Best known for having over half of the world’s mountain gorillas in the Bwindi and Mhaghinga National Parks, Uganda also has a rich history and non-wildlife attractions. Here is the top five historical sites in Uganda.
1. The Kasubi Tombs – these royal tombs of the Buganda Kings are a UNESCO World Heritage site and only an hour drive from Uganda’s capital, Kampala. Regarded as the major spiritual center for the Buganda people, four successive Kabakas (kings) are buried here:
- Mutesa I (1835 – 1884)
- Mwanga II (1867 – 1903)
- Daudi Chwa (1896 – 1939)
- Sir Edward Mutesa II (1924 – 1969)
Sadly, the Tombs burned in 2010 but are being restored by The Madhavani Group, Uganda’s largest private corporation and parent company of Premier Safaris and Marasa Africa.
2. The River Nile – considered to be the world’s longest river, although disputed by some. Referenced in mythology, Biblical writings and by Ptolemy, the ancient Greek astronomer and geographer, the mighty Nile inspired many early explorers to search for its source. European adventurer John Speke was the first Westerner to confirm the origins at Lake Victoria in Jinja, Uganda. Considered to be the birthplace of civilization, the stunning beauty of the Nile has amazed all who have encountered her through the centuries.
Approximately 6400km long, the average discharge is 3.1 million litres (680,000 gallons) per second, making the Nile a world-class destination for white water rafting and kayaking. In calmer sections, the River Nile is also superb for sport fishing where 200kg Nile perch are the prize.
3. Fort Pakito – this 136-year-old fort stands atop a hill in Gulu in northern Uganda and is a legacy to Sir Samuel Baker, an explorer and anti-slavery trade campaigner.
4. Namugongo Martyrs Shrine – known for its beautiful, unique interior and exterior of 22 copper pillars over 100 feet long, this shrine honors the 32 young men, pages of king Mwanga II of Buganda, who were burned to death for their refusal to renounce Christianity. Hundreds of thousands of Christians from Uganda, Africa and other parts of the world pilgrimage here every June 3rd, to commemorate their deaths.
5. Amabere Ga Nyinamwiru – the caves, approximately 10 km from Fort Portal, are known for their quite unusual formations of stunning stalagmites and stalactites that resemble breasts and have a milky like substance that drips every 25 seconds.
Culturally this site is rich with historical lore. Nyinamwiru was the beautiful daughter of King Bukuku of the Toro and Bunyoro kingdoms. She refused to marry the man her father chose for her and the punishment was cutting off her breasts. Although another version says she cut them off herself. However it happened, her breasts turned into rocks dripping with milk.