KISIZI FALLS A BEAUTIFUL SIGHT WITH A SAD CULTURAL HISTORY

KISIIZI

Located in the district of Rukungiri in the south west of Uganda about 22km to the south of Rukungiri district headquarters and about 46km North of Kabale which is the largest town in the Sub region one meets Kisiizi Falls. The historical Kisizi falls is positioned on River Rushoma that flows south west along the extended valley arising from the Muhanga area before falling 30m below and then continuing to the north east emptying into Lake Edward

Beyond the beauty of Kisizi falls lies the tragic history about the Falls in the Kigezi area. Like in most traditional African societies, premarital pregnancies were an abomination; ancient Kigezi was not an exception. It is said that in the ancient Kigezi, girls who got pregnant before marriage would be thrown down off the cliff by her paternal relatives led by the father and brothers. This was a local way of wedding off the shame and embarrassment brought by the offender to the family, village, community and tribe as a whole. It should be noted that in the Kigezi area there is another site “the punishment Island ” which were used to punish girls who got pregnant before marriage.

Todate some of the elders who claim to have seen the last incidences, claim that at one time a girls who was to be punished pulled the father and brother and they all died. Word has it that ounce in a while they hear the voices of the three calling one another.

All these come in as stories told by the trained interpretive cultural guide at the newly launched tourism site. In addition to the historical folklore, the site is serene with wind blowing through the tall trees mingled with the thundering sound of water falling on the rocks and this sends a mist about 100 meters away down in the valley. With a keen ear one also gets the melodies of the birds which jump, hope glide and fly around as they go about their daily routine of weaving nests, feeding and courtship singing and dancing. This destination can be added on to your trip to the southwest or just an excursion to the site.

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The Crow’s Nest Rest Camp

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The Crow’s Nest Rest Camp is beautifully situated at an altitude of 1,770m on the slopes of Mount Elgon. The site offers spectacular views of all the three Sipi water falls, the peaks of Mount Elgon and the plains far below. The friendly staff, comfortable facilities design, local employment and culture exchange makes The Crow’s Nest an ideal tourist spot and a sustainable life changing icon for Sipi village.

The Crow’s Nest will cater for your accommodation needs during your visit to Sipi falls region while on your Mount Elgon trekking mission or just site seeing in the Eastern part of the country. The facility has a restaurant where you can order all meals from the menu. The accommodation facilities include; wooden cabins in categories of private twins, triples and dorms. They also have a camping ground facilities.

Activities and experiences during your stay

  • Rock climbing and abseiling
  • Village walks coupled with community life experiences and interactions
  • Trekking Mount Elgon on which the world’s largest intact caldera, over 40 sqkm sits.

Highlights

  • Take the views of the 100 meter high Sipi Falls and the cold refreshing breezes as you relax in your cabin balcony
  • Take the views of the Elgon Mountains and the spectacular plains below
  • Meet the Sabiny people and listen to cultural stories about the circumcision ceremonies introducing the youth to manhood or join the circles as you try local beer.
  • Try the famous Arabica coffee locally grown and processed in the Elgon highlands.

Responsible Travel

  • All the food supplies are bought from the local families hence they earn a living from the existence of the camp

• The camp is locally owned and all its employs are local community members, mainly youth.

Blue star home stay – Sipi falls

BLUE STAR

Blue star homestay is located near sipi falls, in a village setting surrounded by banana plantations on the foothills of Mount Elgon eastern Uganda. This homestay enables you to mix and understand the village life around the foothills of the beautiful volcanic mountains landscape.

Blue star homestay guests have an opportunity of participating in sabiny cultural activities like local beer brewing. With the family members, you may choose to go digging on the family farm, tending to bananas, coffee and other food crops or just spend the day with the family members as you learn how to do the household chores and making local meals.

