Rocky Kagulu Hill
Just like the Great Wall of China, climbing the rocky Kagulu Hill is easy on the eyes but hard on the legs. Seeing it from downhill makes one think they can get uphill in the shortest time possible.
Little do they know, it’s a challenge that makes many get drenched in sweat and sustain muscle aches for days. In fact some climbers give up mid way and leave without reaching the peak.
Standing at 3,600ft above sea level, Kagulu Hill is found in Buyende District (Busoga Kingdom) about 30kms from Kamuli Town in Eastern Uganda. It is said to be at the centre of Busoga’s cultural heritage because the hill is believed to be the first migration and settlement centre in Busoga sub-region.
It is said Bunyoro kings sought sanctuary and spent their leisure time on Kagulu hill. The hill also comprises caves, small crater lakes which are said to have formed the first settlement of the earlier traditional rulers of the Babiito clan, which governed Busoga. Word also has it that Prince Mukama was among the first Bunyoro traditional rulers to conquer Busoga and to settle in the caves of Kagulu hill.
The hill, with gigantic rocks, offers adventurers a challenging climbing experience. In fact for the last two years, Busoga Tourism Initiative has been organising the ‘Kagulu Rock climbing challenge’ where people from different walks of life take part in climbing the hill to the top.
The challenge is indeed a test of one’s patience and resilience because 30metres uphill, one begins to feel the intensity of the climb. Most at this point begin walking
17 View Uganda Apr - Jun 2014 on all fours and the breathing gets heavy. Some are saved by small rocks bundled together which act as a source of support on which they clutch as they climb.
It is at this point that climbers are sieved. Those determined to climb to the top go ahead whereas to some this marks the end of their experience.
The steep climb eases as one approaches about 100 metres to the top. Here you can stop crouching and move on your feet although with great caution because you are almost halfway your journey and it gets tricky stopping to look behind where you have come from.
The best news is that at this point man-made stairs come in handy to the climber’s rescue. These help you to move close to 200 metres to the top.
Considering how steep the stretch of bare rock on which the stairs are, the person who had them constructed clearly had tired climbers at the back of former president Iddi Amin ordered the construction of the stairs in 1975. From this point onward, climbing to the top of the hill is a walkover of sorts.
The only shortcoming at this point is the one set of stairs because those making their way downhill always scramble for space with those fighting their way up. But at the end of the day, everybody is sorted either way.
Finally, at the end of the stairs stands a monument building, this signifies the end of the challenge. This is after approximately one and half hours! Many may say, one and a half hours is a short period but unless somebody has participated in the challenge or otherwise climbed Kagulu hill, they will not know how long one hour can get.
At the peak of the hill is a monument that all climbers anticipate reaching. Although ideally the monument should mark the end of the adventure, a keen climber will notice that about 200 metres from the peak is another attraction. There are rocks beautifully piled in a way you could think gigantic men arranged them.
Aside from this, those who reach the peak, can view the beautiful waterfalls that flow from the top of the rocks, the ancient historic caves and Lake Kyoga as it joins with River Nile. A view of Soroti District is also clear at the peak.
All in all climbing this rock is an experience of a lifetime. It tests your stamina and endurance but more exciting and memorable is the way one is soaked in sweat by the time they descend to the foot of the hill.
The Kagulu adventure has become an excellent experience even for those who have been taken on the challenge several times. In fact one should not rest until they have reached the summit of Kagulu to experience the splendor of nature at its best. Whereas it is not a must to get to the top, it is a worthy try and all tourists should endeavor to reach