Uganda’s -The Capital City
Kampala (population: 1.5 m people) is a dynamic and engaging city, with few of the hassles of other capitals in the region. It’s safe to walk around virtually everywhere in the daytime and many of the city’s leafy hills have pleasant restaurants with a surprisingly diverse selection of cuisines.
This is a city full of stark contrasts. From the impossibly chaotic jam of central Kampala, with streets packed with shoppers, hawkers, and mind-boggling bus stations, one can easily head up Nakasero Hill with broad tree-lined streets, expensive hotels, and foreign embassies. Below are the most visited interesting places of Kampala.
The huge thatched-roof palace is of great significance to the Buganda kingdom.
The UNESCO World Heritage-listed site was tragically destroyed in an arson attack in 2010, but reconstruction has recently begun (this time with more fire-resistant fibers).
The four most recent kings in the lineage are buried here, and as per tradition, the families of their widows have constructed their homes in the compound surrounding. Interesting guided tours are available.
Uganda National Museum:
Considered one of the best museums in East Africa as much for its contents as for the building design, there’s plenty here to hold your interest for an afternoon.
In addition to the collections covering archaeology, ethnography, geology, and natural history, there is an interactive display of traditional musical instruments and even an old Model T Ford.
A number of different tribal huts has been constructed in the back garden which can, of course, be toured as well.
Once rumor got around that a man named Owino had staked out a small spot under the eaves of the Nakivubo stadium to sell his wares, many other sellers got the same idea.
Today, hundreds of stalls have been set up offering everything from traditional medicine and second-hand clothing to televisions and hot meals.
Finding your way through the maze of mostly wooden structures can be a challenge, but it is part of the fun!
Kabaka’s Palace in Mengo:
Built in 1922, this former home of the Buganda king has also served as army barracks during the Obote and Amin administrations before becoming a museum.
Though visitors cannot enter the building itself, the guide will give you a good overview of the recent history of the kingdom and the palace grounds including a visit to the armory which was allegedly used by Amin’s henchmen as a torture chamber.
Sitting on a hilltop surrounded by expansive and well-kept gardens, this temple represents the center of the Bahia religion on the African continent.
It is worth a visit both to learn about the history of the Bahai as well as to get away from the hustle and bustle of Kampala.
Bring a packed lunch and enjoy the peace and relative quiet.
Old Kampala Mosque:
The prominent National Mosque was begun by Idi Amin in 1972 and finished in 2007 by Colonel Gadaffi with the assistance of Moroccan and Middle Eastern craftsmen. G
Guided tours take visitors through the main payer hall and up to the top of the minaret for commanding views of the surrounding city.
Female visitors must cover shoulders and legs (shawls are available for hire) and no visits allowed during Friday prayers.
You can visit the Botanical gardens located on 40 lakeside hectares (98 acres), the Entebbe Botanical Garden is an excellent place to relax and observe nature.
Visitors are given the chance to see a wide variety of flora endemic to Uganda and other tropical climates.
Bird watchers will marvel at the sounds and sights of so many species. And several monkey families also call the garden home. This is a lovely place to spend a few hours or even enjoy a picnic on the peaceful grounds.
Uganda Wildlife Education Center:
Set on the shores of Lake Victoria this former zoo boasts of a wide variety of indigenous wildlife housed in natural settings.
Lions, rhinos, giraffes, birds, and many more are spread out over a large area with beautiful walkways.
Entrance fees go to support the maintenance of the center as well as animal conservation efforts throughout the country.
A small restaurant serves simple local dishes.
Uganda Reptile Village:
African rock python, three-horned chameleon, and forest cobra are just a few of the many species of the fascinating reptiles you can find at the Uganda Reptile Village on the edge of a village just north of Entebbe.
Founded and run by a local boat captain with a vision, the “snake park” makes for a fun and educational visit.