Friday, 21 July 2017

EXCITING KARAMOJONG MANYATTA EXPERIENCE


Are you a cultural enthusiast? Do you know where the Karamojong people live? Do you wish to combine your wildlife safari experiences with cultural encounters in Northeastern Uganda? On this planet, everyone has a story to tell and so are the Karamojong, the renowned warrior pastoralists who live in Northeastern Uganda just at the border of Southern Sudan and Kenya. This area is uncommonly visited by travelers and for a few who make it up to this region; they will be filled with ultimate cultural experiences. Just as you set yourself into Africa’s wilderness in Kidepo Valley National Park, never miss out dramatic cultural experiences with Karamojong villages (Manyattas). Encountering this proud, fierce and traditional group of semi nomadic pastoralists will enrich you with Uganda’s famous cultural heritage.

This region together with Kidepo Valley National Park is uncommonly visited and not many people are aware about the Karamojong or even the national park itself unlike the Maasai in Kenya who have appeared in many magazines, stories and documents. There is little that is known about these beautiful people in the world something worthy exploring while in your safari to Kidepo Valley National Park or even as you plan your safari to Mount Elgon National Park.
MANYATTA VILLAGE
Facts about the Karamojong:
The Karamojong have stayed in the Northeastern Uganda for hundreds of years. At a time of colonialism, the British colonial governments failed to control the Karamojong something that left their region off limits. Unlike other tribes, the Karamojong have continued to follow their ancient traditions and believe in their god “Akuj.” The Karamojong are among a few tribes that believed and still believe that all the cattle in the region of existence was offered to them by their god Akuj, and this explains the cattle rustling in neighboring communities. This kind of belief is perhaps the root cause of endless tribal conflicts and cattle rustling in the area given the fact that even other adjacent communities also have the similar belief about themselves that the cattle belong to them only. At a time of Idi Amin, conflicts had escalated in this area as a result of increased supply of weaponry mainly guns. The government has tried to curb down the situation by disarming these warriors with the aim of restoring peace to the area and civil stability.

These pastoralists also consider cattle royalty and it is from this that man can be measured in the community. They live for their cattle. What is importantly of all is to search for greener pasture and water for their cattle which is something hard given the fact the Karamojong area is a semi-desert.

Who takes care of the cattle?
Duties and responsibilities are well spelt out in Karamojong communities. As the men go to look for pasture and water for the cattle, the women on the other side simply remain in the Manyatta to take care of the homestead and the children and both women and children go to the gardens to supplement on their diet. Basically, the Karamojong practice the communal way of doing things. Roles are largely shared together and this is for the betterment of the community as a whole not only the nuclear family or an individual. Men are free to marry as many wives as they can provided they have dowry to pay for them. This is currently one of those ancient societies where dowry still counts much.

Karamojong structure:
These pastoralists are basically Nilotic. Their dialect has Nilo Saharan Kalenjin roots which comprises of various languages for pastoralists in South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda. They migrated to Northeastern Uganda around 1600 from Ethiopia and then settled around Mount Moroto. The name Karamojong denotes “the old tired men who stayed behind.” They are further grouped by clans and territorial sub-groups that is to say, the Bokora, the Pian and Matheniko. Unfortunately, these clans usually raid one another but as a result of government intervention and confiscation of their guns, there are minimal cases of cattle raiding today. The communities always follow the set guidance of the elders and things are done based on domestic lines.

The Karamoja region:
In case you have ever watched any western movies, the Karamoja area is barely not different from that. It depicts the true wilderness of Africa making it one of the untouched destinations in the continent. However, there are some roads to allow travelers access the area during their safaris. Alternatively, there are chartered flights for tourists to link up to Kidepo Valley National Park.

Why should you visit Karamojong Manyatta?
A trip to visit these incredible Manyattas is one of the most remarkable travel experiences that you must not miss out in life. The Manyattas are the rarest of all in entire Uganda. For travelers who make it up to these Manyattas, they get educational and enlightening cultural experiences. The cultural heritage in these villages has been preserved for hundreds of years and still untouched by modernization. Come and refresh your mind with these ancient villages. Everything in these villages is unique on their own, right from the set up, homesteads, people up to languages which offers visitors with authentic African experiences.

A few children are addressed and they come to greet visitors in a warm and humble welcoming way as visitors enter their villages where there are old men reclining on their headrest stools wrapped in tunics, sharing folk tales of old to the young and old, about their traditions and lifestyles as well as observing the movements in the village. Just in case you are invited inside a Manyatta, then this will mean that you have to be on your knees as well as hands down to enter. It is a privilege for these pastoralists to invite you into their homes.

