Learn about religious tourism in Uganda, top sites for pilgrimage tours and more about faith tourism in Uganda. Get expert help in planning a pilgrimage to Uganda. Religious tourism Uganda is a concept in its infancy. Ugandans are very religious people and the country’s motto affirms it as it states; “For God and My Country”. The country is religiously diverse with Christianity and Islam being the most widely professed religions. According to the 2002 population census, 85.2% of the population was Christian while 12.1 % of the population adhered to Islam (mainly Sunni). The northern and west Nile regions were dominated by Roman Catholics, and Iganga District in the east of Uganda had the highest percentage of Muslims.

Given the above information, it is no mistake that Uganda has hosted 3 different Popes on apostolic journeys – the last and most recent papal visit being that of Pope Francis on 27th of November 2015. So if you are considering faith tourism in Uganda – Africa, Uganda safaris should be your ultimate choice and you can be sure to achieve your objectives. Uganda has more than 50 canonized martyrs and you can travel the entire world to find a higher number!

When talking of religious tourism and pilgrimage to Uganda, a lot of attention is given to Christianity but believers of different faiths can find a place to practice their faith in Uganda and here are the different key areas to visit.

Places to visit – Pilgrimage and Apostolic tours

Munyonyo Martyrs Shrine

The Munyonyo catholic martyrs shrine has been less publicized in the past until the recent Pope’s visit but one can argue that this is perhaps the most important one because this where martyrdom in Uganda started. This is where the first martyrs were killed on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga II on 26th May 1886 and were canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1964. It is the same place where in 1886 Saint Charles Lwanga – leader of Christian community in Uganda baptized St. Kizito, St. Mbaga, St. Gyavira and St. Muggaga.

Martyrs of Munyonyo Shrine; There are 3 martyrs of Munyonyo shrine and these are;

St. Andrew Kaggwa – saint of teachers and catechists
St. Denis Ssebugwawo – saint of musicians and choirs
St. Pontian Ngondwe – saint of Army and military personnel

With the recent developments, Munyonyo Church will be among the tallest buildings in the country standing at 45 meters, with a crucifix at 18 metres, and will accommodate 1050 inside and 500 Christians outside.

Need a Prayer? Make a pilgrimage to Munyonyo in Kampala! Land sanctified by the blood of Uganda Martyrs

Namugongo Martyrs Shrine

Namugongo martyrs shrine is the most widely known place of martyrdom and pilgrimage in Uganda. Every 3rd of June each year, thousands of people trek from all corners of the country including international pilgrimages and visit Namugongo to celebrate the Uganda martyrs day. There are 2 shrines; the Catholic shrine and the Anglican shrine but the former is more prominent given that Catholicism has the highest number of followers. Many faithful have visited Namugongo and have given testimonies to having their problems solved and desires achieved through prayer and intercession of the Uganda martyrs so if you are a believer, you should be thinking about a visit to Namugongo for intercession!

There are 24 Catholic Uganda Martyrs. The 22 martyrs were killed between 1885 and 1887 by Kabaka (King) Mwanga of Buganda in the South of Uganda; 13 of the martyrs were burnt to death at Namugongo. The twenty-two martyrs were beatified by Pope Benedict XV on 6th June 1920 and canonized by Pope Paul VI on 18th October 1964. The other 2 martyrs were speared to death in Paimol, Gulu in the North of Uganda in October 1918. They were beatified by Pope John Paul II on 20th October 2002 creating religious tourism Uganda.

There are also Anglican martyrs that were killed by King Mwanga between 1885 and 1887 together with the Catholic martyrs making up religious tourism. While paying tribute to the 22 Catholic martyrs Pope Paul IV also paid tribute to the Anglican martyrs in his homily at the canonisation. “And we do not wish to forget”, he said,”the others who, belonging to the Anglican confession, met death for the name of Christ.”

All these martyrs are honoured on 3rd June every year.

Below is a list of the catholic martyrs that rest at Namugongo martyrs shrine.
Charles Lwanga
Mattias Mulumba K
Noe Mawaggali
Joseph M Balikuddembe
Athanasius Bazzekuketta
Gonzaga Gonza
Luke Banabakintu
James Buzaalilyawo
Ambrose Kibuuka
Anatoli Kiriggwajjo
Achilles Kiwanuka
Mbaga Tuzinde
Mukasa Kiriwawanvu
Adolphus Mukasa Ludigo
Bruno Sserunkuuma
Jean-Marie Muzeeyi
Jildo Irwa
Daudi Okello

Other places of faith tourism and religious tourism Uganda Include;

Baha’i temple; The Bahá’í Faith in Uganda started to grow in 1951 and four years later there were 500 Bahá’ís in 80 localities, including 13 Bahá’í Local Spiritual Assemblies, representing 30 tribes, and had dispatched 9 pioneers to other African locations. Following the reign of Idi Amin when the Bahá’í Faith was banned and the murder of Bahá’í Hand of the Cause Enoch Olinga and his family, the community continues to grow though estimates of the population range widely from 19,000 to 105,000 and the community’s involvements have included diverse efforts to promote the welfare of the Ugandan people. The Association of Religion Data Archives (relying on World Christian Encyclopedia) estimated about 78500.

Gadaffi Mosque; the Uganda National Mosque and another key destination for religious tourism Uganda is a mosque located at Kampala Hill in the Old Kampala area of Kampala, Uganda. Completed in 2006, it seats up to 15,000 worshipers and can hold another 1,100 in the gallery, while the terrace will cater for another 3,500. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya commissioned the mosque as a gift to Uganda, and for the benefit of the Muslim population. Uganda has many mosques but this one is a skyscraper mosque.

The completed mosque was opened officially in June 2007 under the name Gaddafi National Mosque, and housed the head offices of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council. It was renamed “Uganda National Mosque” in 2013 following the death of Colonel Gaddafi as the new Libyan administration was “reluctant to rehabilitate the mosque under the old name.