Best Places To Visit In Kampala Uganda In 2023

In this article, we will look at the best places to visit in Kampala Uganda. Kampala the Capital city of Uganda is the best and cheapest East African capital city to live in, according to the Quality of Life Survey in the world’s 230 top cities that was conducted by Mercer.

Within the rolling seven hills on which it sits, Kampala has many charms, each offering a unique history, a point of view of the beautiful chaos, and several attractions to keep you occupied for a few days. Here are our top picks

Best Things To Do In Kampala Uganda In 2023

1. Visit Kasubi Tombs of Buganda Kings

The only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Kampala and one of four in Uganda. For that reason alone, the Kasubi Tombs must be included on this list of the best things to do in Kampala. They are important relics of the Buganda Kingdom, Uganda’s largest. They are culturally and spiritually significant in Kampala’s history. The Kasubi Tombs are located on Kasubi Hill, northwest of Kampala, and are the final resting place of the Buganda Kingdom’s royal family. There are 31 other tombs scattered throughout the Buganda Kingdom, but the Kasubi Tombs are unique in that four Buganda Kings are buried here: Mutesa I, Mwanga II, David Chwa II, and Sir Edward Mutesa II.

The main structure, Muzibu Azaala Mpanga, is entirely made of organic materials and serves as the site’s focal point. Built-in 1882 as a palace for the Kabakas of Buganda, it was later converted into royal burial grounds in 1884. The site is a one-of-a-kind example of traditional architecture and has been described as one of the most remarkable buildings made of vegetal materials in Sub-Saharan Africa.

2. Uganda Museum

Opened in 1908, Uganda Museum is among the oldest museums in East Africa. Its five galleries provide an overview of the region’s rich history, from the prehistoric age to the present. Highlights include its collection of folk instruments, its Idi Amin exhibition, and the outdoor village that showcases traditional architecture from across the country.

3. Mengo Palace (Lubiri)

Built-in 1885, Mengo Palace (Lubiri) is the historic official residence of the Buganda king. Following a 1966 military coup, the palace’s subterranean storage tunnels were used to incarcerate political prisoners. Although the palace’s classic facade has been restored, chilling reminders of the Idi Amin dictatorship remain on the grounds.

4. Uganda National Mosque

Located on Kampala Hill, the Uganda National Mosque caters to the country’s significant Muslim population and has a capacity of 35,000 worshippers. Completed in 2006, the temple was originally known as the Gaddafi National Mosque and serves as the headquarters for Islam in Uganda. Its 166-foot (65-meter) minaret provides panoramic views of the city.

5. Namugongo Martyrs shrine

On June 3, 1886, in the town of Namugongo just northeast of Kampala, 26 young men were burned to death for their refusal to their Anglican and Catholic faiths. The Uganda Martyrs’ Shrine, also called the Namugongo Martyrs’ Shrine, was built on the site to commemorate the lives lost and was consecrated by Pope Paul VI in 1969. The church, built in the shape of a typical Baganda hut, features 22 copper pillars representing each of the 22 Catholic men, all of whom were formally canonized in 1964, a first in modern Africa. On June 3 each year, Catholic pilgrims from throughout Uganda visit the Uganda Martyrs’ Shrine to pay their respects and attend mass.

6. Nakasero Market

Nakasero Market has served as one of Kampala’s main trade spots since 1895. The vibrant and often chaotic market offers insight into local life and serves as a stark contrast to the embassies and elite hotels that surround it. Fresh produce can be purchased in the large outdoor section, while the indoor portion specialises in clothes, machinery, and souvenirs.

7. Owino Market

This chaotic multipurpose market is located in downtown Kampala. Owino Market is one of the largest markets in Uganda and receives over 20,000 people daily. It is famous for its beautiful African print fabrics, second-hand clothes, shoes, bags, food, electronics, vegetables, herbs, medicines and anything else you can think of

8. Makerere University

Makerere University is the most prestigious university in the country, the place where former prime ministers and other well-known people from Uganda and East Africa have studied. In 1922, Makerere University was established as the first institution of higher learning in Uganda and the whole of Africa. It’s located on Makerere Hill which is about 3km from Kampala city centre.
It is worth strolling around the University grounds. Apart from some great architecture, the university offers a serene environment with big green meadows to relax and hang out. Almost like a park feeling. Try to talk to some of the students and get a little inside of their views about living in Kampala. I am sure you will also spot some wildlife like monkeys and some huge and colourful birds.

9. Bahai Temple

There are only 11 remaining Baha’i temples in the world and this is the only one in Africa. Uganda has thousands of people who practice the Baha’i faith. A unique religion that you may have never heard of before. The faith teaches the highest levels of humanity and is believed to have originated from Iran/Persia. The Baha’i Temple is a beautiful yet peculiar structure built on Kikaya Hill. The location is very peaceful, soothing, and serene with great views.

10. Going wild in Kampala’s nightlife

When visiting Kampala, one of the main attractions is the city’s nightlife. Kampala is known as the “Las Vegas of Africa” because it comes alive at night. Almost every street corner in the city has a bar or some kind of local hangout that serves drinks.

11. East African Craft Village

A very touristy location, but one that should not be overlooked on this list of places to visit and on your Kampala itinerary. The East African Craft Village is where you can buy Ugandan souvenirs. There is no need to consider what to buy in Uganda because everything is available here. It is specifically designed for tourists, so expect to bargain or pay a little more than usual for some very colourful Uganda souvenirs.

