Kampala City lies within Buganda Kingdom in the Central part of Uganda. The area neighbors Wakiso district to the south, west and north while the municipality of Kira lies in the east. The ultimate Kampala city is headed by a mayor and divided into four administrative divisions that is, Kampala Central Division, Kawempe, Nakawa, Lubaga and Makindye division. The UBOS population review of 2011 put the population in Kampala at a figure of 1,659,600 people. The geographical coordinates of the district are; 00 19N, 32 35E that gives a warm weather in the city throughout the year hence favorable for everyone, this is because of its closeness to the Equator. Also note that it has two rainy seasons as on stars from March to May and the other from August to December.
Origin of the name Kampala
The history or origin of Kampala, is like that of many other cities in the world, it can be wrapped in both folklore and historical facts. According to folklore, swamps and hills dominated much of the area where it presently stands. This made it an ideal habitat for Impala and other members of the antelope family. The animals grazed on the slopes of the hills and came down to the swamps for water. The palace of the Kabaka (king) of Buganda, located on the landscape rich in Impala herds. The king thus turned it into his hunting grounds. Folklore merged with history when the British Empire builders arrived at the end of the 19th century. “Impala” was the English name for that particular antelope family. So the British referred to the area as the “hill of the Impala”, which the Baganda translated into Luganda as “kasozi k’empala” and eventually “kampala”. Kasozi means hill. So whenever the Kabaka left the palace to go hunting his favorite game, royal courtiers would say “the Kabaka has gone to Kampala to hunt”, thus the name was born. The tag “the hill of the Impala”, however, specifically referred to the hill on which colonial victory, Captain Fredrick Lugard, of the Imperial British East African Company, established base in 1890. Now known as Old Kampala, this hill would be the administrative headquarters of the company (and Uganda) until 1894 when the administrative headquarters of the British Protectorate were transferred to Entebbe. In 1962 upon attainment of independence, it regained its status as the capital of Uganda. From a small hamlet occupying 19 square kilometers, it had spread to seven hills by the time of independence, earning the tag “city of seven hills”. The original seven hills are: Mengo, Rubaga, Namirembe, Makerere, Kololo, Nakasero, and Kampala (Old Kampala). Today, greater Kampala stands on at least 21 hills. We take you through the prominent hills that form the modern day capital and their signature to the city’s political and socio-economic life, starting with the original seven. The second class of Kampala hills include Mengo, Old Kampala, Lubaga, Kisaasi, Kiwatule, Kamwokya, Mulago, Makerere, Nakulabye, Makindye, Kabalagala, Kananga, Kibuli, Nateete, Busega, Lubya, Mutundwe, Kasubi, Wandegeya, Wakaliga, Ndeeba, Kibuye, Katwe, Nsambya, Najjanankumbi, Namasuba, Najjeera, Kalerwe, Namungoona, Namuwongo, Kisugu, Bukasa, Bwayise, Kawempe, Luzira, Nakawa and many more.
Kindly read through the tourist sites below and share with us the destination you would to visit, there after we shall send you our travel plan and quotation. In case you’re interested in having a city walk our meeting point is city square or at Nic Building near workers’ house (NSSF HEAD OFFICE) where our offices are located, for a city ride tour i.e. Motorcycle tour or touring in a Car our guide can pick you from your area of resident.
Top Kampala City Sites To Visit
The Independence Monument
This historical feature is one of the rewarding sights in Kampala city. Rising magnificently to the height of 6 meters, the monument commemorates the attainment of Independence in 1962. It is situated at the heart of the city of Kampala amidst Grand Imperial Hotel, Sheraton Hotel and Standard Chartered
This is located amidst Kampala Serena Hotel and the Parliamentary gardens and was put up in commemoration of the Common Wealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2007. It was uncovered by the Queen of England and it is so far the most expensive monument in Uganda with a total cost of 150 million Uganda Shillings. The works of the stride monument were conducted by a team of eleven professional sculptors under the command of Prof. George Kyeyune. The wife husband and son aluminum assemblage moving forward depicts that common wealth countries are developing together as a family.
