Cultural tours in Queen Elizabeth National Park/community walks in Queen Elizabeth Park are one of the most enlightening activities to do on your safaris in Uganda.
What is a cultural experience? A cultural experience is where one group of people relates with another group of people to study their beliefs and customs.
Among the many safari activities, cultural experiences will broaden your knowledge about the peculiar ways of different people as you connect with their culture.
The cultural groups in Queen Elizabeth National Park are just a portion of the 56 tribes in Uganda. This makes the different cultures of Uganda one of the rich tourist attractions in a Uganda safari.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve. This means that there is an interesting number of cultures and communities that co-live inside the park with the animals.
Cultural trips in the park are an enrichment of different cultural groups and practices promoting cultural experiences in Uganda.
Experience the culture of the Basongara, Bakonjo, and Banyabindi who live in Queen Elizabeth National Park. They uphold the Ugandan culture by its roots and allow you to appreciate it on your safari to Uganda.
Moreover, you can also experience culture in Queen Elizabeth National Park by visiting and encountering the;
- Leopard Village/Muhokya Village Visit
- Kikorongo Women Community Cultural Experience
- Nyanzibiri Cave Community Cultural Visit
- Agro Walking Tour
- Katwe Tourism Information Centre
Below, let us explore these examples of cultural experiences in Queen Elizabeth National Park when you safari Uganda.
Leopard Village | Muhokya Village Visit
The “Leopard Village” was named so because of the way the locals bear exceptional patience with the wildlife that prey on their livestock, especially the Leopards.
It is 3 acres, near Muhokya Village and bordering Queen Elizabeth National Park on the North.
The Leopard Village is a community-run group that promotes social and economic development, culture, and wildlife conservation through ecotourism.
This village portrays a great example of co-existence between the local community and the surrounding wildlife. Therefore, visiting this village and encountering the cultural experience in Uganda safari tours will help to promote the different wildlife species in the area.
While for cultural tours in Queen Elizabeth National Park, you will encounter the various tourist activities in this village, as included below,
- Locals share information with tourists about the rich Uganda culture, for example, folk tales, pastoral practices, and agricultural activities.
- They also share about the rich natural resources in their region and the Albertine Rift.
- The locals also help you in visiting sample huts of the traditional Bakonzo, Basongora, and Banyabindi ethnic groups. These show the different architectural cultures of Uganda.
- You can also purchase traditional crafts and visit groups of Uganda cultures. They will give you captivating performances on your visit.
When for Cultural tours in Queen Elizabeth National Park- in the Leopard Village, guides can either offer you short cultural encounters or longer Uganda cultural tours;
The short cultural visits may include
- A short break to rejuvenate both your body and mind before you can continue with your drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park.
- Visiting the replicas of the traditional huts of the Bakonjo, Banyabindi, and Basongora ethnic groups.
- Touring the craft market and non-persuasively purchasing authentic traditional crafts. This is to help support the livelihoods of the friendly people and their environment.
- Enjoying short performances from the local groups and school children from Muhokya, Kahendero, and Hamukungu. The different groups to give you these cultural experience examples in your Uganda tour are
- Banyabindi Cultural Drama Women’s Cultural Group
- Basongora Women Cultural Group
- Muhokya Primary School choir
- Young Men’s Acrobatic Crew
On the other hand, the longer cultural encounter of the Leopard Village includes,
- Long talks with the Muhokya, Kahendero, and Hamukungu community members about the opportunities and challenges that they face since they live inside the park. They will also share with you their local agricultural and pastoral practices.
- Uganda tours and safaris to the local schools for example the Muhokya Primary School.
- Discussing, debating, and mutually learning about how the global community can work hand in hand with the local communities. This is to help curb the environmental and human-wildlife conflicts among the communities living inside Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Kikorongo Women Community Cultural Experience – Cultural Tours in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Cultural tours in Queen Elizabeth National Park are also brought to life by the performances of the Kikorongo Women Community.
Kikorongo means “too much sunshine” in the local Rukonjo language. The name reflects the climatic conditions at the equator which lies at Kikorongo Village in the Northern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Within the village are a group of these cultural performers called the Kikorongo Women Community. Even though the heat in Queen Elizabeth National Park is much, it has not discouraged this group from helping visitors encounter culture through their vigorous performances. They execute their lively, energetic Ugandan cultural dances in the different lodges around the park through Music, Dance, and Drama.
Watching the Kikorongo Women’s group perform by the fireside is a wonderful way to glimpse at life in the Kikorongo community.
While they perform, a local interpreter brings to life their performances by explaining the significance of the performances as you watch this village setting.
The Kikorongo African Art shops also make baskets, bowls, purses, belts, and necklaces from cultural materials and fabric for sale to tourists.
Through the Kikorongo African Art Workshops, locals also teach visitors how to weave baskets and bowls from natural fibers. In fact, they can even demonstrate and teach you how to make beautiful and colorful unique necklaces from paper beads made from magazines. This way, they have promoted cultural tours in Uganda.
Nyanzibiri Cave Community Visit
The Nyanzibiri Cave is another of the cultural sites in Uganda for experiencing culture in Queen Elizabeth National park.
It is an ideal place for you to stretch after a long game drive and do an impressive scenic walk at a site called “the cave”.
The cave gives spectacular panoramic views of volcanic crater lakes and emits voices of the Grey-Crowned Cranes and many Eagles in Queen Elizabeth Park.
By canoe paddling, and a hike leading to the transparent lake, you can either meet the 8 primate species or enjoy the beautiful scent of local flowers.
