1. Explore The Buganda Palace
Kampala city harbors a kingdom called Buganda, with a king entitled Kabaka as well as his main palace, the Lubiri. The Lubiri palace was built long ago in 1922 by one of the previous Buganda kings, Kabaka Mwanga. However, there are always some new refurbishments that come with each new successor to the throne. The palace faces the kingdom’s parliament building, the two being connected by ‘the royal mile’ which is one mile-stretch road also referred to as the “Kabaka Anjagala” road to mean the “King loves me”. There is a lot of interestingly rich culture and history to learn here.
2. Visit The Namugongo Shrine
Heard of the Uganda Martyrs? These were Ugandan Catholic and Protestant converts who were burnt to death at the orders of an ancient notorious king back in 1886. The mass slaughter took place at Namugongo in Kampala where a shrine was built to commemorate the martyrs. Every year on the 3rd of June, pilgrims of people from all over the world come to pray and receive blessings here. The whole place was beautifully constructed to include a small lake believed to have holy water, a church, as well as smaller shrines for each of the 22 martyrs.
3. Tour the Kasubi Tombs
This is where the kings of the Buganda kingdom in Uganda are buried. Traditionally, the king’s body was buried in one place and his jaw bone, believed to contain his soul, was removed and buried in a separate shrine. This tomb site is one of the thirty-one other royal tombs across the kingdom. It became the main royal burial place after the death of the 35th king who had his palace here. The tombs sit on over 64 acres on Kasubi hill, one of the seven major hills of Kampala. You can discover and learn about many intriguing cultural and religious rituals that are carried out here.
4. Go to The Sunday Flea Market
Sunday in Kampala is set apart for an open market on the streets. Vehicles are diverted away from the main roads for the display of different kinds of merchandise. You can find all sorts of things mostly clothes, shoes, and other body accessories. Most of the prices are cut and on the lower side too. It is a nice time to walk through Kampala downtown streets without the usual crowding and traffic that is there on all the other days. Additionally, you can also get yourself some nice Ugandan souvenirs.
5. Attend A Traditional Wedding
There are always weddings taking place in and around Kampala ordinarily over the weekends. In Uganda, most people have two wedding functions. The normal religious wedding at a place of worship like a church or a mosque and a traditional wedding at the bride’s home. As a tourist, a traditional wedding is a must-see. People get to dress up in all types of Ugandan traditional wear. Traditional meals are prepared and many interesting cultural activities are performed. Most Ugandans are friendly and welcoming so it is not so hard to get someone to take you along.
6. Take A Bodaboda Ride Around Town
Bodaboda is a term used to refer to a motorcycle that is used to offer public transportation services in Uganda. On the roads in Kampala, you will find so many motorcycles everywhere. In the lead at the traffic lights, in between cars in a traffic jam and loitering on the roadsides. Bodaboda riders know all the crooks and crannies of the town. So they are a top option for taking a tour of Kampala and getting the whole local bodaboda experience. The best option is safe bodabodas that wear bright colored jackets as these follow the road rules.
7. Take A Taxi Ride
Taxis are the cheaper option of public transportation in Kampala in comparison to the bodabodas. They come in the form of vans, most of which are white with blue stripes. They are licensed to carry fourteen passengers each although some always try to squeeze in more people. Plus, a conductor who sits right next to the door to collect the taxi fares and call for passengers to get in or out. If you reach your stop, you have to alert the conductor by saying “maas’aawo” (meaning “in front there”). It is really an interesting small adventure to take while in Kampala
8. Club Hopping Around Kampala
People like to party in Kampala and there a number of fun hangout places and nightclubs in the city. It is easy to stay up all night without noticing it moving from one place to another especially on the weekends. There is one place though in Kampala that has lively nightlife from Monday to Monday. It is in a suburb of Kampala called Kabalagala (literally meaning pancakes). Here you can find an endless diversity of places to hang out from clubs to restaurants. All within walking distance from one another with no need to drive.
9. Try The Ugandan Rolex
The Ugandan Rolex is not the Ugandan version of the Rolex watch. It is just a juicy yummy snack that has become increasingly popular among the locals and foreigners alike. The snack is composed of fried eggs with raw tomatoes plus any other extras spread on top of the eggs all rolled up into a chapatti. There are many makeshift Rolex booths you can find on the outskirts of Kampala where you can get your own custom-made Rolex straight off the charcoal stove fire. Otherwise, Rolexes are also on the menu in many restaurants as well as supermarkets.
10. Visit the Uganda Parliament Building
Last but not least, the Ugandan parliament meeting place cannot be missed. The parliament building is stationed on Parliament Avenue, in the city center. It is free for people to enter and tour the building but after writing a request to the Public Relations Office. They will advise you on the best time for visiting. There are a lot of interesting things to see here including the Chamber of the Parliament house where MPs sit to deliberate on laws in addition to an intriguingly artistic screen in the central lobby of the building at the main entrance.
Updated: August 6, 2018