The idea of spending a day in Kampala is good. After all you never want to visit a country like Uganda and depart without seeing its capital Kampala which grown big spreading over 21 hills. It is a busy city with a population of 1.4 million people, and during the day, some streets downtown can have traffic jam congestion and that’s why there are lots of boda bodas/ motorcycles (such as Uber, Safe Boda, Taxify) because it’s easy to use and ride to many sights and attractions within a short time.
Kampala’s top attractions such as are found in the city center within a walking distance while others are in a driving distance in its suburbs such as Kasubi, Mengo, Old Kampala, and Makerere University, Kamwokya. While you may expect to start early morning at around 9am, you may not see everything. So if you have got a day in Kampala, here are a few options to give you an itinerary of the places you would like to visit.
Sightseeing around Kampala
Kampala sightseeing bus is the only sightseeing bus tour service in Kampala. It offers the best way to see lots of sites of Kampala city in a short amount of time just 4-5 hours drive. The Kampala sightseeing bus is double decked and features Wi-Fi and a drink and snacks on board. It sets off by 10am at BMK house next to hotel Africana and the afternoon schedule begins at 2pm from the same venue. It moves slow to allow everyone take pictures of some of the sites of Kampala including the independence monument, Uganda parliament where you might spot some politicians, Sheraton hotel, Naksero market, kabaaka’s lake, Lubiri Kabaka’s palace, natawetwa monument, Bulange the parliament of Buganda kingdom, lubaga and namirembe cathedrals, kasubi tombs, Makerere University, mulago hospital among others. There are some stops for refreshments at selected places.
Go shopping at craft village at national theatre and Buganda road or around malls, supermarkets and food markets
Kampala has a thriving scene of arts and crafts, malls and supermarkets and food markets. If you are looking for arts and crafts, souvenirs, visit craft village at National Theatre and Buganda road, there you will find shop and stall after another full of colorful African arts and crafts made in Uganda and those imported from around the great lakes countries. Spend some time exploring the shops to buy your favorite items and remember to bargain for lower prices. Great shopping centers located within the city Kampala include Acacia mall, mega standard supermarket, shop rite and many other large supermarkets. If you want to see food scene or grab fresh fruits, Nakasero market uptown is a great starting point with a variety of fresh fruits.
Uganda obtained her independence from the British imperial government on 9th October 1962. The independence monument tells a story of freedom from British imperialist rule. Visitors will see a 6 feet monument portraying a woman holding and raising up a child to touch the sky. While the Ugandan independence occurred without any bloodshed, however the woman is depicted to be rising from the bondage of slavery and colonialism. No matter the political reasons associated with the site, the monument remains impressive and historical for Uganda. It is located in its garden between grand imperial and Sheraton hotel making the site difficult to miss.
Find some culture
Uganda museum located 1.5 km from Kampala along kira road in Kamwokya is a great place to start. Uganda museum was founded in 1902; it has over a million collections.
You will find a guide to take you through exhibitions to explore the history, culture, wildlife and traditional life of Uganda. For art, the Margret trowel art galleries in Makerere University and at national theatre are home to great paintings.
A day in Kampala would not be complete without a visit to Gaddafi mosque. The Uganda national mosque is situated on old Kampala hill. It is famous for its 50 meters high tower. When you climb at the top, take pictures and marvel at the spectacular views of the entire Kampala city straddling over 21 rolling hills.
Eating out restaurants and options in Kampala are limitless. There are many restaurants cater to all prices, and are open all day long and at night making Kampala a haven for food lovers, with every type of cuisine found around the world. Besides, there’s a famous Royal dish of Buganda kingdom called “Luwombo, a blend of chicken, beef, G-nuts, Matooke wrapped and cooked in a banana leaves. Make sure to taste it if you really want to delight your food experience.
Book on your phone and order for food if you have Jumia app. It lists the favorites and gives discounts when you order online. Find the reviews of many restaurants is endless on trip advisor including Mediterraneo, Café Javas, Lawns, Fang Fang Restaurant for Chinese, Yuzo Izakaya for Japanese, African pot.
Explore Buganda Kingdom Palace and Parliament
The Lubiri (royal palace f Kabaka of Buganda and Bulange (parliament) are some of the most famous buildings in Kampala. The palace was built in 1922 and bulange in 1958. Visitors can tour the two historical sites by a guided tour to learn history, culture and traditions of Buganda. The torture chamber inside Bulange gate, tells the political history of Uganda during Obote and Idi Amin regimes.
The walk the royal mile walk which connects the entrance gates of the palace and Bulange features monuments of leopards, lion, monkeys, mud fish which you can learn about the culture and traditions of various clans of Buganda, the largest traditional kingdom that dates back from the 13th century when it was formed.
Kasubi royal tombs
This UNESCO world heritage site is a burial ground for the former 4 Kabaka’s of Buganda Kingdom. It was built in 1882 and remained intact until 2009 when it was destroyed by fire.