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Best 12 Traditional and Cultural Experiences in Uganda

Karamohong pastoralists

When you think of Uganda’s tourism, what comes to your mind? Most tourists know Uganda for the Big five animals (Lions, Leopards, Buffaloes, Elephants and Rhinos), Primates like Mountain gorillas, Chimpanzees and several other primate species. But what is not known to many people is that Uganda is more beautiful and interesting, and offers more than just wildlife. There are many  other interesting things to do that you can include within your Uganda safari itineraries! These include the rich cultural diversity comprising of customs, traditional, cultures that are passed on from one generation to another, and there are also physical features like Waterfalls and Caves that hold significant cultural meanings.

Some of the interesting cultural experiences worth visiting in Uganda include;

The Ik people of Mount Morungole

Hiking to the Valleys and Upper Slopes of Mount Morungole leads tourists to the “Mountain people of Uganda. This small tribe is found in North-Eastern Uganda, high up on Mount Morungole after Kidepo Valley National Park. The Ik are apparently the smallest tribe comprising or around 10,000 to 11,000 people. With their original ancient ways, you will leave the destination totally touched. Polygamy is a normal thing among the Ik people, their bride price is paid inform of Bee hives and goats, formal education is not valued because there is currently one graduate in the entire tribe and there is only one  representative (first) in the Parliament of Uganda

The Batwa trail of Mgahinga National Park

This is one of the most interesting cultural experiences around Mgahinga National Park. The Batwa trail was introduced to allow the Batwa to showcase their lost culture and a way of making them earn a living since most of them are employed in the activities. The people used to call the Jungles of Bwindi and Mgahinga home before they were gazetted into national Parks in 1991. The Batwa people are rich with interesting cultural practices that include ancient way of making fire out of sticks, cultural performances, use of traditional herbs to treat common illnesses, making cups out of bamboo and interesting cultural dances among others.  You should never miss a day with these Unique and interesting people.

The Bakonzo of Ruboni Cultural Village

This cultural Village is situated on the foothills of Rwenzori Mountains, where the Bakonzo people-known as the keepers of the mountains have lived for moiré than 250 years. This walk allows tourists to experience the day to day lifestyle and cultural practices of the Bakonzo and involves hiking to the traditional homesteads where more than 2000 Bakonzo call home, visit the elderly story tellers, visit the traditional healers and the blacksmiths and watch them use their intricate skills to transform shapeless pieces of iron into saucepans, knives and pangas among others, climbing Nyambuku Hill (2000 meters high) and enjoy a clear view of Margherita peak, you will also observe the locals tend to their animals and cultivate their crops using rudimentary tools like hoes, watch how traditional meals are prepared using fresh vegetables from their own gardens, participate in bird watching and nature walks where you will encounter opalescent sunbirds, Rwenzori Turaco,  vivid bee-eaters, and Three-horned Chameleons among others, and the highlight of the walk is being entertained in traditional Bakonzo dances.

Bamasaba (Bagishu) Imbalu Ceremonies around Mount Elgon

The Bagishu are generally known as the “Bamasaba” or “Gishu” or “Masaba” and live along the slopes of Mount Elgon (also referred as Mount Masaba) mostly in Mbale, Bududa and Budadiri districts. One common cultural practice among these people is their unique “Male Circumcision” known as “Imbalu and is conducted during even-numbered years. These public Circumcision rites are conducted when boys are initiated into manhood, and according to their traditional beliefs, a boy only becomes a man after circumcision and even if you are 60 years, you will always remain a boy until you are circumcised. This practice involves candidates being smeared with yeast, ash or local brew and run around the villages, visit traditional sites like hills, swamps, caves while being accompanied by music and dancers, and make some sacrifices to the ancestors and call on some spirits. When the final part of circumcision approaches, the candidates have to stand brave (no fear, crying or even shaking) because this defines real men and “cowards” become the laughing stock of the Village, and no woman would wish to get married to a coward. Even men who shun the practice are forcefully subjected to it.

Karamajong Manyatta Visit near Kidepo Valley National Park

The Karamajong are Nomad warriors who live in the remote Karamajong region of Uganda which borders South-Sudan and Kenya. Other non-Karamajong Ugandans perceive these people as backward, uneducated and have a negative preconception against them because of their traditional lifestyle because they resisted formal education and modernization. These people still hang on to their traditional beliefs by depending on Akuj-the God of Calamity and their religion and reject outside religions like Islam and Christianity. Cattle are like a god to them because they live and die for their cattle and interestingly, they believe that their god Akuj gave them all the cattle in the world which explains why they are constantly raiding their neighbors’ cattle and are always on tribal wars. Cattle are considered Royalty to the Karamajong and is a measure of manhood-where a man’s wealth is valued based on how many cattle he owns. One of the culturally enlightening experiences of visiting these people is the mind-blowing Manyatta visit where you will be moved by the structures of the homesteads, villages, the people, their dressing and languages. While on this visit, also enjoy their generally way of life and the traditional dance that highlights your trip because of their unique high-jumping dances

The Sacred Nakayima witch tree in Mubende district (on your way to Kibale National Park).

This sacred witch tree is nestled on top of Mubende hill (2.13mters high) about 4km from Mubende Town, has a base with massive buttress roots and is believed to have existed for 400 to 600 years. This fall tree is about 40 meters high and was often used as a shrine of Spirits Nakayima-the first wife of Ndahura (the Bachwezi King). Local community members always visit the shrine to pay obeisance/homage to Nakayima spirits or the Bachwezi dynasty believed to have superhuman powers. Nakayima the goddess resided at this place and her notable power was the prevention and cure of small pox. Not only that, people visit when they need healing from ailments, barren women who want children, those seeking for good fortune, miracles in their relationships. The locals also bring offerings inform of food, cash, booze and exhale clouds of smoke through special pipes as a way of communicating with the spirits.

Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru Caves in Fortportal

Visit the Amabere Ga Nyinamwiru Caves and enjoy the story on the legendary formation of these physical features. The legend surrounding these Caves is that they were named after “Nyinamwiru” a daughter of Baluku one of the ancient Kings of the Batembuzi Dynasty of the present Bunyoro and Toro Kingdoms. Due to her beauty/attractiveness, she was proud and rejected every suitor that her father chose hence prompting him to chop off her breasts from this Spot, and the dripping milk-like substances are believed to be milk from her breasts. Another myth that surrounds the caves is that a prophesy was told that Baluku’s daughter would give birth to  a son (Ndahura) who would kill the King and take over his thrown, this made Nyinamwiru’s breasts to be chopped by her father. It is believed that the prophesy became true. However from the scientific point of view, these features are stalactites and stalagmites formed by weathering and the whitish substances are Calcium Carbonate. While in this area, you will enjoy the breathtaking caves, steaming sounds of Waterfalls inside the caves and three Crater Lakes (Lake Saka, Nyabikere and Lake Kigere)

Ssezibwe Falls

Ssezibwe Falls is a cultural heritage site situated along the highway from Kayunga Road in Mukono, 32 kilometers on the Kampala-Jinja highway. This is not just a waterfalls but a site that preserves an ancient African Traditional Cultural rituals and is a place often visited by traditional believers. One of the interesting stories that will be told is how a woman called Nakangu belonging to the Fox clan was about to give birth to twins, but instead gave birth to two rivers. Up to now, it is believed that the spirits of Nakangu’s unborn children (Mobeya and Ssezibwe) still inhabit the waters of the River. The Baganda still connect something supernatural to when twins are born. There are several spirits believed to be present on this site which is why traditional healers visit it to pray, make sacrifices and get more powers. When praying, burning firewood id the common practice because the locals believe that the when the smoke goes up, it carries the prayers to the Spirits in the atmosphere. Other items used during prayers include animals that are slaughtered into the falls, coffee beans, back cloth, pots, food, cowrie shells, and calabashes because these were the common items used by traditionalists during ancient days.

Nyero Rock Paintings

This ancient 3 Rock Cave is situated near Kumi Town, but the main and most attractive site is Nyero 2- a huge wall hidden in groups of red circles. Tourists who are interested in archeology would find the Nyero Rock Paintings ideal for their adventure. This is one of the most amazing ancient sites in Uganda, and it is believed that the paintings were made by the first settlers of the place before the Itesots migrated there (though no one knows who exactly drew those paintings on the rocks).

Mubako Cultural Performances

Mubako cultural group is situated near the expansive Savannah of the prominent Murchison Falls National Park. Some of the special things about this cultural village is the traditional mud and grass thatched huts, you will also see how these people grind cassava into flour and use it to bake bread or ferment it, distill and brew local gin (waragi), there is also a craft shop where you will see wooden handcrafted sculptures and hand-made items like baskets and will enjoy a campfire organized at your lodging facility. The climax of your visit is being entertained in traditional dances and traditional musical instruments for example “adungu (a stringed musical instruments commonly used by the Alur people)”

Sosolya Undugu Dance performers

Undugu is a Swahili word meaning brotherhood/sisterhood and Sosolya is a famous African Bird and the group is a member of the Undugu Family and is a project for the Kiseminti needy Children Organization. This is one of the interesting dance groups you should add on your cultural visit. Some of their activities include their vibrant cultural performances through dance and drama, traditional African songs, drumming lessons, dance lessons, educational activities of different tribes as a way of uniting tribes by restoring the spirit is brother or sisterhood.

Ndere Dance and Music Troupe

Ndere Dance and Music Troupe is a traditional dance group that allows you to experience cultural diversity and makes Africa come back to life. Some of the activities include music, dance and drama which constitute the largest percentage of Ugandan cultures.

In conclusion, Uganda is not only known for its spectacular wildlife species but also interesting cultural biodiversity. With the interesting cultural experiences that await tourists, you can combine wildlife safari with cultural safaris and achieve a memorable experience in Uganda.

Kampala’s Oldest Buildings

Zakaria Kisingiri House

Zakariya Kisingiri House

Established in 1895, this concrete house, roofed with rusty corrugated iron sheets is found along the royal mile, less than a minute’s walk from the gate of Buganda’s parliament, Mengo.

It belonged to Zakaria Kizito Kisingiri, one of the three Regents to the then young King Daudi Chwa. Kisingiri later served as the treasurer for the Kingdom when Daudi Chwa had grown old enough to assume full authority as king. This strong attachment explains why Kabaka Mwanga’s body was rested at his home for days before it was buried. This followed his death in Seychelles Islands in 1904 where he had fled to exile following Britain’s invasion of his Kingdom.

Zakariya Kisingiri House

According to Grace Kitaka, one of the grandchildren of Kisingiri, the house’s construction was foreseen by Miller and Stanley in 1895. They were prolific European masons at the time. It sits on a three-acre peace of land and has a compound that is as big as a standard football pitch. It has three floors and was built with palm trees, sun-dried mud bricks, and stones. The ancient mansion has 70 well-maintained rooms built with board floors. Most of these rooms measure 20 by 20 square feet each.

The heart of the structure is graced with two sitting rooms that are equivalent to space occupied by a complete house. The stones at their fireplaces glitter whenever the fire is on. The house has an indoor 20 feet swimming pool, modern bathtubs, and well-polished wooden staircases.

“Residents refer to Kisingiri as Ku Nfudu, a Luganda reference for a sanctuary of turtles. This is because it once doubled as a home to three tortoises that Stanley Kisingiri came back with from Seychelles in 1945. He was one of the sons of Zakariya Kisingiri.” Pastor Grace explains

Kisingiri is more a Kingdom hero, he is regarded as a national hero for having facilitated John Speke’s discovery of the source of the Nile. His daughter-in-law, Princess Beatrice Muggale(R.I.P), was a God-fearing mother who had a special place in the heart of Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II (current King of Buganda). Whenever he was hungry for spiritual nourishment, he would visit her for a Bible session.

