Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Ngamba Island is a solitary island which is found within Lake Victoria. It is surrounded by the fresh waters of the lake. It is a peaceful sanctuary home for the rescued and causality chimpanzees. The chimpanzees that are residents of Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary today were rescued from poachers who were attempting to smuggle them away from their natural environment.

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary was established in the 1998 with the aim of taking care of the injured orphaned chimpanzees which have been rescued from the various parts of East Africa. It is under the management of non-profitable organization popularly known as the Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWCT). This organization is in partnership with other six wildlife organiasation that have volunteered towards the conservation and welfare of Wildlife. These include Born Free Foundation, Jane Goodall Institute, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Uganda wildlife Society, Uganda Wildlife education Centre and the Environmental Conservation in Trust of Uganda.

Ngamba Island occupies about 100 acres of land dominated by the rainforest vegetation which is home to over 49 rescued chimpanzees individuals from poachers. It is situated about 27 kilometers south east of Entebbe city and the Island is rich in a diversity of abundant natural wildlife. it is supports a variety of natural foods which the chimpanzees the sanctuary feast on every day.

After the causality chimpanzees have been rescued, they will have to first undergo a training so as they get transitioned from the all sorts of trauma that they experienced from the poachers when they taking them away from their families, this training helps them to acknowledge the current situation and gets them back to normal before they are introduced to as new members in the sanctuary which they will call their new home.

Apparently Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is one of the most famous primate destinations with impressive numbers of chimpanzee populations which can be easily spotted without the too much hassle of trekking the whole just like in other destinations which are home to the chimpanzees. The island has got a viewing point where you can clearly view the chimpanzees playing, feeding as well as observing their lifestyle patterns on this isolated intriguing island.

A visit to Ngamba Island Sanctuary will offer you a thrilling and exciting moments of the chimpanzee experience. The chimpanzees coexist together with other primate animals like the monkeys which have been gazetted in this unusual natural setting.

Activities in Ngamba Island

Chimpanzee watching in Ngamba island

The main purpose of gazetting Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary was to locate a home for the traumatized and touched chimpanzees which were rescued from poachers who give a very tough experience to these amazing creatures. Ngamba island offers an extraordinary chimpanzee watching experience since there is no need of searching for the Chimpanzees as it is in other different places that are home to the  chimpanzees.

Sanctuary has got a viewing point where visitors can stand to view and observe clearly the chimpanzees for quite some time. The viewing point that was fitted for the visitors has been significant in preventing the spread of communicable diseases of human beings to the chimpanzees such as Flue, Cough among others. it has also  helped to limited direct interaction with chimpanzees and people.

The viewing point has been used as safety boundary to tourists from being attacked by the new chimpanzee individuals that have been recently introduced in the sanctuary and still recovering from the previous experience.

Ngamba Island forest walk

The guided forest walk is done by guests that have stayed at Ngamba Island for an overnight. The guided forest walk offers you an opportunity to see the Juvenile Chimpanzees plus other wildlife such as mice, lizard, snakes, and monkeys among others.

The Infant chimpanzee integration

The program is aimed at initiating the baby chimpanzees that have been rescued from poachers. The management introduced a social training system which may not take one day. Here the young chimpanzees are taught how to cope up with the new enviroment in the rainforests of Ngamba Island. The time taken during the integration period will depend on certain factors such as sex, age and the level of trauma.

Chimpanzee care taker experience

This gives you an opportunity to get close to the chimpanzees while feeding them. Being a care taker involves preparing food for the chimpanzees for that day, engaging in offering the medical assistance to the injured ones, feeding and monitoring the improvement the newly introduced members among other responsibility engagement required for the chimpanzees. This activity is extremely rewarding and memorable.

Who Named Uganda “The pearl of Africa”

Who named Uganda the pearl of Africa – Ever since the coming of the early Explorers, Uganda has been known as “The pearl of Africa”.  Different European explores traveled to Uganda about 15000 years ago and they played a big role in discovering and adventuring the beauty of her motherland. The first European explores were the britsh such as Sir John Hannington Speke and James grant who were searching for the source of the Nile in the year 1862. These were followed by Sir Samuel baker and Charles George Gordon who were tracing for the Egyptian troops. Later Sir Henry Morton Stanley arrived to spread Christianity. He was welcomed by Kabaka Muteesa. Other Explorers continued to travel in Uganda such as Fredrick Luggard who was a britsh Administrator during the colonial rule, Sir Winston Churchill who came to find out how England can benefit from Uganda although he ended up popularizing Uganda due to his Phrase Uganda -“The Pearl of Africa”. a lot of explorers followed who never left Uganda the same both economically, spiritually and socially.

Who named Uganda the pearl of Africa ? – Sir Winston Churchill

Churchill is one of the great explorers that are highly recognized in the early history of Uganda. Historically Churchill is remembered for his great impact on the tourism economy of Uganda.  Sir Winston Churchill is believed to have named Uganda-“The Pearl of Africa” a phrase that helped to promote the tourism of the her motherland. By then Churchill had never seen the current key attractions in the Uganda which is the endangered mountain gorillas in Bwindi forest that is one of the great natural wonder of the world.

It is important to note that Churchill’s main purpose of his trip to Africa was to find how England can economically benefit from Uganda which was a British protectorate by then.

