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.”
|MEET THE FOREST DWELLERS IN SOUTHWESTERN UGANDA|
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.
|KARAMOJONG JUMP UP AS THEY DANCE|
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.
|HIKE TO MEET IK PEOPLE|
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!