Katharina, first ever Gorilla Highlands volunteer • photo: Marcus Westberg
Learn From Africa
Ready to experience something different, slower and very local? Learn From Africa (LFA) can be an orientation for a Gorilla Highlands volunteer or a very special cultural tour for anyone interested in the intriguing issues of cultural, economic and social development. The suggestion below was prepared with volunteer placements at Uganda’s Lake Bunyonyi in mind — it could be redirected to any other destination.
• get to know the cultures of the Gorilla Highlands region
• taste an unusual African city
• tour a rural town
• camp in a village on a remote island
• walk through a protected forest
area: Kigali – Lake Bunyonyi – Echuya Forest Reserve
mode of transport: shared car, hired vehicle, dugout canoe, motorboat and passenger motorcycles
total days on the ground: 4
DAY 1 🚌👟 (Kigali)
Kigali is your perfect soft landing into Africa, a surprisingly clean and organised city on numerous green hills. We will collect you from the airport, deliver you to your accommodation and take you around. Your guide will make sure that you enjoy a stroll around the city centre, have a 360 degree view from the top of the Ubumwe Grande Hotel and visit the Genocide Memorial. The rest will depend on your arrival time and available hours.
DAY 2 🚌👟 (Kigali — Kabale — Lake Bunyonyi)
We will get you into a shared vehicle heading towards Uganda. In about three hours you will reach Kabale, a rural town in the southwest of the country, where a local guide will be expecting you. You will get an after-lunch tour through the town, getting to know the market, the shops, and more. The basics of the Rukiga language will be shared with you as well. A special hire (as we call a “taxi” here) will then take you to Edirisa on Lake Bunyonyi, an amazing lakeshore location that will be your base for the night — and probably for the foreseeable future?
DAY 3 🛶🥾 (Lake Bunyonyi)
We will get a little deeper with you in the morning, handing you a copy of “Chiga of Western Uganda” and showing you a photo collection from the 1930s — the book was researched in this very village 80 years ago. You will be introduced to Bufuka Primary School and canoe to the local market, then hike up the Kyabahinga peninsula to see tremendous views, meet a traditional healer and let a craft maker serve you a delicious local lunch. A dugout canoe ride will bring you to Tom’s Homestay on Habukomi Island where you will camp on the compound of Edirisa’s legendary nightwatchman. You will eat and socialise with Tom’s family deep into the night, around a campfire.
DAY 4 🚤🏍👟 (Bunyonyi — Echuya Forest Reserve — Bunyonyi)
A motorboat will collect you from Tom’s Island and drive you to the north of the lake, for a Batwa Today trip. Following a cup of coffee at Muko Campsite — an occasion to be introduced to the dire situation of Batwa “Pygmies — you will ride a passenger motorcycle to Echuya Forest Reserve. Your Batwa host will show you the forest and its herbal riches before bringing you to his/her people’s settlement overlooking the forest and the lake. After a group conversation you will jump on a bike again and return to Edirisa using a scenic Lake Bunyonyi road. In the evening you will hear about the origins of the Gorilla Highlands idea, and thus wind up your first days of learning from Africa.
Read and hear our stories about Batwa ”Pygmies” …
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