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The digital trend in tourism is becoming a real movement. It is taking the show everywhere in the world. This is deep, especially as experienced and young travelers have taken a long leap into technology. As everyone in the tourism world goes digital, Ruboni could not wait to join the movement, by adding her tourist attractions on open Street map.
It was an insightful step of the journey, as Ruboni village members saw the mapping process unfolding for their village, on the Open Street Map. Most tourism stakeholders have been active for a full year, finding, exploring, and posting Ruboni tourism features and attractions on this digital map.
Ruboni is a small village located in the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains, in Kasese district, Western Uganda. This village is drained by River Mubuku as it flows from the Rwenzori Mountains on its journey to Lake George in Queen Elizabeth National Park then heads to join the Kazinga channel, lake Edward, and Semuliki River heading to join the Albert Nile.
Before the idea of mapping came up, the local tourism players struggled in different directions, trying to increase the visibility of their village in the tourism market. Over the years, road signs have been planted, brochures printed, and websites made. These yielded but only a small margin of guest numbers. The story of Ruboni didn’t get to the world as much as it should.
We know where the reason for none visibility could be coming from. lack of proper pulicity and promotion, that is well answered by the mapping project in several ways. Originally, Ruboni was only known for being The Base Camp for tourists trekking the Rwenzori Mountains through the Nyakalengijo central circuit trail leading to Margarita Peak.
Ruboni Community Camp is the pioneer of community tourism in this area, and most tourism enterprises look up to it for leads in the market and service provision. This is either by sharing its staff, trainees, products, or initiatives. You could tell by learning that most of the other tourism enterprises that have formed have a linkage to Ruboni Community Camp in one way or the other.
In the year 2005, Ruboni village residents started community tourism initiatives. This was to lure tourists to stay longer in the village before and after trekking the Rwenzori Mountains. This local community tourism initiative started with one campground, and one village walk. 15 years down the road, Ruboni village was boasting over ten lodges, five village tours, and other tourist centers and offices. This has all been done with the main stakeholder being Rwenzori Mountains National Park, The major attraction in the area.
At one point, It was necessary that all other tourism businesses and enterprises should be able to fetch visitors directly from outside the village rather than depending on Ruboni Community Camp efforts. This is the point when the idea of mapping started forming in the minds of the local tourism players. This was a mission to change the old tune to ensure that there is more inclusiveness and full community involvement in community tourism. This team of thinkers chose to consolidate the entire village’s tourism potential and to sell it as one. Ruboni Community Conservation and Development Program (RCCDP), the founder of Ruboni Community Camp has been the leader in nurturing this idea for one year since May 2022.
The recognition of Ruboni tourism village potential by The Best Tourism Villages of UNWTO, in 2021 was the gateway to hatching the consolidation idea. This recognition was a result of the joint efforts by several stakeholders including; Ruboni Tourism Village, Uganda Community Tourism Association (UCOTA), Kasese District Local Government (KDLG), The Ministry of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities (MTWA), and the local tourism players. Shortly after, as the village was participating in the UNWTO exchange programs with other like-villages around the world, Open Street Mapping came top on the list of priorities.
Ruboni Tourism Village has therefore had to go digital. The first step was taken in May 2022, when the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) and East and South African Hub (ESA HUB) provided technical and financial support under a one-year partnership. The project; Mapping Ruboni village tourism attractions; accommodations, tourist trails, and tourism centers, on Open Street map to enhance their visitation and competitiveness in regional tourism has been implemented under this partnership.
This addition of Ruboni on open street mapp has been a manifestation of small beginnings and innovations leading to changing the entire game. The results of mapping are already making life very easy for the whole lot of travelers, and village residents. The youth are now aware of their tourism development roles, all tourist businesses are able to add themselves to the map and other digital promotion tools, and the tourism players are now able to collectively solve their tourism marketing challenges. Travelers have started navigating this part of the region with ease and we anticipate that the numbers will grow with time. The inclusion on the Open street map is enabling travelers to find the travel goodies hidden in this Rwenzori foothills village, off the Kasese – fort portal road.
It cannot be overemphasized that Fort Portal – Kasese Road is the ideal route for travelers who want to explore a true Ugandan heritage in nature, scenery, and culture. It runs north and south of the Albertine rift valley. This makes it one of the leading tourist routes in Uganda and a key part of most trips running between Queen Elizabeth and Kibale National Parks. This Positions Ruboni Village in a strategic tourism location
The Albertine is a hotspot of Uganda’s key National parks. This road, therefore, connects Albertine’s tourism potential. It connects seven of ten of Uganda’s National Parks; Murchison falls, Kibale, Semuliki, Rwenzori, Queen Elizabeth, Bwindi, and to the far south, Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks. Besides the many wildlife parks, this route connects a whole lot of cultures in close to 20 tribes in three kingdoms/ regions of Kigezi, Rwenzori, Tooro, and Bunyoro.
