The Kings of Uganda

Near Hoima, we found one of the few traces of Ugandan history, the Mparo Tombs. This is the burial site of Omukama (‘King’) Chwa II Kabalega who reigned in Bunyoro Kitara in the late 19th century. He was exiled to the Seychelles in 1899 by the British colonialists.

A guide invited us first to his office, where we learned a lot about the history of the kingdom of Bunyoro. Afterwards he took us to the burial place of Kabalega, their most famous king.

Burial hut

The body is buried under ground, covered with special cow skins and on top bark cloth. Above and around are the burial objects displayed like his spears, shields, bowls, throne and other personal effects.

The kings slippers
Cowrie shells – money of Kabalega’s time
King Kabalega

At this site once stood Kabalega’s palace and around his burial site are the graves of many close family members. We were told, that 2 Europeans had visited the king: Emir Pasha and Sir Samuel Baker.

Emin Pasha (born Isaak Eduard Schnitzer (1840 – 1892) was an Ottoman physician of German Jewish origin, naturalist, and governor of the Egyptian province of Equatoria on the upper Nile (today’s South Sudan and Northern Uganda). He went on a diplomatic mission to Bunyoro, where he negotiated with King Kabalega and was well respected.

Sir Samuel Baker, (1821 – 1893) was an English explorer, officer, naturalist, big game hunter, engineer, writer and a fighter against slavery. He served as the Governor-General of the  Province of Equatoria. He is mostly remembered as the first European to visit Lake Albert, which he named after the recently deceased Prince Albert. While in Bulgaria, he met his second wife Florence, who was to be sold at a slave market. After they got married, she accompanied him on all his journeys including to Central Africa.

From Hoima, we drove to Lake Albert again, where we stayed at the Kikonko Lodge, overlooking the lake. We had a very overcast day, but we could see the other side of the lake, which is DR Congo. In the evening, we were waiting for the numerous lights of the boats to dot the lake, but due to heavy winds, they didn’t go out that night and we only saw the lights along the shoreline.

We had a wonderful dinner at the lodge, overlooking the lake and the stormy sky. The next day, we drove up along the lake, reaching the delta of the Victory Nile at Wanseko. We had a perfect tar road all the way, just the last few kilometres to our lodge close to the Murchison Falls NP were the horror. More next.

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