Lake katwe Explosion craters are group of volcanic craters which are found with in Queen Elizabeth National Park in south western Uganda, Kasese District. Uganda is dotted with Explosion crater lakes most especially in the west along the albertine rift valley. The lake Katwe explosion craters are located north of Mweya peninsular and are the highest elevation within Queen Elizabeth national park. They are known as extinct though they still eject sulphurous gas smells and it’s this behavior that some got their description and acquired names such as Nyamunuka, the name from local dialect meaning smell.

The western Uganda is blessed with three main clusters of the crater; Katwe Explosiona crater found in Queen Elizabeth national park, the nearby Bunyaruguru craters field found in Kichwamba Escarpment and the beautiful Ndali Kasenda crater near Fort portal and around Kibale forest national park. Each of these crater field cluster is unique in its style and location as you take a tour in this part of the country.

Lake Katwe Explosion Craters
Lake Katwe

Lake Katwe crater area is mainly dominated by ancient hard volcanic rocks and gentle slopes with explosive craters some of them filled with water, others with just grassland and forests. Lake katwe itself is a traditional salt mining lake that were formed through volcanic eruption about 10,000 years ago. The lake water is served with streams but has no outlet hence making it a salty lake.

The intensive evaporation in dry season and concentration of minerals in the hyper saline water makes it easy for the locals to extract salt. Rock salt is extracted locally from the main lake to the landing area where it is dried for sale. Local people use the ambatch trees to float salt on the lake to the landing site as the easiest means.

Lake Katwe is the number one salt distributor in Uganda and employs many people living around. Salt got out of Lake Katwe is sold to the neighboring countries like Rwanda, Burundi DR Congo, mainly for treating hides and skins and for cooking in food. The reminder of the salt is consumed locally by the local Ugandans. The entire Lake Katwe explosion craters are not able to attract and accommodate many animals because of the salty water. However, flamingos and other water birds can be seen.

 Katwe explosion crater area is not good for game viewing because of tall bush and trees but create a very nice views around and across the entire park. However on lucky occasions, elephants, buffaloes, Vervet monkeys bush bucks can be seen with lots of baboon in the baboon cliffs. Lake Katwe explosion craters are easily accessed by someone doing explosion crater drive in Queen Elizabeth national park that start from Kikolongo Queens Pavilion, taking the queens track. You then enjoy the drive while discovering these unique and huge craters passing the most thrilling Kyemengo crater as you head to Lake Katwe the one known for their salt pans which serve as a garden to the nearby community.

You must attempt this crater drive with a 4WD Vehicle, as the road sometimes is rough, rock and some parts of the road may be slippery when it rains. Crater drive is enjoyable on dry weather. The salt Crater Lake can be accessed directly from Mweya Safari lodge for those staying in peninsular and directly on Katwe – kabatoro road for those spending a night outside the park.

Touring lake katwe, gives one a chance to observe the salt extraction process by the locals who live there and depend on this activity and their major economic benefit. Also take a visit the long-ago salt factory and works at the lake where you will get information about how salt is formed from super concentrated saline water during the dry season. You will also know that this kind of work isn’t easy in such a way that, it causes sexual problems to both men and women who work there. On this case women put flour in their private parts to avoid toxic water entering them and men put on condoms to protect their penis.

But people living in Katwe village still work hard since they depend on salt mining for a living, therefore one can show them support by buying crafts from them. Once again during the tour, Visitors enjoys the opportunity to encounter wild animals along the road such as lions, baboons, Uganda Kobs, Elephants, and Buffaloes at Nyamunuka Crater Lake.

Lake Katwe Explosion Craters
Lake Katwe

The for bird lovers, Munyanyange explosion crater lake attracts variety of migratory birds such as flamingos, Pelicans, plovers, stilts and many more  which gives opportunity for bird watchers to fill their birding list especially those on a birding safari in Uganda.

A visit to Lake Katwe takes approximately 3-4 hours so it can be done as an activity on your Safari itinerary during your Uganda safari. In this visit you get information about salt mining because it’s the major activity and the history of the area. It’s also good to note that there was a factory that used to process salt but was closed due to the tubes getting spoiled by the salt.

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