CULTURAL SAFARIS IN UGANDA: COMMUNITY TOURS IN
UGANDA | HOW TO BEST EXPERIENCE THE CULTURE IN UGANDA DURING UGANDA CULTURAL SAFARIS
We Offer Customised Cultural Safaris In Uganda Deep Into Ugandan Communities For Best Culture In Uganda Safari Experiences.
Cultural safaris in Uganda or Uganda community cultural tours are yet another Uganda safari attraction on top of her outstanding natural beauty and amazing wildlife. Uganda has a strong community cultural traditional heritage to discover during your Uganda cultural safaris. If you undertake a customized Uganda cultural safari tour, you will have an experience that showcases the verdant still native, rich local culture of Uganda or culture in Uganda in a respectful way that is also beneficial for both sides.
You will understand what makes the ‘Pearl of Africa’ (Uganda) so attractive by encountering the contrasting culture in Uganda. You will meet and interact with a wide variety of people (native tribes) who are open, friendly, interesting, and interested, and most of all, glad you’re here and are delighted to not only showcase but also teach their unique Uganda cultures.
The country has some 56 different tribes, most with their own traditions, beliefs, and language. Uganda tribes like Buganda, Busoga, Bunyoro, and Tooro have kingdoms while others operate under chiefdoms. On cultural tours in Uganda, you will have many opportunities to engage with these local people and learn about their lifestyles. This may be simply chatting with your local Uganda safari guide or a more in-depth experience with a member of the local community if you choose to visit a village or take part in a traditional ceremony.
Cultural safaris in Uganda are often combined with other Uganda safari experiences. In the west, you can visit the Batwa, Batooro, Bakiga, Banyoro, Bakonzo, and Banyankole tribes as you enjoy big game safaris, spectacular birding in Uganda, mountain hiking, and of course the bucket list opportunity of trekking and seeing the Gorillas in Uganda and tracking Chimpanzees.
You can head northeast to the true wilderness of Kidepo Valley National Park to spend time with amazing tribes of the Karamoja sub-region including the Karamojong, Jie, Tepeth, Kadam, Ik, Dodoth, Pokot, Labwor, Mening, and Nyangea. They’re all predominantly nomadic cattle keepers who are very passionate about their culture, heritage, and traditions.
Sample Uganda Cultural Safaris:-Uganda Cultural Tours | African Community Safaris in Uganda.
These Uganda cultural safari packages can be customised to suit your interest.
The 3 Days encounter allows you to explore the ancient Kingdom of Buganda with its magical cultural sites like the Kabaka’s Lake, the Kasubi Tombs, the Kabaka’s Palace, Naggalabi Coronation Site and the Wamala tombs along the Ssezibwa falls, the national heritage and cultural sites like the Uganda National Museum not forgetting the magical Kagulu hill in Busoga. Read More
The safari involves a game walking safari in Lake Mburo National Park where the travellers can explore the Rothschild Giraffes among others, whole day experience with the Banyankole community exploring the Ankole long horned cattle and its practices, the crop growing and extensive Banana plantations, the 1520AD eclipse monument. Read More
The tour explores the Nakayima heritage tree in Mubende, the Amabere g’ Nnyinamwiru Caves which are breast like features believed to be dating back to the Bachwezi era, the Fort Portal Crater lake field, the Nshenyi Cultural village exploring the Banyankole Culture including great time with the beautiful Ankole long horned cattle, the Batwa heritage trail in Mgahinga. Read More
It is an exciting experience to explore the Imbalu heritage of the Bagisu people, the heritage of Buganda Kingdom including the Kasubi tomb which is a world heritage site, the King’s Palace, the King’s Lake which is manmade, the Naggalabi Coronation site, Wamala tombs and Ssezibwa falls. The safari features the Acholi Culture, the pastoralist Karimojong culture. Read More
Our Top Destinations For Cultural Safaris In Uganda
Uganda cultural safaris will take you to some of the top cultural trip destinations in Uganda where you can experience cultures.
