Displaying items by Catalog: Experiences in Echuya Forest National Park

Contact us for more information about Pearls of Uganda

Email: info@pearlsofuganda.org

The Batwa Trail

Location: Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

The dense forests at the foot of the Virunga Volcanoes were home to the Batwa people: hunter-gatherers and fierce warriors who depended on the forest for shelter, food and medicine thanks to ancient knowledge passed down for generations.

When Mgahinga Gorilla National Park was established, the Batwa were suddenly evicted from the forest and forced to abandon their low-impact, nomadic lifestyle. Now landless, they work when they can for local farmers, and the only time they are permitted to re-enter their cherished forest is as tour guides on The Batwa Trail, where they invite visitors to discover the magic of their old home.

During this moving tour, the Batwa demonstrate hunting techniques; gather honey; point out medicinal plants and demonstrate how to make bamboo cups. Guests are finally invited to the sacred Ngarama Cave, once home to the Batwa King, where the women of the community perform a sorrowful song which echoes eerily around the depths of the dark cave, and leaves guests with a striking and moving sense of the richness of this fading culture.

Highlights

  • Switch off your flashlight in the Ngarama Cave, as ghostly singing begins to echo in the pitch darkness
  • Making fire requires team work! Watch your Batwa guides create fire to smoke out bees
  • See a traditional Batwa grass hut – quick to build and to demolish which was essential for this nomadic culture
  • Enjoy the lively dance at the cave´s entrance as the Batwa women sing a traditional song to welcome their guests
  • Walk through the pristine Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, with spectacular views of the Virunga Volcanoes

Responsible Travel

  • Most Batwa are unable to earn money to provide for their families, as they have no land of their own. Part of the fee goes directly to the guides and performers, while the rest is put into a community fund which will help pay for school fees and books, and purchase land.
  • The tour encourages the practice of traditional skills such as sourcing medicinal plants, making bamboo cups and using bows and arrows – skills which are being lost as the Batwa integrate with the surrounding communities
  • The income provides an alternative to illegal poaching in the Park

Package Includes

  • Guided tour and performances

Contact The Batwa Trail for more information

Email:  uobdubatwa@gmail.com

Web: www.TheBatwaTrail.com

Phone: +256 486 430 140

Duration
Full day tour (Note: this tour involves hiking at an altitude of around 2,500m for at least 4-5 hours.)
OR
Half day tour
What to Bring
  • Packed lunch and plenty of drinking water
  • Good hiking shoes or boots, sun screen and a hat
  • The weather varies greatly at this altitude – we recommend bringing layers, including a waterproof jacket
  • Tips for the guides and performers
Price
$80 US per person (includes UWA park entry fee)
Book with these operators & lodges:
Contact us for more information about Pearls of Uganda

Email: info@pearlsofuganda.org

Classic Africa Safaris

Location: Entebbe

At Classic Africa Safaris, we endeavor to ensure that every safari runs smoothly, take great pride in our work, and do our best to demonstrate that you are in capable hands. We pay attention to detail and are flexible whenever possible to accommodate our customers.

Our enthusiastic and motivated guides are well trained with many years of experience. Each has attended birding and wildlife courses to enhance an already substantial knowledge of local culture and history. All our guides have certificates in first aid and have training in off-road and 4WD driving.

Classic vehicles are the backbone of the company. Each vehicle has been developed and built to a standard we believe is comparable to no other. We operate our own vehicle fabrication workshop where we ensure your vehicle is in prime condition prior to leaving on safari.

Activities Offered

  • Safaris
  • Birding
  • Cultural encounters

Responsible Travel

  • Classic Africa offset their carbon emissions via a tree planting initiative. Local farmers can supplement their income by planting indigenous trees through this project, managed by Eco Trust , a local conservation organization.
  • We are proud to support for Entebbe Primary School for children with learning difficulties. Our clients find a visit to the school a memorable and enlightening experience.
  • We support several community projects and activities throughout Uganda and Rwanda, including KAFRED, Paper Craft Africa , the Batwa Cultural Experience and community cultural walks.
  • We can organize volunteering opportunities in local schools, orphanages and wildlife organizations. We also have a good relationship with Bwindi Community Hospital, where clients can visit or volunteer for variable time periods.
Available Vehicles

4WD Land Cruiser and 4WD Nissan Patrols

Pearls Supported
  • KAFRED
  • The Batwa cultural tril
Contact

Tel: +256 (0)41 4320121 / 4323560
Mobile: +256 (0)772 642527
Email: classic@classicuganda.com, classic@classicafricasafaris.travel
Website: www.classicuganda.com

Contact us for more information about Pearls of Uganda

Email: info@pearlsofuganda.org

Rubuguri Village Walk

Location: Bordering Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Reached by rustic roads clinging to steep hillsides, this small community makes up for its isolation with the warm welcome of its inhabitants. The Village Walk takes you past a swamp to a small homestead, where you will have the chance to meet the residents and learn about life in Rubuguri, as well as participate in a crafts demonstration.

