At Kitara Foundation for Regional Tourism we aim much on the comfortable stay of our guests that gives an experience of a lifetime memory. Here we have found a new, precious and comfortable home in Biiso village in Buliisa District of Kitara Region of Uganda. In this home you will experience love and care by your hosts both in the home and in the community. You will engage in a number of activities both in the home and in the community, an experience everyone wants on such a visit to Africa. The family head here Mr. Stuart Bigirwenkya has a long history in Community Development work and is the Founder of Lake Albert Children Women Advocacy and Development Organization (LACWADO) https://lacwado.org/. By all standards, Home stay is far rewarding than staying in a hotel or camp site only to visit and see animals in the wild. Come and stay with people, learn with people, eat with people, work with people, the best adventure of your life.
Our Volunteers from Abroad and Community Tourists are hosted in various programs not limited to schools, health centres, youths and women projects, religious organizations, environmental conservation, agriculture, children projects among other projects.
Homestay Offers the Best Accommodation Experience
If you’re going to stay in Uganda for whatever period on your internship, research, volunteering, holidaying or just on tour, staying with a host family will offer the best experience. We start with the firmest cliché in the homestays industry…a home away from home.
1. Biiso Homestay…Real Home away from Home
Ugandans are generally warm and welcoming so your stay is bound to be great. But all the same, bouts of home sickness are normal during this period hence living with a group of people who keep your company and treat you as part of their family helps to kiss the blues away.
Add the small things like having to use public transportation to get home or sitting around a tally with good company as you laugh at the gags in the local comedy shows…nothing beats this atmosphere.
2. Learn Ugandan languages
You should definitely learn greetings and common terms on civilities as Ugandans are generally welcoming and respectful but some terms can be easily learned from a language book or with Google’s help. In a homestay, the learning environment is conducive as guests are exposed to the language banter of their host family and at the same time have willing partners who won’t laugh at your weird accents…unless it’s a really funny one.
3. Prepare and enjoy locally cooked scrumptious meals with your host
This is usually one of the top activities when you visit a new location as it helps one familiarize themselves with the local cuisine. The host family members like it to see you learn a new skill but above all when they eat something that has been cooked with participation of “muzungu”.
In all honesty, it’s a complete waste if you switch continents or countries and still eat the same mediocre grub that is present everywhere. Be a little adventurous and try a dish with a peculiar name like “Kikomando” or ”Rolex”…and if you do not like it, take heart since that is what trying out new foods is all about.
4. Explore Uganda in Homestays
Your host family are a wealth of information which you can tap into to know more about other aspects of the Ugandan culture, tradition and psyche; stuff which you can’t Google but better yet local unique sights away from the main tourist routes. Should you travel upcountry, this is an excellent chance to experience the diversity of Ugandan tribes and food.
Bonus benefit, you have willing participants to include in your photos and there’s no need to tap strangers to help snap a photo of yourself next to the giraffes.
If you plan to make your own travel arrangements, skim through these transportation options in Uganda and make an informed decision.
5. Make friends who will last for a lifetime
And after your stay is complete, your bags are packed and you’re seated at the table after tucking in another delicious dish, this is the time to deliver your heartfelt thanks to your surrogate family, extend an invitation to also visit you when they have the time and promise to visit them when you’re in Uganda again…all in the local language. I believe, they won’t forget you too.
6. Learn the traditional dance
Nothing will give you joy like finding yourself breaking the rib with the local traditional dance. So entertaining, full of love and passion, and above all, so much educative; If you can pick the art of dancing, be sure you will be friend to everyone.
Community engagements in Biiso-Buliisa District
Our guests who come to Buliisa District are hosted in a number of community development projects implemented and coordinated by our trusted partner -Lake Albert Children Women Advocacy and Development Organization (LACWADO) https://lacwado.org/
LACWADO is a Non- Governmental organization that was registered in 2005 with the national NGO board in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. LACWADO head offices are near our Home for Volunteers in Biiso Town Council, Buliisa District with most activities running in the Albertine region and with prospects to cover the West Nile Districts in accordance with the NGO Bureau Permit.