The Edward Muteesa II Monument
This is positioned at the Speke road and Nile Avenue Junction in close proximity to the independence monument. This monument was put up to commemorate Sir Edward Mutesa II the first president of the independent Uganda and the 35th King of the Kingdom of Buganda for his work towards the struggle for independence in Uganda.The facilitation for this feature was footed by the Roofing Limited, Bank of Uganda and Mr. Gordon Wavammuno – a local entrepreneur. This was unveiled by the Kabaka of Ronald Muwenda mutebi in 2007.
World War Memorial Monument
This is the oldest monument in Kampala city. Built in 1945, the world war monument commemorates the lives of Ugandans that were lost during the world war II while fighting alongside the British and the western democrats against the Rome Berlin Tokyo Axis from 1939 – 1945. The monument is 5feet and positioned in the constitutional square.
The Centenary Monument
This is positioned in the famous Centenary Park along Jinja road in close proximity to Hotel Africana. It commemorates the centenary of the Kampala City Council – the governing body of Kampala City. This feature was designed by a Makerere University Artist, Sylvia Katende and it stretches up to 6 feet.
The Statue of Leadership
This is situated in front of the Amber House on Kampala road commemorating the introduction of electricity in Kampala. The sculpture features Sir Apollo Kaggwa the Prime Minister of Buganda Kingdom from 1890 – 1926. He is celebrated for having advocated for the extension of electricity and purified water to the Kingdom of Buganda amidst critics from the local Baganda who thought he was wasting time on unnecessary things instead of requesting for gold and guns. The 7 feet monument was facilitated by Electricity body with a hand from National Water and was uncovered in 2002 by the then Minister of Energy Hon. Saida Bbumba.
The Presidents’ Palace
This country has been ruled by a number of presidents all over nine of the as listed below;
- Sir Edward Luwangula Walugembe Muteesa II,
- Apollo Milton Obote I
- Field Marshall Idi Amin Dada
- Yusuf Kironde Lule
- Godfrey Lukongwa Binaisa
- Apollo Milton Obote II
- Tito Okello Lutwa
- The current Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
This will introduce you to the king’s palace and bulange parliament. You will either have a drive or a walk to the palace that was built in 1922 and went through series of changes including being turned into an Army barracks and a horrific torture chamber during the reign of President Idd Amin. Not forgetting the dark underground prison and torture section still exists in the palace up to today. You have an encounter with an ancient traditional fire that has been burning since the inception of the Buganda Kingdom least the King is dead and the representation of various clans of Buganda each with its respective role in the Kingdom. Listening to the themed interpretation along with visual impressions is not only a leisure encounter but also a rich learning opportunity while in Uganda. Directly opposite the Lubiri palace gate is the gate for the Bulange Parliament where the King and his Ministers sit to deliberate the issues concerning the Kingdom of Buganda. Its magnificent architecture would definitely leave it a daring tour in this Kampala city.
National Museum of Uganda is the oldest in East Africa and perhaps the best rooted in an ethnographic collection first exhibited in 1905 in a small Greek temple near Lugard fort on Hill of Old Kampala. The Museum was officially established in the year of 1908 and it was initially known by the local Baganda as Enyumba Ya Mayembe (House of fetishes) and its exhibits were believed to bestow supernatural powers on the colonial government. The museum was shifted in 1954 to its present site on Kiira road. For those with an interest on pre-colonial African history, a lot of amazing exhibits on the Nakayima tree, Ntusi, BigobyaMugyenyi as well as other aspects of the history of Uganda. The more rewarding is magnificent collection of traditional musical instruments from all over the continent and the ethnographic gallery which houses a variety of exhibits relating to traditional Ugandan life styles. In the back yard there are vehicles of historic people and the huts of all traditional tribes of Uganda.
