Wednesday, 13 December 2017

THE FIRST EVER ACHOLI CULTURAL FESTIVAL IN UGANDA


Are you a cultural enthusiast? Have you heard about the Acholi cultural festival? For the first time in Uganda, residents of Acholi Sub region have organized what has been described as the "grand Acholi cultural festival" due to take place in Gulu district. The event is intended to exhibit the endowed culture and traditions of the Acholi people. The Acholi cultural leader Rwot David Onen Acana II endorsed on this tremendous event as a way to memorize and celebrate the beauty of Acholi culture. The theme of the event is “Kwero deyo pa Acholi” meaning Celebrating the beauty of the Acholi!
ACHOLI CULTURAL DANCES
Several events are to be conducted between 14th Thursday and 16th Saturday at the Kaunda Grounds and Park Centre in Gulu town. The festival is likely to attract thousands of people from all corners to attend this remarkable event that is commencing tomorrow. This event also intends to promote progress and development in the region. Among other things to be exhibited include the traditional dances, food, artifacts, drama, local dishes and drinks. Cooking lessons will be conducted for children below 11 years as well as cooking competitions and Acholi food restaurant. There will also be Acholi legacy award gala, dance, music, dress and several awards. All these fascinating activities are aimed at selling the culture of Acholi people to outside world. The Acholi belong to Nilotic Luo speaking ethnic group mainly thriving from central area of Northern Uganda, an area largely considered as Acholi land. The region covers the towns of Agago, Gulu, Amuru, Kitgum, Lamwo and Pader. About 1.17 million people live in the region with more 45000 of them living in south Sudan. They speak Luo. The Acholi people are famous to have migrated from Bahr el Ghazal in the south of Sudan about 1000 CE to the current Northern Uganda.
In conclusion, wildlife safaris in Uganda are worth better off when combined with cultural encounters. Let us come and appreciate nature and promote Acholi culture to the outside world! There is a lot more to explore in the Acholi compared to what you may know.


ENTANDA CULTURAL EXPERIENCE


While most tourists come mainly for wildlife viewing in Africa’s national parks, Uganda offers yet another exciting experience for visitor on safari to Africa. Combining game drives with cultural safaris in Uganda rewards travelers with lifetime experiences. Uganda consists of more than 650 designated cultural sites and monuments and 2 (two) UNESCO World Heritage Sites, eight more sites are yet to be approved. For amazing cultural safaris in Uganda, consider visiting Entanda Traditional Hunting and Cultural Experiences and you won’t regret in life. Entanda is located 60 kilometers away from Kampala city. While at a distance, you can hear the sounds of the African drums and the more you get closer, they become louder. The traditional music with local residents offers the most remarkable experiences for visitors on Uganda safaris. A safari to this cultural site rewards visitors with fruits like watermelon, guavas, passion fruit, paw paws, yellow banana, jack fruit, sour sop fruits and many more. There are traditional games for visitors to enjoy for instance bow and arrow shooting competition, learn how to play the Sekitulege a local musical instrument which about 6 centuries old.
FRUITS TO BE ENJOYED
TRADITIONAL MUSIC AND DANCE
You will also have opportunity to climb the hills, or visit wetlands, forests and homesteads while looking for animals to hunt. Residents in the area will take an initiative to show you everything right from how to carry hunting spears, machetes and horns. They will identify the animals that they will find but the hunting doesn’t mean shoot to kill. The technique is applied to allow more wildlife to recover after many years of hunting.

Whereas male visitors set off for hunting, the females stay back home with local women who will take them to the gardens to harvest food. They prepare the local dishes together with tourists using traditional techniques and cook it as they wait for the husbands to come back from the field. As food boils on the fire, tourists are guided by the Ssenga also referred as auntie to the bush to explore on the marriage and home management affairs. She takes visitors through traditional practices of how to look after the husband, how to use certain local herbs to treat the sick people and how to manage a home in a typical Kiganda tradition. Bed matters are also deeply discussed around the same area.

When the men come back from hunting, tired and hungry, food will be served hot and steaming and everyone sits on the floor and uses bare hands to eat. After lunch Kojja also referred as uncle talks about marriage matters as well as bed issues with men. After you are done with lunch, tourists can choose to explore more local herbs or wine processing and testing or join the herdsmen for an afternoon grazing of animals and milking cows. In case you need to go and play football, you can still make a team and do it as the last activity with the local residents. Ladies and gentlemen are all free to team up together. In case the tourists win the match, they are offered goats to roast while they party with the local residents.
FOOTBALL TIME
In conclusion, it is only in Uganda where you can unique cultural experiences that thrill into visitors’ mind. Come and explore the Entanda cultural practices and be amazed with lifetime experiences!


Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Exploring the magical secrets in the Ssezibwa waterfalls


Situated about 35 kilometers East of Kampala, Mukono District, the Ssezibwa falls feature among the most exceptional cultural spots in Uganda. When you think about cultural safaris in Uganda, look not further than the Ssezibwa falls! The Ssezibwa isn’t only for the remarkable waterfalls but also credited for its extraordinary and spiritual values which makes it one of the amazing and well kept cultural spots of Buganda’s King. A visit to this splendid cultural site rewards visitors on Uganda cultural safaris with incredible “Black River” which stumbles over the rocks into the pool below.
THE MAGICAL SSEZIBWA FALLS
Think about unique cultural spots in Uganda and think not beyond the Ssezibwa falls. The site is frequently visited by the natives for blessings in areas of wealth, love, children, business and fortunes. It is also credited for its healing power. The ceremonial blessings are always conducted by the traditional healer who is within the site and they are performed for both domestic and international visitors. The native have it that there are two Rivers-Sezibwa and Bwanda that were born by a women on her way to Kavuma Bukunja at a time when she encountered labor pains. Nakkungu Tebatuusa whose husband was called Nsubuga Sebwato gave birth to twin babies in form of water. The Ssezibwa flowed west crossing several obstacles and thus the name Ssezibwa while the Bwanda flowed to Nyenga in Eastern Uganda to the mother’s homeland. At Sezibwa, there is a big tree which was planted by Ssekabaka Mwanga II as away showing respect to the Ssezibwa falls. Also King Ronald Frederick Muwenda Mutebi II planted a tree during the dedication of the current site in 2002.

The 2 (two) historical trees that are regarded as sacred gifts from the Kabakas and while you are on safari in Uganda; do not miss to visit this remarkable site. Visitors on Uganda cultural safari to the Ssezibwa falls have a chance to enjoy picnic tours as well as paying a visit to distinct local shrines where the local Buganda frequently visit to give spiritual sacrifices with hopes of getting blessings. This area is stunning and it comes with spectacular scenic views.
THE SHRINE IN SSEZIBWA FALLS
The Ssezibwa waterfalls are found on Ssezibwa River which also comes with stunning wetlands between Lake Victoria and Lake Kyoga west of Buikwe district. Around Buikwe the River flows Northwards via Mukono into Lake Kyoga in Kayunga district.  

The Ssezibwa falls are of great value not just for its waterfalls but for its exceptional cultural experiences and traditional beliefs attached to it. The word Sizibibwa Kkubo denotes that no obstacle can bar me from moving on and from Ssezibwa the 2 Rivers flow across the tranquil island which divides them into two streams reminding locals of the legend as to how the Rivers started.

In conclusion, the Ssezibwa is an important cultural spot and it is frequently visited by not only natives but also foreigners. The site also comes with amazing bird sightings that thrive around the area. Safaris to Ssezibwa falls can be incorporated with any trips within Uganda whether you are traveling for adventures like bungee jumping or white water rafting in Jinja or Mabira forest as well as wildlife tours in the national parks.


