Katwe Salt Licks
Katwe Salt Licks: Explosion craters are formed as a result of very violent eruptions long ago that discharged gas and rock in wide and large areas instead of piling debris just about their vents like other volcanoes. Today this has been called explosion craters and some still release Sulphuric smells.
Unlike volcanoes, explosion craters don’t pile cones but instead blow rock and ash to the far distances, Lake Katwe has many inlets and no outlets this causes the minerals in the hypersaline water are concentrated by evaporation during the dry season.
Lake Katwe is one of the great lakes in the south western part of Uganda bordered by Queen Elizabeth national park and very stunning physical features streamlined with various wildlife. The lake is one of the explosion craters formed through volcanic activity about 10000 years ago. Lake Katwe is now a traditional salt mining lake where the surrounding communities extract rock salt from and dry it at the landing area; miners construct semi permanent pools of water at the mining site to intensify the evaporation in order to extract salt.
Salt mining in Lake Katwe has existed since the 16th century and the local people still use the traditional ways of mining salt. Miners often use a butch of trees to float in the lake and transport salt from the lake shores to the mining site for sale. Slat miners extract high blocks of salt that can be used as table salt, salty mud used as salt licks for cattle, the main buyers of Lake Katwe salt are people from Congo and Rwanda.
The working conditions under the scotching sun of lake Katwe are unbearable for both men and women, this involves standing chest or waist deep in water for several hours picking salt. The intoxicated water sucks moisture from their bodies infusing toxic chemicals the surrounding air is also intoxicated by the released gases. Workers can hardly buy protection garments so men normally tie plastic bags in their private parts and women wear pads or put flour in their private parts. Sexual problems are always common among the Katwe workers.
In the ancient times Lake Katwe was fought for by many different kingdoms in Uganda, the salt was used for butter trade, its even said that King Shaka of Zulu had wanted to gain control and conquer lake Katwe. The first white man to visit Lake Katwe was sir Henry Morton Stanley who visited in 1975. There are also great birding opportunities in lake Munyanyange 2km from lake Katwe, bird enthuasts can spot species such as sea gulls, black terns lesser flamingos, black winged stilt, pied avocet to mention a few.
Lake Katwe is also under queen Elizabeth conservation are, tourists can explore the famous and visited national park in Uganda for unmemorable game viewing and also take a boat rid in the Kazinga channel with perfect views of birds and wildlife. Lake Katwe can be reached within 6-7 hours drive from Kampala.