Are you in search of an uncovered treasure, scenic views, wildlife, beauty and surprises? Look no further than the bustling Kisoro town. Kisoro is a district located in south western part of Uganda, roughly 550km from Kampala city a journey taking 8 – 10 hours drive. It borders Rwanda in the south, DRC in west, Kanungu district in the north and Kabale in the east. Kisoro has a population of approximately 220,000 people, with an area of 729.7 sq.km. There are quite a number of tourism places, hotels and hospitals in Kisoro.
This wonderful destination is hilly with plenty of beautiful places to visit, highlands and forests to trek. Travelers stand a chance of participating in various activities in the different attractions in Kisoro district.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Though Mgahinga is the smallest park in the country, it covers an area of 33.7sqkm out of the 434 sq.km of the total Bwindi – Mgahinga conservation area. This is one of the most outstanding destinations in the outskirts of Kisoro town. It is a home to mountain gorillas and the rare golden monkeys. A lot of activities can be carried out in this park but the main one being Gorilla Trekking.
Kisoro is blessed to be having a number of caves that were once occupied by the Batwa people who were wanderers and warriors. This group of people used to fight their neighbors the Bantu, and these caves were used as places of refuge during rebellions. The major one, Garama cave is located 3 km from Mgahinga National Park headquarters.
Primate & Game Viewing
The fact that Kisoro is home to Mgahinga National park, any traveler visiting this destination stands a chance of viewing a number of rare and endangered primates, including the mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. Also present in the park are forest mammals, such as Buffaloes, forest elephants, bush-bucks, other numerous primates – baboons, monkeys and more.
Kisoro is home to 3 volcanic mountains which are part of the larger Virunga massif. Neighboring the famous Mgahinga national park are the 3 extinct volcanoes that offer all year long unbeatable climbing experiences; these include Mt Muhabura (4127m), Mt. Sabyinyo (3,634m) and Mount Gahinga (3,474m) all offering excellent volcano climbing experience.
This is about 800m from the park gate. On top of this platform one is able to view the magnificent scenery of the park, the Virunga ranges and the surrounding communities. There are exhibit points at the hill point that give visitors information about all the features of the place. The hilly nature of Kisoro caused by volcanic activity gives the visitors opportunity to hike, which is one of the rapidly developing activities.
Birding is a fast growing activity in this area. It is carried out along the edge of Mgahinga forest and on the slopes of Virunga volcanic mountains, to explore the many Albertine rift and the Rwenzori endemics. A stroll along the buffalo wall towards Congo takes you through a wetland area that is rich in a variety of bird species such as white-tailed blue flycatcher, malachite sun-bird, and moorland chat among others.
Forest walks are carried out within the forested part of the national park. Nature walks are done within and outside the communities. Various simple forest hikes can be done on the lower slopes of Mount Gahinga, Sabyinyo and Muhabura. The famous walk being the gorge walk, Kisoro and the entire neighborhood present a variety of nature walks to quench your adventure thirst.
Market visits are on a particular day of the week. This is usually a life time experience for the visitors. Community visits are also organized so the visitors can get to know more about the native people of Kisoro (Bafumbira and Batwa).
The most outstanding crater in Kisoro is the emerald-green Lake Mutanda located 14kms away from the town, in addition to other crater lakes that dot the place. Some of these lakes offer spectacular experiences of sun-downers/sunset cruises. Lake Mutanda in particular is an ideal place for canoeing, fishing and other recreational experiences.
The amazing sites of the rift valley, round terraced hills and the beautiful crater lakes offer great scenic views hence making scenery viewing one of the most important tourist activities. Some of the precious sceneries include the Abbis at Muremure in Kitende parish.
The great culture of the Bafumbira and Batwa display/performances such as the beautiful cultural/traditional dances and practices that leave the visitors yearning for more. These performances are done on request by the visitors at a given cost. Enjoy these energetic dances in the evenings at respective lodges after a hectic day of mountain climbing, gorilla trekking or golden monkey experience.
Crafts and Souvenirs shopping
The town of Kisoro is marked by countless number of craft shops which present a wide array of handmade items and African handicrafts manufactured by the resident Bafumbira and Twa natives. These impressive items present the true beauty of Kisoro and her cultural diversity. These include hand woven baskets, gorilla sculptures, wood carvings, African clothing and more. The extensive papyrus swamp stretching from Kisoro to Lake Bunyonyi in Kabale is utilized to provide the raw materials.