Fun Things to do in Kampala, The capital of Uganda
Kampala is the capital city of Uganda and tourists spend a few days here before going to other attractions in Uganda. While staying in Kampala tourists can do many fun things to make their stay more joyful. Kampala is the largest city of Uganda too that is situated in the southern part of the country. Although it was a municipality since 1949. However, it became the capital of independent Uganda in 1962. Kampala is the main hub of the nation’s road network. Moreover, it is on the famous railway track from Kasese to Mombasa(Kenya). Furthermore, Kampala has a port named Port Bell which is an important logistic point on Lake Victoria.
How to get to Kampala?
Kampala, the capital city is a hub of road networks in Uganda. While it is well connected with the world by Entebbe Airport. Whereas many other means of transport are also available to get to Kampala from neighboring places. Here is a summary of transportation in Kampala.
- By Air, Uganda has only one airport at Entebbe. So all the international tourist land at Entebbe and then come to Capital Kampala.
- Buses are the secondary way to reach Kampala. Many overland Buses can reach to Kampala from Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania. For intercity buses the main place to get the bus are Aquapark, Buganda Bus Park, and New Bus Park. I get to Kampala from Kenyan side and there are few reputable bus companies that ply on this route. These includes the Easy Coach, Masp Poa, and Modern Coast. So, you can take an overland transfer from Kenya to Uganda too.
- Minibuses, You can find the minibuses from New Taxi Park/Old Taxi park. Most of the services is for western and southern destinations.
How to Get Around Kampala?
While you can find the options like matatus (minibusses, vans), Buses, motorcycles (Boda Bodas), Taxis, and bicycles. Whereas, in some areas, you can find railway systems too.
- Boda Bodas is the best option within cities. It is a same Moto Taxis of Kenya. It is economical, convenient and can take you to the every inside destinations. Its normal fare is from 2000 to 4000USh.
- Pioneer Bus is a new addition into the Kampala transportation System. The routes are well marked and there is a fixed fare for all travelers. These buses painted in Orange and Black colors.
- Minibuses: You can find many blue and white minibuses. It has mny routes within Kampala city.Youhave to know the exct fare before your ride as sometimes, they try to overcharge from tourists.
- Taxis: Both a special hire taxi or Uber has an evolving trend in Kampala.
Is Kampala a safe Place for traveling?
This is the security advice from my hostel in Kampala. A number of people have been targeted by Boda Bodas drivers snatching bags along Acacia Avenue recently. Although this has always been a low-level threat but has recently become much more frequent. The police seem hesitant and unable to solve the problem of these petty crimes. So, we strongly recommend the following
- Wear your bag over both shoulders
- If it is a single strap bag, then loop it across your body and place it on the side away from the road.
- Leave passports, credit cards, and excess cash at the reception and they will look after it for you.
- Try to avoid walking around after dark alone.
- Try to get Boda Bodas or uber from your hostel. They have contacts of reliable drivers.
This city is lovely and charming but there are some police-related concerns. So, beware and make your trip an awesome journey. Although, a large number of visitors are visiting this beautiful country on daily basis. So, you must be vigilant and careful while visiting the capital.
Other than the downtown of Kampala, the other regions of Uganda are less prone to these petty crimes.
Where to Stay in Kampala?
In Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, I stayed at Bushpig Backpackers. It was a neat and clean property at Acacia road. Many of Kampala’s city attractions were within a walking distance from it. I booked this hostel by Booking.com. However, you can book it directly from their WEBSITE too. Alternatively, the Fat Cat Backpackers is another budget option to stay in Kampala.
Fun Things to Do in Kampala
I came to Kampala after visiting Jinja. I have two days for Kampala and it is enough time to visit most of the Kampala attractions. From my hostel, I took a Boda Bodas and reached my first place to visit in Kampala. You can take the directions from the attached map to your route to Kampala.
Kabaka Palace Kampala
Kabaka palace also known as Lubiri Palace or Mengo Palace is esbalished in 1885 by Ssekabaka Daniel Mwanga in Mengo Area. Mengo derives its name from the grinding stones called Emmengo that were so common on that hill and mostly used to build this palace. Three Kabaka (kings) have lived in this palace from 1885 to 1966.
After 1966, it was converted into a prison and became an army barrack. Nowadays, a part of the palace is open to tourists that including the underground prisons. You can visit the exterior of the place for USh35000($10) per person. It includes the services of the guide too. You can visit it from 08:00 to 17:00.
Parliament of Buganda Kingdom
At the other end of the Royal Mile, we can visit the Parliament of Buganda Kingdom. The most common name of this building is Bulange. Ssekabaka Mutesa started this building in 1955 and it took three years to its completion. Moreover, the building serves as the administrative headquarters of the Buganda Kingdom. So, it is a good place to learn the history and culture of the Buganda Kingdom. Just after the main gate, you can see a lifesize statue of King Mutessa II.
