[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Top Attractions in Kampala-Things to do in Kampala Uganda’s Capital city” font_container=”tag:h1|text_align:left|color:%23019000″ google_fonts=”font_family:Montserrat%3Aregular%2C700|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”844″ img_size=”750*500″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Kampala, located in the central part of Uganda on the shores of Africa’s largest freshwater lake (Lake Victoria), is the capital and arguably the largest city of the ‘’Pearl of Africa’’, Uganda. Several travelers to Uganda enjoy the City’s ‘city tours’ as it comprises of very many attractions, destinations, and tourists activities that are enjoyable during a self-drive in the city. Above all this, you will be impressed with Kampala city’s adorable beauty, culture, and hospitality. Below are some of the things you can do while in Kampala, especially on your city tour or self-drive:
Uganda National Museum
While in Kampala, a visit to the Uganda museum is very essential because you will get to know the natural-historical and traditional life collections of Uganda’s cultural heritage. The museum building is a historical landmark designed by a German architect Ernst May – it was designed with ample natural lighting and air to ensure proper preservation of objects. Among the collections in the Uganda Museum are playable musical instruments, hunting equipment, weaponry, archaeology and entomology. A wide range of collections exist from the 1960s to the present. Specimens are displayed in the Natural History/Paleontology Gallery which is open to the public. Collections in storage are available to researchers and students on request.
At the back of the Uganda Museum building is the cultural village with huts depicting traditional lifestyles of people in Uganda – eastern, central, and western Uganda, among other parts. For visitors who want to experience the indigenous ways of the Ugandan people, an array of cultural material, such as milk pots made from wood (ebyanzi), gourd vessels, basketry, bead work, horn work, ceramics, cutlery, leather works, armory, and musical instruments, are displayed.
Conveniently perched in central Uganda, on Kasubi hill within Kampala city, the Kasubi tombs – the burial grounds for four Kabakas (kings of Buganda) and other members of the Baganda royal family, remain an important spiritual and political site for the Ganda people, as well as an important example of traditional architecture. However on 16th March 2010, the tombs were mysteriously involved in a fire outbreak and some of the main buildings were completely destroyed, of which even up to now the main cause of this fire outbreak is not clear. The remains of the kabakas are intact though, as the inner sanctum of the tombs was protected from total destruction. Back in December 2001, the tombs became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in when it was described as “one of the most remarkable buildings using purely vegetal materials in the entire region of sub-Saharan Africa”. As a result of fire outbreak, in July 2010, it was included in the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger, however the Buganda Kingdom has vowed and tried to rebuild the tombs of their kings and ancestors – the reconstruction started in 2014.
Kabaka’s Lake (Akayaanja Ka Kabaka)
Strategically located in Ndeeba, within Kampala, the Kabaka’s lake is the largest man-made lake in Uganda – covering an area of approximately 2 square kilometers and almost 200 feet deep, on average. The name ‘’Kabaka’s Lake or Akayaanja ka Kabaka’’ literally means ‘’the King’s Lake’’, of which the King is of Buganda tribe (Buganda King) – who is currently Kabaka Ronald Frederick Kimera Muwenda Mutebi II. The Lake is just 5 kilometers away from the city centre of Uganda’s capital city (Kampala) and your visit to lake will offer you an experience of a lifetime, as you will get to know a wide interesting story about the making of this beautiful lake. The lake comprises of two islands which make the lake more fabulous, as the islands host a variety of bird species which are worthy a view. At one of the two islands at the Kabaka’s lake, there is a Buganda King’s seat where he usually sits when he has come to chill at his lake.
Namugongo Martyr’s Shrines (Africa’s Largest Christian Pilgrimage destination)
As the name states, they are ideally located in Namugongo, about 14 kilometers northeast of Uganda’s capital – Kampala city. The shrines are two, for the Roman Catholic and Anglican, both located in Namugongo town in the exact places where the martyrs were burnt to death. These are places for the commemoration of the Uganda martyrs who decided to die for their faith than just giving up. The Uganda martyrs were murdered (burned) on orders of the by-then Kabaka (King) of Buganda Kingdom ‘’ Kabaka Mukasa Basammul’ekkere Mwanga II’’. A very large number of people congregate to Namugongo on 3rd of June from all over the world in commemoration of the lives and religious beliefs of the Uganda martyrs – who were over 35 young men. On 3rd of June 2015 seems to be a year in which the highest number of people (2 millions of people) was recorded to visit these shrines following the visit of Pope Francis.
