Queen´s Pavilion

Location: Near the entrance to Queen Elizabeth National Park

Just 800 metres from the equator monument, and overlooking a thrilling landscape of crater lakes is the Queen´s Pavilion, a community-run internet café. This is the perfect spot to revive yourself after an early morning safari with a cup of Ugandan tea or coffee. You can email exotic tales of wild African adventures to your friends and family back home, as you listen to the elephants trumpeting on the dry plains below, or sit outside at one of the shaded tables and enjoy the savannah views.

It´s also a great place to come for souvenirs – the Centre has a selection of locally made handicrafts including handwoven baskets and paper bead jewellery.


Background

The Queen´s Pavilion was set up by Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH), a non-profit organization which was founded by Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, a veterinarian. She began the project following an anthrax outbreak in the local area, and CTPH trained 10 volunteers from each affected community, with the aim of improving public education and awareness.

Information

  • Opening times: Queen´s Pavilion is open from 8am-6pm, seven days a week.
  • Café: The café serves coffee, tea, hot chocolate, beer, soft drinks, biscuits and crisps.
  • Accessibility: The centre can be reached from Kasese by special hire or boda boda. It is near QENP, around 800m from the Equator monument.

Responsible Travel

  • Profits from the café and computers subsidise Makerere University-certified IT courses for the community.
  • Using a motorbike donated by Microsoft, trainers travel to the local villages with laptops to carry out the classes.
  • The course lasts six weeks, with classes taught for two hours a day from Monday-Friday. Students make a small contribution to their fees, depending on their income.
Contact
Stella Mboneko, Community Telecentre Officer
Office:
0414 531389
Mobile:
0774 408124
Website:
www.ctph.org
Email:
stella@ctph.org
Price
  • Internet is 200 UGS per minute for foreigners and 50 UGS per minute for locals.
Pearl Supported
Contact us for more information about Pearls of Uganda

Email: info@pearlsofuganda.org

Kikorongo Equator Cultural Performance

Location: At lodges in and around Queen Elizabeth National Park

Kikorongo means “Too Much Sunshine” in the local language of Lukonzo – but the intense heat of the African plains has done nothing to diminish the energy of the Kikorongo Equator Cultural Performers! This vibrant performance is a wonderful glimpse of life in Kikorongo, with dance, drama, songs and even a fire-making competition.

Songs and dramas tell the story of a man looking for a wife, and a sick child who is brought to a traditional healer – an essential member of Ugandan villages even today. An energetic dance calls upon the ancestors, whose spirits take over the bodies of the dancers. Community members who are too old or infirm to dance are given wooden puppets – so that everyone in the village can join in! The lively performances are accompanied by the music of traditional drums, a flute and a wooden xylophone called ndara, which can be played by up to four skilled musicians at a time.

Highlights

  • Sit back and watch life in a Bakonzo village unfold in front of you! Stories of health, spirituality, celebration and romance are beautifully presented by the dancers.
  • Discover the ancient skill of fire making. As two villagers compete to create flames, you will see just how exhausting it really is!
  • Learn through music and dance. An interpreter presents each performance, translating the words of the songs and explaining the stories in the dramas

Responsible Travel

Several women in the group were widowed as their husbands were poachers. The performances give both married and widowed women the chance to uplift their social, cultural and economic status. The community has suffered from a loss of crops due to damage by wild animals. Participating in tourism activities allows them to benefit from the existence of the National Park, rather than being threatened by it.

Through dance and drama, the Kikorongo Women Community educates community members about safe motherhood, the importance of clean drinking water and hygiene, handicraft making and reducing poaching. Money raised through tourism allows this education to continue. The average household contains six people, but each household makes less than 40,000 Ugandan Shillings (less than $20 US) per month – so your money goes a long way!

Contact us for more information

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

Duration
Performances of 30 minutes and one hour are available
What to Bring
Tips for community members, and extra cash for craft purchases
Price
  • Free for lodge guests
  • 30 minutes: – 80,000 UGX at the Kikorongo Cultural Centre
  • 1 hour: – 150,000 Ugx at the Kikorongo Cultral Centre
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:

      Katwe Salt Lake Tour

Location: Bordering Queen Elizabeth National Park

This unusual lake is far too salty to support any wildlife – though since the 16th Century it has ensured the survival of the Katwe villagers, who spend their days under the equatorial sun, harvesting salt from its milky waters.