He made Uganda famous all over the world in one of his book named “My African Journey” where he continuously phrased Uganda as the “Pearl of Africa”. This slogan was frequently used by Churchill due to fact that on his trip to Uganda he had concentrated on Uganda’s Wealth, Raw materials, and resources that can be utilized to benefit the British. Ironically the slogan “The pearl of Africa” boasted the pride of Ugandans especially after independence in 1962 and ever since then sir Winston Churchill has always been given credit for raising the Uganda Flag to another level in the world.

According to other articles, they bring out the evidence that Jane Flowers is an author that supplemented on what Churchill had already written. Jane Flowers confirms in her book, “Uganda is truly the Pearl of Africa” thus this was just an addition to prove that phrase made by Churchill.

Other Literatures articles such as; “The Uganda Railway” offer credit to Henry Morton Stanley for calling Uganda “The Pearl of Africa”. This was clearly stated on the pages of 719-720 as evidence to his phrases in the book.

It is also believed that Churchill’s Original master pieces written never had the phrase but Stanley indicated the phrase in all his books before Churchill made it famous. However Stanley did not become popular for this phrase the way Churchill is credited up today.

The pearl of Africa is situated in East Africa, and it is found in Kenya, south of south Sudan, East of DR-Congo north of Tanzania and Rwanda. Uganda is home to the source of river of Nile which is the longest river in the World and one of the beautiful fresh water lakes –Lake Victoria. It harbors the endangered remaining mountain gorillas in the world with almost half of the remaining mountain gorilla population surviving in Bwindi forest. it lies with the Equator line.

The country harbors astounding green valleys, deep lakes, tall mountains which impressed Churchill to conclude that Uganda is the “Pearl of Africa”. You will catch a glimpse sight personally when you come close to this amazing landscape topography of Uganda and the diversity of majestic impressive wildlife in their natural enviroment then you will definitely confirm that it is true Uganda is the pearl of Africa.

Who named Uganda the pearl of Africa

East African tourist visa for Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya

East African tourist visa – Exploring east Africa has become something easy due to the introduction of the East African tourist visa which is cost friendly to all travelers.  Currently you can use the East African tourist Visa to access Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya.

The the East African Tourist Visa was agreed upon by the three different heads of Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda and the main purpose is to increase on the tourism opportunities as well as improve on service delivery in the tourism industry. The East African tourist visa allows to get around with in three countries that is Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya and it takes ninety days before expiring and it is not accepted in other countries apart from the above mentioned. In the near future its hoped that Burundi, Tanzania, Congo and South Sudan will agree on the same visa.

How does one apply for the east African tourist visa?

Applying for the East African visa can either be manual or online application. The application forms can be got from the different immigration offices or the international airport of the Republic of Kenya, the Republic of Rwanda or the Republic on Uganda.

Acquiring the East African tourist visa in Uganda

The East African visa in Uganda can easily be acquired at Entebbe international airport, you can apply online or manually at the Uganda embassy.  If travelers choose Uganda as their starting point then they can ask for it on arrival and the process at Entebbe international airport is easy, takes little time due to the fact that there is no need of filling forms online, no passport photos needed and there are no mailing fees involved. Rather travelers need to present their yellow fever card which will be asked on arrival.  For more information regarding visa application online in Uganda you can visit the consular local website of the Ugandan Embassy.

Acquiring the tourist visa in Kenya

If travelers choose to begin their safari from Kenya then they will get visa application information from the consular local embassy website of Kenya. For Kenya you will have to acquire the visa a day before you enter Kenya however this doesn’t guarantee free entry and access to Kenya, you will need other travel documents which will be asked by the authorities.

Acquiring tourist visa in Rwanda

If travelers choose to start the trip from Rwanda then they can find the application forms on the consular local embassy website of Rwanda. You will fill in the forms online and follow the prompts of filling in the required information. The tourist visa processing should be done a day before you get into Rwanda and this is a mandatory.

Requirement needed while applying for a visa

A recent colored passport sized photo in and white and black background. Your passport photo should exclude head wraps, glasses or caps.

You will have to fill the application letter and submit to the country embassy you going to visit.

 The East African tourist visa application fees costs 100 USD and this is needed after filling the visa application forms of the East African tourist visa and it is important to note that the visa is a single entry.

The visa application will require the individual in need of the visa to another country and once issued to traveler, it will last after six months and it is restricted to only three countries. However any other travel documents can be allowed provided they are eligible.

Who is eligible for the east African tourist visa and which type of visa?

Every traveler qualifies for the East African tourist visa regardless of their origin and these are categorized as follows.

The nationals or East African citizens

The nationals are the east African citizens of Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. These stand a great advantage of using their national IDs as their travel document to access other fellow East African countries. However national ID cards as a traveler document lasts for only 6 months thus easing travel for the east African citizens.

The students

Students are also allowed to use their national ID cards as their travel document in any of the east African countries. Students normally travel for research, studies as well as leisure therefore as long they have their national IDs then accessing other east African countries becomes easy.

The Expatriates

These are visitors in the country that have traveled for contract works in a specific country and they have stayed there for a long time to an extend that they have acquired a secondary citizenship. The expatriates have been exempted from applying for a tourist visa thus they can use their inter-state pass as they visa to travel in the three east African countries. However this expires after 6 months which is equivalent to 90 days and for expatriates to be issued the inter-pass they will have to use their valid residents permit.

For travelers who have acquired an East African visa, they are free to move in the three East African countries without any limitations and there is no need of paying for return once they are done with the activities that that took them in the respective countries. However once they travel to countries that are not part of the east African community then they will have to pay.

