October 7, 2015
CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL SAFARI
Written By Admin
HISTORICAL SITES IN UGANDA
Uganda society is still predominantly rural with 80% of the population living in rural areas. Traditional customs and lifestyles are still alive in many parts of country, which adds spice to the tourist experience. Ugandans generally have a reputation for openness, and a friendly attitude to visitors. There are various peoples that make up Uganda and each group has their own traditional customs and way of life. These customs are kept alive by many colorful ceremonies marking specific historical events or celebrating the seasons of the year. Spontaneous dancing and music are often welcome to observe these ceremonies- although as a courtesy
tourists should always seek permission before taking photographs. The populace of three major groups the Nilotics and Luo speaking people in the Northern and the Bantu speaking in the southern part of the country. With a population of approximately 32million, Uganda has over 30 different linguistic groups, and an equally diverse cultural mosaic of music, art and handcraft to which visitors are welcome.
Elsewhere, Uganda’s cultural diversity is boosted the northeast by the presence of the Karimojong, traditional pastoralists whose lifestyle and culture is reminiscent of the renowned Maasai, and in the northwest by a patchwork of agricultural peoples whose Nilotic languages and cultures are rooted in what is now Sudan. The Rwenzori foothills are home to the hardy Bakonjo, whose hunting shrines are dedicated to a one-legged, one-armed, one-eyed pipe-smoking spirit known as Kalisa, while the Bagisu of the Mount Elgon region are known for their colorful imbalu ceremony, an individual initiation to manhood that peaks in activity in and around August of every even numbered year.
Kingdoms in Uganda:
At the cultural heart of modern day Uganda lie the Bantu speaking kingdom of Buganda, Bunyoro, Busoga, Ankole and Toro, whose traditional monarchs were once abolished by President Milton Obote in 1967. When reinstated in the 1990s, the kingdoms resumed serve as important cultural figureheads and each has a remarkable historical trail worthy a visit once in the country. In these cultural trails you will enjoy a visit to the Kasubi tombs in Kampala where three former kings of Buganda were buried, the coronation site at Naggalabi Buddo, the cultural sites among others:
Buddo Naggalabi coronation site. This is where the kabakas of Buganda have been crowned for the past 700 years. It is said that Buganda accession ceremonies take place on Buddo Hill because it’s believed that Buddo Hill is where Kintu, the first Kabaka of Buganda, killed his brother Bemba and declared himself king in the 13th century. This is the single-most important site in the Buganda culture and lies in the heart of Buganda kingdom. The coronation of Sabassajja Kabaka Ronald Kimera Mutebi II, which was attended by tens of thousands of people, took place at Naggalabi on 31st July, 1993.
Kasubi Tombs. This is globally recognized as a major Heritage site. It is where four of the former Kings of Buganda were buried they are Mutesa 1 from 1856 to 1884, Mwanga 2 from 1884 to 1897, Daudi Chwa 2 from 1897 to 1937, Sir Edward Mutesa from 1939 to 1969 the father of the present king now . It is a royal palace enclosure that was first built in 1881. Here there are huge traditional reed and bark cloth buildings of the kabakas (kings) of Buganda Kingdom. The Kasubi Tombs, also known as the Ssekabaka’s Tombs, are the royal tombs where the four former kabakas of Buganda are buried. This site is a masterpiece of human creativity both in its conception and execution. It bears eloquent witness to the living cultural traditions of the Buganda. The spatial organization of the Kasubi Tombs represents the best example of a Buganda palace or architectural ensemble. Built in the finest traditions of the Ganda architecture and palace design, it reflects technical achievements developed over many centuries. The Kasubi Tombs constitute a site embracing almost 30 ha of hillside within Kampala district. Most of the site is agricultural, farmed by traditional methods. At its core on the hilltop is the former palace of the Kabakas of Buganda, built in 1882 and converted into the royal burial ground in 1884. Four royal tombs now lie within the Muzibu Azaala Mpanga, the main building, which is circular and surmounted by a dome. It is a major example of an architectural achievement in organic materials, principally wood, thatch, reed, wattle and daub. The site’s main significance lies, however, in its intangible values of belief, spirituality, continuity and identity.