Makerere University the highest institution of learning that dates back to 1922 as a technical college is one of the remarkable tours to undertake while in Kampala. The mighty University has gone through series of transformation from a humble technical school to the University of East Africa and to the current Makerere University boasting with its prizes as the mighty Ivory tower in the south of South Sahara, North of Limpompo, West of Indian Ocean and the East of Equatorial jungle rising above others as the epitome of knowledge, the summit of wisdom and the pinnacle of Intellectualism. During the walk in the University, you are exposed to its first buildings, the current magnificent structures including the Main building, the range of monuments that have got historical and educational significance, the impressive flora and fauna, bird watching hiking to the hill top offering impressive sceneries of Kampala city, visiting the biggest Library in the whole of East Africa and interacting with the students of this mighty tower.
Kampala City Religious Sites
Kampala and its tight neighbor Wakiso district posse’s a number of religious center. These houses of worship are commonly in the central areas, mostly known by the locals and International community. They attract both local and international tourists due to the amazing stories attached to these places, architecture, nice viewing to the city all this will make your trip memorable.
The Namirembe Cathedral Church
The Anglican now known as Church of Uganda cathedral perched on top of Namirembe hill, roughly 1.5km west of the city center off Natete Road is one of the most impressive colonial constructions in Kampala. Visiting this site, you’ll have superb view over the city center and suburbs. The name Namirembe is a Luganda word meaning the “of peace” thus the hill was traditionally regarded as the hill of peace. The original cathedral was completed in 1903 and consecrated a year later was built entirely by Buganda artisans under the supervision of a British missionary and could hold a congregation of 3,000 people. It was described contemporaneously by W E Hoyle as a remarkable building with walls of sun dried bricks and brick columns supporting the thatch roof containing 120 tons of thatch and a ceiling covered with washed reeds of elephant grass. This building was destroyed by lightening in 1910 and the current cathedral, is a conservative structure of red bricks built to vast dimensions and graced by some attractive stained glass windows was completed in 1919.The Namirembe cathedral also referred to as St Paul’s Church is the biggest Anglican Church in Uganda with magnificent architecture and great interior decor. At its back yard has a cemetery containing the grave of Bishop Hannington, who lost his dear life in 1885 at place close to Jinja including the grave of Sir Albert cook a pioneering medical doctor who arrived in Kampala in 1896. Brass memorial plagues on the wall testify to the often short lives of Europeans in those early days.
The Rubaga cathedral
The cathedral of Rubaga is among the famous worship and architectural places in the country of Uganda. Positioned on the summit of Rubaga hill, the cathedral reckons as one of the high ranking religious and touristic fascinators in the city of Kampala. The site is a significant center in terms of religious, education, hospitality and health to the people of Kampala. Also referred to as St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral, it is over 3 Km from the city center and can be accessed by a drive, or a walk. Built in an ancient Roman architecture, it was put up in the early 20th Century by the earliest missionaries. The splendid piers, great color paintings of catholic saints featured in its well carved windows and the fabric mosaics combine to make Rubaga cathedral an amazing wonder in the middle of Kampala city. Adjacent to Rubaga cathedral is one of the five mother hospitals of Uganda – Rubaga hospital. The cathedral back yard has a cemetery where various historical religious personalities lay in rest including the first African Catholic Bishop Joseph Kiwanuka, first African Catholic cardinal, Cardinal Nsubuga Emmanuel to mention but a few. The hill derives its name from Luganda word Okubaga literally meaning to plan, the hill was used by the Buganda Military generals to plan their wars thus the name.The tale has it that the place was a palace of the 19th King of Buganda, Kabaka Nsobya from 1724 to 1734. In the late 1800s, the fire tragedy befell the place forcing people to abandon it. Upon the arrival of missionaries, the then Kabaka (king) of Buganda Kabaka (king) Mwanga offered the land to them which culminated in the establishment of the cathedral from1914 – 1925. The summit of Rubaga offers great scenic views of Kampala city.
