You are welcome to Heritage Safari Lodge and Murchison Falls National Park through “Wang Kac” – the open gate to an Acoli homestead. The nucleus of your welcome is the notion of the “openness of the gate” meaning the person who comes through the open gate has a soft heart and means no harm unlike the one coming in through the back door. And on departure, the visitor or guest will suffer not harm either as he leaves through the no-harm “open gate”.
You are welcome to celebrate the recreational value of the landscape and the flora and fauna Uganda’s largest National Park – this being the heritage, the Acoli tribe endowed, in perpetuity, for the preservation and conservation of wildlife for the benefit of humanity and future generations – wildlife tourism.
You will have the opportunity to enjoy the Acoli traditional hospitality and to see, feel, hear, smell, and taste the Acoli culture – cultural tourism.
The economic and long term developmental benefit of your visit flows directly to the Acoli community who supplied the building materials which the local artisans and craftsmen used during construction. The Heritage Safari Lodge is owned and managed by William Olwoch-Lalobo – a dedicated, hardworking and proud Acoli investor and entrepreneur. He is an energetic and engaging personality, standing at six feet – sustainable developmental tourism.
The Lodge is located on the northern bank of the Nile in the place of origin of the Acoli tribe. So right now you nestle in the place where the ancient Acoli tribe first settled, in the fifteenth century, during the southward Luo migration from north western South Sudan.
You are welcome to the ancestral home of the Acoli tribe. The round hut, called “0t”, was built using local wood and grass. The design is traditional and ethnic in character. It is a low energy structure. The interior has been re-modelled in order to accommodate modern fixtures. The compound lay-out is not the typical circular arrangement of the traditional Acoli homestead. It has been designed to facilitate game viewing from the comfort of your hut rather than for protection against the slave trade attacks of yesteryear. For want of a better word the “ot” at Heritage Safari Lodge is an “organic building.” In the moonlight the silhouette looks like a giant mushroom dotting the landscape – eco-tourism.
In the book “Uganda to Khartoum- Life and Adventure on the Upper Nile,” (E.P. Dutton & Co New York 1906), Rev Albert B. Lloyd wrote in reference to the Acoli tribe:
“They build very fine houses…. A circular wall is made of strong stakes covered with mud about four feet high, and from the wall is built a beehive-shaped roof with grass thatch put on in long circular ridges. They are kept clean inside.”
J.H. Driberg in “The Lango. A Nilotic Tribe of Uganda” (T. Fisher Unwin Ltd 1923) described:
“Ot (the hut) is a circular dome-shaped structure, the roof being thatched with grass arranged in flounces.”
Working as a young District Officer in Acoli region in the 1930s, Rennie Bere who later became the first Chief Game Warden wrote in “A Cuckoo’s Parting Cry – Life and Work in UGANDA 1930 – 1960 (Cedar Publishing Ltd. Cheltenham.UK)
“One particular memory is of my first proper look at an Acoli village where I was much impressed by the neat round huts with their evenly stepped thatching, each one a craftsman’s job. The huts were arranged in a circle round an empty space swept clean several times a day.”
Read more about the Lodge’s design concepts and the experience of the Lodge environments in the Poems entitled – The Creative Mind, The Riverside Experience at Heritage Safari Lodge, and The Butterfly- the flying flower.
In respect of Acoli hospitality, Rennie Berre narrated the experience of Colonel H. A. Lilley, District Commissioner at Torit, the most southerly district in the Sudan. He was well known and liked by many Acoli of the older generation having previously surveyed the Acoli/Lango boundary:
“The Acoli were quite willing to fight, if you sent an expedition against them. But if you just walked into their villages, they welcome you and killed a bull for you instead – killing a bull and sharing out the meat was their way of showing hospitality”
Welcome to “Wang Kac” – the open gate to the Heritage Safari Lodge. Read more about the concept of the “open gate” in the poem entitled – Wang Kac. Other related Poems include: The Hands That Serve You, and Your time With Us.
The Acoli had great admiration, and respect for Sir Samuel Baker and Lady Sarah Baker, holding both in the highest regard and esteem. Read more about this in the booklet – The Trail of Sir Samuel Baker and Lady Florence Baker.