Karuzika palace of Bunyoro kingdom. This is the official residence of the king of Bunyoro. The kingdom of Bunyoro is as a result of three dynasties; the Batembuzi dynasty, the Bachwezi dynasty and the Babiito dynasty. The first kings were of the Batembuzi dynasty. Batembuzi means harbingers or pioneers. The batembuzi and their reign are not well documented, and are surrounded by a lot of myth and oral legend. The second dynasty is that of the Bacwezi. They are credited with the founding of the ancient empire of Kitara; which included areas of present day central, western, and southern Uganda; northern Tanzania, western Kenya, and eastern Congo. Very little is documented about them. Their entire reign was shrouded in mystery, so much so that they were accorded the status of demi gods and worshipped by various clans. The bachwezi dynasty was followed by the babiito dynasty of the current Omukama of Bunyoro-Kitara. Any attempt to pinpoint the dates of this, or any other dynasty before it, is pure conjecture; as there were no written records at the time. Modern day historians place the beginning of the Babiito dynasty at around the time of the invasion of Bunyoro by the Luo from the North. The first mubiito (singular) king was Isingoma Mpuga Rukidi I, whose reign is placed around the 14th century. To date, there have been a total of 27 Babiito kings of Bunyoro-Kitara.
According to oral tradition, these centuries- old kingdoms are offshoots of the medieval kingdoms of Batembuzi, and Bachwezi, which lay in the vicinity of present day Mubende and Ntusi, especially at Bigo bya mugenyi where archaeological evidence suggests that a strongly centralized polity had emerged by the 11th century. The Bachwezi are said to be demi gods, are believed to have occupied Bigo bya Mugenyi and other parts of central
And western Uganda between the 11th and 16th centuries, however nobody knows why they disappeared or where they went but their places of abode are still revered.
Bigo bya Mugenyi is a complex and mysterious trench system occupying 334 acre of forestland; the longest trench (10km) forms an extensively rugged C-shape around a series of other internal trenches (4km) constructing `islands` linked by bushy paths.
Fast recorded in 1902 and surveyed in 1921, the trenches if were to be manually dug today, they would require 1,000men digging for a year, as estimated by archaeologist Merrick Ponansky. The shrine is a common place for people seeking blessings from the gods.
Omukama of Toro located on Fort Portal’s highest hill. The Omukama of Toro is so far the youngest King in Uganda and the whole world. He succeeded his father’s throne when he was only four years old following the premature death of his father. At 17 years of age, he is the world’s youngest ruling monarch. Toro is one of the four traditional kingdoms located within the borders of Uganda. It was founded in 1830 when the Omukama Kaboyo Olimi I, the eldest son of Omukama Nyamutukura Kyebambe III, rebelled and established his own independent kingdom. Incorporated back into Bunyoro-Kitara in 1876, it reasserted its independence in 1891. Like Buganda, Bunyoro and Busoga, Toro’s monarchy was abolished in 1967 by the government of Uganda, but was re-instated in 1993. Toro has had 15 kings ever since it became an independent monarchy.
Nyakasura historical cave locally known as Amabeere ga nyinamwiru (Breast Caves). It is locally believed that these were formerly breasts of the ancient princess of Chwezi Kingdom and that they were cut off and grew into a good scenic rock “dripping with milk”. According to this legend, the beautiful girl, called Nyinamwiru, misbehaved and she was punished by cutting off her breasts.
Ankole kingdom. It is one of the four traditional kingdoms of Uganda. It was ruled by a monarch known as The Omugabe (king). The Ankole Kingdom was formerly abolished by the government of President Milton Obote (RIP) in 1967, and is still not officially restored. On October 25th 1901, the kingdom of Ankole was incorporated into the British Protectorate of Uganda by the signing of the Ankole Agreement. Due to the rearranging of the country by Idi Amin, Ankole does no longer exist as an administrative unit. It is divided into six districts namely, Bushenyi, Ntungamo, Mbarara, Ibanda, Kiruhura and Isingiro.
National Museum where there’s a unique collection of ethnological exhibits covering hunting, agriculture, war, religion, witchcraft and natural history as well as a great collection of the traditional musical instruments.
Bahia Temple is the only temple of this religious sect in Africa. Work on it began in May 1957 and it was opened to the public in January 1961.
Makerere University-this is the oldest and most prestigious university in East and Central Africa.
Kasubi Tombs-this is a huge dome-like structure that houses the remains of four former Buganda Kings.
Kabakas Lake-the Lake was dig out on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga in the 1880s as an “escape corridor“ to Lake Victoria, but the actual link to the big lake was never achieved as he was driven from the capital by Muslim dissenters.
St. Paul’s Namirembe Cathedral-Since 1892 churches have been built on top of Namirembe Hill. With a spectacular view of Kampala, St. Paul’s Cathedral (Anglican) was constructed between 1915 and 1919.
St.Marys Cathedral Rubaga located on the hilltop of Rubaga, previously the royal palace of Kabaka Mutesa.
Kabakas Palace-this interesting feature consist of two large palaces, connected by a straight road to the Buganda seat of Govemment the Bulange.