The holy Gadhafi Mosque
Old Kampala hill which rises gently to the immediate west of the city center less than five minutes’ walk from the new taxi park was the site of the original fort and capital founded by Captain Lugard in 1890. Enclosed with in the oval road of Old Kampala, the prominence is sprinkled with limited reasonable colonial era buildings of Asian design now generally rather run down though some have been outstandingly refurbished. The Old Kampala area today is most distinguished as the focal point for Kampala’s Islamic Community and the sight of an imposing new mosque. This was initiated by President Idi Amin in the 1970s but the project stalled after the dictator’s overthrow and has only recently been completed funded by Libyan leader late Colonel Gadhafi hence originating the mosque name. The structure lay dormant as an ugly concrete monolith with a lofty minaret overlooking the city of Kampala. In its back yard lied the old museum which is one of the Kampala’s oldest surviving buildings sadly being slowly dismantled by the grip of a stranger fig tree. When the work on the mosque restarted after a 25 year delay the building was demolished and a replica with the same vaguely Arcadian frontage erected at a more prominent location beside Old Kampala Road. The ground work for the mosque began again in 2004 when the old unfinished establishment was smashed. The new mosque was formally opened and dedicated for worship in 2008 by the late Colonel Gaddafi himself in an event that was attended by several African heads of state. The popularity of Gaddafi National Mosque can be attributed to several factors with the first reason being the fame of late Colonel Gaddafi himself who left a landmark on international politics so whenever people both locals and foreigners hear that he did such a thing as constructing a National Mosque for Muslim community in Uganda, the travelers usually come to have a look at the second largest mosque in Africa. The Mosque has interesting features that can attract both local and international tourists one of them are as ; It’s the Minaret or the prayer tower for Muslims.The mosque’s amazing interior that couldn’t miss to see. The mosque has a tower that can give you a clear view of Kampala city.
The Baha’i temple
It’s located at the hill of Kikaya after branching off from Gayaza road; Baha’i temple is the first of its stature in Africa. The place brags for its lush green environment in the whole of Kampala depicted in its extended grounds that form a perfect picnic ground. This temple stretches allover 8.5 hectares of land in the out skirts of Kampala city, the foundation stone of the Baha’i temple was laid on 26 January1958 with the architectural guidance of Charles Mason Remey in close collaboration with Shonghi Effendi in design development. This existed after the arrival of the Baha’i faith in Uganda in 1951. At the time of its establishment, the Baha’i temple was the highest structure in east Africa over 38 m tall. Its seating capacity is over 800 people on 515 Sq. of floor space. Like most of the faith in Uganda apart from Islam. The Baha’i temple functioning was disrupted by Idi Amin who banned the Baha’i faith from the country together with 26 other denominations and its activities stopped on 16 September 1977. However, the building remained until it was later re-opened for worship after the overthrow of Idi Amin by the Ugandan exiles with the help of Tanzanian forces. The architectural design of the Baha’i temple blends with the landscape. The shape features the traditional African huts while its spreading eaves form a round porch on the lowermost outward level of the structure, ensuring its protection from periodical excesses of rains, winds, heat and dust prone to the area.
