AMABERE GA NYINA MWIRU CAVES
Geography is full of wonder and amazement. While Fort Portal town is famous for dozens of crater lakes, it also hosts the magnificent features formed in the caves below the foothills of Nyakasura hill. The caves are 10km from Fort Portal town. The breathtaking stalagmites and stalactites- Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru are part of a handful of tourist attractions in and around Fort Portal.
Geographically, when we talk about mineral formations in caves, it is when we talk about stalactites and stalagmites. Stalactites are icicle-shaped and hang from the ceilings of the cave. These are produced by the precipitation of minerals from water that drips through the cave’s ceiling. At the site (Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru), the falls that plunge from over the ceiling of the cave have led to the formation of these features. On the other hand, the stalagmites are upward molds of mineral deposits that are precipitated from water dripping onto the floor of the cave.
Despite all this geographical theory, the Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru which literary translates from Rutoro as “Breasts of Nyinamwiru”, site is of great cultural and historical significance to the Batoro (locals). The batoro strongly believe in an interesting myth about them that they have told generation to generation.
According to the local guides, the caves were named after Nyinamwiru, a daughter of the former King Bukuku. The King was one of the ancient Kings of the Batembuzi Dynasty. The princess (Nyinamwiru) who was beautiful, refused to marry a man her father had chosen for her per the customs then, preferring to choose her spouse. The King was furious and ordered his subjects to cut her breasts for the disobedience so that no one would get married to her and also not nurse any children. Nyinamwiru still attracted men and was hid in the caves there. She later got pregnant for King Isaza and gave birth to Ndahura. It is believed that Nyinamwiru is used to feed the infant on the dripping calcium substance. The elders and those that believe in the myth, believe that the stalactites in the cave are the princess’ breasts oozing milk.
The caves are surrounded by 3 crater lakes (Nyabikere, Saka, and Kigere) that are viewed well after hiking the Nyakasura Hills. This makes the area an interesting add-on to chimpanzee tracking safari or before continuing to Queen Elizabeth National park. A short drive from town gets you to the visitors’ information center, from where you will be guided on a walk to the caves after which you will hike the Nyakasura hill.
If you are carrying packed lunch, you can have a picnic lunch at the top with the view of the flooded valley (sights of the lakes). It is a great cultural and historical experience for culture lovers.
While in Fort Portal, you can opt for a full-day tour to the caves, King’s palace, Karambi Royal Tombs, and a walk in the town visiting the monuments in town.