grieving songs that echo shrilly around the depths of the dark cave an experience that is so exceptional. The proceeds got here go to the guides and musicians where as the rest is given to the Batwa community fund to improve the schools, pay school fees for the local children as well as improve lives.

  1. Elgon

Transfer to Elgon National Park to learn about the coffee that is very tasty in Kenya and Uganda. This is known to be the finest washed Arabica coffee in East Africa.

Sipi Widows’ Group

The Sipi widow’s group is an organization around Mt. Elgon that supports and focuses on the well being of the women that live around Mt. Elgon. These will take you on a guided nature walk to the to the coffee growing shambas where you will learn about the Arabica coffee grown in Uganda and these will demonstrate to you on how to plants, pick, grind, store and wash the coffee. They will tell you more about the lives of the Sabiny people and teach you how to weave baskets and preparing African local meals/ dishes. After this, you can transfer to the craft shop where you will admire and buy some handmade crafts to take back home as souvenir for memories about your visit. Proceeds attained from the experience are gathered so as to support the local people and eradicate them on the disadvantages’ of circumcising the young girls/ females in the community.

  • Budadiri Community Walks Ecotourism Experience

Situated in Budadiri, the walk enables visitors to explore the various coffee plantations as well as learn/ participate in the various cultural dance performances, food preparations, folklore as well as the prominent Malewa Bamboo shoots. While at the community, you will be transferred to the Arabica coffee processing plants to learn more on how the farmers process the coffee and in the way, you will be supporting the local farmers to improve their standards of living. If you want to experience nature to the fullest, you will take the three various nature trails to experience the best i.e the full day Namugabwe Cave trail which passes through the BaMasaba community land  to the banana plantations then to the historical cave which is filled with various bones. The Dirigana Loop Trail to the Dirigsana Falls and Gabushana Cave past local markets and the “Walls of Death” and the three day walk to Sipi Falls where you will learn about the varying culture of the two neighboring tribes.

  1. Murchison Falls

Cross Cultural Safaris MurchisonTransfer to Murchison Falls National Park to encounter and experience the various tribes around the park from for example, the vigorous dancers from the Mubako perform around the lodge campfires which make a spectacular African experience that is worth encountering.

  • Mubako Cultural Campfire Performances

The Mubako community is located along the bouncy Savannah of Murchison Falls National Park with numerous ordinary thatched huts which enfold around making it a very suitable place for the villagers to gather to rest under the shade of a large tree. There is a craft shop that sells carved wooden sculpture and hand woven items to all visitors and these are made by the local community members. When it gets dark, the locals perform lively songs and dances around the campfires of the lodges with the beautiful sound of the prominent adungu an instrument made of cowhide and twine that make the moment very spectacular. The proceeds gained are used to support the local community through improving the local markets, paying school fees and support a nursery school that inhabits about 90 different children.

  • Boomu Women’s Group

Founded in 1999, the Boomu Women’s Group is an organization that has improved the lives of the local people that inhabit through reducing poverty and malnutrition. This has also enabled the local people to provide school fees for the children. The project began as a craft group then grew into a beautiful community tourism project. You will transfer on a guided nature walk where you will appreciate the beauty of the surrounding terrain vegetation then later, you will reach the village’s blacksmith and story tellers who will share various stories about the customs and traditional ways of the people. You will also get to learn on how to prepare African meals, weave baskets, visit a nursery school etc.

  1. Queen Elizabeth

Transfer to the beautiful vast Queen Elizabeth National Park and encounter the varying cultures and customs of the people For example the vigorous dances of the Kikorongo Equator Cultural Performers, workers harvesting salt on Katwe Salt Lake and the traditional Banyaraguru hut also referred to as the agricultural village.

  • Leopard Village

Leopard Village is a social economic development scheme that is managed by the community and was mainly established to promote cultural and wildlife conservation through ecotourism. It is located close to the Muhokya village and occupies an area of 3 acres near the Northern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park. While here, the visitors can tour the customary huts of the Banyabindi, Bakonzo and Basongora ethnic groups and will be entertained through music, dance and drama performances that are exceptional to encounter. Buy crafts from the craft shops to take home for memories. You will be informed about the various challenges and opportunities of the conservation project. Take on a visit to the local schools, traditional village life. The proceeds attained from the visits are used to promote the local community and pay the school fees of the children.

  • Kikorongo Women Community

The term Kikorongo refers to “Too Much Sunshine” in the local language of the Bakonzo people hence the women’s community is a very exceptional place to be visited by all kinds of travelers around the world that visit Uganda. However hot the area is, the energetic cultural performers never stop dancing and performing various acts in Kikorongo. An ordinary interpreter will be explaining the importance of the performances making you relax and enjoy the moment. There is an African Art craft workshop where visitors can learn how to weave baskets & bowls using local materials- fibres as well as reprocess magazines into paper beads which make exceptional necklaces. Purchase some crafts for memorable adventures like the baskets, bowls, woven belts and purses that are handmade here.

