Situated within western Uganda and covering over 1978 square kilometers, Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s second largest National Park bordered by Rwenzori Mountains. This is one of the most popular Uganda safari destinations due to the numerous wildlife and bird species that will make your safari memorable. Notably, there are over 95 species of mammals including Elephants, buffaloes, antelopes such as Uganda Kobs, waterbucks, Topis, bushbucks and elands, over 600 species of birds and several water bodies especially the Kazinga Channel, Lakes Edward and George as well as the Explosion Craters like Lake Kyoga that are famous for the migratory species of birds such as Flamingos.
When it comes to cultural tours in Uganda, Queen Elizabeth National Park is the best place you will ever visit with several cultural groups such as Nyanz’ibiri Cave Community, Kikorongo Women Community, the Leopard Village and the Katwe Tourism Information Center (KATIC) among others.
- Nyanz’ibiri Cave Community
After long tiring game drives, you can choose to stretch your legs by engaging in some of the scenic walks around part of Ugandan Paradise at the Nyanz’ibiri community and nearby Caves. You will relish the picturesque views of the breathtaking Volcanic Crater Lakes and the singing sounds of the beautiful birds such as eagles and grey-crowned cranes. While here, you will get a chance to paddle a canoe, hike to the nearby Transparent Lake known as “Kamunzuku”, spot more than 8 species of primates or just participate in a nature walk to check out the beautiful local flowers thus it is the site to come closer to nature.
Some of the eye-catching traditional attractions include the historic Cave and Cultural Museum, inform of a preserved Bunyaruguru hut filled to several local artifacts such as mortar and pestle, hoes, calabashes and dishes that were once used as everyday household tools. This Community-managed Organization also features fully-furnished private Bandas as well as Campsite to offer comfortable accommodation to tourists who visit the site.
- Loepards Village
Located close to Muhokya Village, Leopard Village is a community run and managed socio-economic development initiative that promotes cultural and wildlife conservation through ecotourism development and sits on over 3 acres of land bordering the northern sector of phenomenal Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Tourists who make an effort to visit the Leopard Village have a chance to tour some of the replicas of traditional huts of the Basongora, Banyabindi and Bakonzo Ethnic groups but also watch some of the traditional songs and dance performances in addition to buying locally-made handcrafts made by the local community members. However, tourists interested in longer visits can interact with the community members about the challenges and opportunities they usually face while living at the edge of Queen Elizabeth National Park, have discussions about typical village life, visit some of the local schools and also find solutions to the human-wildlife conflicts.
- Kikorongo Women Community
Hot as the area is, the heat of the vast African Plains will not diminish the energy of the Kikorongo Equator Cultural Performers who with their invigorating performance at the Lodges around the Park entertain tourists and make their stay memorable. If you visit this place, you will have a glimpse on what life is like within Kikorongo and also enjoy songs, dances and fire making.
You will visit the Kikorongo African Art and craft workshops to learn how to weave baskets and bowls using natural fibers but it’s not as easy as the teachers will make it look but with practice, you will learn easily. While here, you will see how recycle magazines are made into paper beads (exceptional necklaces).
- Katwe Tourism Information Center (KATIC)
Lake Katwe is one of the few salty water bodies and has ensured the survival of most Katwe villagers who spend most of their days under the scotching sun harvesting salt from the milky waters.
A tour of this Lake offers extraordinary insight into the interesting but tough process of mining salt in addition to offering alternative sources of income for the people. While here, you will see the locals working on the Lake, cross the muddy walkways but you will also enjoy different bird species such as lesser and greater Flamingos that call the Lake home.
Therefore, cultural encounters within Queen Elizabeth National Park involve tourists visiting the Katwe Tourism Information Center (KATIC), the Leopard Village, Nyanz’ibiri Cave Community and the Kikorongo Women Community.