Friday, 24 November 2017

EXPERIENCING THE MILEGE WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL


When you think about African cultural safaris, look not further than Uganda. While on your safari in Uganda, expect more than just mouth watering foods and local dishes! The Milege world music festival or simply Milege festival is one of remarkable events of a kind not to be missed while on Uganda cultural safari. This tremendous music festival is conducted every year in November. The festival is entirely a celebration of games, cultural and traditional dances, world music, stories, poems and many more. There is also art repainting and after exhibited and sold during this remarkable event of a lifetime. The world music festival brings together several music stars from across Africa and even Asia, America and Europe. This amazing festival began in 2010 and it cut across Uganda and from 2014, it was relocated to the Botanical Gardens in Entebbe.
THE MILEGE FESTIVAL
No need to wait anymore or wonder about where to spend this weekend, this year the festival will kick off on 24th to 26th November 2017 at the Entebbe Botanical Gardens. The Milege World Music Festival is a joint development of the Mayor of Entebbe and Milege Inc. The main aim of the festival is to exhibit the rare arts from various countries of the world as a high quality entertainment event and prime tourist attraction.
ENTEBBE BOTANICAL GARDENS
The event is a three day celebration of extra-ordinary arts, featuring exceptional array of bands, dance groups, DJ’s and musicians and to forget poetry, storytelling, visual arts, fashion, crafts, food and drinks all in the spectacularly scenic Entebbe Botanical Gardens. Additionally, there are also several sightseeing activities for children and adults together with the possibility of camping on the grounds of the Entebbe Botanical Gardens that will all make up your lifetime experience. The Entebbe Botanical Gardens site was laid out in 1898 by the first Curator. It is situated on the shores of Lake Victoria just in the centre of Entebbe town and it comes with the feeling of a faraway forest expedition, variety of trees of hundred years, herbal gardens, a cliff, shoreline and a tropical rain forest zone in where the film Tarzan was shot in the 1940’s. The place is incomparably one of the most exceptional areas that create a balance between nature and convenience at the same place. The festival basically offers you a chance to realize your dreams with lots of entertainment or chilling moments of lifetime. Early in the morning, you will first catch up with the fishermen or sun rise by the Lakeside or simply catch a glimpse of monkeys and many more.
DANCES AT MILEGE FESTIVAL
Tickets are always found online and at the nearest selling points in Kampala and Entebbe Revelers who buy online can exchange a printed copy of their ticket fro a wrist band at the gate. When it comes to accommodation, there is no need to be worried. Entebbe has a wide range of accommodations that suit within visitors’ pocket right from luxury to budget. There is a five star Protea Hotel Entebbe about 2 (two) minutes from the Entebbe International Airport to comfortable African cottages at Uganda Wildlife Education Center, homely Lodges, back packers and amazingly pocket friendly accommodation. For visitors who love camping, Entebbe Botanical Gardens also offer the best and camp site just at the edge of the tropical rain forest zone.

For visitors at the Entebbe International Airport, you can get airport taxi or down the uber application and get a discounted or absolutely free ride to the festival place using the code MILEGE on www.uber.com/app. Discounts go up to shs.15000. There is also public means the whole day until evening to and fro Kampala via Kampala to Entebbe highway or at the old taxi park in Kampala and the Entebbe taxi park at shs.3000. For movement in Entebbe, you can use safe Boda (Motorcycle). Using this means is equally safe as you are given helmet and the riders are careful while riding. They are easily spotted out with their orange helmets and reflector jackets bearing the name of the rider and company contact info.


In conclusion, Entebbe is one of the most stunning towns in Uganda. It comes with Entebbe International Airport where most of the flights take place. Its spectacular view alone is such remarkable experience not to be missed. For this weekend, don’t miss lifetime experiences at the Milege World Music Festival in Entebbe Botanical Gardens! 

Thursday, 16 November 2017

DISCOVERING THE MAGICAL ROCK SHELTERS AND CAVES OF THE EARLY MAN


Are you an archaeologist or anthropologist? Are you planning your safari in Uganda? African safaris are never complete without cultural safaris! Think about the most thrilling cultural experiences or exceptional historical, archaeological, memorial sites and count Uganda a must to visit destination. Uganda offers more than wildlife adventures! A trip to this stunning destination allows you to explore its cultural and archaeological sites that reward the endeavors with lifetime experiences. If you checked about Uganda, the first thing for you to see would the mountain gorillas or the big game and yet also it’s a hotspot for cultural safaris in Africa. Looking at the Southwestern region, there is more for you to explore and you will certainly be thrilled by its abundance beyond just wildlife as seen below;

The Nsongezi caves and rock shelters
If you have ever heard about the story of the Stone Age, then this is the best spot for you to visit. The shelters are situated along the banks of River Kagera and Kikagati trading center. Nsongezi caves and rock shelters are the best archaeological sites, only famous in the entire Uganda for the late Stone Age Microlith and dimple based pottery. The site came to existence way back in 9th century. These shelters feature several excavations of stratified pottery shards of about 1000 AD. Along these rock shelters, you will also find the Kansyore Island next to River Kagera. The Island was occupied by the rulers of Nkore, Ntare of the time and Rwanga as refuge. To date it is used as a holiday resort. Visitors can access the Nsongezi rock shelters and the Kansyore through the Kampala-Kabale route past oruchinga refugees settlement. If you are in Mbarara, they are accessible about 64 kilometers. Alternatively, you can take the Mbarara-Kitagati route and between 24 and 26 kilometers from Mbarara you will also find the Buchunku Stanley memorial and the Bweyorere capital sites. This is where the famous explorer H.M. Stanley made blood brotherhood with Buchunku on 23rd July 1889. Buchunku represented the King of Nkore, Ntare ‘V’ while Bweyorere which is located nearly three quarter kilometers, off Mbarara-Kikagati route was a capital site for two rulers of the Nkore, Kasasira and Karara kingdom. Do not miss to see the low mounds all over the site that might have been the shelter sites and cow dung heaps. There is also pottery widely spread in the site which is Uganda’s only thriving archaeological site.

