Travelling to Uganda entails a lot of different destinations that are always “must visit” but choosing the right places with a question of time matters and so is the Kampala city tour. I would definitely agree with you if you decided not to visit the overcrowded city and yes sometimes a mess, but is it not adventure? A question remains, is it not why you travelled miles away to see the difference of cities? Why would you surely leave out Kampala city? It doesn’t necessitate you to visit all the Kampala sites because you probably won’t get done in just a day or two.
However there are a few places you can visit in Kampala that will give you a full insight of what Kampala the capital city of Uganda is all about. Kampala city lies 1190m Asl with an estimated population of 2 million inhabitants. Occupying an area of about 72sq.km sits on seven main hills Nakasero hill being one of them. However this has changed because of the the daily migration of people from rural areas in search of greener pastures and seemingly better living.
If you have a day to spare in around Kampala, here are some places we would recommend you to visit and you will definitely have a great picture of Kampala the capital. I would love to say that some of these places are accessible on a guided tour or a self drive in Uganda. Therefore by car you need the help of a Uganda/Kampala map and the GPS so that you’re able to navigate to the correct places and sites with ease.
The Kasubi Tombs
Commonly referred to as the the ancestral burial grounds for the Buganda kings, sits on the kasubi hills a few kilometers from the central business area of Kampala. Accessible by the public taxi or a private hired car or self drive car rental, east of Kampala after nankulabye and bulange mengo. These tombs are must visit so you can have a detailed insight about the history of the biggest tribe in Uganda that settles on a 9000sq.km area. Being part of the Bantu ethnic group and being the superior tribe in Uganda, they have had a chain of kings that have had their own story in their respective centuries of rule. This is a hereditary story of kings. On these premises of the kasubi tombs stand a huge grass thatched Hut where all the history of the Buganda tribe originates. You probably think it’s any like any other hut, this is a hut standing taller than a 5 storeyed building. From the entrance to the tombs is a story to tell. There are always site guides who introduce and guide you on site after a tour fee of 10,000 ug.shilling or about $4 per person. The same guides that guide you are very talented artisans that have very nice art pieces, should you need a nice African piece then take your chances with these guys. Well a small tip will be appreciated if you don’t buy. This tour takes about 1:45 mins and you should be able to connect to another destination.
The old kampala city Mosque
The mosque is the major feature that erects on this oldest hill of kampala that offers spectacular 360 Degrees of the kampala city from the minaret. The mosque is one reputed as one of the biggest and largest in Africa that accommodate to over 35000 worshippers. Being a worship place, ladies be prepared to dress in what we call descent in Africa, long skirts and long sleeved with a headscarf. Be prepared to experience a mixture of Arabic, African, European cultural influences. To sincere, the breathtaking 360 Degree views of the spectacular and really worth a visit. The 10000 ug.sh fee charged for the visit is inclusive of a guide. You do not want to miss this, would you?
The Uganda Museum
Started in 1908 from the old Kampala hill and later standing at the kitante hill on old kira road. This is the oldest museum in Uganda. From Traditional music, Archaeology, independence pavilion of science and industry, Ethnohistory with the things of recent history like the first printing press in Uganda, Ethnography providing the visitors with the touch of cultures and peoples’ way of life, Paleaolontology with the fossils aged about 20,000,000 years ago. Also discover the distinct species of mammals like LOng- horned buffalo and the Indian Elephant. Outside the museum stands an frican architectural housing of the different cultural houses and kings houses. Putting in mind Uganda has over 40 different tribes. This museum receives a high number of foreign visitors in the high seasons or the summer seasons of june, july, August, September and October. The administration here charges 5000ug.sh for the tour. It’s a self guided tour and if you like you can get a guide at an extra 5000. Oh yes there is a reason to know more about Uganda.
The Bahai Temple
A collective centre for mankind, where every race and religion is represented. Among the Bahai faith in the world, Kampala in Uganda is honored to have the oldest and only temple in Africa built in 1958. Apparently this temple was the tallest by then. Standing a few kilometers on the outscarts of kisasi suburb on kikaya hill is a unique well build temple where brothers and sisters of the bahai faith converge for the unity. The faith believes in unity of all persons of the world. 320 steps from the main entrance gate stands a very long and huge temple. Silence is a required and being here almost takes you in a holy atmosphere. “Baha’iFaith believes that heaven and hell are not places but states of being. One can be in heaven while he is still on earth if he has done something good. He can also be in hell while on earth if he has done something wrong. Heaven is nearness to God; hell is separation from God. Heaven is the presence of spiritual qualities; hell is absence of these qualities or imperfection” quoting the bahai faith. The views on this kikaya hill overlooking the kampala city and some of the surburbs are just breath taking. This can be accessed by public means or can make use of the Uganda road map, kampala map or GPS if your on a self drive car rental in Uganda. No fee is charged when you do visit here.
The Namugongo shrine
The Namugongo shrine built in 1967 is one of a must see on a Kampala city tour. Seen from a distance is a uniquely build fire like pillars and whitish glamour shining from a far. It is common that you feel a holly place as you approach this site. The namugongo shrine is a place where the twenty six martyrs were killed on the orders of the the king of Buganda Daudi chwa on the basis he thought they wanted to overthrow him in the names of Christianity. In the middle of the church stands an alter and beneath the alter is an everlasting glow in memory of the martyrs. The martyrs were burnt to ashes with huge flames of fire in the name of Christianity. At this point, many people from around the world trek on foot and gather for special prayers on the 3rd of June every year. Walking from all corners of the world with so many races from different parts, special prayers are made in remembrance of these martyrs. There are guides here who are more than happy to share information about this site. It’s a 10000 ug.sh. When you get the guide story from the kasubi tombs, you should be able to connect it with the shrine story so to get a whole clear picture.
With a few of these you should be able to have good idea about Kampala. If you still have some time the city walk is worth the try. However you are not advised to walk alone as like any their city there are chances of taking advantage of suspecting tourists. Just get everything into your hotel room and maybe move with your well protected documents and phone. That would be great.