Uganda National Cultural Centre
This is a statutory body which was inaugurated by the ‘Uganda National Cultural Centre Act’ on the 2nd of December 1959. The Centre comprises of two major components, which are; the National Theatre and the Nommo Gallery, both of which are nestled in central Uganda, Kampala. The National Theatre offers a venue for stage performances of different kinds, and also serves as a cinema, well as the Nommo Gallery features exhibitions of works of art by both Ugandan and foreign artists. The Centre also boasts a snack bar, which claims to offer the “best African dishes served with best spices and ambience”, and the Craft Village, where locally made handicrafts are sold. The centre’s main aim is basically to preserve, develop, and promote Uganda’s culture in Uganda and globally through setting standards, building capacity and implementing relevant national policies.
Just 1.6 kilometers from the Kabaka’s (Buganda King’s) palace, on Namirembe hill, lies one of the most significant building housing the parliament of the Buganda kingdom, locally known as ‘’The Lukiiko’’. The building is also situated 3.2 kilometers from the centre of Kampala, and besides housing the Buganda parliament, it also comprises of many other offices that you will visit, such as; the Kabaka’s office, and Katikiro’s (Buganda Prime Minister) office. The building also boasts one of Uganda’s leading radio stations CBS FM and a television station called BBS Telefayina (Television), of which they are all Kabaka’s belongings. While here, you can also visit the Buganda King’s grand palace of Mengo which is within a close proximity.
Gaddafi National Mosque
This is a skyscraper mosque nestled at Kampala hill, within Kampala capital city, which was commissioned to Uganda as a gift from the by-then president of Libya ‘Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’. Therefore the mosque got its name from President Gaddafi though it later, in 2013, changed its name to ‘’Uganda National Mosque’’ after the death of President Gaddafi, as the new Libyan administration was reluctant to rehabilitate the mosque under the old name. The mosque is the official base of the head offices of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council. Besides being Uganda’s biggest mosque (accommodating over almost 20,000 worshippers) and a special thing in Uganda – like the ‘Statue of Liberty’ in New York, the Gaddafi mosque is a great tourist attraction within Kampala, not only for its beautiful architecture but also how it unveils the beauty of Kampala city – especially when you climb to the top of the minaret (prayer tower). However for the women to climb up for the fantastic views, you will need to put on the Muslim outfits which are provided by the guides, so don’t bather yourself packing them.
The Pearl of Africa Hotel
Are you asking yourself what brings this ‘’just a mere hotel’’ on the list of top things you should visit in Kampala during your city tours? Well the answer is here; besides being one of the top hotels in Uganda’s capital city (Kampala), it is also rated as the tallest completed building in the city (23-storey building) and its height is about 90 meters (300 feet). This hotel is located on top of Nakasero Hill. I think, with such a milestone, this is something worth a visit, or it will even be more interesting and amazing if you spend at least a night in one of the air-conditioned rooms of this great building in the capital city of the ‘Pearl of Africa’. Other tallest buildings you may also visit in Kampala, include; Uganda Revenue Authority Tower, Workers’ House, Crested Towers, Mapeera House, and Uganda House.
Firmly situated on Namirembe hill, about 2 kilometers from the city centre of Kampala capital city, Namirembe cathedral was the first ever cathedral to be built in Uganda. The cathedral serves as the provincial cathedral of the ‘Church of Uganda’ and the diocesan cathedral for Namirembe Diocese, the first diocese to be founded in the Church of Uganda province, in 1890.
A visit to Rubaga cathedral is also a great one. The Rubaga Cathedral is conveniently situated on Rubaga hill, about 3 kilometers west of the city centre of Uganda’s capital, Kampala. This is the parent cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kampala, the oldest Roman Catholic diocese in Uganda, and it is also the home church of Archbishop of Kampala. The remains of the late Archbishop ‘Joseph Kiwanuka’, the first African Catholic Bishop and the first African Archbishop of Kampala Diocese, are housed inside the cathedral, and once you visit the cathedral, you will therefore get a great opportunity to view them. There are many other interesting stories about the Rubaga cathedral that you will get to know after visiting this magnificent house of God.
Nevertheless, there are very many other things that you can visit during your Kampala city tours, including; various religious centers such as; the Bahia temple, several shopping malls such as; Acacia mall, Kibuli mosque, New and Old Kampala taxi parks, Owino market, Makerere University (Uganda’s largest University), Lake Victoria (Africa’s largest freshwater lake), and the Parliament of Uganda, among many other attractions.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]