When you come to Kampala, a city located on rolling hills, there are many impressive features that stun your imagination on paying a visit, and among them are the beautifully designed cultural and historical places.
Some date as back as pre-colonial era while some were established with the coming of Whites and others in recent times to preserve Ugandan culture.
A tour to most of these places is for the most part free, obviously apart from a coin to the taxi or boda boda chap – whatever your choice of transport. Even those that charge a fee for access; you will come back with the best of memories.
Being a habitual traveler to Kampala’s most amazing places, here is a list of astonishing sites I recommend you should put on your travel bucket list.
You can go there with friends for experiences, a walk as a couple to relax and it will also not hurt if you grab a selfie or two for your Instagram.
At approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) southwest of the city center of Kampala, lays the Bulange building which houses the Lukiiko also known as the traditional seat of the Buganda parliament.
It is one of the most impressive colonial era buildings still existing.
Its high roof capped with a trio of spires is visible from the main road because it’s well located on a hill.
Because it serves as the administration headquarters of Buganda kingdom, the Kabaka (King) and Katikiiro (Prime Minister) maintain offices in the building.
It is also held that the Kabaka visits Bulange twice a year to open the sessions at the beginning of the years, and close them at the end of the year.
Entrance to the Bulange is allowed unless the building is in official use.
The Kasubi Tombs site is on a hill within Kampala. It is an active beautiful place in Buganda Kingdom.
It is famously known as the burial ground for the former four Kabakas and a very important place to the royal family.
A place where the Kabaka and his representatives frequently carry out important rituals related to Ganda culture.
Entrance to the site is a beautifully built gatehouse made of wooden columns, supporting a thatched roof with walls made of woven reeds called Bujjabukula.
According to Ganda tradition, the guards who control access to the site hide behind a see-through woven reed screen, to keep watch round-the-clock in order to control access.
The Bujjabukula leads to a small courtyard which contains a circular house in which the royal drums are kept, the Ndoga-Obukaba.
On arrival into the courtyard is a notable experience, as one immediately faces the main tomb building known as Muzibu-Azaala-Mpanga, which is the architectural masterpiece of this ensemble.
The Uganda Museum has been a one-stop place for a historical tour of Uganda over the years.
The Museum was officially established by the British protectorate government in the 1980 with ethnographic material, which makes it the oldest Museum in East Africa.
The history of the museum goes back to 1902 when Governor George Wilson called for the collection of objects of interest through the country to set up a museum.
Inside the Museum, different sections introduce you to nature, culture, technology and tools used by Ugandans over the years and traditional music instruments.
Gadhafi Mosque is the national mosque in Uganda. It’s the largest in East Africa and was built with support from the late Libyan leader, Muammar Gadhafi.
It has a rich history with its location on the original colonial capital and one of the original seven hills of Kampala.
When you climb up the many steps of the mosque, you will see Kampala through a bird’s eye view.
The Uganda Martyrs Shrine
Uganda Martyrs Shrine is located in Namugongo; 15 kilometers drive from Kampala central.
Starting from afar, one can catch sight of the ashen pinnacle towering the normal blue sky.
When you approach the shrine, you can’t help but feel the Godly environment with a heroic atmosphere of the martyrs given by the imposing giant structure of a shrine.
It serves as a remembrance for the Ugandans from the Buganda kingdom who died for their faith in the hands of then Kabaka Mwanga who ordered for the massacre of 22 Ugandans.
On 3rd of June every year, people from all over the world flock in thousands to honor and pray to God through the intercession of the twenty-two Uganda martyrs.
The shrine also offers the opportunity to learn about the history of Christianity in Uganda from way back.
Namirembe and Rubaga Cathedral
The early explorers and missionaries settled in Uganda to share and spread their beliefs.
Both Roman Catholics and Protestants were welcomed by the Kabaka who gave them land for settlement.
The two religions used the land to establish their headquarters which are Namirembe Cathedral and Rubaga Cathedral.
Namirembe Cathedral, Anglican and Rubaga Cathedral, Catholic are the oldest cathedrals in Uganda and command great views over Kampala.
The Baha’i Temple on kikaya hill, 6km from Kampala on the Gayaza road is the only place of worship of its kind on the African continent.
It’s the spiritual home to the continents Baha’i adherents.
The temple has a magnificent building surrounded by a vast piece of land with beautiful gardens and birds offering a great opportunity for birdwatchers to see all types of birds.
Ndere Centre is located in kisasi, a suburb of Kampala. It is a cultural center where you are able to experience a mixture for all cultures of Uganda in one boiling pot.
The center offers cooking lessons for traditional Ugandan meals, traditional dance classes, amazing cultural performances and stories behind them.