Amidst the embrace of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, Kampala emerges as Uganda’s vibrant capital city—a thriving hub of culture, commerce, and history. Skyscrapers punctuate the skyline, juxtaposed with red-tiled villas and lush trees that adorn the rolling hills. Within this urban enclave, the Uganda Museum stands as a testament to the nation’s tribal heritage, an anthology of artifacts that echoes the stories of generations past. Nearby, Mengo Hill cradles the Lubiri Palace, a regal seat that once belonged to the Buganda Kingdom.
Nestled among seven rolling hills, Kampala reveals its multifaceted allure, with each hill offering a unique perspective of the city’s captivating chaos. These hills are steeped in history and offer a variety of attractions that can captivate visitors for days on end. Here are our foremost recommendations to help you navigate this vibrant cityscape.
The Uganda National Cultural Centre, affectionately known as the National Theatre, boasts a dynamic lineup of live music, film screenings, dance performances, and dramatic productions within its auditorium. Beyond the stage, bars, restaurants, and captivating outdoor events, including jam sessions, drumming circles, and comedy nights, beckon visitors to revel in artistic brilliance.
Step into the halls of democracy at the Parliament of Uganda, where the public is invited to tour this grand edifice or observe parliamentary proceedings from Tuesday to Thursday, 2 to 4 pm. The dress code is to be respected, a valid identification card is essential, and a visit to the public relations department will secure your entry into the inner workings of Uganda’s political arena.
The Kasubi Royal Tombs, a UNESCO-listed site, serve as the final resting place for the monarchs and members of the Buganda Kingdom. The site exudes historical significance, standing as a tribute to the legacy of the Kingdom. A stroll through the Kasubi Tombs unveils an enchanting rural village setting, complete with the iconic grass-thatched hut that once served as Kabaka Mutesa I’s palace before transforming into a revered burial ground.
Kampala’s tapestry is embellished with vibrant crafts markets, affectionately dubbed craft villages. These vibrant marketplaces offer a kaleidoscope of crafts, from prints and baskets to paintings and jewelry. Engage with the artists themselves, witness their creative process, and even commission a personalized masterpiece to commemorate your visit.
Delve into the annals of East Africa’s history at the Uganda Museum, established in 1908 as the oldest of its kind in the region. The museum houses cultural and natural historical exhibitions, capturing Uganda’s rich heritage. Within its walls, traditional musical instruments come alive, inviting visitors to create melodies that resonate with the spirit of the past.
Kampala’s dining scene is a tapestry of flavors, where local foods take center stage. Premium restaurants present a unique dining experience rooted in Ugandan cuisine. With fresh ingredients, skilled technique, and a touch of authenticity, these establishments serve up dishes that are both delectable and visually appealing—a true feast for the senses.
Kampala’s arts and gallery scene flourishes with captivating pieces that reflect the city’s artistic soul. Talented artists showcase their eccentric and impressive creations, spanning art, paintings, crafts, and prints. Each piece is an embodiment of the artist’s vision, offering a chance to bring a slice of Ugandan creativity home.
To truly embrace Kampala’s spirit, hop on a boda boda—a motorbike taxi that whisks you through the city’s myriad corners. Traverse hills and alleys, gaining access to panoramic viewpoints that unveil the city’s ever-changing tapestry. Boda bodas provide a thrilling ride, born from a cross-border origin and named “bado boda” as they crossed from Uganda’s border into Kenya—a fast and convenient escape from the bustling traffic.
Wandegeya Market, nestled within Kampala’s educational district, pulses with youthful energy. This vibrant space hosts boutiques, salons, fresh produce stalls, and even offices. Here, the legendary Rolex and TV Chicken reign supreme—street food delights that combine omelets, tomatoes, grilled chicken, and an array of vegetables. Wandegeya beckons, promising an encounter with Kampala’s culinary essence.
Bulange, the administrative heart of the Buganda Kingdom, offers a glimpse into the Kingdom’s rich history. A grass-thatched building, where parliamentary sessions once convened under trees, now stands as a testament to tradition and culture. As you explore this historic site, immerse yourself in the captivating narrative of the Buganda people.
As you chart your course through the multifaceted cityscape of Kampala, Uganda, Trek Africa Expeditions stands ready to guide you. Discover the plethora of things to do around Kampala, each offering a unique gateway into the heart of this captivating metropolis.