It is evident that the digital inclusion of Ruboni Community Camp, tourism village and such a rich tourism mix was way overdue. By now, we can confirm that the addition of the village on the open street map has brought to light, another great holiday and livelihood opportunity making it easy and a great reason for every responsible traveler to visit this part of the country.
As you may be aware, the Ruboni tourism village was selected by UNWTO as one of the top 20 villages with the potential to become an outstanding top-tier rural tourism destination. UNWTO chose Ruboni to undergo an upgrade program to help the village achieve its full sustainability potential. We are currently working so hard to use this opportunity to make Ruboni a “Best tourism village” to the UNWTO standard.
Upon seeing the news, Many friends and supporters of Ruboni have been wondering or even asking us how they can support us to make it to the top. Now I have the answer, we need to join hands and work together as lovers, beneficiaries, and supporters of Ruboni Village. This is how each one of our friends and supporters can contribute to the success of Ruboni tourism village by enabling us to get to the top of the UNWTO criteria.
Ruboni tourism village is excited to explore the opportunities provided by the UNWTO under the best tourism villages program. One of the ways the village is looking to focus on is by building local and international partnerships. This will enable the village to carry out product development, implement sustainable tourism, and increase visitor numbers and visitor satisfaction. When the visitor number to Ruboni village can increase, the village will be able to benefit from the resulting incomes; some of which will be reinvested in tourism, conservation, and local development initiatives.
In 2021, Ruboni village was selected and recognized by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) as one of the top 20 villages with the potential to become an outstanding top-tier rural tourism destination. UNWTO chose Ruboni to undergo an upgrade program to help the village achieve its full sustainability potential.
As a result, Ruboni Village is currently participating in the UNWTO best tourism villages upgrade program, to be able to cover the gaps identified during the selection. After the successful completion of the upgrade, Ruboni village will be required to apply again with the hope that the village can get recognition as the best tourism village.
Ruboni tourism village recently attended the UNWTO general meeting. During this meeting, we also kick-started the mentorship program. This mentorship program conducted by Professor Joseph Mbaiwa and supported by UNWTO best tourism villages will see Ruboni set strategic goals and activities to cover the existing sustainability gaps as a way to meet the UNWTO sustainability standards of the best tourism villages initiative.
Current and proposed activities to develop the tourism village
· Creation of a village tourism committee
· Mapping the tourist attractions of the area
· Creation of a community visitor center
· Stakeholder engagement
· Creation of private-public partnerships for equitable development
· Product development drives
· Increased tourism marketing
· Licensing the hotels and guides in the village
· Increasing accessibility to technology/computer/ internet
· Tourism training and capacity building for the staff and service providers
Ruboni is a remote mountain village where the majority of the people never travel outside their village. Lack of exposure affects this village’s awareness levels, mindset, and attitude about tourism, conservation, and community development. It also leads to an inability to meet guest expectations in relation to sustainability and customer satisfaction in many service areas ranging from product development, reservations management, guest services, and all other aspects.
We intend to explore exposure and training programs for a cross-section of community members including the service providers, local government leaders, and key village residents of Ruboni tourism village. This will best be done through local study trips, international partnerships, exchange programs, and technology enhancement through computer and internet access by the local residents.
On our goal of creating international partnerships, we have one opportunity we want to explore. We intend to attend an international event organized by the Municipality of San Ginesio, Italy – 14-16 July 2023 that will take place in Italy. This event will be attended by all the Best Tourism Villages network members across the world. These include the best tourism villages, tourism ministries of the countries where they come from and all villages under the upgrade program.
We intend to send two people from Ruboni to attend the event; The Ruboni tourism village coordinator as the focal person and the village mayor. The event will involve local tours, networking sessions, and a B2B session aimed at creating synergies for global partnerships and exchange programs between the different Best Tourism Villages worldwide.
On this trip to attend the networking event in San Ginesio, Italy – 14-16 July 2023, We have so far acquired the invitation for the two participants from the municipality of San Ginesio. Local transportation, hotels, and event attendance are also already covered.
We are lacking two return flight tickets for two village representatives to attend. It is in this particular area we need support from well-wishers and supporters to enable Ruboni Village to send the intended two representatives. The tickets and associated costs will be 2500$.
During the event, the Ruboni village representatives will participate in the tours, networking sessions, and a B2B event aimed at developing international partnerships and exchange programs between the different governments and tourism villages. We are particularly interested in creating a staff exchange program targeting the youth so that we can create learning and practicing opportunities in a cross-section of tourism, conservation, and development careers.