Here are the top destinations for cultural Uganda tours – Places Where To Go For Cultural Tours In Uganda
- Kampala, the Capital City of Uganda
- Naggalabi Coronation Site and Wamala Tombs in Wakiso
- Ssezibwa Falls in Mukono
- Jinja and Kagulu Hill in Busoga Kingdom
- Mount Elgon Area in Mbale, the home of Bagisu People
- The Karamoja Sub-region and Kidepo Valley National Park
- Acholi community near Murchison Falls National Park
- Hoima, Bunyoro Kingdom
- Fort Portal Area, Toro Kingdom
- Bigodi Community near Kibale National Park
- Sempaya hotsprings in Semuliki National Park
- Kasese on the foothills of Rwenzori Mountains – the home of Bakonzo People
- Katwe Salt Lake Village in Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, for the Batwa – hunter-gatherer culture
- Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Area, for Batwa and Bakiga Culture
- Lake Bunyonyi Area, for Batwa and Bakiga Communities
- Nshenyi Cultural Village in Ntungamo
- Banyankole Community near Lake Mburo National Park
- Igongo Cultural Centre and Biharwe Eclipse Monument in Mbarara
- Nakayima Tree in Mubende
Best Uganda Cultural Safari Experiences In Uganda For 2022 And Beyond
Uganda has a diverse and rich cultural heritage, but it is easy to get stuck on how to meet the locals in Uganda. No one wants a manufactured performance or to unwittingly intrude on someone’s life. Happily, there are many opportunities for a taste of Uganda culture within the context of a safari.
Authentic and evocative, here are some of the best Uganda cultural safari experiences you can add to your Uganda safari itinerary:
Kampala Cultural Tour
Most visitors spend just a night in Kampala City – the capital city of Uganda – before or after their Uganda safaris in the national parks of Bwindi, Queen Elizabeth, Kibale, and Lake Mburo. However, Uganda cultural tours in Kampala bring you rich culture and history of Uganda.
Kampala is a typical African capital with a compact, high-rise center surrounded by sprawling suburbs. The city sits on several hills, each housing an important government, historical or religious building.
Before the British colonialists came to Uganda, the city was the capital of the Buganda Kingdom and remains so to this day. Buganda is one of the last surviving intact Africa traditional monarchies, established about 700 years ago and headed by a traditional king, called “Kabaka”. His subjects, the 7.6 million-strong tribe of Buganda, are called the Baganda who speak the Luganda language, the most widely spoken language in Uganda.
On the tour, you’ll still see some of the thatched relics of the former glory years of Buganda at the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kasubi Royal Tombs, a sacred burial ground of Buganda Kings. You’ll also taste the frenetic energy of day-to-day Ugandan life between the sun-cracked streets of Central Kampala, a place of throbbing markets.
You will tour the Kabaka’s Palace, take a walk along the fascinating Royal Mile, and connect to Bulange Parliament the traditional center for Lukiiko that demonstrates that Buganda already had an established Parliament even before the coming of Europeans. You can also visit the Uganda National Museum and Uganda Martyrs Shrine Namugongo.
Batwa Heritage Trail in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Visitors on Uganda safaris are often attracted to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in the southwest of Uganda to trek the gorillas, golden monkeys, and magnificent volcanoes. But there is another reason to visit the park; the Batwa People.
These are the last remaining members of the pygmy tribe who for generations depended on the forest for shelter, food, and medicine. They lived in the forest peacefully and happily as hunter-gatherers for over 1000 years. There was no destruction of the forest and they lived in harmony with the Gorillas.
But, times changed for them in 1991. In the cause of preserving the ancient rainforest and its wildlife, the Batwa were displaced and relocated to neighboring communities. But, as part of their rehabilitation and cultural conservation in harmony with tourism, the Uganda Wildlife Authority enacted the now popular Batwa Trail. It is carried out in the park and led by a local Twa guide.
