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Low funding, Poor Road Network Hampering Tourism Sector in Rukiga

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Praise Nshabaruhanga, the Rukiga District Tourism Officer, says that locals up today climb Rugongo hill to praise Muhumuza’s visible footmarks as well as fetch water that never dries up with the belief of receiving blessings.
03 Apr 2021 11:10
Muhumuza stone located on top of Rugongo hill in Rugongo village, Rwenyangye parish Kamwezi sub county (Photo Credit Samuel Amanya)

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Low funding and poor road network in Rukiga district is hampering the growth of the tourism sector. Rukiga district, which started on July 1st, 2017 after being curved from Kabale district, has several tourism sites.

For example, the district is home to Muhumuza stone that seats on top of Rugongo hill in Rugongo village, Rwenyangye parish Kamwezi sub-county, which has footmarks believed to be of Muhumuza, the head of Bachwei clan in Rwanda. Muhumuza used to make a stopover on the hill in the 1880s on his way to Mpororo in Ankole region from Rwanda.

The district is also endowed with a three-room Mukombe cave in Murutunga village, Kitunga parish, Kashambya sub-county. The cave used to offer sanctuary to homeless people in the 1880s. It also has Kibayu Caves in Kitanga parish, Rushabeya-Kitanga swamp that hosts a variety of bird species and Sitatunga (Marshbuck) locally known as Enjobe and river Kanyabaha among others.



However, most of these tour sites have remained unknown to the world due to lack of funds to popularize them and lack of roads to attract tourists to access them. Praise Nshabaruhanga, the Rukiga District Tourism Officer, says that locals day climb Rugongo hill to praise Muhumuza’s visible footmarks as well as fetch water that never dries up with the belief of receiving blessings.

Nshabaruhanga says that Mukombe cave in Kashambya sub-county also has traditional teachings of helping the poor.  Nshabaruhanga however, says that his office is struggling to promote the places due to limited funding. He says that the district tourism department currently receives between Shillings of 2-2.5 million each financial year compared to the Shillings 1 billion needed for its activities.

Nshabaruhanga says that his department has even failed to open a website to market the tourism resources to the public. He reveals that he is at times forced to use his personal Facebook page to promote tourism activities, which hasn’t been very useful.  

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Rukiga

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Apollo Tusimwomwe, the Rugongo village LC1 Chairman in Rwenyangye parish in Kamwezi sub-county says that his wish  is to see Muhumuza stones being gazetted by the district so that it is  marketed internationally because of its history. Tukamuhabwa says that accessing the place is a burden due to lack of access roads.

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Silva Kyarikunda, a resident of Murutunga village, says that although the cave is located on a piece of land he inherited from his late father, Daniel Kyimbareeba in the 1970s’; he has no problem with the land being gazetted by the district for tourism. Kyarikunda says that there is no road that connects to the cave.

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Ruth Katambira, the proprietor of Summit Safari lodge in Muhanga town council and Edward Bwengye Kahororo, the director of Bwengye Family Initiative Ecotourism Kibayu, say the poor road network has always discouraged tourists from visiting the area especially those who can’t walk.

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Rukiga

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Nshabaruhanga says that he has already written to the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities

requesting for more funding to help him officially gazette all tourism sites in the district.

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