The East African tourist visa gives access to visit all the tourist attractions and also take part in any tourism activity of your interest in any of three countries at an extra charge. We advise expatriates to use tour operators assist them organize their safari package according to interested activities they would like to enjoy although they have to note the following;

Tourists’ attractions and activities have to be booked or organized by your trusted tour operator to suite your interest therefore these are not found in fixed arrangements. Most of the activities need advance booking before you travel to the destination in which they are found.

Travelers should take note of the yellow fever vaccination card as an important document that will be asked in all the three countries even if you have a tourist visa. This implies that even travelers have a tourist but without the yellow fever vaccination card, they won’t be allowed access to other East African countries.

At border entry of the three countries, the officials need to record your entry and exist out of the country. Thus they will ask for return ticket do as to keep proper records and to avoid illegal stay in their country.

It is important to note that the application for the visa will require two days so as to be processed and to countries like Kenya, this is taken serious.

In short, the online application of a tourist visa gives some hiccups but it has played a big part to improve on the tourism services in the three countries as well as developing a good relationship among the three countries. In the nearby future there is hope that other countries will join so as to easy access on the tourism attractions and activities with in other countries.

Uganda Tourist Visa, Oidinary Uganda Visa

Where and when can I get my Uganda Tourism Visa? The beast and the easiest way to acquire your visa is on Arrival

Where and when can I get may Tourism Visa? when, where and to obtain a Tourism Visa

The easiest and the most appropriate way for one to acquire a visa in Uganda is one arrival at the Entebbe International airport which is the first entry point for travellers coming in to the country, while the airport, it’s the easiest way , no hassle without having to spend much time flowing the line and filling out forms, and challenges faced during the online system to many people. Although some may say that obtaining an online visa will speed the process during arrival at the airport, for many, this might not be the case reason being that, on arrival at the airport, you still have to follow the queue at the immigration office where the officials have to first stamp your passport and verify you have the actual Visa before they are both stamp.

All travellers entering any of the countries, that is Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, upon arrival, you will be requested to fill out the arrival cards before you enter the country you are intending to go too.

Also when travelling to any country of your choice in East Africa, you will be required to have the following documents valid passports, valid for at least six month, you will also need to show an international yellow card indicating that you had the yellow vaccination, the copy of your return flight home and for the travellers visiting Uganda for tourism safari, you will required to have a copy of the itinerary it can also be much helpful, with all this documents, it makes easy and speeds up the procedure for your to obtain your visa at the immigration office.

Uganda Visa- when to acquire? most appropriate way

For the travellers who prefer obtaining the Visa on arrival, in Entebbe international airport, or any other point of entry in to a country for example at the border, this is one of the fast means and you get to spend the least time at the airport so as to start on your journey to your preferred destination. You will not need photos, you will also not fill out the forms compared to online application, and stay back to wait for the reply from the immigration office which may take some time and causing delays for many travellers. Also, a visa on arrival, visa on arrival, has come one of the easiest and preferred way by many tourists in Uganda.

For the tourists who my not be satisfied with the obtaining of the visas on arrival, there other two ways you can also get your Uganda Visa.

Apply online for your Ugandan Tourism Visa at Uganda Immigration:

In case you need to finish up with your travel visa issues before you can arrive in to the country, then you can choose the online method of Visa application.

It all depends on the interest of the visitors, either to obtain the Visa on arrival, or through online application, many other visitors, have preferred the most efficient way to buy the Uganda tourist Visa is online application.

How does the online Visa application work?

You will be required to pay an extra amount of 50 USD; you will pay these using your credit card which is a fee charged for online visa application. You will also fill out the online forms and attach all the supporting documents required of you and submit them to immigration office. A few days later, you will receive a confirmatory email from the immigration office with the barcode in it, you will print out the email and on arrival, you will present this document to immigration office officials  where it will be scanned and pasted in your passport as your entry point in to the country. Welcome to Uganda!

When-How-where do I apply for my Uganda Tourist Visa: you can obtain on arrival, use online application with some fee charged for online application, online applicable is best and convenient for the travellers who want everything in proper arrangement before their arrival.

You can also apply for the Uganda tourism Visa at the Ugandan Embassy or through the Consulate in your country.

Besides online application to Uganda immigration office, or upon arrival, you can also apply for your Uganda tourism visa through the embassy, the Uganda embassy in your country, this process, can be a little time consuming and also costly , but in case the embassy is close by, then it’s convenient for you to visit the embassy.

You can send you’re your passport through mail to the Ugandan Embassy in the USA, and also insert in anew envelop that will be used to return the passport back to you.it can be a bit convenient, but yet challenging since it may require much more procedures before you can acquire the Ugandan Visa.

Use of third-party Visa Service:

Visitors are not always advised to used the third-party service in order to obtain the Ugandan Visa, always such services cause challenges to the visitors where you may lose your money when there is no Ugandan Tourism Visa for you.

There are several websites that may attempt to corn you off your money with the aim of purchasing the Ugandan Tourism Visa for you, ignore them and only used the right and recommended website that is the Ugandan E-Visa Website only.

The official website is www.visas.immigration.go.ug provides online application for the Visas to the tourist/ visitors coming to Uganda.

