Top 10 Must-See Historic And Natural Sites In Uganda
The Republic of Uganda is presently enjoying a time of peace after years of civil war and unrest. Since then, the country has been rebounding from many ordeals and is now becoming a thriving nation which can showcase its rich history and natural beauty. We have listed some of the sites you must see when visiting the country.
Entrance of The Kasubi Tombs | © Nao Lizuka/Flickr
The Kasubi Tombs
The Kasubi Tombs is a burial ground for four kabakas (kings of Buganda) that was first built in 1881 on the Kasubi hill in Kampala. The tombs were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001 but were unfortunately destroyed by fire on March 16, 2010. To the people of the Buganda nation (the largest sub-national kingdom in present-day Uganda), the tombs are a symbol of a spiritual, political and social state of its people. Despite the unfortunate incident, the site still gets regular visits while the main palace is being rebuilt.
The Kasubi Tombs, Masiro Rd., Kampala, Uganda
Namugongo Martyrs Shrine
Located in Wakiso district within close proximity to Kampala is the Namugongo Martyrs Shrine. The beautiful shrine’s exterior is made of 22 copper pillars over 100 feet long. The shrine was built to honor 32 young men who were pages of king Mwanga II of Buganda. On June 3rd, 1886 the men were burnt to death for refusing to renounce Christianity. Each year on the anniversary of their deaths, thousands of Christians from across the world congregate to commemorate the lives and religious beliefs of the martyrs. June 3rd, 2015 documented an estimate of two million attendees.
Namugongo Martyrs Shrine, St. Andrew Kaggwa Rd., Kampala, Uganda, +256 312 274 581
Amabere Ga Nyinamwiru
Located approximately ten kilometers from Fort Portal, the cave Amabere Ga Nyinamwiru, or Breast of Nyinamiwiru is thought to have origins shrouded in myth and legend. It is said that King Bukuku of the Toro and Bunyoro kingdoms had his daughter Nyinamiwiru’s breasts cut off after she refused to marry the man he chose for her. Another version says she cut off her own breasts. Today, many visitors to the cave can see stalactites resembling breasts with water dripping from them depositing white calcite. The local guide will tell you the water is breast milk dripping from Nyinamiwiru’s breasts.
Amabere Ga Nyinamwiru, Kabolore District, Fort Portal, Uganda
Nyero Rock Paintings
A little trek and a bit of climbing are involved, but it is all worth it to see rock art dated back to before 1250 AD. Nyero has three rock shelters that are a good distance apart from each other. They were first documented in 1913 and were a part of the tradition of illustrations in red pigment, common throughout Africa. Be sure to visit Nyero Rock Paintings during your next stay in Uganda. Entrance fee is reasonable and educative tour guides are available.
Nyero Rock Paintings, Nkokojeru Terr., Mbale, Uganda, +256 772 328 085
Source Of The Nile – Speke Monument
John Hanning Speke was the first European to reach Lake Victoria and discover the Source Of The Nile. Today, the source of the Nile at Jinja is a prime tourist destination in Uganda. There are fantastic views of the lake. The perfect serenity of the surroundings makes for good picture taking and bird-watching. If you are lucky you may even get to see king-fishes, monkeys, and other animals. Go for a tour on a boat with informative tour guides and stop by the restaurant nearby if you get hungry.
The source of the Nile, Cliff Rd., Jinja, Uganda
The Bahá’í faith began to take root in Uganda in 1951. Today, the Bahia Temple in Kampala is the only temple that remains in Africa for the Bahá’í faith. Since its completion in 1961, it has received hundreds of visitors from across the world. The beautiful grounds attract many photographers of all calibers. However, visitors are forbidden to take pictures of the interior. Visit the Bahá’í Temple in Uganda for a truly memorable excursion. If you want to learn more from their religious customs, join the locals for service Sunday mornings at 10:30.
Bahá’í Temple, Kikaya Hill, Kampala, Uganda, +256 312 262 680
Rwenzori Mountains National Park promises one of the most attractive and fulfilling treks the world has to offer. Located in the Rwenzori mountains and nearly 1000 kilometers square (386 square miles) in size, the park was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its extraordinary natural beauty. The mystical park is home to the third highest mountain peak in Africa. It boasts breath-taking waterfalls, high glaciers, the valley of nine lakes, a rich variety of flora and fauna, many endangered species and captivating scenery. Be sure to make an appointment to see one of nature’s most beautiful gifts when visiting Uganda.
Rwenzori Foot-hills | © Sarahemcc/Flickr
Located in south-western Uganda, the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Virunga mountain range. It is a part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, one of the richest ecosystems in Africa. The park is home to over 200 different species of trees, 120 species of mammals, 27 species of frogs, geckos and chameleons, 220 species of butterflies, 348 species of birds and other endangered species. The majority of the world’s mountain gorillas can be found here, as well as elephants, chimpanzees, and several other animals. This wonderful natural site is definitely worth the visit.
Female gorilla at Bwindi | © Joxeankoret/Flickr
Sempaya Hot Springs can be found in Semiliki National Park. Attracting hordes of tourists each year, these hot springs have a geyser that shoots up from a hole at really hot temperatures. In fact, the water is so hot you can boil an egg and eat it in ten minutes. Sempaya Hot Springs’ water temperature is over 1000°C, twice as hot as most hot springs in the world. If you love a good nature tour, the park does not only offer the hot springs but also hosts primate creatures like grey-checked mangabey, red-tailed monkeys, elephants, chimpanzees, De Brazza’s monkeys and pygmy antelopes.
Sempaya Hot Springs | © Sarahemcc/Flickr
Walumbe Tanda Pits
The Walumbe Tanda Pits are somewhat a hallowed ground in Uganda. Legend has it that Walumbe accompanied his sister Nambi and her husband Kintu to the earth after they got married. Walumbe is known to be mischievous and is said to be the cause of suffering and death to mankind. After reaching the earth, he hid from his brother Kaikuzi in the Tanda pits, afraid that he would take him back to heaven. The site contains more than 240 pits and two shrines. One entrance has spears, shields, calabashes and fireplaces named after different gods.
Walumbe Tanda Pits, Mityana District, Uganda
By Corlena Bailey