Exploited and Potential Tourist Attractions in Kisoro
Location : Located in South-Western Uganda and borders
Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the South and West, respectively. It also borders the Districts of Kanungu and Kabale in the North and East, respectively.
Population : About 220,000 people
Main Town : Kisoro town and has a population of about 10,700
Area : 729.7 Km2
Land and Vegetation : The District is hilly and key highlands include Mt.
Muhavura at 4127 metres above see level. About
3.88 and 2.95 percent of the district area is covered
by open water and wetlands, respectively. Forest
reserves occupy about 0.96 percent of the area.
The following are the key tourist attractions of the district:
1. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Situated in Kisoro district, southwestern Uganda, this park was gazetted in 1991 and is a part of the great Virunga Conservation Area, which is 434km. Although it is the smallest in the country covering about 33.7km, it is very important as it is one of the only two parks in Uganda that offer habitat for the endangered mountain gorilla. Gorilla tracking is one of the key tourist attractions in this national park.
2. Game viewing/primate viewing
Besides the mountain gorillas, other animals found in the park include; buffaloes, elephants, bushbucks and the threatened golden monkey among others making game viewing another key activity within this park.
3. Volcanoe Climbing
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park offers three extinct volcanoes for physically fit hikers. The three volcanoes, Mt.Sabyinya (366m), Mt. Muhavura (4127m) offer excellent volcano climbing experiences.
4. Cave Exploration
Garama cave is one of the caves where the once crafty Batwa (who were warriors) lived and fought their neighbours, the Bantu. The cave is 3kms from the park headquarters and it takes about 4 hours.
The guide will show you how the Batwa lived and fought out of the cave. The cave is 342m in length and 14m deep and is now inhabited only by bats.
5. Viewing platform/hills
This is about 800m from the park gate. On top of this platform one is able to view the magnificent scenery of the National Park and the surrounding areas. There are display panels at the hill point that give you information about what you see. The hilly nature of Kisoro caused by volcanic activity gives the visitors opportunity to hike, which is one of the rapidly developing activities.
6. Bird Watching
Avi-tourism is a fast growing activity in this area. This activity is carried out along the edge of the park .A stroll along the buffalo wall towards Congo takes you through a wetland area that is rich in a variety of bird species.
7. Forest/Nature walks
Forest walks are carried out within the forested part of the national park.
Nature walks are done within and out side the communities.
8. Community/market visits
Market visits are on a particular day of the week. This is usually a life time experience for the visitors. Community visits are also organised so the visitors can get to know more about the people of Kisoro (Bafumbira and Batwa).
9. Crater Lakes
Kisoro has a number of crater lakes, the most outstanding being the emerald-green lake Mutanda located 14kms north of kisoro town. The lake offers the best experience of sundowners/sunset cruises. It is also ideal for canoeing, fishing and other recreational activities.
10. Scenery Viewing
The spectacular views of the rift valley and the magnificent crater lakes offer great scenic views thus making scenery viewing one of the important tourist activities. Other spectacular sceneries include the Abbis at Muremure in Kitende parish.
11. Cultural Performances
The rich and unique culture of the Bafumbira and Batwa enhance the display/performance of beautiful cultural dances and practices which would leave the visitors yearning for more. These performances are done on request by the visitors.
12. Crafts and Souvenirs industry
The rich culture of the Bafumbira and Batwa people includes unique and diverse variety of crafts and souvenirs baskets and souvenirs beautifully woven to the last detail. These are a unique product that could enhance community tourism in Kisoro. The extensive papyrus swamp stretching from Kisoro to Lake Bunyonyi in Kisoro may sustainably be utilised to provide the raw materials.
13. Cave exploration and Antiquities
Cave exploration and antiquities are already under exploration in the district. The lava tubes left after volcanic activity are add to the scenic attraction of the caves. The prominent caves include Ruhenju in Gigozi parish, Soko in Soko parish and Mwambike near Mutorere Secondary School. The caves were used as safe haven during the tribal wars.
14. Hotel and Catering
The district has a number of outstanding tourist hotels. These include Gahinga Rest Camp, Mgahinga Safari Lodge, Volcanoes Hotel and Sky Blue Motel. During the 2001 survey of tourism establishments, there was a total capacity of 453 beds. The hotel and catering sector in the district employed 143 people at the time.