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Planning To Tour In Kampala For A Safari In Uganda? Scroll Down..


Kampala Introduction - Location, Attractions & History

Once called the City of the Seven Hills, Kampala sprawls till the northern shore of iconic Lake Victoria. Located in the heart of Uganda, the metropolis has been its de facto capital since the 14th century, when King Kato Kintu, the founder of the Buganda royal dynasty, chose the region for his administrative base. Future Buganda kings welcomed Muslim traders and British explorers. This nexus of cultures can still be enjoyed by traveling around the fusion city of Kampala (best time to go), where you can experience a melange of colonial and contemporary architecture, ancient royal monuments and the generous hospitality of Uganda’s warm and welcoming people.

Taking its name from the Luganda language’s term for “Hill of the Impala,” Kampala is built on what was once undulating green hills, fields of grass and wetlands. Today, it is a fascinating, cosmopolitan city with many attractions and tourist hotspots. A 50-kilometer (30-mile) part toll drive from Entebbe International Airport, metropolitan Kampala welcomes many guests on safari vacations and business people. Visitors to the five districts can spend their days enjoying the city’s heritage architecture, National Museum, and local craft galleries before whiling away their evenings sampling Uganda's widest range of restaurants and nightclubs.

Key Takeaways

  • Formerly called the City of the Seven Hills located in the center of Uganda - north of Lake Victoria.
  • Takes its name from the Luganda term for “Hill of the Impala”
  • Capital of the country since the 14th century when King Kato Kintu moved his administrative base here
  • Melting pot of cultures including traditional and contemporary elements
  • Has a wide selection of attractions to pique the interest of all kinds of visitors

Watch Video On Kampala Experiences

Page Content - Start Here

1. What Are The Other Experiences Around Kampala?
What Are The Areas Of Interest In Kampala
2. Historical Overview Of Kampala
3. Insider Guide To The Neighborhoods Of Kampala
Kampala - An Overview

1. What Are The Other Experiences Around Kampala?

Key Takeaways

  • Has a plethora of shopping malls and craft centers offering global and authentic Ugandan products
  • Selection of leisure options such as restaurants, cafes, night clubs, cinemas, and more
  • Makindye District offering watersports and aqua activities on Lake Victoria
Kampala’s plethora of shopping malls, local markets and craft centers offers visitors a staggering array of items, from international brands to unique products showcasing the creativity of local artisans. Kampala is a global hub with various leisure options such as restaurants, cafes, night clubs, movie theaters and cultural venues. You will find high-end hotels and other accommodation options to match the budget and preferences of every kind of traveler. The Makindye district, on the shores of Lake Victoria, offers an array of water sports. Nearby sanctuaries provide an intimate introduction to Uganda’s wildlife before traveling to the major bush reserves, which teem with an incredible diversity of flora and fauna.
What Are The Experiences In Kampala

What Are The Areas Of Interest In Kampala?

2. Historical Overview Of Kampala

Key Takeaways

  • Location of the 1881 Kasubi Tombs, a recognized UNESCO World Heritage site. Mengo Hill in Kampala used by the British as their capital on arrival in 1890
  • Capital of the country post-independence when Milton Obote became president. Site of political and social turmoil under the rule of Idi Amin
  • Now a peaceful city showcasing rebuilding efforts with modern construction and infrastructure
Take a trip through history with a visit to the Kasubi Tombs, a UNESCO World Heritage site that dates to 1881. The British arrived in Uganda in 1890’s and, using Mengo Hill as a base, were able to extend their protectorate and influence over the Bunyoro, Ankole and Toro principalities. For a short while, the British moved their capital to Entebbe; after the country achieved independence, Kampala became the preferred location for the new administration.

