The Batwa trail in Mgahinga National Park and visiting the Ik and Karamojong people in northeastern Uganda are some of the most popular cultural encounters in Uganda.
There are 56 tribes in Uganda, including the Acholi, Alur, Bafumbira, Baganda, Bagishu, Bagwere, Bakiga, Bamba, Banyoro, Banyuli, Bateso, Batooro, Batwa, Jonam, Karamajong, Kumam, Langi, Lugbra, Madi, Jopadhola, and Tepeth. Each group has its own unique language, cultural practices, and norms. Most have a traditional king or chief as head. On a cultural tour, visitors have the opportunity to understand the culture of these indigenous groups by visiting a family or attending their cultural performances.
• Airport Transfers.
All cultural activities listed in the Itinerary
• Return transfers with a 4×4 safari vehicle
• English-speaking driver or tour guide
• Meals as specified in the itinerary and mineral water
• FB – Full board includes bed, breakfast, (packed) lunch, and dinner.
• HB – Half Board includes bed, breakfast, and dinner.
• BB – Bed & Breakfast includes bed and breakfast only.
Mid-range Accommodation Option Included
1 night’s accommodation Hotel via via- HB.
1 night’s accommodation River Nile camp – FB.
1 night’s accommodation Rafiki Sipi Lodge – FB.
2-night accommodation in Kara Tunga – FB.
2-night accommodation at Apoka Rest camp – FB.
2-night accommodation at Sambiya River Lodge – HB.
1 night accommodation at Hoima Cultural Homes – FB.
1 night accommodation koi koi – FB.
2-night accommodation Rubalika farm – FB.
2-night accommodation Buhoma rest camp – FB.
2-night accommodation at Bakiga Lodge – FB.
1 night’s accommodation in Igongo cultural homes – FB.
2-night accommodation Backpackers -FB
Services & Safari Activities Not Included
• All international flights, and all internal flights unless specifically listed.
• Cost of entry visas, Yellow Fever and COVID-19 certificates
• Travel, baggage, medical and/or personal insurance.
• Gratuities and items of a personal nature.
• Optional Activities not listed as Services & Safari Activities Included.
Mid-range Accommodation Option
Price Per Person Sharing (PPS) in a Double / Twin Room
Transport Options 5 / 7-Seater Land Cruiser
2 pax traveling / PPS from US $ 8,665
3 pax traveling / PPS from US $ 7745
4 pax traveling / PPS from US $ 7,286
5 pax traveling / PPS from US $ 7,010
6 pax traveling / PPS from US $ 6,734
7 pax traveling/ PPS from US$ 6660
Uganda Cultural Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive at Entebbe O/N Via Via Hotel
Upon arrival, you will be met by a representative from Swanair Travel and Safaris, greet you, and transfer you to your hotel/guest house. While in Entebbe, there are several optional activities available depending on your arrival time; a Visit to the Botanical gardens, a sunset cruise on Lake Victoria, or a visit to the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) O/N Via Via Hotel- BB
Day 2; Visit the Buganda Tombs and Ndere Cultural Centre in central Uganda O/N Backpackers Hotel
After breakfast, drive towards Kampala city to visit the Kasubi Tombs one of the main treasures of the Kingdom of Buganda and a leading cultural Tourism attraction in Uganda. The tombs are found six kilometers away from the city center in Kampala. The tombs are a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Kasubi Tombs are the main burial grounds for the Kings of Buganda as well as other royals. Buganda has four kings buried in the tombs: Muteesa II, Mwanga II, Daudi Chwa, and Muteesa I. Aside from the Kasubi tombs, Buganda has other tombs for their earlier kings. The Wamala tombs hold the remains of Kabaka Suuna 11. Kabaka Suuna is remembered as the first Kabaka (King) to allow foreign traders into Buganda. The Wamala tombs are located on top of a hill in beautiful surroundings, as are the Kanyange Bagalayanza tombs. In the evening, visit the Ndere Cultural Center for cultural performances. The Ndere Cultural Center is arguably the best place to experience the culture of Uganda as a whole in one place. O/N Backpackers Hotel
Day 3: Transfer to Jinja O/N River Nile Camp
After breakfast, drive to Jinja with an en-route stop at Ssezibwa Falls, this is an important cultural and spiritual site for the Baganda people especially die-hard royalists. All the kings of Buganda have visited the falls to seek blessings from their ancestors. Apart from the royals, hundreds of people come to a shrine on top of the falls to seek blessings and Favor from the gods. In the afternoon, continue to Bugangali, Bujagali among the locals, is known as a home to the traditional ancestral gods, and it’s no surprise that many who hold a belief in the same, visit the Cave from time to time to offer their sacrifices to these ancestral gods like “Jaaja Bujagali” after an hour or two in the cave, have late lunch, and continue to Busoga Palace to have an experience of Busoga culture.
