THE RESIDENTS OF KIGEZI EMBRACE HOMESTAY TOURISM – UGANDA SAFARI NEWS

home stay-imagesKigezi region which contains the main Uganda gorilla trekking safari tour destinations lies in the south west of Uganda  on a raised attitudinal range. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which has 400 out of 880 mountain gorillas that are currently thriving in the wild along with Mgahinga National Park also which is habitat to the Virunga gorillas combine to form the greater Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Area that is a haven for gorilla safaris in Uganda.
Gorilla tourism has become the cash cow in the region and the communities around these protected areas have positioned themselves to tap the opportunities presented by this form of tourism. Most of the able personalities and community groups have established lodges of different categories while others have developed community activities that will supplement the gorillas in the regions ensuring satisfaction of Uganda gorilla safari undertakers while generating livelihood from them.
As an innovation to enhance revenues generated from tourism, the local people developed the Home stay initiative where travellers on gorilla safaris and tours in Uganda can spend an overnight at a local homestead by either joining the entire family or renting a room from the main block.
In fact this initiative have started to gather momentum with last year alone realizing over 50 tourists from Europe and Asia who paid a visit to the area on their gorilla trekking safari encounters or the Batwa heritage encounter opting to spend their overnights at local homes unlike conventional hotels.
The staying travellers participate in traditional cooking, cow milking, millet grinding, folk lore, churning of fermented milk for ghee, weaving, poetry and making of crafts. The home stay is seen as a perfect endeavor for travellers on Uganda gorilla safaris and tours to have a total immersion with the local people deriving the authentic African hospitality experience other than the staged authenticity normally encountered by travellers on staged cultural interactions.
The initiative which is being welcomed by a rang of home owners while a cross section of cultural guides have been identified and trained so as to present themed interpretations of various cultural experiences and traditions across ethnic groups. The women groups in Kirigime surbub of Kabale Municipality are undergoing training with the facilitating of Austrian Volunteers in aspects like basket and mat weaving, bead work, millet grinding and the implementation of home stays.
This initiative of home stays to be promoted to greater heights will involve constituting the home owners and their willingness to present their respective homes for the enterprise then undergo evaluation and classification, homestay contract development, packaging and product marketing. This will help to standardize the service component for travellers on Uganda gorilla tours.

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