Friday, 18 August 2017


Founded by early explorers, is a spectacular Fort Patiko in Northern Uganda that offers tourists with yet another incredible opportunity to explore not just the structural out like of the fort but also its historical background. Cultural safaris in Uganda are more than just music, music, handcrafts but also exploring exceptional historical sites!! Fort Patiko is beauty; it comes with stunning mountains and hills with rare vegetation cover in its surrounding area. It was during the 1800's that Arabs had stormed into East Africa in search of trading opportunities whereby they went passed Ocecu (Gulu). The Arabs at that time wouldn’t have had any better slave harbor and trade connections. They had to descend to Ocecu hills and established 3 square shaped huts to serve for ammunition, ivory and foodstuff and hides and skins. Slaves were prime resources during Arab transaction and several were caught from Northern Uganda, Gondokoro in Sudan and many other places. Ocecu Mountain turned to be a sorting site for slaves. Healthy looking ones were forced to walk from Patiko via Sudan passed the Red Sea and transacted in Egypt. The trip to the slave’s main markets also wasn’t a joke! They carried the looted millet, sim sim, ammunition and ivory. Besides, they were also subjected to beatings and firing squad/beheaded especially those who became weak.
Baker and Birth of Fort Patiko
Fort Patiko also popular as Baker Fort is located 25 kilometers North of Gulu, 1.8 kilometers from Ocecu hill which is referred as “Got Ajulu where “Julu” in Acholi denotes raise and Got means Rock or hill or mountain. “Let’s nurture (Julu) our people so that our clan isn’t wiped away.” Due to this, the mountain has long been known “Got Ajulu.” As Britain kept expanding its colonial interests across Africa, promoting slave trade was one of their primary missions. So Sir Samuel Baker was delegated by the Queen of England to overlook the same mission. Although Britain could colonize Uganda in 1894, by 1863, Baker and chief of Patiko “Rwot Kikwiyakare” met and discussed the slave trade danger in the place. Sir Samuel Baker and his wife frequently visited Patiko. In 1864, they were explorers looking for geographical prizes of which Speke had mentioned but never featured on the world map. Went to South from Gondokoro on the Nile Sudan, they crossed Patiko, before locating Lake Albert and the Murchison falls and returning using the same route. At the time Patiko was the southernmost outpost of varied enclaves from which Egypt’s Turkish rulers and their mercenaries plundered slaves, cattle and ivory. In 1872, Baker came back from Egypt with Nubian soldiers, crossed through Bunyoro to quash the Kabalega resistance against the British and headed to Patiko. He took over the slave harbor, expelled at least 250 Arabs and after fortified the area that today it is famous as Baker’s Fort Patiko. It is surrounded by 6 mountains of Ajulu, Ladwong, Abaka, Akara and Labworomor to the north and Kiju in the south.
The Fort is an ideal tourism site but unfortunately it is still underdeveloped. Baker had established his fort in the area previously used by Egypt slave traders. The fort centre on the huge Koppie comprises of numerous separate rock-out crops and a number of large boulders. 3 mortared stone establishments still stand on the central plateau. None of these were Baker’s residence but stores for grains. Mud houses stood below the Koppie in place of leveled ground. These establishments have long gone but encircling defensive ditch remains, 100m in diameter, in plan curved into opposite ends of the Koppie like the ring on a bull’s nose. This ditch was reinforced with a wooden palisade with access via a small thriving gate house with narrow doorway and riffle ports. There are also some fissures between the rocks, holding cells in which men and women were separately confined prior to sorting on nearby rock plateau, the passage between 2 boulders in which rejected wretches we led to be speared to death and tossed off the Koppie for the hyenas.

