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Uganda’s Heritage

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Archaeological sites

Uganda is famous for numerous archaeological sites of both stone and iron ages. These include:

Nyero Rock Paintings Site

The Nyero rock paintings are located in eastern Uganda in Kumi District, 8 km west of Kumi town, about 250 km from the capital city Kampala. The Nyero rock paintings are among the most important rock art in Uganda. Most of it is geometric art with circular, rectangular, sausage, dot and lines making up the basic shapes.

Bigo Bya Mug(y) enyi

Bigo Bya Mugyenyi, locally translated as “The Fort of the Stranger” is believed to be the place inhabited by the Bachwezi (also the Chwezi), who were said to be demigods. The Bachwezi have no clear historical background and up to today, their identity still remains a mystery. According to the legends and local traditions, the Archaeological site was dug out to shelter the Chwezi Empire from intrusions or incursions from other foreigners such as the Luo from South Sudan.

This Site is situated in Mawogola County at around 50 kilometers from Sembabule town Center. While at this Site, you will indulge in a cultural walk in the company of an armed guard for security and a trained tour guide who will lead you to the Jungles nestled on a rugged landscape that takes you to the gate of this magnificent Site called Kabeho.

Nsongezi rock Shelter

The shelters are situated along the banks of River Kagera and Kikagati trading center. Nsongezi caves and rock shelters are the best archaeological sites, only famous in the entire Uganda for the late Stone Age Microlith and dimple based pottery. The site came to existence way back in 9th century. These shelters feature several excavations of stratified pottery shards of about 1000 AD. Along these rock shelters, you will also find the Kansyore Island next to River Kagera. The Island was occupied by the rulers of Nkore, Ntare of the time and Rwanga as refuge. To date it is used as a holiday resort. Visitors can access the Nsongezi rock shelters and the Kansyore through the Kampala-Kabale route past oruchinga refugees settlement. If you are in Mbarara, they are accessible about 64 kilometers. Alternatively, you can take the Mbarara-Kitagati route and between 24 and 26 kilometers from Mbarara you will also find the Buchunku Stanley memorial and the Bweyorere capital sites. This is where the famous explorer H.M. Stanley made blood brotherhood with Buchunku on 23rd July 1889. Buchunku represented the King of Nkore, Ntare ‘V’ while Bweyorere which is located nearly three quarter kilometers, off Mbarara-Kikagati route was a capital site for two rulers of the Nkore, Kasasira and Karara kingdom. Do not miss to see the low mounds all over the site that might have been the shelter sites and cow dung heaps. There is also pottery widely spread in the site

Nakaima tree

 

The Nakayima Tree is a historical site located in Mubende district. Many tourists both local and international visited and continue visiting this tree. To the local people in Mubende, this tree is viewed as a source of blessing. They do perform rituals in the name of getting blessings from this place.

Kibiro salt producing village

Kibiro is a small fishing village in Kigorobya sub-county, Hoima District and lies on the south-eastern shore of Lake Albert. The process of salt production in Kibiro is a bit more sophisticated than others. Kibiro salt producing village demonstrates a unique example of an industry which has sustained its people for eight to nine hundred years ago and continues to do so perhaps for posterity from fishing on Lake Albert, the people of Kibiro have depended on the production of ash salt which is obtained by recycling residual earth with fresh soil which is spread on salt gardens for the salty water to get absorbed by capillary system. Through repeated scraping, spreading and heaping of the salty soil over a seven days period, it is leached and the scam is boilt to crystallisation point to produce the ash salt. The residual soil from leaching is then mixed with fresh soil to repeat the salt production process.

Salt production was and is a female hereditary occupation. Before the introduction of metallic vessels, pottery ware was used during the leaching and boiling processes and this is evidenced by the rich archaeological depositions of potsherds throughout the village going as deep as 4 metres and dating to between eight and nine hundred years to the present.

Natural Sites

Uganda is famous for numerous Natural Sites. These include:

The source of the Nile

River Nile is the longest river in Africa with Lake Victoria as its source. The river starts its 6,500km journey to the Mediterranean Sea from Jinja town in Uganda and holds the Owen Falls Dam the source of hydroelectricity.

If in doubt on how the name Nile come about, it’s a famous Greek word simply meaning valley. The river flows from the surrounding areas close to the equator to the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The river is about 6696km long and pours its waters in Egypt.

Amabeere Ga Nyinamwiru

The Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru Caves means “the breasts of Nyina Mwiru. In the local tradition; Toro folklore has it that the caves acquired the name after King Bukuku of Toro chopped off the breasts of his daughter Nyina Mwiru and had them thrown inside these caves, following a prophecy that the daughter would one day get married and have a son, Ndahura, who would kill the king and take over his throne. According to local legend, the prophecy came true.

In reality – the scientific explanation is that the so-called breasts are in reality stalactites and are made up of calcium carbonate when blended with water drip down and form the stalactites that you will find here. The water dripping made to look milky by the calcium carbonate is called “breast milk” by the local people who live near the Amabere Caves.

