A Visit to the Ancient Lake Katwe Salt Works

Posted by on June 22, 2017

Lake Katwe – Harvesting Salt for over 500 Years

Lake Katwe Salt Works the first Westerner to come here was Henry Morton Stanley

 Lake Katwe Salt Factory – the first Westerner to come here was Henry Morton Stanley.  Today you can take a guided Walk that takes in both the Lake Katwe Salt Works and the Village of Katwe where the salt workers live. This is a unique Cultural Adventure that benefits the local community. Salt in this area used to be like Gold, today its value has slipped greatly since Salt is in abundance in Uganda and beyond.  Yet the Salt Laborers keep at it for a pittance of a salary, standing in toxic water all day which is not for their health, especially women.

The Visit to Lake Katwe gains you cultural and historic insight into salt trading of the past and salt mining in the area today.  This is a half-day activity while visiting Queen Elizbeth Park in Uganda.  A time to meet the people who harvest the salt from Lake Katwe, a task that is tough today as it was in the past.

 Lake Katwe Salt Works (inside of an explosion crater lake) is a place of Salt harvest in various forms – a process that has taken place for over 500 years.

The guided tour shows you the various ways salt is produced.  In ancient times, Salt produced here was seen and treated like precious metal and control of the Lake was fought over by various Kingdoms in Western Uganda.

The lake does not support any wildlife since it is simply too salty and that same salt makes work here for the men and women quite dangerous and they work without protective gear to speak of.  The process of harvesting salt has not changed during the last 500 years.  A German company erected a Factory that operated for a mere month when the pipes corroded.  The old factory is a part of the guided walk that begins on a path that has been used for hundreds of years to carry the salt from the lake.

You will come across a network of paths that have been constructed along with grass huts that provide some relief  from the blaze of the equatorial sun since Lake Katwe is just on the equator.  During your time here you experience the toughness of life for the hundreds of workers you will see along your guided walk here and the amazing thing is that nothing has changed in the way the salt is harvested over the years and it is the main source of income for most here.

The Salt is sold in Uganda and shipped into Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo – today salt is not seen like in the days of old as a precious metal but simply a way to make a living for hundreds that live in Katwe.

The walk continues to – we leave the Lake Katwe Salt Works and continue to the village of Katwe where we have an interactive guided tour that shows what life is like for the salt-workers.

The guided walk is not only an enriching time for visitors to the area of Queen Elizabeth Park and Lake Katwe – but the fees make a difference in the community and be sure to buy some local crafts and so help even more – enjoy Uganda…

If you like to include Lake Katwe Salt Works in your safari itinerary with us – please let us know.