Situated in Kasese District, Western Uganda, River Nyamwamba is one of the very few most scenic Rivers worth exploring on Uganda safari holiday in the Rwenzori Mountains National Park. River Nyamwamba is one of the Rivers that is fed by the melting glaciers from the Rwenzori Mountain ranges. It originates from Mount Rwenzori and empties its water into Lake George along the Albertine Rift Valley Area.
River Nyamwamba is one of the popular Rivers, known to have supported irrigation farming activities at Mubuku Irrigation Scheme though unfortunately, it has been greatly impacted by climate changes. Majority of the local residents entirely depended on River Nyamwamba as the main source of water not only for farming activities but also domestic use.
In the past, Kasese area experienced bimodal climate that included 2 rainy/wet seasons starting from March to May & June. The second rainy season from October to December. But unfortunately, there has been great change in climatic conditions of the area, a factor that may affect it in a long run. Before, heavy rains were experienced compared to the present. Compared to 20 years ago, River Nyamwamba is hotter and around 1988 the area enjoyed conducive climatic conditions characterized by two wet seasons.
Today, rains aren’t reliable in March, April, May, June despite being wetter months of the year. Even when it rains, the first rains usually come heavy and instead sweep people crops, cause massive landslides etc. These climatic changes have impacted on the subsistence farming activities a fact that most of the local residents depend on rains for their crops.
The continued melting of the Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon has been attributed to increase in temperatures leading to heavy flow of River Nyamwamba downstream. Unfortunately, in the mornings water is hardly seen in the River and at midday, it can be hot and ice melt and water flows in large quantities. The magnitude of water flow can sweep away the bridges, carry away houses and crops.
However, the locals living adjacent Mt. Rwenzori have cultural values attached to it. They believe the snow at the summits of Mount Rwenzori is essential to the survival of Abanyarwenzururu meaning the people from the land of the snow. The impact of climate change worries the locals and they believe that when the snow completely disappears, even the people will disappear too.
They also believe that gods who live in Rwenzori Mountains are the ones to control the current behavior and climatic changes of River Nyamwamba. There is belief that when the gods become angry and irritated, they release too much disastrous water at ago to punish the local community for their wrong doings.
Other principal rivers in Kasese besides Nyamwamba include River Ruimi and Mubuku and these pour their into Lake George. There is also Nyamugasani River that drains into Lake Edward, while Lamya and Butawu connect Lake Edward outflow, the Semliki while en-route to Lake Albert.
Rwenzori Mountain is also known for its 20 Lakes worth exploring while on Rwenzori hiking safaris in the Rwenzori Mountains National Park. Other attractions that make Rwenzori Mountains stand out include unique mammal species that include eastern chimpanzees, blue monkeys, elephants, Rwenzori leopards, buffaloes; reptiles especially the unique three-horned chameleon, 217 bird species including Rwenzori turacos, flycatchers, golden winged sunbird, Rwenzori batis, lagden’s bush shrike, handsome francolins, apalises, cinnamon chested bee-eater.
Nyamwamba River is about 6-7 hours of driving from Kampala capital or Entebbe city. The main routes leading to this river include Kampala through Masaka city road, Mbarara to Kasese road about 7 hours’ drive. From Kampala, via Mityana road, Fort Portal route.