Twekobe – Lubiri Royal Palace- Kampala

This royal palace is such a majestic asset to the kingdom from which Uganda got its name, Buganda. It has an architectural design that was based on Stormont House in Northern Ireland, and was built by Kabaka Sir Edward Muteesa. He was the first post-independence President of the country. It used to be his official residence until 1966 when kingship was abolished by the central Government of the day, as Presided by Apollo Milton Obote.

In short, Lubiri brings a level of reality to Ugandan history, giving you the opportunity of discovering the rich history of Buganda, a kingdom that is over 300 years old. At Lubiri, you will also find a well-hidden political prison where President Idi Amin and Milton Obote used to torture and kill their political threats, totaling to over 30,000.

Twekobe - the Kabaka's Palace

The five-roomed underground structure is enveloped by wild vegetation. It was built by the Israelites as an armament arsenal for Dictator Idi Amin, only to be later repurposed for dark use. Prior to their murder, most victims were electrocuted with low voltage in an effort to coerce information. It was impossible for them to escape as the only entrance was guarded full-time. It is such a painful episode in the history of Buganda. This explains why the incumbent Kabaka Ronald Mutebi doesn’t stay here, but rather another Palace found in the Eastern Kampala, Banda. He only uses Lubiri to receive visiting dignitaries.

One of the palace’s biggest treasures is a well-kept museum where Buganda’s culture and traditions are preserved. Here you will find lots of royal regalia and artefacts that have been passed on from one royal generation to the next.

Lubiri overlooks the royal mile, a mile-long street linking it to Mengo, Buganda’s Parliament. On either side of the street, you will find Kabaka anjagala trees and 52 beautiful statues of totems, each symbolic of a particular clan of Buganda

St. Luke and St. Katherine general wards – Mengo Hospital

At 121 years old, Mengo is the oldest hospital in East Africa, and one of its oldest assets is St. Luke and St. Katherine’s general wards. It was built in 1904 by Dr. Albert Cook, the first colonial doctor to treat Ugandans.

According to records from the hospital’s archives, at the time of its construction in 1897, it was made of reed, mud, and thatch. Then, it had 12 wooden beds and straw mattresses. In 1900, it was destroyed and rebuilt in 1904 using meter-thick walls and gauge 24 iron sheets imported from Britain. The building had two wards. One on the left had 30 beds for women, and one on right had 30 for men. They were named Katherine and Luke wards respectively, in commemoration of Dr. Albert Cook Luke and his wife Katherine, a midwife who helped Lady Druscilla Namaganda deliver Kabaka Muteesa II in 1924. Mutesa was the first President of Uganda.

In between these wards was the operating theatre, Dr. Cook’s office, and library on its upper floor. The building was at the time said to be the best and only modern building in Uganda’s protectorate. It was opened by Alfred Tucker, the then Bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa.

The roof of the building has never been replaced, but the interior is slightly modified to cater to two words, orthopedics, and some offices. The ward has electricity and running water.

A Walk into History: Singer Akon Shot the Mama Africa Song

Mama Africa

Like a treasure, it stays shy away from the buzzing Gulu town. Many know her as the 140-year-old scenic setting where Senegalese-American R&B superstar Akon shot the video for his song Mama Africa in July 2008. The four-minute video attempts to recapture the agonizing crucifixion that the Arab slave traders subjected their captives to between the mid-18th century and the end of the 19th century. This is Fort Patiko.

I can never forget our arrival at her bushy parking lot, which is a block from its gate-less entrance. We were welcomed by Salvatoria Oringa, the calm caretaker of Fort Patiko. He suggested we take a stroll around the two-kilometer-long pits surrounding the fort. The pits, which measure 16ft in depth and 16ft in width, were dug to make it impossible for slaves to escape from the fort — just in case they beat its tough security deployment.

As we advanced, we were swallowed up by towering wild grass and shrubs. By the time we maneuvered our way through, our clothes were covered with blackjack needles whose sharp tips pricked us mercilessly. We were also not spared by the thirsty mosquitoes in the pits.

The walk
Oringa said this humiliating walk was purposed to give us (tourists) a pinch of “the walk to oppression”, that the slaves endured as they trudged thousands of miles to Fort Patiko from different parts of central and East Africa.

Following these words, dead silence fell over our group, as odd imaginations going back to the slaves’ days filled our minds. Unlike us, who were fully dressed, the slaves were always stripped of their clothes.

Because there were no defined roads at the time, they were made to walk for miles in such vegetation, not to mention impenetrable forests which were often habitats to deadly animals.

When Oringa noticed we were getting carried away by these emotions, he was quick to re-route our attention to more adventure at the fort. In a hoarse voice, he asked us to follow him to the heart of the fort and there we found three roofless doubled-roomed houses built exclusively with sedimentary rocks and cement.

They were built on a low rocky hill, so the Arab architects saw no need to cement the floor. In fact, they made the most of this location by polishing the rocky floors smoothly, after which they creatively made striking inscriptions on it to give its occupants a feeling of home in this otherwise isolated setting.

“The roof was made out of thatch, so the houses enjoyed a chilled shade whose temperatures compare to that of today’s first-class air-conditioned suites,” Oringa explained.

Adjacent to these houses is two towering rocks at whose base there are dug-out caves that used to house the slaves. However, unlike the slave trader’s houses which were spacious and well ventilated, I hardly found a thing to admire about the caves.

It appears like more emphasis was put on digging them horizontally inwards than vertically, just like coal mines. Their height is about three feet high meaning the occupants (the slaves) could only get inside by crawling on their bellies. The cave was always jammed to capacity because accommodation was not enough for the hundreds of slaves who were held hostage here.

Tales of death
Oringa explained that from time to time, the slaves would be assembled at the fort’s sloppy compound where the beautiful, healthy, and muscular ones would be separated from the ugly, sick, weak and skinny.

The selected lucky ones would be dispatched for the Egypt and Sudan slave markets where they would be sold off to slave markets in the present-day Republic of South Sudan like merchandise. The unfortunate rejects who could not fetch high prices on the market would be executed by firing squad at the open torture chambers. “They were not set free because the traders feared that they would mobilise the local communities to fight off their cold-blooded Arab masters/traders,” Oringa added.

