Hike down the Western Rift Escarpment toKibiro Salt Gardens – Lake Albert
For the Adventurous – a challenging Hike down the Albertine Rift Valley to the Fishing Village of Kibiro
The ancient Kibiro Salt Gardens – Lake Albert at the base of the Kibiro Salt Gardens are a cultural, historic site where the first Western Visitor here was Emin Pasha who ventured down the Albertine Rift Valley to see the gardens and village. Today Kibiro Salt Gardens is one of the off the Beaten Track Places in Uganda. One of its biggest obstacles to receiving more visitors is its location. You only get here on foot, hiking down the Escarpment, by boat via Lake Albert or in some kind of monster 4-wheel drive vehicle.
While the hike and even more the hike up may put a quite of strain on you. All you need to do is open your eyes to the commerce of crates of sodas, beer, cases of bottled water and everything else making their way down carried on foot and salt, fish and other items making their way up – all on foot.
A Visit to Kibiro Salt Gardens is not for the faint of heart but for the adventurous who are in reasonable shape for the journey back in time down the Western Rift Albertine Escarpment.
Kibiro Salt Gardens – Lake Albert- Getting to the Starting point is the easiest – the Kibiro Fishing Village at the bottom of the Western Rift Albertine Escarpment is like many other Lake Albert Fishing Villages, what makes it different are the Salt Gardens that are found there.
For hundreds of years, the Salt Gardens have provided the Bunyoro Kingdom and way beyond with salt as they still do today. Even as you approach the starting point – you may see some salt-sellers on the road selling Kibiro Salt Gardens Salt.
It is best that you have a good pair of hiking boots, long trousers, long-sleeved shirt, a day pack, snacks, 2 liters of water. We will try to have a walking stick for balance along the trail.
One comforting thought might be that you are walking on a path that has been trodden by others going back 900 years, that most everything consumed in the village is either carried down or brought in by boat You might find women along the way with bags carrying the salt up to be sold or bartered for food.
As you reach the community a guide will take you to the hot springs (actually a creek) and the salt gardens themselves. The area has even become archeological dig site where glass beads, used in barter hundreds of years ago along with clay pots used in the making of salt.
There are stories that the hot springs have healing qualities to the water, you might try a dip.
Kibiro Salt Gardens produces ash salt which is obtained by recycling residual earth with fresh soil which is spread on salt gardens for the salty water to get absorbed by the capillary system. Through repeated scraping, spreading and heaping of the salty soil over a seven days period, it is leached and the residue is boiled to the crystallization point to produce the ash salt. The residual soil from leaching is then mixed with fresh soil to repeat the salt production process. The Salt Production was mostly done by women as it is today.
The Kibiro Village, outside of the fish from Lake Albert does not produce much since it is a village along a sandy beach. They have and do depend on taking their fish and salt up the escarpment for cash or barter with those who live above on the plateau.
One thing that might remain with you is this “Human Beings will go through tremendous hardship in order to survive.”
The journey up is a somewhat tougher, we will do our best to have you a cold drink to refresh you.
Kibiro Salt Gardens – Lake Albert – Western Rift Valley Escarpment – If you are interested in taking the hike to the village – please let us know and we will include it in your safari.
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