The Batwa trail offers an opportunity to learn some of their secrets including:
- Lighting fire by rubbing sticks together,
- Bivouac building that they lived in,
- Hunting and trapping techniques; target practice with a bow and arrow,
- How to fetch water in a bamboo cup,
- Food gathering; nutritious leaves, plants, berries that are found in the forest,
- Plants, roots, herbs, bark from trees that they used as medicine for centuries.
The trail ends inside the Garama Cave where a group of women in the darkness sing and acts out a song of sadness about the loss of their beloved forest and their desire to return to what is now a national park.
Community Walks Around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Home to almost half of the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in south-western Uganda offers the best gorilla trekking in Uganda.
But, before or after your Uganda gorilla trekking in Bwindi, you have a chance to enjoy exciting community cultural experiences. The cultural encounters provide you with a fascinating insight into the lifestyle of the local Bakiga and Batwa people. They take place in the villages around the park’s 4 sector locations of Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo, and Rushaga.
Buhoma Community Cultural Tours
The Buhoma region overlooks the impressive hillsides of Bwindi Impenetrable forest.
With the mist swirling over the summits, Buhoma is a truly dramatic setting for your Uganda cultural tours!
A walk through the village immerses you in the customs and practices of the local people. You will visit handicraft shops – selling handmade artifacts such as fabrics, wood carvings, and beeswax candles, all produced by talented local craftsmen and women.
You meet the traditional healers who treat the sick with medicinal plants. Learn how Bananas are used to make juice, beer, and gin – and you can taste the results! Enjoy dance performances by the Batwa community who people perform songs and dances about their former life in the forest.
The proceeds from this tour support community development projects such as a secondary school, maize mill, and the Batwa receive all proceeds from their performances.
Nkuringo Community Cultural Tour
If you want both a cultural experience and beautiful scenery, the Nkuringo sector is a wonderful place to visit. It is set in a lush hillside bordering Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with dramatic views towards DR Congo.
The best cultural encounters here include visiting the blacksmith. This is a tour that rewinds time to the Stone Age period with the sound of sheepskin bellows spewing air into a charcoal-fired furnace, from which the blacksmith hooks out red hot metal and hammers it into tools – from machetes to knives.
You have the opportunity to watch the region’s most famous cultural attraction – the dynamic Kiga dance. The Bakiga are phenomenally energetic performers who compete to see who can thump their bare feet loudest on the ground; the best dancers are said to be those who make the earth shake!
You will also visit the village’s traditional healer who uses native plants to make tea, ointments, and herbal powders that cure a range of ailments. You will enjoy fascinating cultural evening workshops including African cooking and traditional weaving.
Lake Bunyonyi Cultural Experiences
Meaning the “place of little birds”, the beautiful Lake Bunyonyi lies in southwestern Uganda near the Uganda gorilla safari destinations of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. It is a popular place of relaxation, after days of being on a Uganda gorilla trekking safari adventure.
The tranquil lake is also the second deepest Africa and its contorted shore encircles 29 islands, surrounded by spectacular steep terraced hillsides. On your Lake Bunyonyi Cultural tour, you can take a recreational canoe ride or boat cruise exploring some of the main Islands while interacting with other lake users. Explore the legendary Bucuranuka or Upside down Island which is believed to have buried a group of male revelers who refused to share their abundant stock of beer with an old lady who had embarked on a canoe to join them.
You can visit Akampane/Punishment Island when unmarried girls who became pregnant would be exiled. Here, they faced one of two possible fates. Any man who did not own sufficient cows to pay for an untainted bride was permitted to fetch the disgraced girl from the island and make her his wife. Failing that, the girl would usually starve to death. There is also the Pygmy tribe that lives in the villages on the other side of the lake.
Karamoja Cultural Experiences
The Karamoja Sub-region in north-eastern Uganda is one of the most remote parts of the country. For many years the major attraction to this area was Kidepo Valley National Park which has the most stunning landscape and a variety of unique Uganda wildlife/animals of Uganda.