In a move to make the executions more entertaining, trumpeters would climb up the 18ft rock which overlooks the torture chambers. Up there, they would blow aloud trumpets to cheer the executors as they did their job. After these slaves were killed, their corpses were never given a decent burial. Instead, the bodies would be dumped in the pits surrounding the Fort where vultures would move in to finish the job.

All over the compound, one can observe sharp cuts on the rocks and Oringa explained that these impressions were made by the axes which were used to behead the slaves. “The lucky ones who survived the ax, were worked like donkeys yet fed on little food. Men were usually tasked with digging out more caves for accommodation while women did domestic chores like grinding tones of millet — sometimes till their hands bled.”

Locals believe that though slave inhumanity at Patiko happened centuries back, the spirits of those killed still haunt the fort. Simon Olweny, a resident in the neighborhood of Patiko claims that the nights are punctuated with wails of the ghosts of the slaves who are often heard pleading for their lives to be spared.

The sun shines at last
By the 1840s, it was impossible to maintain a deaf ear to cries against slavery. It was around this time that Sir Samuel Baker, an abolitionist adventurer, and representative of the Egyptian Khedive arrived in Acholi land.

With his band of Nubian fighters, he fought off slave traders from the fort around 1870 and took it over as a station base for his campaign. The same fort was later used by Charles Gordon who replaced Baker as Governor of the Equatorial Province and later by Emin Pasha. It was later used as a prison by the colonial government before falling into disuse for many years after independence.

Other tour activities at Patiko
In other news, Fort Patiko is beautiful from end to end, with amazing scenery which offers great photography. It boasts of lots of rocks that slaves were made to curve into models of different creatures such as sharks, the map of Africa, Lake Victoria and human heads among others.

The hilly fort also has antiquities such as the grinding stones that the slaves used for grinding millet. Florence Baker, whom the abolitionist had rescued from a slave market in present-day Bulgaria, left inscriptions of the Holy cross on the rocks at Patiko. Exploring the old fort gives one a feel of a day in the life of a slave.

How to get there
For someone traveling on a shoestring budget, you need about sh150,000 to tour Fort Patiko. One way bus fare to Gulu is sh25,000. Fort Patiko is about 50 minutes’ ride from Gulu on boda boda and costs between sh4,000 and sh15,000. The entrance to the Fort is sh10,000.

Unfortunately, there is no accommodation and there are no restaurants around the fort. Tourists are advised to bring their requirements such as food, airtime, water among others.

Budget accommodation facilities around Gulu town range from sh15,000 to sh70,000 per night, while luxurious facilities range between sh60,000 and sh200,000 per night.

Bakiga, the Descendants of Kashyiga

Bakiga People

The Bakiga-the people of the mountains, are Bantu-speaking natives of Uganda believed to be the descendants of Kashyiga, and also known as the Kiga or Chiga. They settled in what is now Southern Uganda and North-eastern Rwanda.

Originally, the Bakiga lived in Rwanda until AD 1600 – 1700 when they migrated and started settling in Uganda. Majority today live in the mountainous Kabale and Kigezi Districts and these make up approximately 7% of the entire population as per the 2002 national census.

The Kiga culture and dialect has a striking similarity to that of communities from Rwanda due to the fact that they migrated from there.

Historical background
The Bakiga are believed to be descendants of Kashyiga, a son of Mbogo, leader of the small Bumbogo Kingdom in Rwanda. Kashyiga, who later became known as Kakiga, migrated north crossing the border into Southern Uganda and there established the Bakiga tribe.

The migration was triggered off by the attacks of Kirima the Tutsi king from the Abanyiginya clan, also from Rwanda. Kirima accused Mbogo of mistreating his tribesmen and promised the people that he would make a better chief for them. Kirima was successful during his conquests because Mbogo chose not to fight back considering he was very old and weary. It was because of this that his son migrated north and tried to mobilize a force to retaliate the attacks. During his departure, Kakiga fled with the royal drum, the Kamuhagama, the main symbol of kingship. Because of this, Kirima was ripped of any opportunity of becoming king.

Other accounts however narrate that the Bakiga migrated from Bunyoro kingdom during the time of the Luo invasion. These are believed to have originally settled in the Karagwe region of Tanzania and are closely related to the Banyambo tribe.

The Kiga economy
The Bakiga are an agrarian community and a lot of their activities are based on crop growing and livestock farming. The major crops grown include sorghum, a main ingredient of the local porridge obushera and local brews; enturire and omuramba, Plantain bananas (matooke), Irish potatoes, maize, vegetables, and so on.

Just like many natives from western Uganda, the Bakiga keep large herds of cattle and other livestock like sheep and goats mainly for the production of milk. Milk apart from being consumed as tea, is also used to make appetizers like ghee and eshabwe. A lot of importance is attached to cattle as they are much valued in the payment of bride price.

To the Bakiga, food security is what keeps the community running and so they ensure to always stow cereals in granaries ebitara in order to prepare themselves for the days of poor harvests.

Culture and traditions
The signature Bakiga dance ekizino is so popular in Uganda and many people believe that the highly energetic dance which involves jumping and hitting the floor is a result of the cold temperatures, and so they do it to rid themselves of the cold. Others believe that because of the mountainous Kigezi area, the people out of climbing the mountains became extremely energetic and thus the adage “Don’t mess with a Mukiga” was coined.

Many of the Kiga songs depict the natives as hunters and warriors and it is common for the songs to have words like omuhiigo to mean “the hunt”, eicumu referring to a spear, and others. Apart from war, some songs are centered on marriage and culture among others.

The institution of marriage is very central to the Bakiga and it is a basis for family formation and expansion. Originally, virginity among girls was so treasured to an extent that a girl who got pregnant before marriage was taken to the Akampene ‘Punishment’ island in Lake Bunyonyi – to die of hunger or while trying to swim to the mainland. Another alternative was being thrown over a cliff right into the Kisizi falls. With modernity, such practices have faded although in some homesteads, punishments of a smaller magnitude are still given to girls who get pregnant at home.

