Kitara Region covers most of the Western Uganda named the Pearl of Africa; has the best cultural Destinations in the country. The various nature trips get even better when a cultural trail is included. Tourists get to visit cultural centres in the country, meet people of different cultures, experience their way of life, learn about their culture and even taste their cuisine.
The Batwa Culture: The Bwindi cultural trail has helped diversify the experience of visiting Bwindi and tourists now have more to see and explore in addition to tracking Mountain Gorillas. Tourists get to sleep in tents, enjoy bonfire barbeque and eat crayfish from the lake.
A visit to Kabale Arts Centre is a great way to learn about the “Bakiga” tribe of Uganda. This small museum has historical and traditional highlights of how the Bakiga resisted the colonialists among many other things regarding the way of life of the Bakiga. A visit to Lake Bunyonyi has a lot of cultural experience and African traditions of the Bakiga Community.
Banyankole Culture: Igongo Cultural Center near Mbarara town is another great stop for a cultural-fulfilling experience when visiting Uganda. There is a well researched museum depicting the history of Ankole and the general way of life of the Banyankole. The cultural center is surrounded by several other cultural sites Such as Biharwe hill, Ankole cultural palace, Ankole Long Horned Cows, Nsongezi site for the early man, and many others.
Bahima (Cattle keepers) Culture:
Visiting Nshenyi Village about two hours from Mbarara town gives you the opportunity to mingle with the locals and get a firsthand experience of their traditional way of life as you explore the rural side of this Pearl of Africa. Similar sites are in Busongora and Rwebisengo.
Visiting the Karuzika palace gives you 360-degree panoramic views of the Fort Portal town. The circular structure was built in 1963, but fell into ruin after the abolition of the royal kingdoms by Idi Amin. It was restored in 2001 after Colonel Gadaffi met the king and donated the money for repairs.
The Tooro Palace, also known as Karuzika palace is perched at Karuzika Hill overlooking Fort Portal town along the Fort Portal – Kasese Road. The unique palace building was renovated in 2001 with funding from the fallen president of Libya, Col. Muammar Gadhafi and is one of those scenic buildings in this town where one can have 360” degrees panoramic view of the entire town of Fortportal.
The palace is home to the current king of Tooro, Omukama Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV who has been the supreme cultural leader of Toro Kingdom since 1995.
Visit the historical crater lakes said to have been dug by the demi gods of the BACWEZI empire during the historical times.
The Nyakasura caves, also commonly known as the “Amabere Ga Nyinamwiru” is located 7 kilometers from Fortportal town. These limestone rocks, known as stalagmites and stalactites are a great scenic feature in this region with an astonishing fairy-tale story behind its existence. A visit to these caves exposes you to the roaring Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru waterfalls and the three dazzling explosion crater lakes which can be viewed right outside the caves.
The Batoro natives of this area have a strong myth attached to these caves with an interesting story told from long ago about them and what caused their formation. The caves were named after King Bukuku’s daughter called Nyinamwiru and hence the name ‘Amabere Ga Nyinamwiru’ would be ‘Breasts of Nyinamwiru’. King Bukuku was one of the ancient Kings of the Batembuzi Dynasty that ruled that time and was believed to be a demi-god by the subjects and would often times disappear and re-appear. Princess Nyinamwiru was a beautiful young lady who had a strong personality. She refused to marry the man her father – the King had chosen for her as was the custom.
This greatly infuriated the King and his subjects who could not understand how anyone could disobey the King in such a manner. The King then ordered that her breasts be cut off because of her disobedience, this was to ensure that she would never get married to whoever she would choose and never be able to breast feed her children. It is therefore locally believed that the scenic rocks on this site are her breasts oozing milk since that day.
Karambi Royal Tombs
An excursion to the Karambi Royal Tombs is worthwhile. Several of the former Kings of Tooro Kingdom are buried here. The caretaker will let you in for a look at the tombs, which house drums, spears and other personal effects of several of the Toro kings. The cemetery outside is the resting place for various other royal family members.
Kitara has got such a vibrant and rich culture that tourists from around the world visit the country every year for the memorable experience. Cultural Tourism in Kitara is at it’s peak throughout the year and tourists can visit any time of the year.
Kitagata Curative Hot Springs
Springs with clear water but curative, the Omugabe (royal) springs are on the easterly sides.9 when water is heated in the earths bowels and emerges from the earth crust it forms a hot spring) Kitagata attracts over 100 peoples on a daily basis. Has zones for women and children (Nazario Bihanga is the care taker)two sections one is Ekyomugabe, (royal) the other is Mulago as a general ward.
Musaijja Mukuru Hill
An ancient citadel and military observation post. History of war times, stronghold of Banyoro against Baganda, later it was taken by Thurston/50 soldiers in 1894. Bwebandwa caves lie in the north.
Nsongezi Archaeological site
Cave and rock shelter of early man, containing late stone age microliths and dimple based pottery. This is located in Isingiro district in Ankole.
Small island in Kagera river used by rulers of Ankole Ntare and Rwanga, as refuge sites, contains abundant dimple based wares
At Katate, Kibwetere, Father Kataribabo, and Mwerinde leaders of the cult, conspired and set fire on their followers, also believed to perished in the fire.
Katwe salt gardens
Volcanic crater lake associated with traditional, salt production.
Queen Mother Memorial
Monument at Kikorongo Located within the Queen Elizabeth national park.
(Bukonzo west), Associated with the origin of the Basongora clan among the Bakonzo. A cattle keeping clan. Common to the hill is the collection of grasshoppers (emishenene) which is also the totem for the clan.
Is a monument that commemorates the grave of 3 Bakonzo heroes who fought against British colonial rule (through Toro) between 1919 and 1921.
In Ihandiro is a grave for Isaya Mukirane founder and late king of the Rwenzururu Kingdom and palace for the Rwenzururu movement . Also a pilgrimage site every year for the Rwenzururu.
Isunga Cold springs
At Isunga, in a pond containing cold water with sulphur, gives out bubbles at three different places, treatment of different ailments.
Birth place of wamara last ruler of the 14th-century Bacwezi empire.
First administrative centre for Kigezi district, where the agreement of demarcation between Uganda and Rwanda was made.
Ibale lya Kitinisa
Buhembo village, home to one of the ancestral rulers of the Bachwezi.
Near Muzizi river opposite Nakabimba.
Katosa Martyrs shrine
Among the 22 martyrs’ killed in 1886was a born at Katoosa St Adolf Tibeyalirwa Abwooli. A pilgrimage is held every 27 January every year in memory of the victim on At Adolf day. Katoosa Parish.
Mwenge ancestral Palace
Old palace for the Bunyoro Kitara Kings.
Training ground for senior army officers for Bunyoro Kingdom.
Bweyorere Capital site
Ankole capital site ,occupied by rulers of Ankole, Kasasara mid 17th century and Kasasara 18th century.
At Kamukuzi is a tomb house and Burial place for the Abagabe of Nkore.
Magaba Palace Kamukuzi
At Kamukuzi, is found the Royal Palace of Nkore.
Blood brother hood between Buchunku and Stanley memorial
Queen Muhumuza’s seat of Mpororo
Led a rebellion against the British colonialists in Mpororo is her footprint and Omweeso board in the rock.
Sempaya Hot springs
In Semliki National park two natural hot springs female boils up to 106 degrees and the male boils at 90 degrees.) cultural significance attached.
The mouth of this cave was used for many generations for defence purposes and a fort was built at its mouth.
Kibiro Caves and Kibiro Harbor
Royal wives were hidden in these caves during the times of war. Kibiro harbor is an Ancient port used by Banyoro to cross Lake Albert.
Bigo Bya Mugenyi The Bigo Bya Mugenyi is a prehistorical place in Mawogola county in Sembabule near Ankole area, it’s side that the Chwezi also known as the Bachwezi were the first people to settle in the Bigo Bya Mugenyi, western and central parts of Uganda this group of people are also believed to have been the first people to settle in Uganda during the 11th to 12th century.