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Summary

40m sheer inselberg with excellent single-pitch, top-rope climbing. Some of the hardest climbs in the country are here. Still under development, this could become one of the best crags in Uganda.

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Description

The 40m tall, sheer inselberg of Kkungu is an excellent single pitch, top rope crag containing many of the hardest known climbs in Uganda. It’s also an eye-opening holy site for the local demigod, Kkungu. Located just a few minutes from Matugga or about 45 minutes outside of Kampala (avoiding traffic), this crag should be bolted for sport climbing at some point in the near future for which the locals have given their blessing.

This crag is located within a fascinating local community. Consequently, you have small shops, a rolex stand (fried/rolled eggs in chapatti), toilets and local restaurants just a two-minute walk from the rock.

Take an 80m rope if you want to try all the routes. If you don't have an 80m, take a 70m or 60m, which are long enough for a many of the routes. If your rope is too short, belay from top but take sunscreen as the top of the rock and upper sections above the jungle can be incredibly hot. The belay area and first moves are shaded all day. The entire area is gorgeous jungle. Bird life is outstanding.

You'll find a very prominent prayer crack on the east side. Locals have told me that God created all the earth including Kkungu Rock and that God gave demigods certain powers. They believe Kkungu is a demigod with wide ranging powers. Local devotion to Kkungu has lasted over four centuries, long before Christians arrived. You'll see more evidence here of a thriving indigenous religion than maybe anywhere else in Uganda, but it is mixed with Christian influences as well.

The entire area is considered sacred. You see many worshippers most afternoons. Offerings to Kkungu of coffee, coins and cowrie shells are common. The area is marked out with very many spears meant to demonstrate the god’s power.

Please be respectful when moving around the area. Worshippers are very friendly, curious and keen to climb with you. Take extra gear if you can and invite locals to join in the climbing!

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Access issues

There is a warm, friendly and curious local community. Previous climbers have negotiated to pay a 5k parking fee to the rock’s security man, Omar. Please be respectful and help preserve the nice relationship. Religious ceremonies take place at the rock on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Climbers in small groups have been allowed to climb on these days, but they are best avoided. Permission for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday climbs have been granted by the local community, but small, quiet, respectful groups of climbers have never been turned away, regardless of the day. Chances are, you've never seen a site like this!

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Approach

Head north out of Kampala on Bombo Road, which is also the Masindi or Gulu Highway. This road will take you to the town of Matugga. Go through Matugga staying on the Masindi Highway. About 2.5km after Matugga, you will see a left turn heading sharply downhill on a rough murram road. Take this turn and proceed about 2km, then turn right. This road will lead you into a small village with a couple shops. Take the right turn at the village. SK Primary School should appear almost immediately on your left.

Drive past the SK Primary School. From there, the road quickly becomes a dead end. Park conscientiously on the side of the road. The rock is just in front of you. Approach time is less than one minute from the parking area.

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Where to stay

Bush camping nearby is possible. Permission to camp on top the rock has been granted, but groups haven't tried this yet. There is also a guest house in Kkungu with gated parking, grassy patches for tents and some rooms. However, climbers usually just stay in Kampala.

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Ethic

Please be respectful of the local religious ceremonies. Please bolt at a minimum. To this point, we have only used stainless steel expansion bolts which should last for several generations. If you bolt, please only use top quality equipment.

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History

View historical timeline

When exactly this rock was first climbed is not known. In 1961, Kkungu was climbed by Andrew Stuart to aid local police in the apprehension of an armed witch doctor for which he became the only non-policeman to win the Colonial Police Medal.

The rock was used in the 90s as well for abseiling training. Modern climbing was established in early 2016. Bolting began in the summer of 2017. As of February 2018, seven top rope anchors and one sport route had been bolted.

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Some content has been provided under license from: © Matt Battani (Matt Battani)

Areas

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Name
Style
Routes
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Height
Grades
12
13
26m
7
3
2
15m
1

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