Bigo Bya Mugyenyi, locally translated as “The Fort of the Stranger” is believed to be the place inhabited by the Bachwezi (also the Chwezi), who were said to be demigods. The Bachwezi have no clear historical background and up to today, their identity still remains a mystery. Much as the Bigo Bya Mugenyi is a significant site in Uganda’s history, the place is an abandoned gem that is only said and taught in Ugandan Primary school Social Studies. However according to the legends and local traditions, the Archaeological site was dug out to shelter the Chwezi Empire from intrusions or incursions from other foreigners such as the Luo from South Sudan.
This Site is situated in Mawogola County at around 50 kilometers from Sembabule town Center. While at this Site, you will indulge in a cultural walk in the company of an armed guard for security and a trained tour guide who will lead you to the Jungles nestled on a rugged landscape that takes you to the gate of this magnificent Site called Kabeho. While at this Site (Kabeho), tourists will be rewarded with a medley of cultural equipments/tools used by the Bachwezi. Some of the tools include the ancient spears which the guards used to camp before arriving the Rivers Katonga and Kachinga. These spectacular Rivers are said to harbor Holy waters and normally, tourists stop at this site to use the waters for cleansing their bodies prior to trekking the long distance to the Bigo Bya Mugyenyi Forts.
While at the Rivers-Katonga and Kachinga, tourists trek through the thickets to enjoy the riveting views of the dark and verdant vegetation that offer magnificent views of the rolling surrounding hills. There is an extraordinary deep green edge which shows the path of the green trenches. For many centuries, this hidden gem has not uncovered its mysterious secrets to the eager inquirers.
Bigo Bya Mugyenyi is endowed with a dense jungle that shelters variety of wildlife that include Leopards, bushbucks, waterbucks, the duikers and several snake species among others. The wildlife species complement cultural safaris to the site and it is on record that no tourist has been attacked by these wild animals; hence the site is always safe for visitation. The local community members surrounding the Bigo Bya Mugyenyi Site believe that it shows something bad is about to happen if it rains while still at this historical site.
After a long tiring but adventurous trek through the jungles, you will arrive a very steep hill that leads to the first site of Bigo Bya Mugyenyi. While at the first site, you will see several grass-thatched huts where the keepers of the site stay. As you proceed ahead, you will find a fenced and well maintained site on a slightly elevated ground, and is where the locals go to pray to the Chwezi gods for blessings and wealth among other things. The Bachwezi people are said to have mysterious powers and tendencies of leaving foot prints on rocks, vanishing in thin air and flying with the Wind. When you visit the Amabere Caves for example, you will be told of one of the three explosion Craters near the caves-one of them is called Kigere (because its shape is in form of a foot mark and is believed to be the foot print of the Bachwezi.
Near the sacred place is a big hut that is surrounded by Bamboo trees and the interior of the hat is matted with bamboo poles and mats. There are also several gourds from which the locals take milk and water. Just like the hat in Kasubi Tombs, the hat has huge drums that are sounded when people gather to pray and make sacrifices to the gods. The site receives between 20 and 40 locals who visit the site to pray to the Chwezi gods and also tourists. Just 2 kilometers from Bigo Bya Mugyenyi is the location of the wonderful cultural sites that include Ndahura and Nakayima cultural sites.
Before embarking on a nature walk in the Bigo Bya Bugyenyi Fort, make sure to wear long trousers to protect your legs from insect bites, long sleeved shirts and strong closed shoes.
Therefore, the Bigo Bya Mugyenyi is one of the important and treasures cultural sites in Uganda although it is gradually becoming abandoned and nothing is done to maintain it hence left for nature to take its course.