The inside parts of their homes are cemented using cow dung and mud and they have no beds and much furniture and they are very proud of all these. Most interestingly, these pastoralists live absolutely in peace with nature, they rarely dress up; they are decorated in tribal markings and beads. Don’t blame them once you get into their community perhaps, the weather can tell you much while in your safari.

Never forget to enjoy the dramatic and exciting traditional dances when you get into the Karamojong Manyatta. If you miss the cultural dance or music then your safari to the Manyatta is absolutely incomplete. You can also join them and jump as higher as you can!
KARAMOJONG DANCE
Most importantly, don’t forget your hat and sun glasses to protect your head and eyes from the scorching sun heat. Ensure that you come on your jeans instead of shorts because it culturally accepted in the Manyattas and the jeans can also help to protect your legs from thorns.

In conclusion, Karamojong Manyatta experience is worthy for tourists to explore and get lessons about the Karamojong people in reality. You can combine a cultural safari together with the Kidepo Valley National Park as you travel to enjoy spectacular wildlife species.






Friday, 14 July 2017

HILARIOUS BATWA TRAIL IN MGAHINGA GORILLA NATIONAL PARK


For over 500000 years while in the dense jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, is the rarest experience in human life that only a few creatures can manage to spend. Who are the Batwa? Well, this is a commonly asked question but interestingly, the Batwa pygmies were the first occupants of an ancient tropical rain forest in Southwestern Uganda. A trip to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is not only viewing mountain gorillas in the wild but also opportunity to encounter Uganda’s most incredible pygmies.
THE BATWA PYGMY IN THE SHELTER
An encounter with the Batwa pygmies, is not only staring at their eyes, take your time and look at their heights; the fact is that after your cultural safari in Southwestern Uganda, you will get on your knees saying God created people but other creatures are incomparably the rarest on earth. The Batwa were popular hunters and gatherers who did not cause any negative impact on the forest. They took what they wanted and that was the end of the story! Indeed they were the “keepers of the forest!” Today, these creatures are the most marginalized group in Uganda given the fact that they were pushed out of their ancient home where they lived for countless decades. Conservation can be blamed for this but on other hand we appreciate it because we would not have any idea about these unique people!

The Batwa Trail experience is a newly established project around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park which is intended to restore the might tradition, dignity and hope of the Batwa pygmies which in turn will keep their traditions and culture alive for both the current and future generation. The trail is also intended to offer job opportunities to the Batwa, in form of tour guiding which in turn will help them pay the school fees of their children as well as support their well being.

Like we all have our cultural backgrounds, the Batwa equally have a tremendous cultural set up that is worthy exploring and that is why the Batwa Trail in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the must to include while in your gorilla safari. The walk through these pygmies’ home begins with a Batwa elder who will be on her or his ancient skins as they take you through inspiring stories concerning their creation up to the time when they were keepers of the forest.

Your hike will also take you through the stunning Mount Muhabura which denotes the guide and then proceed to Mount Gahinga where the guide will go on his or her knees to demonstrate his ancient life in the forest. After, you may taste some forest berries that these hunters and gatherers used to harvest at a time, and at this point, you will also explore some valuable plant species especially those that are traditionally of medical value-known to treat blood pressure and many medical problems in life. As others may think about going to clinics or pharmacies, some creatures like the Batwa pygmies were and are still not be part of this.

As you continue, the guide will demonstrate to you how they used make fire, hunting, trapping, gathering techniques and where possible you will get hold of a bow and arrow that they used as a tool for hunting. At the end, you will be filled with lessons on how these creatures lived in the forest for that long and patiently kept the forest. As well, you will also have opportunity to see crafts like making bamboo cups and traditional clothing that the Batwa used at a time.

Arrive at Garama Caves where the Batwa king lived at a time and foreigners were not permitted to have access into place. It was from here that these people also had refuge from their enemies. Get a bit down on your knees and enter into the sacred Garama Cave and be welcomed by darkness and then thrilling songs of sorrow as the Batwa women mourn , sing touching songs as to why they were forced out their forest and wishing if they can be allowed to go back into the jungles. You will almost get yourself into tears but be strong it is their story! Get out of the Cave and excite the mind with dramatic dance and music as these ancient forest occupants demonstrate to you authentic African experiences of a life time.


In conclusion, Batwa Trail is one of the most remarkable experiences that come once in a life time. The trail is the best way to explore the Batwa ancient life styles which in turn will enrich you with a life time experiences. Discover the Batwa secrets in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest!

