Kampala has many charms within the rolling seven hills on which it sits – each offering a unique history, point of view of the beautiful chaos and several attractions to keep you engaged for a few days. Here are our top picks.
Uganda National Cultural Centre commonly known as National Theatre has a lineup of great live music, film, dance and drama in the auditorium. There are bars and restaurants, and nightly outdoor events including jam sessions, drumming and comedy nights.
The parliament of Uganda is open to the public. One can either tour this impressive building or watch the parliamentarians in action from Tuesday to Thursday, 2 – 4 p.m. Make sure you’re decently dressed, carry a valid identification card and go to the public relations department in room 114 to arrange a visit.
Kasubi Tombs is the burial site for the kings and royal family of the Buganda Kingdom. UNESCO listed Kasubi Tombs for their significance to the kingdom. A visit to the tombs gives visitors an impression of a rural village with its impressive grass thatched hut originally built for Kabaka Mutesa I as a palace in 1882, which was turned into a burial site after his death two years later.
Kampala is dotted with colorful crafts markets which are also called crafts villages – selling vibrant crafts ranging from prints, baskets, paintings, pottery, jewelry and more. While some are in permanent locations such as the Crafts Village behind the National Theatre and Crafts Centre on Buganda Road, some are weekly and monthly including one in Makindye and one in front of the Railway Station. Get a chance to interact with the artists and even ask them to make something especially for you.
The Uganda Museum, established in 1908, is the oldest museum in East Africa. The museum displays Uganda’s cultural heritage where one can see ethnological and natural-historical exhibitions, a vivid reminder of the country’s colorful past. It also features a collection of traditional musical instruments, which are free to play.
2K Restaurant is a premium eatery offering a completely unique and fine dining experience centered on Ugandan food. Using fresh, natural flavors, top quality produce and expert technique, it creates intense food that is unpretentious but delicious and beautiful to behold. If a step away from the norm is something you’re looking for, dine at 2K Restaurant for that authentic Ugandan food experience.
The art gallery scene in Kampala is blooming, so many talented artists are showcasing impressive and eccentric pieces of art, paintings, crafts, prints and more. Support an artist as you buy something for your home or loved one. Asante Art Gallery focuses on promoting and exhibiting, an ideal place for artists and art lovers.
There is no more authentic way to tour this capital than on a boda boda. A boda boda is a motor bike taxi – as a passenger, the rider will take you through every nook and cranny of the city, saving you the task of climbing the numerous hills as you get there fast and hassle-free to see the city from various vantage points.
Wandegeya Market is located in the school district in Kampala. Filled with a youthful vibe, this market has boutiques, salons, fresh produce and offices. It’s also home to the legendary rolex and TV Chicken – Kampala’s popular street foods featuring an omelette, raw tomatoes and grilled chicken mixed together with fries and an assortment of vegetables like cabbages, tomatoes, carrots and green pepper respectively. If you’re ever in Wandegeya for anything, it should be for either the rolex or the TV Chicken or both.
Bulange houses Buganda Kingdom’s administration and parliament. In the past, sessions used to be held under trees before they moved to the grass-thatched building. Construction for Bulange began in 1955 when Ssekabaka Mutesa returned from exile in Scotland with a drawing of how he wanted it to look. It was completed in 1958. It’s a good place to learn about the history and culture about Buganda. Ladies shouldn’t wear trousers when visiting.