09 Jul How we’re proud to support community tourism in Uganda
For a developing country such as Uganda, it is important to ensure that tourism revenue stays within the local economy and creates a positive impact for different communities, wildlife and future sustainability.
Venture Uganda is proud to work with a number of community tourism initiatives which aim to achieve exactly these goals. Here are just a few examples:
Ugandan bark cloth
An ancient and traditional craft, bark cloth making is the practice of transforming fig tree bark into fabric. Of particular significance to the Baganda community, bark cloth is produced by skilled craftspeople using a technique that has been passed down the generations.
Visitors can watch as the bark is removed, before the tree is bandaged with banana leaves so the bark grows back. Meanwhile, the piece of bark is then boiled and beaten with a special mallet to turn it into a cloth.
There are several coffee farms in Uganda, although each offers a slightly different experience.
For example, guests can visit a coffee farmers’ group just a couple of hours’ drive from Kampala. Here, they can learn about how coffee is grown before picking ripe coffee cherries in the gardens and joining in with processing, pounding and roasting. Finally, visitors can enjoy a cup of coffee, while sampling and buying other products such as pumpkin seed powder, honey or dried rosemary.
In recent years, Uganda has developed a reputation for producing high quality Arabica coffee thanks to its rich and fertile landscape. A visit to a coffee farm near Mount Elgon in eastern Uganda is an opportunity to learn all about this new wave of coffee production, as well as enjoy a processing and tasting experience.
Who doesn’t love mangoes? We love visiting a farm on the way to Murchison Falls National Park, where our guests can take part in a tour of gardens and learn about mango cultivation. Back at the farmhouse, explore the small processing unit where the mangoes are turned into juice and wine (tasting is obligatory!)
Women’s basket weavers group
For beautiful gifts, we’d recommend a visit to a women’s basket weavers group based in the shadow of the Rwenzori Mountains. Learn how natural dyes are extracted from plants before being used to produce a variety of colours of raffia, which are then woven into high quality baskets of all shapes and sizes. There is also a nearby beekeepers’ cooperative and a coffee factory which can be visited on the same day.
Fishing village and boat ride
To really get an understanding of some of the issues faced by fishing communities, a tour of a fishing village with a representative of the local authorities is a must.
We can also arrange for a local fisherman to meet guests on the banks of the River Nile or shores of Lake Albert, to enjoy a birding activity or simply to relax.
Alternatively, a trip to a local fishing boat makers’ yard is a chance to see how fishing boats are hand-crafted using wood (and some surprising materials such as woollen blankets).
Learn all about the Batwa – a community of people who lived in the forest at the foot of the Virunga Volcanoes who have now been unfortunately displaced as a result of modernisation. Today, many work as tour guides to teach visitors about their disappearing way of life and old customs.
There are many more activities that tourists can visit to gain an insight into the lives, culture and heritage of the many tribes of Uganda and experience local hospitality.
Kilombera is a small weaving enterprise located on the banks of the River Nile between Jinja town and Bujagali, where people go for white water rafting, kakyaking, SUP etc. so its the perfect place to stop. They produce beautiful hand-woven pure cotton cloth and make all sorts of items from it including kikoyi (sarong/wrap), home wear, babywear and bags. It is fascinating to see how the looms are set up, and the colours and patterns selected and then watch the weaving process. This is a very talented group of people.
If you’d like to support community tourism in Uganda, we can arrange:
- A stay in a locally owned or community owned accommodation, including home stays
- Visits to private conservation projects set up by local people to protect natural resources and habitats
- Tours led by expert local site guides with in-depth knowledge of a certain area, along with additional local, historical and cultural knowledge