Igongo cultural center

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Igongo cultural center

The cultural center is located 12 kms from Mbarara city and 13 km away from Lake Mburo national park  along Masaka – Mbarara highway in western Uganda. Igongo cultural center is one of the best places in Uganda where one can experience the culture of people from western Uganda. For instance the Bakiga, Banyankole, Banyoro and Batooro. The cultural center offers traditional dance and drama, farm tour, traditional milk and ghee processing, traditional millet grinding and museum tour. Igongo cultural center is strategically located near national parks in south west and western Uganda. The nearby national parks include Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo, Bwindi impenetrable and Mgahinga national park

Tourist attractions at Igongo cultural center

Erijukiro museum

This is one of museums in Uganda that preserves the ancient Ankole culture. There are a lot of items kept in this museum that refer to the Ankole kingdom. For instance the long horned cattle  which represents the Ankole cattle keepers. Other items include hides and skins, stools, milk pots, regalia, Ankole attires, and the Mburo gardens which features the people and animals of long ago in Ankole. The Erijukiro museum attracts researchers, students and cultural tourists.

Mpororo court

It is also known as Kitami palace. Inside the palace there are milk pots, royal drums, spears, statues of women council and regalia. The local guide will take you around telling about the leadership of Mpororo kingdom in the 18th century.

Cultural village

The village is also known as Itaramiro meaning where people gather. This cultural village consists of grass thatched huts bearing designs of farmers and cattle keepers. Tourists are able to meet with local communities who share stories, riddles and proverbs about the Ankole kingdom to them.

The Eclipse monument

Igongo cultural center

The place is also known as the 1520 AD Biharwe Eclipse monument and it is located across the Igongo cultural center. The story about this monument dates back to 1520 AD when the three kings involved in the fight. It is said that the king of Bunyoro Omukama Rwitamahanga Olimi I attacked the king of Ankole, Nyabugaro Ntaro I and Buganda’s Ssekabaka Nakibinge at Biharwe hill. The king of Bunyoro and his companions raided all of their cattle. As they were taking them to Bunyoro kingdom the place experienced a total eclipse. When the darkness fell the king thought that demons of people that lost their lives during the war had started to haunt them. The king of Bunyoro directed his subjects to leave behind the cows and run to save their lives. The Banyankole shared the abandoned cows and other items that were taken during the war among themselves. They named these cows Empenda ya Munoni claiming that they were from heaven. The Biharwe hill eclipse monument offers clear views of the Igongo cultural center. 

Accommodation 

There are a number of hotels around Igongo cultural center ranging from budget, midrange to luxury. These include Agip hotel, Rwizi arch hotel, lake view resort hotel and hotel triangle. All of these accommodations have enough parking space and security. They also offer breakfast depending on your budget.

How to access Igongo cultural center

Igongo cultural center can be accessed by air or road. By air, one can board from Entebbe airport or Kajjansi airstrip to Mbarara airstrip taking 48 mins. Later the company guide will pick you and embark on a 30 mins drive via Mbarara northern bypass and Mbarara – Masaka road later you will be able to access the Igongo cultural center. 

By road from Kampala city to Igongo cultural center  the journey is 256 km (4 hrs and 30 mins drive). However many tourists prefer road to air transport since they are able to see how people meet their daily lives along the way. There are also other tourist attractions that one can make a stop over for some activities for instance equator for photos, lake Mburo National park for wildlife safari, community walks and horse riding.