Thursday, 6 July 2017

THE BASOGA AND THEIR CULTURE


A safari to Uganda is complete only if it is combined with exceptional cultural experience in the great land of the Soga people along Lake Victoria and Lake Kyoga area, just as you set into the land of Kamuli, Jinja and Iganga. Luckily, we have seen Uganda’s tremendous wildlife and we have appreciated but most incredibly add  a cultural safari to bungee jumping or white water rafting in Eastern Uganda and you will certainly realize the fact about authentic African experiences in life. With over 60 different cultures that are all ingrained within this small country, a safari to land of Basoga is the most spectacular experience that offers opportunity to explore their religion, traditional dances, lifestyles, set up of their kingdom and many more things that never leave visitor who get into their community unsatisfied. Before the influence of the Europeans, the Basoga people practiced subsistence farming and mainly depended on cattle, sheep and goat keeping.  The ancient occupants in Busoga region were mainly the Nilo hamites which included the Langi and Iteso together with the Bagisu people. However, when the Basoga immigrants from the East came, they were all removed from the area and their culture, traditions and lifestyles were taken over. The Basoga are described by their clan chief that also defines the every day life in their communities. Concerning their area of worship, the Basoga demonstrated ancestral worship with several gods and semi gods together with Lubaale-their creator. They believed in animated nature that they provided with numerous sacrifices of different kinds but later, they were influenced by the Baganda as their dialect (Lusoga) was a bit similar to Luganda. The Baganda dialect continued as the Basoga dialects were hardily understood by other Soga tribes. Because of continuous migrations, the Basoga history is a bit hard to ascertain.

THE BASOGA 
The culture and religion:
Busoga region is spearheaded by His Royal Highness Isebantu Kyabazinga of Busoga. The name was chosen from a symbol of unity derived from the expression and recognition by the Basoga that their cultural leader was the “father of all people who brings all of them together.” Traditionally, the Basoga were composed of several small kingdoms and they were disunited not until recently that they have a single leader. The society was organized based on numerous principles, of which was descent. This was mainly occurring from male ancestors and hence formation of patrilineage that comprises of individuals’ closest relatives. The group offered guidance and support for every individual and united related home steads for economic, social and religious reasons. The women of the household were responsible for taking care of the most common staple foods which include bananas, millet, cassava and sweet potatoes. Once you visit Busoga region, never return without tasting the local menu of the Basoga. For the case of men, their care rotated around cash crops like coffee, cotton, peanuts and corn. Lineage membership was however the determinant of marriage options, inheritance rights and right to worship the ancestors. Each person normally attempted to improve his economic and social status that originally depended on lineage membership, by skillful manipulating patrons-client ties within the authority structure of the kingdom. Despite the relative lineage, the man’s patrons had a right to influence his status in the community some thing different from that of Buganda kings and Busoga Kings.

BUSOGA KING
Traditional marriages:
Traditionally, a Musoga man was/is supposed to identify a girl that he wants to marry where he will then send an advance team composing of presentable and honorable male members the side of his family or clan. The team was to be charged from the girl’s home for getting into contact with their daughter and then gather more information concerning her in order to avoid marring relatives which is not allowed in Uganda’s cultures. The team then goes a head to table a format requesting to introduce the son and ask the girl’s hand in marriage. However, things have changed where there is use of letters that are sent to the girl’s family a head. The father isn’t allowed to read this letter but to solicit the company of his sister while reading it. The letter will suggest a specific date on which the man intends to present himself for proper introduction. If it is inconvenient on the side of the girl’s family, another optional date can be decided and communication will be sent back to the man’s family. According to Basoga culture, an introduction is very important as it creates a strong bond that also brings the two different families together.


In conclusion, a cultural safari to Uganda offers visitors opportunity to explore its diverse cultures. Your safari can be amazing only if you included a cultural experience from Busoga into the list of your activities. Enjoy your cultural safari with the Basoga!

Thursday, 29 June 2017

THE ULTIMATE KAMPALA CITY FESTIVAL, UGANDA


Have you ever been in Uganda or planning to take a safari to Uganda? Have you heard about the Kampala city festival? Have you ever been in any city tour or festival? The Kampala City Festival is here again! As others are flocking to Uganda’s remotest and most beautiful national parks for wildlife safaris, experiencing Kampala’s City Festival is yet another dramatic experience for you to excite your mind like never before. Spending much of our time in precious lodges, hotels or homes isn’t enough for you to explore about Uganda’s most pretty city. Set yourself into the streets of Kampala for this massive event and get filled with the most unforgettable experiences of a life time. The Kampala City Festival was introduced were back in 2012 and every first Sunday of October each year, comes with stylish and exciting experiences for Ugandan’s and other visitors to realize what this tremendous city holds for them. It is one of remarkable and biggest street events that you can ever imagine about in East Africa, as provides opportunity to most of city enthusiasts and the country at and by large to acknowledge their culture, innovation, unity and social life. Kampala is a capital and biggest city of Uganda. It is divided into 5 divisions; the Kampala Central Division, Kawempe Division, Makindye Division, Nakawa Division and Rubaga Division.