The last time we held a tree-planting event was in October 1919. By then, it was a culture to collectively plant some trees as a community every year. This initiative enabled the Ruboni community to reforest tens of acres in the Buraru forest landscape and other communities outside of Rwenzori Mountains National park.
In 2020, when covid19 set in, it shuttered our annual tree-planting dream. Like everything was closed for two years, convergence as a community was also banned. It was through collective community work that we used to plant trees. There was no way; we would plant trees without creating a crowd. 2020 was a candle of hope blown off for our conservation project through tree planting.
Along with closing crowds, our tourism business, the largest contributor to tree planting, was also closed for almost two years. This further disturbed us when we realized that we can’t even raise one coin to facilitate the tree-planting activity. When tourism started to open up in 2021, our hope woke up, that maybe one day; we shall have the joy of raising some money, getting partners and planting trees again.
In 2022, our dream got closer. We kept promising ourselves and the other community members that we will plant trees. This was even before we had the money and partners. Luckily, in the course of the year, we received some partnership opportunities. Along with that, we had started receiving guests and our debts were getting manageable, meaning our dream was getting closer. July and August 2022 were the wake-up months for our tree-planting dream. We got two partners willing to join hands on tree planting. these two important meetings were held at the Ruboni community camp. This meant that the time had come and we were set to resume our annual tree-planting event.
7th October 2022 has been the first time to plant trees collectively again, since the emergence of covid19. It was a landmark day and a rare opportunity for the community to get together for the environment. This was the rebirth of the tree-planting events. It is a day worth celebrating and remembering in our story of tree planting and forest conservation. Indeed, this event opened a series of tree planting days that will take place through the month of November 2022 while we still receive the rains. We intend to plant up to 15000 trees in the Ruboni community forest by the end of the month.
We took mobilization through public places such as churches, trading centres and interpersonal word-of-mouth communication. A simple poster was developed and distributed in these channels. The poster was also shared on Facebook and several WhatsApp groups. In the end, 50 people attended the event. Of the 50, 19 were women, 31 were men and 39 were youth. In total 3800 trees were planted in a vanity of four indigenous species
The logistics were simply getting the team of locals to do the voluntary roles. We provided facilitation for some activities, but 90% of the organization work was done freely by the local youth tourist guides. We partnered with the community visitor centre to hold the seedlings, host us and prepare the meals.
During the tree planting event, we offered meals and refreshments. In reality, a special meal was offered to welcome the local community members from the long day of planting
Most of the trail is not motorable. The seedlings were carried on the back. Using gunny bags and traditional straw baskets, the men and women carried the seedlings to the planting site, on a rugged journey. From the community visitor centre where the trees were stored, the 3km trail was all walked. It crosses river Mubuku and other small streams over the hills.
Shortly after we finished planting and set foot at the community visitor centre, our converging point, then the rain started. It was a heavy downpour with the wind. It was as if to separate the planters from none planters. The planters were squeezed into one hut like the 12 disciples on Pentecost day. All people were locked in one hut under the dark atmosphere and the wind pressure. Our trees have gotten watered, was a statement made by everyone in the hut. Yes, the trees were just getting introduced to the new life that we had given them in the forest.
Lunch was served and it turned out to be the biggest lunch for all the planters. Most people eat but wished they had come with their families. After the meal, we listened to three speeches; from the coordinator of the project, the chairperson board of directors of Ruboni Community Conservation and Development Program (RCCDP) and the chairperson of the Local council one. This then marked the end of the day.
Everything important for a mother is super important for the community and nation. Indeed, whatever makes a mother put a baby down is a significant activity. This tree-planting event happened to be one of those few important activities. We were impressed when we saw a number of mothers put down their babies to carry big sacks of seedlings on the 3km trail heading to the planting area. Mothers likely already saw the need to plant trees, had missed the tree planting events very much or needed to put food on the table back home.
This is fun that runs throughout the year through raising seedlings, planting trees and tending to them. The result is always the biggest of all. After about three years, the planters and communities can already walk under the canopy of the planted trees being celebrated by the birds and other wildlife.
Everyone can be part of this achievement and the fun of planting trees. Every year we have tree-planting events. These tree-planting events are run during the rainy seasons of April-May (the short rains) and August – November (the long rains). Between the rainy seasons, in the months of June, July and December to April, we are normally tending the trees to ensure they grow well. The tending activity includes; staking, weeding, watering or refilling the gaps of dried trees.
