Hands On Experiences

w1On your travels through Uganda, you are sure to come across beautiful handicrafts, thrilling cultural performances, African rhythms and delicious traditional food. If you’ve ever wondered how these are produced, these new workshops will give you the chance to find out.

Craft workshops show just how complex it is to make intricate baskets and bowls that you will find in souvenir shops and Ugandan homes, but with a little help from your expert teachers, you will soon pick up the basics, and maybe even be able to contribute a small section to the community basket!

Paper bead workshops are a great incentive to recycle colorful magazines and posters – you can personalize bracelets and necklaces to match your own unique tastes.

A cooking workshop will give you a real taste of Uganda – don’t forget that even the flour for the bread is made from scratch, and you will be cooking over an open fire. But food always tastes great after you’ve put so much effort into making it!

Other exciting new skills include African drumming on handmade hide drums, and even traditional dancing – if you have enough energy left after all your other adventures.

This is a great way to take a little bit of Ugandan holiday back home with you!


Community Accommodation

ca1For an authentic taste of Ugandan life, why not stay in community-run accommodation?

Cosy grass-roofed bandas built with local, natural materials are atmospheric places to spend the night, surrounded by the exotic sounds of the Ugandan savannah or forest. Some are built in the arrangement of a traditional family homestead, others are set in beautiful tropical gardens, and many offer spectacular views of the surrounding landscapes – from the snow-capped peaks of the Rwenzoris, to the densely forested slopes of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Many communities offer camping for those with or without their own tents, making this also one of the most affordable accommodation options for those traveling on a budget.

Guests will enjoy home cooked food, prepared on open fires, interaction with the local community, and the knowledge that their stay will support local community projects such as schools, clinics or agriculture.

Do something different during your trip – and know that you are making a difference to people’s life.


Contact us for more information about Pearls of Uganda

Email: info@pearlsofuganda.org

Nature Walks & Birding

nwb1Who best to tell you about the local fauna and flora than the people who have grown up surrounded by it?

Trained guides from rural villages offer tours of the surrounding hills, forests and wetlands, and are experts at spotting secretive creatures hiding in the foliage, as well as pointing out native medicinal plants and recognizing the calls of rare birds.

Nature Walks are offered around the country – whether you are looking for an endemic three-horned chameleon in the Rwenzori foothills, a striking greater blue turaco in the forest canopy or a bushbuck darting between the trees, this is an excellent way to get to know the native wildlife alongside the people who know it best.

And of course, the scenery is breathtaking – with lush papyrus wetlands, volcanic peaks, cloud forest and waterfalls – be sure to bring a pair of binoculars and your camera!

Generating income through the preservation of the natural environment encourages local communities to conserve the wildlife and habitats that surround them. The Nature Walks will not only be enjoyable for you, but also help to ensure that the landscape remains untouched for you, but also help to ensure that the landscape remains untouched for Ugandans and visitors to enjoy well into the future. 



Contact us for more information about Pearls of Uganda

Email: info@pearlsofuganda.org

Village Walks

Encountering Uganda’s stunning array of wildlife is a moving experience for any visitor – but why not meet the people who live their daily lives surrounded by bold gorillas, enormous hippos and cheeky chimpanzees?

Village Walks through rural communities offer the most rewarding insight into daily life as a Ugandan, and the tours are conducted by guides from the villages themselves. See people perform centuries-old trades such as the housewife grinding millet with flat stones; the blacksmith pound a machete into shape; and the traditional healer selecting medicinal plants to treat sick or injured neighbors.

You will have the chance to visit a traditional homestead, and learn how people cook, work and entertain themselves without electricity or running water. Maybe you will see a village school or nursery, set up with funds from tourism. Or meet a traditional birth attendant – a lifeline for mothers in remote areas. You can even visit a distillery – where the potent banana gin waragi is produced.


Contact us for more information about Pearls of Uganda
Email: info@pearlsofuganda.org

Cultural Performances

Music, dance and drama (MDD) is a vibrant, living, cultural tradition throughout Uganda.

Through these performances – accessorized with colorful clothing, grass skirts, animal skins and even masks – the people tell their stories; of courtship and romance, village ancestors and spiritual beliefs, traditional healers and joyful celebration.

The songs and dances are accompanied by traditional music. Hide drums beat complex rhythms; wooden xylophones – ndaras – are played by up to four musicians at a time; hand carved flutes – envamulres – carry the tune; and stringed adungus of all sizes create haunting harmonies. You will be tapping the catchy rhythms long after your visit!
The dances are performed by men and women, old and young – and even the less able are encouraged to join in with the aid of wooden puppets! Each region has its own style of music and dance – from the rhythmic shuffles of the Batoro in the Rwenzoris to the incredible leaps of the Bakiga people of the South West – there’s always more to discover.

As well as being a hugely enjoyable treat for visitors, these performances have a more practical side, as groups of performers travel through the villages to spread anti-poaching messages through music and dance, and to educate on conservation, maternal health and the prevention of HIV with lively dramas, designed to spread important messages in a fun and captivating way.

Observing a cultural performance will be a thrilling and enlightening experience for any visitor to Uganda – and you will also be supporting families, villages and education of the people that need it the most.


Contact us for more information about Pearls of Uganda

Email: info@pearlsofuganda.org


Craftsmanship in Uganda is a practice that has been passed down from generation to generation.

More than just attractive ornaments, Uganda’s handicrafts reflect the diverse history, culture, popular cuisine, environment and beliefs of its tribes. Pieces are created according to the necessities of the people in each region, as well as the availability of natural materials.

