Tourist Attractions in Gulu City : Gulu town is one of the largest towns in the northern part of Uganda and a tourist destination given the many attractions. It is a center for some of the Uganda tourist destinations such as Kidepo national park and Murchison falls national park. In the 90s, Gulu suffered the colonial lens and the Lord Resistance Aramy (LRA) who caused conflict in the northern region that led to the loss of many lives, trauma and decades of a gruesome history.
Today, Gulu is completely safe as the LRA rebels are long gone and features outstanding infrastructure. It is also one of the most developed cities in northern Uganda and without a doubt one of the most beautiful as well. It is. Visit Gulu and learn about its captivating and moving history and the resilience and warmth of its people by visiting some or all of these top sites in and near Gulu while on your safari in Uganda. Some of these attractions include;
The recreation Project:
This recreation center was created as a way to help children who had become victims of the northern Uganda war conflict. The property is built on 5 acres with several games such as 30 meters climbing wall, obstacle course, leap of faith, zip line and many others. It is a great place to chill and learn about the history of northern Uganda.
TAKS Center is also known as; “Through Arts Keep Smiling”, the TAKS center is a base for cultural and all kinds of arts for the Acholi people. The building was once a British colonial clubhouse but currently has become a meeting point especially on weekends for friends and lovers of the arts. The center holds concerts and dance competitions that bring many people together.
Peace museum is located about 100 kilometers from Gulu, in Kitgum district, about is the peace museum. It was constructed to safeguard the memories of the northern Uganda Lord Resistance Army conflict and as a symbol of peace. Currently several buildings have been constructed and plenty of literature and testimonies about the conflict have been reserved.
Guruguru hill and caves
This historic site is located in Amuru near Gulu town. In 1911, under the leadership of chief Rwot Otto Yai, the Guruguru caves became the site for the Lamogi rebellion. The British colonial authorities had ordered that all guns of the Acholi be seized, to which the locals opposed and hid inside the caves. The British attacked them and killed the bodyguard of the chief. This greatly displeased the Acholi who retaliated by killing a missionary solider; Captain Tana.
The British then decided to bomb the caves and poison the water source; killing many people and forcing the chief to surrender. Although the Guruguru Hill and caves harbor a dark past, the hiking experience is quite thrilling and the scenery is quite spectacular.
Fort Patiko/ Baker’s Fort:
Fort Patiko also called the Baker’s Fort is located about an hour from Gulu, Fort Patiko is a historic site that talks about slave trade and the people of northern Uganda. It was a British military base where slaves were gathered and the Arab slave traders would then decide whether they were fit to continue on the journey to Egypt or had to be massacred. The site is fit for nature walks and historic safaris.
Mount Otzi and Otzi forest reserve
Mount Otzi is located near the border of Uganda and South Sudan. It rises to a height of 1,563 meters with steep slopes and rugged surroundings. There is no better way to spend your evening than with a hiking adventure on this mountain. Great views of the Nile, surrounding mountains and some outskirts of South Sudan are quite breathtaking.
Otzi forest reserve is spread across the edge of Mount Otzi, and although it is not really in Gulu, it can be accessed via a ferry ride across River Nile to Moyo. The trip is about 150km long but definitely worth it. Initially, the reserve was established as a sanctuary for white Rhinos in 1938 but after they crossed into South Sudan, it was turned into a forest reserve. Enjoy unique flora and fauna here including the only Chimpanzee population in northern Uganda.
The Aruu falls are located in Pader near Gulu. They are famous for breathtaking scenery featuring white rowdy waters rolling over rugged rocks with a touch of evergreen forest in the background. A day trip to the falls is perfect for photography, picnics and some light hiking. Ensure to visit in the dry season when water levels are lower.
Amuru Hot Springs
Amuru Hot Springs are the largest in northern Uganda and are situated in Amuru district, about 35 kilometers from Gulu. For the locals, the springs are a sacred site that offers healing from several ailments. Nature walks around the springs and sometimes picnics are highly recommended on your Uganda safari.
Zoka Forest Reserve
Located in Adjumani, Zoka Forest Reserve is the furthest tropical forest from Kampala and one of the smallest in the country. It stretches along the northernmost stretches of Uganda, harboring a number of primates and smaller mammals such as the flying squirrel endemic to this region. The reserve also has unique flora abundant only in northern Uganda.
Unlike the peace museum, the Gulu museum is a place to learn about the culture of the Acholi people. It is located in Ker Kal and holds the base of governance for the Acholi chief. Several Acholi relics can be observed within the huts and you get to meet some of the cultural leaders.
Wi-Polo Martyr’s Shrine
WiPolo Martyrs Shrine is located about 185 kilometers from Gulu town is Wi-Polo Martyr’s Shrine in a small town of Paimol in Agago. The phrase “Wi-Polo” in Acholi means “in heaven”. The shrine was built in memory of catechists, Daudi Okelo and Jildo Irwa who were murdered by spearing by the Italian Comboni missionaries.
The shrine has undergone several renovations over the years and is now a top tourist site in the region, featuring a presbytery, an open-air altar and some sculptures. A feast is celebrated annually from 13th to 20th October to commemorate the lives of the young martyrs.