The biggest bullfighting event in Mbale

The district of Bududa, located on a massive hilly area in Eastern Uganda, is the only area in Uganda where bullfighting takes place.

Oct 18, 2022 - 00:05

Countries like Spain, South America, and France are commonly connected with American sports like football and wrestling.

When I was enjoying Mr. Musinguzi's enigmatic videos, a channel I mentioned on  the Best Ugandan travel YouTube channels you should follow I came to learn about this wonderful event that takes place at Namasho grounds in the Bulucheke Sub-county of the Bududa District.

You may know Bududa from the news being refered to as the mother of landslides, but today you will learn about a unique Ugandan tradition from this region. 

The ancient custom of bullfighting in Mbale.

Bududa, located on the slopes of Mount Elgon, isn't exactly a hotspot for visitors for a number of reasons (its history of landslides doesn't help), but it is the only area in Uganda where communities engage in bullfighting activities, and few people there even know that this is a thing. The men and boys of the neighbourhood gather at 5:00 p.m. every other Saturday to bring their bulls to a nearby field. The owners of the extra bulls lead them around the field so they can find their rivals. The younger and smaller bulls are paired with bulls of similar size, whereas the older and larger bulls are matched with bulls of similar size but greater muscle.


When it comes to Bullfighting competitions.

Every other Saturday, traditional bull battles are put on for the locals of Bulucheke hamlet.

As the bulls prepare for battle, the local fans can be heard singing traditional war songs, which adds even more energy and excitement to the event. Owners transport their bulls from all across Mbale to compete, and they put in a lot of time and effort into conditioning and feeding them before the fight.

While the owners are constantly on hand, either beating the bulls to increase rage and fight or massaging their bulls to calm them down, residents will gamble on just about anything while watching their favourite bull fight. I found it quite intriguing. As the bulls battle, they will gather around them, chanting the bulls' native names like Nabuminyi, Namani, and Kavuyo. You won't have any trouble joining in on the chanting with the local Bagisu community because of how kind and friendly they are.

Most of the time, the size of the bull is used to decide which animals will compete.

There were more than a thousand people there to celebrate the occasion. Usually, there are two or three pairs in a bullfight, and the owners watch and cheer for their animals.

This is where Mbale bull fighting was born.

Bullfights, says Constant Matuhu, chairman of the Bullfighting Association and professional bull trainer, have been held for the benefit of spectators and bulls since at least the 1950s.

In the decades between the mid-1950s and the early 1970s, the brawls were largely ignored. For the herdsmen of Namasho and the surrounding areas, this was more of a casual hobby than anything else. When grazing, they enjoyed watching the bulls battle it out.

When the ladies were brought in for mating, fights frequently broke out between the male bulls. The bulls' owners allegedly fed them intoxicated leaves of a native herb in order to start fights.

Matuhu claims that rivalry over a salty water source in Namasho gave rise to the sport.

"After a few years, people decided to share the little water they had, but they let the animals fight for fun," he says, referring to the bloody wars that tore apart earlier societies.

Locals have long claimed that the salty, subterranean water wells in Namasho's distinctive stone formations increase milk production in their cows.

Bulls were brought here to drink the salty water, and once there, they might be provoked into a fight over anything in order to demonstrate their strength to the girls in attendance.

With Kundu's help, the popularity of bullfighting skyrocketed. There is a rumour going around Namasho village about a bull that Kundu owns that is notorious. There are reports that it has bitten the ears off of at least 25 other bulls that it has defeated in battle. Village committees ultimately decided that Namasho would be the best location for the fights.


Getting there.

Getting from Kampala to Mbale by bus will set you back around UG Shs 30,000. A cab ride from Mbale Town to Bududa would cost you around Shs10,000, and from there it's only a short walk to the Namasho grounds. The going rate for tours in the region is between Shs 20,000 and Shs 50,000 per person.

Visitors to Uganda could enjoy more than just the Mbale bull fights. They could also learn about the cultures of the Bagisu or Bamasaba, Iteso, Sebei, and Karamojong, a well-known ethnic group in the northeast of the country. The Batwa route is a fantastic way to experience both Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. You can also go on a magnificent gorilla trekking adventure while in Bwindi.


Mr. Musinguzi. “The Biggest BULL FIGHTING Event in UGANDA.” YouTube, 16 Oct. 2022,

What's Your Reaction?








HiUG Thanks for checking out HERE IN UGANDA! I hope our content sparks your inner explorer and makes you a smarter Ugandan traveller! To learn about our story, check out the "About" page. For business inquiries and potential collaboration opportunities, please refer to "Write with Us" and "Contact" pages, or write to me at [email protected].