Politically, the Kiga had no kings and power rested in the hands of lineage/clan heads Abakuru b’emiryango Ngogogoza. These had both political and traditional powers and many of them got there because of their oratory and martial skills.

Bakiga today
The Bakiga have now dispersed to different districts in Uganda and are no longer confined to the southern region alone. They also form a nucleus of highly educated and recognized Ugandans in the country. Prominent Bakiga today include Hon. Amama Mbabazi, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda , Col. Dr. Kiiza Besigye, Professor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, Shaka Ssali and many others.

There is a lot of Kiga history and folklore that can be told and trying to exhaust it all at once is just a fallacy. However, one has to have it at the back of their mind that the Bakiga, just like other natives of Uganda, are amazing people with an intriguing history, culture, and lifestyle that surely should be preserved for the future generation to enjoy.

Top 5 Cultural Attractions in Uganda


Cultural tourism is the practice of traveling to experience and appreciate the unique cultural heritage, traditions, and lifestyles of a particular destination. This involves engaging with the local communities, participating in cultural activities, and visiting significant cultural sites. In relation to Uganda Safaris, cultural tourism plays a significant role in showcasing the country’s diverse cultural richness and heritage while. Here’s are some of the major types of cultural tourism with a few examples, benefits, and some notable cultural sites in the Pearl of Africa.

Traditional Performances and Festivals

Witnessing traditional dances like the Bwola and RakaRaka dances of the Acholi, the Amakondere dance of the Banyankole, the Kiganda dance in the central or the vibrant cultural performances during the Karamojong cultural festival is an understatement for fun and enjoyment. This experience  preserves traditional art forms, supports local artists, and promotes cultural exchange.

Cultural Villages and Home stays:

Visiting traditional villages like the Batwa community in Mgahinga or the Bakiga village in Kabale, where visitors can learn about daily life, traditions, and participate in activities such as farming, cooking, or crafts. This offers an opportunity to interact with locals, learn about their customs and traditions firsthand, supports community development, and also provide a source of income for local families.

Historical and Cultural Sites:

Exploring historical landmarks like the Kasubi Tombs in Kampala (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Bahai Temple in Kampala (one of only eight in the world), or the ancient rock paintings in the Nyero Rock Shelter during day tours in Uganda preserves and showcases the country’s history and heritage, educates visitors about the past, promotes cultural understanding, as well as contributing to local tourism development.

Crafts and Artisan Workshops:

Visiting craft centers such as the Ndere Cultural Center in Kampala, the Uganda Crafts 2000 Limited in Kampala, or the Igongo Cultural Center in Mbarara, where artisans produce and sell traditional crafts like basketry, pottery, wood carvings, and jewelry is also a form of Supporting local artisans and promotes the preservation of traditional craftsmanship, provides economic opportunities for local communities, and allows visitors to purchase unique souvenirs.

Cultural Museums and Heritage Sites:

Exploring museums like the Uganda Museum in Kampala, the Igongo Cultural Museum in Mbarara, or the Ndere Center Museum in Entebbe, which exhibit artifacts, traditional costumes, and historical relics, and provide insights into Uganda’s diverse cultural heritage hence Preserving and showcasing cultural artifacts, educating their visitors about the country’s heritage, contributing to cultural research and documentation, and most of it all, promoting tourism in Uganda.

All in all, Cultural tourism in the pearl of Africa not only offers visitors an enriching experience but also generates economic benefits for local communities helps preserve cultural traditions, and most important of all, promotes cross-cultural understanding and appreciation

The Energetic Kigezi Dance in Uganda

The Energetic Kigezi Dance

Have you ever visited Kigezi region? If yes, you must have encountered an energetic dance performed by the locals.

With a lot of vigor and energy, the Banyakigezi will give you a once-in-a-lifetime treat that will live on in your memory. This kind of dance known as “Ekizino,” is what most Banyakigezi proudly call their own traditional form of entertainment.

According to Levi Bigirimana, the director of Abakindamondo cultural performers, this historical dance was in the past associated with important societal functions. “Whenever people had events like giveaways, weddings, and other events, they would dance as a sign of happiness and joy about the achievements,” says Bigirimana. Important messages would also be passed through some of these performances. “Messages of encouragement and inspiration contained in these songs can be of great value to the audience. A girl who was getting married would be advised on how to handle her newly found life through some of these songs,” adds Bigirimana.

Nelson Twakiire, a cultural promoter in the region says that Ekizino dance is something the region feels represents their energy and hard work as Banyakigezi . “Ekizino would be danced during harvest time when people were celebrating the efforts of their hard work. After a successful production of sorghum, one would prepare a local brew then invite friends and family members to his home. After eating and drinking, they would immediately start the energetic dance as a sign of appreciation,” says Twakiire.

After a successful hunt, locals would also find it hard to avoid this interesting dance.

“Kigezi was a bushy land with a lot of animals in the past. People would go hunt for them and whenever they succeeded, the animal would be slaughtered and after eating it, they would find themselves in a mood of dancing,” says Twakiire. Dancing with a lot of energy and sweating is irresistible in Ekizino and to the locals, this is a true reflection of their charisma.

“Banyakigezi are strong farmers and they use a lot of energy in whichever endeavors they undertake. So dancing with a lot of energy is also part of what defines us. If you cannot dance with vigor then you are not a real Munyakigezi,” says Twakiire. 79 year Old Andrew Baryampika, the director of Kigezi Cultural dancers says that for a successful performance of Ekizino, the props and costumes of traditional times must be respected. “Traditional drums, hides, and skins were part of what was expected to be used in dancing ekizino. If you do not have this then you are dancing to something else,” says Baryampika.

Baryampika adds that Ekizino can be performed by all ages as long as they are well-groomed to exercise it. “Even young people who grew up seeing their parents dancing to this style could keep learning how to do it until they got perfect in dancing.” Ekizino’s current survival is not predictable since it is being replaced by modern dances however elders believe that if the government empowered cultural conservation, some of these valuable historical performances would not die out.

