Uganda, also known as the “True Pearl of Africa” is one of the most amazing safari destinations in Africa, popularly known for gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Besides the mountain gorillas, the country also has a large number of amazing wildlife life that includes mammals, reptiles, primates, and over 1000 bird species, unique cultures, and friendly welcoming people. All Uganda travelers visit popular destinations such as Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth, Mount Rwenzori, and Kibale National Park among others, leaving out the following amazing places;
1. Amabere Ganyina Mwiru
Situated in western Uganda, Amabere ga nyina mwiru is a unique cultural heritage site located 10 km from Fort Portal town. The term Amabere ganyina mwiru loosely translates to breasts of Nyina mwiru in English and refers to the breast-like structures found in Western Uganda. The cave has stalagmites which rise from the floor and stalactites which hang on top of the cave.
Amabere ganyina mwiru is a hidden gem found in a small forest with the glorious waterfalls hovering over the caves giving magnificent scenery. While at Amabare ganyina mwiru, visitors enjoy a serene and cool environment in the midst of this lush green verdure where nature and culture together come to life.
The caves have great cultural myths attached to them not to mention being named after king Bukuku’s daughter Nyina mwiru. The legend has it that Bukuku the then, king of the Batembuzi dynasty had his daughter Nyina mwiru who had refused to marry as per her father’s choice. Nyina mwiru is said to have fled to the caves to escape the father’s wrath. King Bukuku however, in retaliation to Nyina mwiru’s disobedience cut off her breasts and threw them into the caves.
Other people from the region believe that the king cut off Nyina mwiru’s breasts to prevent the prophecy where his daughter was to get married and have a son Ndahura. In addition, it was believed that Nyina mwiru’s son would kill the king and take over his throne.
The locals add that the events which king Bukuku tried to avoid by cutting off his daughter’s breasts came to pass. They claim that the caves are Nyina mwiru’s breasts and the milky substance that drips from these breast-like features is the milk produced by her breasts. Visitors to Amabere ganyina mwiru enjoy a number of activities, top of the list being nature walks and sightseeing around the site and to the nearby crater lakes.
Is Amabere ganyina mwiru worth the visit?
The sight of rocks with breast-like structures is breathtaking as well as the major reason many visitors flock from far and near to this incredible destination. Amabere ganyina mwiru’s scenic beauty of intertwined climbers, hanging rock pillars, caves, and waterfalls all make the place an ideal cultural and eco-tourism site. Similarly, the site is strategically located in a rich environment endowed with three magnificent crater lakes altogether offering you interesting hiking exercises. It is undeniable that a visit to the caves resurrects culture in the area and puts nature to live the moment you encounter the destination.
2. Nakayima Tree
Located in Mubende district approximately 3 hours drive from Kampala is Nakayima tree is one of the strongest and oldest trees in existence in Uganda. The tree is named after the beautiful princess Nakayima who once roamed in the hills of Mubende. The tree elects at the center of Mubende hill amongst other trees with its roots stretching several feet.
The princess is said to have disappeared in the tree. Nakayima tree is believed to have supernatural powers for healing, wealth, good health, and fertility. A lot remains mysterious to many visitors concerning the tree especially the existence of water sprinkling out of its stem believed to cure diseases. In addition, the tree is said to never shed its leaves even in the driest season.
The tree is estimated to be about 650 years serving as an important symbol of African spirituality. The tree has 18 openings in which the caretakers or visitors sit. People come from far and wide to seek solutions to their problems from this sacred place, ask for blessings, and many others. Nakayima tree serves as a prayer and meditation site for traditionalists in the region. The major activities visitors engage in while at the location are traditional and religious rituals, meditation, nature walks, and many more.
Why visit the Nakayima tree?
Famed as a tree of powerful charms, Nakayima tree is undeniably an important cultural site in Uganda. The tree carries an exceptional traditional value to all persons who uphold traditional beliefs, norm, and customs. Other than being an incredible cultural spot, Nakayima tree is an exciting attraction to nature lovers due to the fact that it is one of Uganda’s oldest trees still in existence today. The strategic location Nakayima tree (on top of Mubende hill) rewards visitors with stunning aerial views of the town and other surrounding areas.
