National Mosque of Uganda

10 Must Visit places for tourists in Kampala

Travel

If you are planning to visit Kampala, this article is for you! in this article we list down 10 places you must see while in Kampala. If you don’t see these places while in Kampala, you probably did not visit Kampala.  Please note that we are not counting down these places in order of importance but rather we have arranged these place starting from 1 to 10 based on the frequency of visitors.

1. Gahdafi National Mosque,

Located on old Kampala hill, this mosque was first established by Uganda’s former President Idi Amin Dada in 1972. Since then, this mosque has been around without much national iconic status until 2002 when the Uganda Muslim supreme council with support for the Late Libyan President Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi started the reconstruction of the giant national Mosque.

Construction works were finalized in 2006 and later officially opened in June 2007 by the Late Libyan president Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi (RIP). The mosque was also named after him. There are lots of things to see inside the mosque but also most importantly the 80 meter tall tower at the mosque gives visitors a 360 degree view of Kampala city.

Tourists can visit this place from 8:00 AM EAT to 6:00 PM EAT. The visitor will be required to pay a modest tour fee, upon which they receive a tour guide, a head vale if you do not have one and a scuff to wrap around the waist for women if you do not have one still. The vale and scuff are taken back after the tour. A local tour company, All Seasons Adventures currently manages tour activities at the mosque.

2. Kasubi Royal Tombs

Located a few kilometers from Kampala city  along Kampala- Hoima road in a city suburb of Kasubi. The tombs are considered a sacred burial grounds for 4 Buganda kings  and other members of the Baganda royal family. This site remains an important spiritual and political site for Buganda Kingdom, as well as an important exhibition of traditional architecture. The Kasubi tombs are one of the few UNESCO world heritage sites in Africa. The tombs are also considered to be the place where the Kabaka and  Buganda’s complex cultural hierarchy frequently carry out important centuries-old Ganda rituals according to factking.com

Masiro, Kasubi tombs
Kasubi royal tombs

3. Kabaka’s Palace also known as the Lubiri

The Lubiri is the official palace of the king of Buganda, it is located in Mengo a Kampala suburb. The Lubiri occupies an estimated 260 acres of land. However, the land may not be your point of interest. The Lubiri has a number of historical artifacts, gardens and torture chambers.

Lubiri, The Kabakas Palace
The front Section of the Lubiri

After Idi Amin seized power in 1971, he abolished kingdoms and transformed the Lubiri into a military barracks with one of the most powerful armories in the country. The dictator later established one of the country’s most notorious torture chamber of that time. It is estimated that between 200,000 to 500,000 victims who were brought to this chamber never made it out alive. Inscriptions of last words of cry and brief letters from the victims to relatives can still be seen on the torture chamber walls.

4. Uganda Martyrs Catholic Shrine Namugongo

This is where 13 of the 22 Ugandan Catholic martyrs were burnt to death by the Kabaka of Buganda them Mwanga II. Yearly on the 3rd of June Pilgrims from from all over the world throng this place to pay tribute to the martyrs. There are lots of things to see. The stunting architecture of Namugongo catholic cathedral along side monuments of the martyrs and what is believed to be blessed water can be found at the shrine.

Namugongo Catholic shrine
An aerial view of Namugongo Catholic shrine

It is advisable to visit this amazing site during regular days of the year if you need to have the best experience as the place can be jammed with pilgrims during the usual pilgrimage program that incidentally is the time many people opt to visit this place.

5.Independence Monument

This monument to Uganda independence is located on Speak road on the upper scale Kampala and has stood in this isolated part of Kampala for the past 57 years. This monument features a man unwrapping & holding a child to the sky.

The Independence Monument in Uganda
The Independence monument along Speak road in upper scale Kampala

To many this monument symbolizes Uganda sovereignty after attaining self governance from the British while others are reminded of Uganda’s struggles to attain independence. No matter what it may be, you should visit the place and I believe your tour guide will give you the authentic information regarding this amazing monument.

6.Uganda Museum

The Uganda Museum is located along Kira road. It displays and exhibits ethnological, natural-historical and traditional life collections of Uganda’s cultural heritage. It was founded in 1908, after Governor George Wilson called for “all articles of interest” on Uganda to be procured.

Uganda Museum
The Uganda Museum along Kira road

I am quite sure you will find some ancient stuff there that will excite you, however I always advise visitors not to expect it to be like a museum in Eastern Europe or some sort of America. But am sure you will appreciate the little you will see because you may never see it anywhere else

7.Bahai Temple

Located on Kikaya Hill in Kyebando off Gayaza Road, the temple was completed in 1961. The temple opens between 9:00am to 5:00pm with a Sunday service at 10:30 am. This is the only one of its kind on the African continent and definitely worth a visit.The beautiful grounds offers a wide range of photographic opportunities however one is asked to respect the Temple interior and not to take photos within.While the grounds has various spots to sit, relax and meditate, one is kindly ask not to leave any litter behind.

Bahai temple in Kampala
The Bahai temple on Kikaya hill

8.Hindu Temple

Located conveniently in the city center adjacent to Nakasero market, The
temple is replica of “SOMNATH TEMPLE” in Gujarat constructed in late
50s and inaugurated in 1961. Only one of it’s kind, the temple holds a status
of “HERITAGE PROPERTY OF HISTORICAL SITE” by Kampala City Council
Authority and is run by Shree Sanatan Dharma Mandal a Spiritual Organisation in
Uganda

The foundation stone of this splendid temple was laid in 1954 and completed in 1961 prior to Uganda’s Independence. This spectacular structure was build without any iron bars or steel of any nature right from the foundation up to its dorm over four floors high & first Shikha Baddha Temple outside India. This temple has been announced as Heritage Property.

9. Owino Market

If you visit Kampala and not visit Owino market, i am not quite sure that you will be sure to talk about Kampala experiences authentically. Located right in the center of Kampala in Nakivubo along Namirembe road. This is considered Kampala’s biggest market where you can almost buy everything, you mention it Owino has it from green vegetables to steel products, electronics, traditional medicine and so forth. Owino will give you an overall ideas of crops and other animal products that are produced all round Uganda.

Owino Market in the center of Kampala

The other amazing thing about Owino is the population of the people, you will probably not see any busy and congested market place like Owino in quite a number of African countries. Right next to Owino is Uganda’s black smith and iron smelters. This guys can make anything using local smelting from Kitchen utensils, Knifes, engine parts you name it.

10. Kivulu and Katwe slums

I prefer you having an all round image of Kampala. If you visited The National mosque and probably the upper scale Kampala where the independence monument is located. Yes you have seen Kampala but you have not yet seen the balance between the upper scale Kampala and the true spirit of ghetto life. Kivula and katwe are Kampala’s most popular slums. here you will see people of all sorts, those picking scraps to make a living and a couple of street kids who either have no homes and relatives but found a place to survive.
While moving around this place you will repeatedly hear the word “Muzungu” (if you of western origin) do not be offended, this is the way white people are refereed to in most parts of Africa. The Usage of this word is not racist in anyway.

Katwe slum is a location away from other locations

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