Sempaya Hot Springs

The Sempaya Hot Springs are Semuliki’s most famous attraction. The “male” spring known as ‘Bintente’, measures 12m in diameter and is set in a lush swampy clearing.

The “female” spring known as ‘Nyasimbi’, meaning “the female ancestors”, is a boiling geyser (103°C) which spurts bubbling water and steam up to two meters high – the steam cloud can be seen from as far as 2 kilometers away. Local people used to cook their food inn these boiling pools.

Ihimba Hotsprings

Located 8kms South of Kabale town along Kabale-Katuna Road, Western Uganda, these hot springs are believed to have healing properties. They are said to cure people with ailments including backache, rheumatism among other ailments.

The water from these hot springs has also been found to contain varying amounts of minerals and chemicals believed to be of medicinal use. The minerals and chemicals include calcium sulphate, sodium chloride, magnesium, potassium chloride and lithium sulphate

Kitagata Hotsprings

Kitagata Hot Springs are natural hot springs located in Sheema District, Western Uganda. They are approximately 1.5 kilometres by road, east of Kitagata urban center in Sheema District. The springs are also about 350km from Kampala, Uganda’s Capital city and about 72 kilometres west of Mbarara Town.

The hot springs are commonly known as ‘Mulago Hot Spring’ as they are believed by local people to have healing powers.’ Mulago’ means hospital. It is estimated that close to 800 people with different ailments flock to the springs to bathe daily in the warm water.  The water in the springs can warm up to 80 °C (176 °F).

Kiwa Heritage Site

Kiwa Heritage is a nature and cultural conservation centre, with a hotsprings for warm bathing that is believed to have healing powers for a wide range of ailments as well a great relaxing effect on your body. Also at the site stands Bukangama community museum that stores the history and aspirations of the communities of Rwenzori region. A river side beach next Nyamwamba river is another wonderful sight of the mighty river. A big fish pond at the site is another stress relieving feature where sport fishing is practiced as well as fish-fry and eat.

Amoropii Hotsprings

Amoropii hot springs are located in northern Uganda about three kilometers from Panyimur fishing village of Nebbi District on the western shores of Lake Albert.

The locals believe the hotsprings have divine powers and that the gods of Amoropii reside in the hot spring.  Barren women, people with different ailments including those who want to bleach their skin bathe in this hot spring. Sacrifices of animals are made regularly by the locals to appease the gods of Amoropii.  Superstition has it that to visit the hot spring one requires clearance from the Prime Minister of the Panyimur Chiefdom to avoid getting misfortune.

Kisizi Falls

The Kisiizi Falls are located in western Uganda, Rukungiri District on Kanyabaha River and drop about 30 metres distance into a canyon.  The falls provide Hydro- Electric Power to the Kisiizi Hospital. The falls are about 426km from Kampala City.

Ssezibwa Falls

Located in Mukono about 35km east of Kampala City; the falls are on Ssezibwa River with a source in the wetlands between Lake Victoria and Lake Kyoga West of Buikwe District. From Buikwe the river flows northwards through Mukono into Lake Kyoga in Kayunga District. The water flows down a ridge for a height of about 7 meters. The flow of the water down the steep ridged stones results in a magnificent sound of soothing water.

The falls are most spiritual and cultures centres for the native who flock to site in hundreds for blessings in the form of wealth, love, children, business and fortunes. The site is also believed to have healing power.The blessing ceremonies are performed by a traditional healer around the site.

Local folk believe that the two rivers Ssezibwa and Bwanda were born by a woman on her way to Kavuma Bukunja when she experienced labour pains. Nakkungu Tebatuusa whose husband was called Nsubuga Sebwato gave birth to twins in form of water. Sezibwa flowed west, passing many obstacles hence deriving its name, while Bwanda flowed towards Nyenga in Eastern Uganda to the mothers’ homeland.

Murchison Falls

Murchison Falls also called Kabalega is a waterfall on the lower Victoria Nile River in northwestern Uganda located 32 km east of Lake Albert. It breaks the Victoria Nile, which flows across northern Uganda from Lake Victoria to Lake Kyoga and then to the north end of Lake Albert in the western branch of the East African Rift.

While at the top of Murchison falls, you will get the opportunity to experience a spectacular site of the Nile compressing from up to 1 km squeeze through a 7 meter canyon dropping 45 meters with a thunderous roar creating a beautiful rainbow, a plume of spray and the best thing that happened to the Nile.

The falls are named after geologist Sir Roderick Murchison who visited the falls In the mid-1860s with Sir Samuel White Baker.

Sipi falls

Located 60kms from Mbale town on the Kapchorwa road, Sipi Falls are a series of three beautiful waterfalls formed by the Sipi River on the slopes of Mount Elgon. A visitor can take guided nature walks around the area.

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