“There is a great need to support the existing traditional groups and museums so that some of these historical valuables keep intact. If we keep losing such invaluable aspects of our livelihood, our heritage and pride will die,” says Buryampika.

Currently, Ekizino can be experienced by hiring a traditional performing group that goes for around 300,000 UGX for a day’s performance. Tourists who visit the region can get a feel of these dances on request to their tour guides or if they get a chance of attending some of the events that have cultural performances. The next time you visit the Kigezi region consider a taste of Ekizino dance.

Renting a Car with Rooftop Tent, All you need to Know


The truth of the matter is that vacation holidays are changing their mode of experience from the usual to new experiences, and the rooftop tent mostly are double occupancy. Several travelers are embracing the mode of renting a 4×4 with the rooftop tent in Uganda and drive their own way. Having a 4×4 with a rooftop tent on a holiday vacation in Uganda and East Africa is a double agent. This because it caters for both transportation and accommodation at once

This is in most cases is seen as a double score with one slot. It contains both transportation and accommodation. However, travelers sometime possess the option for new travel experiences. Driving into the scenic wildly plains and tropics, and experience their night life with an outdoor rooftop camping on top of your 4×4 land cruiser is an amazing story to narrate.

4×4 Rental available  with rooftop tent

There are various options which are customized for rooftop tent camping. These rentals however they vary in the rates of renting but offer perfect and comfortable cruise into the wilderness alongside rooftop tents. The rentals available with rooftop tent camping in Uganda most of them are land cruiser series including land cruiser Prado TX/TZ, these are the maiden for safari rooftop camping in Uganda.

Other land cruiser include VX, GX and V8, these are luxurious and even spacious for travelers with large luggage. Then 4×4 Nissan Patrol it’s a manual mode but as well presented to cruiser this experience. And the safari land cruiser (land cruiser 70 series), these are sometimes called customized to be 5 sitters, are very spacious for passengers and cargo. These are safari hulks that have statured to maneuver all terrains, you don’t have to worry when hiring a 4×4 rental with a rooftop tent and cruise anywhere. Actually driving in Uganda particularly is on unlimited mileage.

Occupying capacity of a 4×4 rental with rooftop tent

The rental cars with rooftop tent have a maximum carrying capacity of 5 passengers, and comfortably they carry 4 passenger with each sharing a window. Rooftop tents are mainly and famously for couples, so people traveling two are highly favored to find a rooftop tent. For groups of more than two, there are family rooftop tents which can fit on mainly land cruiser VX, GX, and V8, also the Nissan Patrol and Safari Land cruiser five sitter. The family rooftop tent has a capacity of 4 people. But for families can be advised as well to hire a 4×4 rental car with two double rooftop tents. This has been tried and has worked for many travelers.

Benefits of a 4×4 rental with rooftop tent

Considerably let’s discuss here benefits (pulls) why should one rent out a 4×4 rooftop tent on an adventure. Reading to the end, you will have made a resolution of taking on a 4×4 rooftop tent for an adventure in Uganda, East Africa or Africa at large.

Easy to use

Let it be for advanced or first time users, traveling with a 4×4 safari land cruiser with rooftop tent makes your journey so easy with transport and accommodation. Not the ground camping where one almost has to install everything. Well tied on the 4×4 land cruiser, rooftop tent is easy to set as one only has to makes just a simple sail for a night set up.

Time conscious

Anywhere you drive, there is limited or no worry on where to have a night as you need just to level your 4×4 vehicle and get the tent set. Rooftop tent camping has proved to be time conscious traveling option as one can just make a nigh arrangements to any place they fill cool, tired or even desired place. Setting up a rooftop tent doesn’t require much time, rather only a glide of the roof rack and make expansions in just minutes which is opposite to ground camping and indoor accommodation which fall a process of reservation, checking in and out it’s a wastage of a lot of time.

Cost efficiency

The 4×4 rooftop tent camping calls for just few dollars together with the 4×4 vehicle. Probably, a 4×4 land cruiser is possible with a rooftop tent which together can cost about US$100 catering for both vehicle and a very comfortable accommodation instead of hiring a 4×4 Land cruiser at around US$90 and accommodation for about US$100 which tends to be costly. A rooftop tent camping offer cost relief for your trip and can explore the more or spend more days exploring.

Very comfortable

A reflection to do rooftop tent camping is rewarded with comfort, the fear for wild attack when slept in the ground camping is vanished here. Sleeping off the ground attack yet below the night whispers remain reliable for safety.

More adventurous

Trying out something new! Alright, the adventure. The outdoor rooftop camping into the wild or bushes it’s a unique where traveler can have their vehicle camped into the wild savannah amidst the concentration of variety of wildlife and a night a midst roars and whispers is an amazing encounter. A night of open heavens dominated by a moonlight and the arrays of stars is an astounding quirk.


Taking on a 4×4 rooftop tent trip is amazing flexible trial which could always fit your trip plan. The incident can always be rescheduled to fit what one fills is best for the trip. One can have a night anywhere without wandering of where to sleep and can considerably make changes.

7 Things to Avoid with an Automatic Car on a Self-Drive Adventure in Uganda


The advent of automatic transmission cars revolutionized the driving experience, making it accessible to a broader audience. In Uganda, as in many parts of the world, automatic cars have become the preferred choice for travelers. However, with great convenience comes responsibility. In the context of a self-drive adventure in Uganda, there are specific practices that can harm automatic cars if not avoided. To ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey with you, here are seven things to avoid when driving an automatic car hire Uganda.

Driving the Car on a Reserve Fuel Tank

Regardless of transmission type, driving on low fuel is detrimental to any vehicle. Fuel is the lifeblood of the engine, and insufficient levels can lead to engine damage. It is advisable to maintain the fuel level at a quarter tank or above to ensure the engine operates optimally.

Instant Shift to Parking When the Car Is Still Moving

Impatience can be costly. Some drivers have a tendency to shift to the parking mode while the car is still in motion. This forces the car to an abrupt stop, causing undue stress on the gearbox. Waiting for the car to come to a complete stop before shifting to the park prevents unnecessary wear and tear on the transmission system.