Woven baskets are essential in the Ugandan home – a large, lidded basket keeps millet bread warm, while a small basket filled with groundnuts is offered to visitors as a symbol of friendship. These baskets, along with beautifully crafted bowls, are colored with vegetable dyes and woven into intricate patterns to display the skill of the craftsperson.

Bark cloth is a traditional material – this stiff, vibrant orange fiber was once used to make clothes but is now often used to produce wide-brimmed hats – perfect to take on safari!

Wood is used for functional items such as bowls and spoons – carved to accentuate the grain. It is also use to create elegant ornaments, particularly native animals and figurines, which are sometimes produced of polished ebony. Stools, plaques and musical instruments are also hand carved in Uganda – including the long envamulre flute, which is played to thank the gods for a good harvest.

Other musical instruments which make unusual souvenirs include hide drums and adungus – melodic stringed instruments from Uganda’s West Nile region.

Less traditional but equally as attractive is paper jewelry – vibrant strings of paper beads crafted into necklaces, bracelets and earrings. This initiative was started by Bead for Life, and has become an important source of income for women in poor households across the country.

To find out more about these unique crafts and how they are made, take part in one of the community craft workshops – and learn how to weave your own basket or create your own jewelry!


Contact us for more information about Pearls of Uganda

Email: info@pearlsofuganda.org

Cultural Attractions in Kampala.

Bahá’í Temple

This is the only temple of the Bahá’í faith in Africa, and it is worth visiting for the beautiful architecture and well-tended gardens, which stretch over 30 hectares on top of Kikaya Hill in Kampala. Colored glass windows filter soft light into the temple, which is decorated with Persian carpets and glazed Italian mosaic tiles that line the domed roof.

Kabaka’s Lake

This is the Buganda Kabaka’s Lake, near Mengo Hill. This five acre lake on the outskirts of Kampala was created during the reign of Kabaka Mwanga in the 1880s for his personal enjoyment, as he enjoyed swimming and fishing.  More importantly, he wished to link it to Lake Victoria through a channel that would serve as an escape corridor, though this was never achieved. Today, the lake is home to many bird species, and is recognized as an important conservation site.

Kasubi Royal Tombs

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the burial site for the Kings of Buganda. The Buganda people hold great respect for this cultural site, and several ancient rituals are still performed here. The large, dome-shaped hut which protects the site is beautifully crafted from natural materials and also houses cultural treasures of the Buganda Kingdom.

The Kasubi Tombs are located on Kasubi Hill, 5km from the center of Kampala.

Katareke Prison Ditch

The prison tells the story of a violent and brutal episode in Buganda history. It speaks of a paranoid, power-hungry king who, in 1888, imprisoned his all his brothers and sisters – save for just one Mwanga – an exiled king he had replaced – and later brutally murdered them for fear that they might dethrone him! Today the prison is a quiet and shaded site, but the surviving earthworks are a vivid reminder of warring times when the fate of the kingdom hung in the balance.

Kings Palace (Bulange Mengo)

Lubiri, or Mengo is the palace of the King of Buganda. It was built in 1885 and measures in impressive 4 square miles. Opposite it is the spired Bulange, which is the Buganda parliament building. Entrance is free but you should tip your guide.

Naggalabi – Buddo Coronation Site

Just short of a 20 minutes drive from Kampala the panoramic hilltop at Naggalabi Buddo is the historic heart of Buganda. It was here that the Kingdom was birthed, at the dawn of the 14th century, and it is here that every Kabaka is still crowned. At Naggalabi Buddo you can visit the main sacred sites, and literally walk in the footsteps of past and present kings.

Namirembe & Rubaga Cathedrals

St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral, also known as Rubaga Cathedral was built in the 1880s. It stands on Rubaga Hill and overlooks Kampala. Protestant missionaries originally established the Namirembe Cathedral on a different hill of the same name in 1903, though it was reconstructed in 1919 after being struck by lightening. This vast structure can hold a congregation of 3,000 people.

Namugongo Martyr’s Shrine

On 3 June 1886, over 30 Ugandan Catholic and Protestant men were burned to death on the orders of the Kabak Mwanga for their refusal to renounce their faith. The Church of the Namugongo Martyrs has been constructed near the site, and is the focus of pilgrimages. Today, June 3rd is a public holiday in Uganda to commemorate the executions.

Ndere Center, Kamapla

This cultural centre, set amid beautiful tropical gardens, houses a wealth of Ugandan culture in the middle of Kampala. In addition to a café and craft shop, there is an outdoor stage where regular performances take place by the brilliant Ndere Troupe – comprising dancers, singers and musicians from across the country.
Regular events include Famly Hour, World Music Night, Kids’ Corner, Food Feasts and Cultural Night.
For schedules and further information, visit www.ndere.com/
Tel: +256 772 200 104, +256 772 700 105
Plot 2872 – 9867 Butukirwa

Cultural Attraction Outside Kampala

Karambi Tombs

These tombs are the burial ground of Kings Rukidi III and Kasagama, both of whom were of historical significance of the Toro people of the Fort Portal region.  The tombs are located on the Kasese Road, 5km from the town of Fort Portal.

Amabere Ga Nyinamwiru (the Breasts of Nyinamwiru)

The beautiful Nyinamwiru was, so the legend goes, the daughter of the local King Bukuku. She was pursued by so many admirers that the King cut off her breasts to reduce her beauty, though even this failed. The “breasts” you see today are an impressive stalactite formation in the Nyakasura Caves – filled with attractive natural rock pillars. The cave, located 9km from Fort Portal town off the Semliki Road, is also next to a refreshing waterfall.