On 8th October, 2017, Uganda will be hosting its 6th biggest city festival ever as hundreds, thousands and millions will gather to demonstrate the state of a positive change before the public in Kampala. This amazing event comes with a fancy sight, vibrant sounds and lively rhythms in concert with an array of floats winding via Kampala streets with talented dancers on show as they orbit, swivel and twirl to hypnotic beats of celebration on the festival route. Besides, there will be lots of whiffs of roast and drinks that will be displayed as you also enjoy the electric vibes by sensational artists of various genres entertain you with your family and friends freely.

CULTURAL DANCES DURING KAMPALA CITY FESTIVAL
Unlike the previous festivals, the 2017 will be one of the tremendous events ever as it comes with fresh things like the International Zone and a pre festival concert. All these stylish and fresh things are arranged under the theme; “Revel Diversity, celebrating who we are and the facets that uniquely depict our profusion of brilliant culture and social life.” The Kampala City Festival is East Africa’s biggest street event ever that is set to occur on 8th and 9th October, 2017 and what is important of all, is for you not to miss this amazing experience that comes once in a life time. Make sure you mark the dates in your calendar appropriately so that you avoid hearing lots of stories from friends and relatives. How does it feel hearing people’s stories like you were not informed? You need to be there in person so as to make the 2017 festival experience to stretch beyond boundaries. If you are running an enterprise or you have a company, you are also requested to check out or review some of the sponsorship packages for the Kampala City Festival. Through this kind of partnership, your company won’t just become part of an economic network but also extend to International Community and we all need given the state of the growing economy and globalization. There will be material promotions, event exposure, media coverage, publicity and promotions to target audiences.

During this festival, the enjoyment goes beyond as you will also share, learn and network meanwhile as you will be acting as an economic engine for companies, organizations and small business. Your presence is vital and appreciated as it is the only way to help them flourish!
There will be guidelines for stall holders, statement of compliance with standards especially for food stuffs as well as rules and regulations.


In conclusion, the Kampala City Festival is an annual biggest event in Uganda that attracts thousands of city dwellers. It was introduced in 2012 purposely to bring residents of Kampala, districts and adjacent countries together as a criterion of celebrating the city. Just last year alone, the Kampala City Festival massively attracted over 5000000 people from within and across regions.

Monday, 19 June 2017

EXCITING TRADITIONAL DANCES IN UGANDA


Do you love African traditional dances? Are you interested in cultural safaris in Africa? Despite wildlife attractions, Africa is also known for its dramatic and inspiring cultural experiences which are characterized by poetry, ritual or dances and one of the most indicating types of the African life and soul. Uganda in particular, is a cultural hub where most of the African cultures are demonstrated together with religion, ancestral worship and spiritualism. If you are planning for your wildlife safari to Uganda but you also wish to encounter some of the traditional dances, it shouldn’t worry you in any way. With over 65 different languages being spoken, Uganda is described as a melting pot of cultures. While in your safari to this beautiful country, expect to meet different traditional practices that are represented in each region. Uganda’s traditional dances are true representation of real African experiences that come once in a life time.

UGANDA'S TRADITIONAL DANCE
Below is a list of different cultural dances that can make your stay in Uganda memorable.

The Batwa cultural encounter: Are you interested in gorilla and cultural safaris in Uganda? Well, visit the Batwa cultural trails in the south western Uganda. The Batwa pygmies were the ancient people to live in the jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for several centuries. The Batwa were renowned hunters and gatherers who found had found refuge in the Bwindi’s jungles for over 500000 years. When need to conserve the mountain gorillas and their habitat the Batwa pygmies were forced to leave the forest till today that they are among the marginalized people around the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. For authentic African dances, visit the Batwa during the Batwa trail as you enjoy your gorilla safari. You certainly enjoy the most inspiring and emotional dances and songs that will be demonstrated by the Batwa as they sing and emphasize why they were removed from the forest and wishing if they could be allowed to return to their ancient home.

If you are in Kidepo Valley National Park, still there is no need to worry about cultural experiences. Visit the Karamojong people or Ik people in North Eastern Uganda for unique dances and traditional practices that will make your stay memorable.

Muwogola, Baakisiima and Nankasa (Kiganda) dances: If you are around Kampala and you are interested in cultural experiences; include the Kiganda dance as part of experiences for your encounter. The Kiganda dances are three Baganda traditional folk dances that were initiated from the palace of the king of Buganda just adjacent Lake Victoria where there is a home of Nalubaale-the wife of Lubaale-one of the gods of the Baganda people. Buganda region forms the largest portion of all the tribes that are ingrained within Uganda and it lies within the central just adjacent Lake Victoria. The Kiganda dance is the most dramatic and famous cultural dance in Uganda and rarely can you find a muganda who doesn’t know how to perform this kind of dance. This inspiring dance is normally performed whenever or where the king has a gathering or where he is supposed to talk to his subjects.

