Local traditions and culture in Uganda

  • Local Customs
    by CatherineReichardt
  • Local Customs
    by CatherineReichardt
  • Local Customs
    by muguruki

Most Viewed Local Customs in Uganda

  • suubi's Profile Photo

    After Kneeling

    by suubi Written Jan 28, 2004

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    After kneeling down to greet granny, she then invites you to sit on her lap like a baby. especially when one has been away for a long time. Its a loving gesture which girls are very fond. Tell you what i was home lately and guess what? Yes i did and i loved it.

    Granny and me at home

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  • suubi's Profile Photo

    Kneeling instead of Bowing

    by suubi Written Jan 28, 2004

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    In Uganda we girls kneel when we´re greeting elders, or delivering something to them. Just like they bow in Japan. Its just a sign of respect but not fear.

    Once upon a time as i was at high school, a relative of mine and a friend went to visit my great aunt who was leaving near our school. She was just working in the banana plantation and so we went to meet her there. After thanking her for the good work she was doing, as is the norm at home, we knelt down to greet her. Margret our friend had just come to the South region and as we learnt later she was´n t familiar with this custom at all. She remained standing with her mouth open in astonishment. And back in the dormitory we had a good laugh as Margret narrated the elusive story. You know for the rest of the girls kneeling is like going to bed every day.

    Harriet in action at grannies

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    visit katwe salt lake at q.e.n.p.

    by hanspeter_W. Written Dec 14, 2003

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    have a watch at local salt production

    Although Lake Katwe Salt Project has taken long without bearing fruits, it has significantly contributed to the welfare of the local people involved in mining. Agricultural production is high owing to the rich soils and reliable rainfall. But lack of proper information about markets denies farmers the opportunity to sell their produce profitably.

    katwe salt lake

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  • TinyTuck's Profile Photo

    Road Side Shopping for Fresh Food

    by TinyTuck Written Jun 5, 2003

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    No matter if you are driving your own vehicle or going by pubil transport, there will be people in the street wanting to sell you foods and drinks. This can be quite practical. Sometimes you can buy big portions of fruits to take home or just a snack on the way (meat, roasted bananas, cookies, peanuts, candy, sodas,...).
    Tlapia fish, freshly caught out of Lake Victoria, is very delicious! They tie it on your bumper as you go, so that it dries on the way home! (Can get quite dusty though, haha!)

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  • TinyTuck's Profile Photo

    Local Dances

    by TinyTuck Written May 4, 2003

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    Traditional Ugandan music, with a lot of drums is obviously very loud and rythmical and people dance at their best!

    This was a performance group at Mweya Lodge (Queen Elizabeth N.P.) to the honor of a bunch of African ministers who stayed there.

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  • TinyTuck's Profile Photo

    Ankole Cattle

    by TinyTuck Written May 4, 2003

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    Those cows with their huge horns that go to the side look quite dangerous, but are very friendly :-) They are the major food and income source in many regions of the country. People drink A LOT of milk and safe-made yoghurt. Later the cow might end up as beef stew as well...

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    Local Food

    by TinyTuck Updated May 4, 2003

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    This is what I ate every day in the hospital canteen (there were some more choices, but this was the best): Matoke and Posho with groundnut sauce! They serve enormous portions for lunch...

    Matoke = cooked bananas that taste like potatoes
    Posho = the white stuff, It's made out of corn

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  • TinyTuck's Profile Photo

    "Mzungu, Mzungu!"

    by TinyTuck Written Apr 16, 2003

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    Whites are called "Mzungu". People will use it like a name when talking to you in the streets: "Hi Mzungu, howayou?", "Mzungu, taxi?" and especially in rural areas you will see kids waving and shouting out "Mzungu! Mzungu!" from every direction.
    It's just a descriptive term without any (negative) assessment.
    However, I sometimes found it quite irritating, I guess it takes more that 2 months to really get used to it, coming from a society where calling someone by his color isn't very healthy for you...
    Ugandans are usually very friendly and helpful. They see a Mzungu as someone with money, and sometimes as someone funny from Mars, so you can expect to be treated with respect and curiosity. In some areas kids will ask for money ("Give me my money"), I think they used to be "bought" by white missionaries... People carrying your bag or doing other little jobs for you will try to have you pay a fortune, but gererally I found people to be relatively honest. Some just love to talk to you and help you (for free). I even got some free rides.
    People are relatively open for having pictures taken, too. (Those kids were just so proud...!)

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    • Backpacking

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  • suubi's Profile Photo

    The act of Balancing

    by suubi Written Sep 4, 2002

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    It is a very common practise in Southern Uganda to balance weights on the head. It begins with jags of water from the well over baskets to bunches of wood. So don´t be stunned to see people with loads on their heads.