  • Katwe Tourism Information Centre (KATIC)

Take on a guided nature walk to this exclusive Salt Lake where you will have an opportunity to learn about the process of salt mining where you will spot villagers working at the Lake, cross the mud walkways and penetrate the traditional grass hut. You will pass via the close bird sanctuary Lake which inhabits over a thousand different bird species like the flamingos from the month of October to May. While taking the walk, the traditional homestead will welcome and take you through various cooking demonstrations where you will learn more about the preparation of local dishes.

  • Nyanz’ibiri Cave Community

Take on a guided nature walk with an experienced guide to the Nyanz’ibiri Cave Community and along the way, you will have beautiful views of the volcanic crater lakes while listening to the lively sound that comes out of the crested cranes and eagles. While on the walk, you will also have a chance to spot 8 different species of primates and smell the local scented flowers an experience that is so unique and amazing. You will visit local attractions like the historical cave and cultural museum which is a ideal conserved Bunyaruguru hut with numerous important ordinary artifacts which were tools used in everyday life before. A portion of the proceeds gained from the visitors helps in community development, conservation of biodiversity as well as educational projects.

  • Agro-Tour Walk

Take on the Agro tour walk which takes 2-3 hours starting at the local village of Kataara through various farms situated in the escarpment which forms the eastern wall of the western Rift valley. Along the way, you will spot various unique bird species as well as unusual and medicinal plants and cultural sites. While on this walk, you will learn more about the continuous challenge of human animal conflicts that have happened in the area and also tour the beehives that are used to distract vicious elephants away from community crops along the border of the park. If you are interested in harvesting honey, you will be accepted to do so with your hands in company of an experienced guide.

 Rwenzori Mountains

Transfer to the Rwenzori Montains and encounter the unique culture of the Bakonzo people through their homesteads that are situated in the slopes of the magnificent Rwenzori Mountains. These will show you on how they carry out their day to day lives taking on various activities that vary from rearing their animals and crops to preparing meals with fresh ingredients that are picked straight from the garden. Participate and enjoy cultural dances, traditional costumes while listening to the charming folklore.

  • Ruboni Community Camp

Take on a guided nature walk to the beautiful farming calm village of Ruboni with about 2,000 Bakonzo people who inhabit the slopes of the Rwenzoris and here, you will spot and participate in the various daily activities that vary from tending animals and crops to cooking local meals giving visitors a unique experience that is so exciting and fulfilling. While here, you will visit the blacksmith, traditional healer, basket weavers as well as story tellers and participate in the lively dance and drama performances. If you still want to experience more, you will transfer to the rocky Mubuku River in company of an experienced guide through villages along a crystal clear stream spotting various crops and wood. While moving upwards, you will spot various vibrant bird species like the candid birds, Rwenzori Turaco and the Cinnamon chested Bee eaters as well as chameleons, squirrels and verevet monkeys.

  • Rwenzori Turaco View Camp Site

Overlooking the majestic beautiful snow capped Mountains of Rwenzori, the candid village of Mihunga should be every traveler’s safari destination especially those looking for a beautiful cultural encounter. The village inhabits the Bakonzo people who have inhabited this area for more than 300 years without electricity/ running water despite the good climate and steep green hillsides of the slopes of Mt. Rwenzori. You will also transfer to visit the traditional healer who uses local herbs to heal the diseases of the local people as well as the village school, crafts demonstration and a vibrant dance performance. Alternatively, you can walk with a local guide through the surrounding forests where you will spot various brilliantly colored birds like the beautiful turacus, bee eaters, sun birds and lively black and white Colobus monkeys.

  • Bulemba-Ihandiro Cultural Trail

Take on the 6-7 hour trail which will take you through the holy valley and other sites of relevant cultural significance to the Bakonzo people. You will take on a guided walk to visit the traditional healer referred to as Muhima and is responsible for healing the local people of their diseases as well as the village’s blacksmith who will demonstrate to you on how to make the Bakonzo stool, weave baskets and fire making skills. This trail goes across the Kamusonge River with waters believed to be tasty, sweet and quick to quench the thirst. You can relax in a hut thatched in the ordinary Konzo style to enjoy the beautiful Mountain views while relaxing before proceeding with your final long walk to the museum with materials that were used during the Rwenzurur struggle, a traditional dress and other historical and cultural items of the people that inhabit the slopes of Mt. Rwenzori.

  1. Semuliki

Transfer to the beautiful Semliki National Park to experience the hot springs then later proceed to encounter the cultural encounters of the Batwa people who will demonstrate a lot about their lifestyle as hunter-gatherers and full dependents of the forest of Semliki for food, shelter, medicine and tools. However, these have changed after interacting with people from different tribes which has enhanced them to civilization. The proceeds attained from this experience have enhanced community development of the Batwa hence enabling them to display their rich cultural history through music and dance performances at Ntandi. There are crafts you can buy to take back home as souvenir for memories. Today a boma is being constructed so that the Batwa can elaborate how they used to live in the forest before the civilization.