LACWADO is an organization that advocates for the rights of the poor and marginalized groups for equity, respect and local development for improved community’s livelihood in Buliisa and other districts.
LACWADO caters for the concerns, needs and strategic interests plus aspirations of more than 100,000 people in Buliisa District and 300,000 people in other districts.
The organization is involved in research, community mobilizing and organizing, Capacity building, training, and policy dialogue, advocacy and lobbying for socio-economic structural reforms that enhance development at community level.
LACWADO has increasingly realized that addressing poverty and other socio-economic deprivations among the rural communities requires an integrated people-centered development approach and philosophy. In addressing this challenge, LACWADO is focused to working in partnership with both Central and Local Governments, United Nations Agencies, individual volunteers, Civil Society Organizations, Cultural Institutions, Community members and other stakeholders.
The Location of our Home
Our home is Located in a place called Biiso. Biiso is a small town, it is a semi-urban center in Buliisa District. Biiso also refers to a Town Council in Uganda, where the town is located. People in Biiso town are mainly business communities who shift from rural communities for trade, but the surrounding communities in Biiso sub county are peasant farmers, fishermen and hunters.
Buliisa is located in the Kitara region (Western part of Uganda, along the shores of Lake Albert, approximately 91 kilometres (57 mi), by road, north of Hoima, the largest city in the Bunyoro sub-region.
This is approximately 299 kilometres (186 mi), by road, northwest of Kampala, Uganda’s capital and largest city. The geographical coordinates of Buliisa Town are:02°07’18.0″N, 31°24’56.0″E (Latitude:2.121667; Longitude:31.415556).The town of Buliisa sits at an average elevation of 627 metres (2,057 ft) above mean sea level.
Buliisa is located in Western Uganda bordered by Nebbi district to the northwest, Nwoya district to the northeast, Masindi district to the east, Hoima district to the south and democratic republic of congo across Lake Albert to the west.
Buliisa is found within the greater Bunyoro Kingdom which comprises of six districts of Hoima, Masindi, Kibaale, Buliisa, Kagadi, Kakumiro and Kiryandongo. It takes about 5 hour drive from kampalato Buliisa via hoima district approximately 300 kilometers and the nearest sirfield from Entebbe is Bugungu airstrip with in Buliisa District.
Buliisa gained prominence during the 2000s because of the large hydrocarbon deposits that have been discovered underground in the district and elsewhere in the Bunyoro sub-region
The cultures of people in Buliisa
Buliisa has three major tribes, the Alur, the Bagungu and Banyoro. Around Lake Albert, Buliisa harbours an ecosystem of critical importance to local livelihoods and one of the key biodiversity areas of the Upper Nile Basin. The past 55 years have seen an ongoing migration of people into Buliisa District, most notably from the neighboring west Nile region, Northern Uganda, Rwanda and DRC. While no official statistics are kept on the local population’s origin or ethnicity, it is believed that up to half of the district’s current inhabitants are the descendants of people who migrated into the area since the 1960s.
The Gungu or (Bagungu) are a Bantu ethnic group native to Uganda. They live on the northeastern shores of Lake Albert along the Rift Valley.They speak a distinct dialect of the Runyoro language called Lugungu. They are traditionally fishermen, Pastoralists and subsistence farmers. Historically, this is because their cradle land Buliisa district, has ecosystems that can allow them to practice all these three economic activities.
The Bagungu have historically lived in Buliisa District of western Uganda. Traditionally, they were predominantly fishermen and pastoralists but this changed over the years, with the decline of fish stock in Lake Albert and competition for grazing resources, resulting in more cultivation.
Archaeological evidence, documented and oral history indicate that the Bagungu have inhabited Bugungu for more than 1000 years and that the Bagungu are linguistically and culturally VERY different from their neighbors the Alur. Any similarities are due to the assimilation of the migrant Alur by the Bagungu. A scientific analysis by the US-based Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) concluded that Lugungu was a distinct language from Runyoro and worthy of its own written literature. Currently there is a major project to promote Lugungu language and the culture of Bagungu and the New Testament of the Holy Bible is in print, on top of other stories”.