In the evenings, reluctantly walk around the village as you take the great views of Mount Elgon as you acquaint yourself with the local way of life. For interested visitors, the family organizes a coffee tour experience at an extra pay. During the coffee experience in which activities start with planting, harvesting, processing and is culminated with preparation and drinking organic coffee straight from the farm. Other community activities one can participate in at a pay, include; walk to the mighty Sipi falls, sun setting walks and Mount Elgon trekking.

The family has spared three bedrooms that can accommodate up to 5 people a night. The accommodation fee includes meals, accommodation and participating in home chores. Please contact the homestay to find out the current accommodation prices, using the provided phone contacts.

Directions:

Blue star homestay is located 500m away from Sipi trading center. From Sipi trading centre turn off to the right at Kawacom coffee office.

Contacts:

Moses Masai (Home owner)

Tel: +256 776457783/ +256 752457783 or UCOTA at +256 772657700

Email: sipitourguide@hotmail.com

UCOTA joins East Africa Destination Portal

UCOTA is has started sending out invitations to community Based tourism Enterprises to be show cased on the portal as community products being sold in Uganda. This portal is a one stop site which markets east African tourism products which have been developed for tourism consumption and hence for Uganda contribute the achieving of the middle income status goal of Uganda’s vision 2020.

The East Africa Destination Portal is web based portal designed to achieve the following objectives:

  • To promote Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda as the preferred tourist destination in Africa
  • Raise awareness of the individual countries tourism products
  • Stir interest in the destination from both local and international visitors that are 
constantly looking for travel information and ‘the next place’ to visit on the internet.

As a key component of the three states’ marketing activities, it is necessary for the East Africa Destination Portal to improve the whole experience of visiting the three states, (Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda) as a single destination. See Criteria

Ruboni; Buraru Community Forest conservation training and Management Planning

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Another conservation landmark has been achieved by Uganda Community Tourism Association (UCOTA) in Rwenzori region, western Uganda. UCOTA recently completed development of the Buraro community Forest management Plan and training of 45 household farmers and several conservation stakeholders in forest conservation. The training was aimed at enhancing community natural resources (Buraru community forest) conservation to ease implementation of the forest management plan. This intervention raised conservation awareness to wider community than had ever been reached and mobilised other conservation stakeholders in the area to elicit collective effort to mitigate the rampant indigenous forest degradation. The program involved local leaders, conservation rangers from Rwenzori Mountains National Park, community household farmers and RCCDP membership in categories of tourist guides, secretariat and board members.

The forest conservation training and management planning program was organised with support from WWF’s Russell E. Train Education for Nature Program (EFN). A step by step process that involved collective effort of the forest users and stakeholders was used. In a five months consultative conservation program , UCOTA worked with the community, members of Ruboni Community Conservation Development Program and the local expert forester  to train communities, collect forest data, hold meetings with the farmers that own land close to the forest, assess the forest land use threats, opportunities and strengths. The information obtained during the long and hands-on process was used to develop the forest management plan.

Through participatory mapping, the community took on the task to draw the forest map indicating trails, zone areas with differences in vegetation densities and map sketches of trails for effective regular monitoring of the forest. The committee also identified possible strategies with related broad activities to be undertaken for the operative future conservation of the forest. Forest buffer zone management was emphasised especially in areas where the forest touches community gardens to ensure continued boundary recognition by all.   The Forest management plan notably contains forest conservation byelaws, detailed first year implementation plan, dominant plant and animal species and their common locations, and names of families with land adjacent to the forest. Copy of the management plan can be got in print from UCOTA or RCCDP offices.

Way forward, RCCDP will undertake the collaborative training of selected community members and staff in forest management and monitoring, and follow up partnerships to support actualisation of the forest management plan. Some of such conservation partnerships include collaborations between RCCDP with the Rwenzori Mountains National Park, World Wild Fund (WWF), Eco-Trust Uganda, local government forestry department and other conservation stakeholders as mentioned in the plan.

Buraru forest is an indigenous forest in the Rwenzori Mountains National Park buffer zone that sits on 100 acres of land purchased by the RCCDP over the past 12 years. The community aim for conserving the Buraru forest is to enhance community nature based tourism activities, create a community owned natural resource bank and buffer between community and National Park to reduce park illegal activities as well as creating a community based nature conservation paradigm, carbon sink and training/ leisure ground.

