Kigezi District once covered what are now Kabale District, Kanungu District, Kisoro District and Rukungiri District, in southwest Uganda. Its terraced fields are what gives this part of Uganda its distinctive character. Kigezi was popularly known as the Switzerland of East Africa. The coordinates for the region are: Latitude:01 13 20S, 29 53 20E.
Before its division into the districts shown as above, Kigezi consisted of counties of:
- Rukiga County, southeast of modern-day Kabale District, which bordered on the then Ankole District.
- Ndorwa County, this is the central area of modern-day Kabale District, where Kabale town is still located and Lake Bunyonyi is shared with the county of Rubanda.
- Rubanda County, southwest of modern-day Kabale District, bordering Kanungu District and Kisoro District and Kinkizi County, where the famous Nyamasizi Hot Springs are located.
- Kinkizi County, northwest of modern-day Kabale District. This county shares its borders with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It also touches on Lake Edward on the border with DRC
- Kisoro County, southwest of modern-day Kabale District, bordering with Rubanda County, the Republic of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Kisoro County is the location of Lake Mutanda and Lake Kyahafi.
- Rujumbura County, which was the most northerly county of the district and bordered on the former Ankole District and on Lake Edward.
The four modern district of the former Kigezi District are inhabited predominantly by the Bakiga, Bahororo and Banyarwanda people. All these ethnic groups share the same characteristics and traditions. The people of this region are known as some of the more serious and hardworking ethnic groups of Uganda. All these attributes distinguish the region of Kigezi from other parts of the country. Paul Ngologoza’s book Kigezi and Its People provides detailed information about the Bakiga people, their traditions and history.
The region is uniquely characterized by the African Great Lakes, which include Lake Bunyonyi, Lake Edward, Lake Mutanda and Lake Kyahafi. Kigezi is also the location of the volcanic mountains known as Muhavura Mountains, and Bwindi National Forest with its famous gorilla population. There are very high mountain ranges, particularly in Kabale District, Kisoro District and Kanungu District. In the intervening valleys, often one finds expansive swampy areas, some of which, particularly those in Kabale District, have been reclaimed for pastureland.
Kigezi and Its People by Paul Ngologoza