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June 25 - July 15, 2018 // 21 days
RLT Exclusive Program!
Munywani Wange, or “My Friend” in the local language of Rutooro, acts as our guiding light throughout our time in Uganda. Partnering with the Kasiisi Project and Elizabeth Ross, Ph.D. & Faculty Dean at Harvard University, we build on to their existing facilities, provide educational support to students in the community, and help villagers construct beehives, not only for honey but also to help protect crops! Elephants in the area are known to trample fences and crops, but actively avoid bees. Having hives around is a harmonious way for elephants and farmers to coexist, all the while, positively impacting the environment. We spend time with researchers of the Kibale Chimpanzee Project run by Richard Wrangham, Ph.D. and Professor at Harvard University, while tracking wild chimpanzees at the Kanyanchu Forest Station to study behavior, ecology, and physiology. Top it all off with a magical safari through Queen Elizabeth and Lake Mburo National Parks and you truly have a once in a lifetime adventure.
Join us on an adventure from the plains to the mountains, full of incredible wildlife, remarkable people, and meaningful service.
Learn more about this community service adventure program in Uganda. Click on the Description tab below.
Since 1997, the Kasiisi Project has aided education in rural western Uganda, East Africa. Founded initially as a link between the research-based Kibale Chimpanzee Project and the local community, the Kasiisi Project now works with several research groups target critical issues for the survival of the forest and support of the local population.
They support early childhood education, promote conservation and health education, provide daily school lunches, train teachers, encourage literacy through libraries and computer usage, fund secondary school and college scholarships, and empower local youth.
Kibale National Park is the largest protected forest in Uganda and is home to 13 species of primates including over 400 chimpanzees, the largest in East Africa. We'll meet with the researchers and spend time at Kanyanchu with specially habituated groups that are tame enough to allow us to track them through the forest and share part of their day with us.
Visiting Queen Elizabeth National Park will give us an opportunity to see a range of savannah animals – elephants, buffalo, antelope, warthogs, and if we are lucky: lions, leopards, and hyenas. A boat trip on the Kazinga Canal will bring us close to a stunning array of birds as well as hippo and crocodiles. Don’t forget the camera!
Learn about efforts to protect Kibale’s precious wildlife. We'll visit local villages and learn how they are using bees to keep elephants out of their fields and join school children in making hives to promote elephant conservation and in planting trees.
Learn to cook Oburo, the traditional festive Ugandan food- a dish made from millet and cassava. Along with Matoke and green bananas, it makes up a Ugandan staple. We’ll be sure to share our favorite recipes from home with our new friends because nothing brings people together better than a delicious meal!
Pouring water over your tea leaves is the last of many steps to making this universally consumed beverage. Visit a tea field and factory on the border of Kibale National Park to see how tea is picked and processed from the source!
Spend time on Ngamba Island in Lake Victoria, where chimpanzees rescued from poachers and the illegal pet trade live in a natural habitat with necessary care and protection.
Trade dance lessons, share songs, learn local drums, compete in a soccer or netball match. The connections waiting to be made with local children are rare and special as we embrace the opportunity to learn, teach, and grow from each other.
This mid-latitude rain forest is an important biodiversity hot spot sheltering over 300 elephants, 325 species of birds, golden cats, buffalo and many rare plants and butterflies!
Don't miss our exploration of the only place in Uganda that has zebra - Lake Mburo National Park! In addition, Lake Mburo is the site of a recent effort to reintroduce giraffes! Be on the lookout for hyenas and keep your ears open for a chance to hear leopards coughing after dark.
Kasiisi Project: Village Infrastructure & Beehive Construction
A Certificate of Community Service indicating the total number of hours worked and a Presidential Volunteer Service Award will be issued upon successful completion of the program.
Safari: Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Mburo National Park
Explore: Entebbe, Ngamba Island, Tea Farm & Factory
Culture: Local Markets, Ugandan Food & Cooking, Drumming & Music
Education: Queen Elizabeth National Park & Field Trips With Local School Children
Conservation: Chimpanzee Sanctuary*, Chimpanzee Tracking*, Water Quality Testing
Kasiisi Project: Guest House with bunk beds.
New York (JFK)
A leader-escorted round-trip flight will be available (but not required) for those travelers who wish to fly with a leader. Please contact our office for details.
*The Chimpanzees we work with are wild and free. Our ability to work with them depends upon a variety of environmental factors and local conditions.
The journey starts with a flight to Entebbe, Uganda to begin an adventure of a lifetime. Upon landing, we find ourselves quickly using the phrase “Munywani Wange,” or “My Friend” in the local language of Rutooro: amazing places and genuine people forging real connections. After orientation, we take time to visit local markets, and see the Entebbe Zoo, now known as the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre. Familiarizing ourselves with the animals and ecosystems of our new home heightens our senses and raises our awareness of the land. We also have a chance to explore Ngamba Island, a chimpanzee sanctuary surrounded by the stunning waters of Lake Victoria. Currently home to 49 orphaned or confiscated chimps, we learn about the sanctuary’s core values including dedication to the welfare of both the species and the individuals, as well as dedication to applying sound science practices.
