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Ten Ugandan Historical Sites You Last Saw in Your SST Text Book

Uganda is not only endowed with awesome physical features but also great historical sites. Most of these we last saw or heard about them in our Social Studies (SST) books. Many Ugandans will prefer to go for honeymoon abroad yet they have never visited these amazing sites.  Maybe it is time to become tourists in our own home.

1.  Fort Pakito

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This is one amazing historical site in Uganda which is rarely talked about. The strategically located fort is believed to be 136 years old and stands on top of Ocecu hill in present day Gulu district found in northern Uganda. Re-known explorer Sir Samuel Baker over run the slave habour which had been constructed by Arab traders as a trench to avoid the escape of captives. He expelled over 250 Arabs and fortified the place hence the name it is known today. the fort is enclosed by a 16 feet wide and 15 feet deep and covers about 9.4 hectares.

2. Entebbe War Memorial

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3. Nakayima tree

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Nakayima tree is 40 meters high and is estimated be 400-500 years old. Located on top of Mubende Hill on Kampala-Fort portal Road.  Just a look at the root structure of the tree, will show you four formed wide spaces known to be resting rooms each for Ddahula, Nalongo Jajja Mukasa, Jajja Musoke and Kilunda.  People go there to seek blessings especially fertility.

4.  Nyero rock paintings.

cueva-de-las-manos The Nyero rock paintings are pre-historic paintings believed to be 765 or more years old (dating back to before 1250 AD!). Located in Kumi district, Eastern Uganda, the paintings were first documented in 1913. Many historians have argued that the paintings are credited to the Batwa (Twa) hunter-gatherers who are of Pygmy origin, and are today, only found in small groups in the far western part of Uganda. Many believe that they (Batwa), once lived in the general area of these rock art sites, probably moving on due to the arrival of the present inhabitants (Nilotic, luo and Bantu groups). These beautiful paintings are a representation of the rich cultural identity of the people of Iteso, Uganda, and Africa as a whole.

Until today, mystery still surrounds who painted them since no one openly has history relating to the actual individuals who painted them. The red and white paintings are believed to represent sacred places of gods according to the current inhabitants of the region, the itesots.

5. Sezibwa falls

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These falls lie 35km east of Kampala in the Vanilla growing district of Mukono district. The spectacular waterfalls are believed to have been born by humans many hundred years ago. The falls are one of the most spiritual and cultural centres where many natives flock for blessings, wealth, and fortunes. A traditional healer performs ceremonies for those seeking love, children, a successful business deal or a good harvest.

6. Katereke Prison Ditch

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Katereke prison ditch is one of the major symbols of tyranny and dictatorship in the pre-historic Uganda. It represents a history of brutal and vicious incidents in Buganda’s history. It is believed to have been constructed by the late Kabaka Kalema during the late 1880s. He constructed the ditch to be torturing chambers of all princes and princess whom he suspected to be his rivals. Many of these rivals were rounded up and exiled at Katereke for fear that they would one day overthrow him. These prisoners were later slaughtered without mercy.

 

7. Wamala tombs

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These beautiful and spectacular tombs are found on a hill in Nabweru Sub-county, Wakiso district. The dome structure makes the traditional site very attractive from a far. The tombs, are the burial site of Buganda’s King, Suuna II who was the 29th king of Buganda Kingdom.

Ssekabaka Ssuna II is remembered as the first Kabaka of Buganda to be buried with his law intact. The word Kabaka according to Ssebabenge, comes from the phrase: “Kano kaba kani?” (Whose jaw is this?) This is because upon the Kabaka’s death, his jaw would be removed and his widows would be asked whose jaw it was.

8. The Kasubi Tombs.

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These magnificent traditional tombs, are the royal burial grounds of the Buganda Kings accredited by UNESCO world Heritage site. They are located just outside Kampala and reaching there is only an hour’s drive from the city. According to the Baganda, it is also considered a spiritual site and center for the kingdom. The recorded former kings of Buganda buried here are four (successive) and they are are the following;

  • Muteesa I (1835-1884)
  • Mwanga II (1867- 1903)
  • Daudi Chwa (1896-1939)
  • Sir Edward Mutesa II (1924-1969)

Sadly, the tombs burned in 2010 but are being restored by a campaign led by Buganda’s Prime Minister Mayiga named “Etoffali”.

9. Amabere Ga Nyinamwiru

dsc00016_stalactites_in_grapevine_gulch_bThis site is overwhelmingly spectacular. It houses an many caves, waterfalls and a hot spring. Amabere ga nyinamwiru is located 10 km from Fort Portal in Kabarole district in western Uganda. The site is best described and admired for its rare display of beautiful stalagmites and stalactites in form of breasts which release milky substances almost every after 25 seconds.

 

Mystery surrounds history relating to this amazing site. Under the Tooro Kingdom culture, it is believed that Nyamwiru, a princess of Toro and Bunyoro Kingdoms never wanted to marry the man her father had wanted her to marry. When she refused, her breasts were cut off as a punishment for the disrespect of her father. There is also a contradicting version which says that she boldly cut off the breasts herself in protest against her father’s wish. Either way as it happened, her breasts turned into rocks dripping with milk and hence the formation of the site

10. Bulange building

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This is the traditional seat of the Buganda Parliament standing on the south side of Natete road. It is one of the most impressive colonial era building in Uganda.

