Kampala City as the largest and capital city of the Pearl of Africa situated in the central part of Uganda at 8,451.9km2, Kampala is an economic, political and cultural hub with several hills and Lake Victoria to the south. Kampala is characterized by its diverse topography including hills, wetlands and urban centers neighboring Wakiso, Mukono, Mpigi, Buikwe and Luweero districts and a population of 3,846,00 people. Originally known as Kasozi Ke Empala spread out from the occupied Old Kampala hill. The 7 hills are; Mengo, Rubaga, Namirembe, Makerere, Kololo, Nakasero and Old Kampala, however due to much development going on and growing population, Kampala has now passed 7 hills.

Kampala was initially inhabited by the indigenous Bantu-speaking people and the region was part of the Buganda Kingdom which was one of the most powerful kingdoms in East Africa. Once dominated by swamps and hills, Kampala was a natural breeding ground for Impalas and other members of the Antelope family, the area was ruled by the king and the hills were his hunting grounds. On arrival of the British, the place was renamed ‘The Hill of the Impala’ as it was frequented by Impalas and the blended name become the current Kampala.


Being the center of the Pearl of Africa, Kampala offers a good number of attractions that one starts with before they continue to the outskirts and the countryside. Each attraction offers a different experience as desired by a tourist and the following are the attractions that make Kampala worth a visit;

Uganda National Museum

The largest museum in Uganda and the Oldest in East Africa situated in Kampala founded in 1908. Dedicated to preserving and showcasing Uganda’s rich cultural and natural heritage, it houses a diverse range of collections which include archeological, natural history and ethnographic. Focusing on traditional artifacts, tools, art and clothing from different ethnic groups, prehistoric, historic periods, flora and fauna which also entails geology and wildlife which aims at showing the cultural diversity and historical evolution of Uganda. The museum also plays a role in research and conservation efforts towards the study and preservation of Uganda’s cultural and natural resources.

Independence Monument

A significant landmark in Kampala, commemorating Uganda’s attainment of independence from the British colonial rule on October 9, 1962 and it stands at the heart of the city. The monument shows a man raising a child and breaking free from the chains simultaneously which symbolizes Uganda finally being free and an independent state and a testament to Uganda’s history and journey towards self-governance. It has become symbolic in regards to national unity and pride and the space is public.

Kasubi Tombs

As the burial grounds for the Kings of Buganda and other royal family members, this makes Kasubi Tombs both a spiritual and political site. In December 2001, it become a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated 5km from the center of Kampala, built in the 13th century, it’s one of the 31 royal tombs in the Buganda kingdom. With four Kabaka’s tombs housed there, Kasubi represents the best existing example of the Buganda palace and or burial site. The tombs are a symbol of cultural heritage and are held in high regard as a sacred site and also serve a place of royal worship as rituals and ceremonies related to the Buganda kingdom are held there. Unfortunately in 2010 some of the buildings were destroyed in a fire and as a result was included on the list of World Heritage Sites in danger. Buganda kingdom vowed to rebuild the tombs and the government of Uganda also pledged its assistance though reconstruction started in 2014 funded by the government of Japan. Kasubi bears eloquent views to the cultural traditions of the Buganda Kingdom.

Uganda Martyr’s Shrine Namugongo

Observing the martyrdom of the group of Christian converts who were executed for their faith in the late 19th century, Uganda Martyr’s shrine is the place and it’s situated in Namugongo. A group of 23 Anglicans and 22 Catholics were martyred between 1885 and 1887 during the reign of Kabaka Mwanga ii, the king of Buganda at the time as they refused to renounce their Christian faith. This place was notoriously known as the spot for punishments, imprisonments and execution given by Kabaka Mwanga towards to those who disobeyed him and any of his laws before the group of Christians who were martyred from there. A unique lake at the gardens of Namugongo shrine is believed to have miraculous waters and people visit the lake with faith that diseases and any other issues will be healed by the waters from the lake as there are testimonies of its healing. On site there is also a museum that provides insights into the lives of the martyrs leading to their martyrdom, this all combined makes for a unique experience as one of the attractions Kampala has to offer.

Uganda National Mosque

Also known as the Gaddafi National Mosque, this is one of the largest mosques in Africa both as a religious and architectural landmark in Kampala found at Old Kampala one of the seven hills of Kampala. The construction of the mosque started in 1972 under the newly created Uganda Muslim Supreme Council and there was a halt in 1976 when funds could not be raised. However Mufti Sheik Shaban Ramadhan in 2001 approached the President of Libya Muammar Gaddafi to help and finish the project, something the President accepted and in 2006 construction was renewed and completed in 2007. Once done the mosque was name the Gaddafi Mosque until his death in 2013 when it was renamed as the Uganda National Mosque. The mosque offers breathtaking views of the city, religious and beautiful Islamic embroidery with exquisite architectural elements making it a special place to be.

Bahai Temple

Built over 50years ago, Bahai Temple is a jarringly amazing place also known as The Mashriq I’-Adhkar making it a place for all spiritual people to meet from all over the world and the only one in Africa though there are 7 more around the world situated at Kikaya hill. This temple is charming and delightful in many ways including architectural, flora, history behind it and the views offered making it a hidden treasure. Away from the religious aspect, the temple offers a safe space to relax and have an appealing sense of peace of mind with trees and flora ensuring the beauty and calm of the space around the temple. Construction of the temple was a combined effort of different countries like Belgium, Germany, Britain and Uganda offering different materials to ensure a beautiful and intricate detailing. The bliss offered here makes it a perfect spot for an attraction Kampala is offering.

Ndere Cultural Center

Is a prominent cultural institution located in Kampala and serves as a hub for promoting and preserving the diverse cultural heritage of Uganda and officially, it was opened in 1984 as a home of Uganda pioneering traditional dance group. The center is dedicated to showcasing traditional music, dance, and other aspects of Ugandan culture and also has a unique combination of artistic creativity, colors and materials that make it attract visitors. Ndere has exhibitions that contribute towards the preservation and promotion of the country’s rich cultural heritage, provide information about Uganda’s customs, rituals and traditions, engage with local communities to support cultural initiatives and overall development of cultural awareness. This well maintained environment gives you the positive energy to rest and enjoy what the center has to offer.

Kabaka’s Palace

Buganda is the largest and one of the oldest Kingdoms known in Uganda and holds the capital city of the country. The Kabaka’s palace also known as Lubiri is the official residence of the King situated in Mengo and Buganda Kingdom is considered as the most influential kingdom with cultural and historic significance. The palace reflects a blend of traditional Buganda design and modern elements which showcases the rich cultural heritage with the palace also being an important symbol of the Kingdom’s history and continuity. All cultural events, ceremonies and traditional rituals are carried out at the palace.

These are the attractions Kampala has to offer, and they are very diverse in making with a common goal of cultural heritage first before anything else as there is no better way to appreciate The Pearl of Africa than our beautiful heritage.

Nakasero Market

This is one of the best local markets that Uganda celebrates. This is located at the foot of Nakasero hill. It is famous for selling fresh food items for example watermelons, mangoes, onions, carrots, bananas, cabbages, to mention but a few. Once you visit Kampala this market is a must visit since it will give you an opportunity to interact with locals, you can also decide to buy some fresh vegetables or fruits.

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