TOP TEN COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES AT THE TEN NATIONAL PARKS OF UGANDA. (4)
What are your expectations for a trip to Uganda? You may be coming to Uganda for the impressive wildlife safaris, the landscape, or any other of the many attractions. I would like to share the ten community activities that you can select from if you want to make a unique and memorable experience during your trip. They are;
1). Bigodi swamp walk – Kibale National Park
Walking in a 4.5 km trail through the forest canopy, wetlands, boardwalks, and villages as you explore a list of 200 bird species and 9 primate species. Other wildlife is also found there. The 4 sq km wetland is located next to Kibale National park, surrounded by community gardens. Besides the wild animals, the sanctuary is home to varied plant species, amphibians, batter flies, reptiles, and other micro insects life.
Other community activities nearby: You can also choose from other community activities in the area. These include the Bigodi cultural walk, the traditional lunch at Tinka’s homestay; Turaco trails nature tour, the crater lakes tours, and the Tooro museum.
Activities inside Kibale National Park: Chimp tracking or habituation, forest nature walks, a Primate tour, and a birding trail.
2). Ruboni hill climb trek – Rwenzori mountains national park
In the Ruboni village located in the Rwenzori foothills, you will be climbing one of the tallest hills located outside the park. The trek starts at 1600m to the peak at 2400m above sea level. The trail takes through residential villages with coffee and banana gardens. During the trek, the view is rewarding as you progress on the trail. The mountains and plains appear to get closer over the hills. On a clear day, while at the peak, you will be able to view Margarita peak, the highest point on Mount Rwenzori at 5019m. Besides, the views of the Mubuku valley are satisfying. It is an opportunity to follow the journey of river Mubuku from Rwenzori Mountains to Lake George in Queen Elizabeth National Park from one point.
Other community activities nearby: Besides the day hill trek, you can choose from other available activities like; overnight on the top of the hill, participation in the forest walk; the village walks or joining the cultural events conducted every evening in the village (booking essential).
Activities inside Rwenzori Mountains National Park: Those intending to go inside the park, you can choose from a number of nature activities. They include a one-day nature walk, three days Mahoma trek, or multiday treks that can take you from 2 to 8 days that bring you to margarita peak.
3). Kikorongo Bodaboda safari – Queen Elizabeth national park
Riding on a two-wheeler with the local guide, you will be exploring the local communities, landscapes, and animals around Queen Elizabeth National park. The safari starts from Kikorongo and goes for 69.8km in a loop, part on community land and part through the National park. On this safari, you have a 99.9% chance of seeing wild animals that may include waterbucks, Uganda cobs, buffalos, hippos, warthogs, birds, and sometimes cats.
Other community activities: On the same safari, you can join the traditional salt mining exercise at Lake Katwe, the birding tour on Lake Munyanyange where you can see the lesser flamingos in season, The Katwe village tour, and traditional dance. Other activities that you can select from at Kikorongo include; the hills treks to the mountain lake, the crafts weaving workshop, the traditional dance, the cotton-growing tour, and the Kikorongo village experience.
Activities inside the park: Katunguru boat cruise, wildlife safari on Kasenyi tracks, lion tracking with the carnivore research project, Chimp tracking in Kyambra, night game drive, and others that can be organized at the local lodge.
4). Boomu cooking tour – Murchison Falls National Park
It is an experience of making a local traditional dish out of local ingredients. The process starts from the farm to the table. You will go to the farm with the local Munyoro woman to harvest the full variety of local crops; participate in preparing the food and cooking it, through serving it and enjoying the delicious local meal you made with your own hands. Through the process, you will learn the traditional tricks and lessons on selecting, harvesting, peeling, cooking, and serving the local food.
Other community activities: While at Boom and if you have more time or a different taste, you can also participate in other available community activities. They include; the village walk, the crafts weaving workshop, and visiting the local school.
Activities inside Murchison falls national park: Inside Murchison Falls national park, you will be able to find more natural wonders on additional days of your trip. They include; the wildlife safari in the Nile delta, the boat cruise on the Nile, visiting the top of the falls, and forest exploration activities in Budongo Forest that include chimp trekking, nature walks, and birding experiences.
