If you meet the people, they can tell you the story about wildlife, but if you meet the wildlife, Animals or plants may not tell you the story about the people. This means, if you meet the people during your travel, you get an opportunity to experience both the wildlife and the people. Similarly, how you plan to travel to queen Elizabeth national park, will have a big impact on your safari experience.
The community youth at kikorongo have started community tourism experiences that arrange opportunities for travelers to experience queen Elizabeth national park in the most unique way. Visiting the people and wildlife on the same journey. The have created community activities that start in the community and tell a story of their life with wildlife. Not only the big five, the birds or the cats. They tell the entire story of their land and soils, the plants, the smallest insects that you probably don’t see during the game drive or boat cruise, the social culture including naming and art work, the traditional dance and their culture aspects.
After the story of the people and how they have lived with wildlife over generations, they now take you on their own game drive. The game drive can be on car or on boda-boda. The boda-boda is a local name for a customized motorcycle used as a form of public transport in east African villages and urban centers. One guest sits with one rider on the boda-boda and the adventurous safari starts. It is even more fun if they are a swam of boda-bodas on the same safari. If guest choose, they take a car (costs a little more) and go on the safari that starts with driving through the communities farming, grazing cattle and all other local trades. Passing by local homesteads, roadside markets, local schools and churches f all beliefs. This will include the African religion when you visit the traditional healer and story tellers who use African art and theory to heal ailments of those who don’t have money to go for modern medicine.
After the farmers and cattle keepers’ villages, you will now reach at the historical slat mining grounds. At Katwe Salt Lake, you will have all chances to observe how the women and men extract salt using their bare hands and entire body sometimes. You can even participate in some activities to be able to learn the true story of how people and wildlife have tamed this salt field to support livelihoods since the 16th century. You will see and learn how salt is produced without any machinery and transported a shore, the types of salt products and how far they are traded across the country and Africa and how this community of slat miners have adapted to live in one of the hottest parts of Uganda and with dangerous wildlife like crocodiles, lions, buffalos, hippos and others in their neighborhoods. While still here, you can choose to go on a birding trail via lake Munyanyange to learn why lesser flamingos fly from Kenya to come and visit this lake every year. You will find many other species of bird, with an experience birding guide you will be able to identify the indigenous and all other type of migratory birds, understand where they come from or heading to and why they move those long-extended journeys as far as Europe, Kenya, south Africa and other parts of the globe. This is when you will realize that you’re not the only one who flew to Uganda, but some birds too. Still in Katwe, you can visit the local communities in the village to learn the local life and lake Edward shores to experience the life at the fishing villages, launch a careful search of crocodiles as you learn how they affect the local life, after a good time in Katwe village, take your transport to connect to kikorongo. This journey on last part of the safari is through the park. This is the best time of looking for game and wildlife. You will also have opportunities to stop in places to see wildlife near and far. You will have chances to observe scores of wildlife relaxing on the edges the craters in the park. The common wildlife you will find include elephants, buffalos, antelopes, warthogs, baboons, birds of varied types and sometimes the cats.
In the afternoon or on a different day, you will have an opportunity to join the boat cruise on Kazinga channel, here you will find multitudes of wildlife, including some of which you may have missed on community wildlife drive. Kazinga channel is the best place you can find game in all one place. The wildlife here includes birds, buffalos, elephants, hippos, crocodiles and others depending on the time of the day and season. This channel offers one of the best cruises in Uganda. It is a 40km channel that connects two rich fresh water lakes; Edward and George. The cruise takes a return journey of two hours looking for wildlife. While on the journey, the boat will sometimes stop or get closer to the shores to give guests better observation and picture moments. The local guide comes along on the boat cruise to explain the background of all community and wildlife features found during the boat tour. Most interestingly, these guides are so motivated to show you their home and wildlife. It is like a song recounting the life they have lived all through.
The community at kikorongo has lived with wildlife in queen Elizabeth national park all their life. They have much to share with you that you will not find anywhere on your game drives and safaris inside the park. The visit to this community highly complements your wildlife safari. Wildlife and the people impact each other considerably. As the human population increases the gap between the people and the park is getting bigger as they compete for the same habitat. In most cases, wildlife is at the losing side. One community member said; when we cross to the park to collect firewood, we are either short at, arrested or attacked by wildlife to death. When the wildlife comes to our community gardens, we are not supposed to harm them, they are given a safe return by the park rangers and no community member or the park authority is required to arrest them. In response, the community has chosen to cooperate with wildlife through arranging this tour so that it is okay when we visit wildlife just like it is okay for them to visit us in the community.
When you choose to do this community safari you support conservation in this way and get other benefits which include; spending less budget on your wildlife trip, experiencing more than the ordinary tourist and getting inspired by the local way of life. The safari experience is entirely organized and operated by the community. You will realize the quality but affordable accommodation that is run by communities outside the park. They have local experienced riders, drivers and guides who take you around. and no park entrance fees are required. However, those who have more time can also easily supplement it with the safaris organized inside the park or explore the community more with those in other areas around queen Elizabeth national park, such chimp tracking, crater lakes tours, a visit to Kasoga and other fishing villages. Please contact us to join this safari during your visit to queen Elizabeth national park. Whether you need transportation, lodging or just booking you on this tour, we will do it in a timely and efficient way.