Fort Patiko is constructed with stones and had headquarters for the officers, soldiers and the stones for food and ammunitions straddle on top of a hill in Gulu. Initially built by the slave trade, it is a place where slaves and ivory gathered throughout East Africa were kept and at times sold by the Arab slave traders. Baker and his successors, Gordon and Emin Pasha settled in the area between 1872 and 1888 and effectively used it in their campaign to stamp out the trade in humans that frequent into the place. When Baker arrived in the place on 6th March 1872, he found that the slave hunter called Abu Saud had founded his headquarters. This was Baker’s second visit to Patiko since 1864 when he came with his wife Florence as a private explorer on his way to Bunyoro where he became the first European to view Albert Nyanza. Bakers arrived with 212 soldiers, 400 porters, 1078 and 194 sheep. He was accompanied using his wife and nephew Lieutenant Julius Baker of the royal navy. He returned from Bunyoro where he was not successful as he was rejected by Omukama Kabalega and found when the fort had been attacked by Abu Saud’s officers but Bakers officers. Baker’s army also tried to fight back. On 28th August his men started to dig a defensive that was 8 feet deep and wide and in front were the sharpened wooden stakes. The ammunition store on the rock roofed with earth from the anthills to make the fire proof and composed of an internal and outer room for the guards. The stores established for millet and sesame were perhaps grass thatched but there is no record of the materials used for the establishments.

The site that is enclosed by Baker’s defensive ditch is the same as the area now enclosed because after some time around 1874 under gen Gordon, the ditch was expanded to the north more doubling the defended area. It is still possible to sight the line of the ancient landmark that is the original northern limit of Baker’s defenses. The encircled area must have been fully occupied with his several hundred soldiers and porters and the numerous grindstones scattered around the encircled place and Ocecu hill remind one that there must have been several women there as well to grind the corn and help in cooking.

Sights to observe
Fort Patiko stunning surrounding comes from its dotted small, scattered, cropping rocks, sit 3 square shaped and roofless huts that Arabs used at a time to store their loot. A safari to this historical site will reward you with amazing experiences. The Bakers themselves are assumed to have stayed in 2 houses at the bottom of the rocks along the southern part of the enclosure were huts for unmarried soldiers and the married quarters were on the west near the Baker’s private quarters. It is asserted that none of the rooms at the fort was Baker’s room as said. The officers’ liens were along the east part and via the center of the camp was a route heading from recent entrance to the north gate. The varied pits and mounds spread around the place perhaps the remains of the huts and the pit latrines. Currently, inside the fort there are 2 rooms of almost 10 square meters each. One of the walls has “Fatiko 1872-88” established by Sir Samuel Baker, occupied by Gordon and Emin.” It is believed that Baker miss spelt Patiko and ended writing as “Fatiko” instead of Patiko.

West of the fort, there an open, flat rock where screening of the slaves was conducted. The healthy and docile could be retained whereas the sick and the stubborn would be killed on spot 200m southwest of the fort’s compound. At this point, the slaves were either led or had to face the firing squad depending on the kind of the crime. Dark spots that are assumed to be the blood stains can still be sighted on the rocks and marks made by axes as the slaves were beheaded. South of the fort there are 2 huge caves that acted as prison cells.

In conclusion, Fort Patiko is an incredible historical site that offers opportunity to visitors to explore what transpired at a time when explorers, missionaries and slave traders frequented into Uganda and East Africa at large especially for slave trade. The area is still underdeveloped but the place is visited by visitors. It also harbors amazing vegetation in its surrounding. Developing it into a better tourist destination will increase safari holidays in Uganda.

Thursday, 10 August 2017


Cultural safaris in Uganda are described as “Authentic African Experiences of life time!” With over 60 varied tribes, makes it a “melting pot” of cultures. Cultural experiences in the Pearl of Africa are best described by the distinct traditional and cultural dances, music, lifestyle, traditional practices, history and exceptional Kingdoms (represented from all the 4 regions in Uganda). When it comes to cultural encounters in East Africa or Africa as a whole, Uganda should not miss out in the bucket list while planning your next safari holiday! The Kasubi Tombs site is such remarkable place of a kind not to be missed to visit while in a holiday in Uganda. The tombs site is traditional burial area for the Kabakas of Buganda where all the 4 Kings of Buganda were buried and incredible Baganda dances are performed before visitors.