These non-planting months are the tourist peak seasons of the Rwenzori Mountains treks. We, therefore, invite travellers to participate in our tree-planting projects during their visit to Uganda and Rwenzori.
At this moment, there is nothing more important than conserving the environment. Planting trees and landscape restoration are one of the major conservation activities that we have chosen to take on in our communities. We are inviting well-wishers and partners to join us in this noble journey in the different ways below;
For further information, you can contact our tree planting coordinator who will give you more information
A team of youth guides from Ruboni village have recently taken a fact-finding tour on tourism product development. They toured the entire Rwenzori gateway for two days. This tour was on the 21st and 22nd of October 2022. It was to visit the existing and potential tourist attractions in the area.
Up and down the valleys of the scenic Rwenzori foothills, the team found a list of up to 25 potential tourist attractions. They were guided by the local leaders and residents. These newly found attractions will be added to supplement the traditional tourism activities of the area. The aim is to enrich the attractions and tourism potential of the Rwenzori Destination.
The just-concluded tour was part of the Ruboni community’s involvement in the tourist attraction mapping activities. The mapping activity will see Ruboni village tourism attractions featured on the Open street map. This mapping activity is being supported by the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT).
Under this mapping initiative, a team of local youth and tourism stakeholders have participated in a series of activities. The acrtivities include; collecting data, engaging stakeholders, and preparing the local tourist attractions of the Rwenzori gateway area. The attractions to be mapped include;
Besides actual mapping, the project has trained a number of youths and other tourism stakeholders how to map and/or edit data on the open street map.
The Rwenzori Mountains are popular for the experience of trekking high mountains. However, as the industry grows, majority of the tourists seem to not able to make it to the mountains. Majority of the travelers don’t have the time, energy or budget to trek the high peaks. This leads to low destination visitation. Besides Trekking the Rwenzori Mountains, Ruboni community has started offering three village guided tours. these are; Ruboni hill climb trek, Ruboni forest walk and Ruboni village walk. These tours are mainly promoted to none climbers visiting the villages in the foothills.
Indeed many guests have found the Ruboni village guided tours interesting and a highlight of their Uganda tour. Only one challenge, these three tours can be done in only two days. As a result, guests have failed to stay longer when they fail what to do with more days during their stay. This is especially if they don’t want to go to the high peaks of Rwenzori. This is the reason for exploring more activities to offer to the tourists willing to stay longer in Ruboni village.
After this initiative of the youth, guests will now be able to stay longer in Ruboni village. During their stay, they will have the opportunity to explore these newly established cultural activities. In a few months, this map will be available online to guide all guest. It will be on the website of Ruboni community camp and other stakeholder platforms. The map will also be available in hard copies in the local shops within the village and around Uganda. An online APP will be created to supplement the map, for guests who will be using mobile gadgets during travel.
The establishment of more cultural encounters will definitely push the Ruboni community higher on the list of undiscovered destinations. The new attractions include;
The youth want guests to stay longer in Ruboni village. This is so that they can learn more about the local nature and culture of Rwenzori. When they stay long, they possibly spend more money into the local businesses. This will boost the local economy, create employment and reduce rural urban migration among the youth.
The location of Ruboni village gives it a plus in tourism potential. The location on the only tourist route (Kasese-Fortportal road) makes it is easy to reach Ruboni village destination, Their route runs through the Albertine rift linking over five national parks including;
This fact-finding tour was a follow-up visit after several individual meetings with local government officials. The earlier visits were aimed at sensitizing the leaders about mapping the tourist attractions in the gateway. In those earlier meetings, Ruboni community discussed this tourism mapping initiative with a selection of officers. These said officers include the chairpersons LCIII, town agents, community development officers and other members of the councils, who overwhelmingly appreciated the idea and promised to cooperate.
During the meeting earlier before this visit, each council identified one representative to be the contact person in charge of the mapping project. It is with these representatives that our youth guides met and toured the areas of focus visiting the said tourist attraction. During the visit, the guides were impressed to find a wealth of attractions in the area.
Formally, Ruboni village has only marketed the Rwenzori trekking experience along the few village guided tours. Besides the trekking, the area has got a few lodges that provide accommodation to the staying guest. The main lodges, including Ruboni community camp the pioneer and leader in hospitality services. other lodges include, Equator snow lodge, Rwenzori turaco view camp, Tours holiday Inn, and Rwenzori Homestay
If you’re wondering what is the difference between the Rwenzori gateway and Ruboni tourism village, I will explain a little. The Rwenzori gateway is a bigger area where the Ruboni community village is located. The gateway is a consolidation of five local governments in a beautiful hilly landscape. The area includes three town councils and two sub-counties.