Among other spots of interest around the Bujagali cave are Holland Park, Nile Nest, and Nile Discovery where the annual Nyege Nyege festival is held.
Day 4: Drive to Mbale, O/N Rafiki Sipi Lodge
After breakfast, drive towards the eastern part of Uganda, and visit Nyero Rock Paintings which are located eight kilometers away from Kumi town along Ngora road. The amazing paintings were left behind by humans living in the area during the Iron Age. The paintings show several symbols including canoes and animals that once roamed the area have lunch en-route and continue to sipi Falls spending a night in the Bugiso land enjoying the Bagiso tribe is famous because of their ancient circumcision rituals and dances known as “Kadodi” and visit the Sabiny who only circumcise girls on reaching maturity O/N Rafiki Sipi lodge
Day 5-6: Drive to Moroto Ik and visit O/N Kara Tunga Lodge
After breakfast, drive to Moroto to visit the IK people, The Ik people are equally interesting. They are one of the smallest tribal groups in Uganda – Less than 10,000 in number. According to the Ik, children shouldn’t stay with their parents in the same house once they reach the age of 3 or 4 years. They are sent to live in a separate house with their age-mates. You will spend two days with these people participating fully in their culture in their village setting.
Day 7-8 drive to Karamoja O/N Apoka Safari Camp
After breakfast, visit the Karamojong people also have interesting cultural practices. First, the Karamojong keep their kids for as long as possible. Second, they are nomadic pastoralists with a similar way of life to the Masai. The Karamojong depend on their cows for almost everything. While visiting them, you can take part in their traditional dances, milk a cow or two, go out grazing with the men, or buy one of their local art pieces. If you are looking for true indigenous African tribes that have not fully embraced modern habits/culture, then visiting the IK or Karamojong is highly recommended. and stay with them for 2 days as you learn and enjoy their culture.
Day 9-10: Drive to Gulu Acholi Land O/N Sambiya River Lodge
After breakfast, drive to Gulu city, and arrive, visit the Acholi manyattas or just relax in the evening. The next day, visit Baker’s Fort found twenty-nine kilometers away from Gulu town in Patiko. Also known as Fort Patiko, the facility was built by Arab slave traders and later taken over by Sir Samuel Baker. Baker was a famous explorer who was against slavery in all its forms. He took over the Fort in 1872 in an effort to frustrate the Arab traders who had used the fort as a place to collect slaves from the region. The Fort is enclosed by a trench that is 15 feet deep and 16 feet wide. The Fort is a constant reminder of the evils of slavery with dark marks around the stones which are believed to be blood from slaves who were beheaded because they couldn’t make it to Egypt for sale and visit some Acholi manyattas
Day 11: Drive to Hoima Town Bunyoro Kingdom O/N Hoima Cultural Homes
After breakfast, drive to Hoima town to visit Mparo Tombs are found 4 kilometers away in the Mparo Division. The tombs are the burial site for the former Kings of Bunyoro. The great Kabalega of Bunyoro who gave the British colonial government a hard time is buried here. Kabalega led a rebellion against the British for a long time as they attempted to control his Kingdom. He was exiled along with Kabaka Mwanga of Buganda to the Seychelles Islands, and on this day, you will also visit the Bunyoro Kingdom and learn more about their kingdom.
Day 12: Drive to the tourist city Toro Kingdom O/N Koi Koi Lodge
After breakfast, drive to Fort Portal Town the “tourism city,” on arrival visit the Mabere Nga nyina Mwiru for cultural enthusiasts, there is a rich cultural history attached to these rocks which form scenic caves with streams of water above them causing refreshing waterfalls. The Batoro (the tribe located in this area) has a strong belief attached to these caves with an interesting story told through the generations about them. Amabere nga Nyinamwiru means “breasts of the mother of a slaveand check in at the hotel for dinner and an overnight stay
The next morning after breakfast, visit Karambi Tombs, these tombs hold great cultural to the Batooro and are hence a perfect site to visit if you want to learn more about their culture and monarchy. You will be impressed with the simple but unique architecture and royal instruments including giant drums, spears and other items that were personal to the specific King. Karambi tombs are located 6 kilometers away from the town center along the Kasese to Fort Portal Road. you will drive to Tooro palace to enjoy the Batoro culture and this will take you the whole day as participate fully in their culture.
