Cultural Tours at Mountain ELgon National Park Uganda, The People of Mountain Elgon
Travel to Uganda’s Mountain Elgon National Park to experience culture to the fullest as you explore the Sipi Widow’s Group and Budadiri Community where you will learn about the livelihood of the local women/ people and how tourism around the park improves their standards of living.
You can involve in the numerous day to day lives of the local people as you practice the various activities like digging, making crafts etc an experience that is so unique and remarkable.
After, you can buy some crafts to take back home as souvenir and in this way you will be supporting the livelihoods of these people.
Sipi Widows’ Group
While transferring to the Sipi Widow’s Group, you will find out where the coffee you take originates from. Along the Mountain Shambas of the tremendous Mountain Elgon is Arabica coffee which is also referred to as Sipi or Bugisu by the farmers who are famously known to grow the premium washed Arabica in both Uganda and Kenya.
When you meet the Sipi Widow’s Group, they will transfer you through the coffee plantation and here they will show you how to plant, pick, grind, store and wash the coffee.
You will meet and learn more about the life of the Sabiny as you engage with the local residents and engage in traditional weaving, preparing local African cuisines, cooking and tasting of locally made dishes.
All income received from the tour and craft shop are devoted in preserving the coffee trees and eradicating the local people about the dangers of female circumcision as well as paying school fees for orphans.
Budadiri Community Walks Ecotourism Experience
This community group is found in Budadiri and provides accommodation, car hire services, cultural dances, guided coffee tours and community nature walks.
It also ensures that visitors can explore the region’s cultural dances, food preparation, folklore and the prominent malewa bamboo shoots that are eaten by the people in the area.
If you love nature, take on one of the three trails to experience the best while on safari and these include the full-day Namugabwe Cave Trail that goes through the BaMasaba community land and banana plantations to reach a historical cave filled with bones; the Dirigana Loop Trail that goes towards the Dirigsana Falls and Gabushana Cave past the local markets and the “Walls of Death”; the three day walk to Sipi Falls which reveals the culture of two different neighboring tribes.
The Cultural People of Mountain Elgon National Park Uganda
There are various cultures of people around the tremendous Mountain Elgon National Park and these have different tribes, traditions, norms and customs. These appear similar to the Masai people in Kenya. These belong to different tribes as stated below.
The Bagisu people also referred to as the Bamasaba inhabit the western and southern slopes of Mount Elgon also called Mount Masaba. The slopes of the mountain are in a hand fingers structure due to the narrow and steep valleys that traverse along.
The Bagisu people speak Lugisu a dialect of the Lumasaba people and this is equally plain compared to other dialects spoken in the region like the Bukusu.
These are prominently recognized for their unique norm of Imbalu circumcision which takes place after every two years in August. These claim that this place originally belongs to them for their ancestors Mundu and Sera came out a hole in the tremendous Mountain Elgon also known as the Masaba.
These are known to have originally belonged to the Bukusu a sub group of the Luhya in western Kenya around the 19th century.
The political structure of the Bagisu originally based on clan for these had an elder called Umwami we sikoka (Chief of clan) and these were picked basing on their wealth and age.
They would maintain law and order as well as togetherness among the people and offer sacrifices to the ancestral spirits.
Male circumcision is the most prominent activity carried by these people and is believed to have originated from Kalenjin’s demand when Masaba the Bagisu heroic ancestor expressed his interest to marry a Kalenjin girl.
This was done in order to save the man’s life who was presumed to have a complication with his organ so the only way to help him was to cut off the upper skin on his sexual organ.
When it comes to August after every two years, these move from one place to another to choose the man next in line to circumcise.
This is important to the Bagisu due to the fact that this is a sign of a grown man/ manhood for those that are not circumcised are considered boys in society and are not legible to marry a girl.
These were considered to belong to the Masai tribe in Kenya which was not true for they have small tribes i.e the Kony, Sapei, Pok and the Bungomek where they belong.
Combined together, these form the Saboat tribe. The Saboat people have similar cultural practices with the Kalenjin people mainly the Nandi and these have used the slopes of the tremendous Mountain to the fullest by taking on activities like agriculture, cattle keeping.
The caves are very important to these people for they have been used by cattle which get there for salt and also acted as refuge in times of inter tribal conflict and bad weather. The salt from the caves was also used for preserving food and trapping elephants which were usually hunted.
The Teso people are believed to have migrated from the Karamajong region and theses regard the area around the Mountain very important hence being a prominent tribe along the Mountain. These have influenced their close neighbors i.e the Luo, Pokot, Kalenjin etc.
The Sabiny people are famously known for various cultures and customs but the most prominent practice is the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) where they cut off the clitoris of the ladies/ women to reduce their sensitivity and sexuality (libido).
However, these are also prominent hunters, agriculturalists and hard working people for the days when Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) are gone due to the fact that this cultural practice has faded out after eradication was passed so as to introduce these people to civilization.
The traditional village of these people lies along the boundary of Mountain Elgon National Park among the hills giving it spectacular views of the plains. These are hospitable people and welcome people warmly with food, medicine, songs and performances about their culture and customs.