Guests going to Ruboni community drive through the Rwenzori gateway to the end where Ruboni community is located at the park gate. The gateway is a must-visit area for people who want to explore unique nature and culture in a rural setting. Being serviced by good marram roads, electricity and running water, it is an ideal holiday spot. The local community has put this area into one community tourism block called Ruboni tourism village. This way, all people going to the Rwenzori gateway, will be visiting Ruboni tourism village.
The name Ruboni means clean water. It comes from a local river that drains into river Mubuku next to the Nyakalengijo gate of Rwenzori Mountains National Park. This river was always believed to be clean and village members used to keep it clean and reserved it for drinking water before the taps and springs were constructed by the government. River Ruboni is located 1km before Nyakalengijo central circuit gate of Rwenzori Mountains National park; the oldest and most popular trail of this national park gives easier access to the high peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains including margarita peak. This makes Ruboni village the ideal starting point for every trek to the high peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains.
Ruboni tourism village is popular for agriculture due to the fertile soils on these hills and valleys supplemented by plenty of water sources. During your stay, you can be assured of local organic food ingredients. The mouthwatering delicious meals prepared by the local chefs will leave you puzzled when you stay at Ruboni community camp. Being inhabited by five tribes makes this gateway area a cultural hub where guests can experience different cultural encounters in one destination. The tribes that live here include; Bakonzo, Bakiga, Batoro, Bafumbira and Banyarwanda.
The tour and mapping activity will make Ruboni tourism village more prepared for the UNWTO tourism development intervention. Mapping is a best practice that has been identified in other tourism villages globally. With the map both in hard and soft copy, it will be easy for the guests to plan and explore their trips in the village. The increased activities will allow the visitors to stay longer, just like the increased room/ bed capacity will increase choice and confidence in the availability of accommodation at all times.
Besides mapping, the village will be branded and all attractions signposted. A series of local site training will follow this to the service providers through the local partnerships that will be established during and after this collective mapping project.
To know more about this youth tourism development initiative, the mapping activity and how to visit Ruboni tourism village during your safari in Uganda, please contact us at Ruboni community camp via email or WhatsApp: +256752503445
To make it easier for the traveler to find and explore Ruboni village and the Rwenzori mountains destination, Ruboni Community Conservation and Development Program (RCCDP) will map all the active and potential tourist attractions in this village. The village is located in the buffer of Rwenzori Mountains National Park.
Ruboni Community Conservation and Development Program (RCCDP) is a community-based organization whose mission is to encourage local community participation in environment conservation to benefit the local community through sustainable development. RCCDP was started in 1998 and has a membership of 50 people (35 women and 15 men)
Population increase directly leads to reducing the natural resource base. Likewise, in the 1990s Ruboni village’s population started increasing rapidly. When this happened, the local people started experiencing increasing poverty. This inspired the creation of RCCDP, by mobilizing community households through tree planting, skills training, communal work, soil and water conservation, and alternative household income enhancement.
Until now, RCCDP is engaged in tourism and using it as a vehicle for generating resources to support conservation and local community development, by innovating sustainable livelihoods aimed at empowering the local population.
It is under this spirit of sustainable livelihoods enhancement that RCCDP has partnered with stakeholders to add Ruboni tourism attractions to the Open Street Map. In return, this mapping initiative is aimed to improve the Ruboni village tourism enterprise’s performance that will in return, economically empower the residents of Ruboni village.
This mapping project will run for one year ending in May 2023. At the end of the project, it will be easy for the tourists to find and explore Ruboni village. as a result of the project, we will have a digital interactive map of the village, a map uploaded to at least ten different tourism online platforms, hard copies of printed maps, and a team of local Mappers with the skill and knowledge to continuously contribute by mapping and updating the content on Open Street Map.
RCCDP activities serve the local people beyond Ruboni village, covering Ibanda-Kyanya Town Council, Bugoye, and Maliba Sub counties. The project is being supported by Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) and is being implemented with local tourism partners.
The implementing partners include; the Uganda community tourism Association (UCOT), Ibanda-Kyanya Town council, and the Kasese district local government. The UNWTO best tourism villages program is the owner and moderator of the upgrade program that inspires and is directly linked to this mapping activity.
To share the excitement with us, you can follow us on our social media handles to learn about the status of the project and possibly know how you can grab a copy of our map whenever it is ready.
Ruboni Community Camp is a project of Ruboni Community Conservation and Development Program (RCCDP). RCCDP was started in 1998, to encourage local community participation in environment conservation with an aim of benefiting the entire community through sustainable development.
Ruboni Community Camp is a community-owned and runs enterprise under the RCCDP. It is run alongside other tourism activities and the whole enterprise is called Ruboni community tourism project.