Ssezibwa falls– which is reported to have been a favorite spot of King Mwanga and Mutesa 11 both of whom planted trees there that still flourish today this is a site kwon for its spectacular falls that subsides into two small rivers that were borne by a lady known as (Nakangu) and the smartly spilt, one heading northeast to Lake Kyoga and the other northwest to the Nile. Not surprisingly they are called the Twin River,
The Uganda Martyrs were laymen in the Kings palace at the time of the coming of the Christian missionaries who were invited by Kabaka Mutesa 1 in his letter dated 14th April 1875 and published in the Daily Telegraph of 15th November 1875 in England.
Among the Uganda martyrs were 2 Basoga, 2 Banyoro, 1 Mutoro and 17 Baganda. With them were 23 Anglican (Protestants) Martyrs and 70 Moslem martyrs. These enthusiastic and energetic young men demonstrated a very good example and proved that they could actively participate in the development of the church and the spread of the gospel and still remain faithful to their king and the country. Nevertheless they did not live to their dream as they were killed between 1885 and 1887 during the reign of king Mwanga 11 of Buganda about 6 years since the arrival of Christianity into Uganda.
Today every spot where the martyrs were killed has a shrine or church or chapel where the faithful gather to venerate the martyrs. Significant shrines are found in Namugongo area which has the Catholic, Protestant and Moslem memorial center. Others can be found in Mityana, Munyonyo, Busega and Kyenjojo in western Uganda.
Places were most of the Martyrs met their death:
Busega. This is the fist sight where the Anglican missionaries set up a church. At this place Mark Kabuka 15to 16 years, Joseph Lugalama between 11and12 years, and Noa Sserwanga about 17 years were killed on 31st January at about 9am.
Ndeba Monument. This is where the last martyr, St.John Mary Muzeeyi 35 years to be sentenced by King Mwanga on 27th January 1887 was executed, as he could not desist from his Christian practices even after the execution of his fellow converts.
Mengo. This was King Mwanga 11s palace where the some of the Martyrs were sentenced to death. Mwanga lived here with all his palace officials and wives till the time when the palace was burnt down and relocated to Munyonyo area.
Old Kampala. At this site is where St Matia Mulumba 50 years was killed 27th to 30 May 1886. His limbs were cut off; strips of flesh cut off from his back and stayed in this mood without complaint for 3 days praying for his country and executioners.
Saints Balikuddembe and Bazekuketta. This is where the first catholic martyrs were killed on 15th November 1885. He had condemned King Mwanga for having ordered the killing of Bishop Hannington a missionary who had came to evangelize in Buganda. St Balikuddembe the leader of all the Christians in the Kings palace was beheaded and his body thrown on fire.
St. Bazekuketa was killed on his way to Namugongo from Munyonyo on 27th may 1886 as he requested to be killed at the same site where their leader St. Balikudembe was killed.
Munyonyo. There are three sites in this area. The king’s palace/ court, St Andrew Kagwas shrine killed 26th may 1886 at 30 years of age, and St. Ssebugwawos monument He was speared by King Mwanga Personally and later killed on 26th May 1886 at the age 16 year by Mukajanga. The Kings palace/court was brought to this place after Mengo palace was struck by lightening on 22nd February 1886. On the 24th of February, the King, Katikiro and other palace officials shifted the palace to Munyonyo.
St. Ponsian Ngongwe. He was part of the kings militia was killed on false accusation of stealing Makajangas cow the 26th may 1886 at Kyamula along Salama road a neighboring village to Munyonyo.
Naalya. This is where St. Gozanga Gonza was speared to death by Mukajanga on 27th May 1886 at the age of 24. He was tired and could not make it to the execution place.
This prompted Mukajanga to spear him to death and let the rest proceed on the journey to the execution site in Namugongo.
Namugongo. On 3rd June 1886 the remaining martyrs that had been condemned to death were persecuted and burnt to death. These included 13 Catholics and 10 Anglicans. They had stayed in this area for a weak being taunted, tormented, by the executioners in hope that some of them could denounce religion but the martyrs were instead praying for their next kingdom in heaven.
Mukajangas hut. Same time later the renown Kingdom executioner Mukajanga also met his death. He was buried at Kakiri where his shrine stands today.
Other martyrs shrines and sites are found all over the country in areas such as Mityana, Kyanjojo, and Gulu. All significant in the countrys tourism industry and Christianity in general.
Kisoro is home to BAFUMBIRA tribe and is the main point for gorilla trekking in South Western Uganda and in neighbouring Rwanda. However, Kisoro doesn’t only offer gorilla trekking: its beautiful surroundings offer an opportunity to undertake several different interesting activities, either individually or in groups. Below is a description of some of these activities.
