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"Cultural Safari" Experiences?

Washington, D.C.
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"Cultural Safari" Experiences?

Has anybody done anything like this: http://www.cultural-safaris.com/? I’m planning a Uganda vacation and am torn between visiting this farming village and going to the chimpanzee sanctuary in Entebbe.

I’m just wondering if the village visit is going to be tourist-y and “fake” or if it will actually offer a glimpse of traditional Ugandan culture.

If you’ve done any “cultural tourism” in Uganda and can share a little about your experiences, I would love to hear from you. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

New York City, New...
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1. Re: "Cultural Safari" Experiences?

No personal experience with that one, but we went to the Iby'Iwacu Cultural Village in Rwanda and spent a day in the village of Bigodi, not far from the Kibale Forest in western Uganda. We wrote about it on this trip report:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293840-i9254-k311…

I think we got two very different points on the spectrum. Few people seem to visit Bigodi and its economy is overwhelmingly agricultural rather than tourist-driven. It was a village for a long time and only recently have travelers started visiting it. Iby'Iwacu, on the other hand, was basically created with travelers in mind and as a sort of living museum of a fading manifestation of Rwandan culture. We enjoyed visiting Bigodi much more, but Iby'Iwacu, despite the touristy aspects, was interesting and fun.

Long story short: even if Nshenyi Village is somewhat touristy, I can't imagine that it would be at the level of say, Colonial Williamsburg (as a fellow American, I trust you'll know what I'm referring to) or something along those lines.

Are you going chimp tracking at all while you're there? If so, Ngamba might be overkill unless (like us) you're really interested in primates.

Isle of Man, United...
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2. Re: "Cultural Safari" Experiences?

That's some choice 'goingplace'.

Locals or chimps. I have never heard of this place but I have heard of "Great Lakes Safaris. I visit Uganda regularly and to be honest visiting villages, whlst not my highest priority, is easy enough to arrange. (Just, please, do not visit the BaTwa in West Uganda.) Your driver may well be from one of the villages you pass through. Just ask him if you can visit. It will not be staged and will happen whether or not you are there. Ugandans love visitors and are some of the friendliest folk you will ever meet. (Not a bit like Colonial Williamsburg and I have never had the priviledge of that, thanks!)

I hear goods things abut Ngamba and if you like Chimps and can afford to stay over the night I am told it is a wonderful thing. A day trip is not so good.

It depends to a large extent on your itinerary of course. there are no shortages of villages as you will find out.

New York City, New...
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3. Re: "Cultural Safari" Experiences?

>>Ugandans love visitors and are some of the friendliest folk you will ever meet.>>

Just want to underscore this comment!!

Washington, D.C.
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4. Re: "Cultural Safari" Experiences?

Thank you both for the information!

Crans:

Your trip sounds amazing! It was lovely to read your report-- I'm so glad you wrote up all your experiences.

Mfuwe:

I had been wondering if visiting local villages was socially acceptable, so this is very good to know. Also, your comments on other threads have been extremely helpful-- thank you for so generously sharing all your knowledge!

New York City, New...
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5. Re: "Cultural Safari" Experiences?

Girlgoingplaces--If you do wind up visiting Nshenyi or any other village, would you be so kind as to report back about your experiences? More info is always helpful and welcomed!

Seattle, Washington
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6. Re: "Cultural Safari" Experiences?

Another possibility that combines both visits to communities and chimps:

http://www.beadforlife.org/5travel.html

Don't know anything about the tour, but we know about BeadForLife and have a very high opinion of them and thier work.

Isle of Man, United...
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7. Re: "Cultural Safari" Experiences?

My pleasure Goingplaces. As you can guess I love Uganda and its people. Social visiting is more than acceptable. OK, I am male and thus in their eyes more important "Ssebo!" but I know the ladies would love to show you their daily routine and chat as they prepare food and do crafts.

Even the language allows for social exchanges. It is rude, even in English, to ask a straight question of any African. Never walk up and say "Is this the right way". "Where is this" "Can you show me round the village" etc., etc.,

Always say "Hello" and "How are you doing?" even enquire after the family before asking the simple question you really want to. Always shake hands too and use both hands, one in the palm and the other to the forearm of the hand you are holding. Nod your head ever so slightly forward as you do so especially to someone older. Even if you do not understand a word, the recipient will wreath in smiles. The warmth is genuine.

Washington, D.C.
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8. Re: "Cultural Safari" Experiences?

Sure! I always say I'm going to file an impressive trip report like yours and then I never do. But this time I promise I will. :)

9. Re: "Cultural Safari" Experiences?

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