gorilla safaris uganda


The world’s only remaining mountain Gorillas living in the wild can only be encountered in three countries spanning four national parks—Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Volcanoes National Park, and Virunga National Park.

What are mountain gorillas?

As one of the gentle great apes, mountain Gorillas are the largest in size of the living primates. With muscular arms, gigantic chest, and large hands and feet. They have thick black hair that helps insulate them from cold weather.

Mountain gorillas live in groups of two to 40 led by the silverback that is there to protect what matters most, a dominant male that is the chief leader and protector. Close to 10 times stronger than the biggest American football player, the silverback protects its family from any outsider or attacks by humans, leopards, or even other Gorillas—even if it would take sacrificing his own life.


Gorilla trekking safaris

And for the female mountain gorillas, they usually give birth after making 10 years and from there continue giving birth every after four or more years. Their newborns are usually weak and weigh up to just only about 4 pounds with awkward first movements just like human infants, but they grow almost twice as fast. Infants keep hanging onto their mums and are slowly weaned after turning 3 years old, when they are more self-standing.

Though mountain Gorillas are known to eat a lot, their food is made up of more than 100 different species of plants, making them primarily herbivores. And, they rarely need a drink to supplement their food since they get most of water they need from those plants.

With currently just less than 1,000 mountain Gorillas left in the wild, there is challenge of humans pushing these mountain Gorillas out of the wild and into extinction. And the biggest threats to these critically endangered gentle giants come from deforestation and the region’s day by day growing population. As people move closer to where these mountain Gorillas live, it makes them vulnerable to catching human diseases such as flu, pneumonia, or even ebola.

The future of these gentle giants is also marred by conflict, the civil wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) led to the loss of more than five million lives since 1998. The mountain gorillas are caught in the middle of this civil crisis.

And currently the locals heavily depend on the natural resources and wildlife-based tourism like Gorilla safari tours for their welfare. And now the future of these mountain gorillas will be closely linked with the peace and development of this region.

Showing the critically endangered mountain Gorillas your support

With our support, we can continue to conserve the critically endangered gentle giants of the jungle’s population through a number of ways like working with rangers and engaging communities in conservation tourism.

Guide to uganda


Discover Kampala City, the administrative and business capital of Uganda, through the eyes of someone who resides there. This is a local’s travel guide of what you should expect to see in Kampala. This full travel guide to Kampala comprising of top the famous attractions to look out for.

Home to almost two million people, Kampala is the administrative and business center of Uganda, East Africa. The parliament, banks, insurance companies, art galleries, tech-start-ups, social enterprises, small businesses of all kinds, international humanitarian aids organizations, government offices – they are all here.

kampala city tour

Yet, the city Kampala is immensely manageable for any traveler. Spread over 7 hills, it is largely green, sunny, tourist friendly, has quite many of international and local restaurants, and remarkable night life. It is a great example of a 21st century modern African capital city. There is thriving art and music scene, local and international cultures mix very well, and people are so friendly and welcoming that you can greet anyone on the streets without looking weird in any way.

Kampala is central to the Buganda Kingdom, evidently the largest tribe in Uganda. You will hear a mix of English and Luganda on the streets of Kampala. Thought learning a few phrases of Luganda would be to your advantage and will certainly get you a wide smile from almost any Ugandan.


Kampala does not offer many tourist attractions per se since it is more of a business and administrative centre. Though, most travelers to Uganda do spend at least one or two nights here before embarking on their journeys up-country for wildlife safari tours. But Kampala is surely worth a few days’ stay.

To that regard, as someone who has lived in and around Kampala for years, here are some recommendations for what to see:


guide to uganda

Situated in Ntinda, Kampala, Ndere Cultural Centre is home to Uganda’s biggest cultural dance group. Here you will watch artists perform traditional dance and drumming from the various Ugandan cultures.






Lake Victoria is located in the South-East side of Kampala, this is the world’s second largest fresh-water lake. Here, you will find a variety of small local restaurants serving fresh roasted fish, straight from the lake as you enjoy the fresh breath from the lake.

And be sure to order it with chips, and do not be surprised when it is served to you with its head and tail still attached.



guide to uganda bahai house

The Baha’I temple is the only standing temple of its kind on the continent of Africa, located on Kikaaya Hill, Kampala. The Baha’i believers follow the teachings of the earthly manifestations of God, Jesus, Abraham, Moses, Krishna, Zoroaster, Buddha, and Mohammed.

It would be prudent to wear clothing suitable for a place of worship and take all rubbish away with you as you leave. You’re also free to take photos of the grounds and temple exterior, but request not to take photos inside the temple.



Strategically located on Kampala Hill, the Uganda National Mosque, was built as a gift by Libya’s then president Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, it seats a remarkable 15,000 worshippers. And it is also home to the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council.

It is open to visitors as long as it’s not prayer time. Head scarves are usually provided for female visitors if they show up not dressed according to Muslim custom. Men are required to wear trousers and shirt sleeves. Photos are welcome, be sure to carry your camera along and this very spot gives an opportunity for an amazing 360degree view of Kampala City


Uganda Museum

Situated in Kitante, just west of Kololo, the Uganda National Museum is the biggest and oldest cultural museum in East Africa. This museum is well stocked with old maps, photographs, periodicals, and artifacts showcasing Uganda’s rich cultural heritage.



There are mainly two craft markets in Kampala. One being the National Theatre and the other one on Buganda Road, Africa Village. Both are exceptionally well stocked with hand-made jewelry, textiles, beaded sandals, wooden carvings, and batiks. Perfect places to visit if you’re looking for a souvenir after your Uganda Safari tour.


kasubi tombs uganda

Located on Kasubi hill, Kampala, the Kasubi Tombs are the burial ground for the previous four Kabakas (Kings) of Buganda which is the biggest kingdom in Uganda. To the Baganda people, their king mostly known as the Kabaka is the unquestioned symbol of the spiritual, political, and social state of the Buganda kingdom.

The Kasubi Tombs is a World Heritage Site. But is important note that due to a recent fire that gutted this place, the main tomb has been closed and you might miss out seeing some of the anticraft, but you should still visit it – since there are a lot of things to see and most importantly, the rich history to discover.

Kampala City also boasts of much more numerous attraction spots than the ones mentioned above, mainly the cultural and religious attraction areas like Namugongo Martyrs shrine, Namirembe Cathedral which is the oldest in Uganda. Here you will also find other unique attractions like The Old Taxi Park located in the heart of Kampala, this park is the main hub for public transport here, you will encounter absolute “organized chaos”, just mesmerizing.

guide to uganda


Lake Bunyonyi situated in the hills of south-western Uganda is believed to be one of the deepest lakes in Africa, and arguably even the most beautiful lakes in Africa as well, dotted with over 29 islands and surrounded by remarkably terraced hills. With its scenic surroundings, cool weather and various small islands, Lake Bunyonyi has been well marked as an amazing spot to chill and relax, and most importantly does offer visitors a number of choices when it comes to activities to take part in:

guide to uganda

Chilling out and relaxing. Here you will find a perfect place to relax and chill after a Gorilla safari trek at the in close proximity Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. This remarkable place boasts of the cool weather and tasty culinary delights like crayfish, just the perfect spot to make a stop   before you head back home.

Embark on a boat ride to ‘Punishment Island’ (Akampene). The Lake boasts of over 29 islands, but of these ‘Punishment Island’ in particular do stand out the most. And this because of its 1940s history, where girls who would get pregnant before marriage would be canoed to this very small island and would either starve to death or die trying to swim ashore as a taboo in the local culture back then. But the question remains, did these girls really die there? Or did they survive? This you can find out yourself as you canoe to see this legendary island.

guide to uganda

Bird watching Experience. Bunyonyi is a local name literally meaning ‘a place of little birds’. Just like the name suggests, the lake is home to over 200 species of birds. And for those who love bird watching, this is the perfect place for a birding excursion. You are assured of amazing sightings of birds such as the famous grey-crowned cranes, red-chested sunbirds and quite many flycatchers.

Ride in a dugout canoe. This is a spectacular way to get more information about the lake, the local people and their traditions. Here you can decide to embark on a guided tour, or simply rent out your own.

Swimming in Africa’s deepest lake. With the depth of (44m – 90m) it may seem like risky a attempt, but for good swimmers this is a chance to take a memorable swim in this beautiful lake. And you are assured of no presence of crocodiles or hippos hiding in the shore waters and it is bilharzia-free.

Wake up to incredible sunrises and enjoy spectacular sunsets. There are some unique photographic opportunities at sunset when the rays reflect in the calm evening waters of the lake. What a special way to end yet another remarkable activity-filled day on Lake Bunyonyi!

Guide to Uganda

Birds of Africa, “Why Uganda is a Birdwatchers Paradise?”

Uganda is undoubtedly a birder’s paradise.  More than half of all bird species in Africa can be encountered on a Uganda safari tour , making the country the richest African birding destination.  Even within the surroundings of its capital Kampala City, you can record up to a more than 300 different species of birds in a single day, and all this is credited to the richly diverse of habitats from the scenic shores of Lake Victoria to the abundant forests of the Albertine Rift and the banks of the World’s longest River, the Nile.

