Safari & Adventure
Unique Cultural Experiences You Can’t Miss In East Africa in 2023

Serengeti National Park A Safari Haven

Batwa trail in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

The Batwa known as “the forest people” were evicted from their ancestral homes for the conservation of mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Now they live in the community around these parks and visitors can visit them whilst on gorilla trekking safaris. The pygmy’s way of life is unique and tourism helps to preserve their ancient traditions such as fire making available at the Batwa trail in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. This cultural walk takes 6 hours and is a moderate hike on the slopes of the Sabinyo volcano. The climax of the walk is a cultural show at Garama caves, where the elders gather to perform their rituals. If not going to Mgahinga, the Batwa can be visited in Buhoma and Nkuringo through guided village walks around the park.

Visiting the Maasai Kenya and Tanzania

The Maasai are Nilotic-speaking people found in the communities around the savanna plains of Serengeti and Masai Mara National Parks in Tanzania and Kenya respectively. They live a semi-nomadic lifestyle and depend on cattle for livelihood and have fascinating cultural traditions such as body piercings, glowing red Suka, and high jump dance that makes the most famous of East African tribes. Taking a tour of the Masai tribe can be done in addition to the wildlife safaris in any of the parks through guided village walks. These tours can be done after game drive safaris in search of the Big Five mammals and the wildebeest migration safari. Tourism helps to preserve their culture and also helps to support them earn through selling their arts and crafts.

Banana beer brewing activity

Banana an edible green plantain widely cultivated in Uganda where it’s a stable food among the Baganda people in the central region. Referred to as Matooke with over 28 different types each with a unique special purpose, the Banana provides a great look into the culture and heritage of the 42 clans in the kingdom of Buganda. Some Matooke is used for making juice and beer while others are consumed as food in different ways. For instance, Luwombo, roasted banana, and yellow bananas are some of the traditional local foods you can try whilst on safari in Uganda. Visitors can visit the rest in Banana Gardens found near Kibale Forest National Park home to chimpanzees.

Shopping at local markets

Visiting local markets whilst on safari is one of the unique East African cultural experiences. Whether you intend to shop for souvenirs, or food or look at what is local, you must visit the local markets. These are places where you will also experience the local lifestyles of the people. Some of the markets are found in capital cities and rural towns such as the Maasai market in Nairobi city Kenya where you can obtain crafts and souvenirs.

Safari with the Samburu in northern Kenya

The Samburu people are some of the remotest tribes remaining in Africa with unique cultural traditions. They are found in Northern Kenya around Samburu National Park home to Big five mammals including lions, leopards, black rhinos, elephants, and buffaloes.

Canoe riding on Lake Bunyonyi

Canoe riding on Lake Bunyonyi offers a cultural experience of the Bakiga, Bafumbira, and Batwa of southwestern Uganda. These people inhabit the Kigezi terraced highlands that surround this lake’s 19 islands and it’s the canoe is the local mode of transportation. It’s the deepest lake in Uganda with an average depth of 40 to 90 meters. The waters are free from crocodiles and hippos or bilharzia therefore swimming is okay with diving platforms available for those who have the skills to do so. Riding a canoe with the help of a local guide takes you around historical islands such as Punishment Island. The Bakiga had a practice of dumping young girls who got pregnant before marriage on the island, left to die, and starve on the island.

Dhow boat cruise, Zanzibar islands

The dhow boat was traditionally a boat used by the Arabs to sail across the Indian Ocean to the East African trading ports including the Zanzibar islands. Today dhows are being used for leisure boat cruising proving a unique cultural and sunset viewing experience. Suitable for honeymooning couples, the dhows are available on the beaches in Stone Town the capital of Zanzibar as well as other island destinations such as Mnemba Atoll.

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