Exploited and Potential Attractions in Masindi District
Location : Masindi District is located in Western Uganda. It borders
the Districts Gulu and Nebbi to the North, separated by
the Victoria Nile. It also borders Apac and Nakasongola to the East; and Luwero, Kiboga and Hoima to the South; and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the West.
Population : The District has a population of about 470,000 people.
Main Town : Masindi is the main town of the district and has a
population of about 26,000 people.
Area : 9442.9 Km2
Land and vegetation : 8.5 percent of the district area is open water, 2.1 percent
is wetland and 10.9 percent is forest.
The key tourist attractions of the district are given below
1. Murchison Falls National Park
Most of Murchison Falls National Park is located in Masindi district (Kibanda and Bujenje Counties), south of the Victoria Nile.
The Park is one the most important National Parks in the Country. Established in 1952, the park is home to large varieties of wildlife. In addition, the park’s attractiveness to tourists is enhanced by its very natural and scenic green landscapes.
The Park’s attractions include game drives, bird watching and the scenic boat rides. In particular, the park offers game viewing of indigenous wildlife including African forest elephants, lions, giraffes, African buffalos, bushbucks, kobs, crocodiles, waterbucks, kongonis, oribis, bohor reedbucks, baboons, warthogs and a variety of monkey species.
Murchison Falls found on the Victoria Nile is also one of the most important attractions in the park.
The Park’s infrastructure located in Masindi district includes Nile Safaris Camp, Sambiya River Lodge, Paraa Rest Camp and Rabongo Camp.
2. Buliisa Escarpment and Hot Springs
Buliisa Escarpment and Hot Springs are found in the western rift valley in the Lake Albert basin.
The area offers good opportunity to view effects and features of faulting, including the western rift valley.
The salty waters of the gently flowing hot springs cover an area of about 50 square meters. Salt farms have been created in the area by the community who harvest and treat it from within the area using traditional methods.
The white sandy beaches at Buliisa offer potential for development of water sports activities and resorts. However, the waters of the Lake were reportedly likely to be infested with the bilharzia bacteria. Improvement of sanitary conditions in communities bordering the lake will make the waters safe for swimming and other sports activities.
3. Butyaba Port
Butyaba Port is located 120 kilometres west of Masindi town on Lake Albert. The Port lies in the western rift valley, below the Biiso escarpment and the Bugungu Wildlife Reserve. The area was an important Port for the ship services provided by the East African Community and the post independence colonial government. Ruins of the former infrastructure are still visible, including an abandoned ship estimated to have had capacity for about 300 people. Families of former workers at the Port still occupy some of the old houses, while the newer settlers have put up both temporary and permanent accommodation.
The sandy former Port is decorated with beautiful royal palm trees planted during the years of prime activity.
Butyaba’s existing infrastructure, lake-side location, proximity to the Bugungu Wildlife Reserve and Murchison Falls National Park and labour available in the former East African Housing estates, render the area suitable for tourism investment.
5. Budongo Forest- Busingiro and Kaniyo Pabidi Eco-Tourism Centre
Busingiro eco-tourism site is located at Busingiro, about 40 kilometres off the Masindi – Butiaba road close to Budongo Forest Reserve, in Bujenje County. The community eco-tourism site offers forest/nature and primate walks and bird watching in Budongo Forest Reserve. The “royal mile”, a road stretch constructed by one of the Bunyoro kings for leisure/nature walk, is a key attraction for visitors to the centre.
Kaniyo Pabidi eco-tourism centre is located about 25 kilometres along the Masindi – Murchison falls road, in the Budongo Forest Reserve area, in Kibanda County. In addition to forest/nature and primate walks and bird watching, the area is famous for easy chimpanzee viewing.
6. Wanseko Community Campsite
The campsite is located at a beach on Lake Albert, about three kilometres from Wanseko trading centre. The relatively new community based site offers expansive camping grounds, a sand beach for bird watching and canoeing.
There is need to design some trails and other infrastructure in order to develop a tourism product in this area.
7. Omukama’s Palace
The Palace is one of the residences of the King of Bunyoro. It was not possible to enter the Palace and make an assessment of it during the Survey.
8. Masindi Lagoon
The lagoon is found about 2 kilometres from Masindi town. The lagoon is the source of water for Masindi town.
Fish farming which is practised in the lagoon and some bird watching are the attractions to site, particularly for visitors who intend to terminate their visit to the district in Masindi town.
9. Crafts and Souvenirs Industry
There was no dedicated shop selling crafts and souvenirs in Masindi district. However, some crafts were on sale in shops selling other merchandise.
The industry has some potential when communities are sensitised, based sustainable use of the wet/woodlands.
10. Hotel and Catering Industry
The sector had 47 accommodation establishments, with a bed capacity of 1,017, at the time of the Survey. It employed about 300 people. Nile Safaris Camp, Sambiya River Lodge, Paraa Rest Camp and Court View Hotel were the most outstanding accommodation facilities at the time of the Survey.