The Alur; The Alur community came to Bulliisa in the 1960s and by then the Bagungu were stationed at landing sites due to fishing.
The Alur are by far the dominant migrant ethnic group in Buliisa District, having continuously migrated into the area since the 1960s when they settled primarily in the then-forested areas above the escarpment. At present, they are thought to make up nearly half of Buliisa District’s population, although no official statistics on ethnicity are available.
For centuries, the Alur have inhabited the regions on both sides of the current border between Uganda and the DRC, and their population is currently estimated at around 1.5 million people. Historically, the Congolese Alur have been separated from their relatives in northern Uganda by colonial boundaries that did not take ethnicity or family relationships into account, and today they continue to have strong cultural ties linking them to their Ugandan counterparts. The combination of cultural ties and the relative economic and political stability of Uganda compared to the DRC has fueled cross-border migration into Buliisa Districts and the surrounding areas in the region.
The prominent chief clan of Alur who migrated from Jagi in early 1921 whose grave yard was discovered in Ngwedo sub county Bulisa district and believed that this might have made the greater migration of Alur settlement around Kabalega National park. Chonga was a great hunter who settled in Ngwedo sub county and the grave yard was discovered later. They used to cross the lake Albert via Chogo Liech which is commonly located between Kisiabi and Kabolwa at chwa 11. The migration of Chonga had opened the Alur migration from Eastern DRC, and West Nile into the district.
Major Attractions in Buliisa:
The oil around Buliisa has so far discovered 6.5 billion barrels of oil resources in 40% of the explored area in the Albertine graben and estimates suggest that the multi-billion field will be the largest onshore field in sub-Saharan Africa thus making the area a must visit for global tourists.
Buliisa is endowed with a plateful of tourist attractions that can make any visitor busy for a while during his stay in Buliisa area.
The adventure surrounding Buliisa is enormous, Murchison Falls National Park is the top tourist attraction that surrounds Buliisa, and it comprises many tourist activities including game driving, boat cruise along the Nile, hilling to the top of the fall, nature walk, bird watching, visit to the oil wells, sightseeing community visit among peasant communities and fishing communities, visit to several cultural sites in the region and among other activities.
Lake Albert making one of the top attractions within Buliisa approximately 25km from Biiso Home to the lake shores. Lake Albert has several activities which are curried out within the lake including fishing which is carried out by local people and the most caught fish is silver fish and tilapia as well as Sprat locally known as ‘’Enkejje’’. Swimming, sightseeing, boat riding and among other activities take place within Lake Albert.
Budongo Forest is quiet big attraction around Buliisa, the forest has received big number of visitors from different parts of the world making it a must visit while on your visit within Buliisa. Budongo forest is the largest surviving natural forest in Uganda which sits atop the Albertine Rift, part of the great Rift valley, and is located within the boundaries of Murchison Falls national park. Visitors who visit this Budongo forest engage in different activities including chimpanzee trekking, nature walk, bird watching, community visit and among other activities.
The Budongo Forest is a moist, semi-deciduous tropical rain forest located at the top of the Albertine Rift, situated between 1° 37 N – 2° 03 N and 31° 22 – 31° 46 E. It is classified as a Central Forest Reserve and comprises 435 km² of continuous forest cover, which is large by Ugandan standards.
The forest is of a medium altitude (average 1,100m). The land slopes from southeast to northwest, and its four main rivers, the Waisoke, the Sonso, the Kamirambwa and the Siba, flow towards the northwest towards the Albertine Rift.
Annual rainfall varies between about 1200 and 2200 mm (average 1600 mm). Most rain falls between March and May and between September and November with a dry season between December and February. At this time, the daytime heat can be substantial, food supply is low, and chimpanzees spend much time on the forest floor in deep shade. In general, however, temperatures are relatively even during the year varying between 19°C and 32°C.
Salt mining in Kibiro garden is an amazing and adventurous activity one can experience while in Buliisa. Kibiro is a small fishing village that lies on the south-eastern shore of Lake Albert The residents of the village are unable to produce their own agricultural products, and must trade with other communities for most of their necessities. Residents of Kibiro support themselves primarily through the production and trade of salt. Due to its cultural value, this site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on September 10, 1997.
