Bigo Bya Mugenyi in Uganda
Bigo bya Mugenyi in Uganda : is characterized by wild flowers, savannah grasslands, shrubs, woodlands and crickets and due to the Bachwezi people having no historical backgrounds, the place has been used for social studies in primary schools and has been kept as one of the country’s cultural gems. It is located in the interlacustrine region of southwestern Uganda in Mawogola county situated on the southern shore of river Katonga and its an extensive alignment of ditches and berms comprising of ancient earthworks. It is best described as having two elements; the first one consisting of a long, irregular ditch and bank alignment with multiple openings that effectively create an outer boundary by connecting to the Katonga river in the east and the Kakinga swamp to the west and towards its eastern end, the outer ditch branches further to the east to encompass a nearby crossing of the Katonga River. The second element consists of a central, interconnected group of four irregularly shaped ditch and bank enclosures that are connected to the Katonga river by a single ditch. The word Bigo Bya Mugenyi is translated to mean “The fort of a stranger” which is a prehistorical place in Mawogola county. It is said that the Chwezi also known as the Bachwezi were the first people to settle in the Bigo bya Mugenyi and these people are also believed to have been the first people to settle in Uganda during the 11th to the 16th century. They had mysterious tendencies for example disappearing in thin air and leaving foot marks on the rocks and the most recent traces or marks are at the Amabere ganyina mwiru another yet popular attraction in fort portal. The Kigere are said to be foot prints of the Bachwezi which correlates with the assertion that they used to disappear and leave footprints back when they disappear in the air.
There are two trench synergies at Bigo bya Mugenyi; the inner is made up of 4 openings that pour into each other while the outer is the one that trails and connects with river Katonga. The earthworks at the fort are claimed to be linked to the ancient Chwezi people, a duo-rule dynasty that didn’t last long. The Bachwezi had a system of governance and they were presided over by two kings namely King Wamala and King Ndahura who was said to be the last king of the Chwezi people. When tourists visit this historical site, they pass through Kabeho, a place that has ancient spears, arrows, shields and many more that guards used at the camp before making their destination to the Katonga river. This is a spot where tourists fetch water for cleansing themselves before making the long stride to Bigo bya Mugenyi and the idea of cleansing yourself is an act of seeking for protection from the gods so that they don’t get annoyed with you. The cultural site consists of several grass-thatched huts that were set up to shelter the keepers and right next to them is a fenced and well-maintained site on an elevated ground where people seek for blessings and wealth from the gods. The identity of the Chwezi people is enigma no one knows where they went or where they came from since they were believed to have been demigods. Bigo bya Mugenyi has been re-declared by the jungle and it is believed there is a number of dangerous wildlife which supplements the cultural expeditions such as the leopards, bushbucks, water bucks, duikers, snakes but surprisingly they have never attacked anybody, even after setting sight on them, and this is one of the signs of the presence of the gods in the area. Tourists can also engage themselves in visiting the local people in the communities surrounding the site. These local people believe that when it rains while tourists are still at the site, then something bad will happen.
How to get there
Bigo bya Mugenyi site can be accessed 60 kilometers from Sembabule town. Tourists visiting the site are supposed to report to the tourism police that’s a short distance from the site before visiting.