Global warming threatens tourism site
A guide shows tourists parts of the caves that house Amabeere ga Nyina Mwiru recently. The site that had been limited to tourists within Tooro Kingdom has grown to attract international tourists from various parts of the country.
Popularly known as a traditional treasure for the people of Tooro Kingdom, the Amabeere ga Nyina Mwiru caves and campsite provide a unique experience blended by a nature walk, cave exploration, waterfall experience, local culture and a learning experience.
The caves, falls and the three surrounding crater lakes located in Fort Portal, Kabarole District make an interesting journey that all adventurous people and culture lovers ought to experience.
Hidden in a thick jungle, the caves attract thousands of dollars annually from both local and foreign tourists, who visit the place for either adventure or learning.
The site attracts between 3,000 and 4,000 visitors per month during peak seasons of June to September and December to February.
To enjoy the magnificent natural creatures, domestic tourists pay an entry fee of Shs5,000 per head, Shs2,000 for secondary students and Shs3,000 for tertiary students. Foreign tourists on the other hand pay an entry fee of $10 per head (about Shs25,000).
It could be difficult to find words that can suitably describe the ambience created by the beautiful waterfall that spills down from the cliff above the caves and the sight of milk-like water that drips from breast-like pointed pillars.
This leaves many visitors longing to go back to the site over and over.
However, Mr Wilson Isingoma, a tour guide at the site says pro-longed droughts resulting from climate change and global warning have continued to dry up water from the rocks; affecting water dripping, a scenario that threatens the tourism potential of the site.
The caves acquired the name Amabeere ga Nyina Mwiru – literary translated as “the breasts of Nyina Mwiru” – after King Bukuku of the Tooro Kingdom cut off the breasts of his daughter – Nyina Mwiru and had them thrown inside these caves, following a prophecy that she would get married and give birth to a son, who would kill King Bukuku and take over his throne.
According to the local legend, the prophecy came true, when Ndahura, who is believed to be Nyina Mwiru’s son, killed King Bukuku and took over the throne.
Geographically, however, it is believed that the breast-like rocks in the cave are limestones, a permeable rock that allows water to pass through, forming stalactite and a stalagmite.
Mr Isingoma explains that the dripping water has calcium carbonate, which when blended with water that passes through the rock, it drips down, solidifying to form stalagmite on the floor of the limestone cave.
The dripping milky water because of the calcium carbonate, is traditionally referred to as “breast milk” by the local people in the district.
On observation, they (stalactite and a stalagmite) grow in pairs and the corresponding formation on the ceiling of a cave is known as a stalactite. When these formations grow as the process is repeated, they result into what is known as a column.
The growth rate of these formations is so slow that once broken, they cannot recover during a human life span of time. They grow one millimetre every 10 years.
Mr Isingoma, however, says that Mr Yasamu Rubombora, the site manager and proprietor is involved in a continuous tree planting exercise to counter the effects of long droughts and ensure that tourism at the site remains booming throughout the year.
By: Bruce Amp