Nyero Rock Paintings
The Nyero Rock Paintings are among the finest in East Africa. They are also known as the Ngero Rock Paints. There are several good examples of geometrical paintings at the site, which lie in a rock shelter near the town of Kumi, about halfway along the main road between Mbale and Soroti.
The Nyero rock shelter is 7km from Kumi along the road to Ngora, and it has a clear signpost from the main road.
Soroti is a close town to the site.
This large, shady town is of interest to travellers for its strategic position about mid-way between Mbale and Lira. At the junction of the main road to Moroto and Karamoja. Like Tororo further south, Soroti nestles beneath a rock foundation, which you could climb for views of Lake Kyoga and beyond.
Getting to Nyero rock paintings
Soroti lies 100km northwest of Mbale along good surfaced roads, through Kumi and Pallisa along the marshy fringes of Lake Bisini along the way. There is plenty of public transport up to Soroti from Mbale – or Lira. A few buses daily and the occasional minibus – and the trip will take just two hours. This same from Mbale will take you to Sipi falls.
At 130km northwest of Soroti lies Lira, the starting point of a loop through the far northwest of Uganda. An all-weather marram road connects Lira and Soroti. There is enough public transport between the towns for you really to get between Mbale and Lira daily in a day, stopping only briefly at Soroti.
Kakoro Rock Paintings
The Kakoro Rock Paintings are on a koppie 25km from Mbale near Kabwangasi. First, catch a taxi to Nakaloke on Kumi Road to get there from Mbale. Kakoro is at least 10km from the main road. There is plenty of transport, including Boda Boda riders, that can take you there. The paintings are a bit disappointing. But it’s an exciting trip out, and the ancient rock gong near the pictures is the only one of its type.
Rocks protect paintings from the sun and rain, contributing to their preservation. Early shelter users placed ritual gifts on its south-eastern side; the local community continued the tradition of using this space to identify money before or after receiving help from ancestral spirits.
As well as the rock art, a bone incised with three concentric circles and four parallel lines and pieces of prepared ochre were excavated in 1945. These are the only evidence of prehistoric portable art found in Uganda.
What to Know Before You Go
No tour buses are going here; you will have to hire a car and drive up yourself. A guided tour is mandatory, which will cost 30,000 UGX ($1 is equal to about 3,800 Ugandan Shillings). You will also have to pay for your camera and video equipment, which cost only a few dollars.