UGANDA TOURISM OFFERS NOVEL ATTRACTIONS FOR VISITORS
(Posted 08th May 2015)
Coming to Uganda on a big game safari to see the big five or to track primates like mountain gorillas, chimpanzees and the other 12 species of primates found across The Pearl of Africa sounds just like the normal thing to do, considering the honours heaped upon the country in recent years by Lonely Planet, CNN and others who visited and found nothing wanting.
But coming to Uganda to see cattle? Milk and feed cattle even?
Ugandans are never shy, or should I say they are no longer shy to showcase their culture and those things most valuable to them and cattle rearing, in particular the exquisite breed unique to our country, the Ankole long horns, is very much part of the daily economic and cultural activity in particular in the South and South West of the country.
Of course is no ordinary tourist just coming to see those herds on the range land where they graze but increasingly often are tourists now adding such added attractions to their itineraries when travelling across the country in search of adventure.
Ether Kyambadde of Churchill Tailored Safaris the other day took pride to share her unique way of introducting Uganda’s hidden treasures to visitors and building in visits to a cattle ranch into the touring itinerary and when asked she was happy to write a summary of what and how she is doing it:
Cultural Visits are a great way to really get to know our beautiful region. If you find yourself with days to spare before a flight or you just want to break up the safaris with a few alternative activities then this is what you need.
One of these ways is a visit to the Nshenyi Cultural Village; Located approximately two hours from Mbarara, Nshenyi is traditionally a pastoralist area. Cattle are deeply ingrained on the lives and culture of the people of Nshenyi, when one accumulates 100 heads of Ankole longhorn cattle, a bell is put around the neck of one of the most prized cows to express ones achievement. The sound of the bell not only pleases the owner of the herd, but also guides the herdsmen towards the herd if they stray. It also guards them against theft because the herdsmen are always listening out for the sound of the bell.
It is hard to believe but every cow has a name and will respond to their name when called. The names relate to their behavior, character, skin patterns, size, shape of horns and their position in the herd.
Nshenyi village is your perfect gate way into the Ankole culture. You will learn how to milk cows with your bare hands; you may join the pastors to learn the skill of setting out cows to graze (Oksetura) plus all the sophistication involved. You can also spend some time in the field while grazing the cows where you also get to water the cows (Okweshera). Or enjoy the process of turning milk into ghee (Okuchunda) while sitting within a charming traditional hut.
Come and experience the traditional way of living, the ease of the Ugandan countryside and the sanctity of silence. Relax in the rare comforts of nature and discover the rural charm of untouched Africa.
Besides the Nshenyi Cultural village, there are several other cultural safaris that you can join such as;
Home Stay And Cultura Safari To Wobulenzi
The highlight of this trip is to experience real Africa, meet and interact with the local people, learn about the Uganda culture and history.
You will be able to learn the local dialect, teach you about the local foods available, how they are grown, harvested and then later start with the cooking.
Hoima Cultural Safaris
One of the places you shouldn’t fail to visit is Hoima; Hoima is not only the district where oil exploration and drilling is taking place but it’s also where you will find the palace of the King for Bunyoro Kitara. You will be able to visit the Mparo Tombs, Emin Pasha Monument (the point where Kabalega met Emin Pasha), visit the Kabalega cave and tunnels and also get a chance to play mweso (board game) on the same grounds as the Bachwezi.
The Batwa Trail
During this moving tour, the Batwa demonstrate hunting techniques; gather honey; point out medicinal plants and demonstrate how to make bamboo cups.
Guests are then invited to the sacred Ngarama Cave, once home to the Batwa King to be entertained by traditional music and dance.
Buhoma Village Walk
Overlooking the imposing hillsides of Bwindi Impenetrable forest, with the mist swirling over the summits, this is one of the most dramatic settings for your cultural tour! Among others, meet a traditional healer, who not only treats the sick, but uses his knowledge to conserve and educate about the various medicinal plants.
Kikorongo Cultural Performance
Kikorongo means "Too Much Sunshine" in the local language of Lukonzo – but the intense heat of the African plains has done nothing to diminish the energy of the Kikorongo Equator Cultural Performers! This vibrant performance is a wonderful glimpse of life in Kikorongo, with dance, drama, songs and even a fire-making competition.
Kikorongo African Art Workshop
Traditional crafts hold a special significance in Ugandan villages. Small baskets of groundnuts as a sign of friendship; a calabash on top of a house to ward off evil spirits or a traditional healer´s woven purse filled with natural remedies. Kikorongo Women Community invites you to learn their traditional skills during this fascinating workshop.
Katwe Salt Lake Tour
This tour offers a unique insight into the fascinating process of salt mining, as well as providing an alternative income for Katwe. During the tour you will see community members at work, cross the mud walkways and enter one of the traditional grass huts used to shelter and store tools. The nearby bird sanctuary lake offers a chance to see flamingos from October to May.
Nkuringo Cultural Centre
Why not learn a new skill during your trip to Uganda? Here in the remote village of Rubuguri, tucked away in the steep hillsides bordering Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the welcoming residents love to share their expertise with visitors. Choose from African cooking, traditional weaving, or – for those who are feeling a little more energetic – a dancing and drumming workshop is available.
Even the official promotion of the country is now focusing more and more on such niches, to bring Uganda’s great variety of different cultures and kingdoms to the fore and tourists are in fact embracing these opportunities, wanting to break away from the traditional single purpose big game and gorilla safaris and learn more about the country they visit and take home an entirely more holistic view and understanding of Uganda.
Known as one of Africa’s greatest adventure destinations and home to many of the remaining mountain gorillas and chimp populations, as well as other primates, is Uganda now also aiming at religious tourism through pilgrimages and of course, as described, the wider spread of adding cultural and historical elements in the tours and safaris visitors take.
Entebbe is now connected to the world by daily flights from all the leading Gulf airlines, Emirates, Qatar Airways, FlyDubai and since the beginning of May also by Etihad, apart from five daily flights by Kenya Airways, four daily flights by RwandAir, double daily flights by Ethiopian, daily flights by South African and several flights per week by Brussels Airlines, KLM and British Airways, among others. This allows travelers from around the world to reach Uganda often with just one stop enroute with just five flying hours from the Gulf and up to 8 hours from the main European gateways.
For more information about Uganda and her national parks click on www.visituganda.com or click on www.ugandawildlife.org