You may have postponed or canceled your all-inclusive Uganda safari due to the cultural changes forced onto the world by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t experience Uganda culture — food, music, and literature — in the comfort of your cozy living room.
As we take a break from leisure travel, pray for the situation to settle down, and wait for International travel to ease into the new normal, we believe you can still experience Uganda’s raw cultures wherever you are with a bit of guidance from the Nkuringo Safaris team.
It will also help you prepare your mind for what you may find on your postponed Africa safari journey because Uganda shares a considerable chunk of lifestyle with most East and Central African cultures. So no matter where you’re headed for your next African vacation, this may serve you just right.
Uganda is best known for its hospitality, and traditionally when the visitor is invited into a home, after the formal greetings, the family members will immediately rush into the kitchen to make a meal that will cement their relationship with the new guest. It’s commonly said, “FOOD IS THE RELATIONSHIP WE HOLD.”
Where two or three are gathered in Uganda, you’ll always find a plate of food.
Ugandan cuisine draws mainly on the Continent’s cooking, English, Arabic, Asian, and Indian influence. It uses much of local produce like plantains, sweet potatoes, corn, beans, and cassava. Experience Uganda culture through your taste buds. Traditional Ugandan meals include Posho ( Ugali – solidified maize meal porridge) served with a stew of groundnuts, beans, chicken, or meat such as goat, mutton, and fish from Lake Victoria.
A lot of vegetables such as carrots, cabbages, spinach, local greens like ‘dodo’ and ‘nakati’ make it on the plate when enjoying a local meal anywhere in Uganda.
Here are some recipes that you can try at home to make a Ugandan meal in your kitchen’s comfort. You can then plan a trip to Uganda to compare notes.
If you’ve eaten Indian Roti, Naan, and Paratha, then you must taste Chapati. Chapati is more like Roti, a flatbread that originated in India and is made with ground wholewheat flour. It is a staple in most parts of India and Pakistan and is consumed in many other countries. In Uganda, it is made traditionally on a hot pan with little oil to prevent it from sticking to the pan and take lesser time and effort to cook compared to bread. Chapati recipe includes the following:
Lovely to have with Stew. (To add more flavor, you may choose to add about 200g steamed mashed carrots or pumpkin to the dough when kneading)
Don’t forget to steam some vegetables for the side.
This recipe works for all stews – try also the Fish Stew ( this can be whole fish or Tilapia or Nile Perch fillet )
Use very ripe fingers!
Of course, you will not wholly experience Uganda Culture and food without tasting the most famous local dish, matooke. No meal in Uganda would be complete without matooke. The Baganda, so taken up with that the word emere (food being the transliteration) means matooke. To be invited to somebody’s home in Buganda or western Uganda and be served pasta, rice, and Irish as a staple is downright frowned upon and considered near unorthodox.
Posho is a semi-hard cornmeal porridge that is the traditional basic dish in most Uganda cultures and is traditionally served with meat, fish, or vegetable stews. It is a similar dish as Ugali in Tanzania, Shima in Mozambique, Pap in South Africa, and Namibia. To eat Posho, pull off a small ball of mush with one’s fingers and use it to scoop up stews.
Music is the main ingredient of experiencing Uganda Culture is the soulful sounds of Uganda music and dance. As you enjoy one of the homemade Ugandan meals, music and dance are essential for our socializing. Uganda is made up of over 60 tribes. Each tribe has unique music, from the traditional instrument types and dance styles.
In most cases, we will identify a tribe from its dance as much as the language they speak, and each tribe in Uganda treasured their dances as they were part of their identity.
While on safari in Uganda, you may have the chance to witness traditional Ugandan music by the Ndere Troupe, a great way to end an Africa safari. Uganda is well known in East Africa for its nightlife; Kampala city doesn’t go to sleep – each bar on almost every street is full of revelers.
Ekitaguriro: This dance is by the Banyankore from western Uganda, demonstrating their love for cattle.
Ekizino: This dance performed by the Bakiga from Kigezi, popularly known as a ‘court dance,’ is performed when the king will settle disputes in the kingdom.
Bakisimba, Muwogola, and Nankasa: These are Baganda dances originated from the king’s palace in central Uganda. The Kiganda dance is very popular and is performed whenever Kabaka is going to give a speech to his people.
Mwaga: Also called the Imbalu dance, performed by the Bagishu found in the Mt. Elgon area of Uganda celebrating the coming-of-age circumcision season.
Akebe: This courtship dance is performed by the Iteso from the East. Its music is softly played on melodic instruments.
Runyege and Entongoro: This is both ceremonial and cultural dance by the Batooro from the west. It is mainly performed by the youth when it’s time to choose their partners.
Adungu: This dance is performed to melodies of the harp-like Adungu, by the Alur found in the West Nile region. The dance requires one to jump around in pattern to impress a potential mate.
Bwola: This circular dance that represents the fence of the kingdom is performed by older men and women of the Acholi people in the North.
Imagine driving down the long winding roads of Uganda’s countryside. Emerald green everywhere you look outside your window. Birds of all colors fly in the distant white clouds. Lite laughs from women by the roadside carrying baskets of food on their heads. Children play in simple compounds of homes by the roadside. Animals’ heads buried in the short savanna grass-eating away the African growth. And the fresh-cool African wind blows over your city-pale face. These beautiful songs play out both your ears. Ahhh, heaven!
This Uganda music playlist will bring out the African soul in you. Play on repeat!
Direct Play: Soundcloud Playlist.
After you dance your way around the kitchen, enjoying Ugandan culture music through your ears, you can watch some documentaries about Uganda or movies that have featured Uganda from the comfort of your sofa with the whole family.
Uganda is a land of beauty. When Churchill first visited Uganda, he was stunned by this country’s endless beauty and called Uganda “The Pearl of Africa.” Uganda has dramatically transformed from war times as seen in the ‘Last King of Scotland ‘to a very peaceful country and now mostly known for its hospitality.
Take a Trip To Africa Without leaving Your Living Room
Movies like “Queen of Katwe” a life-changing story of a young ghetto-slum girl who learns the game of chess and becomes a top player, and sees an opportunity to escape from a life of poverty. This movie accurately showcases Uganda’s Culture, music, people, and energy of an ordinary person in Uganda. Watch it.
Ugandans are very creative. You will experience Uganda culture from some clips on local filming projects in the slums of Kampala; Wakaliwood produces regional action movies – giving Jackie Chan & Tom Cruise a run for their money.
Yes, Uganda, the tiny East African country, has been written about. Uganda may not have written literature dating back to the 18th century, but Uganda culture has been written about in books, novels, and magazines. Experience Uganda culture in some of the most popular books, including great safari guides like Brandt, and get yourself a copy from the list below.
Experience Uganda culture and all these activities and have a beautiful Ugandan day with your family or friends.
When the new dawn comes we will be here to welcome you to Uganda and together share the magical safari experience, and you will meet the beautiful and cheerful people.
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) advocates for shared responsibility among travelers and the tourism sector around the world to deal with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic through the hashtag #TravelTomorrow which encapsulates the message of solidarity and hope.
Please share your ‘experiencing Uganda from home’ pictures with us. We’d love to see your dances and dishes! Enjoy Uganda from your home. Stay home and stay safe.
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All inclusive and can also be planned around your own preferences as private safaris. Enquire with our team to help you plan your experience Uganda culture trip