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Celebrating the Omukama of Tooro

After the death of  his father Oyo Nyimba Rukidi became the Omukama ( King ) of Tooro on 12th September, 1995. He was only three years old at the time and was recognised as the youngest reigning monarch in the world. The Empango is the annual celebration held in the Tooro Kingdom to celebrate the anniversary of coronation ceremony.

The celebration is held at the Karuzika ( the royal palace ) in the Tooro Kingdom's capital city Fort Portal. The principal part of the celebration is the Omukama's beating of the Empango Nyalebe drum. The drum is banged nine times to mark the beginning of the celebration and to reaffirm that the Omukama is the Rukirabasaija ( the greatest man ) of the kingdom. The drum itself is said to date back to the Omukama's  Babito ancestors. Other royal artefacts such as spears, shields and drums are also blessed during the ceremony.

During the celebration the Omukama, is dressed in bark cloth and is joined by other high ranking royals.

2021 - Empango Celebrations

This years celebrations will take place from the 12th September - 14th November with the festival days being 11th November  - 14th November. Get in touch with Let's Go Travel to book your multi day safaris or single day excursions in and around the Tooro Kingcom. If you are looking for inspiration of what to do and where to visit continue to scroll down or simply click on the button below to get in touch with one of our safari experts, who will be able to cater for all your needs.

The Tooro Kingdom is situated on Uganda's western border, south of Lake Albert. The Kingdom was created from a breakaway from the Bunyoro Kingdom sometime before the nineteenth century. The Kingdom was founded in 1830 when Omukama Kaboyo Olimi I, the eldest son of Omukama of Bunyoro Nyamutukura Kyebambe III of Bunyoro, established his own independent kingdom. The Tooro Kingdom was then absorbed into Bunyoro-Kitara in 1876, before reasserting itself as independent in 1891.

The people of the Tooro Kingdom are known as Batooro, the spoken language is called Rutooro.

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Fort Portal is the largest city in the Kingdom of Tooro, the seat of power and the home of the Karuzika ( the royal palace ). Fort Portal was given the accolade of Tourism City on the 01st July 2020. Fort Portal is named after a British fortress constructed between 1891 and 1893, on the site of the town's present day golf club, with the aim of protecting the Tooro Kingdom from guerrilla raids by King Kabalega of the Bunyoro Kingdom. Fort Portal is blessed to be located within incredible natural beauty, the Ruwenzori Mountains, Kibale Forest National Park, the Crater Lakes, Bigodi Wetlands, Semuliki National Park, Amabere Caves, Krambi Royal Tombs and Lake Albert are all a stones throw away from Fort Portal.

The Batoro have got a strong cultural naming system known as Empaako (Pet / Nick Name). Children are given an Empaako that is shared across the communities in addition to their given and family names. Addressing someone by his or her Empaako is a positive affirmation of cultural ties. It can be used as a form of greeting or a declaration of affection, respect, honour or love. Use of Empaako can defuse tension or anger and sends a strong message about social identity and unity, peace and reconciliation. The Empaako names are: AMOOTI, ABOOKI, AKIIKI, ATEENYI, ADYEERI, ATWOOKI, ABWOOLI, ARAALI, ACAALI, BBALA and OKAALI.

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Ruwenzori Mountains

Rwenzori National Park is 120km-long and 65km-wide. It is the highest mountain range and the thirds highest point in Africa. The National Park is famed for being able to cater for casual walkers to technical climbers.  The Rwenzoris were named the "Mountains of the Moon" by the Alexandrine geographer Ptolemy in AD 150, it was the explorer Henry Stanley, who having placed the Rwenzori on the map on 24th May 1888 called it  ‘Ruwenzori’, a local name which he recorded as meaning “Rain-Maker” or “Cloud-King.”

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Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park has two notable distinctions that make it a superb safari destination in Uganda. First, the park has one of the highest diversity and concentration of primates in any habitat in Africa – a record 13 species. Second, it is home to a prolific 320 bird species including four that have not been recorded in any other park in Uganda. Not surprisingly, the two key activities that are done in Kibale Forest National Park are Chimpanzee Trekking and Bird Watching.

Crater Lakes

This is Nyinambuga Crater Lake which is one of the many crater lake you can see when in the Fort Potral area. The lake also featured on the back of the 20,000 UGX note.Crater lakes were formed in this area around 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. They are artistically dotted around the Fort Portal region and add immense beauty to the already stunning landscape.

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Bigodi Wetlands

The Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is located in Magombe swamp just outside Kibale Forest National Park. The Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is one of the leading examples community-based approach in preserving a natural resource which offers an alternative source of income for local residents. The

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Semuliki National Park

Bwanba Forest became Semuliki National Park in 1993. The majority of the park is a 220km² tract of rainforest on the boundary of Uganda and Congo, the park houses both Lake Albert and The Semuliki River. There is also tropical low land forest in Semuliki National Park which is a continuation of the Ituri Forest, which extends deep into Congo, home to a whole host of wildlife not found anywhere else in East Africa,

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Tooro Botanical Gardens

Founded in 2001, the Tooro Botanical Gardens were established in Fort Portal to help conserve trees and other plant life that was at risk or facing extinction in Western Uganda. Today the gardens are flourishing and cover a 100 acre site and not only concentrates on conservation but also scientific research and education.

The Tooro Botanical Gardens also encourage sustainable agriculture and partners with SATNET, the Sustainable Agriculture Trainers Network.

Visitors to the gardens can enjoy a guided tour by well informed staff as well as strolling around the gardens with their abundance of flowers, medicinal plants an

Amabere Caves

The Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru Caves are a historic site believed to be the birthplace of the founding King of the Bachwezi. Located 5km west of Fort portal, the main cave is small and supported by pillar like formations of stalactites and stalagmites. Standing alongside are the moss-covered rocks behind a small waterfall. The Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru means Breasts of Nyinamwiru’ were named after the stalactites that form in the caves which were believed to be resemble the breasts of a woman or like a cow’s udder.

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Krambi Royal Tombs

The Karambi tombs also known as the royal tombs are situated south of Fort portal town in the western part of Uganda, this tomb belong to the royal family of Toro kingdom. The tombs are a burial ground for three Toro kings that are Kyebambe Kamurasi, Olumi Kaboyo II and Rukidi III.

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