Things To Do In Kampala
The capital city of Uganda- Kampala is located right next to the banks of Lake Victoria. It is a vivacious city with a long history. In 1800 an before the British colonizers arrived, kingdoms such as Bunyoro and Buganda grew up on the Ugandan plateau and Kampala became its first major city. Buganda (Uganda) became the richest and most powerful of these kingdoms and its people- the Ganda, are still the largest ethnic group in modern Uganda. In the late 1800s, Kampala united with Bunyoro, Ankole, Toro, and Busoga, as a British protectorate. The city sits on a few slopes, each one lodging a critical government building, historic museum, and sacred cathedrals. Christianity and Islam are its main religions.
When To Go:
Since Uganda is placed near the equator, the climate in Kampala is warm as the year progressed. In spite of the fact that travel is conceivable anytime of the year, there are months that are more agreeable for travel than others due to heavy rain and precipitation.
The most blazing months of the year occur in summer (October – February)are October and February, amid which time the day by day high temperatures will by and large float in the upper 80's and up to a low of 90's. However, occasional downpours and a chance of heavy storms are inevitable, so if you scheduled a holiday tour around these months, prepare and include umbrella or raincoat in your luggage.
The coldest months of the year are from June to July, amid which time the day by day high temperatures will for the most part achieve a low of 80’s. The winter season is not the best time to see the city.
The two stormy seasons are from March through May, and from the last two weeks of September through January. Despite the fact that it is conceivable to visit amid these wet seasons, trekking and a large number of the open air exercises accessible can be all the more difficult amid the dry summer months. Nonetheless, it is considered the best time to visit Kampala. An advantage of going amid the wet months is marked down lodging rates around the city.
Revel in the nature and glory of Uganda by seeing this variety of attractions and things to do in the city of Kampala…
The Ndere Centre brings back the old glory of the cinema of Uganda. The location is perfect, a sort of amphitheater that is very well done. The show is a perennial replica, a reproduction of the local customs of Uganda and the neighboring population, with dancers and singers really prepared and very good! During the show, there is also the opportunity to eat a plate of barbecue and a beer, in short, a really good choice for a special evening! It’s 'a very exclusive club frequented by rich people. You can order a delicious grilled meat accompanied according to your taste dishes of local cuisine and attend a performance of traditional dances where the music is really engaging and the performers wear colors of traditional clothes. All this for 60,000 Ugandan Shillings or about 20 Euros!
If you want to relish the whole experience, you can stay in the cottage or accommodation center of the site. They have clean rooms (beds with mosquito nets without holes) and shared facilities, shower with hot water and light breakfast. There is a very nice and great dance show in the evening, where you will have the opportunity to see the dancers, musicians, and really good singers. It is not just a show for tourists, the dance company and music is very professional and does tours abroad. The show is held in a large arena and is consumed during the course of the dinner with seats in the stands. You can choose to have self-service buffet of traditional food and grilled meats, vegetables and desserts as well; drinks not included.
Gaddafi National Mosque
The Gaddafi National Mosque is one of the buildings that was built by Gaddafi and sponsored in Africa, and with his death, Africa has lost one of the most impressive leaders. The future of this mosque is after the events that happen after Gaddafi's and it means no more help or support coming from Libya. You can see the mosque from the center of Kampala or try the Boda Boda (motorcycle)Tour. At the entrance, there is no gate or similar passage way but as a tourist you will be immediately addressed if you want a guide and led into the reception office.
The tour costs are fairly priced and you can arrange it in advance to avoid long lines. The most impressive part of the tour is the breathtaking view from the minaret of the entire Kampala City. There is a small kiosk at the foot of the mosque where you can drink something cheap (of course, no alcohol). From the mosque, another trip to the Namirembe Cathedral is worth lying on the hill opposite the mosque, either on foot or with the Boda Boda. The mosque is located on the first hill in Old Kampala and the admission is worth it purely for the view.
The Kasubi Tombs used to be an interesting attraction in Kampala, but at the moment the entire cemetery where former Ugandan rulers were buried cannot be seen. Because back n 2010 a fire (which is still unsolved without finding those responsible) destroyed the large wooden hut and thatched roof which was the center of Kasubi Tombs which housed the tombs of Kabakas or kings of Buganda. As the graves were buried several feet underground were not affected but all disappeared outside. Now there are several cranes enclosed within a metal fence works that try to rebuild the old building but now aims for a more concrete look.
There are only about a few small huts, shabby and modern arrangements of metal and masonry where the Kabaka women and an oven fire apparently trying to keep a living despite the ruined atmosphere.
To get there from the center of Kampala you can take a taxi, minibus or the faster and cheaper but more dangerous way to beat the horrible traffic in this city; the motorbike taxi. You can use the trip to visit the Anglican Cathedral and the Great Gaddafi Mosque (called Gaddafi because he financed its construction) that are all in the same area. In the summer of 2013, the largest and most valuable tomb is now being currently restored but remains in operation for tourists to see the preserved parts only.
Almost all the high points of Kampala can be seen from the tower and dome of the Namirembe Kathedrale. It is very large with beautiful stained glass windows and especially placed in a great location on a hill in the area of Namirembe. It is worth touring the area around the cathedral to spot Kampala at your feet. On Sunday, attending the religious services is the best time to visit the get pure entertainment and party atmosphere as the sacred church get filled with local devotees and the faithful. The architecture and exterior design is very interesting and nice and the interior is majestic.
The Anglican Church / Cathedral were built more than 30 years ago of Red bricks and looks very imposing. Visiting this church can be combined with a visit to the Gaddafi Mosque that stands on the opposite hill, can be accessed either on foot (direction Shell gas station and up the hill) or with the Boda Boda. From Namirembe Hill you will have an incredibly good view of Kampala. Admission is not required but a donation is further requested.
