Visitors to Kampala are able to enjoy access to some of the most exciting tourist attractions in the world. Here’s our guide to help you make the most of the incredible sights on offer including Culture, Architecture, Historic Site, Monument / Statue, Museum, Places of Worship, Markets, and many more
Kampala is the largest city and capital of Uganda with over a population of 1.2 million (Census 2002). Kampala was founded on seven hills; Kasubi Hill which is where the Kasubi Tombs are found, Mengo Hill where the present Lubiri (Kabaka’s Palace) is and the Headquarters of the Buganda Court of Justice and of the Lukiiko, Bugand’s Parliament(Bulange), Kibuli Hill, which is home to the Kibuli Mosque, Namirembe Hill, home to the Namirembe Anglican Cathedral, Lubaga Hill, where the Rubaga Catholic Cathedral is, and was the headquarters of the White Fathers, Nsambya Hill, was the headquarters of the Mill Hill Mission. It now houses Nsambya Hospital and Kampala Hill, (also known as Old Kampala), meaning “the hill of the impala” and whence Kampala got its name, is where the ruins of Lugard’s Fort were. The city spread to other hills like Nakasero Hill, Mbuya hill making this a beautiful city.
The National Museum is 3km along Kira road from the heart of Kampala city. It is the oldest in East Africa. The museum was established in 1908 with assortments of item/objects from the different traditional chiefs. The Museum holds items on Uganda’s history, natural historical samples, musical instruments and archeological artifacts.
These tombs are found on Kasubi Hill and are 5 km on Kampala Hoima Road. This place is the burial ground for kings from the Buganda Kingdom. There are four previous kings buried in this place and these are: Mutesa I ruled from1856 to 1884, Chwa Daudi ruled from 1899 to 1939, Mutesa II ruled from 1939 to 1966 and Mwanga who ruled from 1884 to 1897. The place has a main burial tomb which is the biggest in Africa. The other smaller adjacent tombs are used as resident places for the care takers and houses for some of the kingdoms royal regalia.
What attracts visitors most to this place is the scrupulous architecture of the Large tomb and the other smaller hats, in addition to having a detailed observation of the pictures, regalia and hear stories of the former kings and history of the Buganda Kingdom.
The Bahai Temple is situated on Kikaya Hill just 7 km from the heart of the city on Kampala Gayaza road. This is the only temple of the Bahai faith in the whole of Africa.
This temple is of international importance and attracts followers of the Bahai faith from all corners of the world. It also attracts numerous visitors to enjoy the wonderful scenic view of Kampala City. The quiet surrounding environment additionally attracts people to come for prayers and meditation.
The Uganda Martyrs Shrine Namugongo located along Kampala-Jinja highway and is one of the most distinguished shrines in Uganda and an important site among Christians in Africa. It is believed that, at Namugongo, 32 young Christian converts (Including Anglican & Catholics) were martyred on refusal to denounce Christianity, which was spreading like wildfire in Uganda right from 1870. This angered King (Kabaka) Mwanga II, prompting his to order the execution of the 32 men on Thursday 3rd June 1886.
Rubaga Cathedral is located on Rubaga hill, about 5 Kilometers north-west of the City center. The Cathedral is the seat of the Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church in Uganda. Rubaga hill was formerly a palace of Mutesa I but was donated to Bishop Hirth by his successor Mwanga in 1889. The Cathedral was opened on 31st October 1925.
Namirembe Cathedral is located on a Namirembe hill adjacent to Rubaga hill. The hill is the seat of the Archbishop of the Anglican Church (Church of Uganda). The hill was donated by Mutesa I to the early missionaries in 1877. A Church was built at the site in 1880s and the Cathedral was built 1890.
This university lies on Makerere hill, just 3 km north of the centre Kampala City. This is the main higher institution of learning and the largest in Uganda; It was first established as a technical school in 1922. In 1963 it became the University of East Africa, offering courses leading to general degrees from the University of London. It became an independent national university in 1970 when the University of East Africa was split into three independent universities: University of Nairobi (Kenya), University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Makerere University. Makerere was home to many post-independence African leaders, including former Ugandan president Milton Obote and late Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere. Former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa and current Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki are also Makerere alumni.
Mulago hospital is the only existing referral hospital in Uganda. it is located 3.5km north east of the heart of Kampala City Center, and was initially a treatment center that started in 1913, and later built during the1950s. The major attractions at this hospital are the architectural buildings and research.
Kibuli Mosque is one of the biggest mosques of Uganda with a beautiful view over Kampala; It’s located on Kubuli hill and regarded as the home for Muslims. A Buganda royal and colonial collaborator Prince Badru Kakungulu owned most of the hill. He donated the land atop the 3,973 feet hill where the Kibuli mosque stands today.