You will then visit the lively St Peter´s Primary school to meet the pupils and teachers, and to watch this region´s most famous cultural attraction – the dynamic Kiga dance. The best dancers are said to be those who make the earth shake – and as the barefooted students leap several feet into the air to the rhythm of joyful songs you will be able to decide for yourself if they achieve their goal!

Highlights
  • Get involved in daily life, with a visit to a traditional homestead
  • Be amazed at the energy of the local students as they leap into the air to perform the regional dance
Responsible Travel
  • This tour is operated by the Nkuringo Cultural Centre  (NCC) in Rubuguri, which creates work opportunities for local residents. It promotes tourism and related activities as an alternative income to the timber, meat and honey that residents used to obtain from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
  • The profits are split evenly between the site owners, the community guides and the NCC for community projects.
  • Handicrafts are sold at the nearby Wagtail Eco-Safari Camp – all proceeds are returned to the artisans.
  • NCC has begun an IT project – it will have four computers, and IT classes will be run for up to 12 students at a time with just a small fee to cover basic costs.
  • A stage is also being built at the Centre to allow for cultural performances to take place here, by local residents as well as the nearby Batwa community.
  • NCC has purchased costumes for the dance groups who perform at the Centre.
Package Includes
  • Guided walk and all demonstrations
Contact us for more information

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

Website: nkuringoculturalcentre.org

Duration
Two and a half hours
What to Bring
  • Walking shoes or boots
  • A waterproof jacket and warm layers – the weather is particularly unpredictable in this region
  • Sun screen
  • Bottled water
  • Camera
Price
$15 per person
Book with these operators & lodges:
Contact us for more information about Pearls of Uganda

Email: info@pearlsofuganda.org

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

Buniga Forest Walk 
Location: Buniga Forest

Discover the gorgeous hidden treasures of the Buniga Forest and its diverse flora and fauna populations escorted by locals who are expert regional guides. Buniga Forest Reserve is one of the 3 remaining pocket forests adjacent to Bwindi National Park in Kisoro District. Due to the increased encroachment on the forest and associated loss of biodiversity and other forest values and products, the trail was created by the NCDF to protect the forest and manage it for ecotourism activities that benefit surrounding communities.

Highlights

  • Discover the rich flora and fauna populations of the forest.
  • Take part in a forest adventure.  
  • Learn about local conservation activities and community development initiatives.  

Responsible Travel

  • All profits from tours benefit surrounding communities
  • The project was developed to protect the Buniga Forest and its ecosystem.
  • The tour is an embodiment of the principles of sustainable tourism, as it benefits both conservation and community development while providing an unrivaled adventure to tourists.  

Package Includes

  • Guided tour 
Contact 
Email:  gervaset2006@yahoo.com
Website: www.ncdfuganda.org
Phone: 0773337985

 

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

Rwenzori Turaco View Nature Walk

Location: Bordering Rwenzori Mountains National Park

The tiny village of Mihunga faces the craggy, snow-capped peaks of Rwenzori Mountains, known as the Mountains of the Moon. The Bakonzo tribe have lived here for over 300 years with no electricity or running water, and have adapted their way of life to the climate and steep green hillsides of the Rwenzori foothills.

Turaco View is the Mihunga community tourism group, named after one of the region´s most beautiful endemic birds: the Rwenzori Turaco. Hikers on this trail, which weaves through the forests of the Rwenzori foothills, may be lucky enough to spot one of these brightly coloured birds in the forest canopy, and Turaco View´s expert guides will be able to point out other species such as bee-eaters, sunbirds and even playful black and white colobus monkeys.

Highlights

  • Waiting for the clouds to clear to catch a glimpse of the snowy peaks of the Rwenzoris, Africa´s highest mountain range.
  • Chatting to your knowledgeable Bakonzo guide, an expert on the native flora and fauna as well as Bakonzo culture!

Responsible Travel

  • All guides and restaurant staff are from Mihunga community
  • The fruit and vegetables served in the Turaco View restaurant are purchased from local farmers
  • Income from community tourism supports conservation and reforestation projects, a community piggery project and microfinance schemes CHECK

Package Includes

  • Guided tour

Contact us for more information

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

Duration
4-5 hours. We recommend that you start this tour at 7am or earlier in order to observe the most wildlife.
What to Bring
  • Walking shoes or boots (it can get muddy)
  • Layers and a waterproof jacket (the climate is changeable in the mountains and mornings are cold)
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Hat and sun screen
  • Cash for tips and craft purchases
  • Binoculars for bird watching
  • Plastic bags to protect cameras etc
Price
15$ per person covering the guide and experience
Book with these operators & lodges:
  • GeoLodges Equator Snow
Contact us for more information about Pearls of Uganda

Email: info@pearlsofuganda.org

Ruboni Village Walk

Location: Bordering Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Stretching along the Congo border, the spectacular snow-capped Rwenzoris are the third highest mountains in Africa, but one of the most difficult to climb. The Bakonzo people have lived in the foothills for around 300 years, and invite visitors to experience daily life in their village, surrounded by rainforests, banana plantations, glacial rivers and the peaks of the “Mountains of the Moon.”

