Sunday April 2 2017

Inside the world of Ankole culture

The traditional Ankole huts that make the

The traditional Ankole huts that make the homestead at Nshenyi Cultural Village in Ntungamo District. Courtesy photo 

By Lawrence Ogwal

Nshenyi Village located in Ntungamo District in the Southwestern part of Uganda is not your usual village. It is more of a homestead which seats on 400 acres of land. Nshenyi, however, grew into a community tourism village seven years ago.

“In the 90’s when I had gone abroad to further my studies, I realised many tourism potentials that were not in Uganda, and one of them was community tourism,” Mary Mugyenyi, the founder of Nshenyi Community Tourism Village, says.
The former Member of Parliament for Nyabushozi County in Kiruhura District had lived in Swaziland for five years before returning to Uganda in 2006.

Captivated by the love South Africans had for their culture, Mugyenyi was motivated to create a hub of cultural celebration on her Nshenyi farm through community tourism.

In this tourism form, different people are brought together to visit different communities and experience their culture. Nshenyi is a typical homestead with many farmers growing millet, banana, local tomatoes, cattle keeping bee keeping in rocks and caves.
Tourists engage in the activities and even cook for themselves sometimes as part of the community. Other activities such as bird watching also take place in the forests of Nshenyi.

Part of Nshenyi Cultural Centre is also home of the Batwa Community who live in isolation and carry out activities like blacksmithing and pottery. Tourists enjoy watching the Batwa do their clay works as they mold pots naturally without help of any tool. They later sell these to tourists as souvenirs.

May to August every year is what Mugyenyi calls the peak season. The bulk of the clientele is got from the centre’s website although they have offices at Ibamba restaurant at Uganda Museum.

If you go

Things you can do and see at Nshenyi Cultural Village
•Traditional music and dance of South Western Uganda performed in the evening
•Traditional fishing
•Milking and processing of milk
•Nighttime campfire
•Nature walks
•Bird watching walks
•Visiting the Batwa Pygmy community