Three kilometres from Hoima City and inside privately owned Mica Eco Resort along the Hoima-Butiaba Road are the historical Katasiha caves.
The caves were used as a hideout and line of defence by King Chwa II Kabalega in 1893 as he battled the invading British colonial army. He managed to keep the army at bay for more than two decades. History celebrates Kabalega for his military prowess.
“King Kabalega stayed here during the time when he was fighting with the British,” my local guide says pointing to the diminishing waterfall near the caves, “and he used to drink water from this waterfall. This used to be a big waterfall until recently when it was destroyed during the construction of the Hoima-Butiaba Road.”
To get Kabalega out of the caves, the British sought the services of fighters from Buganda Kingdom and Sudan, who effectively drove him and his forces to northern Uganda from where they resorted to guerrilla warfare until Kabalega was captured in April 1899.
The British army then made the caves their own military base after driving out Kabalega. In 1898, Kabalega’s soldiers attacked and burnt down the base but it was rebuilt and turned into Bunyoro District headquarters when British colonialists took over in 1900.
Even though there is a call to protect historical and cultural sites, the Katasiha Caves are now part of a private property and a mere green backdrop to a tourist resort, effectively denying the public one of its most treasured historical sites.
Some employees of Mica Eco Resort do not even know that the caves inside the hotel premises are famous and of historical value.