15 kilometers north of Mbarara district in Biharwe town along the Masaka-Mbarara highway is where you will find Igongo Cultural Center and Museum. If you are driving from Kampala it is 15 kilometers before Mbarara town on the right where you cannot miss it. The few hours you will spend there will take you centuries back into Uganda’s rich heritage learning a lot about the culture and history of the Ankore people. This makes for a perfect stopover for lunch while on your Gorilla safari to Bwindi impenetrable national park / Mgahinga gorilla national park or your wildlife safari to Queen Elizabeth national park or even while on your birding safari.
The site is a subtle reminder that Uganda is not just the landlocked country huddled between Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, DRC and Rwanda but a nation thriving in life and lifestyle expressed through our diverse culture. We are the Pearl of Africa not only for our scenery and wildlife but also for our cultural heritage. The Igongo Cultural Museum and Hotel is a place where you can enjoy and experience this heritage while on a Uganda Safari.
The center is the embodiment of a true cultural experience; food, drink, artifacts, museum, traditional performances and all. A guided tour through the museum will place you in the footprints of the forefathers; their cattle keeping, cultivating and hunting ways. You will also find out the different ways in which women in Ankore expressed beauty or sought it including how and where they wore their jewelry. It would add delight to your tour to Uganda to view the ghee making process, the traditional milking and churning process in Ankole. These are a sharp reminder that having a meal was not just chewing the ready product but a craft in itself worth passing down from one generation to another. The center also has traditional houses in various forms and made of different material; wood, grass and mud long before skyscrapers shot through the ground. For the book lovers, Igongo has a book and crafts shop with literature to occupy you for the rest of your journey and souvenirs to serve as a gift from Uganda to you.
It is after a walk down memory lane and through part of Uganda’s heritage that you could settle to a local food buffet consisting of fresh ingredients grown by local farmers to support the community’s development. Your menu is however not limited to the buffet; an order for something other than that which is served in the buffet can be made. Traditional performances of the South Western dances; ekitaguriro and entogoro could be the farewell package for you as you leave Igongo Cultural Centre.
Igongo cultural Center and Museum can be your source of relaxation after an exhausting gorilla trekking escapade or draining hikes up Uganda’s mountains. It can also be a starter before you delve into a full-blown Safari to Western Uganda or Rwanda. Whichever of the two you choose, Igongo Cultural Center is a site worth to visit.