places to visit in Kampala (1)
Visiting Kampala is a wonderful experience filled with sights, natural beauty, culture, and hospitality, plus numerous tourist activities that will astonish you before you travel through the rest of the country. PHOTO/COURTESY

The Kasubi tombs, the national museum, Namugongo martyrs shrine, the Gaddafi mosque, and the Baha’i temple are among the top places to visit in Kampala.

Are you interested in learning about the best places to visit during your city tour of Kampala? Kampala is Uganda’s capital and largest city, located 40 kilometres from Entebbe international airport in the country’s central region. 

Kampala is brimming with attractions, natural beauty, culture, and hospitality, as well as numerous tourist activities that will astonish you before you tour the rest of the country. 

Among the top attractions to visit in Kampala on your tour are the Kasubi tombs, the national museum, the Uganda national cultural centre, and numerous religious centres such as the Namugongo martyrs shrine, the Gaddafi mosque, and the Bahai temple. 

Several of these are detailed below;

Kasubi Royal Tombs

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One of Kampala’s top attractions, Kasubi Royal Tombs is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. PHOTO/COURTESY

Kasubi Royal Tombs is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular attractions in Kampala worth a visit. The Kasubi tombs are a resting place for the four Buganda kings and deceased members of the royal family. 

This site is rich in cultural heritage and reflects the Buganda kingdom’s political leadership. Kasubi tombs are located on Kasubi hill, one of Kampala’s seven hills, along Masiro road. 

Before the arrival of foreign settlers, the Buganda kingdom was one of the most powerful in Africa. The Buganda kingdom is one of the few that continue to believe in the afterlife. 

Numerous traditional ceremonies are held here, such as welcoming the moon and consulting the ancestors. 

Practitioners of traditional medicine come to seek the blessings of their forefathers as well as the kabaka (current king) in case he needs to travel outside the country. 

These tombs are looked after by the wives of various kings, particularly the female descendants of long-deceased wives. The four Buganda kabakas buried at Kasubi tombs are as follows:

Mutesa I, Basamula Mwanga II, Kabaka Daudi Chwa II and Fredrick Walugembe Muteesa II.

Kasubi tombs are one of Uganda’s most popular tourist attractions. This location houses a collection of royal artefacts, including traditional musical instruments, weapons, shields, and fetishes, as well as a stuffed lion that Mutesa 1 once kept as a pet. 

Visitors to Kasubi’s royal tombs are screened at the gate and issued a ticket after providing their information for a fee of five dollars. This fee contributes to the upkeep of the tombs. 

National Mosque of Uganda

Gaddafi National Mosque

The Uganda National Mosque, also known as the Gaddafi mosque, is located in the city’s Old Kampala neighbourhood on Kampala hill. It is the seat of the Islamic faith in Uganda and the Uganda Muslim supreme council. 

The Islamic Moslem council looks after all people at all levels and is in charge of Uganda’s Islamic affairs. The Gaddafi mosque is named after Libya’s late dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi

The mosque occupies a 12-acre plot of land and is regarded as one of the largest in Africa. It has the world’s tallest minaret, from which the muezzin summons Muslims to prayer.

The Uganda National mosque can seat 15,000 worshippers inside, 1,100 in the gallery, and an additional 3,500 on the terrace. This mosque is open to people from all walks of life and can be visited at any time of year. 

It attracts a large number of visitors from diverse backgrounds, countries, and cultures who come to explore the magnificent interior and minaret. 

Visitors pay an entrance fee and are provided with a guide to help them navigate the grounds. 

If you wish to visit, you must wear a long-sleeved shirt and long trousers, as men and women are expected to cover their heads and wear clothing that covers their bodies. 

These can be distributed at the entrance and returned at the conclusion of the visit.

Bahai Temple

baha'i temple uganda

Also known as Mashriq I’-Adhakar, it is Africa’s first Bahai temple and one of the world’s nine Bahai temples. 

The Bahai faith is an all-inclusive religion that seeks to bring together people of all races and religions, including Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, and Muslims, as well as non-believers. 

It is based on the premise that teaching true human values requires a strong emphasis on human rights. 

Bahai temple is an excellent location for tourist visits, family tours, picnics, and those seeking a quiet peaceful time away from city noise.

Uganda Martyrs Shrine Namugongo

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The shrine is located in the Kira municipality’s Wakiso district, just off the Kampala-Jinja highway. FILE PHOTO

Uganda Martyrs Shrine Namugongo is another good place to visit in Kampala. This shrine is located off the Kampala-Jinja highway in the Kira municipality’s Wakiso district. 

It is the site of the burning of 32 young men on 3rd June 1886 by order of Kabaka Mwanga 11 (king). 

