The Nakayima witch’s tree
The Nakayima witch’s tree : is one of the oldest trees of the ancient times regarded as a witch tree due to its historical background. The tree is nestled on top of Mubende hill in Mubende district on Kampala-Fort portal Road with a short distance of 4kilometres from Mubende town. The Nakayima tree is believed to have super natural powers for healing fertility wealth, good health, curing some diseases and solving many other problems. The tree derives its name from Nakayima who was a royal princess and a daughter to the last king of the Bachwezi Ndahura, Nakayima is said to have disappeared in a tree which today is believed to have natural powers. The tree stands at about 40meters high and is estimated to be 400 to 600 years of existence and what catches your eye as you approach this mysterious tree is its impressive root system, whose tree base has got a large tree buttresses and its hooks can easily be seen on top of the Mubende hill from Mubende town which is 4 kilometers west of the hill thus explaining why it is considered an amazing attraction to both the locals and the tourists. The root system of the Nakayima tree formed three room divisions or compartments that the locals believe to be bed rooms of JJaja Musoke, JJaja Masaka, kilunda, Ddahula and Nalongo. The hill also consists of eighteen rooms and is also believed to have been the official residence of Nakayima and acted as a fort of the Bachwezi dynasty.
The tree comprises of eighteen compartments and prayers are held in these grass carpeted compartments. The old tree commonly known as the witch tree is surrounded by a number of other trees and is also visited by people paying homage to Nakayima of the Bachwezi dynasty, a dynasty said to have supernatural powers and are historically known as demi-gods. Nakayima is also claimed to have mystic powers that made her able to treat people especially the small pox victims who were treated to full good health. She would also treat other diseases that wouldn’t be treated by any other herbalists around the community leaving alone blessing barren women with children. It is claimed that Nakayima was not only a keeper of the tree but also a medium through which the spirit of Ndahura and get small pox for a good number of days until Ndahura’s spirit leaves her. The Nakayima tree is believed to be a sacred tree by a number of people in the surrounding area and far beyond. The mysterious ancient tree awaits you along with its keepers, spirit priestesses that are locally termed as witches specifically those with needs, seek them out. One of the known and famous requirements or requests that are brought to the Nakayima tree may start from the physical ailments to wanting to bear children. Besides that people looking for a miracle in relationships also visit the place plus those seeking for good fortune. They come and pay respect, appeal to the spirits past and present the living medium at the Nakayima Tree. They bring offerings raging from cash to beer, the witches or witch doctors smoke special pipes whose smoke is supposed to allow them communicate with the spirits in the spiritual world. At the time when there was an outbreak of small pox, the Bachwezi influence on the Hima pastoralists came to stand still and the clan powers were no more a new dynasty of Bito rulers that were formed and the Bachwezi King’s residence came to be known as Mubende meaning “there is another one” not another king or person but another ruling power. In the year of 1988, there was a religious conflict between the Buganda and Bunyoro, Nakayima Nyanjara was forced to flee only to return a year later and all the seven huts had been destroyed and the graves of predecessors have been defaced and in 1899, king Kabalega visited Mubende hill to pay tribute to Nyanjara. Later on Mubende hill was placed under a chief known as Muganda Saza by the indirect colonial rule of the British government in the year 1902, this made Nyanjara shift to Bugogo where she died in 1907 and was not buried in the traditional cemetery but near the sacred tree. Today the Uganda national museum contains Nakayima Nyanjara regalia that was captured, she was buried at the base of Mubende hill and one of the items in her regalia are the two large ancient pots. Those who wish to visit the tree to witness the splendor that Nakayima tree holds, it’s usually given as a bonus to those travelers and most tourists stop by as they are moving to Fort portal and to Kibale forest national park.
How to get there
Nakayima tree can be accessed through driving via the Kampala-Fort portal Road and it is a short distance drive of four kilometers from the town of Mubende.