12. Bulange Mengo

Bulange Mengo, the administrative headquarters of the Buganda kingdom, is located on Namirembe hill in Kampala, just a few metres away from Kabaka’s palace. It was built in 1955, fully funded by the Buganda kingdom, based on a design brought by Ssekabaka Mutesa II, who had admired a similar structure in Scotland while in exile. The Buganda parliament used to meet under trees, but around the turn of the century, a brick parliament was built under the leadership of then Prime Minister Apollo Kagwa, but as the kingdom’s government expanded, Bulange had to be built to accommodate the growing number.

Bulange is home to the Buganda kingdom’s parliament, the Lukiiko hall. The Kabaka’s office, Queen Nabagereka’s office, Prime Minister Katikiro’s office, Buganda administration offices, a Kingdom TV station called Central Broadcasting Station (CBS), and the art gallery centre. Bulange Mengo is an excellent place to learn about the history of the Buganda kingdom, the various Buganda clans, and their cultural norms and beliefs. All 56 Buganda clans have their symbols represented on this building, and the meaning of these symbols will be explained to you by a guide. The architectural design of the building is spectacular and worth touring, making it one of the best places to visit in Kampala.

13. Independence Monument

The independence monument was built during Uganda’s first independence celebrations on October 9, 1962, and was funded by the British Colonial government. The monument is located on Speke Road and Nile Avenue in Kampala, Uganda, bordering the fences of the Sheraton Hotel Gardens, overlooking the Grand Imperial Hotel to the right and across from the Standard Chartered Bank. The monument depicts a man unwrapping a child and raising it to the sky, implying that Uganda is now free of colonial oppression.

14. Ndere Cultural Centre

According to the most recent UN report in 2019, Uganda, known as the Pearl of Africa, has the world’s greatest cultural diversity. Ndere Cultural Centre was established in 1986 to promote cultural activities in Uganda, including performing arts, music, dance, storytelling, and poetry, all of which were translated into happiness and love during this wonderful performance.

Today, Ndere Centre and its troupes represent over 60 groups of people and over 30 indigenous languages (a summary of Uganda Culture and Tribes), but English and Kiswahili are the official languages spoken by the majority of people.

15. Namirembe Cathedral

This is Uganda’s oldest cathedral, which has been located on Namirembe hill since March 1890. It is also known as Saint Paul’s Cathedral Namirembe, and it serves as the provincial cathedral of the Church of Uganda as well as the diocesan cathedral for the Namirembe Diocese. The Ugandan church was relocated to Nakasero in All Saints Church and then to Namirembe Hill, where it now stands.

The Ugandan church has been rebuilt several times, and the fifth structure, which can accommodate over 10,000 people, stands today on Namirembe hill. As a result of various circumstances such as swampy areas, strong winds, termites, and fire, it has been built five times.

16. Parliament of Uganda

The Ugandan parliament is open to the public. From Tuesday to Thursday, from 2 pm to 4 pm, visitors can either tour the impressive building or watch the parliamentarians in action. Make sure you’re properly attired, bring a valid identification card, and make an appointment with the public relations department in room 114.

17. Asante Art Gallery

The art gallery scene in Kampala is thriving, with many talented artists displaying impressive and eccentric works of art, paintings, crafts, prints, and more. Support an artist by purchasing something for your home or a loved one. Asante Art Gallery focuses on promoting and exhibiting artists, making it an ideal location for artists and art enthusiasts.

18. Wandegeya Market

Wandegeya Market is in Kampala’s school district. This market has boutiques, salons, fresh produce, and offices. It also houses the legendary Rolex and TV Chicken, two of Kampala’s most popular street foods, which include an omelette, raw tomatoes, and grilled chicken mixed with fries and an assortment of vegetables such as cabbages, tomatoes, carrots, and green peppers. If you go to Wandegeya for anything, it should be for the Rolex or the TV Chicken, or both.

19. Rubaga Cathedral (Saint Mary’s Cathedral)

The Rubaga Cathedral is situated on one of Kampala’s seven original hills, Lubaga. This hill was once home to Kabaka Mutesa I’s palace. The views from here are breathtaking. The cathedral itself is impressive and well-constructed. In the front, there is a statue of St. Mary and a memorial to Archbishop Joseph Kiwanuka, Uganda’s first African Catholic bishop.

This is one of the cathedrals that should be on your itinerary when visiting Kampala. It was constructed in the early twentieth century and serves as the foundation of the Catholic Church in Uganda. The King of Buganda donated the land on which the cathedral is built to French missionaries in 1889. (Kabaka Mwanga II).

20. Lake Victoria

In the southeast, the city of Kampala borders the shores of Lake Victoria. Lake Victoria is the world’s second-largest freshwater lake, Africa’s largest lake, and the world’s largest tropical lake. The lake is also famous for being the source of the Nile, which can be found in Jinja, one of the best places to visit in Uganda.

The freshwater lake has some peaceful beaches, islands, and even beach resorts. These elements combine to make it an ideal getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. So, after you’ve completed the activities listed above, you can head to the lake. Tourist activities include fishing, sailing, cruising, boat riding, sunbathing, swimming, and partying. There are so many islands that you can choose from depending on the type of activity you’re looking to do.

The most popular islands to visit in Lake Victoria are the Ssese Islands, an archipelago of 84 islands, with Buggala, Bulago, Bukasa and Banda Islands being the most famous for tourists. You can stay overnight here if you want the full adventure. Sunsets and sunrises suppose to be incredible. There are daily ferries to and from the islands. Aside from the scenic shores and water sports, the lake is home to some native wildlife, including hippos, otters, crocodiles, turtles, and mongooses. Although the islands are listed as one of the best things to do in Kampala, they are best visited from Entebbe, the city where the International Airport is located about 45 kilometres south of Kampala.

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