Cultural Encounters in Kibale National Park is one where you will be able to engage with the locals of the community and learn their ways of life in their cultural context. Kibale national park is found in one of the areas in Uganda with somewhat authentic cultures and traditions. The area in which the kibale national park is located is mainly inhabited by majorly two tribes, which are the batooro and Bakiga. The southwestern side of Uganda is where you can find the Batooro and some Bakiga tribes; the Batooro tribe is one of the cultures in Uganda that still hold their traditions and norms on point, for example, they still name every newborn child with a pet name, and other traditions and norms.
The Batooro and Bakiga are two different diverse cultures with unique ways, beliefs, and other cultural aspects. Therefore, a time within the communities around Kibale national park is quite rewarding. It exposes and immerses you deeper into understanding these two African Bantu tribes. You have a chance to ask all you need to know about the batooro and bakiga tribes of southwestern Uganda. For example, you can ask about their different traditional ceremonies and they are much ready to answer every question. It’s really interesting to interact with these jolly children & happy people in the communities.
The batooro tribe is the largest and occupies the largest part of the area around the kibale national park. The bakiga tribe is a minor tribe in the area because it is believed that the bakiga in the Kibale area were just migrated to the area in the 1950s. The people staying near and around Kibale national park depend on the national park for their livelihood and survival. For example, they collect firewood, water, herbs, weaving material among others.
You can explore the daily living of the batooro and the bakiga of Kibale national park through the village walks. You have an opportunity to visit the schools, churches and the traditional healer in the area. This means that the people around Kibale are believers, however, in different divinities. The cultural encounters in Kibale national park will give you an opportunity to visit the royal Tooro kingdom palace in fort portal, and learn a lot about the royal clan of Tooro including the beautiful royal women called the “babito”
Bigodi is one of the communities around the kibale national park that is mostly visited by tourists on their primate safaris in the national park. In bigodi village around Bigodi Swamp, is where you find the interesting bigodi women group. Bigodi women group consists of 40 members who are fully initiated into the weaving culture with the main motivator, the commitment to raise their families’ living standards. The members of bigodi weave baskets make necklaces and other accessories from beads, they make mats and a lot of crafts that they sell to the visitors. They are also exported to outside countries like Germany among others to create revenue.
KAFRED (Kibale Association for rural environmental development) is a community-run organization that was found to promote the livelihood of the local communities as well as the promotion of biodiversity conservation. KAFRED targets the funds from the activities done in the bigodi and magombe swamp to improve the livelihood of the people dwelling in the nearby communities. KAFRED has also minimized the poaching since it sensitizes the local people about the importance of Kibale national park to their living and more.
The cultural encounters are a great opportunity for you to visit the historical site of “Amabere ga Nyina Mwiru”. In a real sense, they are stalactites and stalagmites in a cave, but from the folklore told by the local people, you will find the whole story about the mabere historic cave. You can buy guava and other fruits from the vendors, including little children, who run to the gardens and gather fruits to sell to the tourists when they spot them passing through their communities; also the children know the worth of living.
The cultural encounters in Kibale national park are something you should not miss during your visit to Uganda. The village walks will give you an insight into the African way of life, perhaps, you can also choose to sponsor some of the children that can afford school and maybe support a family of a helpless old woman for charity.