Kampala City is the Uganda capital city and so far the largest town of Uganda. The city is located in the central part of Uganda and is easily accessed by most people from across the country hence estimated to have about 1,680,800 people in 2019 in the areas of Kampala Central Division, Makindye Division, Rubaga Division and Kawempe Division according to the statistics by Uganda Bureau of Statistics.
Kampala city is a busy town with various businesses including trade, transportation and various business offices and headquarters. It is the fastest growing town in Uganda and one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. With the various daily activities that take place, the city is governed by a corporate body known as Kampala City Council Authority which regulates all the activities on behalf of the government. The main means of transportation around town is road transport (taxis and boda boda for public transportation). Uganda has good tarmac roads connect different parts of the country; the west, north, east and southwestern to Kampala town and this eases access. Lots of people travel to and from the city daily for different purposes including work, studies and visiting family and friends among others.
Kampala town is strategically located close to Lake Victoria which is in the southern direction where several activities take place such as fishing and many relaxation activities. The city is located about 40 km from Entebbe international airport.
Kampala History – Uganda Capital City
The history of Kampala is derived from the era of Mutesa 1 who was the Kabaka (king) of Buganda kingdom then. Kampala was occupied by hills and wetlands which were homes to various wild animals including antelopes known as Impalas. Since Kampala was situated in his constituency of Buganda Kingdom, he chose this place as his hunting grounds. When the colonialists arrived, in Uganda they settled in Buganda and also named Kampala as the “hill of Impalas” which is locally translated to “kasozi ka impala” that finally led to the birth of the name Kampala.
Kampala was (and still is) known as the city of seven hills , that is Kampala hill/Old Kampala where we find the ruins of Lugard, Mengo hill which today is famously known as the home of the Kabaka’s palace which is locally known as the “Lubiri”, Kasubi hill where we find the Kasubi tombs where the fallen kings of Buganda kingdom are buried, Kibuli hill has one of the oldest mosques in Uganda known as Kibuli mosque, Namirembe hill is well known for the Namirembe Anglican cathedral while Lubaga hill for Rubaga Catholic cathedral and Nsambya hill has the headquarters of the Mill Hill Mission and one of the biggest hospitals in the city called Nsambya hospital.
Attractions in Kampala City | Uganda Capital City
The Uganda museum
This is an important place where the cultural heritage of Uganda is kept. The Uganda museum is located in Kamwokya along Kira road, Kampala district. It has a number of historical collections including hunting materials, music instruments, vehicles that were driven by the former presidents of Uganda and huts each named after the tribes and cultures in uganda each equipped with commonly used equipment by the different tribal groups.
This is the only Baha’i temple in Africa and is one of the biggest temples on the continent. It is located about 4 miles from Kampala city centre. The temple is under the Baha’i faith and anyone is always welcomed to participate in prayers. It is can accommodate over 600 people. The temple is located on a hill which offers spectacular views of the building and on getting there, you’ll see beautiful flowers. The area is calm and comfortable.
The Uganda National mosque
The Uganda national mosque is located on the old Kampala hill. It is currently the largest mosque with a capacity of accommodating about 25,000 people. The mosque was constructed by the Libyan government in the era of their former president Muammar Gadhaffi and it is also known as Gaddafi Mosque. The mosque was a gift to Uganda and an important place for the Muslims. It is one of the places you can easily access and visit when in Kampala and you are reminded to dress decently when going there.
Namugongo Martyrs shrine
Namugongo Martyrs shrine is located about 15km from Kampala city in Namugongo. It is a very important religious site that was built to remember the Uganda Martyrs who were killed by Kabaka Mwanga in the 1880s. He ordered his subjects to the burn the martyrs because they refused to denounce their belief in Christianity. The 3rd day of June every year is the Uganda Martyrs day when thousands of people from all over Uganda and the rest of the world congregate to celebrate the lives of the Uganda martyrs.
Kasubi Tombs is found on Kasubi hill and it is a cultural place where the fallen kings of Buganda kingdom are buried. This place is one of the UNESCO world Heritage sites in Uganda. it is an interesting place to visit an learn more about the history of Buganda kingdom and the culture of the Baganda.
Kabaka’s lake is the largest manmade lake in Africa. It was made between 1884 and 1888 by Kabaka Mwanga and it is said that he also took part in digging the basin as a way of being exemplary to his subjects. The purpose for establishing this lake is that Kabaka Mwanga wanted to connect his Lubiri to Lake Victoria.
Also known as St. Paul’s Namirembe Cathedral, this is the provincial cathedral of the Church of Uganda. it is the oldest cathedral and is the diocese cathedral for Namirembe cathedral which was the first diocese to be founded in Uganda that was in 1890. The cathedral has a beautiful architecture.
Kampala has more interesting places to visit such as St. Mary’s Rubaga cathedral, Kabaka’s palace/Lubiri, Nakasero market, Craft shops and Lake Victoria among others.
Where to stay in Kampala
There are several accommodations in Kampala where travelers can stay on their Uganda safaris, brief vacations or on business travels. They include;
Kampala Serena hotel
This is a 5 star hotel located in Nakasero-Kampala. It offers a number of quality facilities and services to travelers and visitors who use choose to stay there or use their daily services such as conference halls. The place is serene, quiet and easily accessible. Facilities and amenities include spacious rooms with comfortable beds, bar and restaurant with a range of local and international cuisines, WiFi, swimming pool and many more.
Skyz Hotel is a luxury hotel located on Naguru hill, just about 7 kilometers from Kampala city. It is one of the new hotels providing excellent accommodation around Kampala. The hotel offers perfect views of Kampala and other surrounding areas. The food at the restaurant, drinks at the bar, comfort in the rooms, coolness and serenity at the swimming pool and hospitality from the staffs are excellent.
Mestil Hotel and Residences
Mestil Hotel is also a new hotel in Nsambya-Kampala. They have executive rooms, single bedroom suites, twin bedroom suites and the triple bedroom penthouse. The hotel a healthy club that helps guests to get rejuvenated and fit, an outdoor swimming pool to cool your body during hot days, spacious rooms and friendly and well trained staffs.
Other hotels around Kampala include Hilton Garden Inn Kampala, Fairway Hotel, Sheraton Kampala hotel, Protea Hotel, The Emin Pasha Hotel, Forest cottages, Metropole Hotel Kampala and Golf course hotel among others.