Kampala is Uganda’s capital and makes a fascinating stop on your Ugandan adventure to enjoy for a day through city touring. It is always interesting to know about the capital of a country; after all it has got something different from the other cities. Kampala, the city displaying the treasure of its old heritage in sync with its modern infrastructure.
Kampala is located 40 km from Entebbe international airport and therefore acts as the hub for Uganda safaris. Most trips begin and end here so you can take time to enjoy the city tour to places of interests such as the Uganda national museum, UNESCO Kasubi Tombs, lots of art galleries, craft markets, national theatre. Kampala offers modern tourism amenities such as 5 star hotels and conference facilities such as Pearl of Africa Hotel, speke resort Munyonyo.
Kampala is Uganda’s largest urban center, a city surrounded by seven hills. It is the capital city of Uganda involved with different tribes who always come from far distant places of Uganda for business activities. The seven hills include Rubaga, Old Kampla, Mulago, Kololo, Kibuli, Namirembe and Makerere. Although Kampala seems to have out grown its title of the city of seven hills the original seven summits remain important topped by distinctive landmarks of religious, cultural and colonial significance.
The history of Kampala has both folkore and historical facts. According to the folklore, swamps and hills dominated much of the area where it presently stands. This made it an ideal habitat for impala and other members of the antelope family. The animals grazed on the slopes of the hills and came down to the swamps for water. The palace of the kabaka of Buganda, located on the landscape rich in impala herds. The king thus turned it into his hunting grounds. Folklore merged with history when the British referred to the area as the ‘hill of impala’ which was translated in Luganda as ‘kasozi k’empala. So whenever the king left the palace to go hunting his favorite game, royal people could say “the kabaka has gone to kampala to hunt thus the name was born. It is on this Old Kampala hill that Fredrick Lugard established and put up his fort.
Kampala city a commercial and administrative capital of Uganda spread over more than twenty hills. It is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. Its architecture is a mixture of the modern, the colonial and the Indian. It enjoys pleasant whether with annual temperatures average 17c minimum and 27c maximum. To the south is Lake Victoria, the world’s second largest fresh water lake and the source of the longest river in the world, the river Nile.
Where to Go
The famous places to visit in Kampala are; Kasubi tombs, Rubaga cathedral, Namirembe cathedral, Bahai Temple, Qaddafi mosque, Uganda museum, From narrow lanes of down town to the chic and modern shopping malls at the heart of the city, these posh markets in serve every one as per their tastes and preferences.
You can enjoy many different markets selling a variety of produce, clothing, and crafts. There are also some different attractions to see in the city itself, which will easily keep you entertained over a couple of days. These include temples, cathedrals, markets, galleries, areas of historical significance, and museums.
There is also a popular attraction that is the old Uganda National Museum which shows the cultural heritage of the country including exhibits on Uganda’s cultural and natural history.
There are also a few different galleries you can enjoy that display paintings, photography, sculptures, and exhibits from many different local artists.
On top of all, you can visit the Ndere Centre to experience the country’s traditional dance and music.
Interesting Things to See in Kampala
While the national parks have a local and wildlife appeal, Kampala, the capital of Uganda is a city possesses a modern scene filled with contemporary art, music, culture, theatre, and cuisine.
Cultural heritage site for Buganda kingdom
The Kasubi Tombs sitting on kasubi hill are the burial site of the four Kings of Buganda (The Kings of the Kingdom of Buganda). The site located in Kampala is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2010 many of the building were destroyed by a fire; however the Government is committed to restoring the tombs as soon as possible for tourists; as the place was an important tourism destination. In Buganda they believe a king does not die but disappears and much more of these stories and tales can only be obtained from the tour guide when you visit this beautiful place. it only about 5km from the city centre to the site.
Bulange and Lubiri
Bulange is the Buganda Kingdom’s parliament. Parliament sessions are held every month and are focused on issues of tradition, culture and development. The Kabaka (king) visits Bulange twice a year to open the sessions at the beginning of the year and close the sessions at the end of the year. The Lubiri is located on a stretch covering one mile and is the official residence of the Kabaka.
Ndere Centre is located in Kisasi, a suburb of Kampala. It is a cultural centre where you are able to experience a mixture for all the cultures of Uganda is one boiling pot. The centre offers cooking lessons for traditional Ugandan meals, traditional dance classes, and amazing performances.
The Uganda Museum is a one-stop place for a historic tour of Uganda over the years. Different sections in the museum introduce you to nature, culture, technology, tools used by Ugandans over the years and traditional music instruments. Its located in kitante a Kampala suburb about 5 kms from the city center of Kampala
This is the national mosque in Uganda and it was built with support from the late Libyan leader, Muammar Gadhafi. It has a rich history with its location on the original colonial capital and one of the original ‘seven hills’ of Kampala. Climb up the many steps of the mosque to see Kampala through a bird’s eye view.
Located on Kikaya Hill in the suburbs of Kampala, this is the only Bahai temple on the African continent. Enjoy the sight of the magnificent building and learn about the Bahai faith in Uganda. Apart from the religious aspect of the temple, it sits on a vast piece of land with beautiful gardens with bird watching opportunities.
There are several craft markets in the city. Some are in permanent locations, whereas others are weekly or monthly markets. Depending on what you are looking for, visit a craft market and purchase a souvenir of Ugandan heritage from prints, to canvas, paintings and postcards. Permanent craft markets include the Buganda Road craft market, the National Theatre craft market and the Uganda Crafts 2000 ltd.There is also Nommo art gallery located in nakasero,this was established in 1964 by the 1959 Act of Parliament, it is a component of the Uganda National Cultural Centre (UNCC). The Nommo Gallery features exhibitions of works of art by both Ugandan and foreign artists. It sits in a secure location in the heart of Kampala City just next to State Lodge at Nakasero and boasts of an impressive assortment of African craft and art masterpieces from paintings, batiks (tie-and-dye), ceramics, art prints, photographs and sculptures, among others.
Kampala has accumulated several monuments over the years, which showcase local personalities and national achievements. A walk through the city will lead you to at least six monuments with different stories to tell. The Independence Monument is the most prominent in the city
Uganda Martyrs Shrine
Uganda Martyrs Shrine is located in Namugongo – 15 kilometres drive from Kampala central. It serves as a remembrance for the Ugandans from the Buganda Kingdom who died for their faith. The shrine offers the opportunity to learn about the history of Christianity in Uganda.
Namirembe and Rubaga Cathedral
The early explorers and missionaries settled in Uganda to share and spread their beliefs. Both Roman Catholics and Protestants (Anglicans) were welcomed by the Kabaka and given land for settlement to establish headquarters for their beliefs. Namirembe Cathedral is Anglican and Rubaga Cathedral is Catholic – these are the oldest cathedrals in Uganda and command great views over Kampala.
Ugandans love their food. Each Ugandan tribe has their own unique dishes or at least a unique way of preparing the food. Kampala is the cultural melting point for Uganda. Visit a local restaurant and enjoy the different Ugandan foods on the menu.
Kampala is also famous for its food, one could easily get delicious snacks from fast food restaurants; which serve Italian and local food and many more or one could go to the swanky vegetarian or non-vegetarian food at the five star hotels. Uganda has different and exciting offer for all visitors from across the world. So plan a tour to the Pearl of Africa and have a delightful experience.