Though Uganda boasts of only one Endemic bird (Fox’s Weaver) which can be commonly found in moist savanna, tropical seasonally wet or flooded grassland and swampy areas, there are also up to 23 Albertine Endemics that can be seen on a Safari to Uganda and can be difficult or next to impossible to come across somewhere else.

guide to uganda

These include Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Nightjar, Rwenzori Turaco, African Green Broadbill, Dawrf Honeyguide, Red-throated Alethe, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Kivu Ground Thrush, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Short-tailed Warbler, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Grauer’s Warbler, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Collared Apalis, Mountain Masked Apalis, Rwenzori Batis, Strip-breasted Tit, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Blue-headed Sunbird, Dusky Crimsonwing, Regal Sunbird, Strange Weaver, and Shelley’s Crimsonwing.

African Birding Journeys to Uganda are special in way that you will experience unique and authentic bird encounters, with a record for number of species of birds that can be recorded in a three-week period of about 665 birds. And on this very tour you can’t afford to miss the rare, elusive–looking Shoebill stork. With the Mabamba Swamp being the Best Place for seeing Shoebill Storks in Uganda and Murchison Falls National Park also among the popular spots along the banks of the Nile River.

Uganda offers more than just birding safaris though, here you will find the friendliness of the Ugandan people, amazing safaris like mountain Gorillas trekking safaris in Bwindi impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Forest National Park in the South-Western part of the country to see the critically endangered mountain Gorillas in the wild and cultural tourism attractions found nowhere else in Africa.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga national park Uganda is located in the south-western part of Uganda near the town of Kisoro. The park is lies in the area occupied by the Virunga Mountains and its neighboring the Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and the Virunga National Park in the Congo. Mgahinga is positioned just 15 kilometers (9.3 mi), by road, south of the nearest town of Kisoro and an estimated distance of 55 kilometers (34 mi), by road, west of Kabale town, the largest city in the sub-region. The entire park is perfectly situated in Bufumbira County, in Kisoro District.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the smallest protected area in Uganda and it covers an estimated area of about 33.7 Square Kilometers. However the smallest part is very significant in the country Uganda because it’s the only second park in Uganda that houses the endangered species of the mountain gorillas.


Uganda’s smallest national park was gazetted in 1991 and it constitutes part of the Virunga Conservation Area. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park experiences two wet rainy seasons i.e. February – May and September- December of each year. The maximum amount of rainfall in a year is 250mm (October) and Minimum is 10mm (July).
The national park also covers three of the eight Virunga volcanoes and among the three include Mount Muhabura as well as Mount Gahinga and Mount Sabyinyo which is the oldest Volcano, all of these lie on the border between Uganda and Rwanda border. Any of these can be climbed in one day from the park headquarters. These three conical, extinct volcanoes which form part of the spectacular Virunga Range are the striving features of Mgahinga national park and the volcanoes’ slopes contain various ecosystems and are biologically diverse, and their peaks provide a striking backdrop to this gorgeous scenery.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park sits high in the clouds, at an altitude of between 2,227m and 4,127m. As its name suggests, it was created to protect the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests, and it is also an important habitat for the endangered golden monkey.
In spite of the fact that the park is important for wildlife, the park also has a huge cultural significance, in particular for the indigenous Batwa pygmies. This tribe of hunter-gatherers was the traditional inhabitant of the forest before they were pushed out the park.

Tourist Attractions in Mgahinga national park Uganda
The Virunga Volcanoes


The Virungas are the wonderful chain of eight volcanoes which dot the borders of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. Three of the conical peaks are in Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Mount Muhavura (4,127m). It is the highest of the peaks in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The name means guide, and the Batwa used to look for its high peak to help orient them in the forest. Muhavura has a crystal clear crater lake about 36m wide at its summit. The top commands panoramic views far into Uganda, Rwanda and along the length of the Virunga chain
Mount Gahinga (3,474m). It is the shortest of the Virunga volcanoes and it was named after the local practice of tidying the volcanic debris that clutters local farmland into neat cairns or Gahinga. Its swamp-filled crater is around 180m wide.
Mount Sabinyo means old man’s teeth, a reference to its jagged summit which is dissected by deep gorges and ravines. The countries that share the Virungas – Uganda, Rwanda and the DR Congo – meet on the highest of Sabinyo’s stumpy peaks.

Some of the steep mountain slopes contain caves formed by lava tubes, one of them being the famous Garama Cave located near the park headquarters. This is a sacred place for the Batwa, and during the Batwa Trail visitors can discover how it was used as a shelter during battles and as a place to store looted treasures.

Ntebeko Visitors’ Centre
The Visitor Centre at Ntebeko is the starting point for nature walks, volcanoes hiking, golden monkey and gorilla tracking and the short (4km) Batwa Trail. The trailhead of the long Batwa trail is at the base of Mt Muhavura. Exhibits inside the building explore themes relating the Virunga environment. A trail along the stone Buffalo Wall – built to keep animals out of neighboring farmland – provides good birding and views of the volcanoes.
Outside the Park
Lake Bunyonyi
A worthwhile diversion on the route to Mgahinga from Kabale, Lake Bunyonyi is dotted with at least 20 small islands and encircled by steep terraced hills, Africa’s second deepest lake is unforgettably scenic. Visitors can stay overnight at a number of lakeside resorts or simply follow the lakeshore road to Kisoro and Mgahinga.

Mountain Gorillas


Mgahinga is home to the habituated Nyakagezi gorilla group – a fairly nomadic bunch that has been known to cross the border into Rwanda and the Congo. The family includes the lead silverback identified as Bugingo who is around 50 years old and father to most of the group; his silverback sons, Mark and Marfia; and two blackbacks, Rukundo and Ndungutse, who love to pose and play in the trees. The two females, Nshuti and Nyiramwiza, both have babies Furraha and Nkanda respectively.
Golden Monkeys
The endangered golden monkey is endemic to the Albertine Rift, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park offers a rare chance to track these striking creatures, high in the dense bamboo forests on the Gahinga trail. There are estimated 3000 – 4000 individuals in the Virunga area which a good number of them are habituated in Mgahinga.

Other Wildlife
Mgahinga is home to 76 species of mammals, although they are difficult to glimpse in the wild forest vegetation. They include giant forest hogs, bush pigs, forest buffaloes, elephants, bushbucks, golden cats, side striped jackals, black fronted duikers and South African porcupines.
The varied habitats of Uganda’s smallest park make it home to a variety of birds with 179 -184 species recorded. The list includes the Ibis, Pin-tailed Whydah, Speckled Mousebird, Stone Chat, Grey-capped Warbler, Wax Bills, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Firefinch, White-naped Raven, Black Kite, Rwenzori Turaco, Blue-headed Coucal, Paradise Fly-catcher, Rwenzori Batis, Double-collared Sunbird, Rwenzori Nightjar.

Tourists Activities
Mountain Gorilla tracking


With a diverse collection of tourism activities, gorilla tracking stands out to be the leading activity at Mgahinga Gorilla national park and 75% of Mgahinga’s visitors come to view the primates. With Uganda left with about 400 mountain gorillas, the park is one of the two places where a visitor is guaranteed to have a glance at the endangered species. It is the best point to trek the Nyakagezi gorilla group which frequently moves adjacent in the forests of Congo and Rwanda. The other park where gorillas are found is Bwindi Impenetrable and these two parks are near each other making it possible for one to trek through both of them on most of Uganda safaris. Normally, Gorilla trekking Safari starts from Ntebeko Entrance gate at around 8:00am in the morning daily taking 2 – 8 hours. However, if the gorillas are on Muhabura side, then the tracking definitely starts in Muhabura station. A visitor is expected to budget for his/her time well while with a gorilla family since the maximum time allowed to spend with them is one hour.
When to go gorilla tracking to Mgahinga Gorilla National park

The best time to visit the place for tracking is during the two dry seasons when the park is easily accessed. It is during this time that the thick forests can be penetrated easily and when the paths are not as muddy as it is in the rainy season. The two dry Seasons are the best for Gorilla Safari in Mgahinga and this season runs from mid-December to end of February and June to October. However, gorilla tracking tourism is possible throughout the year.

Birding in Mgahinga Gorilla

The three to four hour Gorge Trail between Gahinga and Sabinyo provides a spectacular sightings of the Dusky turtle Dove, Cape Robin-chat, Kivu-ground Thrush, Olive Thrush, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Bronze Sunbird, Regal Sunbird, Blue-headed Sunbird, Rwenzori Batis, Black-headed Waxbill and Streaky Seedeater.
The other interesting birding areas in the park include the bamboo belt found at an estimated altitude which is about 2,500m above sea level, and the tall montane forest at 2,660m. The Rwenzori Turaco is mostly sighted and viewed at around 2,700m above sea level. Along the Uganda-Congo border especially on level ground, one can easily view the Chubb’s Cisticola, Red-faced Woodland Warbler as well as Banded Prinia and Doherty’s Bush-shrike are vocal yet inconspicuous inhabitants of the tangled vegetation at the forest’s edge.

Hiking and Nature Walks


A hike through the forest to the deep Sabinyo Gorge – a massive gash in the flank of Mount Sabinyo .Hiking to the summit of Sabinyo provides good birding opportunities and the chance to find the Rwenzori Turaco. This walk takes four hours, and passes through the Rugezi Swamp which is fanastic for bird watchers.
The walk to the Congo border transcends different vegetation zones. Hikers can sight the calderas on top of the Gisozi hill, look out for Kisoro and Bunagana towns and be captivated by Lake Mutanda.
The golden monkey track is a gentle steep but an interesting two-hour trek through former farmland to the bamboo forest. On a clear day, one may view the Virunga Volcano range and come across buffalo and duiker.

