Friday, 18 January 2019

DISCOVER ANKOLE'S UNIQUE HISTORY AT ITAABA KYABANYORO



Each kingdom in Uganda like any other part of the world features its own unique history and so is Ankole Kingdom! Despite this fact, when it comes to cultural safaris in Uganda, very few places always feature on top list and Ankole Kingdom is rarely heard compared to others renowned cultural sites. For any plans to spend your holiday in western Uganda or perhaps you wish to make your safari a complete one in this region then the best is for you to consider Itaaba Kyabanyoro a must to visit and you will get the best of your cultural trip in this particular side of this magical country. Itaaba Kyabanyoro is one of Uganda’s most significant cultural site with unique history of Ankole Kingdom. It is from this site that the last king of the Mighty Bachwezi Empire ‘Wamala’ crafted the sacred Bagyendanwa royal drum. Today, it features among a few incredible tourist sites with rich history that is worth exploring while you are on Uganda safari

This sacred site is considered as a main source of power, dominance and right to command. It is believed that it is one of the greatest requirements for recognition of Ankole kings. In other words, no King of Ankole gets recognition by the locals without having this significant sacred drum. Amazingly, the Bagyendanwa and other royal drums can beat themselves in case something bad occurs within the kingdom for instance violations, discontent or abomination. They can only stop beating till the main cause of the abomination is discovered brought to light and dealt with by the kingdom officials who may decide to carry out some traditional rituals and occasions from any of their sacred places.

Location of Itaaba Kyabanyoro
This cultural site lies about a few kilometers off Mbarara Town just along the Mbarara-Kabale route in area known as Kinoni Rwampara. For any plans to explore parts of southwestern Uganda, this is one cultural landmark that you shouldn’t to miss. Other significant cultural sites for you to explore in Mbarara include Sanga cultural village-this is incredible cultural center for the Hima tribe. It is situated at Sanga junction and ideal for visitors on safari to Lake Mburo National Park. Traditional ornaments and regalia of the tribe also exist here and you can also have enjoyable cultural experiences on distinct cultural ways of the Hima women. Igongo cultural center a renowned site where most visitors on safari to western Uganda make stopovers at for lunch and a visit to its museum to explore more about the cultures and history of people of southwestern Uganda. You may also pay a visit to Nkokenjeru tombs if Ankole where the last two kings of Ankole kingdom were buried-Omugabe Kahaya the second who was buried in 1944 and Omugabe Rutahaba Gasyonga the second in 1982. This cultural treasure lies within Kakiika-Mbarara district

In conclusion, if you plan to pay a visit to western Uganda and specifically Mbarara, Itaaba Kyabanyoro is that one remarkable cultural site you shouldn’t miss to explore.

Friday, 4 January 2019

CAN I BRING MY PET IN A RENTAL CAR?



Do you have a pet that you want to travel with and you are not sure if it is allowed? Well, in Uganda, it is to the best of our knowledge that pets are part of the family and you need to get along with them while on your vacation. While pet policy may vary from one car Hire Company to another, most of them do accept pets in their car rentals and if you are lucky enough even at no additional cost. In most cases, they are allowed but one has to adhere to set terms and conditions of a particular car rental agency that include among others keeping the vehicle clean and how you have to look after your pet.

For those who are responsible enough, this isn’t a big problem but most importantly, it is always advisable that you get to know the stipulated terms and conditions for you to travel with pets. Normally, car rental companies are concerned with the cleanliness of their vehicle and this means that you may incur extra charge if you do not return the car clean and free of odors. The charge may vary from one Car Rental Company to another but in most cases, you may part away with a cleaning fee of about $125. This also means that if your dog or any pet caused unreasonable damage to car hire, you are liable for additional charge to repair the vehicle. Usually, some car hire company recommend that pets be in an approved carrier while in the vehicle while others the policies may differ depending on area of your visit. To be on a safer hand, better that you make a call and inquire more about pet policies in a car rental company you intend to deal with while on your holiday and also the likely charges.
  