Most visitors would fly in and out only spending time in the park, but this has now changed and the Karamoja area is full of unique amazing Uganda cultural experiences. The region is made up of the Karamojong, Jie, Tepeth, Kadama, Ik, Dodoth, Pokot, Labwor, Mening, and Nyangia people.
Most of them are predominantly nomadic cattle keepers who are very passionate about their culture, heritage, and traditions. Historically, they have links to the tribes and clans who migrated from what is now the Omo Valley via the Turkana region of northern Kenya where some continued down to the Masaai regions of South Kenya and North West Tanzania.
Years of isolation due to various circumstances have meant that customs and ancestral beliefs with the region are as relevant and strong as ever, making it a truly unique place to visit and experience on your cultural safaris in Uganda. Here are the most amazing cultural experiences in the Karamoja sub-region:
Traditional Karamojong Village Visit
The Karamojongs is an intriguing Uganda tribe famously known for their love for cattle and cattle rustling and their resistance to the trappings of the modern world.
They’re very passionate about their culture, heritage, traditions, and harbour foreign interference with their traditional lifestyle, and view new trends in life, education, technology, dress, fashion, housing, medicines, religion, and several others as an unnecessary inconvenience.
Karamojongs still inhabit Manyatta – traditional homesteads – in which concentric defensive rings of thorny brushwood surround a central compound containing huts, granaries, and cattle pens. A visit to a traditional village gives you unparalleled insight into what life is like for the Karamojong. You will learn about the culture-specific as well as the more general traditions of the Karamoja area.
You also have an opportunity to attend the famous cattle auction when local traders come every Wednesday to buy and sell cows. You can even spend a night sleeping in a Kraal with Karamojong Warrior Nomads who are now cattle herders in an experience not to miss. You will see how the cattle are cared for, milked, and herded as well as the traditional spearing of the cow for its blood. If all goes well you might even get your own Karamajong name.
Hike Mount Morungole and Visit the Mysterious Ik Tribe
The 2,750m high Mount Morungole marks the southern boundary of the Kidepo NP. Here lives Uganda’s smallest tribe of around 10,000 people called IK, with their own unique culture.
A hike to their village will reward you with an unforgettable opportunity to make friends among these people who were portrayed as the world’s nastiest people in the 1972 best-seller “The Mountain People” by the British-American anthropologist Colin Turnbull.
You will discover their unique set of traditions that are still practiced today.
The breathtaking scenery only gets better the higher you go and you will be able to look into western Kenya and Southern Sudan. The visit and hike are a full day activity beginning around 0.700 and finishing at 17.00.
Hike Mount Moroto to Meet the Tepeth-tribe
A visit to the Tepeth tribe on Mount Moroto (Karamoja’s highest volcanic mountain range) is a truly amazing experience of the indigenous hunters-gatherers community.
They are considered the original inhabitants of the Karamoja plains but were pushed high up the mountain by the current settlers. They were formerly hunters-gatherers but due to the decline in wildlife numbers in the1980s, they have since taken up a new role as agro-pastoralists.
On this Uganda cultural tour, you can learn how to prepare traditional meals, how to sing and dance to traditional folklore, make traditional Karimojong beads, experience the ancient traditions of foreseers, listen to the stories of elders and play traditional games.
Bagisu Imbalu Circumcision Ceremony
In eastern Uganda on the slopes of Mount Elgon, around the Sipi Falls and Mbale, you can meet the proud Bagisu people. The origin of Bagisu is not well known; their oral traditions simply assert that the founding father Masaba emerged from a cave from Mt Elgon, 500 years ago.
Masaba, also the local name of Mt Elgon is believed to still inhabit the mountain’s upper slopes where he holds meeting with lesser deities at a place where stone have been laid out to form chairs and tables. Bagisu, however, is best known for their Imbalu – male circumcision ceremony – a pivotal occasion in their society that involves the entire local community.
It is this ceremony in which the Bagisu boys are publicly circumcised with a special knife without pain killers to be initiated into manhood a Uganda cultural safari encounter like no other.
