Nkuringo Community Experience

Location: Nkuringo, bordering Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the Congo border

Set in a lush hillside bordering Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with dramatic views towards Congo, Nkuringo is a wonderful place to visit for those who want both a cultural experience and beautiful scenery.

Step back in time with a visit to Nicholas the blacksmith, who beats knives and machetes into shape in coals fired by his father´s sheepskin bellows. Sesilia will welcome you into her home – a series of traditional huts used for grinding millet, cooking over an open fire and distilling waragi gin. Pena is the village´s traditional healer – and she will show you how she uses native plants to make tea, ointments and powder to cure all manner of ills.

Visitors with extra time can request a visit to the school, hike up to the top of a hill overlooking the Congo border or see the piggery project in action – just let us know!

Highlights

  • The blacksmith´s art has changed little in centuries – watch how a shapeless lump of iron is magically transformed into a sharp knife!
  • Greet local residents as you stroll through the village streets enjoying the spectacular scenery
  • Learn the secrets of the Impenetrable Forest as the traditional healer shows how leaves and bark are used to treat headaches, pneumonia, polio and “bewitched legs”!

Responsible Travel

  • The tour and craft shop are operated by the Nkuringo Conservation and Development Foundation (NCDF).  The community conserves the gorillas in this area, and in return are able to benefit from gorilla tourism through the development of community tourism activities in Nkuringo.
  • All guides and NCDF staff are local, and all profits from the sale of crafts are returned to the artisans
  • The local Batwa community are also supported and promoted through NCDF
  • 30% of the tour fee goes to NCDF, 30% to the community guides and 40% to the site owners
  • NCDF trains a group of local orphans who perform at the community-owned Clouds Lodge – guests can arrange to sponsor an orphan (selected by a local committee)

Package Includes

  • Guided walk and all demonstrations

Contact us for more information

Email:  info@pearlsofuganda.org
Phone: +256-414501866 / +256-772657700

Duration
Two to three hours, depending on preferences
What to Bring
  • Good walking shoes (it can get muddy)
  • Waterproof jacket and warm layers as the climate is extremely changeable
  • Sun screen and hat
  • Money for tips (please give to your guide after the tour) and craft purchases from the NCDF shop
Price
$10 US per person
Book with these operators & lodges:
Contact us for more information about Pearls of Uganda

Email: info@pearlsofuganda.org

Buhoma Community Cultural Walk

Location: At the main entrance to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Overlooking the imposing hillsides of Bwindi Impenetrable forest, with the mist swirling over the summits, this is one of the most dramatic settings for your cultural tour!

Your first stop is a handicraft shop run by the community women´s group. These skilled artisans create beautiful grass mats, wood carvings, dyed fabrics, handmade paper and natural beeswax candles. Next, you will meet the Batwa – former forest dwellers who perform songs and dances about the forest they are no longer permitted to live in. One of the most important community figures is the traditional healer – who not only treats the sick, but uses his knowledge to conserve and educate about the various medicinal plants. The primary school visit gives an insight into life as a rural child in Buhoma, as you meet the friendly teachers and pupils.

You are sure to see many, many bananas on your travels through Uganda – and this tour concludes with an explanation of the different types – along with a demonstration of how they are used. Watch, taste and enjoy!

Highlights

  • Purchase beautiful crafts made by local women – and know that your money will help them take care of their families and send their children to school
  • Hear the moving story of the Batwa people- they are working with local NGOs to purchase land in order to cultivate crops and finally become self-sufficient again.
  • Meet the local healer. He can treat anything from stomach aches to impotence – a form of traditional Viagra!
  • Learn the process of transforming bananas first refreshing banana juice, then to a popular beer (rwarwa) and finally to local gin (waragi). Will you dare to try it?!

Responsible Travel

  • All 12 guides used are local, and the banana brewing and the sale of handicrafts benefit local producers
  • The Batwa receive all the proceeds from their performances
  • 20% of the fee goes to Buhoma Community Rest Camp Council which supports community development projects
  • Since the Community Rest Camp opened, a community secondary school has been opened with funds from tourism. They also support a local primary school, are starting others, and fund local nurseries.
  • A maize mill has abeen funded by the Rest Camp
  • A microfinance “circle” has also been started in the community.