The original official application site has the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration control (DCIC) logo, the court of arms and the processes is completed in four steps that’s Selecting the application type, Fill the form, add the documents and submit your application. The Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration control, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Uganda, informs the clients of the scam Websites that have tried to corn money from the visitors doing online application. The unofficial websites have three step and no official logo therefore you ought to be keen and avoid being corned off your money without receiving any Ugandan Visa. Therefore, apply for your Visa using the official Electronic Visa Application Portal for the Republic of Uganda. when you visit the website, note that, the government of Uganda SHALL NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE for any loss, monetary or otherwise occurring from the used of the fraudulent websites. Therefore, be aware of the corn men, the third-party visa service they have caused challenges for the visitors who are easily deceived.

Wrong and confusing Uganda Visa Information on the internet;

Be aware of the wrong and confusing information shown on different websites in the internet, there are currently three secure procedures you can use to acquire your Uganda Tourism Visa for Uganda that is;

Visa on arrival

Online visa application from the official Uganda website

You can also acquire the visa through the Uganda Embassy or through the Consulate in your country

Also, in case you need to know more about how to inquire the Uganda viva, you can also check with your airline and get for information or in case you can acquire the visa on arrival in Uganda, it will be of great help to you.

The East African Tourist Visa :

Tanzania is not among the participants for the East African Visa, the East African visa, is acquired for the travellers visiting Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda. The East African visa, is obtained from the country you will be first visiting in East Africa, in case you visiting Uganda, first you will get the east African visa from the Immigration office in Kampala.

The East African tourist Visa, allows you to visit the three participating countries for the period of 90 days, the visa cost is 100 USD. The visa is best for the travellers who would first take time to visit Uganda on arrival at the Entebbe airport for the safari, and then wind up the safari with the Rwanda tourism and end up the safari in Kigali Rwanda. Alternatively, you can visit Uganda if you have interest in taking part in gorilla trekking, and after continue to Masai Mara in Kenya from Entebbe international airport. The East African tourist Visa, grants you access to three of the East African countries that is Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda.

Maramagambo forest : Queen Elizabeth National Park

Maramagambo forest is located in the southern part of Queen Elizabeth national park and it stretches from the Kichwamba escarpment to Lake Edward. Its name was derived from a traditional story of a group of people from a nearby village who got losdt in the forest for a number of days before they could find their way out. When they finally got out, they were very tired and traumatized and couldn’t speak for quite a long time hence the name “Maramagambo” which means “end of words”.

Maramagambo forest is a famous place in Queen Elizabeth national park because of its Bat caves. These are volcanic tube caves where lots of bats regularly stay and also attract pythons which feed on them. News about this place went viral in 2008 about a tourist from Netherlands who was said to have acquired Marbug from the Bat cave in this forest. This incident led to closure of the area until a viewing platform was constructed by the American Centre for Disease Control. Since then, there has not been any other case regarding such outbreaks and the place is very safe for all activities such as bat cave visit, nature walk, forest walk among others.

Besides the Bat caves, Maramagambo forest is a natural habitat for primates including chimps, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, vervet monkeys and baboon, elephants, bush pigs, pygmy antelopes and many birds. Nocturnal animals in the forest include Pottos and Bush babies. Visitors who visit the place also get a chance to view the two beautiful crater lakes bordering the forest; Nyamisingiri Crater Lake and Kyasanduka Crater Lake. It also has another historical cave at Nyanziibiri community and is believed to have been a sacrificial and cleansing ground for misfortunes. The same cave is also said to have been used as a hideout by the previous Ugandan presidents during the dictatorial regime. Today, this place has a hut that has been preserved by the Banyaruguru, filled with valued local artifacts that were used in daily life.

How to Access Maramagambo Forest

you can get there through Queen Elizabeth national park gate which is near Jacana lodge. This is about 12km off Katunguru-Mbarara highway. From Kampala, you’ll pass via Mbarara to Bushenyi and connect to the Nyamisingiri. By flight, charter aircrafts operate from Entebbe or Kajjansi to Mweya airstrip or Kasese airfield.

Things to do at Maramagambo Forest

Maramagambo forest is one of the areas in queen Elizabeth national park with a rich biodiversity though it is visited by few people due to its location and distance associated with that compared to other nearer places like Kyambura Gorge and Kalinzu forest. Activities done in the forest are one of those that will give you great memories of your tour.

Visiting the bat caves

Maramagambo forest has a number of bat caves with a lot of bats. Visitors view these from a designated viewing point to avoid contact with the caves. These caves are often visited by pythons that come to feed on the bats.

Nature walks

There are several trails through which visitors are guided by ranger guides to different areas of the forest and the surrounding, for example to areas where you’ll view the crater lakes. Nature walks last for about 2-6 hours and this forest has a lot to offer during that period including its different plant species, birds and the animals. Depending on the fitness on the visitor, you’ll be adised to use trails such as the forest trail because it is less steep compared to other trails which include the palm trail, river trail, valley trail and the waterfall trail. As you walk through the forest beware of soldier ants which often move in columns in the forest.

Bird watching

Queen Elizabeth national park is one of the destinations in east Africa with a large number of bird species and a great bird watching site. Maramagambo contributes to its position in birdlife with prime bird species like the Rwenzori Turaco, White napped pigeons and Forest fly catchers. Other bird species include the Dark-capped yellow warbler, Bat hawk, Ross’s Turaco, Fawn-breasted wax-bill, Sulphur-breasted bush shrike and African green pigeon among others.

Primate viewing

This activity is not very famous in this forest because it is big yet with few primates. Some of these primates are however often seen during nature walks. Visitors can also go for night walks and see the nocturnal primates of the forest that is bush babies and pottos.

Cultural experience

This is all about visiting the cave at Nyanziibiri which is used by people who want to be protected from misfortunes and other calamities of life. This cave was also secretly used by previous leaders in Uganda who were running away from dictatorial regimes.

The best time to visit Maramagambo

Maramagambo forest is open for tourists all year round. However, there are varying periods best for different activities.

The best time to view primates is from June to September and from December to February when during the dry season. This is when you can easily pass through the trails because it is a dry season and they are dry.

The forest has a lot of birds during the wet season. The trails are slippery but this is when you can spot a lot of birds including both resident and migratory birds.

The 10 Best Uganda Safaris and Tour Packages – Uganda also known as the pearl of Africa is one of the top safari destinations in Africa for Gorilla and wildlife safari experiences. There are over 10 national parks and reserves in Uganda offering you an opportunity to experience the ultimate traditional Africa Safari experience. Here is a list of the 10 Best Uganda Safaris and tour packages for 2020.

10 Best Uganda Safaris and Tours

10 Days Best of Uganda Safari

The 10 days Best of Uganda Safari takes you to visit Murchison falls, Kibale forest, Queen Elizabeth Park, Bwindi and Lake Bunyonyi. While on this safari, expect to see the African Big Five (Lions, Elephants, Buffaloes, Leopards, Rhinos) as well as the Gorillas, the chimpanzees and several other wildlife and primate species in the Ugandan parks.

7 Days Uganda Safari

The 7 Days Uganda Safari takes you to Queen Elizabeth national Park, Kibale forest and Bwindi. This trip allows you see the gorillas, chimps and wildlife. The major activities on this safari include: Chhimpanzee trekking, Bigodi nature walk, Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kazinga boat cruise, Gorilla trekking, Batwa cultural experience and wind up with Lake Bunyonyi visit.

3 Days Murchison falls Safari

Murchison falls national Park is the largest game park in Uganda, popular because of the high concentration of wildlife and the strongest falls in the world. This tour allows you see lots of wildlife, enjoy a boat cruise on the nile as well as visiting the top of the Murchison falls. This trip also offers an optional opportunity to visit the Ziwa Rhino sanctuary to see Rhinos

The Batwa Pymies – Complete Guide about the Batwa Pygmy History and Culture, Batwa Trail Experience, Batwa People, Batwa tribe Uganda.

Also known as “pygmies” the Batwa are the original inhabitants of the montane rainforests in the southwestern part of Uganda and in the northern part of Rwanda and this is the reason to why they are also referred to as “The Keepers of the forest”. Before they were evicted from the forest in the 1990s, they lived there as hunters and gatherers and there practices did not cause any harm to the environment because they did not destroy land for purposes such as agriculture. Therefore, after eviction, life became very hard since they did not have land for activities such as farming to sustain their lives and they are some one of the poorest people in the world. The Batwa people lived in the forest of Bwindi in Uganda in Kisoro and Kabale districts with the mountain gorillas and other forest residents for thousands of years before they were evicted. They constructed huts using leaves and branches for shelter. Today, they are conservation refugees living outside the forest and their communities are one of the places visited by tourists to learn about their culture and traditional lifestyle.

The Batwa people are few in number and according to the population census of 2002, there was 6,000 Batwa in Uganda living in the districts of Kisoro, Kabale, Kanungu, Rungungiri and Bundibugyo but have become extinct and they to less than 3,000 today. Before they were evicted from the forests, there was ownership of an area of the forest by each clan where they collected food including vegetables, wild fruits, honey and mushrooms as well as herbal medicine. Batwa are short people with an average height of four feet.

Batwa were great protectors of the forest as they lived there with gorillas and other animals and constructed huts that did not require destruction of the forest until the bantu started occupying areas close to the forest and started to destroy the forest for purposes of material for house construction, charcoal and more.

In Rwanda, the Batwa are called “Twa”. These people were considered in at the time when Rwanda became a kingdom. In different ways, they used to pay tribute to the Tutsi King and they also attended the court of the king as advisers, warriors and dancers. The Batwa were given a task of dealing with encroachers on the forest by obtaining a payment from them.

In 1991, the government of Uganda evicted all people who lived in the forest and closest to the forest for protection of the wildlife as national parks, that is Bwindi and Mgahinga. The Bantu were compensated for their land yet they lived around the forest while destroying it to obtain resources whereas the Batwa were not compensated yet they actually protected and lived in harmony with the forest and all the animals especially the mountain gorillas. This was so unfortunate for them and life really became so difficult for them since resources to sustain their lives and herbal medicine were harvested from the forest. They started living a new life that was difficult for them since they did not have skills for other activities besides having no land and this made them very poor in their new communities. They became beggars, started stealing and also worked for other people as servants who paid them little wages. The Batwa were not supported by both the government and non-Batwa in the nearby communities and there were even no intermarriages with these people. However, these non-Batwa people believe that when people infected with HIV/AIDS get cured when they sleep with Batwa and this has forced them to always rape the Batwa women. This is one of the harsh violence the Batwa have faced from the non-Batwa in the surrounding communities.

Later on in 2001, American medical missionaries Dr Scott and Carol Kellermanns rescued them by purchasing land where different programs were established to improve the conditions of lives of these pygmies. Houses, hospitals and schools were constructed and water and sanitation projects developed and this greatly improved their situation.