Origin of Imbalu in Bagisu Society
The origin of this tradition is uncertain. Legend has it that the first Mugisu man to be circumcised had a reputation of seducing the wives of his neighbors, and was taken before the committee of elders, who ordered that he should be semi-castrated as both a punishment and deterrent.
The plan backfired when, having recovered, the offenders went back to his seducing ways, and-it was whispered-had become even more proficient lovers following the operation. After that, his rivals decided that they too would have to be circumcised to compete for sexual favours!
How Is The Imbalu Circumcision Ceremony Conducted?
The Imbalu Circumcision Ceremony is held in August and December of even-numbered years. Anybody including tourists can attend this boisterous, colourful event. It usually takes place in the morning, before 10:00, and involves all initiates – anything from one to several dozens of young men being matched by a whistling, cheering crowd to the circumcision ground.
The initiates have their faces plastered in ash, and they are stripped below the waist on the way to the circumcision site, where they must line up in front of a crowd of family and friends of both sexes and all ages. The operation lasts for about a minute.
The initiate holds both his arm rigidly in front of the circumcisor, clasping a stick in his hands, and staring forward expressionlessly. The circumcisor then makes three bold cuts around the foreskin to remove it from the penis.
When the operation is complete, a whistle is blown and the initiate rises his hands triumphantly in the air, then starts dancing, proudly displaying bloodied members to an ululating crowd. Any initiate who cries out during the painful procedure is branded a coward, as is any Mugisu man who is circumcised by a doctor under a local anesthetic.
Once the crowd is satisfied with his bravery, the initiate is led away to a quiet place by a few friends and wrapped in a cloth while he waits for the breeding to stop. While it is acceptable for a Mugisu man to delay circumcision into his late 20s, he will not be considered a ‘true man until he has undergone the rite and will be forbidden from marrying or attending an important clan meeting.
Visit the Ssezibwa Falls – A Buganda Cultural Heritage Site
The Ssezibwa Falls are located in Mukono District in Central Uganda. It is a notable beauty spot and a significant cultural site of Buganda Kingdom. Legend has it that, Ssezibwa River is not a natural phenomenon, but the offspring of a pregnant woman called Nakkungu, who lived centuries ago and belonged to the Kibe (fox) clan. She was expected to give birth to twin children, but instead what poured from her womb was a twin river.
A tour to the Ssezibwa falls is usually part of the famous 1 day Jinja Tour that takes you to Mabira Forest and the Source of the Nile River, the longest river in the world. On your visit to Ssezibwa, you will be welcomed by a local tour guide and then embark on your tour of the area. You will see shrines where people come for worship and other performing cultural rituals at the top of the falls.
The traditional healers have different shrines where people camp for days or overnight depending on their request as they seek blessings and removal of curses from their ancestors. The worshipers also believe the falls have supernatural powers that connect them to their ancestors to receive long life, defeat their enemies, and gain wealth among other needs.
Experience Empango Celebrations in the Toro Kingdom
After the death of his father, Oyo Nyimba Rukidi became the Omukama (King) of Toro on 12th September 1995. He was only 3 years old at the time and was recognized as the youngest reigning monarch in the world.
The Empango is the annual celebration held in the Tooro Kingdom to celebrate the anniversary of the coronation ceremony. The celebration is held at the Karuzika (the royal palace) in the Toro Kingdom’s capital City, Fort Portal. The principal part of the celebration is the Omukama’s beating of the Empango Nyalebe drum.
The drum is banged 9 times to mark the beginning of the celebration and to reaffirm that the Omukama is the Rukirabasaija (the greatest man) of the kingdom.
The drum itself is said to date back to the Omukama’s Babito ancestors. Other royal artifacts such as spears, shields, and drums are also blessed during the ceremony. During the celebration, the Omukama is dressed in bark cloth and is joined by other high-ranking royals.
