UNESCO World Heritage sites are highly recognized worldwide.
The three World Heritage sites in Uganda include: Bwiindi Impenetrable Forest National Park , Mountain Rwenzori National Park and Kasubi Tombs.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park lies in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley. Its mist-covered hillsides are blanketed by one of Uganda’s oldest and most biologically diverse rainforests, which dates back over 25,000 years and contains almost 400 species of plants. More famously, this “impenetrable forest” also protects an estimated 400 mountain gorillas – roughly half of the world’s population, including several habituated groups, which can be tracked.
This biologically diverse region also provides shelter to a further 120 mammals, including several primate species such as baboons and chimpanzees, as well as elephants and antelopes. There are around 350 species of birds hosted in this forest, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics.
The neighboring towns of Buhoma and Nkuringo both have an impressive array of luxury lodges, rustic bandas and budget campsites, as well as restaurants, craft stalls and guiding services. Opportunities abound to discover the local Bakiga and Batwa Pygmy cultures through performances, workshops and village walks.
Image by pinterest
Altitude: 1,160m – 2,607m above sea level.
Bwindi was gazetted as a National Park in 1991 and declared a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site in 1994.
The Rwenzoris – the fabled Mountains of the Moon – lie in western Uganda along the Uganda-Congo border. The equatorial snow peaks include the third highest point in Africa, while the lower slopes are blanketed in moorland, bamboo and rich, moist montane forest. Huge tree-heathers and colorful mosses are draped across the mountainside with giant lobelias and “everlasting flowers”, creating an enchanting, fairytale scene.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park protects the highest parts of the 120km-long and 65km-wide Rwenzori mountain range. The national park hosts 70 mammals and 217 bird species including 19 Albertine Rift endemics, as well as some of the world’s rarest vegetation.Image by pearlguide Uganda
The Rwenzoris are a world-class hiking and mountaineering destination. A nine- to twelve-day trek will get skilled climbers to the summit of Margherita – the highest peak – though shorter, non-technical treks are possible to scale the surrounding peaks.
For those who prefer something a little less strenuous, neighboring Bakonzo villages offer nature walks, homestead visits home cultural performances and accommodation, including home-cooked local cuisine.
The Kasubi Tombs in Kampala, Uganda, is the site of the burial grounds for four kabakas (kings of Buganda) and other members of the Baganda royal family. As a result, the site remains an important spiritual and political site for the Ganda people, as well as an important example of traditional architecture. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in December 2001, when it was described as “one of the most remarkable buildings using purely vegetal materials in the entire region of sub-Saharan Africa”.
Some of the major buildings there were almost completely destroyed by a fire in March 2010, the cause of which is under investigation. As a result, in July 2010 it was included in the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger.
The World Heritage Site comprises around 26 hectares (64 acres) on the Kasubi hill in the city of Kampala, about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) northwest of the city centre. Most of the site is open agricultural land that is farmed using traditional techniques. One corner contains a royal palace built in 1882 by Muteesa I, the 35th Kabaka of Buganda, to replace a palace built by his built by his father, Ssuuna II in 1820. The new palace became a royal burial ground on his death in 1884. The site is one of 31 royal tombs across the Buganda kingdom since the kingdom was founded in the 13th century. Traditionally, the body of the deceased king was buried in one place, with a separate shrine for the deceased king’s jawbone, believed to contain his soul. Unusually, in a break from tradition, the site in Kampala contains the royal tombs of four Kabakas of Buganda:
- Muteesa I(1835–1884)
- Mwanga II(1867–1903) (died in exile on the Seychelles Islands, and remains returned in 1910)
- Daudi Chwa II(1896–1939)
- Sir Edward Muteesa II(1924–1969) (died in exile in London, and remains returned in 1971).
Source; Uganda Wildlife Authority