Ekitaguriro by the Banyakole people: In western Uganda, you will meet exciting cultural dances that will be demonstrated to you by the Ankole people both men and women will be performing and demonstrating their Ankole dance. In many occasions, the dance is performed to demonstrate the love of Ankole people and their cattle. The cattle in this area have long horns and thus making the dance aerial. The sound of the songs is like that of the cows and interestingly you will also get a sound of milk pouring/flowing from the cow’s udder. The stamping walk of the men during the dance is like that of cows and hands of the women demonstrate the long beautiful horns of the cows and this explains why they dance with their hands up in the air.

Mwanga dance: While you are in the highlands of Eastern Uganda, you will encounter the Bagisu dance. This is a ceremonial initiation dance of the Bagisu people. The Bagisu have a belief that for young boys to become men, they must be circumcised. During the Imbalu cultural circumcision, candidates are moved around dancing for a period of about 21 days till the time an elder will cut off the fore skin of male’s penis. During this event, other community members will be drumming and dancing around and most interestingly, tourists have also attended this dramatic event in life. This experience is seasonal and occurs in every an even year. The Bagisu tribe is known as Bamasaba. For any one in Bamasaba land who doesn’t go through this traditional practice, he will never be regarded as a man in the community. Currently, in the course of the three day ceremony of dancing, visiting friends and family, feasting and receiving gifts, preceded by a couple of months of preparations like bamboo strips being handed down to the candidates by their eldest uncles on the father’s side to represent the responsibility and strength required to face the challenge of manhood, the initiate will be decorated with white ash like powder.

Ekizino dance: This is a cultural dance that is performed by the Bakiga people from Kigezi area in Uganda. At first, the dance was demonstrated whenever the King was going to settle disputes in his kingdom and explains why it is famously called a Court dance.

Akembe dance: This dance is demonstrated by the Iteso people in Eastern Uganda. It is a famous courtship dance that is performed in Teso area. It is one of the softly performed musical dances that are played using melodic instruments.

Adungu dance: This is a famously performed dance by Alur people along the West Nile area. It is performed on melodies from an instrument called Adungu. The dance is demonstrated by the talented young boys and girls and you will enjoy how they will be jumping in a given pattern. Alternatively, you can also enjoy the Gaze dance that is demonstrated by the Lugbara in West Nile area. For visitor to Murchison Falls National Park, as you enjoy your wildlife safari make sure you visit a community around west Nile for such authentic African dances of a life time.

Runyege and Entongoro dance: In case you are interested in chimpanzee tracking around Kibale National Park, make sure you include in your safari the Runyege dance. The dance is demonstrated by the Batooro people in Western Uganda and specifically, by talented youths at a time when they will be searching for their partners.

Irongo, Nalufuka and Tamenaibuga: If you around Jinja Eastern Uganda for your white water rafting, visit the Busoga community and enjoy the Basoga cultural dances as they demonstrate peace and unity. Historically, there used to be two men who were such tight friends that they shared anything in their life. But one day, they went out to take beer which they traditionally serve in a gourd. After having too much of the drink, they started to argue and it led to a fight between them. The gourd which had beer was broken in the fight and the friendship had to end there and then. The men’s community noticed that a quarrel between these men would cause their friendship split and affect the unity of the community and this explains why the dance was initiated to unite the people.

Bwola dance: This is a court dance which is performed by the Acholi people in Northern Uganda. It is a circular dance for both old men and women. The dance demonstrates the fence of surrounds the Kingdom. There are several events and conversations that occur in the course of this dance and this explains the length of the dance performances.

Still in Northern Uganda, there is Larakaraka dance, a ceremonial cultural/traditional dance from Acholi land and it is mostly performed during weddings. It is known that when the young people in a given village were prepared for marriage, they would organize a ceremony where all potential partners would gather. As an indicator of unity, food and alcoholic drinks were served in the course of this ceremony while young men would dance to attract or convince the women available at the ceremony. Those that prove to be the best would get their partners and so competition was at its course. For those who prove to be poor dancers were likely to die as bachelors.