Also in this area, you will be able to experience local culture by visiting a historic cave and the Bunyaruguru hut. The hut is a cultural museum with artifacts used by the locals in the past during their daily life.
The Nyanzibiri Cave Community also offers a campsite and three fully furnished private bandas with a restaurant, bar, and evening cultural performances. The substantial share of your cultural safaris in Uganda, together with the accommodation fees helps to support community development, conservation, and educational projects.
Kichwamba Escarpment, which forms the Eastern wall of the Western Rift Valley boasts plants, birds, and cultural sites for unique cultural safaris.
The two-hour trail to the escarpment starts from Katara Village by hiking the farms of the escarpment either in the cool morning or in the early evening.
Your expert guide to the Agro tour walks will explain to you the local farming methods in the place, the beautiful birds, and both exotic and medicinal plants.
You will also learn about the ongoing challenge of human-wildlife conflicts in the area. Additionally, your guide will lead you through the beehives that locals use to divert destructive elephants away from community crops on the park border. If interested, you can even try harvesting honey.
Upon visiting the vast savannah landscape of the savannah you will then return to your lodge and prepare for the next adventure in your Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda safari.
Katwe Tourism Information Centre (KATIC) Visit
Katwe is a village inside Queen Elizabeth National Park in the North. It is famed for its salt works in which both men and women, young and old all immerse themselves waist-deep into the toxic waters of the Katwe Crater to extract salt.
Since the 16th century, this Lake has supported the survival of these villagers. Under the hot sun, they harvest salt from the salt pans in the milky waters.
A Queen Elizabeth safari in Katwe will give you a unique insight into the tough salt mining process that provides an alternate income for the locals.
From the salt works, you can visit the Katwe Village in which you will be captivated by their traditional homesteads and the cooking demonstrations with a unique Ugandan recipe. There is also a visit to the local school in the Katwe village during your Uganda culture and traditions tour in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Your guide will also lead you through Lake Munyanyange which hosts rich Uganda birds. These include the Lesser Flamingoes which migrate from Lake Turkana in Kenya.
Other communities to meet for a cultural encounter in Queen Elizabeth National Park are;
- Kasoga community.
- Kameme Traditional Group
Kasoga Community Experience
This is a community in the Hamukungu Fishing Village on Lake George Ramsar site, South West of the Kasenyi Plains. They offer visitors various activities on their safari while also giving them knowledge and experiences about the different sites in the area.
They lead visitors in activities like
- Community Birding
- Fishing Trips
- Community Walks
- Traditional Cultural practices
Kameme Traditional Group
The Kameme Traditional Group is based in the Ishasha sector and is supported by the Ishasha Jungle Lodge. It is a group of about 15 children who perform traditional songs and dances of the Bakiga and the Rwandese.
On your journey to or from Queen Elizabeth National Park, you can as well stop over at the Igongo Cultural Centre. This is where you can have the Ankole cultural exploration and also eat Uganda’s cultural food.
What is the best time to do Cultural Tours in Queen Elizabeth National Park?
Best Season of the year
Visiting the cultures and communities in and around Queen Elizabeth National Park will give you memorable experiences all year round.
Though, for exquisite experiences with these communities, the dry months will give you remarkable experiences. These are from January to February and June to August. In this season, the walking trails are drier, making your movement easy.
Best time of the day
You can either choose the morning or the evening cultural walks. The early evening cultural walk is best if you have other activities like game drives or boat cruises during the day.
In this way, you can relax and stretch from the long activities. More so, it is a beautiful scenery to watch the sunset that warmly heats the ground.
Nonetheless, it is best to take the morning cultural walk to encounter the people when they are still fresh and just ready for the day.
Important Precautions To Follow During Cultural Tours in Queen Elizabeth National Park
- While for a cultural encounter in the park, kindly respect the customs, beliefs, values, and practices of the locals.
- Since you are going to encounter a cultural sect, it is ideal that you embrace the appropriate dress code. For example, wear cloth that is at least knee length. Some locals consider traditional Uganda clothing as one of the sources of respect.
- Also, wear good hiking shoes to have comfortable movements.
- Remember to carry all that you need for your cultural tours in Queen Elizabeth National Park. This is to make you comfortable throughout the whole experience and they include the
- Camera; you will use this to take beautiful photos of the people and neighboring attractions.
- Notebook; Note down your guide’s teachings about the locals, your observations, and experiences in your cultural tour.
- Insect repellant; will keep the insects from biting you during your experience.
- Sunscreen lotion; this will protect your skin from the burning rays of the equatorial sun.
- Poncho or rain jacket; sometimes, the weather may dictate that you carry a rain jacket or a poncho in case it rains.
- A backpack; will give you the necessary place for safely keeping all your belongings.
There are other activities to do along the cultural walks and visits which include
- Game drives
- Boat Cruises
- Chimpanzee Trekking
- Bird watching
- Lion Tracking
- Mongoose tracking
- Guided nature walks
The cultural tours in a Queen Elizabeth National Park safari are a great way to adventure into the diversity of the culture in Uganda. You can add a cultural trip to your itinerary and do it alongside or after another safari activity. This will give you an expansive cultural exploit through the different cultural groups in the park. Hence, creating one of your best safaris in Uganda!
If however, you intend to have a typical cultural tour among the most indigenous tribes in Uganda, then we suggest you visit the following tribes.
|The People||Where to find them|
|· The Batwa Pygmies||· Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park|
· Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
· Semuliki National Park
|· The IK tribe|
|· Kidepo Valley National Park|
|· The Karamajong||· Kidepo Valley National Park|