Mountain/Volcano Climbing

All the three volcanoes found with in this park can be summited. Mt. Sabinyo, at 3,669m, takes about eight hours to cover the 14km round trip, following a steep ridge up to the peak.
It takes around six hours to ascend and descend Mt. Gahinga (3,474m), topped by a swamp-filled crater and giant lobelia. Lucky climbers may spot golden monkeys on their way through the bamboo forest.
Mt. Muhavura is the highest peak at 4,127m, and this 12km round trip takes around eight hours. Once at the top, hikers are rewarded on a clear day with views of the Virunga Volcanoes, Lake Edward, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and the peaks of the Rwenzoris.

Sabyinyo (366m) – ‘Old man’s teeth’
Like an old man, time has eroded Mt. Sabyinyo’s crown. This volcano offers 3 challenging peaks to climb. A climb up the mountain takes one up a ridge along the eastern side of the climb to peak. If you are to continue, the climb to the peak 11 involves walking a ridge with breath-taking drops into gorges of Rwanda and Uganda, a dual experience you will achieve here. Finally, the hike up to the peak 111 is steep with several ladders and mush scrambling. You are guaranteed to get your hands dirty en-route to peak111! Once on top, you will be in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, what a triple experience this is!!! The journey takes about eight hours round trip to cover the 14km stretch.
Mt. Gahinga (3474m)
On your way to the park, look out for small piles of stones in the garden fields. The local people call such a pile a ‘Gahinga’. Mount Gahinga is quite bigger than the average ‘gahinga’ but sitting next to Mount Muhavura does make it look small. A hike, which takes you about, six hours round trip, goes through a good example of a pure Bamboo forest. Gahinga once had a Crater Lake on top but time has changed it into a Lush swamp. Distance to the swamp is 8km.

Mt. Muhavura (4127m) – ‘The Guide’
Seen from all over Kisoro, this volcano acts as a guide. The typical cone-shaped Mountain provides some of the best views in the country. Much of the climb passes a rocky surface covered by grasses and small shrubs. Once at the top, hikers are rewarded with the view of the Virunga volcanoes, Lake Edward in queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi and the peaks of Rwenzori Mountain. The hike takes approximately 8 hours round trip covering 12km.You are advised to camp at the Muhavura base camp the night before the site has no facilities so you need a tent, water, food and sleeping gear.
Cultural Encounters

The Batwa Trail
Mgahinga’s dense forests were home to the indigenous Batwa- hunter-gatherers and fierce warriors who depended on the forest for shelter, food and medicine among other needs. When the national park was established, the Batwa were evicted from the forest and abandoned their low-impact, nomadic lifestyle. The only time they are permitted to re-enter their cherished forest is as tour guides on the Batwa Trail, on which visitors will discover the magic of the Batwa’s ancient home while enjoying nature walks and learning about the cultural heritage.
The Batwa demonstrate hunting techniques, gather honey, point out medicinal plants and demonstrate how to make bamboo cups. Guests are invited to the sacred Garama Cave, once a refuge for the Batwa, where the women of the community perform a sorrowful song which echoes easily around the depths of the dark cave, and leaves guests with a moving sense of the richness of this fading culture.
Part of the tour fee paid by the tourists goes directly to the guides and musicians and the rest goes to the Batwa community fund to cover school fees and books, and improve their livelihoods.
How to get there
By road, one can access the park by use of a car from Kampala via Kabale to Kisoro. This journey takes about 8 hours.
By air, one can board a plane from Entebbe to Kisoro Airstrip which is near the park. This is the quickest mode of access and it takes about 1 hour. There are daily scheduled flights which must be booked long in advance with your local Uganda safari operator
Accommodation in the park
Mount Gahinga Safari Lodge (Volcanoes)


The Mt. Gahinga Safari Lodge is situated at the foot of the Virunga chain at Uganda’s smallest park Mgahinga Gorilla Park. Rounded by Mounts Sabinyo, Gahinga and Muhuvura, this unique lodge has stunning scenery around it and its nine Banda huts. Every room’s design is got from ancient traditional Batwa culture paired with world class comfort as well as beautiful garden with rustic styles setting.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is home to, rare golden monkeys, Unique Mountain Gorilla, the extinct Volcanoes of the Virunga, atmospheric bamboo forests and the sacred Ngarama Cave – once home to the King of the Batwa Pygmies. When visitors gets done with all activities organized in day such as mountain Hiking, Wild Game viewing and cultural trekking there is no better place to relax than Mount Gahinga Lodge.
The lodge is the best place to relax yourself after your Uganda adventure and what makes it different from others is that it has a massage room, warming open fireplace where visitors can chill in the evening hours, delicious three course meals and blissful views of the mighty volcanic peaks, this lodge is a wonderful place to recuperate after your Ugandan adventures.

Guests are guaranteed a great night’s sleep in our comfortable separate cabins, surrounded by nice-looking terraces and gardens to make the most of the views and native birds and butterflies.
The Lodge provides number of Amenities and these include; Restaurant and bar, Open fireplace, Laundry service, On-site wildlife viewing, Outdoor sitting area for bird watching, surrounded by wild plants, A sunroom facing the volcanoes and Solar power. The Lodge’s room description is that it has eight attractive bandas which are nestled in the wild gardens at the foot of the Virunga Volcanoes.

All bandas have their own specific seating area with even privates’ bathroom, composting toilets and bush showers.
Lighting is solar powered, making them extremely environmentally friendly. Mountain Gahinga Safari Lodge has a variety of activities to Guest as seen below. Guests can spend the day climbing the Muhavura Volcano. (Elevation 4137 m) Its name means “the guide.” The typical cone-shaped mountain provides some of the best views in the country. Most of the climbing activities are carried out in a rocky surface full of grasses and small shrubs. Hikers are rewarded with the view of the Virunga Volcanoes when they reach on the top.
While at this lodge guests can spend their day climbing the Gahinga Volcano. (Elevation 3473 m) A hike, which takes you about 6 hours round trip, goes through a good example of a pure bamboo forest. Gahinga once had a crater lake on top but time has changed it into a lush swamp. (Distance to the swamp is 8 km.)
Guests can take part in a full day Batwa pygmy experience. This cultural walk begins at the base camp, which is located almost 30 minutes from the lodge. Members of the Batwa community and Ugandan Wildlife Authority guides help take to take visitors through the dense forest and educate visitors on the Batwa ways of life. You will see traditional dwellings, shoot with bows and arrows, learn about medicinal and edible plants, and visit the Garama Cave for a song and dance performance.
High Season Low Season
Single $401 Single$354
Double $330pp Double $295pp

Amajambere Iwacu Camp –Budget.

The Community Camp is situated by the entrance to Mgahinga National Park and is only 12 km from the southwestern town of Kisoro near the Rwandan border.
At the camp, visitors can enjoy the magnificent views of the famous Virunga Volcanoes and take part in monkey trekking. The camp is built at a best beginning point for golden monkey trekking through the national park.
The following Amenities are provide to the clients at the Camp
Camping facilities and 4 bandas, Spacious gathering shelter with indoor and outdoor dining
Well-stocked canteen serving beers, sodas, snacks and basic essentials and Restaurant serving typical Ugandan meals
The camp has variety of Rooms and this means that Guests can choose between bandas, dormitories or campsites. It has a large area for camping as well as five well-built bandas, which too serve as dormitories and they provide accommodation facilities for back packers, students.
Amajambere Iwacu Camp has a lot of activities provided to Guest and among these involve , Guided walks through the village and to a nearby lava tubes ,caves and Crater Lake. Traditional performances in form of cultural dances which are organized by the local women’s group and the Batwa people and Guided climbs of the Virunga volcanoe as well as having community walk.

Double $40 $50 $80
Twin $30 $40 $70
Dormitory $10 $15 $30
Cam( ten provided) $10 $15 $30
Self-camping $5 $10 $25

Countryside Guesthouse Kisoro

Countryside Guest House is located a few minutes’ walk from Kisoro town Centre. At Countryside, you will be welcomed with genuine warmth and friendship. We are surrounded by rolling hills, evergreen farms and splendid views of the Virunga Volcanoes. We are ideally located for visitors planning to visit the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and the Nkuringo sector of Bwindi Impenetrable national Park
Just like other important guest houses in the region ,country side provides amenities such as ; On-site restaurant, Tour/Travel desk, Conference Facilities, Internet Access, Gift shop, On-site Bar, Fitness Room/Gym, Laundry/Dry Cleaning.
Rates charged by the Guest House involve even Break Fast as seen below in the table.
Rates Bed and Breakfast
Single 25,000Ushs
Double 45,000Ushs
Twin 45,000Ushs

Virunga hotel and campsite
It is a small and friendly hotel situated behind the National Parks office in Kisoro town on Mutanda Road. The hotel offers a cozy atmosphere and is furnished in warm colors with welcoming public areas. On-site amenities include a bar, a breakfast room and a 24-hour front desk with an experienced staff who will be pleased to provide you with any information you may need.
The facility has clean toilets and hot water showers, a Restaurant and bar, spacious campsite; secure parking, free evening entertainment, wireless internet, elegant and warm rooms, lovely gardens, maximum security, information and business desk.
The facility is a popular hangout for backpackers and independent travellers travelling with or without their own vehicles that wish to stay in Kisoro town. They have loads of Gorilla trekking knowledge on their notice board and can offer help in areas such as obtaining permits for gorilla trekking in Rwanda and DR Congo.

