kabaka’s lake

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Post on 13-May-2015




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This is a project we undertook on behalf of the cultural Buganda government to conserve its 1600 year old natural resource cultural/ natural resource foundation revealed by the King's lake




  • - The lake is located in Ugandas capital Kampala, a few kilometers from the city center, it was established by King MwangaII(1884-1888). To date it is one of the only two excavated lakes in East Africa and one of the biggest of this kind in Africa. It occupies 2km 2and is about 200 feet deep on average. King Mwanga had a liking for swimming and fishing. Whenever he desired to engage in these water sports, he would be carried 11km from his Mengo Palace to his lakeside palace in Munyonyo.
  • One day an idea occurred to him in 1887 during his return from Munyonyo; if a lake were to be constructed; it would bring his water sport home and serve as an escape waterway in the event of armed conflict with the British (which was eminent) and other territorial enemies from Mengo to Munyonyo. In spite of the low technological advance at the time, construction of the lake begun using rudimentary equipment like hoes and bare hands. From chiefs to his subjects, no one was exempt from this intensive labour which always started from 3:00am till 4:00pm each day and was to last 11 months. Many lives were lost due to fatigue, hunger, accidents and diseases.
  • However, the work was abruptly brought to an unplanned end by a rebellion of Christian converts in1888. By then the lake had reached Najjanankumbi, 2Km from Mengo, the basin then contracted and the current lake has maintained more or less the same state since 1888
  • The lake is home to hundreds of water rare animals and plants. Without many visible tributaries, the lake maintains an almost equal volume of water throughout the year.
  • This is the background of this high value resource urgently threatened to extinction by encroachers, who out of ignorance and greed are conducting illicit activities in the lakes vicinity which are greatly compromising its ecological, social and diverse cultural history .


  • Despite its cultural and biological significance, the lake is currently under great danger of eutrophication (turning into dry land) due to the intense agriculture, improper waste disposal, and intense settlement rates along its immediate borders. More land has been acquired along the lake borders and more houses are under construction. It is our professional judgment that there is an urgent need to draw a conservation plan and collaboratively engage the various stakeholders including the various land-users next to the lake in the sustainable conservation and development of its unique elements.

4. The various land-uses threatening the Kabakas lake

  • There were many observed land-uses that threaten the Kabakas lake, these included among others;
  • Brick-laying
  • Waste disposal
  • Subsistence agriculture
  • Clay mining
  • Car washing
  • These various land-uses either impacted on the lake directly through sedimentation, siltation and unsustainably withdrawing water OR indirectly through reducing the diversity and expanse of the wetland that served as filter of in-coming storm and stream water as well as storage of water to replenish the lake during the dry-seasons. Consequently, the wetland has grown thinner and the lake has withdrawn its banks, even the water in the lake has greatly decreased in volume due to excessive sedimentation

5. The ecological significance

  • The lake has a number of ecological uses including:
  • It is a home to a number of birds, fish and numerous uninventoried water organisms. The endangered wetland Crested Crane bird adopted for National Emblem was found to reside in the lake ecosystem.
  • It is a significant contributor to the micro-climate (rainfall and temperature) of Kampala, through sea and land breezes
  • It is a storage of water for various organisms, including man, birds, cattle, among others.
  • If well conserved as would be the case after drawing the conservation plan, the lake will serve as a good habitat to some of the near-extinct fish types of Buganda, such as emale( Catfish), emamba (Lungfish) and others. it is also a good destination for migratory birds and threatenedlocal species such as shoe-bill stock, crested crane and others. Her location, rich cultural and biological significance makes the lake to possess enormous potential for local and international tourism development.

6. The cultural significance

  • It is an indicatorof Bugandas great cultural glory which dates back from 400 A.D.
  • There are a number of norms and cultural traditions associated with the lake, especially related to coronation festivities.
  • The government of Buganda has high expectations in improving this Lakes intrinsic appeal for ecotourism potential. Such developments would generate great revenue for the sustainable development of the kingdom.

7. The Kabakas lake in picturesSignificance, threats, and proposed interventions 8. THE VARIOUS LAND-USES Subsistence agriculture 9. Poor Maintenance practices Industrial Construction Settlement in surrounding wetland Car washing 10. Poor Waste Disposal Brick laying/ clay mining NOTE : There is an urgent need to draw a general management plan for the Kabakas lake that would seek to sustainably discourage and eliminate poor land-uses practices as shown above as well as promote good land-uses practices such as wetland conservation, cultural practices, tourism and others which would ensure that this great resource exists in perpetuality. 11. THE EFFECTS OFTHREATS The water is green (algae)due to excessive pollution related to the reduced wetland and thence eutrophication The pictures above show that the lake is quickly and consistently turning into dry land due to excessive pollution 12. ECOLOGICAL VALUES OF THE KABAKAS LAKE HABITAT FOR THE THREATENED CRESTED CRANE HABITAT TO NUMEROUS SPECIES OF MIGRATORY AND INDIGENOUS BIRDS 13. THE WETLAND VEGETATION IS A STORAGE AND PURIFIER OF WATER BEFORE IT ENTERS THE KABAKAS LAKE. THE LAKE ITSELF IS IMPORTANT FOR THE MICROCLIMATE (TEMPERATURE AND RAINFALL) OF KAMPALA. IT IS ALSO HOME TO NUMEROUS WETLAND SPECIES SUCH AS BIRDS, FISH AND MICRO-ORGANISMS. THESE NEED TO BE CONSERVED, HOWEVER WITHOUT IMMEDIATE ACTION, THEY WILL SOON TURN INTO SETTLEMENTS OR AGRICULTURAL FIELDS 14. PROPOSED INTERVENTIONS

  • The proposed intervention is drawing of a general management plan for the lake which would enable the conservation of its unique elements that give it the ecological and cultural significance as well as promoting such land-uses that are complimentary to its conservation, such as sustainable tourism development. The proposed interventions would improve the Lakes intrinsic appeal thereby improving its conservation potential and contribution to Bugandas economy

The ecological value of the lake would be improved as it would provide a habitat at the same time improve its tourism potential 15. Other proposed interventions

  • Well as it inappropriate for us to make recommendations based on our personal views we would reckon the Kabakas lake to improve its intrinsic appeal and conservation potential after the participatory conservation plan is drawn. This would transform the site towhat is shown below:

Source: Pictures from the London Zoo 16. CONTACT

  • www.pemo.wordpress.com
  • [email_address]
  • [email_address]
  • Tel: +256712582723/+256782646887/+256712499351


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