What do you know about Kanungu as a tourist destination? This is what has disturbed a number of travelers thinking of travelling to this destination. Truth be told, this is a place to visit, though Uganda’s most remote yet with beautiful scenic areas.
Kanungu district was formerly part of Kabale district, created in 2001 by the 6th parliament and currently borders the districts of Rukungiri to the north and east, Rubanda district to the south, Kisoro to the south west as well as D.R. Congo to west. Apart from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, it is also popular for one of the biggest cult killings in human history, by one self -proclaimed pastor, Joseph Kibwetere.
Joseph Kibwetere, whose cult consisted of over 25,000 members, had persuaded his gullible followers to believe that the world would come to end in 2000, and that God was coming down on earth, a lie that never came to pass. In March 2000, about 1,000 members of the notorious Kibwetere’s Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God were burnt to ashes at his church, which was established roughly 2km south of Kanungu town.
The remains of this church are still preserved, presenting an opportunity to explore the dark of this place. Therefore, the trip to Kanungu district is both pleasant and frightening with the beautiful scenery of the various Kigezi highlands, extensive tea plantations, conical hills marked with bustling homesteads, seasonal rivers and so much more.
Distance between Rukungiri and Kanungu towns is about 44km, the bus takes over 2 hours but with the current road upgrade, this is likely to come to a 1 hour’s drive. The road is likely to be even poor during rainy seasons, however this should not stop you from adventuring the beautiful treasures hidden in this wonderful destination.
Tourism is a huge source of income as travelers from across the world visit Kanungu every year in hopes to have an encounter of the rare mountain gorillas that stay in the nearby Buhoma sector in north of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Bwindi is a known destination with about half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas with the other half only found within the Virunga massif, a volcanic range that traverses Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Lots more activities are continuously carried out by travelers who make it to Kanungu district.
In March 2000, about 1,000 members of the notorious Kibwetere’s Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God were burnt to ashes at his church, which was established roughly 2km south of Kanungu town. This is a historical site that has attracted a number of tourists to Uganda. It’s one of the places you don’t need to miss on your safari to Uganda to learn about the history of this man, Kibwetere and his followers.
Bwindi impenetrable national park
Located 45km from Kanungu town, and Known for its endangered mountain Gorillas. Bwindi National park welcomes a number of tourists from all over the world who come to do Gorilla trekking and habituation experiences with in the Buhoma gorilla region. Apart from mountain gorillas, other encounters are done in this park such as Batwa pygmies’ experiences, the wonderful impenetrable forest and different bird species among others.
These are mainly the Batwa pygmies who are found in Buhoma sector of Bwindi forest. They give you a feel of their former life in the forest. Amazingly, Batwa used to depend on the forest for food (gathering fruits and hunting) and shelter but now live within the forest outskirts, learn about their traditions, history, songs and performances. Besides this, other activities are birding, hiking, nature walks among others.
Accommodation in Kanungu town
These range from luxury to budget and among others include the following, Buhoma community campsite, Crested Cane Hotel, Bwindi lodge, Silverback lodge, Buhoma Lodge and so many other lodges.
Kanungu is located in the south western region of Uganda, 450km from Kampala – Uganda’s capital, a journey that takes about 8 hours’ drive. The only route is Kampala – Mbarara – Rukungiri – Kanungu, which takes you past the Uganda equator monument, vast Ankole plains dotted with the endangered long horned Ankole cows, the bustling Mbarara town, Igongo cultural center for an insight into the amazing cultures of western Uganda tribes and more.