Unique networks of paths and huts have been built across the lake to support hundreds of workers, as selling the rock and table salt to traders from across Uganda, and as far as Congo and Rwanda, is the main source of income for the community.

This tour gives visitors a unique insight into the fascinating yet tough process of salt mining, as well as providing an alternative income for Katwe. During the tour of the lake you will see community members at work, cross the mud walkways and enter one of the traditional grass huts, used to shelter and store tools. You will also pass the nearby bird sanctuary lake, home to thousands of birds, including flamingos from October to May.


Highlights

  • Flamingos fill the bird sanctuary lake from October to May – come and witness this dramatic splash of color!
  • Enjoy the spectacular views across Katwe Lake from the hilltop
  • Experience life on the lake – learn how the women churn the waters to harvest salt from the surface, while the men carry black rock salt gathered from the lake bed
  • Walk the trail to the lake that has been used for 500 years – by people, hippos and even the odd lion!

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 visit to salt lake and bird sanctuary

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
  • Tips for guide and community members
  • Camera – please ask permission before photographing the workers
Price

$10 US per person

Book with these operators & lodges:

           

Bigodi Women’s Swamp Walk

Location: Kibale Forest 

Bigodi village is situated in the highlands of western Uganda, in the shadow of the Rwenzori Mountains, the famous “Mountains of the Moon.” Our community is located about 40 kilometers south of the town of Fort Portal, and borders Kibale National Park, which has the highest density of primate life in the world in its forests.

Since 1992, the people of Bigodi have worked together as a community to open our natural beauty to eco-tourists and to bring our crafts and handiwork to the world.

Music, Dance and Drama

Bigodi Dancers demonstrate the best of their local culture through a lively hour-long performance, incorporating drama, dance, hand-made musical instruments and riddles.

In the Bakiga tribes, both men and women dance by stamping the ground barefoot – the harder you do it the better. Cracks on the floor are an indication that the party was a success!

Craft Demonstration

The group sells baskets, mats, bags, recycled paper jewelry and other crafts at the Wetland Sanctuary office in Bigodi trading center, and worldwide through export.

The women use local materials such as millet straw, banana fibres (these two are agricultural waste), raffia and Phoenix palm leaves, papyrus plants and natural dyes, all from plants that the women grow themselves at their homes.

Highlights

  • Traditional dance and music performance (with interpretation)
  • Drama performance
  • Crafts demonstration (basket weaving and paper beads)
  • Guided nature walks
  • Bird watching across the wetland
  • Primate viewing
  • Village walks
  • Home stays and traditional meals

Responsible Travel

  • Study tours are used to increase the understanding and interpretation of natural and cultural values in the community, particularly in schools. Enyange Dramactors received training from Kibale and Semliki Conservation and Development Program in the 1990s. On the other hand, interpretation signs, write-ups, guided walks and presentations are used for conservation awareness building for both domestic and foreign visitors. Walks around and across the swamp are guided, visitors are encouraged to keep on the trail and all the garbage is carried back to the visitor’s center and properly binned. KAFRED does not provide catering services and this limits the levels of pollution.
  • The community strives to promote local history.
  • The dance and drama performances and weaving workshops promote local culture.
  • The profits from tourism activities benefits the local community.
  • Dance: All performers are local and share the performance fees
  • Walks: 100% of the net profit (after all expenses), is spent on community development and conservation projects. This income has funded many projects including a secondary school, which has an enrollment of over 300 and employs 17 people. Host families receive a percentage of the village walk fee.
  • Home stays and traditional meals: Income goes to support household income and promote traditional crops and organic methods of farming
  • Crafts: 90% of the income goes to the women who make the items and 10% into community development. This income has funded the Bigodi Pre-Primary (Nursery) School, and it has helped support orphans, widows, the disabled and other disadvantaged people in the community. The group promotes conservation, takes school children on field trips, and produces songs and plays with conservation messages.
  • Community development projects have been funded with income from tourism. The best examples are the secondary school, the wetlands boardwalk, and the wetlands visitor center, which has helped to increase awareness and appreciation within the community of the importance of conservation.
Contact

John Tinka, KAFRED Program Manager

Phone:
+256 (0) 77 246 8113

Email:
Website:
Website: www.bigodi-tourism.org