Racing the Car Engine in Parking Mode

Revving the engine in a parked car may seem thrilling, akin to what is observed in motor racing. However, this can be a perilous act for the engine. Excessive revving generates additional friction within the engine, potentially leading to engine failure. Engine replacements are not only inconvenient but also expensive.

Shifting Gears When the Car Is Speeding

Some drivers make the mistake of shifting gears in an automatic car hire uganda while it is moving at high speeds. This abrupt change in transmission components’ direction can cause severe damage to the gearbox. To shift gears safely, it is recommended to brake gently and then transition to the desired gear.

Shifting to Neutral at Traffic Lights

While it’s common for drivers to shift to neutral at red lights to reduce pressure on the brakes, frequent shifting in and out of neutral can cause damage. Keeping the car in drive mode during short stops is advisable to maintain driveline integrity.

Driving Straight Without Warming up the Engine

After a prolonged period of inactivity, the car engine needs time to warm up. Ignoring this crucial step and driving the car aggressively without allowing the engine to warm up can result in increased friction within the engine components. Warming up the engine ensures that fluids are distributed optimally for smooth operation.

Putting the Car in Neutral While Sloping

Attempting to save fuel by coasting in neutral on a slope can have severe consequences. This practice cuts off the oil supply to the transmission system, leading to inadequate lubrication. The result is increased wear and tear on the transmission components, potentially causing long-term damage.


While automatic cars offer unparalleled convenience, it is crucial to handle them with care. By avoiding these seven practices, drivers can contribute to the longevity and optimal performance of automatic transmission cars during their self-drive adventure in Uganda.

A Tree-Shade, Bearded old Men and Buganda Kingdom


Moons and moons ago, a group of grey-bearded old men chose a tree-shade as a meeting point. The spot, also covered in grass, was where these elders brainstormed about the issues of their different communities.  Little did they know that 700 years later, this spot would birth a whole kingdom.

It Begins

 This is to first draw your attention to Bulange. It is not an English word, no Sir! Not that it needs an explanation, not in Uganda. Bulange is a word synonymous with power, call it the axis of Uganda’s most powerful Kingdom; Buganda. Traditionalists will call Bulange the seat of power, where all matters the Buganda Kingdom, are decided. Did you know however that Bulange, a place looming with spacious structures was once just a tree?

Oh yes! 700 years ago, it is believed that grey-bearded men gathered under this tree shade to discuss issues of Buganda. Specifically, they talked about issues like health, wealth, and general standards of living. Whilst brainstorming, they would unconsciously weave strands of grass, which in Luganda (language spoken) translates into kulanga.  And somehow, Kulaga would morph into Bulange, modern-day Buganda Kingdom headquarters, and home of the kingdom parliament, also known as the Lukiko.

The Story Continues

Though rich, the Buganda history, according to John Ssempebwa, deputy CEO of the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), has been watered down. “Our history has been passed on in oral literature by the fireside,” he begins. “Consequently the narrative always takes twists and turns to suit the times and a particularly given audience.” However, the facts remain that the Baganda have always had a common ancestry and that it was the Bulange-kind-of-Lukiko (parliament) that impressed Arab traders, explorers, and missionary centuries ago.

“The first leader was Kintu, in the 1850s,” Ssempebwa merrily delves into the path that birthed the Buganda Kingdom. “He fell head-over-heels in love with Nambi, a young lady who hailed from the Ngeye clan.” He goes on, “Before him, people lived in what is Buganda today but were not united by a political entity. They were split in clan groups.”

Since they all spoke Luganda, it was easy to bring the clan heads (Bataka) together, it was easy to debate. “The pioneer clans were five, comprising of Ffumbe, Lugave, Ngeye, Nnyonyi nyange, and Njaza,” he lists. “Once in a while, one of the Bataka would emerge as the dominant leader.” In fact, legend holds that these fights for leadership were how the first king of Buganda rose to the throw.

It is believed that Kintu defeated and chased away Bemba, and soon word of his military prowess would spread across the clans. To avow his position, Kintu inherited Bemba’s homestead which was located in Nagalabi. “And since then, every Kabaka (king) has to symbolically be enthroned there,” Ssempebwa, tells of Ssemagulu Museum based in Mutundwe, an outskirts of Kampala City.

 Decisions… decisions

A chat with Abdu Ssemanda would indeed confirm that it was the Bembe/Kintu battle that caused a change in the status quo. That a meeting was held by the Bataka, and the sole purpose was to find a way forward.  “The venue was Magonga in Busunju County on Nnono Hill,” he narrates. “Kabaka Kintu had brought a new governance system where the Bataka shared responsibilities with him. There he appointed the first cabinet with the pioneer Katikiro being Kakulukuku from the Lugave clan.”

One look at the post-Bemba Buganda Lukiko, Ssemanda agrees that Kintu was more progressive, as he boosted the number of pioneer clans from five to more than 50. Ssemanada believes that Kintu paved a way for growth that would see his predecessors thrive and Buganda grow even bigger. But see, it was not just numbered, it had to be structured too, mostly defined by the exposure the kings had. “The Bulange where we are standing today was the idea of Kabaka Muteesa II who saw a similar building in Ireland,” Ssemanda states. “He asked why Buganda cannot have a similar structure for the Lukiko, in 1953, the idea was born.”

So in 1954, Bulange stood tall and proud; an architectural splendor, put together by Kob and Power architects and constructed by Singh and Brothers. “The tiles were imported from Belgium and the timber came from within Buganda and Congo. By then Buganda had 18 masazas (counties,) the local government had 25 ministers and 52 clans.” These he maintains, were all handpicked by the Kabaka. Buganda was a force to reckon with and would soon be seen as a threat by the Ugandan government.