Golden Monkey Guest House


The Guest House is ranked among the best Budget lodges in Kisoro town and it is a home away from home. They also offer a wide range of delicious food menu with meat and vegetarian options. The Guest House offers a wide range of accommodation options ranging from single and double, self-contained rooms to dormitories. Visitor’s choice of accommodation should be dictated by visitor’s personal travel budget but also guest’s own interests to give guest a total relaxation and peace of mind to make guest feel at home.

Golden Monkey guest house provides an excellent base for trekking the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi, Golden monkeys and volcano hiking at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. They also arrange canoe trekking trips to the beautiful lake Mutanda, which is just an hour away on foot. Community activities like market visit or village walk can be arranged.
Golden Monkey Guest House can be accessed by Road, Travel from Kampala crossing the Equator through Mbarara – Kabale onto Kisoro. Golden monkey Guest house is behind the Uganda wildlife information office in Kisoro town and well sign posted. And our newly open Rafiki guesthouse is along Bunagana road a few meters next to the famous Travelers Hotel
By Road: Travel from Kigali to Cyanika Boarder then proceed onto Kisoro town

Mutanda Eco Community Centre (M.E.C.C)
Located just 6 kilometers away from Kisoro town in south western Uganda, Mutanda Eco Community Centre (M.E.C.C) is a community owned eco-lodge located at the south shores of Lake Mutanda. The camp provides accommodation, camping facilities and food. Because of the camp’s proximity to Bwindi and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks, Mutanda Eco Community Centre is the perfect choice for accommodation for tourists who are considering mountain gorilla tracking.

The suite camp consists of a structure of a platform on pillars and a roof. The platform is lifted from the ground and provides a floor for a number of tents. The tents are provided by the Centre, and work like a simple version of lodging, or an advanced way of tenting where you will not have to bring your own tent. Here one is protected from the ground and from the rain, while keeping the feeling of camping. In future the roof will be covered with solar panels, gathering energy from the sun. The roof will also protect the suite camp from different weather conditions. The roof can also provide smaller windmills to compensate for days with less sun. The suit camp is already in place and it has three tents which can accommodate six people.
The Centre also offers ample camping place for those guests who do come with their own tents. The prices for such facilities are affordable and can be accessed on M.E.C.C information board at the Centre or one can ask the staff members at the Centre.

There are several ecotourism activities that can be carried out at Lake Mutanda and these include swimming, canoeing, boat riding, snake safari, otter viewing and village visits.
They also offer volunteer opportunities for clients interested in supporting community projects. The volunteer experience entails teaching swimming lessons to children, working at the health centers and teaching conservation education at the nearby Chihe Primary School.
The table below shows the prices charged by the Mutanda Eco Community Centre.
Room Type Room Only Full Board
Dormitory US$ 10 US$30
Single US$40 US$55
Double/Twin Room US50 US$80
Camping US$6

Kisoro Tourist Hotel


Kisoro Tourist Hotel in Kisoro south western Uganda is the best option for anyone visiting the southwest of Uganda, on the way to Rwanda, Congo and Bwindi for gorilla tracking.
The region of Kigezi is well known as “The Switzerland of Africa” for its evergreen forests, lush valleys, and numerous lakes and hills.

The hotel boasts a strategic location which is at the foothills of Mount Muhavura, and guests can enjoy a good panoramic view of the nearby mountains and volcanoes along the borders with Rwanda and the Congo.
Kisoro Tourist Hotel is the most pleasant and comfortable hotel at a budget tariff price and offers best accommodation facilities in their self-contained rooms.
Enjoy the warm atmosphere of the lounge provided by a true fireplace. When visitors get done with their daily activities in the nearby area, they can relax with a romantic massage done by well trained workers and also steam bath. The hotel has one of the best restaurants recognized in country for the high-standard food preparation in both traditional and international dishes.

The hotel provides the following amenities on-site are; On-site restaurant, Tour/Travel desk, Conference Facilities, Internet Access, Gift shop, On-site Bar, Fitness Room/Gym, Laundry/Dry Cleaning, Library/Reading Area. The hotel rooms also have TV-Cable/Satellite were visitors can watch international and local updates, The TV can get Local Stations clearly, Fans, Hot water, Private Bathroom are also provided to ensure that visitor get better stay.
Due to the need to protect the environment and giving back to the local communities, the hotel organizes different responsible tourism activities such as
The women´s dance group performs organized by the hotel have massages that raise awareness about how the environmental can be protected and also through the drama performances, the young people in the community are encouraged to stop illegal activities such as poaching wild animals in the park.
The women´s group performs traditional dances and drama, and has used the profits from their performances to purchase a piece of land, which they plan to build more accommodations for the guests. The hotel also provides assistance to AIDs awareness campaigns in local schools and focus on stopping young people from involving in the acts that may lead them to contract AIDS.

The hotel also has a craft shop at the hotel Centre and host cultural dances where community members can perform. These offerings help raise money for the surrounding communities.
The table shows the prices charged by Hotel for both Bed and Breakfast and Full Board.
Room Type Bed and Breakfast Half Board Full Board
single USD 60 USD70 USD80
Double USD75 USD95 USD115
Triple USD135 USD165 USD1195

Kisoro Travelers’ Rest Hotel


Travellers Rest Hotel is a colonial-style hotel located just 14km from Mgahinga Gorilla National Park outside Kisoro Town, in the extreme southwestern part of Uganda, providing a perfect point for trips into Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. When the visitor is just entering, he or she is welcomed by the ibis typical sound. The wonderful-green surrounding garden is the home of various birds species. When the guest is just seated on the terrace he is paid by nice smell of the sweet perfume from the honeysuckle, and in the cool evenings one can experience a warm atmosphere which is provided by the fireplace in the lounge, surrounded by unusual African artifacts and a huge collection of Congolese masks.
The surrounding landscape, dominated by the peaks of the Massifs of Virunga Volcanoes has very interesting beauty. The volcanoes offer spectacular views of the Rift Valley and the emerald-green Lake Mutanda in the distance.

In the sixties the famous American ‘gorilla-woman’ Dian Fossey visited Travellers Rest many, many times to do paperwork, relax or meet people. Fossey said of the hotel: “It was my second home.”
The Lodge Amenities in this precious hotel are; Restaurant,, Travel desk, Bikes to rent, Lounge area with fireplace, bar and large meeting table Internet access, Massages, Laundry service, Gift Shop, Enclosed garden, Huge selection of Congolese masks
All the Spotless private rooms lead out onto the pleasant garden and have private bathrooms with hot water. Available rooms include single, twin, double, triple and a suite.
The activities organized by the hotel are, Paying visits to the a local primary school where the deaf children study from and here willing guests are welcomed to make donations, also the hotel organizes traditional performances done by the local orphan group and some of the activities also include having cycle ride to lake Mutanda, visiting the local market mainly on market days, Batwa Forest Trail through the National Park among others.
Most of food prepared by the rest Hotel is sourced from Kisoro market, which is supplied by the local Bafumbira and Bakiga communities. The hotel staffs are mostly from Kisoro. Staff training and career development of the staff members is of great importance to the Hotel management.
Room Type Room Only Half Board Full Board
Single USD70 USD85 USD95
Double/twin USD80 USD110 USD130
Extra bed USD25 USD40 USD50

Bunyonyi Overland Resort

The Resort is strategically located near the loviest Lake Bunyonyi in Kibale district south western part of Uganda.
The Resort offers to visitor’s superb accommodation in comfortable safari tents, rooms, cottages and family cottages. All the accommodation rooms offer splendid view of the beautiful surrounding. The lodge also provides camping option for visitors with their own Camping equipment and a comfortable ‘rent a mobile tent’ with or without bedding arrangement is also present in the lodge’s pleasant gardens. While staying at the resort, visitors will find lots of interesting tourist’s activities to keep visitors more than occupied and busy.
The lodge has ten Furnished Safari Tents which are set on raised platforms and hence visitors can enjoy wonderful views and sights of the green vegetation and the interesting sights of the Loviest water of the bilharzia free lake Bunyonyi. Each of the tents has its own terrace and wonderful views over Lake Bunyonyi.
The wonderful 12 cottages found in the lodge offer classic accommodations and panoramic views up the lake. The cottages offer both twin and double occupancy options. The two family cottages are completely self-contained and fully furnished to ensure visitor’s convenience. The family cottages have Satellite TV where visitors can watch both local and international news.

For budget travellers without their own camping equipment, the lodge offers mobile rent and some of the tents have bedding facilities and others without bedding. Travellers with self –camping equipment can utilize the beautiful gardens and the set side camping area for tourists interested in enjoying serene environment.
The other Lodge Amenities offers to visitors in the resort include On-site restaurant, Tour / travel desk, Conference facilities, Laundry / dry cleaning services, Internet Access, On-site bar, Library / reading room, Souvenir / gift shop. On-site Facilities offered by the lodge include Secure car parking, Restaurant with fireplace, Conference room, Craft shop, Picnic and relaxation areas, Library, Travel information, Satellite TV, Grocery store with essential items, Storage or safe custody of personal effects, Car hire and taxi, Laundry service, First aid, emergency contacts, 24 hour security, 24/7 internet connection Ushs 100/- per minute
Activities organized at the Lodge include Volleyball, badminton, indoor games, swimming, canoeing, boat-motor hire, Bird watching, Mountain biking, Fishing, Community walks, Twice weekly local market tour.
In terms of Responsible Tourism, the lodge has been implementing a tree planting campaigns at lodge and in the surrounding areas. The lodge also encourages visitors to at least to plant a tree during their stay at the lodge to promote the environmental conservation campaign.
The lodge works directly with local guides on village walks. This helps tourists attain the most authentic experience while simultaneously giving back to the community. All the hotel staff and guides are from the local community.


The Batooro people live in the Kabarole, Kyenjojo and Kasese districts in the west of Uganda. It can be noted that their area has been infiltrated by a range of immigrants from different parts of Uganda mostly the Bakiga from South Western Uganda. They border with the Banyoro, Bamba and Bakonzo, Banyankole and the Baganda. The Batooro speak the language Rotooro and it has great attachment with the Runyoro.
Regarding the origin, the Batooro assert that they originated from the Batembuzi and the Bagabu the initial inhabitants of the earth. The other tradition notes that the Batooro have got a descent from the Bachwezi and the Babiito lineage. However, the majorly accepted description puts the Batooro among the Bantu group that entered Uganda from the southwestern side hailing Central African parts.

tooro king

L-R: Former Tooro King, current king when he was declared youngest king and how he looks like today

The Society of the Batooro was divided into the Bairu and the Bahuma and the relationship amongst the two was much of caste other than differentiation of class. The Bahuma carried out pastoralism while the Bairu were cultivators. These two groups lived symbiotically with the Bahuma providing milk, meat, hides along with other cattle products while the Bairu provided beer along with other products of agriculture.
Regarding Marriage, the Batooro attached great significance to marriage as the man would never be regarded complete before he got a wife. The marriage would be put together by the parent’s children without seeking the consent of the bride and groom. An intermediate would be sought by the side of the boy locally known as Kibonabuko whose duty was to investigate the character of the gorilla along with the general setting and background of her family. He would go ahead to secure the girl from the girl’s family to the boy’s family. This person would get to the girl’s family in a certain day and declare the intentions to marry their daughter. He would mention the following words to the father of the girl; that Sir, I have come to you that you should build a home for me. I am pleading hat you become part of the clan and thus i have come to ask for a wife who is the builder of the home.

The normal feedback from the father’s girl would be; I do not have a child and the intermediate would insist that the gorilla is there. He would then be asked on who the girl after which he would mention the name and if he girl’s father consented, the intermediate would definitely kneel down and thank the father by kneeling down. The family of the boy would bring beer to the girl’s family and then the bride price would be fixed. The bride wealth varied among the Bahuma and the Bairu. The Bahuma gave six (6) – twenty (20) cows while for the Bairu had a ceiling of eight (8) cows. For the Bairu, they would often give goats and hoes. The bride price delivery ceremony was marked with lots of celebration including eating and drinking. After this function, the boy’s family would then send a bark cloth and some skins to make the dress for the bride. After this encounter, the marriage formalities would be formalized. The bride would be collected in the evening at around 6pm or 7pm. Before the bride leaving her parents’ home, she would have to sit on the laps of her parents as a ritual locally known as Okubukara. The bride would then be lifted up to the groom’s home. Upon arriving at the boy’s home, she would also be carried on the laps of the parent’s in law where she would be sprinkled with herbal water aimed at welcoming and blessing her. The groom would go with the bride to the Bed for another ritual before the feasting started. After this, the parents would be given coffee berries beer and smoking pipes and then food. If the girl was found virgin, the cow or a goat would be sent to her mother for raising her responsibly. The relatives and the friends would bring gifts to the bride on a third day and see where she had been taken. The bride would spend some days in confinement and after that a ceremony would be conducted to bring the bride out and embark on her duties including housekeeping and cooking. Regarding divorce, the bride wealth would definitely be refunded however, when the woman had already had children, part of would be retained.

Men at a wedding in Tooro, The bride, and the bride price
Men at a wedding in Tooro, The bride, and the bride price

Regarding religion, the Batooro had a concept of the Supreme Being named Ruhanga. Ruhanga was known to have created everything. The Ruhanga was considered to be good who could hardly any bad to people unless wronged. They also agreed that the world was full of evil doers including sorcerers and evil spirits. These evil doers would use magic to cause misfortune, disease, bareness, droughts and death among other bad things to the people. The Batooro also believed that there existed mediums some of which were bad working for the devil while others were good working for the Supreme Being. The Batooro also had belief in the Mambwa cult and every home had a shrine to worship the cult. The drums and trumpets would be blown to please the cult and people would put on skins crafted with beads and cowrie shells. The most significant medium of the cult could out on 6cm bark cloth material that had horn on its head and the process of praise and worshiping included rating ad drinking. In case of a misfortune or death, a witch doctor would be consulted and the after the appropriate attempts would be conducted to please the spirits and thus avert the misfortune. The Mandwa (cult) supplications would be conducted at night. The man would lit up fire in front his house and then utter his problems to the cult. The language used was slightly altered from the traditional Rutooro and surprisingly it would involve much of the Runyankole words. Fore example, they would call Omukama, Omugabe, Omwaana Omwerere among others.
Apart from their family names, the Batooro have got pet names just like the neighbouring Banyoro. The pet name (Empaako) was considered as a sign of social identity. When the related people greeted each other, the younger would sit on the elder’s lap. Among the Babiito, the young would have to touch the forehead and the elders’ chin prior to announcing the empaako.

empaako in tooro
Regarding the blood brother hood, just like the neighboring Banyankore, the Batooro also carried out blood brother hood. This function included coffee berries, a knife, bark-cloth, fig tree branches and grass sprouts called Ejubwe. The blood got from the cut below the naval would be put in a coffee berry and consumed by the two to mark the climax of the function. After this, the two would be considered as brothers. An old man and woman would act as witnesses on the event.
Regarding the economy, the Batooro carried out both pastoralism and crop growing. The Bahuma reared cows while the Bairu grew crops. The cows carried much significance with the both groups and they were always regarded as a symbol of wealth. The Batooro cultivated a range of millet, bananas, sorghum, among others. They were also potters while the women carried out craft making including basket weaving.
Regarding the political setting, the Batooro had a central government led by the King of Tooro Kingdom locally known as Omukama. The Tooro Kingdom was founded in 1930 by the Prince Kaboyo after seceding from Bunyoro Kitala Kingdom. The Kings of Tooro hail from the Babiito clan and the royal regalia included spears, drums, iron forks, beads, chairs, wooden spoons, knives and axels.

Buganda Culture


The Baganda are noted to be the largest group of all ethnic tribes thriving in Uganda. They inhabit the Central Part of Uganda and thus can be traced in the districts of Mukono, Kampala, Wakiso, Kalangala, Mubenede, Mpigi, Mityana, Masaka, Butambala, Rakai, Kiboga and Kayunga.

buganda map and Kabaka

The region occupied by the Baganda at the moment was previously known as Muwaawa prior to 12th Century a word that literally means a land that is sparsely populated. The belief has it that the Baganda emanated from Abyssinia traversing the rift valley system and the Elgon Mountains.

The Baganda were organized in groups with a common ancestry which formed the core of the most significant unit in Buganda and this was the clan. The clan leader was a chief and controlled a given section of the territory. There are five original clans of Buganda namely: Ffumbe, Ngonge, Lugave, Nyonyi and Njaza and these were referred to as Banasangwa. These clans later expanded to form the 52 clans by the year 1966. These clans were ruled over by the Bataka and there was no generally recognized leader, everyone could rule depending on his demonstrated might in the battle field. The range of powerful leaders are noted to have established themselves in the region before the coming of Kintu and these included; Buwumpya, Sseguku, Bukokoma, Bandi, Bukulu, Beene, Kyebagaba, Ggulu, Muyizzi, Bukadde-Magezi, Bukuku Nakirembeka, Maganda, Tonda, Bemba and Mukama. Bemba is however noted to have been a contemporary leader of the time.

The land Muwaawa later became Buganda during the region of Ssekabaka Kintu after taking over from Bemba. At that time, there clan called Ffumbe was the headed by a man called Buganda Ntege Walusimbi who control over other clans.   The head of the clan Walusimbi had a range of children including Kisitu, Makubuya, Kato Kintu and Wasswa Winyi. When Walusimbi passed on, his son Makubuya replaced him who was also replaced by his brother Kisitu upon his death. During the reign of Kisitu, the renegade Bbemba from Kiziba in the current northern of Tanzania and set his camp at Naggalabi Buddo from where he started to hatch plans of destabilizing the Kisitu leadership. Bbemba was ruthless and a cruel person that the natives could not bear to have him as a ruler. Kisitu out of fear declared that whoever fights and wins Bbemba would be given Authority to rule over land. The Ssemagulu which was the chair of Kisitu was to be given to whoever wins and Kills Bbemba. Kintu took advantage of the situation of the situation and gathered his followers and attacked Bbemba. Nfudu from the Lugave clan beheaded Bemba and took the head to Kintu who also took it to Kisitu who abdcated his throne and gave in favor of Kintu. However, Kisitu wanted to retain his leadership of the Ffumbe clan, he advised Kintu to start his own clan and that the Kingdom should be called Buganda in honor of their ancestor Buganda Walusimbi Ntege. From there a royal lineage as created distinct from the Ffumbe clan. The chronology has been passed from generation to generation until the contemporary times when it has started to be recorded in the books.

