Cultural tourism in Uganda ranges from region to region. Tourists visiting Uganda are opting for home stays instead of convectional hotels, This was revealed in a survey carried out in western Uganda by Richard M. in 1996. According to Richard M, over 50 visitors from Asia & Europe who travel for Gorilla tracking later go for Batwa cultural experience trial in Bwindi and Mgahinga conservation areas. They find it adventurous staying in people’s homes where they experience various traditional practices like cooking, millet grinding, milking, traditional churning of fermented milk folklore, African poetry, weaving and craft making. According to Christian A, (2011), home stays promote cultural exchange and imperialism while increasing community benefits. Home stays are implemented through total immersion which involves a visitor joining the rest of the home members and participates in day today house works or partially where a visitor rents a room from the main house. Women do crafts like basket weaving, millet grinding and bead work as the skills for home stays specifically for tourists. According to Peter N. (2011), the home steads are linked to the existing primary tourism products like hot springs and tile iron ore smelters.
The Uganda Museum.
The museum is located in the capital city Kampala and it is a center for cultural tourism in Uganda. It was founded in 1908 and carries a display of Uganda’s cultural heritage including ethnological and natural historical exhibitions. All the cultural backgrounds are represented, and the displays show the different developmental stages they have gone through. The museum holds approximately 3000 volumes of maps, periodical photographs and artifacts, sociology travel and science pieces.
Religious attractions in central
Uganda Martyrs shrine Namugongo.
This is the physical source of Ugandan Christian faith. It commemorates the conspiracy and harrowing brutality that sums up the death of 22 brave Christian Ugandan martyrs. These 22 Ugandans were burnt alive in 1986 for refusing to denounce their faith by the then Kabaka of Buganda (Kabaka Mwanga). The shrine attracts thousands of pilgrims every year to pay respect to the Ugandan saints.
In addition to the above issue of the religious in central Uganda, it is the Baha’i temple. A temple of its kind in the whole of Africa. This temple is located on Kikaya hill on Gayaza road about 4 miles from Kampala, and was built 60 years ago on nine pillars. It belongs to the Baha’i religious group, believed to have began by the messenger called Baha’ullah born in Tehran Iran 1817-1892. The temple was opened to the public on 13th January 1962 and attracts many tourists since its only one in Africa.
Kingdoms in Uganda
Buganda kingdom is another pillar for cultural tourism in Uganda. Located in central Uganda including Kampala, Entebbe, Wakiso, Mukono, Mityana, Rakai, Sembabule, Masaka, Luwero, Kalangala, Mubende and Mpigi. It is the most active and vigilant kingdom today led by a king popularly known as the Kabaka who has unquestionable power and is free to marry from each clan and everything in Buganda is believed to belong to Kabaka. The Kingdom is divided into smaller groups of people with some totem and trace from the same ancestral image called clans. The Kingdom has over 52 clans each with the clan leader called Owakasolya. However, among the clans, the Abalangila clan is very special because it’s where the king comes from. The Kabaka has palaces in most clan regions .
Other cultural sites in the kingdom include the Kasubi tombs where the kings are burried, the administration palace at Bulange Mengo.
Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom
Bunyoro is a Banyoro kingdom in Western Uganda. It was one of the most powerful kingdoms in Central and East Africa from the 13th century to the 19th century. It is ruled by a King localy known as Omukama of Bunyoro-Kitara. What makes this kingdom a pillar of cultural tourism in Uganda is its strong history and petty naming practice.
In the past, the traditional economy revolved around big game hunting of elephants, lions, leopards, and crocodiles. Today, the Banyoro are now agriculturalists who cultivate bananas, millet, cassava, yams, cotton, tobacco, coffee, and rice.
The kingdom was formed after the collapse of the Chwezi Empire. Later, new kingdoms arose in the Great Lakes area, such as Ankole, Mpororo, Buganda, Toro, Busoga, Bagisu (in present-day Kenya and Uganda), Rwanda, Burundi and Bunyoro itself. The kingdom rose to power and controlled a number of the holiest shrines in the region, as well as the lucrative Kibiro saltworks of Lake Mwitanzige. Having the highest quality of metallurgy in the region made it one of the strongest economic and military powers in the Great Lakes region.
There are other cultural tourism sites of interest in the kingdom such as;
- Baligota Isansa (Point of meeting between Omukama Kabalega and Sir Samuel Baker)
- Karuziika Royal Palace
- Kihande Royal Palace
- Mparo Royal Tombs
- Kinogozi Royal Tombs
- Kabalega – Katasiha Royal Fort & Caves
- Semwema Cultural rock
- Musaija – Mukuru memorial War Zone Hill
- Buhimba liberation Heroes site
- Nyabyeya Polish Burial grounds
Karimojong, are an ethnic group of agro-pastoral herders living mainly in the north-east of Uganda. Their language is known as Karamojong or Karimojong, and is part of the Nilo-Saharan language group. They are found in Kotido and Moroto districts in the northeastern part of Uganda.
The Karamojong live in the southern part of Karamoja region in the north-east of Uganda, occupying an area equivalent to one tenth of the country. According to anthropologists, the Karamojong are part of a group that migrated from present-day Ethiopia around 1600 A.D. and split into two branches, with one branch moving to present day Kenya to form the Kalenjin group and Masai. The Karamojong live in the southern part of Karamoja region in the north-east of Uganda, occupying an area equivalent to one tenth of the country. The other branch, called Ateker, migrated westwards. Ateker further split into several groups, including Turkana in present day Kenya, Iteso, Dodoth, Jie, Karamojong, and Kumam in present day Uganda, also Jiye and Toposa in southern Sudan all of them together now known as the “Teso Cluster” or “Karamojong Cluster”. Sai cluster. The other branch, called Ateker, migrated westwards. Ateker further split into several groups, including Turkana in present day Kenya, Iteso, Dodoth, Jie, Karamojong, and Kumam in present day Uganda, also Jiye and Toposa in southern Sudan all of them together now known as the “Teso Cluster” or “Karamojong Cluster”.
Culture of the Karimojong
The main livelihood activity of the Karamojong is herding livestock, which has social and cultural importance. Crop cultivation is a secondary activity, undertaken only in areas where it is practicable.
Due to the arid climate of the region, the Karamojong have always practiced a sort of pastoral transhumance, where for 3-4 months in a year, they move their livestock to the neighboring districts in search of water and pasture for their animals.
The availability of food and water is always a concern and has an impact on the Karamojong’s interaction with other ethnic groups.
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