Ruboni village experience (5 days)

Ruboni is a village located in the Rwenzori foothills. The village is drained by River mubuku at the entrance gate to Rwenzori mountains national park in Kasese district. the location is to the west, off fort portal Kasese road. It is 6km from Kasese town and the branch off is at Nkenda electric terminal, 10km on Kasese fort portal road.

Ruboni village is a beautiful jewel tucked in the hills. Entering the village is like paradise with the beautiful views of the mountains. You’re welcomed by the portal peaks that form the forefront of the Rwenzori Mountains.  The road rolls along River Mubuku, passing through small trading centers, homesteads and local household farms with coffee, bananas and small roadside markets. This beauty o the village is accompanied by the friendly people that offer endless smiles and waves as if to welcome you to the magical valley.

Ruboni has a whole range of attractions that will take beyond the time available to every visitor. In just one village, you have over 50 attractions to explore. The forests, the rivers with waterfalls, hill treks, cultural encounters, fresh foods and the rocky river beds that make common site in Ruboni village.

In Ruboni community forest that neighbors Rwenzori Mountains National park, you will be immersed in nature beyond your imagination. With a local experience guide, you will walk this natural haven looking for the different varieties of reptiles where you will be perplexed to view the great Rwenzori three-horned chameleon, the elusive strange horned chameleon and many others all in their natural habitat. In this forest, you can also find primates, unique birds including the Rwenzori Turaco, and a great variety of trees and plants as you cross the magical rivers flowing from Rwenzori Mountains.

The many rivers offer great natural scenarios, rocky beds and rapids. Two river trails offer you the enormous water falls. This is river Ssebwe and river Nyabyayi. I bet very few people have seen the beauty like it lays in these falls. To each of the rivers of your choice, you will trek for close to the whole day exploring waterfalls.  These falls and river have a strong cultural attachment. The guide will tell you the local secreted ion the falls and surrounding trees or plants to show how the local people relate to them.

The Ruboni hills take you above the world. While you trek these hills, you will be able to view lake George in the queen Elizabeth plains and Margarita pea, the high mountain on Rwenzori. The hill treks give a good insight of the human settlement and traditional livelihoods in Ruboni village.

The homestead along the rivers, the road networks, the river valleys and parched on the hills showcased the local architecture and way of life of the Bakonzo people. Those who take an overnight on the hill top camps, are able to view both the sunrise in the east and margarita peak in the west at the same time; witnessing the magical moment while the sun trails this snow capped point on the roof of Uganda.

The Ruboni village walk is the true showcase of the Bakonzo life in the mountains. You will learn the traditional ways, but also be able to observe how the locals have perfectly integrate modern life in their traditional livelihoods.  It is an opportunity to learn the local traditions,local economies and the social life. The key highlights on this village cultural walk include; visiting the story teller, the traditional healer, the crafts producer, the farmer and the winery, coffee roasting and vanilla farming  experiences, going to the crafts markets to buy souvenirs or attending the traditional dances at the community visitors Centre in the evenings

A place to stay at are no longer a challenge while in Ruboni village. Ruboni village has a range of accommodation facilities ranging from luxury, mid-range, budget and shoestring. This way, Ruboni caters for all budgets and comfort ranges.  Guests choose from the over 100 beds that are available at the different categories every night.  Besides, those who want to camp will easily find the secured camping grounds with or without tents.

Getting to Ruboni and the transportation is only by road. The distance is 18km from Nkenda electric terminal on Kasese fort portal road or 28km from Kasese town.  For easy direction, Ruboni village is on google maps and open street map. The travel is either by car or by Bodaboda for those who wish to travel local at a low level of comfort. Transport is easy to arrange from these two locations. Please note that, public car transport is scarce, so those using car will find it easier with a private hire that is easily found in Kasese or organized by Ruboni tourism village initiative.

How to book Ruboni experience:

Most facilities in Ruboni village are found online. Visitors can easily book on popular platforms such as booking, Air Bnb, social media, google maps, and websites. None the less, you can book through Ruboni Tourism Village initiative, the consortium of all tourism enterprises in the village. to be updates about Ruboni village, you can follow the hash tag #RuboniVillage or any links to your choice activities in the village. The village has no bank or ATM, the nearest being 28km in Kasese town. However, payment is easy, Ruboni village tourism facilities accept credit card payment. Cash payments on arrival are preferred in Uganda shilling, though you may be billed in US dollars.

Sample itinerary of Ruboni experience:

Day 1: Arrive at Ruboni village, check in the hotel, have dinner and overnight in the lodge overlooking the mountains

Day 2: Early breakfast and start your first tour. The options to select from include, the forest walk, the hill trek or the water falls tours. Return in the afternoon and have lunch.  After lunch relax at the hotel or take free unguided walks in the village as you meet the people . Dinner and overnight.

Day 3: Early breakfast and take your second experience. You will go tree planting. The planting of indigenous trees is done either on communal or household gardens. The activities to participate in will depend on the season. These may range from working in the tree nursery, planting, weeding or seed collection from the forest. In all this activity you will be working with the community members on their daily rutine. After work, return to the hotel for lunch and relaxation.

In the afternoon, you will participate in a village walk. In the village walk, you will visit the home experiences to see how people live as you participate in their daily life. You can chose to visit several homes or spend a full day at one home to internalize the Bakonzo life in the mountains. If it is a large group, you can divide to different homes based on choice and interest.

Day 4: Today, you will sleep in and have a late breakfast. After lunch, you will walk to the Community Visitors Centre to spend the rest of the day with the community. The Centre has a local restaurant, bar, gardens and food. Dine out with the locals, drink with them, attend the traditional dances at the Community Visitors Centre, and get the cooking experience. After trying the local soft and alcoholic drinks, you will retire to your accommodation for dinner and overnight. The optional drinks available include, organic fruit juices, banana wine, and banana Gin (or called Kasese-Kasese) as the strongest alcohol you will try in life. While at the Centre, you can be taken through the demos experience of making them on request.

Day 5: after an early breakfast, guests have a choice to take one last tour in the community before they depart. The options to select from include, the forest walk, the hill trek or the water falls tours. Return in the afternoon and have lunch.  After lunch, checkout and depart to the next destination.

This itinerary is not made of stone. it can be taken as whole or be modifies to ones choice, available time and resources.  It is available to tailor to ones interest.

Other activities you can do while in Ruboni village.

Beyond the five days Ruboni village has a lot more to offer. This village is the best and oldest entry point into Rwenzori mountains national park. With a little more budget, strength and time, visitors can explore the inside of the park using Ruboni village as the base. This can be either on a day trek (nature walk), an overnight trek or multi-day treks.

The the nature walk takes guests either to Buraru diamond trail or to Nyabitaba camp and the surroundings. The overnight trek spends one night in the areas of Nyabithaba, Lake Mahoma or on Mahoma trail. The multi day treks will take visitors up to to ones point of choice on the central circuit trail. The longest multi-day trek can take up to seven days bringing trekkers to Margarita peak, the Highest point at 5109 meters above sea level.

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