Indeed, the post-Independence Prime Minister, Dr. Apollo Milton Obote I, would soon abolished kingdoms and Kabaka Sir Edward Muteesa II had to run into exile. Bashir Muwonge, an authority at the kingdom, says that upon chasing the king to exile, the Obote regime renamed the Lukiko, Republic House. It was then made to serve as the headquarters of the army. “Even after Idi Amin Dada toppled Obote, the Lukiko continued serving the same purpose,” recalls Muwonge. “In fact, began expanding it to contain the armed forces but left this expansion incomplete.” This expansion would only be completed upon the re-establishment of kingdoms, it was! Today the Lukiko is up and running.

Abdu Ssemanda interjects, he says that the Lukiko continues to be very relevant in the issues concerning Buganda. This role he says, mostly became clearer when Kabaka Ronald Mutebi was enthroned in July of 1993.  “After the grand ceremony in Nagalabi, Buganda started demanding for the return of Ebyaffe (Buganda kingdom property) among which was the Bulange,” says Ssemanda. “Today, it is the place where the Namulondo(throne) is placed when the Kabaka is in attendance. There is a door reserved for the Kabaka and the Bataka strictly. Ordinary mortals use another one.”

The Bulange today

Take a casual glance at the Bulange today. Spectacular, right? It certainly is an archetype of elegance and class exuded by the kingdom’s ancestors. The walls, an artistic showcase of the totems of some clans. A walkway meant for royalty, guided by the red carpet, effortlessly blending into the shimmery seats, made from fine timber.

Woven within this elegance is a clear agenda: the Lukiko exists to addresses cultural and livelihood issues. It tries to steer clear of political issues, save for the occasional jab, the Katikiro (prime minister), Charles Peter Mayiga, will throw at the government for oppressing the Buganda subjects.

Eliminating poverty is a big deal. Programs to encourage coffee and food crop planting, or generally commercial Agriculture, are on.  In that same bowel is the campaign by the Lukiko to have landowners registering their land to avoid illicit grabbers.

No wonder this kingdom remains afloat at a time when foreign cultures and languages are threatening the African culture.  Bashir Muwonge is quick to list the ways in which the kingdom has remained relevant.  He says that besides the projects, the subjects are encouraged to speak their language and also carry on traditions. “We have Okwanjula (traditional wedding), our Oluwombo cuisine (stews steamed in banana leaves) is popular even among traveled Baganda and none Baganda,” he boasts. “Any wonder that the tunic is soon becoming a national frock.”

5 Things that Make Uganda a Unique Safari Destination

Mighty River Nile

Uganda is less known destination on the African continent but its sheer variety of national parks sets it apart from other safari destinations in East Africa. Located just astride the Equator, Uganda is a growing travel destination. With a wide range of unique places and attractions, if you are looking for an exotic destination for your African safari, look for no further! The Ugandan Web lists some of the best things that make Uganda, a unique destination that you should consider while planning your next holiday.

The Source of River Nile in Jinja

The River Nile, notably the world’s second longest river is not only the lifeline of many nations in the world but also a remarkable unique feature that puts Uganda on the world map. Located in Jinja, the quest for the Source of the Nile ended in Uganda in 1862 when John Speke, one of the British Explorers reached the point where the Nile emerges out of the Lake Victoria. The Nile has made Jinja famous! Lots of adventure activities adventure have been developed basing on the Nile. These include white water rafting, bungee jumping, kayaking, etc.

Visitors to the source of Nile can enjoy superb boat trips around Lake Victoria and visit to the hydroelectric power plant at Owen falls dam, indulge in the adventurous bungee jumping experience, white water rafting and Kayaking in the rapids of the Nile.

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi and Mgahinga national parks

Mountain Gorilla trekking is one of the rarest encounters in the world and this can be done right in the wild jungles of Western Uganda.  Uganda protects a healthy population of the endangered mountain gorillas within two protected national parks; Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National park. Almost half of the world’s mountain gorilla population is found in Uganda. This year, Uganda is the ultimate destination for gorilla trekking and it is the most popular adventure that visitors crave to do on their visit to this amazing country.

Bwindi Impenetrable National park alone consists of up to 14 habituated gorilla families that are accessed from four distinguished sectors of the park. These include Rushaga, Ruhija, Buhoma and Nkuringo region. Mgahinga National Park on the other hand is home to only one gorilla family called the Nyakagezi Group.

The Rwenzori Mountains – “mountains of the moon”:

Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains is one of the unique tales of Uganda. Located in the south western corner, the Rwenzori Mountains are shared with the Democratic Republic of Congo and it is an adventure world of its own. Labelled the mountains of the world, the towering Rwenzori raises to height of 5,109m above sea level and presents some of the rarest adventure encounters in Africa and beyond.

The remote Rwenzori Mountains offer opportunities presents a great opportunity to hikers. The hike takes you through stunning landscapes and varied montane vegetation. Once on the top of the mountain, you will have clear views of Africa’s third-highest summit, which is one of the less explored peaks.

Climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth national park:

The Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s world biosphere reserve. It is home to one of the most elusive species including the tree climbing lions, buffaloes, elephants, hippos, leopards, etc. Looking to a wildlife safari, include Queen Elizabeth National Park in your tour itinerary and encounter these rare species! The search for the tree climbing lions that are known to lie flat on fig trees in a chilly afternoon, is one of the things you should not miss.

Queen Elizabeth National Park in addition to being home of the ‘Big 4’, also hosts interesting features! It is also an amazing destination for bird watching given that it boasts of over 605 bird species. A launch trip along the famous Kazinga channel is interesting given that you it takes you past the capital of hippos in Uganda. Other interesting animals you can see on the lake shores are solitary buffaloes, elephants that come for a drink during a hot day etc.


Uganda is home to this popular landmark, the equator! This is one of the most famous and remarkable attractions in the country. The country lies astride the Equator and there are two permanent monuments; one in Kasese and another at Kayabwe along Masaka Road. The Equator divides the earth into the southern and northern hemispheres!

The Kayabwe landmark is much developed and it is the most common in pictures. It is located 70 km away from Kampala towards the south west direction, taking about one hour to reach from the city. This point offers a perfect stopover while en route to the south western based national parks, including Lake Mburo National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and the famous Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.


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