 Location of Kasubi Tombs Site
These mighty tombs are situated on Kasubi hill in Kampala, 15 minutes’ drive from the city centre. Kasubi Tombs site is found along Kampala-Hoima route. Through Makerere University route to Nakulabye, turn on the right to Hoima road, approximately one kilometer and then turn on the left where you view the Kasubi Hill. The entrance to the tombs is usually along Masiro road. Kasubi was initially called Nabulagala. Kasubi straddles with 30 hectares, while accommodating enormous traditional and agricultural practices.

In 2001, the Kasubi Tombs were recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site. The main issue of the hilltop of Kasubi was the palace of the Kings of Buganda that was originally constructed in 1882 and it was at that time that the palace of Kabaka Mutesa 1, which was later, changed into royal burial grounds for the Kabakas of Buganda in 1884. A house known as Muzibu Azaala Mpanga where all 4 royal Kings were all buried. The Muzibu Azaala Mpanga is a main structure, established in the round circular dome shape. It has stayed since the 13th century. The structure is made of wood, wattle, grass thatched, daub and reed. The Muzibu Azaala Mpanga features most of cultural and traditional beliefs, history, spirituality and identity of all that are intangible. The powerful Buganda Kingdom is recognized for its extraordinary and thriving architectural examples ever since the 13th century. Not only is the site a cultural area for the Baganda in Uganda, it is also a popular site which attracts more than 50000 visitors annually making it one of the most economically valuable sites in the country.

Traditional and cultural values that are attached to Kasubi Tombs
The Kasubi Tombs are divided into 3 major sections; the major section is comprised of tombs in the western side of the site, an area with structures and grave yards that is behind the tombs and in the east, a vast section that is majorly used for farming. The tombs site is an area where traditional and cultural practices have been conserved and therefore take on the most active role for religious practices especially for the Royal family in the Kingdom with rituals being performed on regular basis, significant to the Buganda culture. The tombs site also represents an area where communication links the spiritual world and it where they are kept.

Tragedy that fell on the Kasubi tombs
Unfortunately, bad lack fell on the might Kasubi cultural site in March 2010 where the site was set into fire something that has remained a mystery. The fire destroyed the core building in which the tombs are found. However, in 2016, the tombs were re-instituted and still there is ongoing renewal to improve its status. The main challenge with conservation largely lies in maintaining grass thatched roofs in their better conditions. Whereas the thatching techniques are still well mattered and the thatch is present, preserving the roofs need continuous efforts in terms monitoring and replacement of decayed grass. Kasubi Tombs site is also affected by other threats, of which is the shape of the roof that has changed for years, secondly, the roofs are also affected by changing climate that cause more humidity than in the past.

In conclusion, Kasubi Tombs site is an incredible place where all the 4 Kings of Buganda were buried. It is a culturally valuable site for the Baganda in Uganda. The Baganda are Bantu speaking people and date their political civilization back to the 13th century AD. The Kasubi Tombs site is not only a burial site for Buganda Kings but also an area to explore the renowned Baganda cultural and traditional beliefs, history, spirituality, dances and music performances that never leave tourists bored.

Friday, 4 August 2017


Do you love cultural encounters? Are you looking for the most exciting cultural safaris in Africa? Have you heard about the Kabaka’s Trail? Cultural safaris in Uganda are by far the most sought after experiences by tourists. With over 56 distinct tribes that are all confined in this country, visitors are never left out choice when it comes to cultural encounters. Uganda is often referred as a "melting pot" of cultures!! Hitting the Kabaka’s Trail forms another incredible experience that visitors should not miss out while in your cultural safaris in Uganda. While you plan to have a gorilla safari to the jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Southwestern Uganda, adding Kabaka's Trail experience to your list is worth as it rewards visitors with unforgettable experiences of life time. The Kabaka’s Trail was initiated in November, 2001 and it provides tourists with the rarest safari experience on Uganda’s abundant cultural heritage as shaped by the regions Kings and their descendants. This trail connects to various cultural sites that are all within the reach of Kampala Capital City, central Uganda. If you are situated in long distant areas, the Kabaka's Trail is accessible within 40 minutes while driving. Take a journey down to the source of the Nile or any of the 10 beautiful national parks in Uganda but never forget to sum up your trip with the Kabaka’s Trail experience. 