“Kibiro is in a rain shadow and has markedly less rain than the adjacent country”. It is known for having a windy and hot climate, with yearly temperatures ranging between 22.0 °C and 29.3 °C. “The coastal plain at Kibiro is in the shape of a triangle; with its base formed by the bottom of the escarpment it is appreciably wider than the narrow plain to its north-east, while to its south-west between Kibiro and Hoima there is in places no plain at all”. The soil at Kibiro is shallow and rocky and the adjacent escarpment creates a local rain shadow.
The present village of Kibiro is a settlement of relatively scattered dwellings extending for several kilometers along the coastal plain. It is divided into two main parts by the Mukihanga Valley: the larger part of the village lies to the south-west and is known as Bubare, the part to the north-east is known as Kihenda. The coastal plain at Kibiro has two levels: a slightly higher area of gently sloping, usually stony ground that abuts the escarpment base; and a lower, flatter, often swampy, sand area adjacent to the lake but separated from it by two beach ridges.
Kibiro salt mining and processing done in the same place the reason it is also referred to as a salt garden. The fact that the spring’s water is salty means it flows over salty soils therefore suggests the existence of salt and the locals use the traditional means to mine it and traditional processing methods to get pure salt which is ready for human consumption.
Kibiro Hot Springs is located in Kibiro fishing village. These hot springs are located very close to lake Albert shore in Kigorobya Sub County in Buliisa District. This is a great place to visit during your travel. Near the springs in the Eastern direction is a very high escarpment which is 100 metres and then Lake Albert is in the western side of the springs, less than a kilometer away.
Like many hot springs in Uganda, this too attracts so many people who go there for different reason although most go there for the same reason they visit the other hot springs, for healing. This water is boiling at 100 degrees all the time and you can see the bubbles which are formed when the water reaches its boiling point. For experiment purposes, you can put fresh eggs or use potatoes, you can also boil cassava or the green bananas and within a few minutes, those different food stuffs will have boiled and ready for consumption.
This is shallow waters, very hot and salty at the same time. From the hot springs, it forms a stream and follows in the western direction; it meanders around until it gets to Lake Albert and pours its waters in there. The sad news is that there are a lots of aquatic animals that die from this place and that is because they happen to think that this water is just as cool as that in the lake, so once they land in this hot water they cant escape and so they are dead in minutes
This water has got some supernatural powers and so can drive away all the bad spirits and demons that someone may possess. For body purification, you will need to take a bathe in this water naked and bathing should be done before 07:00pm because after that, you anger the spirits. Aside from body purification the water is a real cure for so many diseases like measles, also scabies and any skin rush as well as just fresh wounds and boils on the body. This spring water contains different minerals and chemicals in varying amounts thus the reason it can cure the skin diseases when people spend time sitting in it. The minerals and chemicals in it have medicinal values but the locals of course don’t understand such a theory. The minerals contained in this water include sodium chloride, calcium phosphate, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, lithium sulphate, and calcium sulphate as well as so many other minerals.
Visiting the Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve is one of the most scenic wonders surrounding the Buliisa area that comprises with wildlife animals, natural vegetation and bird species among others.
The Buliisa escarpment and hot springs is also among the attractions within the Rift Valley in the Lake Albert basin. The area offers a good opportunity to view effects and features of faulting, including the western rift valley.
Butyaba Port is located in Buliisa on Lake Albert. The Port lies in the Western Rift Valley, bellow the Biiso escarpment and other attractions around Buliisa include the Bugungu and Karuma Wildlife Reserve and among others.
Murchison Falls is indeed Uganda’s most spectacular wildlife park in Uganda. However, guests who want to track gorillas in Uganda would be highly recommended to visit Bwindi impenetrable Forest, the Golden Monkey trekking in Uganda is only taken in Mgahinga National Park. The two National Parks are also located in the same Kitara region of Western Uganda.
If this is what you want to experience and you don’t want to miss on your visit to Africa, contact us by sending an email to us at email@example.com or call us/WhatsApp at +256392156562.
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