Je pars de bon matin de Fort Portal pour aller visiter les grottes d’Amabere avec James, un très bon guide qui me dit avec un beau talent de conteur la légende associée à ces grottes, digne d’un livret d’opéra (voir ci-dessous).
Nous grimpons ensuite une colline bien raide en haut de laquelle on peut découvrir à 360° le lac Kigere (400 m de profondeur), le lac Niabykere (paradis des grenouilles), le lac Saka, et le début de la chaîne montagneuse du Rwenzori (qu’on voit très peu car le temps est couvert).
Ces lacs se sont formés dans des « cratères d’explosion », c’est-à-dire des volcans qui ont provoqué de très violentes explosions il y a… 10 000 ans environ, mais n’ont pas formé de monticule.
Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru Caves (the breasts of Nyina Mwiru) were named after NyinaMwiru the daughter of Bukuku who was the king of the Batembuzi dynasty and the predecessor of the current Babito kings of Bunyoro and Tooro kingdoms.
Hidden away in Tooro kingdom western Uganda and situated about 8km from Fort Portal town, Amabere caves have been popular spot on a safari in Uganda as evidenced by not only the warm welcome of steaming sound and cool breeze of shimmering waterfalls that is simply lovely tumbling from the cliff above the caves but also by the cool green world of moss and fern covered by trees and rocks. More beauty is added by the surrounding explosive crater lakes, expanses of forests, and the spectacular hills facing one of Africa’s tallest mountain range-Rwenzori.
Dominated by an expansive quite slippery and wet thick jungle leading down to the caves with colorful birds, Amabere caves itself is a thrilling opportunity to experience Uganda’s great geographical mysteries of Fort Portal area.
Scientifically, the so called breasts are in reality stalactites and are made out of calcium carbonate when blended with water that oozes down to form stalactites. The oozing water that appears milky by the calcium carbonate is called “breast milk” by the local people living near the Amabere caves.
However the local tradition and Tooro legends have it that the caves acquired name after king Bukuku of Tooro cut off the breasts of his daughter Nyina Mwiru and threw them inside these caves, following a prophecy that the daughter would one day get married, have a son called Ndahura who would execute the king and take over his throne. Nyina Mwiru was a girl of tamed beauty and not willing to marry a man chosen by his father. This did not prevent the prophecy from occurring according to the local legend and without a doubt Ndahura became the first king of the Bachwezi Empire.
During the visit to these legendary caves, the local guide is included on the entrance fees and the cave is big enough to stand upright but there are some low and narrow spots. Wear suitable clothes and perhaps bring others to change because the place is usually wet and dirty. Once the Amabere caves journey is ended, there is always a guided walk to several hills with panoramic views of the explosive craters and the surrounding environment. It goes through the neighboring villages where the cultural experience is really rewarding and you can get once in life time chance to view the long “foot print” spot on a stone which is believed to be one of the Bachwezi who lived in this mighty place.