Travel to Kampala – Capital of Uganda
As African capital cities go, Kampala is a little different. Originally set out by Captain Lugard on Kampala Hill in 1890, the colourful city now sprawls over several hills and after years of stagnation is fast developing into a modern city with world-class hotels, great restaurants and new shopping centres. Virtually all travellers will pass through Kampala at some stage on their journey, if just to stock up with provisions before a foray into Uganda’s hinterland. The World Heritage Site of Kasubi Tombs, and the city centre are its major attractions for those with time to explore.
The modern city of Kampala grew up around a fort constructed by Frederick Lugard in 1890 for the British East Africa Company. In 1962, Kampala replaced Entebbe as the national capital. Much of the city was destroyed after the 1979 overthrow of Idi Amin’s dictatorship and the subsequent civil war. It has since been rebuilt into a thriving capital city under the rule of President Museveni and compared to its neighbours is a thriving and comparatively safe city to visit.
Kampala has many local attractions including the Parliament building, National Theatre, African Craft Village, Sheraton Gardens, Owino Market, Namirembe Cathedral, Rubaga Cathedral, the Bulange building, Kabaka’s lake and palace, Nakasero Old Fort, Uganda (Kampala) Museum, Kibuli Mosque, and the World Heritage listed Kasubi Tombs.
Several exciting activities can be enjoyed from Kampala – take a day trip to Entebbe and visit the Botanical Gardens or Ngamba Island chimpanzee sanctuary to see orphaned chimps. Alternatively head to the Nile for a half or full-day rafting, or perhaps consider a 44 metre bungee jump over the Nile?
Kampala now offers a whole host of entertainment with numerous coffee shops, bars, clubs and restaurants opening their doors over the past few years. Naturally with a rich Indian heritage, Kampala has some quite excellent Indian restaurants, and numerous Chinese and Continental options. Perhaps the best way to unwind though is to find an outdoor café and enjoy a cup of real Ugandan coffee or tea, watching the locals go about their daily business.
If you choose to stay outside of central Kampala you’ll need either private transfers or taxis, or join the locals on crowded public buses or matatu minibuses. Taxis are reasonably priced and an easy option for travellers with less time and a bigger budget. If staying centrally, getting around on foot during daylight hours is a great way to experience the city.
- Visit the sacred Kasubi Tombs – burial place of royals from the Buganda Kingdom
- Take a stroll through central Kampala and see the impressive parliament building
- Head for the Uganda Museum to see an interesting collection of traditional art and artefacts