As years past, their traditions and cultural ways of gathering and hunting were being threatened. It was only stories that were being left unlike in the past where these practices were passed on to the young ones by teaching them how to hunt and gather in the forest. The Batwa have not lost hope and still believe and have a dream that they will one time go back to the forest and live there again. However, this may never happen again because these primates need to be protected from contact with human beings. On the other hand, was good work that the forest was protected as national parks because the population increase of the people living around the forest is high and these would have surely have massively encroached and destroyed the resources of this natural rich forest.

The Batwa have continued to enjoy the resources and work from the Batwa Development Program (BDP) which is supported by Kellermann Foundation.

Keeping the history of the culture and traditions of the Batwa

When the Batwa were evicted from the forest, they did not have other places to go for hunting and gathering and these cultural ways and others started being lost. In 2011, Uganda Wildlife Authority, USAID and the Netherland’s embassy in Kampala collaborated and started the Batwa Cultural Trail to keep the backbone of their traditions and culture. There are Batwa guides who take visitors through the trail to areas where they lived in the forest before eviction and they demonstrate how they gathered, hunted and more. Half of the fee for this activity is allocated to Batwa communities.

Other activities that have been put in place to support the culuetr of the Batwa from extinction and also to support the lives of these people are the Batwa Experience which was set up by Kellermann Foundation just outside Bwindi and the Buniga Batwa forest Walk and village visit program also outside the park on the southern side of the forest. These tourism programs are a source of income which is used to support the Batwa hence improving their lives and engaging them in protection of the national parks.

A visit to the Batwa

There are several areas in Uganda where you can choose to visit the Batwa. They offer thrilling experiences for the tourists and also benefit the Batwa by earning them income and keeping their cultures, history and practices.  These include;

The Batwa trail

This trail is located in Mgahinga national park and it offers an opportunity to learn about how the Batwa lived in the forest, how they hunted, how the gathered and you’ll also see how they dance in the caves. Walking through the trail is led by a Mutwa (singular for Batwa) guide.

The Batwa experience

This experience takes place in Buhoma just outside Bwindi forest. It lasts for about 5 hours where you learn about how they used to collect food and fruits from the forest, how they used to cook, harvest medicine and many other practices in the forest.

Buninga Batwa forest walk

This forest walk offers an opportunity to visit the villages of the Batwa and see what they do for a living including making crafts. You’ll be told stories about how they used to live in the forest and how they hunted and gathered food. The Buniga forest walk takes place in the southern part of Bwindi and you can take part in it if you are trekking for gorillas in Rushaga or Nkuringo sectors. This community program was started by the African Wildlife Fund and is sponsored by the International Gorilla Conservation Programme. It has also been of great benefit to the Batwa and the park because it earns a living to cater for needs of the Batwa and this reduces poaching.

Lake George : Lake in Uganda

Lake George is one of Uganda’s swampy lakes. It is located in Kasese district on the escarpments of the western arm of the great East African rift valley. Lake George Uganda covers a total surface area of 250 square kilometers with an average depth of 2.4 meters. The lake is situated in Uganda’s second largest national park Queen Elizabeth and you have an opportunity to see this lake on your Uganda safari to or through Queen Elizabeth national park. Lake George Uganda is drained by Kazinga channel to Lake Edward which are all found in Queen Elizabeth national park.

Lake George was named after a member of the British royal family Prince George who later on became king of the United Kingdom, King George V. Explorer Henry M. Stanley was the first European to see Lake George in 1875. During his trans-African expedition, he followed the course of Katonga River from Lake Victoria which led him to Lake George. Explorer Henry named the lake Beatrice Gulf thinking that it was part of Lake Albert. However, he could not proceed with his work because of the threat of conflict with Bunyoro kingdom. He later on visited the area again in 1888 during the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition and found Lake Edward. He realized that these were two separate lakes and named it Lake George.

Also known as Lake Dweru, Lake George is mainly supplied by a number of streams flowing from the Rwenzori mountains. They include rivers Rwimi, Mpanga, Nsonge and Mubuku. Other rivers supplying the lake are Katonga and Dura. The lake was designated as a Ramsar site wetland system on 4th March 1988. It is surrounded by dense swamp with thick papyrus on the northern shoreline. The swamps improve water quality before it proceeds through Kazinga channel which flows about 40 kilometers with lots of wildlife en-route before it finally pours into Lake Edward.

Lake George Uganda has three small islands namely Iranqara, Akika and Kankuranga. Although the lake is not considered one of the Great Lakes, it is part of Africa’s Great lakes system. The lake lies at 914 m above the sea level and the area experiences two rainy seasons.

Lake George is a habitat to a variety of fish. The main economic activity that takes place on there is fishing. Common types of fish in this lake include Tilapia Nilotica, Haplocromis, Nigripinnis and Themocyclops hyelinus among others. Fish caught form Lake George is said to be one of the most delicious in uganda because of the saline waters of the lake. The fish is sold to the nearby towns such as Kasese and Katunguru. There are a number of fishing villages around the lake including Kahendero fish landing site which can be visited during your game drive around Kasenyi. Visiting such fishing villages offers an opportunity to know about their lifestyle, the different methods of fishing used, the problems they face around the area and on water when fishing and other activities they do top survive.

The swampy lake is also a home to a number of hippos and crocodiles. Different bird species can be seen around the shores of the lake and sometimes elephants are seen around the nearby wetlands. From Lake George Uganda, you can capture a spectacular view of the sunset besides the beautiful scenic views of the surrounding including views of the Rwenzori ranges.

