The untold about Bamasaba land (Mbale)

Mbale City is a busy administrative and commercial town in Uganda. Located about 245 kilometres (152 mi) by road east of Kampala, Mbale is bordered by districts like Pallisa Bukedea, Kapchorwa, Moroto and Tororo.

Mbale Town

This region is known to many as Bamasaba land and is occupied by the Bagisu/ Bamasaba who speak Lumasaba language called Lugisu as the main dialect. They are found in the western part of Mount Elgon and are immense agriculturalists due to the fertile soils on the slopes of Mount Elgon. Food crops grown here include bananas, Irish potatoes, tomatoes, most delicious Arabica coffee, beans, millet among several others.

Travelling to Mbale?

Mbale is generally a beautiful town to visit and while touring this hilly town, an awesome experience is guaranteed, have nightlife, drive and walk at any time of the night in streets like the main street without expecting any harm. Though few incidences have been registered in the past, you still need to be mindful especially during the night hours.  The centre of the town maintains some degree of cleanliness and places like bars and nightclubs are fun to be. Various restaurants offering delicious local dishes like matooke, malewa and many more are in every corner of the town. Most of the financial institutions are within Mbale town.

The landscape around Mbale is mostly hilly due to the presence of many rocks and mountains, making hiking and climbing so prominent evidenced as evidenced on Mount Elgon ranges. Being a mountainous region makes the soils on the slopes fertile as well as receiving enough rainfall on the windward side hence favouring the growth of forests and thick scrubs in the lower areas of Mount Elgon ranges. These thick forests cover the mid-height areas, which dwindle into unique temperate montane vegetation of heath and moorland at higher altitudes.

Events.

A lot of amazing events happen in this famous Bamasaba land but the top most known event that no one would ever wish to miss is the exhilarating thrill-filled Imbalu (Male circumcision ceremony) that happens every even year in August with the best experiential one in December and brings all types of people irrespective of the status in the community. This is a procession that involves the separation of men from boys through initiation into manhood and it is just fun to take part in. Prior to the circumcision act, there are several traditional processions carried out in the company of cultural dancers from all different age brackets that make one feel alive internally. This makes it a fun place to be.

Before the real action is conducted, an initiate is administered with a local herb called Ityanyi, usually tied on the toes and is believed to be a stimulator to the circumcision, removes fear and makes one ready to be a musinde (A male individual who has successfully completed circumcision and is labelled a true Mugisu). Any individual administered with this herb when delayed, can circumcise himself making it more fun to see the reaction of Ityanyi administered initiate as they are believed to have been stimulated to the moment and nothing can stop them. It’s not an everyday event but www.jewelsafaris.com can arrange and book it for you when it’s due time.

 Exploited and potential attractions are;

Mount Elgon National Park

The less explored Mount Elgon National Park is home to endangered species like buffaloes found at the Kenyan-Ugandan border. The park is also safeguarded as a habitat to unique vegetation and bird species not common in other parts of Uganda. In Mount Elgon National Park, mountain climbing expedition trails are better accessed via Kapkwata and the ‘forest exploration centre’ at Bumasola in Kapchorwa District.

Mount Elgon National Park

Mount Elgon National Park

Exclusive of wildlife, the largest Caldera in East Africa is at the top of Mount Elgon ranges and is a key attraction of the Park. The Caldera came into existence after a depression was developed millions of years due to past volcanic activity. Apart from the Caldera, there are other attractions like Hot Springs, Crater lakes, the Swam Gorge with a heavy population of wild game and scenic peaks at an altitude of 4321 Kilometres above sea level.

Simu and Sisi Falls

Simu and Sisi falls are based in Sironko County, Mbale District. The falls originate at the top of Mount Elgon, pouring its waters down to the low lands. Simu falls are a little larger and are yet to be fully developed for tourism as currently it is less-visited thus giving you reasons to visit and explore the less explored falls in Eastern Uganda. This location can mostly be reached on foot since it’s surrounded by cultivated lands thus some minimum level of fitness is required and comfortable clothing and footwear.

Bufumbo and Wanale Forest reserves

Bufumbo and Wanale are just a short distance away from Mbale town and these two ridges where forest reserves have been developed can be accessed by anyone who visits Mbale town and yearns to be at this ridge. These are well-known for forest walks, primate viewing like blue-tailed and black and white colobus monkeys, bird watching with sightings of species such as the Turaco. Other activities to take part in include cave exploration, cliff viewing and mountain climbing. There is also a campsite at Wanelo ridge.

Bulegeni and Butandinga Cliffs/Ridges

Facing the Lwakaka border in the Eastern part of Mbale are the best sites for Scenery, Cliff/Ridge hiking, viewing and birding. Campsites are present here too for accommodation.

Bulukyeke hills.

In the southern part of Mount Elgon ranges is a historical campsite dating to the colonial period and is seen at the bottom of the hills. The infrastructural set-up at this place is basic but comfortable and inclusive are permanent tile-roofed shelter and toilet facilities. The campsite has beautiful scenery of Mount Elgon ranges and was used as a launching point for mountain climbing expeditions. However, encroachment on the mountain slopes by human settlements has made the area prone to landslides.

Cultural / Heritage Sites

Semei Kakungulu Tombs and the Mutoto Circumcision sites are the most important cultural / heritage sites in Mbale District. Semei Kakungulu tombs is not located within the city centre of Mbale; it’s a short drive off Mbale- Soroti highway and these belong to the former colonial government representative who was given the responsibility of handling Eastern Uganda. He planted trees and built different types of structures on behalf of the colonial government. There are rationales to visit this site because there’s a lot to learn about. The Mutoto Circumcision site is also found around the outskirts of Mbale Municipality thus very accessible at any time while in Mbale. This site is the place where the annual tribal circumcision ceremony is launched.

Imbalu Dance - Mbale

Imbalu Dance

Prime recreational areas within Mbale municipality include Mbale Golf Club for ardent golf players who wouldn’t want to miss a day without playing. Other recreational centres include Mbale Sports Stadium and Mbale Cricket Grounds. With places like this, many sports games are covered.

Crafts and Souvenirs Industry

With several crafts and souvenirs shops in town and its nearby communities, something you offer to them in exchange for souvenirs means and speaks a lot. While in these places, please support the locals. The sale of crafts and souvenirs has potential to uplift the lifestyle of the locals.

The district has a rising number of outstanding accommodation establishments catering for a wide range of visitors, including high-end tourists. These are Mbale Resort Hotel, Mount Elgon Hotel, West End Inn and Sunrise Inn among several others.

Mbale Resort Hotel - Mbale

Mbale Resort Hotel

 Meals

The bamboo shoot meal (Malewa), which is unique to Mbale, is considered an additional attraction particularly for the Elgon climbers.

Accommodation is so developed in all areas of the district ranging from luxury like Wash and Wills Hotel, midrange like Sipi Lodges and budget has so many with camping opportunities so available.

Wash and Wills hotel-Mbale

Wash and Wills hotel-Mbale

This place is good for a weekend or three days and also one can make it a stopover during their tour to Kidepo Valley National Park via Kapchorwa.

www.jewelsafaris.com is steadily ready to arrange your trip to visit Bamasaba land to watch the thrilling Imbalu ceremony as well as have a taste of the most delicious dish; Malewa. For more about Mbale ( Bamasaba)land, contact info@jewelsafaris.com.