Previously known as the Gaddafi Mosque, the Uganda National Mosque is the second largest mosque in Africa after Morocco’s King Hassan Mosque.
A day trip to Kampala is incomplete without a visit to the Uganda National Mosque (the Gaddafi Mosque). This religious site, located on Old Kampala hill, is ideal for those seeking an understanding of Islam and art.
The Uganda National Mosque, formerly called the Gaddafi Mosque, is East Africa’s largest mosque, and the continent’s second most important mosque after the King Hassan Mosque in Morocco.
The Gaddafi Mosque is located approximately 2 kilometres from the city centre on Old Kampala hill, one of the city’s seven hills.
Rubaga, Old Kampala, Mulago, Kololo, Kibuli, Namirembe, and Makerere are among the seven hills, each with a distinct religious, cultural, or colonial significance.
The construction of the Gaddafi mosque began in 1972, following the formation of the Uganda Muslim supreme council by the Ugandan government.
At the time, the mosque was known as the Old Kampala national mosque.
Later in 1976, construction came to a halt until 2001, when Ugandan Mufti Sheik Shaban Ramadhan Mubajje approached late Libyan President Colonel Muammar Gaddafi during his visit to Uganda, requesting his assistance in completing the construction, which he accepted.
Construction began in 2006 and was completed and officially opened in 2007, at which point the mosque was renamed after Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
In 2013, following his death, the mosque was renamed Uganda National Mosque.
The Gadaffi mosque is situated on more than ten acres of land and can accommodate up to 200,000 worshipers. It has a seating capacity of 15000 in the hall, 1100 in the gallery, and 3500 in the terrace.
The Gaddafi mosque features a massive hall that is the largest in East, Central, and Sub-Saharan Africa. For Friday prayers and Islamic festivals, the hall is always open.
Additionally, the Gaddafi mosque features a standard conference hall, a library, a hospital, a University College, and a radio station.
The Gaddafi mosque is a unique skyscraper in comparison to other mosques in Uganda because it houses the headquarters of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council on the ground floor, which is the national faith-based umbrella organization for all Muslims in Uganda.
The Muslim Supreme Council is responsible for reaching out to all people at all levels and overseeing Islamic affairs in the country, and a mosque on the upper floor.
Additionally, this mosque houses the residence and office of the mosque’s head, a Ugandan mufti. Mufti is a term that refers to a religious leader who provides legal advice and interprets Sharia or Islamic law.
The Uganda National Mosque is a modern, colourful structure with magnificent art features throughout. It was designed with influences from Europe, the Arab world, and Africa.
The mosque is open to all visitors regardless of their background, political affiliation, culture, or nationality, making it an excellent stop during your safari in Kampala.
It is one of the largest mosques in Africa, boasting the continent’s tallest minaret, from which the muezzin summons Muslims to prayer.
The Gaddafi mosque receives a large number of visitors from various countries, backgrounds, and cultures, among others, because it was commissioned as a gift to Uganda’s Muslims, and visitors want to see if this is true, as well as explore the mosque’s beautiful interior and minaret.
Visitors to the mosque must first pay the entrance fee at the office desk and will then be escorted around by a trained English-speaking guide.
Women visitors are supposed to wear loose-fitting clothing that covers their waist and ankles, whereas men should wear long-sleeved trousers and shirts.
If women do not have the appropriate clothing to veil their heads, veils are provided and must be returned after the tour.
The guides take you on a tour of the mosque, showing you the impressive art and architectural designs in the main hall and the minaret, which offers spectacular views of Kampala’s seven hills and the city.
Within the mosque, the carpets are exquisitely crafted and extremely comfortable.
At the front is a beautifully crafted Mihrab, a semi-circular position outside the pulpit that represents the qiblah, the direction of Mecca, from which the imam reads Koran messages to Muslim worshipers.
The Mihrab is crafted with expensive and durable wood fittings, and the Koran is kept in a glass structure on the right side of the Mihrab. Massive chandeliers and branched ornamental light fixtures hang from the ceiling.
Moslem visitors are welcome at any time in the Gaddafi mosque, while non-Muslims must pay an entrance fee before entering.
Best time to visit the Gaddafi Mosque?
The Gaddafi mosque is open all year, but the best time to visit is during the dry season in June, July, August, December, January, and February, when there is less or no rain in Kampala than during the wet season in March to May and September to November.
Accommodation in Kampala
Kampala city has a variety of luxury, midrange, and budget accommodation options for visitors on a Kampala tour, including:
- Tal cottages
- Jubilee cottages
- Forest cottages
- Sadrina comfort cottages
- Ravens Hotel
- KK Trust hotel
- Sunrise hotel
- Maric hotel
- Hotel Barbados International
- Red chilli hideaway hotel, among others.
All of the above offer comfortable beds, complimentary Wi-Fi, international and local cuisine, great views of Kampala city, security, and a cool and conducive environment
Gaddafi mosque is a fantastic destination that is strategically located to provide stunning views from all angles while in Kampala.
It is also designed in magnificent architectural structures, making it a must-visit destination that offers fantastic experiences during your safari tour in Kampala city.
Last but not least, for an all-inclusive tour experience in Uganda, view our guide to The Bahai Temple, White water rafting, Bungee Jumping, Visit Mount Muhabura, Gorillas in Uganda, Ssese Islands, Cost of Gorilla Trekking, Murchison Falls National Park, Lake Mburo National Park and Semuliki National Park.