5). Sipi waterfalls tour – Mount Elgon National Park
On this 7 to 8 km long trail, the tour takes you through the visit to one of the highest waterfalls in Uganda at 100 meters. The other two falls on the upper stage of the river are shorter but as powerful. The trails take guests to the three waterfalls with an option of ending midway if guests choose to. The waterfalls are well placed on a great landscape overlooking Karamoja plains, a view that will likely remain in your mind long after the trek. The tour is entirely outside the park. It goes through the rustic villages and sections of natural vegetation where you can spot unique wildlife such as the birds, Chameleons amongst the forested rocky landscape. At the waterfalls, you find unique picture moments in the scenery under or behind the falls as you explore the unique volcanic rocks.
Other community activities: On a longer stay, guests can participate in other community activities in the area. They include; the coffee experience, rock climbing and abseiling, the village walk with an option of a sundowner, and the cultural experience that includes the beer parties and other cultural demonstrations.
Activities inside Mount Elgon National Park: Other than the waterfalls tour and other community activities, you will find other nature activities inside Mount Elgon National Park. These multiday volcano climbing treks are conducted on different and each one leading up to Wagagai peak, the highest at 4321m. These trails include birding and nature walking, the Sasa trail, Sipitrail, Piswa trail, and alternative hiking Combining several trails or doing the transboundary option between Uganda and Kenya.
6). The Batwa trail experience – Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
As exited from the forest of Bwindi and Mgahinga due to conservation reasons, the Batwa indigenous people still have fresh memories of their forest life. As they hunted, collected water and firewood hunted for the little mammals, honey, and mushrooms, or built their huts. It seems this was a life of abundance they can never forget. The Batwa people lived symbiotically with the gorillas and other wildlife. During this tour, the Batwa people take guests through this experience, to show them the love they have for the forest and the life they once lived there. Allot to learn on the tour. You will be inspired by the small things they did, that matter a lot to them, and how friendly they are to the forest.
Other community activities: Other community activities that you can participate in include; a tour on Lake Mutanda looking for birds and other wildlife such as otters, the Kisoro coffee experience, a cave tour with the Mgahinga community, and the farming experience with the local potato farmers.
Activities inside Mgahinga Gorilla National Park: These include volcano climbing, Forest nature walks, birding tours, Gorilla tracking, golden monkey tracking, or touring the visitor information center at the entrance gate.
7). The cow watering experience – Lake Mburo National Park
The Bachwezi culture is profound around Lake Mburo National Park. This unique culture rotates around the Ankole long-horned cattle. In this part o the country, a cow is an icon of culture, wealth, and admiration in every household. The cow watering experience showcases one of the cherished times the Munyankole cattle keeper relates with the cow as any one of the family members. The cow watering activity is when the herd of cattle is taken to the watering pool and manually served with water. It is done two times a day. A special vocabulary, music, activities, and signs are used by the cattle keeper. Even the cows understand this special mode of communication. During the experience, you will also hear the stories explaining the relationship of man and the cows, as you participate in this activity with the locals.
Other community activities: Other community activities to select from, when at Lake Mburo national park include; Igongo cultural museum, the eclipse monument, a traditional dance performance at Rwabarata drama actors, Rubale fishing village, cattle milking, milk churning, and cooking experience.
Activities inside Lake Mburo National Park: The park has a good selection of activities including the launch trip, trekking on the Kigarama hills and Kazuma lookout point, game drives and night drives, walking, cycling and horseback riding looking for unique wildlife in the different parts of the park, spot fishing at Mazinga fishing point, visiting the salt lick to look for wild animals in action, birding to explore a list of the 310 bird species in this park and ending the day with a memorable sundowner in the evening.
