Meet the locals in Uganda

Uganda is known as the pearl of Africa and famous for its stunning waterfalls, green lush National Parks and of course the magnificent gorilla’s in the impenetrable forests. But did you know that Uganda also has a lot to offer culturewise?

During my trip through Uganda I have been able to experience the true Ugandan culture, their daily way of life, their work and their passions. I have tasted their family dishes and favorite beers. I have met the locals!

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Direct positive impact

Besides the fact that cultural activities are true authentic experiences, it also causes great (direct) positive impact for local families. By spending money locally, you are ensuring they directly benefit from your visit. The local guide that takes you around the village, but also the owners of that small restaurant you had lunch at.

This spending has a great snowball effect as these locals can now buy products from the local shops, which ensures income for their owners. How great is that! By travelling locally, you are providing them with a way to build their own future and to live from tourism. Curious about what I exactly did in Uganda? Read on!

Visit a coffee plantation

One of the best activities to do the day after the gorilla trekking in southern Uganda is to visit Peter’s coffee plantation. On a hilltop with stunning views coffee farmer Peter will explain and show you the full process of coffee. From baby tree to a dark roast cup of coffee where you can even roast and grind your own coffee to drink!

At the end of the tour I even planted my own coffee tree and regularly receive updates on how my baby tree is doing! I love participating in (agri)cultural activities and learning all about Peters life as a coffee farmer was wonderful.

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Paddle in a traditional dugout canoe

I really enjoy being out on the water, and paddling lake Mutanda was extremely relaxing. In a traditional wooden dugout canoe we paddled the lake spotting otters and birds while the guide told us ancient stories.

Apparently one of the small islands called Prison Island was used to get rid of society misfits, especially young girls who became pregnant before getting married. The guide made the story come back to life and to engaged us in the dark past of the lake. An afternoon well spent!

Visit a traditional medicine garden

Right outside the Mgahinga National Park a traditional medicine garden has been created. This initiative aims at protecting the local communities, creating employment, preserving traditional medicine plants, and conserving their ancient culture.

Ever since the Mgahinga National Park was fenced, locals have been illegally entering the park looking for their medicinal plants, getting arrested and losing income. By transferring these plants from the national park to a self-created garden, locals now have access to their medicine and found a way to receive an income by showing visitors around.

As a visitor, I was taken around the grounds and be explained all about the medicine plants; how they grow, what they do and how to prepare them. Very interesting and great to support this local project with so many positive impacts!

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Have dinner at a local family

When you are as crazy about food as I am, having dinner with a Ugandan family is the ultimate foodie experience. Not only did we go to the market together to shop for ingredients, we cooked together where I was taught to make matoke, a traditional Ugandan dish, myself! Cooking together was a great opportunity for me to learn more about their daily life in a relaxed atmosphere and to connect with them.

I was invited for this dinner, but through ResiRest you can easily book such a culinary experience yourself. Also available in more than 25 other destinations!

Visit the Karamojong cattle keepers

Definitely the most special experience I had in Uganda was visiting the Karimajong people in the bush and to camp out under the African stars. Decades of conflict made the Karamoja area unsuitable for tourism, but peace has returned and nowadays Kara Tunga organises nomad warrior tours in the untouched northeast of Uganda.

On the back of a boda boda (motorbike) we set off to Lotome to visit a Boroka clan of Karimajong cattle keepers in their kraal. Completely off the beaten track, I immersed myself in the traditional Karamojong life and immensely enjoyed the vast plains.

In the evening by the campfire I was even given a Karimojong name, NAWI, which means kraal – as I was the first tourist visiting their kraal and enjoyed it so much.

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For your next trip

When you are planning your next trip do not only focus on visiting the highlights but go explore the authentic local culture! Meeting the locals will boost your experience and will create direct positive impact for them to build a future.

Not ready to go explore yourself? Read my blog on how to select a sustainable tour operator and they will arrange everything for you!

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