Anyone who has faced an overgrown gorilla will never forget this encounter! Because these magnificent creatures are almost extinct, the experience is not only impressive and bound to create a memory of a lifetime, but also most unique.
Fear is a natural feeling when you face an overgrown gorilla – after all, the animals are twice as big as an adult. However, the fear is unjustified, because gorillas are usually peace-loving and tolerant to humans. Unfortunately, this was not always reciprocal. Gorillas were almost extinct and are among the most endangered animal species. Today they are only found in the jungles of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo.
The world’s rarest gorilla species live in Bwindi National Park, an authentic equatorial jungle. A total of four mountain gorilla families – and thus almost half of the world’s population – have their home here. A gorilla trekking is not a simple walk. For up to four hours, you will rise up through steep slopes and rough gorge to track these primate families in their natural habitat. An experienced guide will accompany you. On the way you will also meet other monkey species and enjoy a wonderful view of the surroundings.
Gorilla trekking is a highlight of a Uganda tour for those who are active and physically fit.
The Ugandan culture is a fusion of its many ethnic peoples – from the Bantu speaking people around Lake Kyoga to the Lango and Acholi people in the north and the Iteso and Karamojong in the east. You will also find pygmy communities in the same rainforests where you might enjoy gorilla trekking in Uganda.
The official languages are English and Swahili but many Ugandans speak Luganda or one of thirty other native languages. The majority of Uganda are Christian and there are few returning Asian people with their Sikh and Hindu faiths after Imin’s expulsion four decades ago. Even with conventional faith, many Ugandans practise traditional belief systems simultaneously.
The elderly are revered in Uganda and are given a special title, mzee. Men wear the national dress of the kanzu, whilst women wear gomesi, a sash-tied dress with exaggerated shoulders or a busuti, a floor long dress, introduced by the European missionaries.
Ugandan people are conservative when it comes to public affection and are non confrontational, even during dancing, an important part of the culture. The Basogo people have a lovely dance called Tamenhaibunga that literally translates as ‘good friends drink together and don’t fight in case they break the gourd holding the drink’! Football is popular in Uganda and is also the national sport.
Top Uganda Travel Tips – Culture:
- Ensure you wash your hands before eating a meal if you are invited home during one of our Uganda tours.
- Witness Kiganda, a renowned dance where performers swoop low to a drum beat is a skilled dance. There are different versions based on the occasion.
Ugandan cuisine is similar to the rest of East Africa, focusing on starch such as ugali (maize) and a bean or meat stew, often flavored with peanut or sim-sim (sesame) and usually served with local leafy greens. During one of our Uganda tours, you will have plenty of opportunity to try yams, sweet potato and cassava and rice, which are popular staples.
Dried and fresh fish, as well as pork and chicken, are important proteins for Ugandan people.
Do try some of these Ugandan dishes:
- Nyama choma: roasted meat, usually goat, mutton, or bushmeat but not eaten on a daily basis.
- Luwombo: chicken, beef, fish or mushroom stew that has been steamed in banana leaves.
- Nsenene and nswaa: grasshoppers and white ants – a seasonal delicacy for adventurous gourmands!
- Malewa: a bamboo shoots dish that is native to eastern Uganda.
- Ormatoke: boiled and mashed green banana.
- Kikomando: chapati (Indian flatbread) cut into pieces and served with fried beans
- Samusa: Indian samosas!
- Mugati naamaggi: a traditional Arabian fried and thin pancake filled with mince and egg.
The Enchanting Travels trip are happy to help plan private and tailor-made Uganda tours.
Human settlement in Uganda started as early as the 13th century, when the Bacwezie, an indigenous Bantu group, settled around Lake Victoria. Other settlers arrived in the 19th century, first the Arab slave traders who introduced Kabaka, the country’s the largest tribe, to Islam, followed by British and French missionaries. These three groups fought against each other for control of Uganda, and when several young boys were martyred at the royal court, the Christian church flourished.
The kingdom of Buganda (an area within what is modern Uganda) became a British Protectorate in 1894. In 1962, Uganda became independent, however, this did not ensure peace within the country. A struggle for power by Milton Obote forced Kabake into exile in the UK in 1966. Welcomed by all, Idi Amin then overthrew Obote in 1971, however his economic policies were destructive and he began using terror to reign. With the aid of neighboring Tanzania, Amin was overthrown eight years later.
Obote regained power but a guerrilla group called the National Resistance Army (NRA), led by Yoweri Museveni, started a five year civil war that brought much heartache and bloodshed, particularly at the Luweero Triangle.
Uganda was in despair but Museveni successfully seized power in 1986. Since then, attention has been on restoring infrastructure and national identity, as you will notice during one of our Uganda tours. Many child soldiers who were abducted during the conflict are now rehabilitated, while a democratic approach has been established from village to parliament level.
Discover the rise of this wonderful destination – especially the rare and unique experience of gorilla trekking in Uganda.
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