All the profits generated by the Ruboni community tourism project are reinvested back into the community, to support local community development and environmental conservation initiatives. These initiatives are aimed to benefit the entire community either directly or indirectly.
Development Initiatives being supported
The key community development initiatives that receive direct support from Ruboni community tourism project are;
Child sponsorship project – 0ver 50 children being sponsored every term, on top of the many that have gone through the sponsorship program now having decent jobs.
Forest conservation – 100 acres of indigenous forest saved and tens of thousands of trees planted by the community on their household lands.
Local community infrastructure development – where there is a lack, we help the communities go through the challenges. We have constructed temporary emergency bridges during and after the river floods, road repairs, hillside public footpath maintenance, and water infrastructure for the community.
Skills training – Many youth and women are taking training sessions in hospitality, guiding, and crafts development. We take interns from different colleges and universities to give them practical knowledge of what we do in this community.
Women and child empowerment – through education, skills, income enhancement, and job creation, women and children are brought closer to the economic welfare table in the local economy
Sustainable agriculture project – Farming is the leading economic activity practiced by 100% of all community members. RCCDP provides training on soils and water conservation, improved agriculture, the market for the agro produce, agriculture produce value addition. All this enhances the income generated by the households, especially during this time when land is not very productive due to the impacts of climate change and the high human population.
Household income diversion from tourism – tourism provides financial capital to the households. this is earned through the sale of goods and services from the local household. This rare opportunity to the local households is further boosted by guidance on household investment using the village saving and credit schemes
Community development partnerships creation – We have created many development partnerships and helped to guide more within the community. These include; child sponsorship, sales, and marketing for local produce, vendors, and suppliers to the tourism project, agro production, and value-added partnerships, forest/ environment conservation partnerships, and resource mobilization partnership.
The challenges associated with climate change
In the Rwenzori region, Climate change has taken a very high toll. Due to this high rate of poverty, population increase, and climate change, Ruboni community is overwhelmed by the level of need in the community. COVID-19 made the situation even worse when from the year 2020 to 2022, we hardly received any visitors or income from the community tourism business
Thank God, tourism is a good counter for the impacts of climate change if the right resources are employed. The RCCDP community’s inability to mobilize resources is a big challenge to the local people who look up to Ruboni community tourism for help. Many children are starting to drop out of school due to lack of fees, households are selling their property to meet the basic needs as if the right to their land is luxury, the markets and produce from their farms are lowering due to the falling incomes from the buyers, the rivers are drying and the women are starting to carry water on their backs long distances away
This is what you can do?
No one can do everything, but everyone can do something about helping Ruboni support her community members. even the smallest drops of help will add up in changing someone’s life. Specifically, we are looking for both donors and volunteers who can partner with Ruboni community on the different community development and conservation initiatives. Volunteers are required for proposal writing and project development. This will help to improve the concepts that are fronted by the community to address their related challenges.
Visiting Ruboni during your trip to Ruboni to buy some of our community tourism services and products is an easy way to help. As said earlier, all the profits generated go back to the local community. The key services and activities you can buy during your trip include; accommodation in our guestrooms, meals, village guided tours, Rwenzori trekking tours, and handicrafts made by local women. Every coin you spend on these goods and services gives hope to someone in the village.
We are doing our best to market our tourism products. However, we have a lot of room for improvement as we are limited by minimum machinery and expertise in modern marketing. If you have some time at hand, a connection, or an opportunity, you will be appreciated for the marketing support you can provide
If you don’t have a plan to travel to Uganda, to visit the Ruboni community, but feel you want to do something, you can find more about our community development and conservation work, by contacting us or sending us an email with questions.
At Ruboni community camp, we have two categories of rooms. The self-contained and non-self-contained. Our bed settings are single twin or double basis.
Our self-contained rooms are spacious with a private bathroom and toilet per room. These rooms can be easily fitted with double beds on request. In the non-self-contained rooms, guests use shared bathrooms and toilets in a ratio of one toilet and bathroom per two rooms.
The non-self-contained rooms are slightly smaller, and we have no chance to create double rooms out of them.
Our rooms are furnished with beds, beddings, seating furniture, bathing soap, towel, bathroom sandals, mosquito netting, electricity with charging outlets, and running water. Currently, we have hot water in some rooms and the other we refill the hot water tanks. However, in a short while, we are working on water heaters for all rooms to be implemented within the year 2022.
All our facilities including the rooms and restaurant have a balcony facing the mountains. This is a great feature that most guests like as they have an opportunity to view these beautiful mountains all the time of their stay at the lodge.