Activities to participate in while in Kabaka’s Trail experience
The Kabaka’s Trail offers tourists opportunity to explore in depth the facts about Buganda’s history which also comes with exciting cultural dances, music performances, get a hand into craft making or listen to the stories, spiritual healing, traditional herbal medicines and traditional food preparation, among other exciting activities that are worth exploring while in the trail.
Cultural sites to be visited on Kabaka’s Trail
There are numerous heritage sites to be explored while on Kabaka’s trail. 

Kasubi tombs site:
The culture of Baganda is preserved in the palace before it is cemented as culture by the Ganda people. Visiting the heritage sites is very important as it reminder of varied cultural values and lifestyles of Ugandans since many have long forgotten about this remarkable culture. However, the sites are still undergoing renovation and restoration but this doesn’t stop visitors from paying a visit to this place. Kasubi tombs site which is located on Kasubi Hills, Kampala. The tombs site is the most lively religious site in Buganda Kingdom. The Kabaka is unquestioned symbol of spiritual, political and social state to every muganda. The Kasubi tombs site is also a burial ground for Buganda Kings and all the 4 Kings were buried in this site. This makes the site an integral place for Buganda's Cultural hierarchy in which ganda rituals are performed. Kasubi tombs are also UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Uganda.
As you head to Queen Mother’s Tomb at Kagoma, you will be welcomed by a thrill of drums as these energetic Baganda hit them loud and then continue to Wamala Tombs where Suusa 11 is sited. Katareke provided the Komera/prison ditch that Kabaka Kalema used to imprison and execute rival heirs to the throne.
Buddo is at the centre of Buganda Kingdom and has been the traditional coronation site for 700 years. Naggalabi Buddo site is located along Masaka route-Buddo Hill. This historical site is an area where the Kabakas of Buganda are coroneted and there are local guides to take visitors throughout the process in which the Kabaka are succeeded in the Kingdom.

Mpererwe holds a tomb for Kabaka Mwanga’s mother and this makes it a cultural centre to explore the detailed history of the Kabaka and the trail. Ssezibwa Falls is a spiritual site where sacred black River water is situated. The falls is a popular site for traditional healing and it is established in a place of exceptional naturalness. Interestingly, this site is often used for royal relaxation in the entire history of the Kingship in Buganda.

The Kabaka’s Trail is also supported by the Heritage Trails Projects partnerships with the guardian communities of the sites, together with the Kabaka Foundation, a Non Governmental Organization which plays a role in establishing the capacity of the people in Buganda region for sustainable community development in the kingdom which in turn enhances the quality of life of locals in Buganda. Other organizations include Action for Conservation through Tourism (ACT UK) and the Uganda Community Tourism Association (UCOTA). The revenue that is got out of tourism activities is always channeled towards the preservation of the site and to assist the local community.

In conclusion, Kabaka’s Trail offers visitors opportunity to explore Buganda’s cultural and traditional practices and lifestyles. Visitors have a wide range of exciting activities to engage in while in the trail some of which include craft making, story telling from Buganda elders, exploring Buganda history, traditional dance and music performances as well as spiritual healing. Pay a visit to heritage sites like Kasubi tombs, Wamala Tombs, Katareke site, Kagoma Tombs and Naggalabi Buddo site among others. The Kabaka's Trail is the best way for you to begin or end your safari holiday in Uganda!! Besides, there are several Cultural Heritage Trails to be developed throughout Uganda and this will enhance cultural experiences for visitors in the country.

Thursday, 27 July 2017


Whereas you are planning for your gorilla safaris in Uganda and Rwanda, never forget to add cultural encounters into the list of your experiences to par take. Planning a safari has become the most stressful thing in life today as many travelers have been left out wondering about what to find in destination. Besides the famous mountain gorillas, Uganda and Rwanda have also become the most sought after destinations by tourists who wish to explore authentic African experiences of life time. Both countries have untouched traditional and cultural Kingdoms where tourists can explore their history and various cultural practices of various tribal groups.