There are a number of accommodations near Lake George and most of them can be booked during your arrangements for you Uganda safari to Queen Elizabeth national park. You can enjoy the best views of the lake from Ihamba safari lodge and Simba safari camp among others.

Getting there

Lake George  is located in the western part of Uganda in Kasese district. It can be accessed Kampala-Fort Portal road and then to Kasese which is about 380km. alternatively, you can pass via Masaka and Mbarara to Kasese which is about 340km by road.

Air transport can be used from Entebbe to Kasese airfield.

 Touring Sipi Falls in Kapchorwa Uganda

The Sipi falls are series of three beautiful waterfalls in the eastern part of Uganda in Kapchorwa district. They are located at the bottom of Mt. Elgon just outside Mount Elgon national park. Water at these falls flows down the resistant rocks to the bottom at different heights the highest falling at 100m high, the second at 85m and the shortest at 75m high. The falls make a stunning site for scenic viewing and photography and before you reach there, you’ll go through a thrilling experience of hiking. The set of the falls are also considered on e of the loveliest falls where you can spend a good time with your loved ones with rewards of views of the rainbow, the misty flow of water and the cool breeze from the water.

Apart from the water falss, once you reach the top you’ll also be able to see the Karamoja lowlands, Lake Kyoga and the beautiful coffe plantaions around the place. While here, you’ll also have great views of the nearby mountain Elgon which is one of the hiking destinations in Uganda.

The falls were named after River Sipi whose name was derived from the word “sep”. Sep is a name of a banana-like plant which grows along the banks of this river and the local people around the area use it to treat fevers and measles.

Activities to do at Sipi Falls

Hiking to the falls

The highlight of visiting this place is to hike to the breathtaking falls. There are many waterfall walks to choose form to do your hike and you can as well choose to have day hike or a full day hike. Some trials will take you through plantations of coffee which are located on the slopes of Mt. Elgon. This is Arabica coffee which is cultivated by the Bagisu who inhabit this area. They are very hospital people and you can as well decide to visit their plantations to learn and see how they carry on their farm activities.

Hiking to Mt. Elgon

Some people start their hikes from Sipi and hiking to Mount Elgon doesn’t require much fitness especially on the lower slopes. You can do short hikes where you’ll spot not many wild animals but there are lots of birds, forest monkeys, buffaloes and antelopes among others.

Trout fishing

Trout fishing takes place on river Sipi. You enjoy the activity of catching fish wish will later be released back into the water.

Other activities to do when you visit Sipi are Bird watching, visiting the Nyero rock paintings and caves, attending the public circumcision events of the Bagisu which takes place in August and December. This event is so entertaining with the traditional dance of the Bagisu known as Imbalu. Rock climbing is one of the safe activities done in the Sipi area, it is guided by local guides and is enjoyed by most visitors.

The lodges close to Sipi falls provide the best accommodation and you don’t have to worry about your stay there. There are luxury lodges, mid-range lodges, budget hotels and camp sites for those who want to enjoy typical wilderness by spending thrie nights in tents. Lodges like Sipi River lodge and others have very hospitable staff.

Abseiling

Abseiling at Sipi is done at Chebonet falls. A friction device is connected to your harness and you descend down the rocks. There are routes of varying heights where you choose your preferred route. This is very adventurous and exciting.

Getting to Sipi

From Kampala to Sipi, you’ll travel by road and it takes about 5 hours to reach there.

Learn about the Ugandan Culture. Uganda tribes and cultures, Cultural practices in Uganda. This will give you an insight into the Uganda Culture.

Cultural practices in Uganda | Uganda culture

Cultures in uganda

Ugandan culture – Uganda is a region that has a rich cultural heritage. The Kingdoms and leaders of Uganda as a nation have committed to maintaining the cultural practices in uganda and healthy culture amongest the people that has reduced on the different the ways of people in Uganda. The numerous kingdoms of Uganda that embody the Uganda Culture include kingdom of Toro and Buganda, the kingdom of Bunyoro and the kingdom of Busoga and other clans of arms.

The numerous kingdoms and heads in Uganda are regulated by the same rules when they conduct in public; dance movements that are kitagururo by Banyankole; Baganda by Baksimba and Agwal by the inhabitants of Western Nile; Acholi by Otole and Bwora; Bagisu by dance with the Imbalu through circumcision and Banyoro and Bwora by themselves. They have different norms. These all display the riches of every Ugandan tribe and community.

The Uganda People have different cultures and norms; therefore, these cultures are shown through a variety of cultural attractions such as the cultural sites and cultural art and craft activities such as, wood carvings, Jewellery, mats and shavings of papyrus, weapons, clothes and many more. These cultural items are sold in various parts of the country like in national parks, cultural sites, shops and many other places country wide.  There are numerous emotions are connected with the various things found in the respective realms. Some of the items are listed hear below;

Uganda tribes and cultures

Spears and Shields

The spears and shields, speaks a lot about the Ugandan traditional culture meaning that, the spears are used as a hunting symbol, and the shield is a protective sign. They are mostly controlled and display dominance over the Kabaka of Buganda and other rulers. The main task for most men in the gentiles was Hunting, and the royal hunting chief was the chief. Such imperial regalia are called and are usually kept in the palaces.  The spears and the shields are also mainly used during the traditional ceremonies like when announcing an heir to someone who died, spears and shields and the buck cloth are wrapped around him as a sign of new leadership, this indicates to the entire family that he is the new hand. Most often in Buganda, this is done during a great ceremony called Kwabya Olumbe.