Our prices for the rooms are charged per occupancy. Each of the two guests pays a full rate that we charge per person on bed and breakfast. You can refer to our current prices here. We don’t join guests who are not from the same group in one room. If one guest takes the twin room, we lock the second bed but the guest still pays for only one bed taken,
Other spaces of interest at the lodge are; the restaurant, bar, and parking area. The restaurant serves all meals on order starting from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm. Meals can be served earlier or later on request. our parking area is private and secure through the night. It can take 5-7 cars at a time. In most cases, it is available to all our guests and has never been full.
If you have any other specific questions about our rooms, please contact us
About contactless check-in at Ruboni Community camp
At Ruboni Community Camp, we encourage all our guests to check in before arrival. This is to minimize the chances of contact with the staff at arrival, to reduce chances of transferring covid-19 infections. We have attached a draft form here for you to see. However, a new tailored form will be sent to each guest.
Requirements for contactless check-in
How to check-in before arrival, using the contactless form
How to fill and send the contactless check-in form
If you have any other questions, please contact us before you fill out the contactless check-in form.
The impacts of climate change and rapid population increase in the Rwenzori region have considerably increased the level of need in households. In this rural community, tourism is being used as a sustainable way of facilitating education and other alternative livelihoods. We use some of the tourism income and partnerships to sponsor local children’s education. As the pioneer for sponsoring local children, the Ruboni child sponsorship project has seen hundreds of children able to go to school. This has resulted in facilitating alternative livelihoods in their households when they have completed and got decent jobs. The main goal is to eventually reduce household poverty, suffering, and over-depletion of the local natural resources for subsistence survival
Ruboni Community Conservation and Development Program (RCCDP) was established in 1998, to encourage local community participation in environment conservation with an aim of benefiting the entire community through sustainable development. This is achieved through using tourism as the main vehicle for income generation and conservation. Education and skilling is the most sustainable way the local people can be empowered to increase their productivity and be able to change their economic destiny at a minimum cost by sustainably using natural and cultural capital. In 2009, the community was organized by RCCDP to come up with an education support program. This was the birth of the Ruboni Child Sponsorship project (CSP).
Some beneficiaries of the child sponsorship project have managed to go through college and have gotten decent jobs of their dream. This has set a pilot to prove that tourism resources and partnerships focused on education and skilling of the population, especially the young people, will quickly address poverty and the environmental degradation crisis that we are currently facing in the Rwenzori region.
Besides the level of success, the child sponsorship project is still facing a number of challenges that we feel if addressed will increase the level of success by close to 100%. The key challenges faced include;
Ruboni child sponsorship is considering a drive of resource mobilization and partnerships to address the above challenges. We are currently looking for sponsorship to support the project from all angles to see that we increase the amount of support available to the project. This support will be put towards different areas of development to sustainably raise resources for the child sponsorship project. The identified areas of focus include;
We appeal to our guests, friends, and other well-wishers to help RCCDP support child sponsorship through the above three approaches. For more information please contact us and talk to our project Director to discuss any opportunities. If you plan to visit the Ruboni community, please ask to have a brief meeting with our director to get first-hand information about the CSP.
How the child sponsorship project works
A child sponsorship committee has been selected from the community. This is also a subcommittee on the Ruboni Community Conservation and Development Program (RCCDP) board. This committee is headed by a child sponsorship coordinator as the secretary. The Child Sponsorship Project has a policy that guides the selection and enrolment of the beneficiaries. Upon acquisition of a new sponsor, the beneficiary of the sponsorship is selected from the list of applicants by the committee or chosen by the sponsor. The details of the beneficiary (Names, sex, photos, and parents’ names) are then shared with the sponsor. Every term, a report is made by the child sponsorship coordinator and shared with the project stakeholders including the sponsors.
The project has a separate bank account that receives all education funds from donors and tourism projects. 92% of the money is transferred directly to the school and about 8% is used on administration costs.
An MOU has been signed with the local secondary and primary schools where the children study, to regulate the provision of education services to the beneficiary children. Other children go to schools outside the Kasese district, including those going to college and universities. In this case, the project representative timely visits these learning institutions to monitor the welfare and performance of the beneficiary children.
Customized payment arrangements are made according to each sponsor. In Uganda, we have three terms for primary and secondary schools and two semesters for the universities and colleges. Generally, the sponsors are expected to send money to the CSP account to be used every term. However, some sponsors do choose to make one annual payment while others pay monthly or quarterly.
Children are being sponsored at all levels of education, though the highest percentage of beneficiaries is at the secondary and tertiary/ college levels. The majority of the children are sponsored in secondary school and a smaller number in college due to limited resources.