Uganda’s diverse culture:
It is undoubtable that Uganda is popular as a "melting pot" of cultures in Africa. It is comprised of more than 62 tribal groups and more 30 indigenous languages but English remains as the official language and Kiswahili is used. Uganda is one of the smallest countries that consist of more than 37 million people. To enhance your cultural experiences in this remarkable nation, then you must visit Ndere Center “where African culture still remains alive” during the weekend and experience variety of traditional, culturally diverse dances, music that will be demonstrated to visitors from across the country.

As well, never forget to set into Sosolya Dance and Drumming Group on late Sunday afternoon at International Hotel in Muyenga. Come and learn various cultural dances, drumming and other cultural practices that will enrich you with African experiences. Surprisingly, the Sosolya Undungu Dance Academy is comprised of children who are in need just from the slums, orphans and thanks to Academy that has kept giving them hope and pride within themselves through lessons that they have learnt from musical and dancing skills. Your support is greatly appreciated too!

As you head down to Southwestern Uganda for gorilla trekking, never forget to encounter with the Batwa pygmies the famous ancient occupants of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest who lived in this jungles for more than 500000 years without any environmental impact. This made Batwa to be called the “keepers of the forest.” They peacefully lived in this tropical rain forest together with mountain gorillas and other wildlife. Getting into Batwa community will help you explore their ancient hunting and gathering techniques while in the jungles and interestingly get hold of the bow and arrow to learn how these unique people used to hunt. After, get into the Garama caves as darkness welcomes you and be filled with dramatic dances and music performances as the Batwa women sing songs of sorrow “why they were displaced from their beloved rain forest and wishing to return to the jungles.”
Similarly, get into wildlife safari to Kidepo Valley National Park in Northeastern Uganda and encounter these fierce pastoralists “Karamojong people” and experience the remarkable Manyattas that depict the authentic African culture. Explore authentic dance, music amazingly participate in “jump up” dance with these pastoralists and folk tales. Where possible try to bend down a bit as you enter into a Manyatta especially when you are invited by an elder. Never walk away without knowing why they marry as many women as they can as well as their communal work and why they believe all cattle belong to them.
Equally, never miss out climbing into Mount Morungole to experience the remarkable culture of IK people “the mountain people” who have chosen to live in the mountain for several years. Accessing the Ik means you have to be physically fit to hike through the strenuous mountain slopes up to the top where they live. The Ik people are not more than 10000 in total and this makes them one of the endangered groups in the region.
Rwanda’s diverse culture:
Rwanda is also renowned for mountain gorilla experiences, however its authentic culture and traditional practices waits for you. The most extraordinary traditional practices to spark imaginations include the traditional dances, music, food and drinks, the warm welcoming people and their lifestyles that are indeed worth exploring. Tourists can also spend time at Iby’Iwacu village to experience these incredible cultural experiences of life time. As well, you can take a community walk around rural Rwanda together with Rwandans and check into their gardens, prepare some traditional food and have lunch and in the process you would have learnt how Africans prepare their food or engage in handcrafts like making jewelry from various artisans whose creations have positioned them in the world map.

In conclusion, cultural safaris in Uganda and Rwanda are some of the unusual experiences that tourists should not miss to add into their gorilla or wildlife safaris. The cultural experiences in both countries range from historical learning of diverse kingdoms, dances, music performances, drama, food preparation to community visits among others. Never forget to include any cultural experience in Uganda and Rwanda if you need authentic African experiences in life!

Friday, 21 July 2017


Are you a cultural enthusiast? Do you know where the Karamojong people live? Do you wish to combine your wildlife safari experiences with cultural encounters in Northeastern Uganda? On this planet, everyone has a story to tell and so are the Karamojong, the renowned warrior pastoralists who live in Northeastern Uganda just at the border of Southern Sudan and Kenya. This area is uncommonly visited by travelers and for a few who make it up to this region; they will be filled with ultimate cultural experiences. Just as you set yourself into Africa’s wilderness in Kidepo Valley National Park, never miss out dramatic cultural experiences with Karamojong villages (Manyattas). Encountering this proud, fierce and traditional group of semi nomadic pastoralists will enrich you with Uganda’s famous cultural heritage.