Just above Ntebeko Gate is a small platform offering a magnificent view of Magahinga National Park and the surrounding area. To the south the three volcanoes, to the north miles of small gardens, Lake Mutanda and the hills of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. To the west a great view of the Western Rift valley in Congo.
Difficulty: easy; walking time: 30 min; distance 1km Garama Cave
Almost 100 years ago there was a conflict between the Batwa (pygmies) and the Bantu population. The Batwa lived in the forests and the Bantu had their gardens and villages. The Batwa raided the Bantu in their villages and disappeared in the forests. The Bantu had no idea that there was a very large cave in the forest where the Batwa were hiding. Garama cave is 342 meters long and today it is only home to bats. During the visit the guide will tell you more about Garama Cave and the history and the life of the Batwa.
Difficulty: easy; walking time: 3 hrs; distance 4 km. NB: bring a torch!
Around 58% of Magahinga National Park is covered with bamboo forest, a delicacy for the Gorillas and the Golden Monkeys. The walk to the top of the Mgahinga Volcano takes us through a very nice example of pure natural bamboo forest. This walk offers a good chance to see the rare Golden Monkey and Bushbucks. At the top (3474m) you will find a good view and a lush swamp in the crater.
Difficulty: moderate; walking time: 6 hrs; distance 6 km; elevation gain: 1100 m.
This walk takes us through the lush vegetation in the gorge of the Sabinyo. It is moist with dense vegetation. A small river at the bottom of the gorge is responsible for creating this paradise over time. At the end of the walk are a small but nice waterfall and a very good view of all the peaks. A good place for lunch! The gorge is a good place for seeing birds, especially the Ruwenzori Turacoo. Golden Monkeys and Duikers can also be spotted.
Difficulty: moderate; walking time: 4 hrs; distance 6 km; elevation gain: very little. NB: bring good walking shoes!
Mount Sabinyo is the oldest of the three volcanoes, quite eroded and that is why it has its name, which means: “teeth of the old man”! This volcano has three challenging peaks. The trail takes you up a ridge along the eastern side to Peak 1. If you wish to continue, the climb to Peak 2 involves walking a ridge with breathtaking drops into the gorges of Rwanda and Uganda. Finally, the hike up to Peak 3 is steep with several ladders and much scrambling. On top of peak 3 (3669m) you will be in Rwanda, Uganda and Congo at the same time! The Sabinyo hike takes you through all different vegetation belts, and you have good chances of seeing Golden Monkeys, Duiker, Rwenzori Turacos and Sunbirds.
Difficulty: you have to be fit! Walking time: 8 hrs; distance 14 km; elevation gain: 1300 m. NB: bring good walking shoes!
This hike takes you first toward Sabinyo. The trail climbs up the base of Sabinyo for a while through fine montane forest before turning towards Congo. Along the way you will get a great view of Sabinyo’s gorge and peaks. Upon reaching Congo you cut back along the international border. The return leg to park head quarters is a great section for birding. The two rest huts along the way are good places for a break. Look closely for the Golden Monkeys and signs of elephants.
Difficulty: moderate; walking time: 8 hrs; distance 10 km; elevation gain: very little. NB: bring good walking shoes!
Yes, free birding along the edge of the park is now available on request. The guides are very happy to take you out from 5-6 pm if you book by 10 am that morning. Birds that can be seen: Ibis, Whydah, Speckled Moosebird, Fire Finch, Stonechat, Grey Capped Warbler, Waxbills and Yellow-Vented Bulbul. NB: bring your binoculars!
Walk with a local guide or on your own through the gardens and villages of the Bufumbira and Bachiga tribes. On your way you will learn a lot about how the people live and work. Often there is the possibility to eat at a local place or sometimes with a family. Other walks take us over the hills to Lake Mutanda and there you can go with a dugout canoe to Python Island and see birds near a swamp.
Difficulty: moderate; walking time: 3-5 hrs; distance 3-8 km; elevation gain: very little.
At Travelers Rest Hotel they have some mountain bikes and with the help of two experienced Dutch cyclists and they have made out 4 routes. Some are challenging and others more easy – but always beautiful! You can also go and take your own routes around the region.
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|Address:||LITTLE FLOWEL OF ST FRANCIS ESTATE NSAMBYA p o box 10135 Kampala, Uganda|
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|Top Travel Voucher:||Gorilla Permits cost usd 500 Nonresidents and usd 475 for East African. So with thatthe ather cost do depend on the place of accommodation and how long is your safari.|
|Contact Email:||You need to be a club member - if you want to see it!|
|Phone Number:||You need to be a club member - if you want to see it!|
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