Lake Katwe is an ancient lake in the south western part of Uganda in Queen Elizabeth national park the lake water is the served by streams and without any outlet hence making it a salty lake with intense evaporation on dry season and have got concetratraion of minerals in the hyper saline water.
Its value has been deprived as salt is present in other parts of the country an far areas unlike in the past where it was the only salt supplier in many parts of the country and the neighboring Congo and Rwanda
Salt production is high during dry seasons women sift the crusted salt from the surface while men shovel it up from the bottom of pools separated by wooden wok ways and ponds, salt is extracted in large rock blocks and high quality crystaled salt is the one used at table salt and muddy salt used as salt licks for cattle’s .
workers keep around the lake all day long under scorching sun as it’s the only source of income to the Kate village the toxic water is very dangerous to them especially women but never the less to get a penny and an a living one must keep working under this conditions.
A visit to Lake Katwe is a half day itinerary during the tour, the knowledgeable guide will take you through the miners and give information on how salt is mined.
The processes haven’t changed in the previous years either the mining involves standing in water for several hours as the hypersaline water drains moisture from their bodies living then intoxicated with different chemicals. The factory that was put by Germans collapsed within a period of one month when the pipes corroded this factory I part of a guided nature walk around Lake Katwe
In the ancient times the lake was fought for by several kingdoms in the western part of Uganda. Salt was a great deal by that time as the salt was exchanged with other items like mirrors, beads, and even guns mostly given to the lake Katwe ruling kingdom at that time it is even said that the famous king Shaka of the Zulu land had wanted to conquer lake Katwe in order to gain control of this lucrative commodity.
The first Westerner to visit Lake Katwe was Henry Morton Stanley in 1975 and on his way back he took with him a sample of Lake Katwe salt that was analyses in London and later on in Alexandria in Egypt.
Lake Katwe u will experience different living conditions people have in this world, with the scorching sun as it’s the equator the salt buyers are mainly Rwanda and Congo where most of Katwe salt is shipped u can give back to Katwe community by buying from African crafts locally made by the people of Katwe town
The peak seasons for salt mining are in January to March and July to September. Women put flour in their private parts as men try to wear condoms to protect them from the toxic brine this however doesn’t help much so most often Katwe workers have experienced many sexual problems due to mining effects.