This region together with Kidepo Valley National Park is uncommonly visited and not many people are aware about the Karamojong or even the national park itself unlike the Maasai in Kenya who have appeared in many magazines, stories and documents. There is little that is known about these beautiful people in the world something worthy exploring while in your safari to Kidepo Valley National Park or even as you plan your safari to Mount Elgon National Park.
Facts about the Karamojong:
The Karamojong have stayed in the Northeastern Uganda for hundreds of years. At a time of colonialism, the British colonial governments failed to control the Karamojong something that left their region off limits. Unlike other tribes, the Karamojong have continued to follow their ancient traditions and believe in their god “Akuj.” The Karamojong are among a few tribes that believed and still believe that all the cattle in the region of existence was offered to them by their god Akuj, and this explains the cattle rustling in neighboring communities. This kind of belief is perhaps the root cause of endless tribal conflicts and cattle rustling in the area given the fact that even other adjacent communities also have the similar belief about themselves that the cattle belong to them only. At a time of Idi Amin, conflicts had escalated in this area as a result of increased supply of weaponry mainly guns. The government has tried to curb down the situation by disarming these warriors with the aim of restoring peace to the area and civil stability.

These pastoralists also consider cattle royalty and it is from this that man can be measured in the community. They live for their cattle. What is importantly of all is to search for greener pasture and water for their cattle which is something hard given the fact the Karamojong area is a semi-desert.

Who takes care of the cattle?
Duties and responsibilities are well spelt out in Karamojong communities. As the men go to look for pasture and water for the cattle, the women on the other side simply remain in the Manyatta to take care of the homestead and the children and both women and children go to the gardens to supplement on their diet. Basically, the Karamojong practice the communal way of doing things. Roles are largely shared together and this is for the betterment of the community as a whole not only the nuclear family or an individual. Men are free to marry as many wives as they can provided they have dowry to pay for them. This is currently one of those ancient societies where dowry still counts much.

Karamojong structure:
These pastoralists are basically Nilotic. Their dialect has Nilo Saharan Kalenjin roots which comprises of various languages for pastoralists in South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda. They migrated to Northeastern Uganda around 1600 from Ethiopia and then settled around Mount Moroto. The name Karamojong denotes “the old tired men who stayed behind.” They are further grouped by clans and territorial sub-groups that is to say, the Bokora, the Pian and Matheniko. Unfortunately, these clans usually raid one another but as a result of government intervention and confiscation of their guns, there are minimal cases of cattle raiding today. The communities always follow the set guidance of the elders and things are done based on domestic lines.

The Karamoja region:
In case you have ever watched any western movies, the Karamoja area is barely not different from that. It depicts the true wilderness of Africa making it one of the untouched destinations in the continent. However, there are some roads to allow travelers access the area during their safaris. Alternatively, there are chartered flights for tourists to link up to Kidepo Valley National Park.

Why should you visit Karamojong Manyatta?
A trip to visit these incredible Manyattas is one of the most remarkable travel experiences that you must not miss out in life. The Manyattas are the rarest of all in entire Uganda. For travelers who make it up to these Manyattas, they get educational and enlightening cultural experiences. The cultural heritage in these villages has been preserved for hundreds of years and still untouched by modernization. Come and refresh your mind with these ancient villages. Everything in these villages is unique on their own, right from the set up, homesteads, people up to languages which offers visitors with authentic African experiences.

A few children are addressed and they come to greet visitors in a warm and humble welcoming way as visitors enter their villages where there are old men reclining on their headrest stools wrapped in tunics, sharing folk tales of old to the young and old, about their traditions and lifestyles as well as observing the movements in the village. Just in case you are invited inside a Manyatta, then this will mean that you have to be on your knees as well as hands down to enter. It is a privilege for these pastoralists to invite you into their homes.