The Kingdom of Toro
The Tooro Kingdom is situated on Uganda’s western border south of Lake Albert. The Kingdom was created from a breakaway from the Bunyoro Kingdom sometime before the 19th century. The Kingdom was founded in 1830 when Omukama Kaboyo Olimi I, the eldest son of Omukama of Bunyoro Nyamutukura Kyebambe Ill of Bunyoro, established his own independent kingdom.
The Toro was then absorbed into Bunyoro-Kitara in 1876, before reasserting itself as independent in 1891. The people of the Tooro Kingdom are known as Batooro, the spoken language is called Rutooro.
Attend Batooro Name Giving Ceremony
The Batooro have got a strong cultural naming system known as Empaako (Pet Name). Children are given an Empaako that is shared across the communities in addition to their given and family names. Addressing someone by his or her Empaako is a positive affirmation of cultural ties.
It can be used as a form of greeting or a declaration of affection, respect, honour, or love. There are 12 different Empaako, where four of them are reserved only for men: Apuuli, Acaali, Araali, and Abaala. Okali is reserved for the King. The rest of the names are shared between men and women: Akiiki, Amooti, Atwooki, Abooki, Abwooli, Atenyi and Adyeri
During the assignment of your personal Empaako, you kneel in front of the clan head who will then touch both your shoulders and award you with the name.
After thanking him, you proceed to share a meal of millet and beef stew and receive a small gift. During the award, the musicians will sing your Empaako, so that everyone will hear your new name. Generally, Empaako ceremonies happen 3 days after birth for girls and after four days for boys.
Please note that the Batooro people are very welcoming and every guest who sleeps for at least one night in the region has a chance to attend the ceremony and even receive an Empaako.
Bigodi Community Tour Next Kibale National Park
Bigodi village is also located in Toro Kingdom close to Kibale Forest National Park, the best place to track and see wild chimpanzees in the world.
In the village, you can walk in Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary which is one of the leading examples of a community-based approach in preserving a natural resource that offers an alternative source of income for residents.
The wetland is run by Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (KAFRED). On the wetland walk, a local guide takes you along the boardwalk as you enjoy the sights of primates, birds, and butterflies.
You can also take a village walk to explore the daily life of the Batooro people. You visit the village’s primary school, church, and traditional healer. You learn about the role of women in the village and traditional ceremonies and the history of Bigodi.
You visit Bigodi Women’s Group which is also part of KAFRED for handicrafts demonstrations. It is a group of 150 weavers and has worked cooperatively for more than 15 years to perfect its crafts. They sell baskets, mats, bags, and jewelry made from local materials. Income from these activities is invested in education, health, sanitation, and improving the livelihood of residents.
Heritage Tour to Amabere Caves
Amabere Cave is situated about 32 kilometers from Kibale National Park, west of Fort Portal city in the Toro Kingdom. The caves are named after the live stalactite formation, the Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru – literally, Breasts of Nyina Mwiru.
The breast-like features in the caves are believed to have belonged to Nyinamwiru, the daughter of King Bukuku who is said to have been so beautiful that no man could leave her alone. When the King became weary of receiving marital requests from unsuitable suitors, he took the extreme measure of cutting off his daughter’s breasts to make her less attractive.
But even this proved to be insufficient to deter Nyinamwiru’s many admirers, so the king hid her away in the cave now known as Amabere. Here, she was discovered by the Batembuzi King Isaza, who impregnated her with a son.
Because Nnyinamwiru lacked breasts, she stayed on in the cave with her baby, feeding him on the cloudy limestone ‘milk’ that drips from its stalactites. The child nurtured by the stalactite formation grew up and became king Ndahura of the Bachwezi dynasty that rule the Bunyoro Kitara Empire centuries ago.
Near the cave, you can also hike the dramatic Fort Portal Crater field and summit the famous Kyeganywa hill which offers impressive views of the crater lakes and crater hollows below and the views of Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon on a clear day.
