Monday, May 23, 2016

Classic Offers New Agritourism Activities in Uganda

Classic Africa Safaris is excited to announce new agrotourism offerings to their travelers. Ranging from a visit to a beekeeping cooperative to visiting a community that has made the switch from a hunter-gatherer culture to one based on agriculture in the last 100 years (including a traditional meal!), the tours will give your travelers insight into sustainable agricultural programs in Uganda. Read more about the offerings below, or contact Phil Ward to add an activity to your pax' itinerary.

1) Ndali Estate/Ndali Lodge
Cacao processing on the Ndali Estate

On the Ndali Estate walk guests will see the various crops grown on the estate including coffee, cocoa, vanilla and plantains, as well as the still where Waragi (banana gin) is distilled (seasonal). The guides are very informative about the processes it requires to produce the various crops.

Apart from the crops they know all about the forest and plants that the crops are interspersed among and can demonstrate which ones are used as local medicine and how.

With over 100 bird species spotted at Ndali Estate any walk also involves birding.

We have 2 guides at the lodge - Steven and Sam. Steven is the lead guide and has been on several courses covering botany, bird watching and medicinal plants.

Walks around the estate can be tailor-made to suite the guests time constraints and fitness. The beginning and the end of the walk can be steep as the lodge is located on the rim of a volcano, but it is possible to drive one or both of those legs if needed. The walk is free of charge.

1- 3hrs duration

2) The Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development

The Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (KAFRED) has introduced a new tourism product. In the village of Bigodi, agriculture is new. Less than 100 years ago, the inhabitants were purely hunters and gatherers. The population has skyrocketed and therefore there is a need to practice sustainable agriculture to protect the valuable natural resources in and around Kibale National Park.

Visitors will tour local farms and fields to gain insight on how food is grown locally. Visitors will visit the local community of Bigodi and experience traditional methods of farming and hear from prominent elderly farmers who have sustained their families with organic farming. The main crops include coffee (the leading cash crop of Uganda), tea, bananas, pineapples, yams, and cassava. Other crops include: beans, groundnuts, maize, sorghum, millet, pumpkins, dodo, papaya, mangoes, avocado, sweet and Irish potatoes. Visitors will also encounter the biggest fruit in the world; the Jackfruit.

Your pax can also enjoy traditional meal to taste some of the nutritious foods they will have seen on the walk. One of our homes, Tinka’s Homestead, won the national 'best tourist homestead' award for 2015. The home is developing a tourist-garden where visitors can also help to plant some crops. The family then keeps in touch with the individual(s) by sending photos and mini reports periodically until the crops are harvested and eaten. This will be a special and independent activity from the walk and or traditional meal.

A trained guide will take you through the community interpreting the agricultural concepts through the designed trails. Please note that some crops are planted annually and will only be seasonably available.

$20 USD/person, 1-2hrs duration

3) Bunyangabu Beekeepers Cooperative
The Bunyangabu Beekeepers honey stall

Bunyangabu Beekeepers Cooperative (BBC) is located 22kms from Fort Portal and 50kms from Kasese on the Fort Portal-Kasese highway. Bunyangabu Beekeeping Cooperative (BBC), is a community organization that takes beekeeping very seriously, using nature’s gifts to help live in harmony with the environment that surrounds them. BBC owns an apiary, located about 300 meters from the main building, which is well-stocked with all types of beehives ranging from traditional to modern. Fresh honeycomb is available from BBC between March-May and August-November.

From their training centre, BBC stocks pure honey, beeswax candles in a variety of designs, and propolis tinctures in small bottles, all of which are for sale. If you are lucky, when you visit, you can pick up some of their award-winning cream honey – the best in East Africa. This beekeeping cooperative offers a true honey experience, where visitors can see honey processing, taste honey from the comb, and even make their own candles to take home.

BBC runs meetings and workshops for beekeepers from all over East Africa; beekeepers from the community get free training that helps with their crops and health, and teaches them about the multiple benefits of bees. Every workshop is paired with an HIV/AIDS awareness training to curb infection rates among community members.

Guests can participate in the following activities:

• Choosing the design and shape of candle to make (and candlemaking)
• Tasting the honey in its original combs from the organic honey store
• Hearing the life of bees and how they manage to keep united and making tons of honey per day through a special communication network

Responsible Travel

• The cooperative buys local bee products and is owned by the local farmers.
• Some of the money is used to conduct living and production skills training such as HIV sensitization, small scale business development, creating a coffee cooperative, etc - all benefitting the local people.
• Beekeeping directly supports environment and agriculture naturally through pollination. Expansion of bees is good for the environment.
• The project employs the local youth of the area

1-3 pax - $20USD (total for group)
4-8 pax - $50USD
9-11pax - $70USD
12-17pax -$120UD
Duration: 1hr

4) Kayonza Tea Factory
Some of the world's best tea is produced in Uganda

Kayonza tea Factory is located in Kanungu district which is also a home to the famous mountain gorillas. It is located approx 45 min away from Kihihi airstrip and 45min from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park along Kihihi-Bwindi road. Visitors to the factory are taken through the tea processing procedures from the time its picked to the time it’s in your cup. Guests also enjoy a tea tasting ceremony.

$20/person
Duration: 1 hr
Offered Tues - Sun
No children under 18

5) Igara Tea Estate

Igara Growers Tea Factory Limited is a small-holder tea factory located in the southwestern part of Uganda in Kyamuhunga. It is 12km away from Bushenyi town along Bushenyi-Kasese road. A visit to the estate takes visitors to the tea farm as well as the tea processing plant. The walk is free of charge.

Duration: 1hr

6) Foundation for Youth Development (FYDe)

Foundation for Youth Development (FYDe) is a Community Based Organization (CBO) located in Kataara Village in western Uganda. Following a local guide, this community takes pax through the life of living with game, especially the elephants, in Queen Elizabeth National Park as they raid community crops, and how the community has taken the time to learn working solutions. The tour will take you through the village farms along the escarpment until you reach the trench at the park boundary.

Just by the elephant trench, FYDe has put a bee apiary and at this point they will tell you how the bees have helped them to protect the gardens from the elephants. Medicinal plants, birding and other farming methods will be part of the tour and by the end of the tour your pax will understand how the Banyaruguru people live near the park and how they coexist with wildlife. You also understand the contribution of FYDe towards conservation and development work in the community.

Activities and experiences:

• Community and agrotourism walk
• A bee keeping tour
• Art and crafts work for sale
• Honey and honey products for sale

Highlights:

• Agro tourism walk
• Learning about beekeeping as crop raiding buffer
• Elephant trench
• Birdwatching
• Agro practices and herbal plants (flora)

Responsible Travel:

• Showing conservation and development examples to the local youth and building their skills
• Linking communities to the private sector, Kataara lodge, facilitating development
• Employment of the local guides give them an income opportunity
• Plans to contribute to community development projects from walk revenues

$20USD/person
Duration: 1 -2hrs

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