Uganda Archaeology - Western Region

Sempaya Hot Spring

Bundibugyo boasts of her Sempaya Hot Spring. There is nothing historical or cultural known about them as yet but they are potentially rich for thermo hydro electricity. There is no evidence like at Kitagata Hot Springs, people go there for physiotherapy. This is possibly because they are in the middle of a forest. As one drives through the vigorous twists and turns of the Bundibugyo road, the meandering bends of the Semuliki River through the Semuliki flats towards Lake Albert in the north, are very fascinating.

Mparo Tombs, three and a half kms on the Hoima-Masindi Road is the burial site of Omukama Cwa II Kabalega (d. 3) and his son Sir Tito Winyi IV (d.1911). Other Babito, princes and princesses are also buried there. Mparo was also the capital site of Omukamna.


Kabalegas tomb house is constructed with permanent materials but in a round structure and thatched with grass. The tomb house is a small ethnographic museum in itself. Kabalegaands tomb is in the center of the two-doored house. It is covered with a big cow-hide pegged down with 9 pieces of traditional hoes. Lion and leopard skins are spread on the steps to the tomb. The floor is covered with grass on top of which mats are spread all around the house.

Various objects like smoking pipes, clay pots, both milk and water containers, baskets, wooden bowls, sticks, spears, drums, shields, a mweso board, wooden stools, coffee berries etc. are displayed in fashion around the tomb. Sir Tito Winyi IVands tomb is constructed with permanent materials and also covered with a cow-hide. A small roof covers it. The burial site is surrounded with a reed fence supported by inter spaced barkcloth trees.

Katasia Fort

Outside the fence is also found the Kabalega-Emin Pasha Memorial on the East and the Omukewo tree and Empango mound to the West of the site. Three kilometers from Hoima on the Hoima-Butiaba road is Katasia Fort and Cave. The fort is surrounded by a ditch, which has filled in. It was established by Colonel Colvile in 1894 when he led the punitive expedition against Omukama Kabalega. The cave near the fort was used by Kabalega's forces to fight off colonial invasion. Both sites provide recreational and picnic facilities to people who go there.

Kibiro Hot Spring

The Hot Springs at Kibiro fishing and salt producing village at the bottom of the Western Rift Valley escarpment along Lake Albert are also interesting to visit. By subterranean seapage, the spring water impregnates soil to form salt, The salty soil is scraped, spread and dried repeatedly for a couple of weeks, then filtered and the filtrate boiled to evaporation point to produce edible salt which is shaped in cones. Salt cones are traded for food and other essentials by the Kibiro people. This salt trade has flourished from time immemorial.


Uganda is well endowed with cultural, historical, and natural sites, which are of great archaeological and tourist importance.

Visiting Archaeological Places

The best place to begin any exploration of this heritage is at Uganda museum, which specializes in the collection, documentation, conservation, storage and presentation through exhibitions and educational services of Uganda's cultural objects. The biggest of the three museums is the Uganda Museum, located 3 kms from the city center on Kira Road just after Mulago Hospital. Apart from the rich ethnographic displays covering a wide range of the traditional life of the peoples of Uganda, it also boasts of being the best museum in East and Central Africa with a wide variety of music collections. The other two museums are in Kabale and Soroti towns and they provide a home for limited ethnographic collections.

Uganda's cultural and natural sites and monuments can be categorised into royal tombs of the former kings of the Kingdoms of Uganda, earthworks (both historical and archaeological), forts of explorers and colonial agents, rock shelters and rock paintings, caves and memorials.

Last Updated on Monday 23rd November 2009