In conclusion, Uganda’s cultural dances are represented by all the tribes and they all demonstrate different traditional practices within their communities. Exploring this abundant cultural experiences is indeed a reality about authentic African cultures.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

CULTURE AS A TOURISM POTENTIAL IN UGANDA


A round the world, few destinations can match Uganda’s long human history, the people and their tradition is one way to best describe it as a “melting pot of culture.” Uganda is the only destination where countless tribes are all harmonized within the same country and yet also promotes tremendous cultural exchange among themselves. In terms of diversity, Uganda is a true melting pot of cultures with the renowned 65 tribal groups that have positioned the country to be one of the best places for cultural safaris in Africa. Despite the intense wildlife, Uganda is a true haven of unexploited culture which is represented in all the regions. Uganda’s cultural diversity is distributed in different landscapes which also posses distinct life styles and traditions ranging from the staunch pastoralists in the Northeast to the Batwa pygmies-the original forest occupants in extreme Southwest. With this diversity, Uganda’s culture offers a great deal to the tourism industry especially for safari visits on cultural experiences. Ugandans either have the same culture or totally different which makes it one of the most outstanding products for one to have total satisfaction about real African culture.

Besides wildlife safaris, a cultural trip to the remote national parks, kingdoms, historical sites among others is one thing that can make your safari in Uganda complete. Cultural tourism in Uganda has showed some growth rate with several visitors who get into the country. Culture has a bigger impact in the tourism industry especially for authentic exploration of ones history in many cultural sites in Uganda.

UGANDA'S CULTURAL DANCE
Below is a list of various cultural encounters that can help your stay in Uganda enjoyable besides the renowned mountain gorillas-chimpanzees-birds and big five game.

The Batwa pygmies:
The Batwa people were the first people to live in Uganda’s dense tropical rain forest-Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. They lived in this forest for almost 500000 years simply because they discovered the hidden treasures in Bwindi's jungles right from shelter to food. Unfortunately, there was need to conserve the biodiversity in this area especially the mountain gorillas and the Batwa had to be forced out of their home some thing that left them marginalized on planet. Although they have taken up tour guiding as one way to improve on their lives, they still wish to return to the jungles to resume their life style. If you are planning for your gorilla safari in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, endeavor to include the Batwa Trail Experience or Batwa encounter in South-western Uganda. The Batwa trail offers tourists a great opportunity to explore their life styles in the forest at a time which is indeed an authentic African experience as they take through the same places where they lived harmoniously with the forest for centuries. Visit the Mgahinga and take up the Batwa trail, Buniga forest walk or experience the Bwindi Forest with the Batwa in Buhoma sector.

Buhoma community village walk:
Culture is centered on traditional dances, people, art and craft of which Buhoma community village walk offers you an opportunity if you are in Buhoma sector of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The three hour village walk is worth as it takes you through unique traditional ways like the locally made crafts, dances, food preparation, brewing and traditional healers.

Ruboni Village:
Ruboni is main refuge to the Bakonjo, the renowned keepers of the Rwenzori Mountain of the Moon. Visit the village and experience how the traditional healers in this area do his things, while the village leader/elder takes you through the historical back ground of the Bakonjo people. As well, never miss to pay a visit to local blacksmith as he uses the ancient ways to produce the tools that people need. Have you ever prepared your own food? Pay a visit to this village and select a home and be part of food preparation team, dancing or get drumming lessons and many other things for you to learn. For accommodation, you can spend a night at Ruboni Community Camp or Equator Snow Lodge.

The Karamojong Manyattas:
Visiting the Karamojong people is such an incredible experience as you explore the life style of these ancient and proud warrior pastoralists and their families in Manyatta houses. The Karamojong are fierce and proud semi nomadic pastoralists in the remote North Eastern Uganda. Their behavior is more of resistance and for long; they are believed to have resisted most of modern projects and centered their minds in pastoralism.

The IK tribe:
Still, in North Eastern Uganda comes another incredible group of people for you to interact with. The IK people are popularly known as the “Mountain people.” They decided to isolate themselves from the rest and stayed on Mount Morungole. Visiting the Ik people means you have to hike up to the top point of Mount Morungole-North Eastern, Uganda. If you visit Kidepo Valley National Park, never miss to encounter 11000 Ik people on their mountain. The Ik people are believed to be the remotest tribes in East African region with their traditional practices and the historical background that will make up your experience just like the renowned Batwa pygmies in south western Uganda. They are said to be the first inhabitants in North Eastern region prior their shift to the mountain. Historically, this small tribe first had their representative in the Ugandan Parliament just of recent.

Ssezibwa falls:
This place is recognized for unique cultural legend just near Kampala city. The place is still vital for Bagandas  to whom the ancient ways still hold value. Interestingly, the recent Kabaka Ronald Mutesi has planted a tree in this area. In the previous hundred years, there was a woman called “Nakangu” from the FOX clan who was almost giving birth to twins but gave birth to two rivers and two streams. Currently, other people can be seen with lots of sacrifices of local brew beer, chicken, goats and bark cloth. There is also fertility shrine in a depression in the rocks by the falls. The falls also has restaurant for you to have some lunch and if you are interested in nature and birding walks, you can still choose to do it in this place.