Gaddafi National Mosque also known as Kampala Mosque or National Mosque is a mosque situated at Kampala Hill in the Old Kampala area of Kampala, Uganda. Completed in 2006, it seats up to 5,000 worshipers and can hold another 1,100 in the gallery, while the terrace will cater for another 3,500. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya built the mosque as a gift to Uganda. But mostly to the Muslim’s in Uganda
Independence Monument is Located along Speke road in Kampala, just opposite Standard Chartered bank, the construction of the Independence Monument was funded by the British Colonial government in the days leading up to Uganda’s first independence cerebrations on October 9, 1962. Depicting a man unwrapping his child and raising it to touch the sky, the towering sculpture signifies a new born country let free from the bondages of colonization. This monument was made from cement, sand, iron bars and wire mesh. It is the work of Gregory Maloba, a Luhya sculptor from Kenya who studied and taught art at Makerere University from 1939- 1965.
The Home of Ndere Troupe is a very unique architectural feature combining artistic creativity with simplicity and taking, modern African architecture and construction to unprecedented heights. Traditional dance, music and drama with modern arts using traditional instruments
Gurdwara Ramgarhia Sabha is a place of worship for all Gurdwara people. It is a place of fellowship where the gathered hear hymnals and recitals. Through the years the Gurdwara Indians have migrated to different locations in the diaspora, in so doing, they had erected Temples where they could continue to worship. The Sikhs participate in devotional hyms, recitals from the Guru Granth Sahib and fellowship at the community Kitchen known as the Langar.
Lubiri Palace or Mengo Palace is the royal compound of the Kabaka or king of Buganda, located in Mengo, a monarchy that dates back almost 800 years. Mengo has been the main palace since it was first constructed in 1885 by Danieri Mwanga II Mukasa, the 31st Kabaka of Buganda. Measuring 4 square miles (10 km2) in size, the palace is ringed by a six-foot brick fence and has a small airstrip within its walls. They are the official residence of the Buganda
The Kabaka’s lake is the biggest manmade lake in the country. It is found in township of Ndeeba close to 5 km from the city center in the west, on Kampala Masaka Road. It was under the orders of the previous king Mwanga of Buganda Kingdom that the lake was dug. The 52 distinct Buganda clans consider it sacred and the clan leaders mobilize their people to have it cleaned.
Around the lake have been constructed several cottages to offer accommodation. Activities on the lake are: boat racing, catering services and pleasure trips.
Sir Albert Cook site
In 1896, when the Church Missionary Society (CMS) sought missionaries to come to Uganda, he volunteered. They took a journey by sea, landing at Mombasa after two months. After a two-month rest at Mombasa, with 500 porters mobilised for the caravan, he started the over- 1,360-mile trek to Kampala arriving after three months. 1897 he established Mengo Hospital, the oldest hospital in East Africa. He married Katharine Timpson, a missionary nurse, in 1900, with whom he had two daughters and a son. Sir Albert Cook site is located in Mengo, Kampala.
This tomb is the burial ground where the first Moslem from the Baganda tribe was buried. Mbogo a brother to the late prince Kakungulu who was the delegate of the colonial government that was responsible for managing and administering most of Eastern Uganda. The tombs are found Kawempe Division in Mbogo zone.
Muganzi Lwaza Hill
This hill is situates approximately 10m from the heart of Kampala city center off Kampala-Gayaza Road. It has a church and an ancient house. The old house is a house of the Buganda king’s mother. It is presumed that it was the area were mothers of long ago Buganda Kings used to sit ass the watched over the burial grounds of the kings in Kasubi.
Lugard’s Fort is found on Old Kampala hill and overlooks the heart of Kampala at just 2 km North West from the heart of the centre of the city. It is national significance and denotes the colonial period under the governess of Captain Fredrick Lugard who was the first governor of this then Protectorate.
Owino Market the busiest market in Kampala, which sprawls around the Nakivubo Stadium, near the taxi parks. Here you can find all sorts of goods for sale, but it is most popular for its wide range of second-hand clothes from Europe, Asia and the USA.
Nakasero Market is Kampala’s most famous market and located at the foot of Nakasero hill and just below Kampala Road. It sells fresh food, textiles, shoes and cheap electronics. It is divided into two areas, one partially covered, where produce is sold, and another located in an attractive old building, where hardware, clothes and even a few tourist items are on sale.
One reason Old Kampala also stands out from all other suburbs is its unique architecture and building plan foisted by Indians.
Kampala hill was the nucleus of the city of Kampala. When the city expanded to other neighboring hills, the place began to be referred to as Old Kampala, a name that is still in use today, 123 years later. It has two faces to it; one that looks evidently senile with a rich history of colonialism and the other a fast-growing commercialized town of sorts