Kampala

Kampala, the capital city of Uganda is spread over ten hills and derives its name from Kasozi k’empala, “the hill of antelopes” The origins of the city go back to 1891 when the Kabaka (king) of Buganda had his court on Mengo hill. It grew to municipal status in 1950 and became a city in 1962.

Today, as you stand on the hills, the city provides magnificent ever green view gently disrupted by red-tiled villas, green iron-roofed bungalows, as well as taller modern city profiles that give way to attractive views of the surrounding countryside and nearby Lake Victoria. The city has retained its traditional charm, and remains the greenest in Africa.

Kampala is the heart of Uganda, the center of commercial life the seat of the government. It is a vibrant modern metropolis adorned with gardens and parks providing colourful oases for its citizens and visitors alike.

Within Kampala, there are many hotels including luxury hotel facilities with state-of-the-art conference facilities, to offer budget hotels and other accommodation lodging that cater for the more budget-minded. From USD10 (per night) you can get a good number of hotels to choose from for your stay in Kampala.

The broad range of cultures in Uganda is also reflected in the wide choice of restaurants in the city, all featuring the wonderful produce of our fertile countryside and fish-filled lakes.

Access:

By air: 40 km from Entebbe International Airport.

By road: a network of modern tarred roads feed the capital from different border posts.

By rail: Kampala is linked with Kenya by rail.

By lake: A cargo steamer service links Port Bell with Mwanza in.

Geography

Kampala lies at an altitude of 1,155 meters from Lake Victoria. Kampala was founded in the 19th Century, when the king of Buganda had his seat in the hills. The name “Kampala” originated from a British Lord Captain Frederick Lugard. There were many Impala – Antelopes found there at that time. From the Luganda translation for hill of the Impala”, Kasozi ka Impala, the short form “Kampala” was developed. This term referred to the hills of present-day Old Kampala, on which the Capt Lugard built his fort.

As the fort was established so many people were attracted to the city. The town grew rapidly and expanded to 7 hills that is; Mulago, Kololo, Kibuli, Rubaga, old Kampala, Namirembe and Makerere. Each of the seven hills represents a predominant feature: On the hills, Rubaga, Namirembe and Kibuli there settled the central bodies of the three leading religious communities (Catholics, Protestants and Islam). Kololo/ Nakasero form the Center for Public Administration and were the preferred residential areas of their employees. Makerere became the university campus and in Mulago settled health facilities. These identities have remained upto today.

During 1906, the United Kingdom law declared Kampala as a town and it advanced into an administrative municipality in 1949. Although in 1962, it received the official status of a city. The British originally had their administrative headquarters in Entebbe and Kampala was only after an election to the capital of the Uganda. In the first decades the city grew steadily. It had the best University in East Africa (Makerere University) and was an appeal to all the other African cities which was hard to surpass. During the civil war years under Obote and Amin, Kampala suffered heavily the consequences. Many buildings were destroyed and the infrastructure completely broke down.

Today, Kampala is one of the most modern African cities and awakens in many areas the European feeling that is, many shops and hotels, bars and international restaurants. Kampala is also known as one of the safest cities in Africa. Kampala and its surroundings offer sightseeing, city walks and day trips opportunities.

Attractions

Kampala’s attractions are spread out in various place and they range from traditional sites like the Kasubi tombs where the Kings of Buganda were buried, the snow capped Rwenzori “mountains of the moon” to nature’s endowment such as the mighty water falls on the Nile.

Animals

Visiting Uganda’s wilderness is definitely a breathtaking experience. Game safaris in Uganda is filled with scenic views of crater lakes, kings of the jungle and the masters of the bushes. Here are some of the animals that make Uganda’s wildlife a living testimony of the diversity of nature.

Birds

Uganda’s endowment of birds varies from place to place, but rich in variety and species. In fact Uganda is ranked first in the world as an inhabitant of the largest number of rare bird species.

Pairs of saddle-billed stork are sometimes seen in the Africa. Although widely distributed, they need large territories in which to feed and breed and their wetland habitats are shrinking elsewhere due to drainage for agriculture. This huge black and white bird has a large red and black bill with a yellow “saddle” across its base. Males and females can be distinguished by their eyes – those of the females are yellow, while those of the male are brown.

Uganda’s endowment of birds varies from place to place, but rich in variety and species. In fact Uganda is ranked first in the world as an inhabitant of the largest number of rare bird species.

Pairs of saddle-billed stork are sometimes seen in the Africa. Although widely distributed, they need large territories in which to feed and breed and their wetland habitats are shrinking elsewhere due to drainage for agriculture. This huge black and white bird has a large red and black bill with a yellow “saddle” across its base. Males and females can be distinguished by their eyes – those of the females are yellow, while those of the male are brown.

Some sightseeing opportunities are;

  • the Bahai Temple (The only temple of this religion in Africa. A beautiful, peaceful place with a fantastic view over the city).
  • The Kasubi Tombs (The Royal tombs of the Buganda kings Mutesa I, Mwanga II, Daudi Chwa II and Mutesa II in a huge tent built out of wood and straw).
  • Kibuli Hill (This is an Islamic mosque, whose minaret offers a magnificent view of Kampala. One of the largest Islamic worship Uganda).
  • Nakasero Market (The largest market in Kampala city, where mainly African foods are sold. But also Mediterranean products can be found there).
  • Namirembe Cathedral
  • the Uganda Martyrs shrine, Namugongo
  • National Museum at Kitante
  • National Theatre