The Royal Mile
The Royal Mile is a walk from Lubiri Palace to the parliament of Buganda Kingdom. Why do we call it Royal Mile? Because from the gate of Lubiri Palace to the gate of Buganda Parliament is exactly one mile in distance. At the other end, there used to be the Bulange Parliament where the cabinet of Buganda used to take there day to day decisions. Walk the mile as you learn about Buganda cultural norms and the city of Kampala. Both ends buildings are located at hills, so you have to descend from one hill to ascend to the other ones. It is a very scenic walk and is among the top fun things to do in Kampala. You can see many monuments on either side of the road.
It is a Unesco World Heritage site that has the Tombs of Buganda Kings. It has the burial place of kings and their relatives. Kassubi Palace was built in 1882 as the palace of King Mutesa I. However, it was converted into his tomb following his death two years later. Consequently, the next three Kings chose this palace as their burial place. By visiting this place, you can learn more about Buganda culture and history. The entrance fee is 10000USh. At present(October 2021) this place is closed for travelers due to covid Pandemic and some restoration work.
National Mosque Kampala
This mosque is an iconic sight of Uganda. It is the major feature on the oldest hill in the city. It offers a 360 panoramic view of Kampala from its Minaret. President Idi Amin started this mosque in 1972. Then after 35 years, it is opened for visitors in 2007. It is the largest mosque in Africa and has enough space to accommodate 35,000 worshippers at any time. It has an entrance fee of 10000Ush. However, Muslim visitors can visit it free.
In Uganda Museum, you can learn the history and time impact on Uganda’s daily lives. Uganda Museums has remarkable collections of ancient times of human history. You can see many ethnographic collections here. Besides, here you can see the impact of religion, ancient articles of clothing, and natural history related to Uganda. The cultural part of the museum exhibit the ways of life of Ugandans as it represents the whole of Uganda. Moreover, you can visit this museum from 8 to 5 for an entry fee of 5000USh.Kampala city Festival
I visit this place the next morning of my stay in Kampala. It is an important east African festival that you can attend in the first week of October. It is the biggest street party in East Africa. Kampala City Festival is a signature brand that draws multitudes to Kampala on the first Sunday of October to celebrate culture, unity, and fun. I was there on the same dates but this year(2021), this event couldn’t happen due to covid situations.
Independence Monument Kamapala city
This independence monument is situated in the heart of the city center in Sheraton Garden. It is the most distinctive landmark of the Capital of Uganda. As the name depicts, this monument was erected before the first independence celebration of Uganda in 1962. It is the monument of a man that uprising a child to touch the sky.
St Marry Cathedral Church
St Marry Cathedral Church or Rubaga Cathedral Church is a beautiful architecture composed of twin towers. It has great historical significance in the history of the catholic church. As it is a memorial building on the eve of those that sacrifices their lives in 1885 in Uganda. At that time many people were burnt to death by the order of Kabaka Mwanga. It is also situated on a hill with a great scenic view of Kampala city.
Ndere Cultural center, A Fun way to see Kampala
Ndere Cultural Centre opened in 2003 to be the home of Uganda’s pioneering traditional dance group, Ndere Troupe. Although, it now has very comfortable accommodation and a restaurant. Besides, it offers venues for parties, conference spaces along with our information center. For Internationa tourists, the entry is 25$.
It is a typical place from where you can see, how Ugandan people purchase their household items. In addition, you can buy everything from household utensils to clothes at a very cheap rate from here. Rather than a shopping experience, I went there to see the Ugandan way of life. Moreover, Owino Market is just beside the City Mall of Kampala.
Other Fun things to do on Extended stays
If you can extend your stay to Kampala then we can offer more fun things to do here in Kampala. You can visit Namugongo Martyrs Shrine which is a northeast Basilica outside of Kampala city. Secondly, Port bell Pier which has access to lake Victoria from Kampala is good for many water activities. Thirdly, Bahai Temple is the mother temple of the Bahai Faith in Africa. It is a nine-sided structure that we can visit in the Kikaya Hills. last but not the least, we can visit the Musician Association and Kampala National Theater. So, we can enjoy a free event on every Monday at Said Barri Avenue.
Fun Things to do Around Kampala
After Visiting Kampala we can go to Jinja for a visit to the famous Source of The Nile River. Secondly, we can go to Entebbe which is the main influx of travelers in Uganda. Thirdly we can visit the Famous Murchison falls which might be a day trip from Kampala. On the east side, however, we can add Sipi Falls and Mount Elgon for our extended stays here. And Finally here is Bwindi National Park and Lake Bunyoni. It is on the west of Kampala and at the top of the list of fun things to do in Uganda.