Apart from offering some of Africa’s most diverse wildlife viewing and dramatic landscapes, Uganda is a one-stop centre for a rich cultural journey. That’s mostly because it is home to over 50 different indigenous languages belonging to two distinct linguistic groups, and an equally diverse cultural mosaic of music, arts and dance.
And one of the things tourists who want to experience an authentic African lifestyle enjoy the most while visiting The Pearl of Africa is watching the many tribes performing their unique dances. Uganda is home to over 15 tribes, and each one has its unique music and dance that all tribe members know. The different dances are very distinctive, making it easy to distinguish between the tribes by the dances.
A vibrant and diverse dance culture has always been a part of the East African nation’si dentity. Although western music has become popular with the new generations, traditional music is still widespread, and the growing tourism industry has specially encouraged the continuous promotion of this heritage.
Here are some of the best performing tribes and their respective dances:
The Banyancore tribe – Ekitaguriro dance
The members of this tribe perform this dance to demonstrate the Ankole people’s love of cattle.
The Bakiga tribe – Ekizino dance
The people of the Kigezi region used to perform the “court dance” when the king was going to settle disputes in the kingdom.
The Buganda tribe – Muwogola, Baakisiima and Nankasa dances
Buganda is the largest tribe in Uganda, and these dances originated from the king of Buganda’s palace.
The Basogo tribe - Irongo, Nalufuka and Tamenaibuga dances
The tribe members in eastern Uganda carry out these dances to express peace and unity.
The Bagishu tribe – Mwanga dance
The Bamasaba people living in the highlands of eastern Uganda perform this dance during the seasonal circumcision ceremony.
The Iteso Tribe – Akembe dance
From the Teso region in Eastern Uganda, it is a courtship dance that is accompanied with soft melodious music.
The Batooro tribe - Runyege dances
This ceremonial dance from western Uganda is usually performed by young members when it is time to choose a partner.
The Alur tribe – Adungu dance
This dance is performed by the young boys and girls of the tribe and it involves jumping around in a pattern.
The Lubgara tribe – Gaze dance
This traditional dance of the Lubgara is performed by youngsters and it reflects the style of their neighbours in the Congo.
The Acholi tribe – Bwola dance
This circular dance is executed by the older men and women in northern Uganda to represent the tight fence of the kingdom.
Did You Know?
- Uganda is home to over half the world’s population of endangered mountain gorillas, and you can trek to observe these gentle giants in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
- In Uganda, safari opportunities abound in savanna, forest, and wetland settings throughout 10 national parks, where visitors can come face to face with “The Big Five” – lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalos. They also have the opportunity to spot giraffes, zebras, chimpanzees, hippopotamuses, crocodiles, and over half of all bird species found in Africa.
- Some of Uganda’s extraordinary natural attractions include the snow-capped Ruwenzori Mountains, the expansive Lake Victoria, which forms the source of the Nile River, and Murchison Falls National Park.