By Justus Kiprono
The capital city of Uganda, Kampala, is one of the most mesmerizing cities in Africa, fittingly packed with breathtaking sights to feast your eyes on this Christmas.
This vast metropolitan area that covers Kampala Central, Kawempe, Makindye, Nakawa, and Rubaga divisions beckons both domestic and international tourists with its modern architectural marvels, stunning landscapes, and idyllic historical monuments alongside vibrant multicultural avenues.
For adventurous pursuits, there are plenty of vacation spots and fascinating things to do in Kampala. To help you out, here is a list of the best five tourist attractions in Kampala that should be on your bucket list this festive season:
1. Uganda National Museum
Along Kira Road, on Kintate Hill, four Kilometres from Kampala City, you’ll find Uganda National Museum – the biggest and oldest museum in Uganda, founded in 1908 by the then Deputy Governor of the British protectorate George Wilson who later became Chief Colonial Secretary.
This well-stocked museum that displays Uganda’s finest collections of artifacts, sure to impress history buffs and art aficionados, was first situated at Old Kampala Hill before shifting grounds to Makerere University and lastly to Kintate, where it sits to date.
Uganda Museum is one of the best places to visit when you are around Kampala to follow the fascinating story of the Buganda people, their culture, and leaders, and more so, learn about the country’s colorful past.
2. Bahai Temple
On January 15, 1962, the doors of the Bahai Temple on Kikaya Hill in Kampala were opened, after almost four years of construction, to serve as a safe space for those seeking mystical experience, spiritual awakening, or learning more about the Bahai faith, which was introduced in Uganda in 1951.
This marvelous temple is an eccentric art piece built with a unique but elaborate architectural design to give a dome shape at its canopy that glistens in the sunlight high above Kikaya. The temple’s striking interior bursts with blue and beige colors and incorporates a set of masterly encrusted murals to fabricate a distinctive wallpaper pattern.
Still, inside, the Bahai Temple has nine colossal pillars and 27 smaller ones, with each pillar telling a different story of the faith introduced by Persian educator Baháʼu’lláh in the 19th century.
In many ways, the Bahai Temple is a place to visit in Kampala to experience a divine vision. Its 52-acre land is filled with magical things that satisfy innate human desires. It features incredible forms of flora and many more bird species to offer unforgettable experiences to visitors.
3. Kabaka’s Lake
When it comes to man-made wonders, Kabaka’s Lake, which straddles the sparkling Kampala metropolis, takes some beating. It is the largest artificial lake in Uganda, covering almost 2 square kilometers and reaching depths of 200 feet.
This place of clear fresh waters with no inlet rivers was dug out in 1880 following the order of Kabaka Mwanga II, who wanted an escape route to his Mulungu Hill Palace in Lake Victoria when the wars of conquest had intensified ensuing British arrival in Buganda.
Kabaka Mwanga ordered all the 52 clans of Buganda to participate in its creation, not excluding parish chiefs and other royal members. Visit Kabaka’s Lake to learn more about its awe-inspiring history. A tour of this lake will also grant you a chance to enjoy its serene environment if you are a birdie.
4. Ndere Cultural Centre
Kampala is the beating heart of African culture with hallmarks of great cultural diversity. This hotbed of performing arts hosts the Ndere Cultural Centre at Ntinda – Kisaasi Road, founded by Rwangezi Stephen in 1986 to infuse traditional heritage with music creativity, bringing into play contemporary acts to educate and unite people.
The Ndere Cultural Centre has its own Ndere Troupe, which handsomely caters to art lovers when they stop by this flourishing art scene to watch one of the most avant-garde artistic expressions while enjoying local cuisines and exceptional reception.
Consider adding the Ndere Cultural Centre to your bucket list for a soul-stirring experience.
5. Nakasero Market
Markets are the best places to visit if you want to fully experience the local culture and interact with people as they get through their day. For instance, Nakasero Market in Kampala, at the foot of Nakasero Hill, is a popular street market with a diverse community of vendors and a great dining destination if you want a taste of inventive dishes in a multifaceted atmosphere.
It is one of the oldest markets in Kampala, established in 1895, where you’ll find almost everything from fruits, meat, vegetables, spices, textiles, and electronics, among many other items, at an affordable price.
You should definitely stop by this market and buy a Christmas gift for your loved one!