Old meets new: With its museum, Igongo will take you back to the past centuries, showing you how ancient Ankole people lived, but it is modern enough to give you a Wi-Fi connection, writes Colleb Mugume
In 2010, Igongo Cultural Centre in Mbarara emerged as a first of its kind facility in western Uganda, creating a blend between traditional and urban attractions. Currently, Igongo is one of the top hangouts in the land of milk and honey, offering all kinds of services ranging from delicious food, accommodation, entertainment, an exciting museum (Eriijukiro) and leisure gardens.
Igongo recently introduced a country hotel complex comprising an attractive traditional restaurant, bar, and a hotel. The facility is located 12km from Mbarara town. Igongo is a fascinating destination for lovers of history, art, culture and comfort. A staple of ultimate African luxury, Igongo combines comfort, relaxation and recreation in an environment offering gorgeous scenery and beautiful gardens.
The complex is an attraction to a variety of people and cultures both local and international visitors.
Unlike some recreational centres in the region, Igongo has a good management team that runs it efficiently and effectively to ensure that it lives up to its promise of superior and excellent service.
Igongo presents an elegant, executive and refreshing setting for tourists, hotel guests, day trippers and families who seek an enjoyable and memorable experience in a cultured and relaxing atmosphere.
When you visit Igongo Cultural Centre, trekking right from the entry point through the compound, restaurants, shops, restrooms to the cultural museum (Eriijukiro), it doesn’t take long to realise that indeed Igongo is the place where the future meets the past.
The Cultural museum located on the lower grounds of the hotel, has a diversity of cultural history of people of Western Uganda and surrounding regions. Igongo also has a crafts shop in case a tourist needs locally made arts and crafts.
The Chairman of Uganda Tourism Board and the proprietor of Igongo, James Tumusiime says he created this place in order to promote culture as well as serving as a hospitality centre in traditional setting.
There is a cultural village (Itaramiro) plus Mpororo Court /Kitami Palace that tells the story of how ancient cattle keepers (Bariisa) and crop farmers (Abahiingi) lived.
You can also indulge in experimental tourism including hill climbing, adventure fishing, pottery, milk smoking, milking cows, visiting Ankole cow farms, traditional alcohol brewing and game hunting, which is pre-arranged in conjunction with Uganda Wild Authority.
Rooms and Cottages
Igongo has a range of rooms depending on client’s choice stretching from business suites, executive, deluxe to classic ones. These rooms are equipped with crib and rollaway bed upon customer’s request.
Each room is equipped with a working desk, data port, International direct telephone dialing, Wi-Fi Internet connectivity, free daily newspapers, a 32-inch Plasma TV with cable channels, tea/coffee making facilities and in-room safe boxes. The rooms are air conditioned and each has a balcony that offers panoramic views of the surrounding rural scenery.
“Each of our guest rooms captures the essence of country freshness and urban comfort,” Dennis Kamukama, the sales and marketing manager of the hotel says.
Drinks and food
Daily traditional buffet: Shs27,000 served with a drink from11am to 3pm.
Nyama-choma: Shs22,000 per kg
Roasted chicken: Shs40,000
Juice: Shs8,000 per glass
South African & Italian wines: Shs10,000 per glass
Pizza of your choice: Shs25,000
Tea of your choice: Shs5,000
Coffee blends such as cappuccinos, Moccas: Shs6,000