10 Places to visit while on Kampala city tour
10 Places to visit while on Kampala city tour: Kampala and the nehoburing towns have got quit unque attractions that may be of substative interest to visitors and tourist, that from time to time flock the country.
- The Uganda National Museum
The National Museum is the oldest and biggest museum in Uganda and is located on the Northern part of Kampala Kitante hill plot 5 Kira road near Mulago hospital away from the city. The museum enriches you with Uganda’s traditional and cultural beauty, ethnological and natural – historical background; all these are exhibited inside the museum. Visiting the Uganda Museum is like getting to understand Uganda as a country within just a few hours spent inside the museum. For researchers, Makerere University’s Albert Cook Library, The Institute of Teachers education, the Cabinet Office and the Uganda Polytechnic Kyambogo provided the most specialized collection about Uganda. The Museum is open from Monday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm excluding international and local public holidays. You can do the tour on your own or be provided a guide who will provide more details about the features at an extra cost for a guide. Entry to a Uganda Museum is at a cost not more than USD 15 and taking pictures is also charged separately.
- Gadaffi Mosque, Old Kampala
Visiting Gadaffi Mosque in Uganda is one of those most interesting city tour activity to experience while on your visit to Uganda mainly because the mosque brags the best view of all of Kampala capital city from the top of its minaret. The mosque itself is also a remarkable building and visitors are allowed to walk around and take pictures as accepted by the mosque authorities. Gadaffi mosque became popular after its renovation by the former Libyan leader/dictator Colonel Gadaffi and it has since become Kampala’s largest mosque and a tourist attraction. Entrance fees in the mosque are 10,000 UGX. Women are only accepted inside the mosque wearing the Moslem attire however a headscarf and sarong to cover up are provided in case one is not dressed appropriately. A local guide at the site is always available to take you around and payments are made.
- Mengo Kabaka’s Palace and Amin’s Torture Chambers
The word and tittle “Kabaka” means “king” in English and it is addressed to the king of Buganda one of the strongest kingdoms in Uganda. The Kabaka’s palace is the historic seat of the Buganda king which is located on one of the 7 hills of Kampala city that is Mengo hill and it is positioned exactly one mile up from the Buganda parliament locally known as “Bulange”. Currently the palace is not the King’s residence and it’s unoccupied given the horrific roles it took during the rules of Idi Amin and president Obote. The president then of Uganda President Obote operated his killings in this very palace and a lot of people lost their lives. President Amin also built his torture chamber at the palace area which saw a lot of murder of over 300 people, Amin did not have mercy on any on who objected him or anyone stronger and smarter than him as evidenced by the authentic messages of desperation written on the walls in human excrement and blood remain steins on the walls, if found guilty, you would be tortured to death. This torture chamber still exists and while you can go in the palace, you are also able to see the torture chambers itself. Entry fees to this site is 20,000 UGX including a site guide to take you around palace and the traumatic yet an important awareness of the torture chambers under Presidents Amin and Obote regimes
- Bahai Temple
Bahai temple is one of a kind on the African continent and certainly worth to visit while on a Uganda Safari. It is located outside Kampala city on Kikaya Hill off the Gayaza road one the other side of the northern bypass. The Bahai faith is a religion that seeks to unite all races on idea that human rights are a priority in teaching the true values of humanity and given that background of the Bahai faith, the construction of the temple was accepted in Uganda. Uganda’s Bahai temple is one of the only nine existing temples in the whole world including; Chile, Germany, India, Australia, Cambodia, Panama, USA, and Samoa. The beauty about the temple attracts visitors at the site as the temple is surrounded by beautiful grounds offering good views of the area and the gardens can also a perfect panic spot for relaxation. It is also a great place for bird watching for bird lovers. It is free to access the Bahai temple and for those interested in prayers, Sunday services are always held.