    Boy with basket of Banana

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  • dandnlee's Profile Photo

    The people are friendly, but...

    by dandnlee Written Aug 25, 2002

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    The people are friendly, but that doesn't stop many of them from trying to scam you. Be aware of where you place your bags in buses and taxis (and look out for them at every stop along the way).

    You will probably get approached by children trying to sign up 'sponsors' for their education. Some of these are legitimate, but many of them are children who are kept home from school, because begging is more profitable. Please be extra careful about giving out anything like pens, money, etc. When kids beg instead of go to school then they miss out on important skills. Once these kids are no longer 'cute' kids who are good at begging and making money, then what will they do? Instead, please assist the many good organizations in Uganda (such as Sanyu's Baby Home) or have the child actually take you to his/her school where you can pay their school fees directly to the headmaster. (UPDATE: This past summer I noticed a large increase in the number of 'street children' in Kampala. Most of them are probably AIDS orphans. I highly recommend giving a little something to many of the under-financed and over-stressed orphanages and organizations that are trying to make a difference in Uganda).

    Also, Uganda is a bargaining society, and the price for Mzungus (white people) usually starts out at 2 or 3 times higher than the actual price. This is especially true for food in markets, but you should also ask for better prices at hotels and on buses/taxis. Restaurant prices are usually set.

    It is a good idea to learn some simple greetings... In Kampala, the language is Luganda and 'Oli Otya' (Olee O-tee-ah) is a basic greeting (How are you?). The response is Belungi (Bah-loon-jee), which means 'good' or 'fine'.

    In the Kabale, Bwindi, or QENP area, the language is Runyankole. The greeting is 'Agandi' (Ah-gandhi) and the response is 'Nimarungi' (Knee-ma-roon-jee).

    You should dress conservatively - preferably pants or long skirts and shirts/blouses. Shorts, bikini tops, halter tops, etc. are a bit rude.

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  • Ngabo's Profile Photo

    'Uganda' (Swahili for 'Land...

    by Ngabo Written Aug 24, 2002

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    'Uganda' (Swahili for 'Land of the Ganda') was the name used by the Arab and Swahili traders on the East African coast to refer to the kingdom of Buganda, deep in the interior of Africa. These traders first arrived in Buganda in the mid-nineteenth century in search of slaves, ivory, as well as other merchandise. When the European colonialists eventually extended their hegemony over Buganda and the surrounding territories at the end of the nineteenth century, they used the swahili term Uganda to refer to the new colony. Today, Uganda is made up of almost 40 different ethnic groups with the Baganda being the largest group at a little under 20% of the total population.

    In Uganda we have many tribes that creates a diversified union of people. Ngabo's Tribe is Omuganda, from Buganda Kingdom, anthe below the postcard is our King of Buganda, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi the second. He is married with Queen Naginda Luswata Sylvia. The Monarchy play a big role in our cultural life.
    Buganda is located in the south-central region of the country known today as Uganda, as shown in the map below. This is right in the heart of Africa, astride the equator, and at the source of the great river Nile. The people of Buganda are referred to as Baganda (the singular form is Muganda), their language is referred to as Luganda, and they refer to their customs as Kiganda customs. Sometimes the generic term Ganda is used for all the above (especially by foreign scholars). Buganda is home to the nation's political and commercial capital, Kampala; as well as the country's main international airport, Entebbe. Follow this link for more information about contemporary Uganda. If you want to see where Uganda is located within Africa.

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  • grets's Profile Photo

    Carry your shopping on your head.

    by grets Written Sep 2, 2004

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    We see many women carrying laundry baskets on their heads today, must be wash day. A little further on, it is bricks they carry on their heads, then later firewood.

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    • Photography

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  • TinyTuck's Profile Photo

    Matoke

    by TinyTuck Updated May 4, 2003

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    Matoke is a type of green banana that doesn't turn yellow and cannot be eaten raw.
    In some regions people eat it every day as a main dish. It tastes just like potatos!!

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  • suubi's Profile Photo

    The natural mix

    by suubi Updated Oct 10, 2002

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    Make it a point to experience Ugandas´ multidimensional culture (over 50 different tribes): dances, traditions and customs. Above all learn about Ugandas interesting revived kingdoms.

    Welcoming a delegation from Germany in Nkuke

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  • suubi's Profile Photo

    Everlasting harmony

    by suubi Written Oct 10, 2002

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    Religious tolerance is an important part of present-day Uganda. Christians(65%,)Muslims(8%), Jews, Hindus and others live in harmony.

    Bahia Temple in Kampala

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