Taking our newfound knowledge, we transfer to the Kasiisi Project, founded by Elizbeth Ross, Ph.D. and Faculty Dean at Harvard University. Within the Kibale National Park region, we have the opportunity to help a village with sanitation and infrastructure needs during the day while spending time with the local school children after their classes end. Trading language skills, helping with homework, playing soccer and netball, and sharing meals, these Ugandan students show us a fresh way of day to day living. They share with us both the excitements and the challenges of having breathtaking wildlife around. For instance, the elephants in the area have been known to trample through fences and destroy the village’s crops.
Firsthand, we experience how the village strives to live in harmony with the land by solving this problem with a surprising solution: beehives! No matter how large the wondrous elephant may be, the creature has learned bees are to be avoided. Teaming up with students in the village, we lend a hand building the beehives hung in the area with hopes of attracting bees. These hives not only provide a home for high-value pollinators and honey-makers, but also keep the elephants from stomping through the farm fields!
Conversations and seminars with conservation professionals and researchers in the field, along with simple yet delicious Ugandan dinners fill our evenings. Before long, we will partake in discussions with researchers from the Kibale Chimpanzee Project, established in 1987 by Dr. Richard Wrangham, Professor at Harvard University. With the researchers and guides, we track wild, habituated chimpanzees on foot at the Kanyanchu Forest Station, documenting behavior, ecology, and physiology of the animals. While not in the forest, we visit local markets and get a chance to see a tea plantation, learning about the process of farming tea from field to cup.
As our time at the Kasiisi Project comes to an end, we embark on a three-day, two-night safari through Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Mburo. Across the savannah by vehicle and foot, through the waters by boat, we have the chance to see elephants, giraffes, zebras, buffalo, lions, antelope, and more. Accompanied by local Ugandans, we continue to learn what the wildlife and natural land mean to those who call this place home.
Traveling back to Entebbe, we reflect on the whirlwind of the last three weeks, soaking up the serenity of the botanical gardens, partaking in a final banquet, and sharing our knowledge, experiences, and a piece of ourselves with “enganjani,” our friends, during a traditional Poet’s Campfire. Boarding our return flight home, we wave farewell to Uganda, “Land of Beauty.”
After we’ve gathered at JFK International Airport in New York, we depart on the optional escorted flight for Entebbe Airport. Arriving in Entebbe, we settle into our hotel and begin orienting ourselves with a different culture. Visiting local markets, the Ugandan Wildlife Education Centre, and a boat ride out to Ngamba Island in Lake Victoria to see the chimpanzee sanctuary fill our first couple days.
For the next 5 days, we adopt the daily routine at The Kasiisi Project, expanding their facilities. Many rural Ugandan schools lack adequate latrines and year round clean water. In collaboration with local villagers, we build a block of latrines and help drill for clean water. When the students are out of classes we play sports, bird watch, trade song and dance, plant trees, and discuss health and conservation issues.
We'll head to the Kanyanchu Forest Station with several local school children and participate in a morning of Chimpanzee Tracking. Visiting local villages, we’ll learn how they use bees to keep elephants out of their fields and join the local people in making hives to promote elephant conservation. Side by side with a conservation expert, we’ll be guided on walks through the villages, alongside Crater Lakes, and beyond.
Markets, Cooking Lessons, Tea Farm, Project Completion (Day 13-15):
When we aren’t finishing up our building project, we'll visit a tea farm and factory to learn how tea is grown and processed. We’ll explore the local markets and participate in cooking lessons, making Oburo, the traditional festive Ugandan food.
Accompanied by local students, we embark on a safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park, allowing us the unique opportunity to embrace the importance of wildlife conservation with the future of Uganda: its youth. Saying our goodbyes to the students, we head to Lake Mburo National Park, the only place in Uganda where Zebra roam, in addition to recently reintroduced giraffes.
We'll travel back to Entebbbe for some shopping, a visit to the Botanical garden, a farewell dinner, and a traditional Poet’s Campfire before boarding our plane home.
Ugandan foods are often prepared with nuts, therefore, The Road Less Traveled cannot support students with nut allergies on this program.
The Uganda: Munywani Wange program requires a tourist visa. The Road Less Traveled provides directions on how to apply for the visa at the appropriate time (usually mid-spring). In order to apply for a Ugandan Tourist Visa you must have a certificate of inoculation from Yellow Fever as well as a passport that is valid for 6+ months after our final day in Uganda.
Please note that the Ugandan government requires all travelers to have an International Inoculation Certificate against Yellow Fever in order to apply for a tourist visa and enter the country. You can get this vaccination and certificate at any passport heath location. Please consult this page to find the location nearest to you.
The Road Less Traveled does not require any vaccinations or immunizations other than an up-to-date tetanus shot or booster (within the last nine years). However, Yellow Fever Inoculation is required by the government to enter.
Please visit the CDC’s website to read more about recommended vaccinations for travel to Uganda. The decision to get some, none, or all of the recommended vaccinations is a personal one, and should be discussed with your family doctor.
Please click below to view your program’s equipment and packing list!
Uganda: Munywani Wange Packing List - 2018 list coming soon!
If you’d like to receive an emailed copy of this program’s day-to-day calendar, please give our office a call anytime between 9am and 5pm CST at 773-342-5200.
It is imperative that no one make any travel arrangements until RLT provides instructions for specific arrival and departure time windows. Those details are typically released in mid-spring.
Families are individually responsible for booking their own airfare to get their student from home to the starting destination on the first day of the trip, and from the ending destination back home on the last day of the trip.
This program offers an optional leader-escorted flight for those families who are interested.
If you wish to have your participant fly directly into the starting location, please call the office for details.