The drum

Drum is a common tool used throughout Uganda and used for various purposes, mainly made of sheep, goats and other livestock. Drums are made of animal skin.

The instrument is used in Buganda during the king’s celebration and the Kabaka’s anniversary. It is also used to communicate trivial issues to the public and this is accomplished as individuals introduce music to get the attention of people, and then reveal the message they want to be sent to the people in the community or the entire clan. Drums are also used for male circumcisions, traditionally, mainly used by the Mable culture, the last buried rituals and church services, and masses, drums are also used during the traditional worship.

The drums are also another way of entertaining, and the various groups use various techniques that match the dance movements of different cultures in uganda.

The Buganda people and culture

Buganda is one of the Ugandan cultures and the mainly speak Luganda as their traditional language, Baganda and Buganda’s cultural system is organized, and they have the Kabaka as the overall ruler of the kingdom. The inhabitants of Buganda are split into several groups, accompanied by totems. The traditional culture is carried on from generation to another for example, the lineage from father to son is transmitted in Buganda and every one of them, must be of the same totem.

Both clans have a system of hierarchical existence and the group chief commonly named Owakasolya is usually called Ssiga, Mutuba, Lunyiriri. The family comes into the region and this is referred to as Enju. These clans have hierarchical systems. Therefore, every member of the clan must know all the traditional beliefs and norms so that he/she can easily trace where they originated from.

The clans have a long history, and the person says his name and the father’s nomes, and the paternal grandfather’s name and big grandfather’s name, particularly when you introduce yourself in traditional ceremonies.  Clans are not identified by the names of people that created them but by the totems known locally as Omuziro and the second totem known as Akabbiro. The queen and princes are the only men lacking totems.

When you meet the Kabaka in particular in the Buganda, the ladies will kneel and the gents should be laid down as a sign of respect for the Kabaka.

They also have atraditional type of clothing mainly used during the traditional ceremonies or an important cultural gathering, the Buganda woamen dress in Gomesi while the men dress in Kanzus, this is the cultural instrument used to identify the Buganda culture and tradition.

The Busoga people and Culture

Busoga is a cultural institution that fosters famous involvement and togetherness among the Busoga people by means of cultural and developmental programs for improving Busoga’s livelihoods. This seeks to achieve a single Busoga people who enjoy physical, social and cultural prosperity. It also enhances, revises and paves the way for effective administration and administrative processes for the Kingdom of Kyabazinga.

The kingdom of the eleven principalities of the Basoga (singular Musoga), Busoga is transformed directly into the Land of the Soga. The word Busoga often applies in no uncertain terms to the area generally common to Basoga. The Kingship of Busoga is made up of seven political districts: Kamuli, Iganga, Bugiri, Mayuge, Jinja, and the newly established Kaliro and Busiki districts. In the north of the city of Busoga there are swampy Lake Kyoga; in the west there is Victoria Nile; in the west there is the Victoria River; in the south there is Victoria Lake; in the east there are some islands of Buvuma Island, among others.

The residents of Basoga reside in the country’s south-east. The kingdom of Busoga is packed with the representatives, but these are all under the monarch, who is known locally as Kyabazinga.

The Basoga are supposed to come from Congo and belong to the Bantuethnic group. The Basogas come from the various clans, and Lumonde is their principal food. The Basoga are close to the Baganda community and this is why most people say that the Basoga is Baganda.

The Batwa

The Batwas, where the first inhabitants of Bwindi impenetrable forest, they are locally also known as Twa, they lived there for more than300 years and are the founding Bwindi woodland inhabitants. The two cultures in Uganda that lived in the forest where the pygmies and the Batwa, they lived there and practised several activities such as Gathering fruits, hunting and farming was their main activities among others. They wiggled on the mountain gorillas in the area until they had been told to evacuate the forest since there was a need to conserve the endangered mountain gorillas from the poachers who killed many animals, later, the forest was considered a national park. The Batwas still use primitive agricultural and cooking equipment. They are still, compared to the rest of Uganda, far from society, but are advanced now. Batwa people and their culture will offer the insight of the forest before the national park was gazetted.

The Ankole people and their culture

The Ankole people are situated in western Uganda in the districts of Ibanda, Mbarara, Ishaka and Bushenyi districts, the community of Ankole is considered to be a livestock farmer and they have the biggest animal in Uganda called Ankole and the animals are purposely reared for milk and ghee. The common laguagae spoken by the Ankole people is Runyankole as atraditional language.

The people of Ankole, can be identified by their cultural wear Mishanana or Bussuti, particularly when they are going to traditional ceremonies. The ladies put on Bussuuti, while the men put on Kanzus and placing a cow’s hide on top of it. They also have drums used during traditional ceremonies when show casing traditional dances and songs. The Akole people, are divided in to different clans but still under one king as the overall ruler of the kingdom.

Compared to the Buganda culture, the Ankole never kneel down at greeting but they are considered to embrace during the greetings, they are also known as Ishabwe which the name of their traditional local dish.

There are other various cultures in different regions of Uganda, though not shown here but they  the same traditional way of life similar to those of which we have read and are irrelevant to the various cultures that the people make us what we are and that bind people together more and diminish immorality in the country. For those who have not seen it, the rich culture of Uganda is worth experiencing. Come visit Uganda and take time to explore different local communities its much exciting to interact with the locals.