A basilica with a structural design was built here, inspired by the African hut that was built on the site where Charles Lwanga was slowly burned to death. 

The Basilica’s exterior features 22 copper pillars representing the 22 martyrs, while the circular interior accommodates up to 2,000 people.

The shrine is surrounded by a lush green compound with numerous trees that leads to a man-made pond that served as a cleansing ground for executioners in the past. 

Pope Paul VI canonized 22 Catholic martyrs during the 1964 Vatican conference, including Kizito, Balikudembe, Charles Lwanga, and Sserunkuma. 

Every 3rd of June, Uganda commemorates martyrs’ day, and a large number of people from East Africa and other countries come to honour the lives of these devout men of God. Some people choose to walk in memory of the martyrs’ suffering.

Uganda Museum

The Uganda museum began in 1908 at Lugard’s fort on Kampala’s old Kampala Hill. It is Uganda’s largest and oldest museum. 

Since 1941, the Uganda museum has been located on Kitante hill along Kira road. It exhibits and displays traditional life, cultural heritage, natural history, and treasures in Uganda. 

Get ready to find musical instruments, traditional weapons, and hunting equipment, among other things. The museum is divided into sections that showcase the country’s culture and natural resources.

Kabaka’s Palace (Lubiri Mengo)

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In the Kingdom of Buganda, the Mengo palace is the administrative capital. PHOTO/TRIPADVISOR

Kabaka is a title bestowed upon the King of Buganda. The Buganda kingdom is Uganda’s largest and one of its oldest kingdoms. 

It is home to Uganda’s capital city, Kampala. 

Kabaka’s palace, also known as olubiri (palace), is the King of Buganda’s official residence. Mengo palace serves as the administrative capital of the kingdom of Buganda.

Kabaka’s palace contains numerous attractions and educational opportunities, most notably the Idd Amin torture chambers, which were built by former President Idd Amin during his 1971 reign. 

Mengo also has a fireplace (ekyoto) at the entrance that burns continuously throughout the day, indicating that the Kabaka continues to reign; a Rolls Royce, one of the Kabaka’s greatest possessions, is also housed in this palace.

Ndere Cultural Centre

The Ndere Centre is a cultural hub that opened in 2003. It features excellent music and cultural dances, as well as affordable lodging, a restaurant, party venues, and an information centre. 

The Ndere Centre also houses the Uganda Development Theater Association’s (UDTA) headquarters and hosts culture-filled nights featuring performances and dances by the Ndere troop.

The performances showcase the diverse cultures and instruments of Uganda’s over 56 tribes. These cultural nights take place every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday at a fee. 

These funds are used to educate and train some troop members, so your presence is extremely beneficial. Ndere troop takes its name from the word endere, which translates as the flute. 

This instrument is used in almost all cultures and is used to bring people together regardless of their cultural differences. 

Visitors interested in cultural dance and drama should include this attraction on their evening tour of Kampala’s best places to visit.

Buganda Craft Village

Buganda Craft Village is one of the best places to visit in Kampala. It is located along Buganda road. It is the craft market that showcases an array of cultural artefacts that define Uganda. 

It’s one of the best places to purchase African textiles (kitenge), sculptures, paintings, sandals, drums, wooden animals, dresses, mats, bags, bracelets, musical instruments, barkcloth, spears, weapons such as spears, Christmas cards made of local items such as banana leaves, and souvenirs.

Visit this craft market to purchase souvenirs to take home as a reminder of Ugandan culture and your tour. 

All of these items are handmade, and purchasing some of them has a significant impact on the lives of indigenous people.

Nakasero Market

Nakasero market is located in the heart of Kampala, at the foothills of Nakasero hill, one of the city’s seven hills, approximately 50 kilometres off Entebbe road. 

It is the city’s oldest and largest market, having begun in 1895 in the Kabaka of Buganda’s Lubiri (palace) before being relocated to its current location in 1927. 

The Nakasero market is managed by the association of Nakasero market vendors and traders.

While Nakasero market is best known for its fresh fruits, it also sells a variety of other food items and products such as electronics, souvenirs, shoes, textiles, spices, vegetables, fruits, fish, chicken, and meat. 

The Nakasero market is divided into two sections: indoors and outdoors. It employs a large number of Ugandans from across the country. 

The markets supply food to the majority of Kampala’s restaurants, and the produce is fresh from Ugandan farms.

Nakasero market is open all year and is one of the best places in Kampala to visit. It is easily accessible to everyone due to its central location in Kampala. 

Apart from this market, other markets in Kampala include Kalerwe market, Wandegeya market, Owino market (St Balikudembe market), and Nakawa market.