Besides Uganda being naturally blessed with multiple features like the legendary Mount Rwenzori ranges, Nile river which is the longest in the world, 10 national parks with vast species of wildlife, several tropical forests, continent’s largest lake Victoria with numerous islands like Ssese islands, it is also blessed with uncountable number of varied cultures.
Uganda has over 50 cultures all with different practices, customs, norms, values and languages plus other aspects that make them different from each other. The Ugandan cuisine also differs with these tribes, different cultures have unique ways of preparing specific food types.
The most special part about these cultures is that their people are warm and friendly. Their hospitality degree is at a point where you don’t even have to ask anyone for help when in need, they just assist anyone with empathy. The joy and excitement that they have for their visitors has pushed Uganda to the top notch cultural destinations in Africa and probably the best in the world.
Talking of the best cultural encounters in Uganda, the following destinations offer ultimate and unbeatable cultural experiences that visitors have been yearning for all their life time.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Batwa Cultural Encounter
Cultural encounters in Bwindi Forest National Park are notably the best encounters in Uganda. Though this park is located very far in the south western corner of the country, it is famously known as a home for the most sought after endangered ape species; the mountain gorillas. It also shelters the most ancient tribal group in Uganda; the batwa pygmies who used to depend on the forest for food and shelter.
Batwa are very short people of the jungle who have lived almost all their lives in the forests. Although they are now resettled outside the park territories, the Batwa still hold a very strong attachment with the impenetrable forest and particularly with the mountain gorillas.
Before their resettlement, the Batwa used to stay in caves within the forest, and to them God didn’t give them the height or the wealth, but he gave them the forest. They claim to possess the forest, a place from which they were forcefully evicted.
A cultural encounter with the Batwa pygmies gives you an opportunity to visit their traditional shrines, learn how these ancient people used to hunt with an arrow and bow and also to test the local cuisine of the community. They also sometimes offer music dance and drama performance to entertain their visitors. Note that you are always very free to engage in their dance and buy some of their crafts and art work.
Kidepo Valley National Park – Karamojong Cultural Encounters
Kidepo Valley National Park is an isolated wilderness destination located in the north eastern part of Uganda. It is surrounded by the notorious, cattle-herding Karamojong. Their main livelihood is herding livestock and live in locally built houses called the “Manyattas”. Visit the Lorukul Cultural Group, located just outside the park and discover the unique culture of this remote tribe.
The local site guides explain the cultural importance of traditional granaries and cattle enclosures. Learn how the villagers make their distinctive beads, sample the local cuisine, and even meet the Karamojong chief, who will narrate the tribe’s oral history and beliefs. Also engage in their traditional dance as they sing and jump up high like the eagles. The story behind each dance is detailed by the local guide. A cultural encounter in Kidepo valley national park is simply an amazing experience that one shouldn’t miss while on their cultural tour in Uganda.
Queen Elizabeth National Park – Local Community Tours
Queen Elizabeth national park is also another envelope of many different cultures that really have a lot to offer to their visitors. Visit the Leopard village, a community that promotes cultural and wildlife conservation through ecosystem in the park.
The village is situated in the northern sector of the park, and partners with other local communities of Kahendero, Hamukungu and Muhokya. The name leopard village originated from the people’s exceptional tolerance of the neighboring wildlife, particularly the leopards which often prey on the village livestock.
Communities so much welcome the opportunity of sharing information about their rich national resources and their cultural traditions to the tourists in the area. They share folk tales and knowledge about their pastoral and agricultural livelihoods. Performances of the traditional songs and dances by village members, school children and some specific groups like the Banyabindi cultural drama group, Basongora women cultural group and the Young men’s acrobatic crew are always also part of the cultural experience in Queen Elizabeth national park, an experience that you shouldn’t just miss recklessly.
Murchison Falls National Park – Banyoro Cultural Encounter
Cultural encounters in Murchison falls National Park. This park is surrounded by a wide range of communities reflecting different tribes of Uganda. The Banyoro in the south, Acholi in the northeast and Alur in the northwest all have different and interesting backgrounds that can be encountered by visitors on their cultural vacations in Uganda.
Most notably the Boomu Women’s group. This offers community trips that explore the heritage of the Bunyoro culture in their daily lives. The encounter ranges from participating in black smith to cultivation to food preparation, craft making plus, local home stays and craft making. There are also energetic dancers who impressively perform traditional dances for the tourists all summing up to one amazing cultural safari experience in Murchison falls national park.
Mityana – Entanda Cultural Village
Would you like to experience the cultural of the Baganda People, the dominant tribe in Central Uganda? The Entanda Cultural Experience brings culture to life during your safari in Uganda. During your visit to this site, you will be taught about the lifestyle of the Baganda People. You can also engage in the day to day activities of the Baganda people including hunting, cooking, local brewing, collecting medicine and more.
Indeed, Uganda is the best cultural safari destination you would ever visit. If you have not visited it yet, don’t let this summer pass you by.