Payments and rates: Each term is equivalent to three months. This support is provided termly, three times a year. The amount paid every term depends on the school the child is going to. To give an idea, the school fees per child per year are as follows;
It is important to note that this is quoted for the current structure and fees can change without prior notice, and also, some schools or courses can be a lot higher based on choice and financial ability. However, the CSP ensures to put the children in affordable schools as much as possible, to maximize the benefits to a broader community. for the case of choosing your own child beneficiary, the parent may tell you the school fees rate, which has to be backed by an admission letter from the school, submitted to the child sponsorship project, and a copy given to the sponsor.
How you can be a Ruboni child sponsorship project sponsor
These are the four levels of partnership with the Ruboni Community Child sponsorship initiative;
1). Sponsoring a child of your choice
2). Make a monthly contribution to the CSP.
3). One-time contribution to the project.
4). Donating scholastics
Sponsoring a child of your choice: This level of sponsorship involves raising a given amount per term. The monthly amount can be determined by the sponsor. The contribution goes to the general account and is allocated to the children selected by the sponsor.
Making a monthly contribution to the Child sponsorship project: This contribution goes to the entire child sponsorship project pool. It is given to any child that has been approved to benefit from the project. This monthly contribution is used to subsidize the contribution from the local sources to cover the gaps due to the increased number of needy children and the costs of education.
One-time contribution to the project: This is a contribution that can be made at one time to support the activities of the project. The donor can choose to dictate which child or activity this money should be used, within the approved activities of the CSP
Provision of scholastics: The children being sponsored and other village children often need supplies of items such as pens, books, footballs, and mosquito nets, for a smooth learning environment. If you find availability or space for the scholastics, this helps to reduce the economic burden on the parents that have to create a budget for these essentials.
As we look forward to welcoming you onboard, you may be having any questions. For any other information, please contact us.
Besides the improvement of the camp infrastructure, we have applied a number of improvements to the services and tour activities. From now on, guests will find a wider range of activities to participate in during their stay at Ruboni Community Camp. With some activities added, the list of available experiences includes a total of eight different tours and activities. All activities showcase the beauty of Rwenzori natural and cultural heritage in the local social setting. they include;
Village cultural walk. This is for guests who want to learn or participate in the local cultural life while learning how the Rwenzori nature and culture integrate into the local life setting.
Forest walk. A visit to the community forest neighboring Rwenzori Mountains National Park. While here, trekkers enjoy nature as in any tropical rain forest or inside the park itself. The forest is rich with plants, trees, waterfalls and glacier rivers, birds, insects, chameleons, and other wildlife unique to the area. On a lucky day, you may encounter primates having crossed from the park.
Hill climb walk Trekking to 2400m on the highest hill in the village. This gives guests the possibility to scan the surrounding natural features and the Rwenzori Mountains from one point. On a clear day, Margarita peak is also visible. Coming atop with a binocular gives an added advantage of a panoramic view across the Rwenzori ranges landscape.
Overnight hill trek: Spending a night outdoors camping on the hilltop. In the evenings and mornings, campers look for margarita peak and see Lake George in Queen Elizabeth national park. Again, a pair of binoculars is handy during this overnight trek.
The traditional hunting experience: This is done with the guidance of the ex-poachers as they show guests how they used to hunt in and around the park. The activity promotes the conservation of wildlife through community sensitization, research, and education. the ex poachers are used as conservation educators. This creat an alternative income for the reformed poachers when they get payment from guiding guests and educating locals about wildlife. The tour takes a minimum of seven hours in the wild outside the park.
The cultural events: This is a cultural event conducted on certain days of the week. It is a show within the village where community members get together to celebrate culture. They participate in cultural activities including dances, songs, local beer, demo cooking, and crafts making. Guests are given tickets to join the festival and they are required to book directly in advance.
Rwenzori trekking on Mahoma trail: The three days and two nights of trekking up to 3500m in the lower peaks of Rwenzori Mountains. This wilderness, camping trail goes through the bamboo zone following Elephant tracks. Trekkers stay in exclusively beautiful spots on ridges and lakesides. The trail is a true paradise of Rwenzori. It is an alternative for trekking on the central circuit and Margarita peak.
Trekking on the central circuit and Margarita peak: Ruboni Community Camp is prepared to guide you inside the park on the central circuit trail. The 6-8 day trail takes guests up to the highest point Margarita at 5109 meters above sea level.
With a variety of natural, social, and cultural activities to participate in, visiting Ruboni is worthy of our guests’ time. From now on, a visit to this village will leave every guest in full excitement, satisfaction, and full knowledge of Rwenzori and the Bakonzo people. All activity prices and duration of time have not changed. We continue to offer the smallest budget and the shortest time that you will have at hand.