Igongo Cultural Center, located in Biharwe, Kashaari, Mbarara District, Western Uganda, Just a few Kilometers from Mbarara City center, and also 4 Kilometers from Sanga, one of the entry points to the famous Lake Mburo National Park, is indeed the best Museum in the Country I have ever seen which talks about the ancient history and culture for the Banyakitara, who inhabit the Western Part of the Country.Banyakitara include Banyankole, Bakiga, Batooro and Banyoro.
This magnificent place offers many services, but my emphasis goes to the museum, which is more than just that!
The museum has several traditional ancient Ankole grass thatched houses which you will probably not see anywhere else in Uganda, after the entrance, and a warm welcome by good looking and nice speaking female guides, then you are off and ready to rock n’ roll!
At first, there is the dummy of landscape of the stretch of land from the Atlantic Ocean through the Congo basin, Uganda, Kenya to the Indian Ocean; it also has the same dummy for all the tourist attractions in Uganda.
Then after the entrance, you start a tour of the various tools, and household items of the most dominant sub tribes in Ankole, the Bahima Pastoralists, and the Bairu cultivators, where there are well built huts, having statues of people inside, and their house-hold property inside their “home”. The guides also explain how these two sub tribes lived in harmony and their symbiotic relationship between each other where the Bahima controlled leadership and had big chunks of land and cows, but the Bairu controlled food production, and also provided labor and actually looked after the cows and also were very strong and they were used as field commanders in battle. So the Bahima relied on these Bairu for food, while the Bairu looked at the Bahima for Land, milk and leadership.
Even if there is no guide, it is easy to understand everything since it is labeled.
For example you can see the Ebyanzi, efurebe, ekyaahi, etc and also there are also written scripts of history of Ankole, Rukiga, Toro and Bunyoro, the famous wars between these great states, their previous kings and Chiefs, the famous clans of Ankole and Rukiga, and their taboos.
This museum can be a source of education and knowledge for people who want understand the culture of the people of Western Uganda.
For people who are doing research in humanities, history cultural studies, this is a one-stop knowledge center.
In addition to offering this history, other facilities include very well nurtured gardens for relaxation, a well stoked bar and grilled meat, restaurant where a very delicious lunch buffet is served, even there is dinner in the evening, good traditional and international breakfast, local and international dishes, to mention but a few.
So for all tourists going to Bwindi for gorilla tracking and Birding, to Queen Elizabeth for wildlife tours and safaris, where they are likely to see the tree climbing lions in Ishasha or Chimpanzees in Kyambura gorge, Mgahinga to see the Gorillas, to Rwanda to see Gorillas and also to Mburo for wildlife viewing for birding, then it would be very convenient to add a cultural program on your menu and you stop over for lunch at Igongo and tour this place at a small cost.
Surely, Igongo Cultural center doesn’t disappoint.