The inside parts of their homes are cemented using cow dung and mud and they have no beds and much furniture and they are very proud of all these. Most interestingly, these pastoralists live absolutely in peace with nature, they rarely dress up; they are decorated in tribal markings and beads. Don’t blame them once you get into their community perhaps, the weather can tell you much while in your safari.

Never forget to enjoy the dramatic and exciting traditional dances when you get into the Karamojong Manyatta. If you miss the cultural dance or music then your safari to the Manyatta is absolutely incomplete. You can also join them and jump as higher as you can!
Most importantly, don’t forget your hat and sun glasses to protect your head and eyes from the scorching sun heat. Ensure that you come on your jeans instead of shorts because it culturally accepted in the Manyattas and the jeans can also help to protect your legs from thorns.

In conclusion, Karamojong Manyatta experience is worthy for tourists to explore and get lessons about the Karamojong people in reality. You can combine a cultural safari together with the Kidepo Valley National Park as you travel to enjoy spectacular wildlife species.

Friday, 14 July 2017


For over 500000 years while in the dense jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, is the rarest experience in human life that only a few creatures can manage to spend. Who are the Batwa? Well, this is a commonly asked question but interestingly, the Batwa pygmies were the first occupants of an ancient tropical rain forest in Southwestern Uganda. A trip to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is not only viewing mountain gorillas in the wild but also opportunity to encounter Uganda’s most incredible pygmies.
An encounter with the Batwa pygmies, is not only staring at their eyes, take your time and look at their heights; the fact is that after your cultural safari in Southwestern Uganda, you will get on your knees saying God created people but other creatures are incomparably the rarest on earth. The Batwa were popular hunters and gatherers who did not cause any negative impact on the forest. They took what they wanted and that was the end of the story! Indeed they were the “keepers of the forest!” Today, these creatures are the most marginalized group in Uganda given the fact that they were pushed out of their ancient home where they lived for countless decades. Conservation can be blamed for this but on other hand we appreciate it because we would not have any idea about these unique people!

The Batwa Trail experience is a newly established project around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park which is intended to restore the might tradition, dignity and hope of the Batwa pygmies which in turn will keep their traditions and culture alive for both the current and future generation. The trail is also intended to offer job opportunities to the Batwa, in form of tour guiding which in turn will help them pay the school fees of their children as well as support their well being.

Like we all have our cultural backgrounds, the Batwa equally have a tremendous cultural set up that is worthy exploring and that is why the Batwa Trail in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the must to include while in your gorilla safari. The walk through these pygmies’ home begins with a Batwa elder who will be on her or his ancient skins as they take you through inspiring stories concerning their creation up to the time when they were keepers of the forest.

Your hike will also take you through the stunning Mount Muhabura which denotes the guide and then proceed to Mount Gahinga where the guide will go on his or her knees to demonstrate his ancient life in the forest. After, you may taste some forest berries that these hunters and gatherers used to harvest at a time, and at this point, you will also explore some valuable plant species especially those that are traditionally of medical value-known to treat blood pressure and many medical problems in life. As others may think about going to clinics or pharmacies, some creatures like the Batwa pygmies were and are still not be part of this.

As you continue, the guide will demonstrate to you how they used make fire, hunting, trapping, gathering techniques and where possible you will get hold of a bow and arrow that they used as a tool for hunting. At the end, you will be filled with lessons on how these creatures lived in the forest for that long and patiently kept the forest. As well, you will also have opportunity to see crafts like making bamboo cups and traditional clothing that the Batwa used at a time.

Arrive at Garama Caves where the Batwa king lived at a time and foreigners were not permitted to have access into place. It was from here that these people also had refuge from their enemies. Get a bit down on your knees and enter into the sacred Garama Cave and be welcomed by darkness and then thrilling songs of sorrow as the Batwa women mourn , sing touching songs as to why they were forced out their forest and wishing if they can be allowed to go back into the jungles. You will almost get yourself into tears but be strong it is their story! Get out of the Cave and excite the mind with dramatic dance and music as these ancient forest occupants demonstrate to you authentic African experiences of a life time.

