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Ishanyu Homestead

Homestead Highlights

Ishanyu (which means happiness) is a family farm of pastoralists which depicts a perfect example blending contemporary living with tradition. While many farmers have changed from traditional to exotic cows, Ishanyu still focuses on the Ankole. Experience cattle activities which date back 700 years and are still practiced by the Bahima. Sample activities:

  • Cow milking
  • Prepare and taste ghee and traditional yogurt
  • Taste milk or yoghurt (amakamo) stored in shiny black wooden milk pots
  • Clean traditional milk pots (ebyanzi)
  • Weaving and beading

The Ishanyu Homestead is three hours from Kampala and four kilometers from Mbarara municipality. The home sits on a hill with beautiful views. Nearby places of interest include Lake Mburo National Park and other COBATI homesteads. The area is convenient to the highway to Fort Portal and Queen Elizabeth, Rwenzori, Semliki and Kibale National Parks.


Homestead Hosts

 Katanywa Family

Your hosts at Ishanyu Homestead are the Katanywa family: Mama Mary, her son Steven, and his family. Despite being located in the greater Mbarara Municipality where the once expansive grazing fields are slowly being overtaken by real estate investors, the family retains its farming traditions. The highlight of this homestead visit is the unique traditional hut which houses the milk platform known as orugyegye where the milk pots and accessories are kept. This is the central place of every traditional pastoralist homestead. Mama Mary Katanywa, the family matriarch is always at hand to welcome visitors and, through an interpreter, give a lecture on the culture of the Ankole long horned cow.


 Overnight Accommodations

Sleeps: 2 per room (2 rooms available)

The guest cottage has two guest bedrooms.


Room 1: Private room in guest cottage with double bed, mosquito net, nightstand, electrical outlet Room 2: Private room in guest cottage with double bed, mosquito net, nightstand, electrical outlet


Notes: The home does not have heat, air conditioning, TV, phone, or Internet.


Shared bathroom with other bedroom in guest house – toilet, sink, shower (no bathtub), hot/cold running water


Linens, towels, soap, iron and ironing board


Children: Yes
Elderly: Yes
Wheelchair accessible: No
Smoking: Outside only
Pets: No


For overnight guests there is a one-time charge for participation in any/all of the homestead activities below. Daytime visitors can schedule selected activities (priced individually); for details, please see the Rates section.

Farm chores: cow milking Lecture on Ankole long horned cow and its culture
  • Optional Activities (additional cost applies)

  • Guided community walk
  • Outdoor barbeque lunch or dinner
  • Household chores include ghee and yoghurt making
  • Cleaning traditional milking pots
  • Beading or weaving lesson
  • Relax in the garden and enjoy a cup of African tea while reading a book or appreciating nature

 Overnight Homestay

  • Full Board – Adult: UGX 100,000 per person, per day
  • Homestead Activities – Adult: UGX: 20,000 per person, per visit (one time charge for duration of stay)
  • Full Board – Children below 12 years: UGX 50,000 per person, per day; includes homestead activities

 Day Visitor Activities

Prices are per person.


  • Basket weaving lesson (1 hour): UGX: 20,000
  • Cooking demonstration (1.5 hours): UGX: 20,000
  • Guided community walk (1 hour) UGX: 20,000

 Option Addons

Prices are person.

  • Guided community walk (1 hour) UGX: 20,000
  • Outdoor barbeque lunch or dinner: please inquire


 Food and Beverage

Overnight homestay includes three meals per day with beverages. The following prices are for additional items or food and beverage for day visitors.

  • Breakfast: UGX: 10,000
  • Traditional meal with organic vegetables (no meat): UGX: 15,000
  • Traditional meal (with meat/chicken/fish): UGX: 25,000
  • African tea/coffee and local snacks: UGX: 5,000
  • Bottled water: UGX: 700
  • Coffee/tea: UGX: 1,500
  • Soft drink: UGX: 1,500
Reservation Information

 Terms and Conditions

Reservations: Reservations are required 48 hours in advance for overnight and daytime visits.

Minimum stay: 1 night.

Deposit: No deposit required to hold reservation.

Booking fee: There is a $20 per person booking fee.

Final payment: Full payment for all services (room, food, activities) is due 48 hours before check in, payable to COBATI by Western Union, Moneygram, Mobile Money, or cash in Uganda Shillings. Payment for any additional items added during stay (food, activities, additional nights) is due in cash (Uganda Shillings) to the host family at check out.

Check in / Check out: Times are flexible, to be arranged upon reservation.

Cancellation: Reservations may be cancelled up to 48 hours prior to check in with no penalty. For cancellations made less than 48 hours before check in, full payment is due.

COBATI retains the right to post photos taken of guests at homesteads on the COBATI website and social media pages.