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Gorilla Safari and Cultural Encounters

Gorilla Safari and Cultural Encounters

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Batwa Trail: It starts at the base of Mt Muhavura at 8.00 am and finishes by 3-4 pm. You’ll need walking shoes, hat, and rain gear, and a packed lunch with sufficient drinks. The Batwa Trail runs across the lower slopes of the Muhavura and Gahinga Volcanoes in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and these parks are famously known for gorilla trekking tours and cultural performances. The forest is home to a variety of wildlife but the Batwa Trail is far from being a conventional nature walk. With the help of Batwa guides, you’ll see the forest as a larder, pharmacy, builder’s yard, tool kit and, above all a home.

Along the trail, you will fire a bow and arrow, check hives for wild honey, help repair a Batwa shelter, harvest plants for medicine and food, light a fire without a matches, listen to legends and learn about Batwa traditions. The highlight of the trail is a descent into the Garama cave, a 200m-long lava tube beneath Mt. Gahinga. The Batwa are famed for their music and dance and their historic, subterranean council chamber in Garama Cave provides the setting for an unforgettable performance. The Batwa trail is celebration of the forest culture of the “‘first people.

”It is impossible, however, to ignore the fact that Batwa life has greatly changed. The day’s events conclude with a discussion about the Batwa’s current situation; how it can be improved; and progress to date towards doing so.

On the Culture trail for example, there is an energetic old man Tom Karemire, who hosts visitors at his home which is a typical Bakiga homestead. Tourists get the chance to use ordinary facilities like pit latrines and sleep in tents, enjoy bonfire barbecue and chicken at night and feast on fresh crayfish from the Lake.

The Kabale Arts Centre sums up the Bakiga way of life in a small museum which has historical and traditional highlights of how the Bakiga resisted the colonialists, how virgins were punished and controversial cultural practices and beliefs of how a woman was clan property. Modern developments such as sliding doors and elevators are also included in the depictions in the small museum.

There are also craft shops, schools, and community walks that tourists can explore. Mbarara town which is close by has a cultural centre called Igongo Cultural Center in addition to having fine hotel rooms, has a well-researched museum with a clear depiction on Ankole history. The cultural tourism product that the people in South Western and Western Uganda are investing in is the kind of diversified product Uganda needs.

The Mpumwiire Coronation site:  It’s here that the Kyabazinga’s (king) Palace is located. It derived its name from the scenario that the sickly king of Bunyoro kingdom – Omukama Kabalega during on his return journey from Seychelles where he had gone to exile was the passing through the Busoga region and died (rested) at this place.

The Buswiikira Site:  found in Mayuge, it’s here that the legendary icons Kintu and his wife Nambi the ‘ancestors’ of the Baganda are believed to be buried. All these and many more make a cultural holiday to Uganda.

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