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Goro Cottages: Relaxing in the wild  


The swimming pool at Goro Cottages (PHOTO/IAN KATUSIIME)

The 17 cottage facility is situated between Queen Elizabeth and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks

Kihihi, Uganda | IAN KATUSIIME | Goro Cottages, located in Kihihi town, Kanungu district in western Uganda, offers a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere as one ventures into the wild. Situated between Queen Elizabeth and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks, Goro Cottages gives tourists a unique opportunity to visit two of the most renowned wild habitats in Uganda.

Queen Elizabeth is a 5km drive from the 17-cottage facility and is closest to the Ishasha track in the park which is famous for its tree-climbing lions. Ishasha also has a border point between Uganda and DR Congo offering travelers another perk in the wilderness.

Calls are made every time the lions are spotted in the trees, a park ranger says. Queen Elizabeth is one of the only places in the world where tree-climbing lions are found. This is a bonus for tourists staying at Goro.

With its lush green walkways, spacious cottages, neatly tended gardens and organic cuisine, Goro Cottages has carved out a niche for itself as a top lodging facility in this western part of the country known for its wild game, scenic hills and thick vegetation cover.

“We are planning to build a museum to tap into the rich Kigezi culture,” says Catherine Mwesigwa, the proprietor of Goro Cottages. The museum will also document the Kibwetere massacre where 1000 people died in a cult inferno in 2000. Joseph Kibwetere was a cult leader in Kanungu who entrapped his followers in a church that was set ablaze in an incident that shocked the entire world.

The site of the massacre is a short drive from the cottages and the remains of the church are on a hill off a dirt road to Rukungiri district.

Goro Cottages plans tours to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which is 30km away; this includes booking gorilla tracking permits. Kihihi Airfield offers convenience for those who may not wish to drive the long distance from Kampala to this western tip of the country.

A walkway at Goro Cottages in Kihihi. (PHOTO/IAN KATUSIIME)

Kisiizi Falls

Another major attraction in the area that Goro offers in its package is a trip to see the picturesque Kisiizi Falls in Rukungiri. It’s a journey through the escarpments of this famous Kigezi area with its undulating plains, breathtaking views, and beautiful landscape as one traverses the areas of Nyakishenyi and Nyarushanje.

Kisiizi Falls, next to Kisiizi Hospital, flow from River Rushuma and fall into a 30-metre cascade on their way to Lake Edward. It is a spectacular sight for nature lovers who can also view the Falls from a stunning suspension bridge. The Falls have proven to be a popular destination for travelers and tourists since time immemorial. The other feature is riding a 3-stage high adrenaline Sky Trail zip line over the gorge and Falls.

However, there is a dark side to the Falls: in the past, the falls served as a site to which the Kigezi community sent to death girls who were impregnated before marriage. The girl’s brothers and father would tie her up and throw her over the falls as punishment for conceiving out of wedlock.

History has it that the gruesome practice ended when one of the girls held onto her brother and father claiming three lives. There is a monument that serves as a reminder to the tragic past of the Falls.

Goro Cottages started in 2019 and routinely hosts workshops, meetings and several other engagements. From politicians, businesspeople, to artistes and NGO staff, it is a busy facility that aims to tap into the fast growing travel and tourism industry in Uganda.

“We thought we could offer services to everyone and close the discrimination gap,” says Mathias Mwesigwa, the managing director of Goro. He says many hospitality businesses in the area have restrictions in terms of the services they offer where they particularly want to cater to white tourists only.

The gardens at Goro Cottages where guests enjoy a relaxing and serene atmosphere (PHOTO/IAN KATUSIIME)

He says the other aim was to add value to the area that is Kihihi and boost its tourism potential. “One can do gorilla tracking in Bwindi in the morning and then do a game drive in Queen Elizabeth in the afternoon.” He adds that it would be inconveniencing for one to reside in Bwindi, do activities there then go to Queen Elizabeth and back to the former.

The strategic position of Goro Cottages has boosted its clientele as tourists have the two options of exploring the two famous parks.

Like many establishments in the hospitality industry, Goro was badly hit by the pandemic but the business has been picking up very fast since 2022. At the facility is also a forest area which is for walk-in customers. There are other amenities like a fireplace, a swimming pool, steam and sauna.

The unique value proposition of Goro Cottages where tourists can land at Kihihi airfield, drive to Queen Elizabeth and to Bwindi in just one day has certainly given it an edge in a highly competitive industry.

One comment

  1. Great Information. Uganda is the best travel destination

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