Discover the village of Ruboni, home to around 2000 Bakonzo. Walk with them as they demonstrate their daily activities, from tending to their animals and crops, to preparing meals with the freshest ingredients. You will visit a homestead, where food is cooked on an outdoor fire, as well as meeting the blacksmith, the traditional healer, basket weavers and storytellers. Additional activities include a vibrant dance performance by Ruboni villagers, accompanied by lively drumming; and for those who want to get even more involved, there is an African drumming class (both booked separately).

Highlights

  • The homestead provides an insight into authentic Ugandan life – see how daily tasks are carried out with no electricity, gas or kitchen appliances.
  • In remote areas such as this, the traditional healer takes the place of clinics, hospitals and doctors. Learn about the ailments that can be treated with plants from the surrounding mountain slopes.
  • Watch how a knife or panga (machete) is fashioned by hand from a shapeless lump of iron. The blacksmith´s essential work has changed little over the centuries.

Responsible Travel

  • Tourism revenue has funded a number of initiatives including a child school sponsorship program and a tree nursery project. Seedlings are given to local families or planted in the community forest.
  • Funds from the dance performance are invested in small-scale animal husbandry for the dancers’ families.
  • Income from the sale of crafts is used by the craftswomen to buy goats and pigs, as well as the promotion of a household savings and investment programme.
Package Includes
  • Guided village tour and all demonstrations
Contact us for more information

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

Website: www.rubonicamp.com

 

Duration

Two to three hours

What to Bring

  • Walking shoes or boots
  • Layers and a waterproof jacket (the climate is changeable in the mountains)
  • Drinks
  • Hat and sun screen
  • Cash for tips and craft purchases
  • Camera

Price

  • Village Walk: 15$ USh pp,
  • Dance performance: 1-5 people: 25$/ more than 5 people: 35$
  • Drumming lesson: 10$ per person (one hour)

Book with these operators & lodges:

  • GeoLodges Equator Snow Lodge

Contact us for more information about Pearls of Uganda

Email: info@pearlsofuganda.org

Ruboni Waterfall and Hill Walk

Location: Bordering Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Stretching along the Congo border, the spectacular Rwenzoris are the third highest mountains in Africa, but one of the most difficult to climb. On clear days their snow-capped peaks preside over the verdant landscapes of the Rift Valley.

Starting at the peaceful farming village of Ruboni, your expert Bakonzo guide will take you on a trail through the beautiful forests of the Rwenzori foothills, also known as the Mountains of the Moon. Ruboni means clear water in the local Lukonzo language, and on leaving the village you will follow a crystal-clear stream, passing villagers carrying crops and wood on their daily commute!

The trail winds upwards into the forest, where your guide will point out the many native birds, including wonderfully colourful species such as the Rwenzori Turaco, tiny sunbirds and cinnamon-chested bee eaters.

Highlights
  • Waiting for the clouds to clear to catch a glimpse of the snowy peaks of the Mountains of the Moon
  • Chatting to your knowledgeable Bakonzo guide, an expert on the native flora and fauna as well as Bakonzo culture!
  • Reaching the waterfall that cascades down the hillside.
Responsible Travel
  • Since 2004, tourism revenue has funded a number of initiatives including a child school sponsorship program and a tree nursery project. Seedlings raised in the local nursery are given to local families or planted in the community forest.
  • Funds from the dance performance are invested in small-scale animal husbandry for the dancers’ families.
  • Income from the sale of crafts is used by the craftswomen to buy goats and pigs, as well as the promotion of a household savings and investment program.
Package Includes
  • Guided hike. Food and drinks are not included, but a packed lunch can be requested from the community in advance, at additional cost
Contact us for more information

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

Website: www.rubonicamp.com

Duration
Four to five hours. We recommend that you start this tour at 7am or earlier in order to observe the most wildlife.
What to Bring
  • Walking shoes or boots (it can get muddy)
  • Layers and a waterproof jacket (the climate is changeable in the mountains and mornings are cold)
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Hat and sun screen
  • Cash for tips and craft purchases
  • Camera
  • Binoculars for bird watching
  • Plastic bags to protect cameras etc
Price
  • 15$ per person

Book with these operators & lodges:

  • GeoLodges Equator Snow

Contact us for more information about Pearls of Uganda

Email: info@pearlsofuganda.org