However, there other traditions that shows the origin of Buganda. The Bemba and Kintu were brothers and they had power struggle. Bemba overpowered Kintu and Kintu sought refuge in the Ssese Islands from where he organized himself and his followers and came to attack Bemba winning him at Nagalabbi Budo. It is noted that Bemba was a ruthless Leader and people nick named him Bemba Musota meaning Bemba a Cobra, so when Kintu returned all people rallied behind him and took over the Bemba’s leadership.

It is noted that Kintu returned from Ssese Islands using the eastern route through Mount Elgon and gathered a strong force that overpowered Bemba. Kintu Kato is not the first Muganda but the grandson of the first Kintu who descended directly from heaven and was married to Nambi Nantululu.   After the Kintu’s Victory, he slept in Bemba house a symbol of victory and Bemba had named it Buganda from which the name rolled on to cover the whole territory that Kintu ruled. Even up to today, the coronation of the Kings of Buganda tales place at Naggalabi commemorating the victory of Kintu over Bemba.


The region was a bit disorganized at the time of Kintu’s arrival and had only five clans. He reorganized the society and merged the people that he had come with and they together formed thirteen (13) clans. The initial clans included Lugave clan, Ffumbe clan, Ngeye clan, Nyonyi, Njaza clan and Nyange clan and are locally referred to as “Ebika Binansangwa”.

A general meeting was organized with the clan leaders at the Magonga in Busujju on Nnono Hill and the form of governance and clan and the King relations were formerly agreed upon.   The principal attendants of the meeting included; Bukulu from Ssese was the chairperson of the meeting, Kintu Kato became a King, Mukiibi Ndugwa of the Lugave clan whose son Kakulukuku became the first Katikiro (Prime Minister) of Buganda, Kisolo from the Ngonge clan and also became Katikiro of Buganda, Kyaddondo from the Nvuma clan who became Ssabaddu, Kayimbyobutezi from the Njaza clan, Mwanje from the Ngo clan, Balasi, Kagobe from the Ffumbe clan, Kayimbyokutega from the Mpeewo clan and from Kyaggwe, from Kyaggwe and of the Mpeewo clan, Kiwutta Kyasooka, from the Mbogo clan, Kyeya Mutesaasira of the Ngo clan, Nnyininsiko from the Njovu clan, Bakazirwendo Ssemmandwa from the Ngeye clan, Kakooto Mbaziira from the Nnyonyi clan and from Bulimo in Kyaggwe county, Nsereko Namwama, from the Kkobe clan, Nsumba, from the Mbogo clan, Kisenge from the Nnyonyi clan, from Mirembe in Kyaggwe county, Kyeyune from the Nnyonyi clan from Mirembe in Kyaggwe county, Mubiru from the Mmamba clan from Bumogera and Mutasingwa, from the Mbwa clan

After the meeting Baluku had to return to his place Ssese Islands and Kintu established his palace at Nnono Hill where he awarded chieftaincies to his trusted followers. And this explains why Nnono is still a site of historical and cultural significance to the Baganda. A fetish doctor locally known as Omulubaale who kept the Nagalabbi the throne’s traditional name gave Kintu one stick and requested him to break it into pieces which Kintu did at ago and the total of nine sticks were put together to form a bundle (Kaganda) and organized more others to form a range of Bundles (Obuganda) and then told Kintu to break them like he had done for one stick but Kintu failed to break them with ease like what he had done with the initial stick. From there the Mulubaale told him that it was easy to break one stick but difficult to break bundles (Obuganda) and thus he should rule his people as bundles not as sticks. It is from here that the name Muwaawa was dropped and Buganda adopted and every one would refer to the region of Kintu as Buganda Bwa Kintu. The Kingdom became Buganda; the people became Baganda singular Muganda, Language Luganda and the Culture Kiganda.


Another theory about the origin of the Baganda states that the brother of Rukidi of Bunyoro named Kato Kimera transferred to Buganda and established a royal dynasty in Buganda.

Regarding religion, the Baganda believed in spirits and they took different forms according to their specialized acts like Ggulu, god of the sky who was the father of Kiwanuka the god of lightning, Kawumpuli the god of plague, Ndaula the god of small pox, Wamala the god of Lake Wamala, Musisi the god of earthquakes and Mukasa the god of Lake Victoria. There was also Kitaka the god of the Earth and Musoke the god of the Rainbow. There were traditional temples dedicated to these gods spread in different parts of Buganda and people would approach such sites for worship and consultation. There were special shrines of worship for the King and the King’s sister Nnaalinya to take charge of the temple of the King.

Regarding marriage, the Muganda woman could not be respected unless she is married and the same applied to the man. The Baganda were polygamous and the man could even take up to 5 wives considered that he can manage to look after them, Also in Buganda, bride wealth was not a major concern and divorce was very common too than in other parts of the country. The parents would organize the marriages for the children. The father would choose the husband for his daughter without question from the daughter. However, as time continued, boys started selecting the wives for them. The introduction would be made and he marriage arrangements be conducted. The girls contributed nothing other than consenting. The marriage ceremonies included dancing and feasting. The man was not expected to marry from his clan. If the bride was still a virgin, she would be escorted by her Aunt and if she wasn’t, the escort would not go. The aunt would pass through the rear door from the couple’s house and go back home where the goat would be slaughtered and consumed without salt.


Regarding death, the Baganda were afraid of death and did not have faith on life after death. When someone passed away, they could weep around the corpse and someone who desisted from crying was regarded to have had a hand in the death of the deceased. They never believed that death was a natural phenomenon and rather a work of sorceress or witch craft. The duration for the burial was five (5) days hoping that the body might still be having a life in it and may be it can come back. The women were buried faster than men because they were believed to rot faster than men. After the burial, there funeral rite would take place after the 10 days from the date of burial and his was known as Okwabya Olumbe. This was a great ceremony as all clan heads would be invited along with many people to attend the function which involved lots of drinking, eating, uncontrolled sexual intercourse among the members present and it is at his occasion that heir would be installed considered if the deceased was the head of the family. The incumbent heir would stand close to the door putting on a ceremonial bark cloth holding a spear and a stick and hen the elders would instruct him to take care of the beneficiaries. Then the deceased’s children could be covered with the bark cloth and would go crying to the planation in order to drive the ghost of the deceased away from home. They would also shave off their hair.

Regarding birth, when a Muganda woman got pregnant she would start using Nalongo a traditional herb in her private parts at the six months of pregnancy of it was her first time and at seventh month of it was her second time to enlarge them. After producing, the afterbirth (Kigoma) would be buried close to the door way and this was meant to prevent it from the evil seekers who could harm the baby and or the mother. The mother would take 3 days in confinement and the period sometimes depended on how long the umbilical cord takes long to dry. The husband would then have sex with her after two weeks and this was a ritual function that was connected to the child health and don that day, the child would be named.

Regarding the social setting, the Baganda seemed to have a united society compared to the neighboring parts of  Ankole, Toro and Bunyoro. The Buganda society was structure that any person of a certain ability or talent would raise to a considerable position in the society. However, this does not conclude that there were two classes in Buganda. There was Bakopi literally serfs at the bottom of the society who simply would not matter in society and these derived their livelihood on the mercy of the Chiefs (Baami) and the Princes (Balangira) the other two groups in the society of Buganda. The Bakopi used to depend on land though they had no ownership over it. In fact, the Bakopi were serfs of the King and the Chiefs. From the Bakopi class, there came the Baami class who were not born but were appointed by the Kabaka. The chiefs were the middle class and initially they were the clan heads, However, post 1750, the Bakopi also bean to be elevated to the similar status. The Baami were differentiated into three patterns including; the Bakungu, Bataka and the Batongole. The last and the highest societal class in the Kingdom of Buganda were the Balangira. These were Royals who were close to the King and in his ancestral blood. The notable ones included the Kabaka, the Queen locally known as Namasole, Kanyabibambwa or Nabijano, the Royal Sister known as Lubuga, the Kimbugwe and the Katikiiro.


Regarding their social character, the Baganda are social people and are welcoming. They rarely pass by a person without greeting him and they dressed neatly in other traditional bark cloth and with the event of Gomesi they adopted it as their traditional dress. They enjoyed cooking and their famous Luwombo meal still exists up to today. The men and women would all sit on a mat for a meal and upon finishing; everyone would say Ofumbye Nyo to the person who prepared the meal and Ogabude to the Head of the family.