Post-independence, Milton Obote became the first president of Uganda, serving for about nine years before being overthrown in a military coup by former sergeant Idi Amin. The rule of the late Amin ushered in a dark era of political and social turmoil, during which Uganda declared war against neighboring Tanzania. As the capital, Kampala took the brunt of not just the war, but also Amin's attempts to evict the Asian population and attack resident Jews. Idi Amin's 1979 exile to Libya returned the country to peace, marked by a large-scale public effort to rebuild the country. Spending holiday time in both the city and the country, you will see many signs of the rejuvenation efforts in the form of elegant new construction and glittering facades.
Historical Overview Of Kampala

3. Insider Guide To The Neighborhoods Of Kampala

Central Kampala - Key Takeaways

  • Administrative hub of the city
  • Heritage building blending beautifully with contemporary structures giving the town a unique character
  • Lugard Fort on Old Kampala Hill and various other tourist attractions
Functioning under the administration of the Kampala City Council Authority, the Central Division is the largest sector of the city. It is a fascinating melting pot where Kampala’s heritage buildings blend seamlessly with contemporary structures. You will enjoy touring Kampala-Jinja Road and taking in panoramic views of the beautiful, yet chaotic city from Old Kampala Hill, Nakasero Hill and Kololo Hill. Look out for notable buildings such as the Bank of Uganda, Workers House, Nile Hotel and Conference Centre, Kampala Boulevard, Crested Towers, Telecommunications House, Nakivubo Stadium, National Theatre and the Sheraton Hotel.

Of particular interest to visitors is Lugard Fort on Old Kampala Hill. Built by Captain Lugard, the first Governor of the British protectorate, the fort stands as a reminder of Uganda’s colonial past. The Uganda National Mosque and Nommo Art Gallery at Nakasero are some other special attractions. If you would like to go holiday shopping while in Kampala, you can find fabulous craft stores within the central region.

Lubaga (also known as Rubaga) - Key Takeaways

  • Historical significance as the residential base of the Buganda kings from 1724 to 1884 when the royal palace burned down
  • Given to the Catholic White Fathers who built Rubaga Cathedral on the location
  • Other attractions include Kabaka’s Lake, Lubiri Palace, Buganda Parliament, and Kasubi Tombs Crafts store
Located on the west side of Kampala, Lubaga has great historical significance, having served as the residential base for the Buganda kings since 1724. Lubaga continued to hold an exalted position as the military headquarters of the kingdom until 1884. During the time of King Mutesa I Mukabya Walugembe Kayiira, the royal palace burned down and the king relocated his administrative complex. Eventually, Lubaga Hill was given to the Catholic White Fathers, who built Rubaga Cathedral on the site.

Lubaga is also famous for many other tourist attractions such as the Kasubi Tombs, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Serving as a burial site for the four kings of Buganda, the incredible structure was built entirely of natural materials. When spending vacation time in Kampala, you can shop for exquisite souvenirs and mementos at arts and crafts markets such as the Musigula Mbugo, Andrew’s Artistry, Kasubi Tombs Crafts store and Sikyomu Drum Makers at Busega. The scenic Kabaka’s Lake, the oldest surviving man-made lake in Uganda, along with Lubiri Palace and Buganda Parliament are other places of interest.

Kawempe - Key Takeaways

  • Located on the northwestern area of Kampala about eight kilometers from the city center
  • Baha’i Temple, only one on the African continent on Kikaya Hill
  • Makerere University, known for its impressive and stately architecture
On the northwestern edge of Kampala, the Kawempe district sits about eight kilometers from the city center. This area affords views of some of the capital’s finest architectural examples. The distinctively domed Baha’i Temple, the only one of its kind on the African continent, stands on Kikaya Hill along the artery connecting Kampala to Gayaza. Visitors to the shrine can relax in a natural paradise set apart from the hustle and bustle of urban Kampala.

Also located within Kawempe is the famous Makerere University. With impressive architecture, the university was famous as the only center for higher learning in East Africa until 1954. It lies about three kilometers to the north of the city center, atop Makerere Hill. The educational institution also serves as a research facility and conference venue.

Makindye - Key Takeaways

  • Offering views of Murchison Bay, the southeastern section of Lake Victoria, and Wakiso District
  • Home to famous artists, upscale nightlife events and political figures
  • Possibility of indulging in various water activities on the lake along with horseback riding and birding excursions
Gracing the south of Kampala is the Makindye Hill. Visit this area on your vacation, and you will be treated to sweeping views of Murchison Bay, the southeastern part of Lake Victoria and Wakiso District. This district may well be called the creative sector of the city since many famous artists and political figures live and work here. You will also find that it has a happening nightlife, with many restaurants, nightclubs, bars and entertainment hotspots. During the day, check out the studios of renowned musicians, filmmakers and theater icons.