Do not miss to explore other historical sites and monuments around Mbarara especially the Nkokonjeru tombs at Kakika about 3 and half kilometers west of Mbarara town. The tomb site is where the 2 Kings of Ankole, Kahaya II and Sir Godfrey Gasyonga II are found.

As you head to Kamukuzi, you will find the Ankole capital and the relics of the old palace. The drums house still exists and you will have a chance to visit the stunning monument in the memory of the Late Nuwa Mbaguta the Prime Minister (Enganzi) of Ankole. Within Mbarara town, there is the peace memorial site the parade square just in front of the old police headquarters and the Ntare Stanley memorial site around Mbarara central government prison.

Head to Ibanda trading center about 60 kilometers North of Mbarara and explore the Galt memorial site, a heap of stones arranged in a cone marking the site at which gait one of the colonial assistant commissioner was killed by Rutaraka. This event caused arrests and banishment of Bahinda princes; Igumira and Rwakakaiga.

Visit the Kitagata hot springs just near Kitagata hospital about 40 kilometers form Mbarara-Ishaka route. The place is naturally stunning with papyrus swamp along it and it is a healing site for most locals as most of them flock into the site early in the morning and late in the evening for bathing. As you head to Kabale town besides its stunning and misty hills and terraced gardens, you will also catch a glimpse of 2 natural sites.

Visit Kisiizi falls on River, Rushoma, Kyabamba and Lake Bunyonyi. Traditionally these sites were used as a dumping ground for Bakiga premarital pregnant girls. Girls whose legs and arms were weak would be rolled over the waterfalls of about 15 meters high or thrown into the deep Crater Lake. The practice has however stopped as the church of Uganda was set up the Kisiizi hospital in 1958. Currently, these two sites are magnificent tourist attractions. The waterfalls also inhabit several birdlife and a trip to the area also rewards with spectacular views.
THE KISIIZI FALLS
In conclusion, there are a lot more waiting for you to explore while on safari to Southwestern Uganda. Cultural safaris in Southwestern Uganda can be combined with mountain gorilla trekking adventures in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park. There are also other cultural sites for you explore especially the Garama caves, the Kigezi memorial site and many more. Enjoy your cultural safari in Uganda!



Friday, 10 November 2017

EXPLORING THE GARAMA CAVES AND THE MARGINALIZED BATWA PYGMIES


Located about 342 meters, the Garama caves lie beneath a plateau in the northern side of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, 3 kilometers from Ntebeko. It is established within the former farmland zone but earlier times, the Garama caves were found in the forest when it was occupied by mainly the Batwa pygmies. The Batwa are a few incredible creatures who lived in the forest for more than 500000 years and left it without any damage something unique with the current status. Currently, the Garama caves offer the best site for the Batwa cultural performance at the end of the Batwa trail making the park not only as one of the most exceptional spots for mountain gorilla trekking safaris but also for thrilling cultural encounters in Uganda and the world at large.

As you plan your mountain gorilla trekking safaris to Mgahinga National Park or Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, make sure that Garama cave exploration features in the list of activities you wish to enjoy in Uganda. The Batwa trail is available that leads visitors up to the remarkable Garama caves. At the cave, you will be welcomed by darkness and later the most thrilling cultural and musical performance from the Batwa women who will be singing songs of sorrow as “why they were removed from their treasured forest” and pleading to be allowed to go back to their lovely forest. The Garama caves offered refuge to the Batwa during times of trouble like wars especially from the Bantu and also acted as a home to their king at a time. These remarkable caves are 3 kilometers long from the park entrance and the walk through them lasts for 3 to 4 hours.