Best tips to help you look after a car rental while traveling with a dog or any pet
 
Ø  Always be keen when getting the dog or any pet in or out of a car just to avoid the damaging pain work
Ø  Make the best use of seat protector/blanket to help stop excess dog hair getting over the seats
Ø  Make sure that you thoroughly vacuum the vehicle after use and make it fresh for the next user. The car should be cleaned thoroughly and get it of any lingering pet hair.
Ø  Ensure that your pets or dog is carefully strapped in a safe position in the boot/a crate. Smaller pets must be put in suitably good transportation box
Ø  The car rental must smell fresh for the next user
Ø  Do not leave your dog/pet in a parked vehicle. This is because the car can easily heat up in the course of the day and may make your pet heatstroke.
Ø  Make sure that you have breaks after a given period of time for you and the pet to walk and stretch as well as to allow your pet defecate outside. Ensure that you have kept water and snacks and the dog/pet shouldn’t over eat.
Ø  Your pet should also have a passport or proof of anti-parasite treatment

Friday, 28 December 2018

MEET THE BATWA PYGMIES AT SEMULIKI NATIONAL PARK


Like other national parks, a visit to Semuliki Valley National Park equally rewards travel endeavors beyond thrilling wildlife experiences. There are many local communities that adjacent this park and the Batwa pygmy community is among a few that you shouldn’t miss to pay a visit while on Uganda safari. The Batwa village is found just outside Semuliki National Park and the Batwa per say are renowned little people and traditionally their livelihood entirely depended on the forest. In other words, a forest was truly their treasure! The Batwa originated from the Ituri forest and they featured as hunters and gatherers-mainly depended on the forest for food, shelter, tools, medicine and many more. Currently, Uganda’s forests have massively been turned into farmland and the remaining portion of which belongs to the national parks. While on cultural safari in Uganda, you still meet the Batwa pygmies at Semuliki besides taking a trip to Bwindi or Mgahinga National Park.

The Batwa are a few unique creatures with rare cultural traits. In Rwanda, they are famous as the Twa and feature among the last groups of short statured people popularly called the pygmy people. They are the poorest tribal group and mainly inhabit the equatorial forests of the Great Lakes region of central Africa. In Uganda, they are fewer than 6000 based on the 2002 population census. Majority of them can be found in the southwestern districts of Kisoro, Kabale, Bundibugyo, Rukungiri and Kanungu. The size of the Batwa is a bit different from that of other tribes with men and women rising to an average of 4 feet or less in height, the tallest man in the Batwa community can be the shortest person in Bakiga village. Traditionally, they lived as hunters and gatherers staying temporarily in huts and caves depending on forest treasures especially wild fruits, mushrooms, honey, vegetables and many others. Around 1996, they are believed to live in 53 different settlements within just 41 villages. On average, every settlement comprised of 10 households and the size of the household ranged from single to 17 members. Regardless of them staying in separate settlements, this tribal group have a strong social relation and recognize themselves as a community. They share close attachments to certain areas within concomitant social formations which appear to derive directly from the ancient past. On the other hand, marriages usually occur based on clans but marriage among members of an individual settlement is not common due to close relations amongst such persons. The Batwa still practice social norms and customs that are linked to clanship similar to those in other tribes in East and Central Africa. Unlike other tribal groups, the Batwa do not have a clan leader and where he lives the fact that the resettlement programme was conducted.

Semuliki Valley National Park lies in the remote western part of the Rwenzori Mountain range west of Uganda. The easternmost extension of the Ituri forest of the Congo River basin in DRC makes up part of this protected area. Its valley comprises of varied natural wonders which are linked to Central other than Eastern Africa. The Semliki River is a miniature version of the Congo River and the forest offers refuge to varied wildlife species and not to forget local communities especially the Batwa community which originates from the Ituri forest. This park boasts of its over 441 avifaunal species, 216 of these are forest birds especially the forest ground thrush and Sassi’s olive greenbuls. Other birds to sight at this park include the red billed dwarf, spot breasted ibis, hartlaub’s duck, chestnut flanked goshawk, lyre tailed and zenker’s honeyguides, white throated blue swallow, black wattled horn bills a mention but a few. There are also 53 mammals 11 of which are endemic species-the pygmy antelopes and the 2 flying squirrel species. The other mammal species include leopards, buffaloes, elephants, hippos as well as many primate species including grey cheeked mangabeys, red tailed monkeys, vervet mention but a few.

To get to this park for a safari, the main route takes you via Fort Portal-Bundibugyo road and a 4 wheel drive car is the best option for your travel. To pay a visit to this park, take note that the wet season usually kick starts from March to May and short one begins from October to November and this period is characterized by heavy rainfall and it can be challenging for one to navigate through the remote route and a 4WD becomes the best choice for your journey. The dry season usually starts from June to September and December to February.