Package Includes

  • Guided tour
Contact us for more information

Email:  info@pearlsofuganda.org
Phone: +256-414501866 / +256-772657700

Duration
Three hours
What to Bring
  • Good walking shoes or boots – it can get muddy!
  • Waterproof jacket or poncho, and warm layers – the weather is extremely changeable in the mountains
  • Sun screen
  • Sun hat
  • Waterproof bag for cameras and other equipment
Price
$15 US per person
Book with these operators & lodges:
Contact us for more information about Pearls of Uganda

Email: info@pearlsofuganda.org

Katwe Village Tour

Location: Bordering Queen Elizabeth National Park

What´s it like to live in this village next to the salt lake? This tour gives visitors the chance to meet the locals, and get involved in their daily lives.

You will be welcomed to a traditional homestead, to see what the villagers come home to after a hard day harvesting salt on the lake. Cooking demonstrations will introduce you to the food of this region and the traditional methods used to cook and prepare the meals.

Visitors will also enjoy a trip to the local school.

Highlights

  • Interact with community members and discover what life is like in Katwe
  • Know that you are giving something back! Profits from the tour support environmental and health awareness campaigns, as well as providing an income for those too elderly to mine salt.  Your visit will improve the lives of the people you meet!
  • Go back to basics – learn how to make traditional Ugandan food on an open fire

Responsible Travel

  • All guides used are local, and have received training
  • Profits raised have gone towards supplying desks for local schools, and supporting older residents who are no longer able to mine salt.
  • Local crafts and handmade batik and tie-dye fabrics are available to purchase at the main office – profits go to the craftswomen of the Katwe Women’s Group. The women perform dramas and songs in surrounding communities and schools to raise awareness of issues such as HIV and the environment, especially poaching.

Package Includes

  • Guided village tour and all demonstrations

Contact us for more information

Email:  info@pearlsofuganda.org
Phone: +256 414 501 866 / +256 772 657 700

Duration

Two hours, but flexible

What to Bring
  • Suitable walking shoes
  • Sun screen
  • Insect repellent
  • Bottled water and snacks
  • Light, long-sleeved shirt, hat and sunglasses are recommended
  • Binoculars for bird watching
  • Tips for guide and community members
Price

$10 for non-residents
$5 for Ugandans, with a discount for groups

Book with these operators & lodges:

Boomu Women’s Group Village Walk

Location: Between Budongo Forest Reserve and Murchison Falls National Park

Boomu Women´s Group has around 40 members from the villages of Kihaguzi and Kigaragara. These subsistence farmers had little produce left over to sell, so in 1999 the women´s group was formed, with the aim of reducing poverty and malnutrition, and providing an income for the members to be able to pay their children´s school fees. What began as a craft group has evolved into a wonderful community tourism project, with accommodation, a restaurant, unique guided tours and a well-tended garden.

This scenic walk through the village reveals to visitors the features of everyday rural life, as well as explaining the hardships facing the community. Your guide will show you the various crops that are grown in Kigaragara, as well as taking you to visit the village blacksmith. Storytellers share tales about customs and the local way of life, and a visit to the nursery can be arranged on request.

Visitors can also book a separate cooking demonstration or a basket weaving class to learn this complex art.

Highlights

  • Hear tales of game hunting from those who are old enough to remember, as well as descriptions of Banyoro courtship rituals and birth celebrations.
  • Learn about the difficulties the communities face due to issues such as lack of education, no electricity or running water and population growth. This tour is one of the few sources of income for local residents.
  • See traditional farming methods and discover how different crops are processed

Responsible Travel

  • Boomu has four full-time employees and many part-time staff who benefit directly from tourism.
  • All the money from the community tour and a percentage of the turnover is put into a community fund finances school books, soap, pencils and porridge for local children attending a nursery created by Boomu.
  • Other projects that benefit from this fund are educational projects, local clinics, improving access to water and agroforestry initiatives.
  • Community members have also been trained in high-quality blanket weaving, which can be sold to local lodges and hotels.

Contact us for more information

Email:  info@pearlsofuganda.org
Phone: +256-414501866 / +256-772657700

Duration

Two hours, but flexible

What to Bring
  • Sun screen and hat
  • Light clothing, preferably with long sleeves/pants
  • Insect repellent
  • Cash for tips and craft purchases
  • Drinks and snacks
Price
  • Village walk: 10000 USh
  • Cooking demonstration: 10000 USh
  • Basket weaving demonstration: 10,000 USh
Book with these operators & lodges: