Uganda is a rich destination in terms of culture! This East African country has several places that one can think that are rewarding with fairlytales. Though most tourists who go on Uganda safari want to spot wildlife, you can also enrich your experience by learning about the history and culture of people. Here are the best 7 destinations that you should consider adding into your travel plan;
Nakayima Tree is an ancient historical site estimated to be 650 years old. History and folklore refer to Nakayima as a shrine for the Bachwezi people who were possessed with supernatural spirits and ruled western Uganda around the middle ages of 1100-1500 AD. Today, local people still believe in the spiritual powers that were passed down unto them by their ancestors and regularly visit the tree shrine to pray and receive what they pray for.
With the help of a guide, Nakayima tree provides a look back at the history and how traditional religious beliefs are still very important part of life. The walk up the hill takes in beautiful views of mubende town and plantations. While at the shrine tree you meet villagers and share some folks about the Nakayima, who was a wife of the Muchwezi king called Ndahura.
Nakayima Tree is located 15 minutes off the town of Mubende approximately 3 hours drive from Kampala. Tourists can access the shrine en route going to Kibale forest national park.
Lake Bunyonyi with 19 islands located in southwestern Uganda is one of the popular destinations where tourists go to relax, swim enjoy breathtaking scenery and discover traditional culture and history. The lake is home to many little birds, otters and Cray fish and there’s a range of luxury and budget lodges.
Of the 19 islands, one is called the Punishment Island also known as Akampene in local language where girls who got pregnant before marriage would be dumped and left to starve and die.
A boat or canoe ride gives access to the island during which you’re told about the history of the punishment as well as explore other islands. There are also trails that explore the beautiful landscape for those who wish to spot birds and visit the BaTwa pygmies.
In the Kigezi region of southwestern Uganda people had traditional morals to guide their way of living. For example young girls were not allowed to have sex and get pregnant before marriage. Thus any girl who would defy the moral would be punishable by death because it would bring shame to the whole family and village at large.
When a girl would be noticed to have got pregnant before marriage action was taken by putting her in a canoe and dumps her on the island to die from hunger or drown in water.
Many girls would starve and die how there were few who survived after being rescued by strangers. The practice of punishing girls in southwestern Uganda dates back in the 17th century until it was prohibited in the 19th century after the coming of colonialists and Christianity.
Lake Bunyonyi is the second deepest lake in Africa located in southwestern Uganda about 1 hour drive from Bwindi rainforest. Bunyonyi in local language means a place of many little birds. The lake is famous for its breathtaking scenery of 19 islands encircled by rolling terraced hills. Taking a boat or canoe ride is highly recommended to experience the beautiful views. Along the lake, you’ll find pleasant villages, and hiking trails on the lakeside. Lake Bunyonyi also has historical islands such as Akampene the punishment island to visit while on the lake
The lake is perfect for a visit to Bwindi on a gorilla tracking safari because on there are lodges on the lakeside with nice beds, food and some offer swimming platforms and boat rides.
Bigo Bya Mugyenyi and Ntutsi mounds
Tourists who love to love to hear about ancient human history Bigo Bya Mugyenyi are a must visit archeological earth works dating back to the 13th and 16th centuries. The trench like systems are associated with the landscape traditions of Bachwezi kingdom. The trenches cover a distance of 10sqkm in Ntusi in Sembabule and runs along the Ridge of Akagera River.
The trenches were named after Mugyenyi one of the princes of the Bachwezi, a kingdom of people with supernatural powers that introduced the Ankole long horn cattle which now dominates the economy of the great lakes region.
Visiting Bigo Bya Mugyenyi in Ntutsi is a highlight of your Uganda safari a long with a visit to local villages.