With the increase in population and changes in climate, indigenous community forests neighboring Rwenzori Mountains National Park have shrunk. Communities have cut them down for virgin cultivation land and other benefits like timber, building poles and fuel wood. Very few and isolated forest pockets still stand on community land yet the demand for these resources increase day after day. In the future, we expect to see the indigenous forest flourishing and its coverage increasing in this area as a result of this ten years forest management plan.

Community Enterprise of the month Lake Mutanda eco-community centre (MECC)

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Lake Mutanda eco-community centre (MECC) is located 6kilometers from Kisoro town on the southern shore of Lake Mutanda in South-Western Uganda. This eco-friendly lodge is affiliated to Mgahinga Community Development Organisation (MCDO) also a Community Tourism Enterprise at the gate of Mgahinga National Park. MECC runs  a suit camp with three tents each fitted with beds. In addition to cabin accommodation, camping facility on well trimmed lawn is also available.

 

While at MECC, one will meet well trained community guides who will take you for eco- tours both on the main land and on the Islands on Lake Mutanda. Canoeing is one of the opportunities offered here. On the canoe tours visitors encounter different species of birds and having glimpse of otters diving into the lake waters is one of the mesmerizing things on the tour. The lake is a perfect viewing spot of the Virunga Volcanoes with one of the peaks glowing as night falls. Sharing with the women Handcraft Group engaged in conservation of the Lake ecosystem and buying some of the handicraft products to support the local community women is another activity.

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Other activities offered at MECC include; Engine powered canoe/ boat ride to two Islands (Two and half hours tour) on Lake Mutanda to share the area heritage stories, bird watch and have fun Dug-out Canoe Sunset and Sunrise Canoe Cruise; Hiking Nature Trail; Peninsula and Local Agriculture and Village Tour; Viewpoint hike (hike hilltops to get panoramic view of the lake and surrounding mountains and other scenery); local Fishing and cave tours; and view of basking snakes and Cultural Experiences

HOMESTAY OF THE MONTH: Resty’s Homestay

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A home away from home is Resty Homestay located in Fort-Portal, Western Uganda. Resty homestay is located in a serene environment that will allows one to relax from all hustles and city polluted atmosphere. It is a modern home that accommodates a small family of five with all basic facilities one may deserve to have on a trip or holiday with a beautiful landscape and lawn. The home is hedge enclosed with a wide compound overlooking rolling green hills of the Great Tooro region. despite the fact that Resty Homestay is rural based, it has a modern setting with both the main house  and detached guest rooms tiled and running water, electricity and indoor bathroom with overhead showers.

 

Resty homestay targets missionaries, volunteers, students and travelers/ tourists. While here one will enjoy staying and sharing experiences with the family, learn community lifestyles and taste freshly grown local foods. The foods served are organic and grown on the homestay farm. You will enjoy seasonal fruits and vegetables such as mangoes, pawpaws, jackfruit, avocados, oranges, guavas and yellow bananas. If you are lucky you also enjoy pure fresh honey harvested by community members.

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The family: Resty homestay is a Christian family which belongs to the Mboijanas, Resty is a retired social worker who has worked with many government and non government institutions. Resty also studied home economics which makes her a very good host able to effectively cater for the nutrition and welfare of the visitors. Her daily duties include but not limited to building community members in various skills such as mushroom growing, catering, and crafts development.

The homestay can accommodate up to 5 persons at once and the family owns a saloon car visitors can hire in case of need of transport to not very far places, has a big garden seasonally planted with a variety of food crops. This gives interested visitor a chance to participate or see local agriculture chores; how food is grown, harvested and prepared in the great Tooro region/ culture.

For details;

Tel: 0772657700/ 0414501866

Email: ucota@ucota.or.ug

Number of bedrooms available for visitors: Two rooms

You are welcome!