Uganda Martyrs Shrine
The Christian Martyrs of Uganda are recollected in two destinations that stand close to each other. The first one is maintained by the Catholic Church while the other site is managed by the Anglicans. Both try to recall the slaughter of Christians murdered by the Ugandan rulers in the late 1800s. This occasion in the historical backdrop of the nation was considered so critical that the administration has announced the key date, third of June, as a national occasion to commemorate the event. A huge number of guests make a journey to these destination consistently especially on the commemoration date when the place gets all crowded with guests and devotees.
Right now, the Anglican site is being rehabilitated, so it is simpler to get to the Catholic site where there is an extensive church and loads of open space.
The Uganda Martyrs Shrine is generally referred to as the Namugongo shrine. To better understand its features, it is advisable to hire a guide. You will be amused by the structure and history of the shrine even if you are not a Christian. The most impressive part of the attraction is the serene lake that is located inside the shrine. It is the best place to contemplate and where you can spend quiet moments alone while in a pleasant place in Kampala City.
The Rubaga-Kathedrale is built on a hill that allows a spectacular view of the city of Kampala. It has two tall twin towers can be seen from everywhere in the city. Inside you can visit the side altars and the great central altar in the transept. There are several markets in religious objects outside Sundays when church services are held. You can visit both the Anglican Cathedral and the Grand Mosque as they are situated not too far apart from each other.
It is an imposing cathedral of the Roman Catholic Church located along the Kampala Mengo district on the hill of Lubaga (one of the many hills of Kampala) which is also locally known as the St Mary's Cathedral. Built in the 1930s, it was totally restored for the visit of Pope Paul II in the 80s. There is no admission fee but a donation is compulsory for every visitor. There is a small cafe / restaurant with simple food / drinks (among Muslims in the Gadaffi Mosque but the prices are a bit cheaper). The church also has an adjacent school and hospital.
The Lubiri Palace is an old Royal Palace and torture chambers of General Idi Amin. Officially you cannot visit this palace, unofficially as is often the case in Africa already, but for 10000 UGSH one may enter and take photos on the site, in the palace itself but you may not enter some parts. You can visit the small museum for the king and his family, an old gun and vehicles from the same time, and several interesting buildings established in colonial style and built by the Israeli army ammunition bunker and under Milton Obote and Amin’s authority served as prison and torture area. You can visit for an additional 10000 UGSH (Uganda Shilling) the opposite Parliament from Buganda. The palace is located just outside the center and is not as easy to find as most Ugandans know nothing about it. Before the palace is a beautiful little park. It can be combined with a visit to the Lake of the King which is below the palace that is near the hills of Lubaga and the Rubaga Cathedral.
Since gaining independence from British rule, Uganda had an unsettled history with many changes of government. The traditional kingdoms were abolished in 1967 and the country became a republic. Then, during the 1970s, General Idi Amin ruled Uganda as a dictator for nearly ten years. During this disastrous time, Uganda’s Asian community was expelled, business collapsed, and Amin’s political opponents were murdered. Amin was overthrown by an army of Tanzanians and Ugandan exiles in 1979. Since then a succession of civilian and military governments have worked to unite the country and repair its economy. The palace gives you a peek at the colorful political history of Uganda; do not miss it when you’re in Kampala.
The Uganda Museum in Kampala is a small historic exhibition that has obviously made an effort to present a wide variety of exhibits that can be brought in connection somehow with Uganda. It has a logical structure of each section that somehow one gets the impression of a hodgepodge. Some of it is quite worth seeing and truly entertaining. The museum is quite interesting in itself. It tells much about the hominis and African culture. One of its interesting features is the cars produced by the former dictator and the first treadmill vehicle created by famous car manufacturer, Ford. It holds a variety of information that is fun to deal with in Kampala.
The Independence Monument is a great sculpture and certainly one of the best and most aesthetically beautiful monuments in the streets of Kampala in Uganda. It is located in the city center, along the Nile Avenue. It occupies a small widening of this road as a place that is an important area of the capital. It is next to the gardens of the Sheraton on the outside and you can hardly fail to see it if you move and walk through the center.
It is very modern in its design as it shows a standing female figure holding a child (or her son?) that is showing up while the child keeps his arms stretched toward heaven. While the large figure is wrapped in a kind of bandages from his feet to his chest, the boy is naked. It highlights the great force that follows the enormous sculpture and expressiveness of the artist. It is a nice monument to visit. Many say it is one of the best sculptures in East Africa and a notable landmark of Uganda and Kampala. A visit does not take long and it is interesting to know its history.
Africa Adventure Safari Tours
The famous Africa Adventures Safaris are an absolutely excellent package tour that offers a wide variety of things to do while exploring the jungles of the Kampala. It is considered as one of the most reliable safari tour and adventure in the city with costs that are not advantageous. The tour operators (Olive, Douglas, and Joseph) have laid out a perfect trail and program and tour of the wildlife habitat that is interspersed with funny anecdotes, funny jokes, and good food. Waking up and seeing the mountain gorillas is an amazing and unforgettable experience in Kampala. Package safari tours are the most practical option than venturing into the wild on your own. If you’re in Kampala, the Africa Adventure Safari tour is a must.
If you want to spend your holidays in Kampala, it is advisable to read a lot about its history and plan the best time to go by checking on their latest weather situation and if there are any travel advisories regarding a visit to the city. Once you get there you will realize that the pearl of Africa is worth spending time and effort with and not everything you read on the papers about its being politically unstable and being a bit chaotic in the downtown center bear any semblance of truth whatsoever. In fact a holiday in Kampala is way out different from the usual tourist routes you can ever find in Africa.