Nakayima witch’s tree:
The tree is just 3 hour drive from Kampala on Fort Portal-Kibale Forest National Park route. It is a renowned place for traditional and cultural practices. Getting into this place offers you great opportunity to explore the traditions and practices that have been conducted under this tree for more than 500 years. You will be told the oral traditions concerning the area, the ancient Nakayima and the way the spirit world the lives of Ugandans still intertwine today. Visiting this place offers the most fantastic legends and tales, scenic beauty especially the beautiful plateau.

The Imbalu male circumcision ceremonies:
Have you ever visited Mbale, Eastern Uganda? The Bagisu people have one of the rare traditional practices famously known as “Imbalu.” This practice always occurs in even years and it is a public circumcision ceremony where boys are turned into men. Whenever the event occurs, thousands of people come from various parts of Uganda and adjacent Kenya and many tourists also attend this event. The event occurs at the beginning of August up to December of even year. This is an important event for the Bagisu people and the tourists have sighted it as a time of cultural exploration while visiting Uganda.

The Abayudaya Jews of Uganda:
The Abayudaya Jews of Uganda are not Jew per say but by choice and they suffered a lot during Idi Amin’s days. Currently, they are small, thriving, religious community that has a clinic and a dental clinic, plants coffee along with Muslims and Jews and they contribute to community at large. For interested visitors, you need to plan it early enough for your experience with the Jews of Uganda. Interestingly, the Chief Rabbi is an MP who was elected by all people and not just the Abayudaya.

Amabere Caves:
This is a place of historical and natural wonder near Fort Portal and Kibale Forest National Park. Tourists can as well plan for full day safari with their packed food and then go for a guided nature walk as they visit three crater lakes. Traditional stories say that the King cut off the breasts of his daughter as a punishment for her ill behavior, while the dropping water seemed milky by the calcium carbonate was termed by locals as “breast milk.” Scientifically, they are actual stalactites made of calcium carbonate when mixed with water drip to form stalactites.

Nyero Rock Paintings:
Nyero rock paintings are situated next to Kumi town in the village called Nyero. Visitors who get into this place get chance to explore the three cave shelters and be able to see the ancient rock paintings in Uganda that describe the Iron Age times. If you are an archaeologist, Nyero Rock paintings are worth visiting; for visitors to Kidepo Valley National Park, they can combine their safari with that of rock paintings shelters caves. The three caves can be reached by visitors who travel to Kidepo, Sipi Falls or Mbale Town.

Ndere Cultural Dance and Music Troupe:
Ndere Troupe is Uganda’s cultural dance group that has kept the diverse culture in the country live through creativity and performances. While in Kampala, you shouldn’t miss this wonderful experience of a life time as they demonstrate Uganda’s cultural dances, traditions and where possible have a traditional dinner at Ndere cultural center. Ndere center is situated around Kampala area.

Sosolya Dance Performers:
The Sosolya Undugu Dance Academy is a cultural center for talented children and youth in Uganda. They mostly teach and perform African Music and Dance for visitors who get into Uganda. This group normally performs every Sunday afternoon at 4 pm and beyond at Hotel International around Muyenga Area of Kampala. The group is composed of young talented people who demonstrate several dances across the Great Lakes Region of Africa. You can choose to dance or drumming classes from this group and it will be organized for you.

The Royal Drum Makers:
The Mpambire cradle of Drum making in Uganda is a known drum makers of Mpambire that demonstrate the old ways of making drums. This group is not known for drum making only but also they are Royal Drum Makers for the Kabaka of Buganda Kingdom. If you are interested in safari to Western Uganda and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or even Queen Elizabeth National Park, you can still pass by Mpambire and make a stop over the Royal Drum Makers of Mpambire. You can as well get one drum from Uganda’s Royal Drum Makers.

UGANDA'S DRUMS
Igongo Cultural Center and Museum:
In South-Western Uganda still, never miss visiting Igongo cultural center a natural and cultural heritage for all the Ankole cultures. Igongo is the best stop over on your en-route to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Lake Mburo National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park. You can have lunch and then enjoy the local Ankole culture and their history.

ANKOLE'S CATTLE
Uganda’s Martyrs shrine and Museum at Namugongo:
Every year, 3rd June is a public holiday in Uganda where Christians gather to commemorate the lives of 22 Catholics and 23 Church of Uganda (Anglicans) who were executed for their faith and denounce of Kabaka Mwanga’s orders at a time (3rd 1886). The shrine can be visited at any time of the year. You can as well join thousands of pilgrimage at Kibeho on 27 May and Namugongo on 3rd June as proceed for your gorilla tracking or wildlife safari in Lake Mburo. In 2015, Pope Francis happened to be the third Pope to visit the shrine and museum and you too can come and experience the Faith that Ugandans have in their hearts.

