20 July 2009

Uganda: The Mystical Cave of Bachwezi Demi-Goddess


Amabera ga Nyinamwiru caves in the western Uganda town of Fort Portal are a marvel and a sight to behold even for a seasoned traveller.

The caves whose name translates into 'Breasts of Nyinamwiru' have scientific /geographic and historical significance for the people of Tooro Kingdom where the Caves are located. The people of Tooro believe this place was a home to the Bachwezi demi goddess Nyinamwiru hence the name.

The reference to breasts comes in handy due to the shape of the stalactites and stalagmites growing on the roof and floor of the cave. Geographers have scientific explanation for this occurrence while the historians and oral literature people also have theirs but for the most part the journey to the caves is simply a thrilling adventure for visitors. The Caves are a few Kilometres from Fort Portal town and the place is accessible by road at a relatively cheap price.

Entrance into the grounds is also at a fee of 2500 ug shillings for a local and 5000 ug shilling for a foreigner. This fee is inclusive of the services of a skilled guide who take the visitor through both the geographical and historical as well as cultural significance of the caves on top of other titbits about the caves.

The entrance to the caves is narrow and covered by heavy undergrowth so that an adult has to bend in order to enter but once inside one can stand tall in some parts of the Cave while one needs to bend in others. The inside of the cave is covered with protruding stalactites and stalagmites that literally look like a woman's tits hence giving credibility to the name of the place.

The whole place smells of mystery and a visitor has some of that rub off unto him/her as he/she moves from one room to another in the caves. Every room in the cave looks different and has different folk tales about it, For example, there is a room where it is said that the dogs belonging to the Bachwezi used to sit and the roof in that room is shaped like dogs' paws.

There is a constant hum of the water fall inside the cave as one part of the cave has a water fall at its opening. The place is called the natural shower and it is said that the Bachwezi used to take showers here. These days adventurous visitors strip their clothes off and stand under the water fall, a very invigorating and thrilling exercise.

In fact it is better to carry two pair of clothes for a trip to the caves because the idea of missing the glory of standing under this water fall is terrible to say the least.

For the totally adventurous there is no need for a pair of fresh clothes as some people like to stand there totally naked.

Moreover, there is something called the natural curtain which prevents people on the other side of the cave from seeing what is going on inside the cave. The natural curtain is made up of climbing plants that have intertwined over the ages to form something that looks like a curtain.

A visit to the Amabere ga Nyinamwiru caves is both exciting and intriguing so it is a must stop for a traveller visiting Fort Portal town and can also make a good extension of a tour that starts in the Queen Elizabeth National park.

A trip to the Kings' Palace is also a good desert after a trip to the caves because one gets to get a mix of the traditional and modern at the palace and an extension of the mythology surrounding the Babito and Bachwezi dynasty going on through the ages up to now.

I would recommend a visit to the caves and a stint under the water fall / natural shower. It makes for both fun and extraordinary photography like something straight out of the movies.

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