Sight Seeing in Kampala

Kasubi Tombs: The Kasubi tombs, 5 kms out of Kampala on Hoima road is a huge domed structure, the burial place of former Buganda kings maintained by the Baganda tribespeople. Descendants of the ‘kings’ wives’ narrate the history of the site. The tomb has a variety of artifacts that belonged to the Kings, including a stuffed leopard which used to be a pet.

Namirembe & Rubaga Cathedrals: These cathedrals are perched on prominent, adjacent hills on the west of the city, commanding spectacular views over Kampala. Namirembe also known as St. Paul’s Cathedral is Uganda’s oldest cathedral, built by Anglicans. On Rubaga hill is the Rubaga Cathedral, headquarters of the Catholic Church. Both cathedrals are well worth a visit.

Namugongo Martyrs’ Shrine: Located 12kms outside the city centre on the Kampala -Jinja road is the spot where in 1886 more than 20 Ugandan Christian converts were burnt to death by order of Kabaka (King) Mwanga. This beautiful steel structure, a catholic church stands at the scene of the atrocity. Every year on 3rd June the country observes Martyrs’ day when thousands of people make a religious pilgrimage to Namugongo. A new church has recently been built at this site to accommodate the thousands of pilgrims who arrive on martyrs’ day.

Kabaka’s Lake: This is the largest excavated Lake in Africa. It is found on the east side of Kampala and can be accessed via Pope Paul Memorial Community Centre, Kibuye or Namirembe road. This lake was supposedly dug out on the orders of Kabaka (King) Mwanga in the 1880s as an escape corridor to Lake Victoria.

Kabaka’s Palace & Office: Although this is usually off limits to visitors, it is worth to take a drive past the palace. An interesting feature is the dead straight road from the palace to his office and this is because local superstitions dictate that he should not turn a corner from his home to his office! There is a roundabout with a special road through the middle which only he may use and is otherwise blocked off. The Kabaka’s palace also has statues of previous Kabakas.

Baha’i Temple: This temple is the only one of its kind in the whole of Africa. It is a serene spot with beautifully landscaped gardens, perched on kikaya hill with excellent views over the suburbs of Kampala. It is located on Gayaza road about 10kms out of town. It is an ideal place for a picnic and to do some bird watching. You are allowed into the temple as long as silence is observed.

Kibuli Mosque & Hindu Temple: Kibuli mosque is the centre of worship for the Islamic faith in Uganda. It is located on one of the many hills, south west of Kampala off Access road. Framed by palm trees, this mosque is one of the city’s major landmarks.

The enormous Hindu temple is in the city centre near Nakasero market. During Diwali and other religious festivals, it is lit up at night with hundreds of fairy lights.

Uganda Museum: The museum is centrally located on Kira road in Kamwokya and has interesting exhibitions on natural and cultural history. It is a good place to start your Uganda safari if you want to understand the history of Uganda. Another feature of the museum is the collection of traditional musical instruments and other relics which visitors are allowed to handle.

Parliamentary Building: This impressive looking building on Parliament Avenue in the city centre is the symbol of independence.

Makerere University: The main building of the imposing university stands out prominently on the city sky line, on top of makerere hill. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions of higher learning in east and central Africa.

Galleries: Nommo gallery is situated on Victoria Ave, nakasero, where works of art are exhibited by famous Ugandan and East Africa artists. There are a number of other galleries well worth a visit including Tulifanya, Gallery Café, Cassava Republic, Nyanzi art studio, Makerere School of fine art, Gallery Okapi and The Creations Ltd.

Monuments:there are many monumental sites in Kampala, and visitors or new comers may wish to know what they represent:

  • The independence monument- located near Sheraton Kampala hotel symbolizes the birth of a new Uganda governed by the black majority.
  • The Queen’s tower on Entebbe road has the oldest city clock commonly known as ‘the Queen’s clock’ or ‘Esaawa ya Kwini’! It recognizes the occasion when the Queen of England visited Uganda.
  • Adjacent to the Queen’s clock is the Pan Africanism Victory Park in commemoration of the South African struggle against apartheid.
  • The world war veterans monument at Kampala’s constitutional square just below the high courts, recognizes the gallant Ugandan men who died in action during the first and second world wars.

Nakasero & Owino Markets: These two markets are in the heart of the city where you can find everything for the home and garden, hardware items and fittings, as well as clothing, fruit and vegetables. The hustle and bustle in owino is fascinating to experience but remember to look out for pick pockets.

Shopping Centres: There are shopping malls in the city such as garden city, nakumatt oases, capital shoppers and lugogo malls.