Explore the Ruboni Village on Rwenzori Mountains Foothills
The Ruboni Village is not far from Queen Elizabeth National Park, Fort Portal, or Kibale Forest National Park. It is a perfect place to spend a day of rest in the shadows of the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains – Africa’s highest mountain range at 5109m. In fact, most of the people you come here while preparing for their Rwenzori Mountains trekking safaris – adventures
Here, you will experience the cultural traditions of the Bakonzo people that have lived on the foothills of this for centuries. You will learn about their way of life, the crops that they grow, livestock that they keep, their art and craft, not forgetting impressive music, dance, and drama.
The Bakonzo are agriculturalists, popularly known for their stocky build and hardy nature. The origin of Bakonzo is not well known. It is said that these people migrated westward from Mount Elgon, not settling anywhere until they found a similar montane environment to cultivate. They believe in their principal god, Kitasamba whose name may not be spoken on the mountain. He resides in the snow-capped peaks.
Banyankole Cultural Exploration near Lake Mburo National Park
The Banyankole Cultural Exploration takes place at Enyemebwa Centre. It is usually done in the morning during which you have an opportunity to catch up with the herdsmen getting up to do the milking and their daily routine. You also have a chance to participate in the traditional hand milking of the world-famous Ankole long-horned cattle, sick animal treating, and caring for cows like brushing their body using the locally made fiber brush known as Enkuyo.
Enjoy stimulating sounds that are made by the herdsmen as they get out to the grazing field. You will be mesmerized by the cows knowing how to align themselves forming a line headed by those that have the special character of leading others.
Visit the traditional hut where you find the women churning milk in the churning gourd. Explore the extensive banana plantations where you learn about various banana types and their respective use. Participate in pruning and weeding using local methods and initial arrangements for traditional lunch. Enjoy traditional performances including citations, dancing, and singing. It is a fascinating encounter that allows you to gain a deep immersion of the local culture.
Explore Igongo Cultural Centre & Museum
About 15 kilometers north of Mbarara district along the Masaka-Mbarara highway is where you will find Igongo Cultural Center and Museum. The few hours you will spend there will take you centuries back into Uganda’s rich heritage learning a lot about the Ankole people.
This makes for a perfect stopover for lunch while on your Uganda gorilla safari to Bwindi impenetrable national park or your Uganda wildlife safari to Queen Elizabeth Park or even while on your birding safari to Uganda.
The center is the embodiment of a true cultural experience; food, drink, artifacts, museum, traditional performances, and all. A guided tour through the museum will place you in the footprints of the forefathers; their cattle keeping, cultivating and hunting ways. You will also find out the different ways in which women in Ankole expressed beauty or sought it including how and where they wore their jewelry.
It would add delight to your cultural safaris in Uganda to view the ghee-making process, the traditional milking and churning process in Ankole. These are a sharp reminder that having a meal was not just chewing the ready product but a craft in itself worth passing down from one generation to another. You could even settle to traditional lunch consisting of fresh ingredients grown by locals to support the community’s development.
Visit The 1520 AD Eclipse Monument
The 1520AD Eclipse Monument on Biharwe hill overlooking the Igongo Cultural Center. The beautiful 3-pillar monument reminds local people of the time when the Omukama (King) of Bunyoro had confiscated the entire cows of the Ankole Kingdom leaving people in complete starvation.
The tide of events turned when one day as he was from raiding those of Rwanda and reached Biharwe; the eclipse took place and the sky fell ominously dark during daylight hours.
This prompted the terrified Omukama to flee back to Bunyoro leaving behind several stolen cattle at the site and when the eclipse was over, the Banyankole found cows all over. They thought that they had come from heaven, sent by God for their rescue from starvation. They were able to repossess the cows again.
On your cultural safaris in Uganda, you will discover that we are the ‘Pearl of Africa’ not only for our scenery and wildlife but also for our fascinating cultural heritage. Culture in Uganda is reflected in the assorted cultural mosaic of legend, beliefs, music, dance, art, food, handicrafts, rituals, and kingdoms that cannot be matched in Africa.
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