In conclusion, Batwa Trail is one of the most remarkable experiences that come once in a life time. The trail is the best way to explore the Batwa ancient life styles which in turn will enrich you with a life time experiences. Discover the Batwa secrets in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest!

Thursday, 6 July 2017


A safari to Uganda is complete only if it is combined with exceptional cultural experience in the great land of the Soga people along Lake Victoria and Lake Kyoga area, just as you set into the land of Kamuli, Jinja and Iganga. Luckily, we have seen Uganda’s tremendous wildlife and we have appreciated but most incredibly add  a cultural safari to bungee jumping or white water rafting in Eastern Uganda and you will certainly realize the fact about authentic African experiences in life. With over 60 different cultures that are all ingrained within this small country, a safari to land of Basoga is the most spectacular experience that offers opportunity to explore their religion, traditional dances, lifestyles, set up of their kingdom and many more things that never leave visitor who get into their community unsatisfied. Before the influence of the Europeans, the Basoga people practiced subsistence farming and mainly depended on cattle, sheep and goat keeping.  The ancient occupants in Busoga region were mainly the Nilo hamites which included the Langi and Iteso together with the Bagisu people. However, when the Basoga immigrants from the East came, they were all removed from the area and their culture, traditions and lifestyles were taken over. The Basoga are described by their clan chief that also defines the every day life in their communities. Concerning their area of worship, the Basoga demonstrated ancestral worship with several gods and semi gods together with Lubaale-their creator. They believed in animated nature that they provided with numerous sacrifices of different kinds but later, they were influenced by the Baganda as their dialect (Lusoga) was a bit similar to Luganda. The Baganda dialect continued as the Basoga dialects were hardily understood by other Soga tribes. Because of continuous migrations, the Basoga history is a bit hard to ascertain.

The culture and religion:
Busoga region is spearheaded by His Royal Highness Isebantu Kyabazinga of Busoga. The name was chosen from a symbol of unity derived from the expression and recognition by the Basoga that their cultural leader was the “father of all people who brings all of them together.” Traditionally, the Basoga were composed of several small kingdoms and they were disunited not until recently that they have a single leader. The society was organized based on numerous principles, of which was descent. This was mainly occurring from male ancestors and hence formation of patrilineage that comprises of individuals’ closest relatives. The group offered guidance and support for every individual and united related home steads for economic, social and religious reasons. The women of the household were responsible for taking care of the most common staple foods which include bananas, millet, cassava and sweet potatoes. Once you visit Busoga region, never return without tasting the local menu of the Basoga. For the case of men, their care rotated around cash crops like coffee, cotton, peanuts and corn. Lineage membership was however the determinant of marriage options, inheritance rights and right to worship the ancestors. Each person normally attempted to improve his economic and social status that originally depended on lineage membership, by skillful manipulating patrons-client ties within the authority structure of the kingdom. Despite the relative lineage, the man’s patrons had a right to influence his status in the community some thing different from that of Buganda kings and Busoga Kings.

Traditional marriages:
Traditionally, a Musoga man was/is supposed to identify a girl that he wants to marry where he will then send an advance team composing of presentable and honorable male members the side of his family or clan. The team was to be charged from the girl’s home for getting into contact with their daughter and then gather more information concerning her in order to avoid marring relatives which is not allowed in Uganda’s cultures. The team then goes a head to table a format requesting to introduce the son and ask the girl’s hand in marriage. However, things have changed where there is use of letters that are sent to the girl’s family a head. The father isn’t allowed to read this letter but to solicit the company of his sister while reading it. The letter will suggest a specific date on which the man intends to present himself for proper introduction. If it is inconvenient on the side of the girl’s family, another optional date can be decided and communication will be sent back to the man’s family. According to Basoga culture, an introduction is very important as it creates a strong bond that also brings the two different families together.

In conclusion, a cultural safari to Uganda offers visitors opportunity to explore its diverse cultures. Your safari can be amazing only if you included a cultural experience from Busoga into the list of your activities. Enjoy your cultural safari with the Basoga!