Volunteering in a coffee farm in Uganda

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Lisa & Pol
by Lisa & Pol
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Kisoro / hikes in the area / visit of Pygmies / Lake Bunyonyi day trip

As we are crossing Africa, we try to interact with as many locals as we can and volunteering is a great way to do it! We are using a Workaway membership for couples, and this is our third and so far favorite volunteering experience.

Green beans, light, medium and dark roasts
Green beans, light, medium and dark roasts

We stayed with a family in Kisoro, Eastern part of Uganda near the borders with Rwanda, for 10 days and we helped them on their coffee farm.

We received the warm welcome and after settling into our private room with bathroom ( what a luxury ! ) we were given a 3h tour around the coffee farm.

Ronald presenting the Coffee Experience at the farm
Ronald presenting the Coffee Experience at the farm
Digging kasava in the garden for dinner - everything is fresh on the farm
Digging kasava in the garden for dinner - everything is fresh on the farm

It was extremely interesting to learn about coffee, how it grows and what kind of agriculture methods are being used in order to grant it and organic coffee label. On their farm they grow not only coffee but other crops as well - method called intercropping . Thanks to this we were eating fruits and vegetables fresh from the garden everyday and we learned how to prepare African food like matoke, posho or kasawa.

Woman carrying baskets to sell them on the market in Kisoro
Woman carrying baskets to sell them on the market in Kisoro

As for work, we tried to help with daily chores like cooking and dishes plus there was always something small to help with on a farm, but for them the biggest contribution from us was work on social media.

Their oldest son took us on many cool hikes around the village, for a market day to Kisoro town and we even rented bikes and went to visit Batua people (Pygmies).

Batwa ceremony, great vibes and amazing dancing skills
Batwa ceremony, great vibes and amazing dancing skills
Batwa showcasing their skills - lighting up a fire with wood
Batwa showcasing their skills - lighting up a fire with wood

The cost of visiting the Batwa with bicycles :

Bike rental : 20 000 ugx per person = 5€

Chief of Pygmies: 10 000 ugx = 2,5€

For the visit : 60 000 ugx = 15€

Total cost for 3 people 130 000ugx = 32,5€

Happy to have found the Kisoro Volcanic Organic Coffee farm !
Happy to have found the Kisoro Volcanic Organic Coffee farm !

From the farm we did a hike to a nice view point on the lake Mutanda, we also visited the lake on the other day. It is safe to swim there and they also have a zipline in you feel like it ! Another nice hike from the farm was to a signal tower, from there you have a nice view on the lake Mutanda as well.

Great lunch at Birdnest, with a view on Lake Bunyonyi
Great lunch at Birdnest, with a view on Lake Bunyonyi
The Kansiime Backpackers - peaceful and unique
The Kansiime Backpackers - peaceful and unique

One day we took a public transportation and went to visit Lake Bunyonyi on our own, it was a nice day trip that you might consider if you are in the region. It is a volcanic lake with 29 islands and taking a boat ride is considered as one of the popular activities. We started our exploring at BirdNest where we had great lunch, then we met Ismail a local guide who arranged a reasonably priced traditional canoe for 2h. With the canoe we stopped for tea at Kansiime Backpackers and we finished the day with a small hike to Arcadia Lodge that has the best view on the lake !

The impressive view on Lake Bunyonyi from Arcadia Lodge
The impressive view on Lake Bunyonyi from Arcadia Lodge
Pol paddling in a authentic canoe on Lake Bunyonyi
Pol paddling in a authentic canoe on Lake Bunyonyi

The cost of this day trip was :

10 000 ugx per person one way with shared taxi (=40 000 ugx = 10€)

87 000 ugx lunch with beers for 2 (=21€)

50 000 ugx canoe + guide (=12€)

20 000 ugx tea for 4 pax (=5€)

16 000 ugx coffee for 2 at Arcadia (=4€)

16 000 ugx boda boda 2x ( 4€)

Total : 230 000 ugx = 56€ for 2 people

Sorting the green beans by hand, keeping only the best quality
Sorting the green beans by hand, keeping only the best quality

As for our volunteering, there was a 5$ per person per night fee for food which we find more than reasonable and we were very happy with Isabella's cooking!

To conclude we can only recommend this experience and we encourage anyone to try contacting Peter and his family for either volunteering or at least for a coffee experience which can be arranged 1 day in advance and lasts about 2-3h. You won't regret it!

Isabella showing how to sort the green beans from the parchment
Isabella showing how to sort the green beans from the parchment

Lisa & Pol
Lisa & Pol
We're a Slovak-French couple in our twenties currently backpacking across Africa for a year. One of our goals is to inspire travellers to go explore this often forgotten continent. On this blog we're focusing on providing up to date info about prices and itineraries, especially geared towards backpackers on a budget. We also create content on Youtube and Insta if you prefer a more visual approach 😉
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