Bulange is one of the most significant buildings found in the palace (Lubiri). It hosts the Kingdom`s administration and its Parliament where the Kabaka meets members of the Buganda Lukiiko (Buganda Parliament). Before Bulange building was constructed, members of the Lukiiko used to sit under trees on grass but later, they decided to build the Lukiiko sit which was grass thatched. Later, Sir Apollo Kaggwa who was the then Prime Minister decided to build a new Bulange with bricks. He gave the contract to an Indian Alidina Visram and work was started in 1902 (although other sources say work begun in 1885).

Now you have plot. Next time you are looking for a destination you know where to go.

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  1. charliebeau Diary of a Muzungu

    June 7, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    What a great round-up! My friend’s dad is head of the clan that looks after Fort Patiko – hoping to visit there this year and write all about it on my blog … http://www.diaryofamuzungu.com
    I love the interior of Bulange. The wooden carvings of the different totems are uniquely beautiful

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Travel

Traveling to Ssese Islands for World Tourism Day? Here are 5 things you should know

On Wednesday September 27th, 2017, Uganda will join the rest of the world to commemorate this year’s World Tourism Day.

The day that was adopted in 1980 by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), is a day meant to raise awareness on the contribution of sustainable tourism to development among public and private sector decision-makers and the international community, while mobilizing all stakeholders to work together in making tourism a catalyst for positive change.

This year’s celebrations will be held in Ssese Islands (Kalangala District) on Lake Victoria. Want to take part or want to know key things about the beautiful islands? We have compiled key things you should know and here they are;

  1. About Ssese Islands

Ssese is a group of islands found in the western part of the large Lake Victoria, within Kalangala district. It has 84 tiny islands which vary in size from the less than 10,000 sq km to more 40 kilometers in length. Bugala is the largest and most popular island with the best lodges/hotels. Other islands include Bulago Island which is a small island closer to the lake-shore that is run by a resort, Bukasa Island a small island containing Father Christopher‘s guest house, Banda Island another small island, more remote, that also has a guest house, Bubeke and Bufumira islands among others.

Victoria Forest Resort Ariel View on Bugala Island (Photo by Victoria Forest Resort)

  1. How to get there

There are two ways to get to Bugala Island from the mainland. The first way is to use the ferry that departs daily from Nakiwogo (in Entebbe) to Kalangala Bay – Lutoboka. It departs at 2:00pm taking about 3.5 hours to Kalangala. It then returns from Kalangala daily back to Nakiwogo at 8:00 am. The charges are UGX 15,000 per individual for 1st class and UGX 10,000 for 2nd class.

The second way is through another ferry which departs from Bukakata site (in Masaka) and lands at Bugoma on the other end of Bugala Island. Its departure times are 8:00 am, 11:30 am, 1:30 pm and then 4:00 pm from Bukakata and returns from Bugoma at 9:00 am, 12:30 pm, as 2:30 pm and then 5:00 pm, as well.

MV Kalangala making it’s way to the Islands. (Photo by nirsha)

3. Where to stay on the Ssese Islands

Not sure where to stay on the beautiful islands? Kalangala’s superb natural assets are on display in an array of accommodations from wilderness lodges and boutique sandstone hotels to stunning steel and glass edifices that skirt the glorious lake shores.

Accommodation choices on the Islands are numerous. Eco-friendly hostels in prime positions suit the young and budget-conscious, while luxury retreats and island resorts cater to the well-heeled and those who like their adventure mixed with comfort.

Jumia Travel compiled a list of 13 lodges/hotels where you can stay including their price ranges. Here is the complete list.

Lake view at Brovad Sands Lodge. (Photo by Jumia Travel)

  1. Top things to do (and see) on the Islands

The Islands come with an opportunity to do a wide range of fun filled activities. The first natural thing you can do is to relax and chill on the islands. Depending on your travel arrangement or with the lodge, you can engage in other activities like mountain biking, fishing, sunset cruises, nature walks, camp and beach fires, bird watching and the list is really, really endless.

The islands are also home to the famous damula tree used to make spears and can only be found on this island in Uganda.

A tale of romance and the sunset at Ssese islands Resort Hotel.

  1. Join the World Tourism Day Celebrations

On Wednesday 27th, a lot of activities will take place and these include the Wild Run- Kalangala, launch of the Kalangala Zoo, Boat Regatta, Wresting ( Ekigwo Gumbya), Tag of War and Cooking competition by Miss Tourism contestants and so much more. Why don’t you just head to the official Visit Uganda website for more information on what you can participate in? Click here to head there right now!

Like this story or have something to share? Write to us: info@thisisuganda.org, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Travel

11 Reasons why you should NEVER, ever visit Lake Bunyonyi

1. First of all Lake Bunyonyi is not beautiful

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2. There is literally nothing breathtaking to see. Just move along

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3. There are even too many islands to navigate

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4. The locals have wedding rides on boats. 

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5. Not a good place to go for honeymoon. Don’t you agree?

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6. Look at the birds at Lake Bunyonyi. They are not cute.

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7. Even the animals too. 

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8. We wouldn’t recommend you waking up to this view in the morning while on holiday, reallyimg_0087-02

9. The sunset at Lake Bunyonyi? Not spectacular at all. Don’t you think so?

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10. Look at the sunrise even. Always misty. 

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11. Whatever you do, just stay away from Lake Bunyonyi

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