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Katwe Explosion Crater

Dozens of extinct volcanoes of a particularly violent type known as ‘explosion craters’ dot western Uganda. Explosion craters they are called because in their ‘hay-days’ eruptions were so violent that rather than piling debris around their vents like some volcanoes, they spewed ash and rock far and wide. Today, they are mostly crater (extinct) although some still emit sulphurous smells. There are three main concentrations; theKatwe Explosion Craters in Queen Elizabeth National Park, the nearby Bunyaraguru CraterFieldon the Kichwamba escarpment and the lovely Ndali-Kasenda Crater Field near Kibale National Park. Of the Katwe Explosion Craters the huge Kyemengo Crater is decidedly the most enthralling.

The katweExplosion and Salt Craters are a short drive from Mweya Safari Lodge. There are two saline lakes but Lake Katwe is the better known. It is 3,265 feet deep and is highly saline. In pre-colonial times, salt was quite as valuable as gold. Although it’s former value has diminished, salt extraction has triumphed over time and technology for salt is still traditionally extracted this day. A system of pans have been built around the edge of the lake. Water is then let into these compartments and allowed to evaporate leaving the essential salt. Although impure at 85% sodium chloride, it’s still sought after. It’s interesting to observe the salt extraction process, and also birdlife can be spectacular with large flocks of flamingo that converge at the crater lakes because they sift the algae in the, and an assortment of wabers. Being enclosed by the park boundaries, hippos and warthogs and elephants can be seen.