Makindye also offers lakeside accommodations that provide opportunities to enjoy a range of water activities. Go canoeing and fishing or take an evening cruise for stunning views of the setting sun over the water. Horseback-riding and birdwatching are other enjoyable activities to do while spending vacation time in the Makindye district.

Nakawa - Key Takeaways

  • Has several avenues for entertainment including an amusement park, aquatic center, and fitness center visited by locals
  • Location of the esteemed Makerere University Business School
  • Venues for enjoying sporting events and sampling the delicious cuisines of Uganda
Making up the eastern border of the city of Kampala is the Nakawa district. Serving as the city’s ad hoc pleasure district for residents of Kampala, Nakawa is host to the Kiwatule Recreation Center, boasting an amusement park with play areas, an aquatic habitat and the Kakira Express train ride. Shop for holiday souvenirs and mementos at malls and boutiques like Bugolobi African Creations, Luzira Prisons Crafts and Village Mall Bugolobi, then spend your evenings in the clubs and bars or catch a movie in one of the cinemas. As the expert guide assigned to you by AfricanMecca Safaris will show you the famed Makerere University Business School that is also located here.

Get a taste of Kampala’s love for sports with visits to the Lugogo cricket and tennis grounds. When you’ve worked up an appetite, taste the delicious nyama choma (meat barbecue) at the Kyadondo Rugby Club or indulge in local cuisine. More notable attractions that you must explore on your trip are the picturesque Mutungo, Naguru and Mbuya Hills, the Nakawa Commonwealth Veterans Cemetery, and Port Bell Pier. The pier on the eastern edge of the district serves as the prime terminal for goods and commuter vessels plying Lake Victoria.
Insider Guide To The Neighborhoods Of Kampala

Kampala Rating By AfricanMecca
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Kampala offers a diversity of accommodations, from the boutique chic Latitude 0 Degrees to the larger luxuries of Kampala Serena Hotel. The deluxe property options are Humura Resorts and Emin Pasha Hotel.

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Experience city tour activities and attractions in Kampala - visit the Baha'i Temple, Craft Village on Buganda Road, mosques, Hindu & Jewish temples, cathedral viewing, Uganda Museum, Serenada wilderness etc.

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The long dry season starts around the middle of December, January and February, and is considered the best time to visit Kampala in Uganda. The alternate best time to visit is June, July and most parts of August.


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When visiting Kampala, we recommend combining it with Bwindi Park for your gorilla safari trek, Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls and Kibale (chimpanzee safari) alongside your city tour visits of Entebbe.

You may optionally extend out to other wilderness areas such as Mgahinga to track down golden monkeys and gorillas in the same park, Jinja for whitewater rafting on the Nile River, Semliki, Lake Mburo or Kidepo for an offbeat wildlife tour.

You can end your vacation on the beach at Lake Victoria or even extending out to the exotic spice island of Zanzibar or Lamu, or even Mombasa.

Best Safari Planning Ideas & Trip Experiences For Uganda

Below are guide references on how to plan each of the below safari experience in Uganda. Alternatively, go to the summary section for a quick overview of each trip planning experience.

1. How To Plan Uganda Safari Trips? (Summary)

2. Wildlife Safari Trip Planning Guide For Uganda

3. Private & Tailor-Made Safaris Trip Planning Guide For Uganda

4. Honeymoon Safaris Trip Planning Guide For Uganda

5. Family Safaris Trip Planning Guide For Uganda

6. Luxury Safaris Trip Planning Guide For Uganda

7. Photo Safaris Trip Planning Guide For Uganda

8. Cultural Safaris Trip Planning Guide For Uganda

9. Gorilla, Chimpanzee & Primate Safaris Trip Planning Guide For Uganda

10. Hike, Trek & Bush Walk Safaris Trip Planning Guide For Uganda

11. Birding Safaris Trip Planning Guide For Uganda

12. Wedding Safaris Trip Planning Guide For Uganda



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