Regarding the economy, the Baganda were primarily agriculturalists and the main crops grown included sweet potatoes, bananas, beans, Cassava, Cow peas, and a range of green vegetables. The Baganda also kept goats, chicken and cattle. Land was an important asset in Buganda and it all belonged to the Kabaka. The granting of land would go along with an office such as Saza chief, Gombolola Chief or Parish (Muluka) Chief. The Muluka Chief would then grant the land to the people in the area to cultivate. When the chief lost the seat, he would also loose the control over land and thus the loss of rent paid to him by the peasants. The Bakopi (peasants) had to give part of the produce to the chief as Obusuuli or envujjo for cultivating the land. However, this system slightly changed on 1900 when the land was divided into Crown and Mailo land where by the crown land belonged to the Her Majesty the Queen of England and Ireland while the Mailo land was granted on free hold basis to the members of the Kabaka’s family and the chiefs and the Bataka (clan heads) were not considered. The Bakopi however remained in their exploitative form until 1927 when the Nvujjo and Busuulu were scrapped off.

mayiga and kabaka

The Baganda were also good in art works, bark cloth makers, potter and weavers. They made shields, arrows, bows, spears, baskets, pots, chairs, drums and other instruments like Indigidi. They also did hunting and fishing. The women attend to house hold work while men were more into fishing, hunting and fighting. The later times such as the middle of the 18th Century, the Buganda took over the position of the Bunyoro as the center of trade in the region and started trading in ivory, white ants, dried bananas, and a range of crafts with their people of the interlucustrine region and the coastal Arabs from the Middle of 19th Century. With the arrival of colonialists in 1890s the Baganda became active in supporting them and thus adopted a new economy mode that was based on production of cash crops and trade and at the moment, the Baganda are the richest people in Uganda.

Regarding political setup, the Baganda has the most organized centralized form of governance by 1750 with King (Kabaka) as the head. The clan heads (Bataka) also had good political effect though they were subject to Kabaka and they referred to him as Sabataka. After 1750, the Kabaka assumed the position of greater political influence which was far above the Bataka level and the title was hereditary but the King would marry from a range of clans and each 52 clans hoped that one day each clan would produce a King. There were other two people of political and social significance in the Kingdom and these included the Prime Minister (Katikiiro), the Royal Sister (Namasole) the naval commander (Gabunga) and Army Commander (Mujjasi).

buganda leadership center

Buganda Kingdom was divided into administration units ranging from the Counties (Amasaza), Sub Counties (Amagombolola), Parishes (Emiruka) and Villages (Bukungu). The leaders at all these levels were appointed by the Kabaka and would dismiss and appoint them at will. However, after 1750, the chieftaincy was no longer hereditary and the person would be appointed on merit. There was also a practice called Okusenga where the Children of the Bakopi would go to the homes of the Chiefs and the King to grow up from there. The distinguished ones would be given political appointments.

Following the death of the Kabaka, there would follow a succession disorder though with time a range of modifications were carried out to resolve such disputes. One of the ancient forms of succession was that the King would kill his other sons and spare the only one that would be heir to the throne. As the time went on, the King would nominate the heir before he died and then the final decision would be taken by the Katikiro – the Prime Minister, the Kimbugwe who was the traditional Buruli Saza Chief and Kasujja – Lubinga who was a chief appointed to look after the Balangira Bengoma (the heirs to the throne) the other princes who would not become Kings would be called Mituba and were controlled by the old prince called Ssabalangira. Though in 1900 Buganda Agreement tried to alter this arrangement and setting that the kabaka is to be elected by the Lukiiko before being approved by the Queen of England, the suggestion remained paper and the subsequent Kings including Mutesa II and his son Mutebi II were nominated by their fathers.

Regarding their death of Kabaka, the Royal drum (Mujjaguzo) would be taken away to a safe place until the appointment of a new King. The Lugave Clan was the guardian of the Royal drum. The sacred fire locally known as Gombolola that kept burning at the palace entrance would be extinguished. This fire would be re-lighted with the coronation of the new King. The customary phrase to describe the death of Kabaka would be Omuliro gw’ Buganda Guzikide which mean that the fire of Buganda has extinguished. Another phrase would be Agye omukono mu ngabo literally translated as He has let the Shield loose. The body of the Kabaka would be wrapped in suitable clothing and would be placed in Twekobe room. The two chiefs Mugerere – the chief of Bugerere and Kangawo the Chief of Bulemezi would be put in charge of the body immediately. The King’s body would be preserved for six (6) months. Since the Baganda believed that the man’s spirit remained in the jaw bone, the one of the Kabaka would be removed and placed in a special Shrine for preservation.




The Alur people are among the diverse ethnic groups that thrive in the west part of the Nile popularly known as West Nile. The Alur live amongst the Lendu, Okebu, Alinga and the Kakwa along with other ethnic groups in West Nile. The Alur are Luo and they belong to the same language group like the Japhadhola, Acholi, the Kenya’s Jaluo, Anuak and Shiluk of Northern Sudan.

The Alur tradition notes that they migrated from South Sudan along the Nile banks and their original place is noted to be Rumbek at the convergence of River Nile and Bahr el Ghazel. They moved along the Nile and reached a point called Pubungu where they got dispersed with some of them continuing to Bunyoro while others settled in Acholi and others to the East of Uganda where some continued to the Nyanza of Kenya while the Alur continued to the West Nile. Though the historians claim that the Alur are not pure Luos and that they are intermarriage.


The Alur Legend states that there was a King called Atira who is noted to have been a direct descent of God and after his death; he was succeeded by his son Otira. Otira was later succeeded by Opobo and he ruled from a place named Nyraka in the county of Lango. After the death of Opobo, he left three sons named Nyapiri, Tiful and Labongo.

Nyapir one day borrowed the Spear of Labongo to spear an Elephant and unfortunately an elephant took away with the Spear. The news of the Spear reached Labongo and he reacted demanding the brother to bring back the Spear regardless of Nyapir’s plea to provide a substitute. As a result, Nyapir resolved to follow the elephant and after crossing the River, he found himself in a very good land with a cool atmosphere. He started to wander in this land until he encountered an old woman who took him to a place where many Spears were gathered and Nyapir was able to locate the Spear of his brother Labongo and also the woman gave him a bead.

Nyapir returned home and presented the Spear to his brother and it was amazement to everyone and also the issue of the bead. He handed the bead to everyone to look at and unfortunately in the process the Labongo’s infant son swallowed it.

This was the time for Nyapiri to pronounce his revenge and thus demanded that his bead be returned to him. Nyapir refused all other substitute avenues and with no other alternative left, Labongo handed the child to Nyapir to open his tummy and retrieve the bead. Nyapir killed the child and got his bead. This was an epitome of the brothers’ disagreement and they resolved to part ways.

One of the brothers Tiful had already been impressed by the story of the good land beyond the River and thus opted to get his followers including the Okebu and the Lendu to the highlands of the West. The descendants of Tiful are noted to be including the Alur of Zaire. Nyapir also followed his brother Tiful and moved along the western bank of Victoria Nile and eventually camped with his followers at a place opposite Pakwach. There was no good grazing land and there were no salt licks on the area. The cattle began grazing away and one day some of the cows which were noted to have disappeared made their way back by themselves and had salt licks adhering to their hooves. Nyapir got together his people and followd the tracks of the cows in ot the West Nile Highlands. Nyapir left behind one of his sons named Dosha to reign in Pakwach and he then established himself in the highlands of West Nile.


However, historians have always argued that the Alur’s entry into the West Nile embedded in the legend of Spear and the Bead was in reality a power struggle and that the spear was part of the Royal Regalia. When they entered West Nile, they are noted to have mixed up with the Okebu and the Lendu along with the Sudanic Madi in the north and later with the Bendi, Nyali and the Bira in the southwest.

Regarding the Alur religion, their religious worship rituals were cultivated and protected by the Bandwa, Jupa Jok and Jupa Jogi. These people were the equalities of the clergy. The God’s equivalent was called Jok and the manifestations of Jok were often not in personal terms. As a result, Jok could be a male or female, old or young among others. But at times, Jok could be conceived of in non-personal forms like a situation. Thus there ultimate Jok’s nature was every unknown.

Amongst the Alur, the issue of worship wasn’t a routine thing such as morning, evening or Fridays, Saturday and Sundays. It was facilitated by misfortunes of some sort which required the Jok should be appeased. The Alur people believed that the misfortunes like diseases and other were not natural consequences but rather caused. The causes of these misfortunes were though in differing dimensions. Special parties or dead ancestors could demand beer, food, meat and other sorts of comfort by inflicting punishments on the living people such as deadly diseases, slight sicknesses that would end up serious if not attended to and other misfortunes. These could result into body paralysis, dumbness, mental breakdown among others.

At times of misfortune such as sickness, the head of the family along with his brother and two associates would head to the diviner named Julam bira, Julam wara or Anjoga for diagnosing the misfortune. The diviner would then use the range of instruments at this disposal to derive the trouble cause. Appropriate measures would be taken to avert the misfortune. The Misfortune could be caused by either evil spirits or by evil person who would use magic to harm the healthy person.

The Alur had a religious marriage conveyed in the Mukeli gagi rituals.

The man had to be initiated into the religious cult of the woman in order to be officially recognized as the married people. The Man would retain the religious status that he was given at the time of marriage.

At times, the married woman would be attacked by the ancestral spirits from her side and then the man would take the Cowrie shells to her home. The shells would be tied on the pole of the ancestral shrine of her father and the husband would be pledging to pay two goats that is a male and a female in the process of rescuing the cowrie shells that were not supposed to remain at the home of the father in law forever.

