Kampala was originally built on seven hills which include; Old Kampala hill, Mengo hill, Kibuli hill, Namirembe hill, Lubaga hill, Nsambya hill, and Nakasero hill, however due to its size increase, Kampala has increased to more hills than the original seven ones.
Do you want to go for a self drive in Kampala but you are not sure of the most ideal places worthy a visit in Kampala? Well, in this article are some of the best 5 tourist places you should not miss to visit in Kampala during your city tours/self drive:
Uganda National Museum
Why to leave Uganda/Kampala without a glimpse about the natural-historical and traditional life collections of Uganda’s cultural heritage. The Uganda National Museum, a 6 minutes drive from the city centre, is the oldest one in East Africa and among the collections you are guaranteed to see in the museum include: hunting materials, archeology, playable musical instruments, entomology, and weaponry.
The museum provides educational service in form of demonstration lessons, outreach programs, workshops and complimentary services. Using the available specimens, the museum arranges a variety of topical lessons related to the school curriculum. Student tours are conducted around the museum, as well as giving introductory lectures with slides, films, and other aids.
The museum is well equipped with facilities, such as canteen and internet cafe, which offer a variety of traditional foods of Uganda, and gift shops that showcase Uganda’s crafts. In leaving the museum, you will have greatly indulged in Uganda’s cultural heritage and you will go away with great memories.
Namugongo Martyrs Shrines
The Namugongo Martyrs Shrines, located a 30 minutes drive from the city centre, in Namugongo, are the Largest Christian Pilgrimage Destination in the African continent. Over a thousand years back, the by then King of Buganda (Kabaka Mwanga II) ordered for the killing of 32 young Catholic and Anglican men who had refused to abandon their Christianity and as instructed, they were burnt at Namugongo – a township in central Uganda.
These young men are believed to have been burnt on 3rd of June in 1886 and as a routine, every 3rd of June of any particular year Namugongo is always thronged by believers (people) from all parts of the globe as a commemoration of these deceased young souls who died for their much love and faith they had over Christianity.
Visiting these martyrs shrines is of course at its peak on every 3rd of June annually but you can go and visit it at any other day of the year and entry is free for everyone regardless of your religion or country.
Namirembe hill is situated within Kampala city and the hill was said to be a gathering place for peace or war victories, back in the days. The hill is so adventurous and there are many places worthy a visit on the Namirembe hill, including: the Kasubi tombs (the burial grounds to the Buganda deceased four Kings), Saint Paul’s Cathedral Namirembe, and an orphanage known as Sanyu Babies Home (an NGO, Non Government Organization), and many other places. The Bulange Complex which includes Buganda’s parliament building, known as the “Lukiiko”, is also situated on Namirembe Hill, just across from Mengo Hill.
The Mengo Palace on Mengo Hill is connected to the Bulange Complex by a straight road, about a mile long, called the “Kabaka Anjagala Road” (literally, “The King Loves Me”). About halfway, the straight road is intersected by Lubaga Road. There is a roundabout for the use of ordinary travelers.
However, there is a strait-way through the roundabout with a gate. That is for the exclusive use of the Kabaka (Buganda King) when moving between the palace and the parliament building. Tradition forbids the king from going round the roundabout hence he must travel straight when moving between the two locations.
Akayaanja Ka Kabaka (Buganda King’s Lake)
This is the largest man-made lake in Uganda, which was constructed by the 52 clans of the Buganda Kingdom from 1885 -1888 during the reign of Ssekabaka Mwanga II (the by then King of Buganda). The lake is situated in Ndeeba (Kampala) less than 30 minutes drive from the city centre. The Lake is locally known as ‘’Akayaanja ka Kabaka’’, which literally means a small lake for the Buganda King. A visit to this remarkable and historic lake is free of charge for everyone all over the world.
The lake has various amazing things that you will explore including its two islands (islets) – of which one island has a Kabaka’s throne and spears, whereby the throne is where the King (Kabaka) sits when he has come to visit his lake well as the spear is for self protection. The two islets regulate fantastic views and attract a large number of bird species such as egrets, weaver birds, and many other water birds.
Other places of interest
The other places in Kampala worthy a visit during your city tours/self-drive tours include; Bahai temple, Gaddafi mosque, St Balikuddembe market (Owino market), Rubaga Cathedral, Uganda National Cultural Centre, and lots of city skyscrapers such as Pearl of Africa Hotel and the URA House/Building which are believed to be the highest in the city, respectively.