8). Buhoma villge walk – Bwindi National park. ( the impenetrable forest)
A village likes none in Uganda, is naturally placed at the most popular gorilla destination of Uganda. This community has assimilated to build relationships with the mountain gorilla habitat and tourism activities in every way. You will prove how the people and gorillas share the same natural resources, during the Buhoma village walk. Whether by bike or walking it with a local guide, you will participate in the different livelihoods and local ways of life to fully understand how, at the beer brewing point, the local school, the tea plantation, in the forest, on River Munyaga washing and water collection point. You will conclude the journey at the Batwa indigenous people to share their story in music, dance, and crafts about their former life in the forest with the gorillas before they were forcefully kicked out, at the creation of Bwindi Forest National Park.
Other community activities: Bicycle tours on the hilly community roads, the Batwa experience, handicrafts shopping, traditional dance performance, Craft making workshops at Ride 4 a woman
Activities inside Bwindi National Park: Birding tours, Forest nature walks, Gorilla tracking,
9). The people of Karamoja and their culture: – Kidepo Valley National Park
The Karamojong is a unique tribe in northwestern Uganda. The majority of Ugandans don’t know a thing about this tribe but just the blurry myths about their culture. The Karamojong are closer to the foreign tribes than they are to the Ugandan tribes. This is why their culture is unique. They share some components of their culture with the Masai, Toposa, and Turkana, and Kalenjin in Sudan and Kenya respectively.
The lifestyle in Karamoja is outstanding and worth exploring. The settlements, cattle, the craal, crafts making, dances and music, dressing code food, and diet are the interesting parts of their culture that visitors can participate in. You will visit the Ik tribe’s men on Munt Murogole.
The unique cultures in Karamoja may blow your mind; Choosing a marriage partner by wrestling, drinking cow blood and urine fresh as part of their diet, life with the cattle amidst cow riding as part of their culture, and many other aspects. Living in collective villages (Manyata), you may choose to visit the one in Kotido which is the largest African village in east Africa where about 50 families live collectively in one large enclosure with all their cattle property and family members, each one doing their social roles perfectly.
Specific Community activities: A visit to Lorukul Cultural Group, visiting the Ik tribe on mount Murogole, a visit to the largest Manayta in Kotido, a visit to the handicrafts markets and displays, cycling experience in Karamoja
Activities inside Kidepo valley National park: A wildlife safari, a visit to the hot springs, popular game drives such as Narus valley game drive and Kidepo valley drive, great opportunities for birding experiences looking fr over 470 bird species. Hiking to unique trails such as on Lomej Mountains, along Kidepo River, Namamkweny valley, and Murogole mountains outside the park
10). Batwa livelihood cultural experience: – Semliki National Park
The Batwa “pigmies” is an indigenous tribe in western Uganda, on the borders of Congo. Specifically, they live aound Mgahinga, bwindi, Bunyonyi and semluki national park. The sect near Semliki national park lives alongside other three indigenous ethnic groups; Bakonzo, Batuku, and Bamba. Of the four, Batwa are the forest people whose livelihood depended on hunting and gathering until they were evicted from the park for conservation reasons.
The Batwa in Semliki stands out from other Batwa sects in Uganda. They have a unique click language, their social structure with a royal hierarchy; originate from the congo basin and their diet is mainly made up of leaves, fruits, roots, and meat. During the time you spend with them, they demonstrate this kind of life in the songs, dances, crafts, and lifestyle. On the Batwa cultural trail, you will be able to visit the sacred area where Batwa cultural functions are held from. You can also attend the cultural performances where the Batwa share their fate and story of life.
Other community activities: Visiting several communities to participate in their lifestyles. these communities include 1). Ntoroko fishing community, 2). Rwebisengo community, 3). Karugutu kyabandara community, 4).Visiting the crafts market of the Batwa, 5).Kasesenge kyakabaseke community
Activities inside Semliki National Park: Visiting the hot springs at Sempaya, birding tour, forest walk, primate trekking, a boat tour along with Lake Albert,
If you want to add any of the above ten cultural encounters to your trip during your safari in Uganda please contact us and we will tailor it on your trip. You can also explore our list of eight community tourism accommodations in Uganda (2).