Kampala is the capital of Uganda and the largest urban center. This city sits on top of seven hill and it spreads to the shores of Lake Victoria.
The name Kampala originates from the many impalas that were lived in this place during the 19th century which is present day old Kampala hill.
Great emphasis was placed on seven hills which today we say are the major hills on which Kampala is perched: Mulago, Kololo/Nakasero, Kibuli, Rubaga, (Old) Kampala, Namirembe (Mengo), and Makerere.
Three of the hills are divided amongst the four major religions of the country: Namirembe for the Anglicans, Rubaga for the Catholics, and Kibuli and old Kampala for the Muslims. Kololo/Nakasero is reserved for public administration as well as the preferred residence for the employees.
The hill also houses the State house for the president of the republic of Uganda. Whereas Makerere was reserved for the highest institution of learning and the most prestigious university in East Africa and Mulago the epitome of public health (the national referral hospital).
Old Kampala south west of the major city center was once the camp of Captain Fredrick lugard in 1889. The Gaddafi mosques or also known as the Old Kampala mosque stands in this place now.
Next to the old Kampala his is the Namirembe hill. On this hill sits the St Paul’s Cathedral for the Anglican Faithfull and is also their headquarters for the entire country.
It is the oldest cathedral in Uganda dating back to 1885. The hill also has a hospital that was founded by sir Albert cook who is also buried on this hill along with other significant clergies, a school and offices for the Anglican church.
Also close by is the Rubaga hill on which the St Mary’s Cathedral or Rubaga cathedral sits. The hill used to be the palace of one of the Buganda kings, it abandoned because of the fire that broke out and remained abandoned for some time until Kabaka Mwanga 11 in 1889 who gave it to the catholic white fathers who were seeking to establish a church.
The hill further accommodated number of catholic related programs and projects including the pope Paul memorial hotel, schools a hospital, offices for different missions and projects.
North of Namirembe is Uganda’s oldest and East African’s most prestigious university: Makerere University built on Makerere hill.
Mulago hill comes after Makerere hill and here the national referral hospital sits.
Kibuli hill is the last on the list and on it the first Muslim preacher settled in the 19th century, now the Kibuli mosque sits on the hill.
There are many ways to tour and explore Uganda, and its capital, Kampala. You can do a bicycle safari, take a vehicle ride or you do a walk tour. Exploring Kampala on foot is one of the best ways to enjoy the city.
A walk tour in and around Kampala is an intimate and interactive safari activity. It is also very exciting and educational.
Some of the things you will see on a walking tour around Kampala city include the old taxi park, Owino market, local crafts, vegetable and food markets, the Kabaka’s palace, the Idi Amin torture chambers, the Kasubi tombs, the Kabaka’s lake(It is a man-made lake by the Kabaka himself), the Hindu temple, Bahai temple, the Gadaffi mosque, Uganda Martyrs shine, the Catholic and Anglican churches on different hills, the independence monument and so many other landmarks.
You could also enjoy some of Uganda’s interesting fast foods, such as the Rolex, it’s quite heavy and you will enjoy it or you could visit one of the many restaurants lining the streets of Kampala.
Places to Visit in Kampala
Uganda Museum offers a comprehensive cultural collection of Uganda. It is on record for having the largest collection of ethnographic materials in the whole of Africa.
A tour of Uganda Museum on your Kampala city tour will expose you to other departments like the Natural History of Uganda, Ethnography, Musicology, and archeology and stone age sites in Uganda.
This tour will take you to Mengo palace (Lubiri) which is the ceremonial palace of the King of Buganda and the Kabaka’s Lake (King’s Lake) locally referred to as Akayanja ka Kabaka.
It is a man-made lake that was aimed at connecting the palace with Lake Victoria since the King was tired of walking from his palace to go to Lake Victoria for swimming and canoeing.
After you can also visit the Kasubi Tombs. It is the burial place for the kings of Buganda. Other burial sites are wamala tombs and if one has time can connect the Buganda story by visiting Nagalabi in Buddo which is the official coronation site of Buganda
Cathedrals, Mosques and Temples
Uganda is a country of many religious denominations. Each cathedral is strategically located on a hill and these include, Namirembe cathedral, Rubaga Cathedral, Nsambya among others.
Old Kampala and Kibuli Mosques have rich history attached to them. You are also free to visit Bahia temple if time allows.
Kampala being the capital of Uganda, has a lot of unexplored history. With its hospitable people and a variety of food to select from including local and foreign dishes, the seven hills that make up this city, Kampala is a must visit.
As a tour expert, i would recommend a visit of to Kampala before any other safari to any in East Africa. Contact Friendly Gorillas Safari for or information