- Rubaga Cathdral
The Rubaga Cathedral church also called St. Mary’s Cathedral is the oldest and the only home of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kampala. The Cathedral is located on one of Kampala’s 7 hills that is Rubaga hill, so expect great views of Kampala city. The Rubaga cathedral claims a memorial of the first African Catholic Bishop martyred (Killed) for the cause of bringing Catholicism to Buganda and is the current headquarters of the Catholic Church in Uganda. Entrance is free although voluntary contributions are welcome. The cathedral also shares an interesting history with Buganda kingdom, information that will be shared on your visit while on a Uganda tour by your site guide. It is recorded that Kabaka Mutese 1, the 30th King of Buganda maintained the Lubaga hill palace however after the fire destroying the palace he moved to Mengo hill. Later, his son Kabaka Mwanga the second, donated that very land to the French Catholic missionaries to set up a nascent church. The church houses the remains of the African Catholic bishop – the late Archibishop Joseph Kiwanka. For prayers, the church is open and masses are held every Sunday.
- Namirembe Catherdral
Namirembe Cathedral also known as St. Paul Cathedral is Uganda’s oldest cathedral built on of the 7 hills of Kampala city making the Cathedral one of the greatest sites for viewing across Kampala city. It’s the most beautiful Christian cathedral constructed in red bricks. The Cathedral is interesting to visit given its interesting history between Buganda kingdom and Christianity. The graveyard and remains of Bishop Hannington who was murdered and the cooks who constructed the hospital still exist in this cathedral. Visitors interested in theology or worship, Sunday services are available. Visitors are not allowed to take pictures at the church, donations are accepted and you need a guide to be able to access the cathedral.
- Craft Markets
Uganda is not really a home for crafts because most of her craft materials are imported from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya however some incredible art and crafts are made in Uganda. Visitors interested in taking souvenirs to decorate your house or a gift to a family member/friend or getting a Christmas, Uganda art and craft will best suit your taste of craft. Some of the arts and crafts include portraits of features and artworks, stone and wooden sculptures, Jewellery, African wear fabrics to mention a few. These craft markets exist in most parts of Kampala city including the largest being the Buganda road African market that is open daily, from Entebbe there are also several craft markets like the opposite Victoria Mall. To get cheaper crafts, the one on Lugard road next to Gadhafi mosque is open every Friday and its worth visiting. Another Friday craft market called Jukali handicraft village is found in Nsambya off Gabba road. All these will offer a touch of the typical African experience back in your country.
- Owino Market
Owino market is famous for its second-hand clothing and is certainly the largest market in Uganda and it takes part of the old Kampala taxi park in the central Kampala city. It is referred to as a ‘dirty mental chaos’ given the possibility of spending hours inside the congested market with difficulty to find the way out. Owino market is one of a kind place where a person might go with friends and come out alone and mysteriously missing something so you need to mind your valuables or the best way to visit is by not carrying valuables along. However, Owino market is certainly a place to experience and appreciate the daily hustle of some Ugandans.
- Lake Victoria
Obviously it is not right to visit Uganda and fail to check out Africa’s largest fresh water lake and definitely the source of River Nile flowing to the Mediterranean Sea where it pours its waters. Lake Victoria and River Nile are shared by several countries but everything about it starts in Uganda. The best way to experience and enjoy Lake Victoria is by taking boat trips on the lake in Kampala from Luzira-Port Bell area where actually both people and cargo boats and ships dock. Some other ways of enjoying Lake Victoria within Kampala area is by visiting Ngamba Island, a home of the orphaned chimpanzees, take a boat cruise to some of the interesting islands for relaxation, visit the beaches on the lake shores, experience fishing activities on the lake at Port bell, Gaba and Ssese islands. Ssese islands also commonly called Kalangala is the best way to experience Lake Victoria while in Kampala; the islands have the best ways of relaxing from the hectic stay in Kampala city. Cassia lodge has the best view of the city and Lake Victoria itself.
- Entebbe Botanical Gardens
The botanical gardens in Entebbe are one of a kind in Uganda and they are located off the Entebbe – Kampala road on Berkeley road. If you are arriving from Entebbe International airport, visiting the botanical gardens can be a stopover on your way to Kampala. The Entebbe botanical gardens is most interesting for relaxation and birdwatching and it is believed to have over 300 plant species and different bird species. The gardens are open and can be accessed by the public 7 days a week from 8 am to 6 pm. Entry to the gardens is about 3,000 Uganda shillings for the local people and 10,000 Uganda shillings for foreigners. There are site guides available at the entry for you to pick on who will provide you with accurate information about the botanical gardens and its inhabitants.