March 22, 2023

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Must Visit Cultural Sites in Uganda

The Republic of Uganda has a diverse culture that is comprised of a variety of ethnic groups. Each ethnic group is made up dozens of tribes which differ by their unique culture, beliefs, norms, traditions, practices and speaking their own languages. The Bantu ethnic group occupies the biggest portion and mainly occupies the central, western and southwestern parts of Uganda. Major tribes of the Bantu group include the Baganda, Banyankore, Batooro, Bakonzo, Basoga and Banyoro among others. The non-Bantu including the Nilotic and Sudanic people live in the northern, northwestern and eastern regions of the country. Many of the tribes in Uganda have kingdoms or chiefdoms which were first demolished about 40 years ago but later on restored by H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni after he had taken over power in 1986. They are one of the things that have helped in preserving their culture and traditions. Due to the strong cultural heritage of Uganda, it hosts numerous cultural attractions in different regions. In this article Mumwe Global safaris brings you the most interesting cultural sites that you must visit in Uganda;

Kasubi tombs

This is a significant cultural spot to Buganda Kingdom, which is among the most popular kingdoms in East Africa. It is a burial ground for four of the kings of Buganda (Kabakas) who ruled the kingdom. These tombs also hold a number of historical treasures and tools for Buganda kingdom. The place has held several Buganda rituals since its establishment in the 13th century, they are carried out by the king and other cultural leaders. While at the site, the guide leads you into one of the grass thatched buildings where you must leave your shoes outside and sit on the mats, then listen to the folk tales and be showed where the kings were buried. Kasubi tombs is one of the most popular and best cultural sites to visit in Uganda. It is located in Kasubi, about 6 kilometers from Kampala city.

Karambi tombs

Situated about 6km south of Fort Portal town off Fort Portal-Kasese highway, the Karambi tombs are a very important place in Tooro Kingdom. It is a burial ground for three kings of this Bantu kingdom which is known to have had the youngest king of all time in the world- King Oyo who was crowned Omukama (king) at the age of three in 1995 and still rules up to date. Three kings (Abakama) namely Kyebambe Kamurasi, Rukidi III and Olimi Kaboyo II and other royals of Tooro kingdom were buried here. Each king was laid in his own tomb while the graves of the princes and princesses lay just outside the tombs. The royal regalia and some personal tools that each of the kings used are kept in the tombs as well.

Karambi tombs can be visited on a tour to Kibale national park, Semuliki national park or a tour of the Tourism city in Fort Portal. On arrival at the site, you are welcomed by caretakers/site guides who take you around the place to the tombs where they tell you the do’s and don’ts plus the history of Tooro Kingdom and some of the things that the kings did.

Namugongo Martyrs Shrine

A group of 45 young Christian converts (Anglican and Roman Catholic) were executed on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga between January 1885 and January 1887 for their faith. There was a brutal massacre of some of these men while others were burnt at the location where the Namugongo martyrs shrine sits currently. Twenty-three of the martyrs were Anglicans and twenty-two were roman Catholics. In 1920, the 22 African Roman Catholic martyrs were beatified by Pope Banedict XV and then canonized as saints by Pope Paul VI in 1964 October. He (Pope Paul VI) later on laid the foundation stone of the shrine to be built in Namugongo in respect of the martyrs. Namugongo Martyrs shrine was completed in 1975 and the feast day of the martyrs is June 3.

Visit the site and listen to how these African martyrs were killed, get to the basilica, a Roman Catholic minor basilica that was dedicated to the martyrs and move around the serene site to see where thousands of people converge every June 3 to celebrate the martyrs. Namugongo Martyrs Shrine is located about 16km from Kampala city in a place called Namugongo.

Igongo Cultural Centre

The Igongo cultural site is found in Mbarara about 12km from the main town. It is one of the places you ought to stop and explore when travelling to national parks in western Uganda. The cultural site is situated on the former palace of Ankole kingdom. To learn about the interesting history and culture of the Banyankore, pass by the centre and get an insightful tour by moving around the museum where you see items representing the long-horned cattle reared by the locals in the region, milking pots, seats, and hides and skins among others. Other places to visit at Igongo Cultural Centre include Nkwanzi crafts and bookshop, Mpororo court, the cultural village named Itaramiro and the hotels in the neighborhood.

Nyero Rock paintings

The Nyero rock paintings are one of the most important rock art sites in the Pearl of Africa. They are found in rock shelters located approximately 8 kilometers west of Kumi town, Ngora road in Eastern Uganda. It is an early iron stone age site perfect for sightseeing. The drawings are said to date before 1250 CE, and they match the distribution of the late stone age hunter-gatherer culture. The art is attributed to the Batwa who are of Pygmy origin. Today, the Batwa live in southwestern Uganda, northern Rwanda and eastern parts of the DR Congo. This indicates that the group of people could have lived around the area of the rock paintings and later on moved southwards due to the arrival of the Nilotic and Luo who presently inhabit the area.

Nyero rock art site has six shelters and the main one is Nyero 2, a big white wall covered in groups of red circles, boats and some human and animal forms. When you arrive at the site, the caretaker or kids of the locals take you around for an informative tour.

Sezibwa falls

Sezibwa falls is a serene Buganda cultural site located about 35km along Kampala-Jinja highway in Mukono district. These falls are of significant value spiritually to the Baganda people and they have been an important spot for a number of former and present kings of Buganda kingdom (Kabakas). Kabaka Mwanga and Muteesa II are said to have tethered twins from Sezibwa falls and they used to visit it often. It is also believed to be a sight for spiritual healing by the local people. The site has a stunning scenery that attracts tourists and they get delighted in the nature walk, bird watching, culture and relaxation. The point where the river breaks free and descents to a river bank about 8 meters is a picturesque site you ought not to miss.

Are you a culture lover looking forward to travelling to Uganda soon and would like to explore and feel the culture of this beautiful country? Look no further than Mumwe Global Safaris for your customized safari. Contact us through