Your guided walk through the Garama caves allows you to explore lifestyle of these gatherers, hunters who lived harmoniously with the forest without causing any effect. The Garama cave is 342 meters long and 14 meters deep and as you walk through it, do not be surprised to encounter bats. If you are looking for breathtaking cultural safaris, look not further than the Garama cave exploration in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Southwestern Uganda. The cave is situated 14 kilometers southwards from Kisoro district and leads visitors on rewarding hike towards the base of the great bulk of Mount Muhabura. While on Garama cave exploration, you will be guided by the Batwa who will explain their lifestyle, practices and also lead you to where their cultural performances are done. A face to face encounter with the Batwa pygmies themselves is such thrilling experiences given their unique height that doesn’t exceed 1.5 meters.
THE GARAMA CAVE

In conclusion, Uganda’s history can not be told without mentioning about the Batwa pygmies. The Garama cave is sacred site for the Batwa people who lived in the forest for over 500000 years while hunting and gathering but left without any impact on the environment. For visitors on gorilla safari in Uganda, a visit to the Garama caves is worth for you to add to explore much about these incredible creatures. 

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

THE FORGOTTEN RESTING SITE FOR OMUKAMA OF BUNYORO


Are you interested in extra-ordinary cultural experiences but you do not know where to go for a cultural safari in Uganda? Situated in Central Uganda, Southeast of Dyango and Lubato-Nambesa and west of Ggambirana comes the Mpumudde hill at altitude 1223 meters. Mpumudde hill is a famous historical and cultural site where the late Omukama of Bunyoro-Kabalega rested from. Kabalega became one of the popular Ugandans to oppose colonialism and it is believed that he died while returning to Bunyoro after serving his exile term in Kenya. He passed on at about 86 years back, a time when Busoga Kingdom was awe stricken and hundreds of locals carried stones to mark the hill where he passed on. The word Mpumudde in Ganda denotes “I have rested!” It is believed that Kabalega when urged to move on, told his friends in local language (Kinyoro) that “Mpumwire”-I have rested. Up to date this exceptional hill is termed as Mpumudde. The hill belongs to the Busoga Kingdom and it is on this same hill that the chiefs of Busoga made a small cairn of stones in to commemorate the British Administrator Mr. F. Spire.

Most culturalists and anthropologists view this extra ordinary site as a potential tourist attraction that would generate Busoga a lot of revenue each year although there are no sign posts to direct anyone to this remarkable cultural spot. On its peak you will find a multi colored dilapidated monument which is constructed with fired blocks and parts of it plastered. Behind the monument there is a heap of stones covered under lantana camara shrubs and a tall mutuba tree stands out. Mpumudde lies about 2 kilometers away from Kamuli Road in Jinja Municipality. Kabalega and Kabaka Mwanga of Buganda fought colonial occupation in the late 19th century. Kabalega had staged an eight year guerilla war but due to their patriotic efforts, the British forces captured them on April 4th 1899 in Dokolo, Northern Uganda in the house owned by Langi chief. Upon their capture, the two were exiled to the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean where Mwanga passed on in 1903.

Kabalega remained in captivity for several years till he was allowed to come back. But unfortunately, while on his return journey to Bunyoro in 1923, he became sick in Jinja as a result of Malaria and fatigue. His servants who used to carry him on the shoulders decided to climb what came to be known as “Mpumudde hill to permit the King to rest and resume his safari later. The unfortunate bit of it is that Kabalega’s conditions worsened while on the hill’s top. The bodyguards then carried his body to Namasagali landing site on Lake Kyoga which is approximately 80 kilometers from Jinja. They transported Kabalega’s body by canoe to Masindi from where they again carried the body up to Mparo, Hoima where he was laid to rest.

Mpumudde hill seems to be forgotten especially from the 1970s but some elders and cultural leaders of Busoga still regard it with much reverence due to the spiritual powers attached to it and interestingly the Kyabazinga also originated from Mpumudde. At the time when the government restored monarchies in 1996, the Busoga royals turned the hill into the coronation site for the Kyabazinga Henry. It is on this hill still that the king’s witch doctors cleanse the Kyabazinga during coronation. During such rituals each of the eleven chiefdoms constructs a grass thatched hut on the hill and then slaughter goats, sheep, chicken and many more animals and sprinkle the blood around. Kabalega’s spirits perform miracles. Besides fighting the British, it is also evident that in Busoga Kabalega is viewed as a man of fortunes. It is a healing hill to most residents, and most women have been sighted trekking from far to visit the hill for cleansing and after their prayers are answered, they come back and slaughter chicken and goats for the residents.


In conclusion, when it comes to cultural safaris in Africa, Uganda is exceptionally a boiling pot of cultures. The Mpumudde hill features as one of the most rewarding cultural spots that you shouldn’t miss to visit in Busoga while on your safari to Uganda.