Are you an archaeologist or anthropologist? Are you planning your safari in Uganda? African safaris are never complete without cultural safaris! Think about the most thrilling cultural experiences or exceptional historical, archaeological, memorial sites and count Uganda a must to visit destination. Uganda offers more than wildlife adventures! A trip to this stunning destination allows you to explore its cultural and archaeological sites that reward the endeavors with lifetime experiences. If you checked about Uganda, the first thing for you to see would the mountain gorillas or the big game and yet also it’s a hotspot for cultural safaris in Africa. Looking at the Southwestern region, there is more for you to explore and you will certainly be thrilled by its abundance beyond just wildlife as seen below;
The Nsongezi caves and rock shelters
If you have ever heard about the story of the Stone Age, then this is the best spot for you to visit. 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 which is Uganda’s only thriving archaeological site.
Do not miss to explore other historical sites and monuments around Mbarara especially the Nkokonjeru tombs at Kakika about 3 and half kilometers west of Mbarara town. The tomb site is where the 2 Kings of Ankole, Kahaya II and Sir Godfrey Gasyonga II are found.
As you head to Kamukuzi, you will find the Ankole capital and the relics of the old palace. The drums house still exists and you will have a chance to visit the stunning monument in the memory of the Late Nuwa Mbaguta the Prime Minister (Enganzi) of Ankole. Within Mbarara town, there is the peace memorial site the parade square just in front of the old police headquarters and the Ntare Stanley memorial site around Mbarara central government prison.
Head to Ibanda trading center about 60 kilometers North of Mbarara and explore the Galt memorial site, a heap of stones arranged in a cone marking the site at which gait one of the colonial assistant commissioner was killed by Rutaraka. This event caused arrests and banishment of Bahinda princes; Igumira and Rwakakaiga.
Visit the Kitagata hot springs just near Kitagata hospital about 40 kilometers form Mbarara-Ishaka route. The place is naturally stunning with papyrus swamp along it and it is a healing site for most locals as most of them flock into the site early in the morning and late in the evening for bathing. As you head to Kabale town besides its stunning and misty hills and terraced gardens, you will also catch a glimpse of 2 natural sites.
Visit Kisiizi falls on River, Rushoma, Kyabamba and Lake Bunyonyi. Traditionally these sites were used as a dumping ground for Bakiga premarital pregnant girls. Girls whose legs and arms were weak would be rolled over the waterfalls of about 15 meters high or thrown into the deep Crater Lake. The practice has however stopped as the church of Uganda was set up the Kisiizi hospital in 1958. Currently, these two sites are magnificent tourist attractions. The waterfalls also inhabit several birdlife and a trip to the area also rewards with spectacular views.
|THE KISIIZI FALLS|
In conclusion, there are a lot more waiting for you to explore while on safari to Southwestern Uganda. Cultural safaris in Southwestern Uganda can be combined with mountain gorilla trekking adventures in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park. There are also other cultural sites for you explore especially the Garama caves, the Kigezi memorial site and many more. Enjoy your cultural safari in Uganda!