Day 13-14: Drive to Rubalika Farm O/N Rubalika Farm
Drive to Rubalika farm lodge, and here you will participate in the farm experience like vanilla and cows this farm experience comprises of mixed cultures that you will have missed along the trip.
Day 15-16: Drive through Queen Elizabeth National Park to Bwindi the Home of mountain Gorillas O/N Buhoma Community Camp
After breakfast, drive to Queen Elizabeth with constant stopovers at the crater lakes and Rwenzori mountains where you will encounter different people from different cultures sleeping in Bwindi.
In the morning visit one community school or women’s group for the Batwa and continue to Bwindi Upon arrival check in at your hotel and rest as you wait for the next day’s activity
The 5-hour Batwa Trail is usually led by the Batwa themselves and begins after the guide (a Batwa) kneels down to beg the spirits to keep everyone safe during the journey through the forest. This ancient practice ensured that the hunting sessions were blessed and prosperous. After the spirit prayer, the Batwa guide leads visitors through the dense forest and around the slopes of volcanoes like Gahinga and Muhavura. The next day, you participate in Batwa activities and afternoon, drive to Bunyonyi on arrival check at the lodge, and enjoy the Kikiga dance and the folk tales on the campfire.
Day 17-18: Drive to Lake Bunyonyi O/N Bakiga Lodge
After breakfast, visit Bunyonyi Lake one of the deepest lakes in Africa and this takes you to the place where the Rukirabashenje (king) of Bakiga had his palace. In the afternoon, visit the Bakiga Museum for the artifacts and cultural tools of their ancestors
Day19: Drive to Mbarara the land of Milk and honey O/N Igongo Cultural Homes
After breakfast, drive to Mbarara the land of honey and Milk, on arrival, visit the Igongo cultural home and have local lunch there. Afternoon, continue and visit these tombs are found in Mbarara District in an area called Kakiika. It is the burial ground for two of the previous Omugabes (Kings) of Ankole and other royal family members. Rutahaba Gasyonga II and Edward Solomon Kahaya II are buried in the tombs while 9 other royal graves are positioned outside.
Next day visit Bigo Bya Mungenyi the only place with Chwezi. Bigo bya Mugenyi:
This cultural site is located deep in the Ssembabule District in a place called Ntusi. Bigo bya Mugenyi means “The Fort of a Stranger”. It is believed that the Bachwezi demi-gods lived in the area hundreds of years ago. They left several artifacts and earthworks that are of cultural importance to local people in the area. The earthworks are believed to have been made in the early 13th Century. Bigo bya Mugenyi will get more visitors in the future if what is there can be preserved. To access the facility, visitors are required to cleanse themselves with water from a nearby stream. Washing one’s self ensures that you do not anger the gods in the site.
Day20: Drive to Mpigi district O/N Backpacker’s hotel
After breakfast, drive to Katereke Prison Ditch, this ditch is a constant reminder of the brutality of some of Buganda’s Kings. Kabaka Kalema faced opposition from his siblings and decided to do the unthinkable. He captured all his brothers and sisters – 30 in total and imprisoned them in a ditch until they all starved to death. The Katereke Prison Ditch is a reminder of this challenging time in the Buganda Kingdom and also the savagery of Kabaka Kalema. Despite its connection with the brutality of the paranoid king, the site attracts many international visitors.
In the afternoon visit the Coronation Site in Buddo (Naggalabi) this site is located in Busiro Country on Buddo Hill and about sixteen kilometers away from Kampala city. Naggalabi is where the Kings of Buganda are crowned after undergoing several preparations and rituals. Some believe that the Buganda kingdom was established here in the early 14th century. While visiting this coronation site, tourists can step on the very place and path taken by the present and past kings of Buganda. Visitors can also visit some of the other sacred sites in the area.
Day 21: City Tour
The Buganda royal tour/ city tour will be a cultural and historical trail in central Uganda. Buganda is the gateway to Uganda because Uganda got its name from Buganda.
This tour includes but is not limited to the core administration units of the Buganda kingdom, the lukiko, the Kabaka`s lake [the second largest manmade lake in Africa and the largest in Uganda], churches, mosques, and many more; This takes about 3–4 hours have lunch and drive to Entebbe Airport to catch up with your Departure Flight
End of Safari