In conclusion, Uganda is a true melting pot of cultures where you can experience lots of legends and tales in various Kingdoms with unique scenic views, ideal climate and welcoming people in African continent.



Wednesday, 31 May 2017

THE WORLD'S CULTURAL EVENT


Do you treasure African culture? Do you wish to encounter authentic cultural experiences? Do you love Uganda’s cultural safaris? Have you ever thought about Ugandan people and their culture? Uganda is soon hosting the world’s cultural event, the first of its kind on 13th August 2017. If you love authentic African cultures, then consider visiting Uganda Museum as a must for “Global Cultural Event.” Uganda Museum is East Africa’s biggest and ancient Museum that was established in 1908 in Kampala and it has Uganda’s displays right from traditional cultures, archeology, history, science to natural history. When you talk about Uganda’s culture and traditions, your mind should dwell much on the music, Arts and Crafts made of wood, papyrus, reeds and local materials. Besides the art and craft materials, Uganda’s culture has also not left out black smith implements, beaded jewellery, wood carvings and batiks. Uganda Museum is a National Museum and it is located 3 (three) kilometers from the city centre, Kira road near Uganda Wildlife Authority.

The “Global Cultural Event” is intended to attract various cultural groups in the world and it aims at showing Uganda’s cultural "pride", “heritage” and “peace" for the people of Uganda and the world by and at large. Have you ever heard about Mary Ingabire Global Events? The Global Cultural Event is organized by Mary Ingabire. This event comes in with several showcases and platform for expressing different African cultures will be used as tools for celebrating our heritage, pride and preservation of peace. The performances in the events are meant to create awareness within Uganda as a nation, Africa as a continent and the world at and by large that Uganda the “Pearl of Africa” is truly a “Hospitality Hub” and “Cradle” of Cultural Diversity. Some of the expected cultural performances include the “Rockies Troupe Uganda” and it will cost 5000 for children, 10,000 for adults, 500,000 for stall, 1,000,000 for VIP and 1,500,000 for tent.

Uganda's dance
Uganda forms a powerful cultural “heritage” with each region being represented by their Kingdoms. They include Buganda, Busoga, Bunyoro and Toro. Incredibly, Ugandans are one of the most welcoming and hospital people and they are richly endowed with diverse cultures and life styles. Every tribe in Uganda is represented by their traditional dance. The Banyakole demonstrate the “Kitagururo” dance, the Bunyoro demonstrate the “Runyege” dance, Acholi perform “Bwora” and Otole dances while the Alur in West Nile perform “Agwal” dance, the Bagisu demonstrate the “Imbalu dance during their circumcision ceremonies. If you have ever heard about the cultural melting pot, then Uganda’s culture is undoubted. Uganda is composed of over 66 distinct indigenous culture and dialects and remarkably the country is a home to Batwa pygmies, the indigenous inhabitants of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in South-West. When it comes to cultural experiences, Uganda is truly a hub for authentic African cultures as each African society is represented.

Historically, the Bantu speaking people comprise of 4 (four) main immigrant groups which includes the Basamia, Bakonjo, Bunyoro, Baganda, Bamasaba, Basoga, Bagwere, Batooro, Banyakole, Bakiga among others. This group is known to have originated from Cameroon highlands and Congo forest and settled in the Southern side of the country after separating from the Nilotic tribes of the North on the Swampy Lake Kyoga. 

The Nilo-hamites on other side include the Iteso, Karamojong and Kuman in the Eastern and North Eastern side of the country. Historically, the Nile Hamites were pastoralists, traditionally keeping large herds of cattle which they kept moving from place to place in search of water and pasture.

The Nilotic group comprises of Lugbara, Madi, Acholi, Langi, Kakwa and Alur and they are known to be originating from Sudan but they later settled in the West Nile and some other parts of Northern Uganda.

The Baganda are concentrated in central Uganda and they are popular for their distinct ceremonial occasions that are prepared to fulfill the cultural rituals and norms, commemoration, remembrance, observance and inauguration. Among the common ceremonies in Buganda include the “okwalula abalongo” which can be translated as initiative of twins, the introduction which is locally known as “okwanjula” and King’s birth day.
The traditional cultural dances are very vital as it is one way of bringing people together, entertaining the king and a symbol of identity to the Baganda culture. There are also many key cultural sites that include a UNESCO world heritage site “Kasubi tombs” a place where bodies of the former kings were laid to rest.

In conclusion, Uganda is a true cultural melting pot. Despite the wildlife endowments that, the Uganda's culture and people remarkably unique and every tribe has its own history and traditions. Come and prove the diverse cultures and ethnic groups from different origins that are ingrained into this small country. Enjoy Uganda’s cultural dances, artifacts, attractions, life styles and breathtaking cultural stories and many other things.