Thursday, June 16, 2011

cultural safari

Thanks to my friend Chi, who works for the Uganda Community Tourism Association, I got a great deal on a "Cultural Safari" two weekends ago. What is a "Cultural Safari", you may ask. Well, in addition to seeing some amazing animals (see previous post), we met a number of locals who are working to develop sustainable tourism projects, and explored the different crafts and traditions of the region. I and my six companions did a (half-priced @ $192) "trail run" of the trip, and gave feedback to the different activity leaders, guides, and performers that we met over the course of the four-day weekend. The fact that we were providing valuable feedback saved the trip from feeling super cheesy. We spent a night at an amazing little camp in Rubona, a village nestled in the Rwenzori mountains, and two nights at a rustic lodge near the entrance to Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Beatrice learns how to make beeswax candles at the BCC Bee Colony in Rubona

Tanya learns how to dye basket-weaving raffia using flowers and and roots.

As we walked to the trailhead for a hike in the Rwenzori Mountains, we passed a number of men traveling in large pack and wielding machetes and other weapons. We asked one of them what was going on, and found out that a wild animal had been attacking and killing goats all over the village. The man didn't know the English word for the predator and when we guessed "hyena," he said that it sounded right. They were on a mission to find and kill the hyena.

Four hours later, on our walk back to our camp post-hike, we noticed a huge group gathered in a field. Had they captured or killed the predator? We approached to find out. We were shocked to discover, in the middle of their cluster, a small, dead... dog! Apparently jungle dogs will latch onto the udders of goats and bring them down. Yikes.

Salt lake mining.

Quick stop at the equator.

On the way back to town we swung by safari adventurer
Beatrice's childhood home and met her super cool mom.

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