The Namugongo Martyrs shrine
This shrine is located 12 km from Kampala Central along Jinja Road, Namugongo an established place of execution in traditional Buganda, is reminisced nowadays because of cold blood that was shed there on 3rd June 1886 at the order of KabakaMwanga. In the last week of May, unknown number of Baganda men and men suspected or known to have been baptized were detained near Mengo and forced to march by some accounts naked while others were dragged on their back to the executing place - Namugongo, after which they were kept in captivity for a couple of days while a large pyre was being prepared. While on the morning of 3rd June, those prisoners who had not already done so were given one final opportunity to renounce their recently assumed belief and no one of these coverts that accepted. Meanwhile one of the Martyrs by the names of Charles Lwanga who was the head of the catholic contingent was hacked apart and thrown into the fire there and then. On the following day, lasting converts were bound in reed mats and thrown on to the pyre and burnt alive. Over 26 reminisced sufferers of the holocaust were all baptized and thus known to one; however contemporary reports indicate that more than 30 people were thrown into the fire. In a year 1920, Pope Benedict XV paved the way for future canonization by declaring blessed the 13 known catholic martyrs at Namugongo together with another nine catholic victims of separate killings in May 1886. The 22 catholic martyrs were finalized canonized during Vatican II conference by Pope Paul VI on 18 October 1964. Pope Paul VI paid a visit to Uganda – the first reigning pope to set foot in Sub Saharan Africa to make pilgrimage at Namugongo in July 1969, where he instructed that a shrine and a church be built on the spot where Lwanga was executed. Namugongo Martyrs Church devoted in 1975 and subsequently named basilica church, is unusual and impressive building, metallic and modernistic in form however grounded on the traditional Kasiisira style. The site was visited by Archbishop Robert Runcie of Canterbury in 1984 and in 1993 by Pope John Paul II. The execution of these converts on 3rd June still stands in the hearts of the people and is regarded as a public holiday in Uganda and is marked worldwide on the church calendar in honor of Uganda martyrs.
Kampala Slum Tours
Kampala has got slum areas with some groups of people living below the standard of living. While on your tour to Uganda you’ll visit these slums and explore the lifestyles these residents. Here is Kampala city top and famous slums, The Katanga slum, it’s close to center of the city in Wandegeya suburb. The Bwaise slum, which mostly known for being affected by floods, Nakulabye - Kiwunya, kisenyi, kamwokya and kibuli you can trek these slums by either on foot or drive.
Kampala City Historical markets
This will expose you to the different types of local markets and what are sold; food stuffs, clothes, not forgetting their mode of display, the selling character of Ugandans and the business profusion in general. This trip will take you to the following where you will be received by the friendly Ugandans.
- Balikuddembe Market commonly known as Owino Market its one of the most exciting that you couldn’t miss to visit.
- Nakasero Market the oldest and most known for selling fresh fruit here you will get a chance to see most of this country.
- Kiseka Market the town of spare parts when you ask a Ugandan issues concerning spare parts kiseka market will be the first point to come into their mind.
- Usafi Markets in the down town, while rising up to have another touch with the modern.
- Wandegeya Market.
- Nakulabye Market, Kalerwe Market and Nakawa Market that will give a true experience Uganda’s suburb and by the end of this trip will have unforgettable experience.
Kampala city that does not sleep, it has many places (pubs, clubs and bars) to hang out as ultimate wild safaris we have decided to hit on one of the top places that you can experience on your city night life.
Ndere Troupe: Center located in Kisasi, Ntinda Kampala is one of the great entertainment centers in Kampala City, Specializing in cultural performances and their traditional jewelry which makes them typical Africans.
Kampala night Clubs: Kampala city has a range of Night dance clubs and bars like; Capital pub,Guvnor, Club Rouge, Comedy nights, club ambiance not forgetting Cinemas and Casinos.
NOTE: you can have this Kampala tour while on your Uganda Wildlife safari tour or Gorilla trekking safari tour
TOUR AND SAFARI TRANSPORT
STANDARD: 4X4 SAFARI VAN
Our standard mode of transport is by road and we use 4×4 Safari Vans customized for game viewing and photography. Each safari van comes with a professionally trained driver guide and fuel for the whole safari. Our Safari vans have viewing hatches and each client is entitled to a window seat. Our Vans can take up to eight people. We also have 4×4 Super Customs very comfortable and stable on the road. These carry up to 5 people with their luggage. We also have 4×4 RAV 4 for a group of two people
UPGRADE: 4X4 LUXURY SAFARI LANDCRUISER
We have luxury latest Land cruisers each driven by professionally trained driver guides and fuel. They have pop up roofs for proper game viewing and photography. They come with a small fridge for cooling your drinking water while on safari (which is always included while IN THE VEHICLE). They have inverters for charging small gadgets such as your smart phones and cameras. They can seat five to a maximum of seven people and each client is guaranteed of a window seat.