About Mukono District

Mukono district is the home of Ssamba Foundation. Mukono District is a district in Central Uganda. Like most other Ugandan districts, it is named after its ‘chief town’ – Mukono. Mukono is where everything started from- it’s where our story begins! Kyampisi our base of operation is a sub-county in Mukono District. Kyampisi subcounty has 5 parishes and 55 villages. Parishes in Kyampisi Subcounty include: Bulijjo, Ddundu, Kabembe, Kyabakadde and Ntonto.

Location & Overview

Mukono District is bordered by Kayunga District to the north, Buikwe District to the east, the Republic of Tanzania to the south, Kalangala District to the southwest, Wakiso District and Kira Town to the west and Luweero District to the northwest. Mukono, the main municipal, administrative and commercial center of the district, is located approximately 27 kilometers (17 mi), by road, east of Kampala, the capital of Uganda and the largest city in this country. The coordinates of the district are: 00 20N, 32 45E.

Mukono District originally comprised the Buganda Kingdom counties of Kyaggwe, Bugerere and Buvuma. In December 2000, Bugerere was constituted into Kayunga District. In July 2010, Buvuma was granted district status, becoming Buvuma District. The remaining mainland Kyaggwe was also partitioned with the eastern portion becoming Buikwe District.

Tourist attractions

The district is blessed with a rich cultural history, favorable climate, abundant rainfall, rich flora/fauna and proximity to urban areas. The major tourist attractions in the district include the following:

Sezibwa Falls: In the middle of the district runs River Sezibwa, believed by Buganda legend to have been born  around the time of the Christian biblical prophet Isaiah. The river flows into Lake Kyoga. The nature of its birth makes the river a cultural symbol of great importance to Buganda’s heritage. The falls offer beautiful scenery for tourists and nature lovers. The site also has a natural forest reserve, which has forest trails and nature walkways for bird-watching and forest exploration. 

Lake Victoria: the largest lake in Africa and the second largest fresh-water lake in the world. The lake is a lasting source of pleasure. Water sports available on the lake include: Sport Fishing, Rafting, Canoeing and Boat cruising.

Ngamba Islands: Imagine a pristine 100 acre rain forest surrounded by peaceful waters, where you can experience the wonders of mankind the chimpanzees. Ngamba chimpanzee sanctuary was established in 1998 to cater for orphaned and confiscated chimpanzees in Uganda. The sanctuary offers a unique opportunity to watch and learn about chimpanzees and over 120 bird species as otters monitor around its shores.

Historical Caves: Caves do provide an extraordinary diversity of creation to visitors. In Mukono, there are a number of caves in different areas though some cannot simply be visited due to cultural attachments. They have a huge history that is best explained by the guides on the site.

Cultural rocks: The cultural rocks here in Mukono district, are mainly natural features. However they have carried a lot cultural back ground for the Buganda Kingdom. These places are visited annually for special ceremonies by respective clans for prayers, cultural blessings and activities.

Mabira forest: the biggest eco-tourism attraction in Mukono, located about 306 sq kms of land. This 1900 establishment between the Buganda and British was first gazette as a reserve in 1932 it currently have about 86kms of trail, its located on Kampala Jjinja high way providing a unique atmosphere the only one that remains in the central Uganda. Mabira has 312 flora, 315 birds, 218 butterflies, 97 moth and 23 small known mammals and Mabira also brags of 9 bird species that are only to exist here.

The Name Mukono

Mukono is a Luganda word which means a hand or an arm. Origins of this name have differing attributions depending on who is giving the explanation.

First attribute: When Ssekabaka Kintu, crossed to Buganda from Busoga through Mukono, he pitched a camp at a place presently called Manjira, Nakibano parish, Nagojje Sub County. He came along with some other prominent persons, namely Kyagwe, Bulemeezi, Kyadondo and Ssingo. They fought Bemba Musota and took over Buganda. Kyagwe among the subjects was the closest to Ssekabaka Kintu he was therefore given the mandate to head present day Kyagwe which is a core part of Mukono.

Kyagwe was Kintu’s right hand man thus the name Mukono. Kyagwe in Buganda is very strategic! It is assumed to be the rear door to Buganda and greatly endowed with wealth. That’s the reason why Bishop Hannington was executed in 1885, for he wanted to use the rear door into Buganda crossing from Busoga. At his death these were his last words: ‘go tell Mwanga that I die for the Baganda and that I have purchased the road to Uganda with my life’. This asserts that this route is an entrance into Buganda from that direction.

The head of Kyagwe County is addressed as Ssekiboobo. (Emboobo is the hairy rear part of the cow’s tail thus the name Ssekiboobo), it protects the cow from any intruding insects and acts as fun to regulate temperature. Kyaggwe was always considered to be the wealthiest part of Buganda and thus the need for its protection. The headquarters of the Ssekiboobo have since then been and continued to be in Mukono town.

Second attribute: It is further alleged that during the leadership of Kabaka Ssuna the people who were residing in the present day Mukono had plenty of food and used to give it away generously. Giving a hand or lending a hand is literally translated Luganda as ‘okugaba oba okuwa omukono’. During food shortages the Kabaka would rather send his subjects to Mukono for food. Thus the name Mukono.

Third attribute: Others contend that in the early days of white rule, there was a white tax collector whose arm was chopped off by disgruntled Black tax payers. This sparked off the mandatory levy of one shilling per tax payer to contribute towards the well being of the disabled white man. Since then this place was named Mukono in memory of the white man’s arm.

Fourth attribute: A few patronize with the belief that there was a Ssaza Chief (Ssekiboobo) who used to endorse land titles and other official documents using his toes rather than the fingers, the locals always referred to this as ‘oli atakozesa Mukono’ (signing without the arm). That since then this place was reffered to as Mukono.

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