Exploring the top caves in Uganda
Exploring some of the top caves in Uganda is such a wonderful way to adventure and explore unique sites in the country. Most of the caves in Uganda have a rich cultural history attached to them. A great majority of the caves in Uganda are located in the eastern and western regions of Uganda.
Scientifically, caves are formed as a result of several factors such as severe soil erosion, stalactites, and stalagmites among others. Some of these caves once acted as shelters for Bushmen, hiding places in times of war like the Bat cave in Queen Elizabeth National Park. To some, these caves were once called home for example the Batwa pygmies who stayed in the Garama caves in Kisoro. Other popular caves that are visited by a great majority of tourists include; Nyero Caves in Kumi district, Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru in Fort Portal district, and Semwama Hill Caves in Kumiro district. Tourists visiting major caves in Uganda can combine their cave tours with other activities such as gorilla trekking or golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Game drives and boat cruise in Lake Mburo national park or Queen Elizabeth National Park, chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park or even the Batwa Trail Experience.
Garama Cave in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Tourists in Kisoro district can pay a visit to the Garama Caves, which are located about 3km from the park’s headquarters in Ntebeko. These caves have been in existence for several years, and are 342 meters long and 14 meters deep. The caves were formerly used as hideouts by the Batwa people, who sought protection from attacks by their neighbors. Visitors can explore the Garama caves during a guided nature walk tour or during the Batwa trail experience in the forest. During the trail experience, visitors have an opportunity to learn more about the caves, as you listen to old folk tales about the caves from experienced local Batwa guides. Get to listen to the traditional folk songs that are sung by local Batwa women, and also get a chance to take a guided tour inside these caves. Currently, these caves have been inhabited by a large population of bats, so watch out for these creatures as you tour the caves. Visitors interested in visiting the Garama caves can do so at a fee of USD 80 dollars person.
Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru Caves in Fort Portal.
The Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru caves are among the most visited caves by tourists visiting Uganda. The caves are located in Fort Portal district, in the western part of Uganda. These caves were formed as a result of stalagmites and stalactites. However, the caves also play a very significant role in the cultural history of the Batooro people, who believe that the caves were formed as a result of a violent act committed by a former King of Tooro, King Bukuku.
According to legend, the king cut off the breasts of his beloved daughter and threw them into the cave to serve as a punishment for her refusal to marry the man that he had chosen for her. Legend has it that the princess was then excommunicated to the caves, where King Isaza found her and later rapped her. It is caves derive their name from the princess’ breasts which were cut off by her father. The word ‘Amabere’ means ‘breasts’ and ‘Ga Nyina Mwiru’ means ‘ of Nyina Mwiru’ when translated to English; therefore ‘Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru’ means ‘ breasts of Nyina Mwiru.’
The caves are also believed to be the ancestral home for the ‘Bachwezi’ people, and the birth place of their King. Visitors can choose to combine a tour to the caves with other activities such as; a community cultural tour, hike to the crater lakes, a tour of fort portal town, and a visit to the royal palace among others.
Visit the Bat Caves in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Tourists visiting the Queen Elizabeth National Park should make it a point to visit the Bat Caves which are located in Maramagambo forest, in the southern part of the national park. Queen Elizabeth national park which is located in Kasese district in Southwestern Uganda is among one of the top destinations for wildlife viewing in Uganda. Visitors in the park can tour the Bat caves which are found in the canopy of Maramagambo forest. The Bat caves are home to a number of bats and pythons. Just below the bat caves are two crater lakes namely Kyasanduka and Nyamasingiri crater lakes. Visitors can catch a glimpse of the crater lakes while inside the caves, and trust me the sight of these crater lakes will leave you at a loss of words. While visiting the caves in Maramagambo forest, visitors have a greater opportunity of sighting out several forest dwellers including the primates such as chimpanzees, baboons, monkeys, several mammals including Potto, Pygmy antelopes, Bush babies, and bird species such as Rwenzori Turaco, Forest Flycatcher, and White -Naped Pigeons among others. Maramagambo forest can easily be accessed either by road through Kampala- Mbarara- Bushenyi or by air from Entebbe airport to Queen Elizabeth national park.
Explore Nyero Rock Paintings and Caves in Kumi District.
The Nyero rock paintings and caves are very popular tourism sites in Uganda. The caves are found in Kumi district in the eastern part of Uganda, about 250 kilometers from Kampala city. The caves at Nyero rock are a world heritage site listed under UNESCO in 1997. Visitors touring the caves have a chance to explore the rock paintings in the caves, which are believed to have been in existence for over 300 years. The caves were first discovered by archeologists and researchers in 1913. It is believed that the Batwa people once lived in these caves before migrating to other areas later on. These caves have a deep cultural tie to the Teso people, who used some parts of the caves as worship grounds where they offered sacrifices to their gods. However, in the 1970s, the government of Uganda banned the people from offering sacrifices and holding prayers within and around the caves. This move was made in order to protect and preserve the rock art in the caves.
The Rock has six different shelters including Nyero 1which is the smallest rock which is painted in a shape of Acacia pods, Nyero 2 which is the main rock filled with red paintings with a huge painting of an object thought to be a canoe, Nyero 3 which is situated close to Nyero 2 painted in white, Nyero 4 with red paintings, Nyero 5 situated close to the primary school, and Nyero 6 which has red paintings and all these can be explored during the guided nature walk always combined with a tour to Sipi falls.
The Semwama Hill Caves in Kakumiro District.
The Semwama Hill Caves are located in Kakumiro district in the western part of Uganda. These caves hold great historical and cultural significance to the local people in the area, who consider the caves to be a worship place that they can use to worship and offer sacrifices to their ancestral gods. The caves are believed to have been first inhabited by the Bachwezi dynasty. Visitors can take a tour of these caves at any time of the year.
In Conclusion; Uganda is filled with lots of caves that have a rich cultural and historical background attached to them. Visiting these caves also gives visitors a better understanding of the different cultures that are existent in the country, and are a great way for visitors to interact with the local people in areas where these caves are located. Tourists who visit these caves are sure to have an experience of your lifetime.
Contact us for any inquiries that you make have in regards to these caves, or simply book a tour to any of the above mentioned caves in Uganda.