If the husband had been initiated into the religious cult, he would then rescue the shells himself but if he wasn’t, then he wasn’t supposed to know. But there was a possibility of going there if accepted to be initiated there and then. This was preferred most since at the end of the ritual the woman would cease being his if he was not a believer and the sexual relations would stop immediately. The woman would then be married to another man ritually if the former hesitated on being initiated. The ritual husband could go ahead with her and even produce children.

The process if ritual joining started in the late evening as the believers sung to alert the people in the environs about the going. The woman would seat in the circle center and after showing signs of possession, she would be led to her chosen place where a goat would then be slaughtered and eaten. The believers would also be given another goat to slaughter and eat.   The husband and wife would then lie down facing one another on a papyrus mat and the man would be asked to throw his hands and legs on the woman while the woman was asked to assume the posture and then they would be asked to play sex. This process was called Ariba (joining). After this encounter, the couple would be given grass stems to be simultaneously broken. This woman would by all means have power over the other wives of the man if they were not ritually joined with him. If the husband is not the initiated one, he would go ahead and pay the bride price and if he was confirmed, he would retrieve his wife and even if the ritual husband had already had children with her, he wouldn’t complain, he was meant to treat them well hoping that at one time he will also be initiated with another man’s wife and produce children.

Economically, the Alur are settled agriculturalists and they grow a range of crops including millet, cassava, sorghum, potatoes, simsim and a range of beans. They also grow coffee and cotton. They also keep cattle, goats, chicken and sheep.



The Acholi are of Luo Nilotic ethnicity that thrives in the northern part of Uganda popularly referred to as the Acholi land. The land includes the district boundaries of Amuru, Agago, Gulu, Nwoya, Kitgum, Pader and Lamwo. It is noted that about 1.17 million Acholi exists as per the 2002 population Cenusus thoufhh more 45,000 Acholis are known to be thriving in South Sudan.

The language of the Acholi is a western Nilotic Language and is classiefied as the Luo and it is mutually intelligible with he Lango, the Alur and the other Luo Languages. The Language Luo in a common dialect spoke by a range of tribal groups of Luo attachment inhabiting the parts Eastern Uganda, Western Kenya, Northern Uganda, South Sudan and the West Nile.

It should be note that the Acholi word is a misnomer that was adopted for convenience over the years referring to people that are known locally as the Luo Gang. In fact, their neighbors in Lango refer to the Acholi as Ugangi which means people of the home.

The Acholi people are known to have migrated from Bahr el Ghazal in the South of Sudan around 1,000 CE to the present day northern Uganda. Towards the end of the 17th C, a new socio political order developed amongst the Luo in the north of Uganda marked mainly by Chiefdoms by Rwodi or Rwot literally translated as the ruler and the chiefs traditional emerges from one clan and every chiefdom had a range of villages that were made up of various patrilineal clans. In the middle of the 19th C, around 60 minor chiefdoms were in existence in the east of the Acholi land. In the 2nd half of the 19th C, the Arab traders who had come to the area started calling them Shooli, the term that later resulted into the Acholi.

The traditional Acholi Communities were arranged hamlets where they lived in circular huts marked with a peak with a mid-sleeping platform, a fire place and jars of grain. The women smeared the walls with mud with conventional or geometrical decoration designs of grey, white or red. The Acholi Men were primarily hunters and used nets and spears to capture wild game and get meat. They also kept livestock including cattle, sheep and goats. The Acholi women were agriculturalists who grew and processed a range of crops including simsim, millet, sorghum, peas, and vegetables among others. In times of war, men were so active and would use spears, long and narrow shields of giraffe of hides of ox.

When the British colonialists came to Uganda, the Acholi were preferred in the military service and manual labor creating sort of military ethnocracy. This stereotype stayed longer even after when Uganda had gained her independence.

The 1995 constitutional reform recognized the cultural leaders as they had been removed by the Obote I government in 1966. With the recognition of cultural leaders, the Acholi Rwot gained ground the chiefdom of Acholi reigns up to now. In the traditional African society before the coming of colonialists, the Acholi believed in Nyarubanga through an intermediary called Jok-ker meaning a ruling deity. To kill a person was prohibited among the Acholi Culture but it happened, the negotiations for blood money were spear headed by the victims of family with agreement which was followed by the reconciliation ceremony rituals to restore the killer back to the community and to re-establish peace between the clans. The Acholi have got important rituals that are meant to cleanse sites and homes, welcome back the people who have stayed away for some time, clearing spirits from killing places and welcoming people who have been in captivity. For example the Lords Resistance Army returnees counting to 12,000 are noted to have undergone Nyono tong gweno literally translated as stepping on the egg which was meant to restore them back into the community. The Acholi elders in some parts of the Acholi Community are still practicing the acts of atonement and purification.

Basamia Bagwe

The Basamia – Bagwe thrive in the east of Uganda and live in the districts of Tororo and   Iganga districts. They claim to have blood connections to the Jaluo of Kenya while the Bagwe claim to have an attachment to the Banyala. They all face their dead towards the East.

Regarding births, the Basamia Bagwe mother is held in confinement for a period of 3 Days for the sake of a boy child and 4 days in case of girl child. The birth of a boy would be accorded few days as the man was meant to get out early and hassle with the world unlike the girl. However, the Balundu clan reversed this order. Usually following the birth of the child the mother and the father could shave off the hair. Regarding the births of twins, the sheep was slain by treading on it until it died and every one present had to participate. This practice was made to cleanse taboos that were associated with the births of twins and children cleansing. The father of his brother would move with a spear to the in laws and collect porridge and a calabash. A special calabash or pot with two openings was provided and the lead person would spit in it and then spit on the twins. Thus practice would be done after having forcing to open the hut’s door in which the twins were with forked sticks (olubibo). During this ritual of door opening, people would be dancing and singing obscene songs. After the door opening, both the inside and the outside hut people would spit porridge in each other.

Regarding naming, the Basamia would do the naming immediately after the child is born and the names would be determined by the circumstances that are prevailing at the time of births or ordinary daily verbs among others.

Iganga, home of the Basamia

Regarding marriage, the parents would arrange the marriage without the input of the children if they were friendly though such cases were not all that common. The normal method is that the boy would seduce the girl first and though the girl could not show direct response, an indirect form of acceptance would be expressed. The boy would then come with a spear and plant in front of the hut of the mother of the girl and if the girl consented marriage, she would remove the spear and take it to the mothers hut and there after bride wealth arrangements would be entered to. There was no fixed bride wealth for each girl and thus the amount would depend on one’s wealth, tittles and statuses. This depicts that the rich would be charged more than the poor. Four to Eight cows and a large assortment of goats each with a distinct role would be paid. After paying the bride price, the marriage arrangements would be hurried up and the girl would then be take n to the husband’s parents. If it was landed on that the girl was a virgin, a goat or its equivalent would be sent to the mother of the girl as a sign of appreciation. Customarily the boy would take a fat male goat to the father of the girl for slaughtering and this goat was known as esidiso and on occasion, the father would stand on it and be smeared with sim-sim oil. His customary goat cemented the marriage and strengthened the bond between the two families.

Regarding religion, the Basamia Bagwe believed in a supreme being called Were or Nsaye and was thought to be dwelling n heaven and responsible for heavenly and worldly creations. Besides that, they also believed in ancestral spirits. The ancestral spirits were believed to intervene in the affairs and were known to bring harm, misfortune of death if not attended too properly. Thus, each home had a place/shrine where they could feed and please the spirits and these spirits could be called upon in the vent of sickness or any misfortune and would be appealed for things like good harvests, good health and fertility of women. They believed in existence of Omwoyo which is the heart of a living thing and that when a person died, the Omwoyo would fly away in form of wind of a shadow and such departed spirit became omusambwa residing in shrines and grave yards. The Emisambwa could interface with both the living and non-living and they had their abode in the underworld (Emagombe).

The taboos of the Basamia varied from clan to clan and no one was meant to each his totem. The Basamia society was patrilineal and the ladies would take up the clan of their husbands and their children would take up that of their father. It was a taboo for a son in law to spend an overnight in the dame house with the father in law and also children of a given age like 10 years would have their own house. The women were stopped from eating lung fish, chicken and pork.

The Basamia used to put on goat skins while the women put on leave coverings especially in their private parts while the children lived nakedly. The people used to sleep on a bare floor along the fire and the few rich could have skins.

The common foods for the Basamia were sorghum, millet and cassava. The girls and women shared the same plate while the father and the boys also shared the same plate. Unnecessary talking wasn’t allowed while having meals and it was considered a good behavior to respond positively when called upon to join the people having a meal.

The Basamia-Bagwe had a loose and segmentary society and did not have chieftainships and each village had a responsible elder and this was called Nalundiho. Nalundiho was famous political figure and at the same time rain maker. He had great influence at village level and his leadership was hereditary. It is asserted that if any person refused to clear the debt, Nalundiho would deny the location of the debtor rain until the debts were fully settled. As a result of his remarkable superiority, no one would taste the new harvest before him.

The economy of the Basamia was rather simple and depended on subsistence agriculture. They grow various crops including Sorghum, Cassava, Sorghum and a range of beans. They also referred cattle, goats and chicken. In general, minor transactions occurred between them and the neighbors. They had communal ownership of land and were owned on clan basis.