3. Ssezibwa Falls
Located 35 km east of Kampala in Mukono district is Ssezibwa falls is one of the best eco-tourism destinations in Uganda. Ssezibwa Falls is a strategically located cultural, religious, and natural tourism destination with plenty of attractive features to view. The waterfalls are believed to be one of the most spiritual and cultural centers where people flock for blessings, fortunes, and wealth. The falls bear a cultural and traditional impact in the region and on the Baganda in particular due to the myths behind the formation of Ssezibwa River.
The waterfalls on Ssezibwa River flow from the wetlands between Lake Victoria and Lake Kyoga. The Ssezibwa Falls are about seven meters high adorned with the sweetest hissing sound created by falling water which creates very beautiful scenery. The falls are complemented by elusive vegetation and the undulating steep rocks over which the waters fall.
Visitors to Ssezibwa enjoy a wide range of activities such as nature walks, traditional and religious rituals, scenic views on top of the waterfalls, bird watching, camping and picnics, Meditation tour, canoeing, rock climbing, community walks, mountain biking, and many others.
Why should you visit Ssezibwa falls?
Ssezibwa falls reward guests with fascinating scenic views ranging from the canopy of trees to mass expanse greenery, and the gushing spectacular waterfalls. The vast rocks and forests are a perfect view for any nature lovers with different landscapes making it an incredible picnic destination.
4. Kigezi Hills
Kigezi hills lie in southwestern Uganda and are one of the amazing places on your guided or self-drive safari in Uganda. Kigezi has alluring terrace hills that reward visitors with breathtaking sceneries. These jaw-dropping sceneries and picture-friendly landscapes are endowed with beautiful water bodies and forests, terraced highlands usually dubbed the Switzerland of Africa.
The hills have a number of attractions namely;
- Kisiizi falls
Lying in southwestern Uganda, Kisiizi falls is a remarkable site that lies on the Kyabamba River 27 meters high in the Rukungiri district. The mesmerizing waterfalls traditionally have a tragic place in the ancient Kigezi. According to the elders, the falls were believed to contribute good morals to the youthful Bakiga girls.
When a girl got pregnant out of wedlock, her brother and father would escort her to the cliff and release her to meet her death. This was done to scare off the girls from premarital sex that often led to pregnancy hence ensuring they stayed virgins until marriage.
- Lake Bunyonyi
Lake Bunyonyi is the second deepest lake in Africa lying between Kisoro and Kabale. The lake is enclosed within the terraced hills of Kigezi and rewards visitors with scenic views of its Islands. The word ‘Bunyonyi’ translates literally to mean little birds. This makes a prolific reference to the plenty of waterbird species that can be seen when one visits the lake. Some of the commonly seen birds include grey crowned crane, herons, egrets, visitors enjoy remarkable sightseeing, birding, canoeing among others.
- Lake Mutanda
Lake Mutanda is located north of Kisoro district in Kigezi region. The lakeside environment accommodates a variety of wildlife species and bird species. Some of the birds that can be seen around the lake include kingfisher, kites, Ibis, crested crane, weaver bird, and many others. While at the lake, visitors are rewarded with a clear view of the Virunga ranges especially Mount Muhabura, Mount Gahinga, and Mount Sabinyo.
- Bwindi impenetrable forest
The mist-covered hillsides of Kigezi especially in Kanungu district are blackened by one of Uganda’s oldest biologically diverse rain forests which date back over 2500 years ago. This rain forest is home to elusive wildlife species with almost 400 plant species, 120 mammal species, 348 bird species, and almost half of the world’s mountain gorilla population. The major activity visitors enjoy in while at Bwindi impenetrable forest is mountain gorilla tracking and habituation where they take a walk along these green hills on a quest to see these gentle giants. Bwindi National park is the best gorilla safari destination in the world with over 18 habituated gorilla families.
Are Kigezi hills worth the visit?
It is from the amazing scenery to the exceptional fun activities that every visitor to southwestern Uganda ought to have a glimpse of the Kigezi hills. The highlands are an iconic photography destination for photographers whose stunning views reward guests with a variety of subjects to shoot.
In conclusion, Uganda remains one of Africa’s top destinations to visit for those interested in experiencing the true African wilderness. However note, most destinations in Uganda are only accessible with a 4×4 car such as Land Cruiser, Rav4, and Toyota Prado. Car rental in Uganda has been made simple, and cheaper by 4×4 Uganda Ltd, one of the most reliable 4×4 car rental agencies with the best cars for hire in the East African region, with or without a driver (Self-drive).