There’s a reason one of the most vibrant cities in Africa was given the name ‘The Pearl of Africa’. I was in Kampala for the 2nd time 🙂 and to be honest just like i didn’t know its called The Pearl of Africa, I wasn’t so excited about this trip either, one because it was a repeat and two because I didn’t have so many to do’s. I actually didn’t even shop as much as the first time when I was here though that is the major reason I came back to the city. Then I started thinking why they even called it “The Pearl of Africa” after someone mentioned it.
THE CHILLY ROADTRIP.
Set out from Jinja at 5:00 a.m., motivated to be in Kampala by 7:00 a.m., Cold, half asleep, dark and chilly but no one was going to stop us. But then like in Nairobi you don’t know what to expect on the road and the Traffic had us in Kampala Town at 9:00 a.m. Am not even mentioning the Old taxi park yet.
We had a plan to visit the Martyrs shrine whose direction we started asking after navigating our way through traffic for two hours and unluckily we had left it way behind just before the start of traffic. Dream killer I tell you.
And since there was no way we were going back , We decided to look for an option B which led us to Gaddafi mosque (read full story HERE) and it was such an amazing experience.
After coming back I decided to have a quick Review of Kampala must do’s for you not to miss out.
1. OLD GADDAFI MOSQUE.
Located in Kampala hill just 2 Km from town is the outstanding 2nd largest mosque in Africa with a very rich history and culture you wouldn’t want to miss.
2. UGANDA MARTYRS SHRINE.
Located 15Km from Kampala or before Kampala (that’s if you are driving from Jinja), in a place called Namugongo is a famous historical shrine with a story about the growth of Ugandan Christianity and a memorial of Ugandan martyrs who died for their faith.
3. OWINO MARKET
Have you heard of Old Taxi Park in Kampala? CHAOS! is the word! While cars are not moving, every human is literally trying to move in-between congested shops to get a buy or deliver an item or two. It’s quite a hectic place and if you are in a group you just have to consider subdividing yourselves, agree on meeting point and time, otherwise you will come out alone not even knowing where the rest are.The Market is a good buy for literally anything especially clothes and shoes and am totally an addict for Jeans and dresses. Leave your phone in the car, hold your money and items safely and close and enjoy the hectic shopping experience.
There is also a craft market on Buganda road for gifts and African stuff if you need souvenirs. A collection of art pieces, jewelry, sculptures and even fabrics.
4. BAHA’I TEMPLE
Located on Kikaya hill off the Gayaza road on the Northern bypass far outside town sits the only Baha’i temple in Africa with perfect lush scenery, singing birds and the Ugandan Baha’i faith story and maybe a little bit castle feel.
5. KASUBI TOMBS
Nothing beats any UNESCO World Heritage site and the Kasubi tombs for disappeared (actually dead) Buganda Kings in terms of the story it offers is one perfect example.
6. BULANGE PARLIAMENT & LUBIRI PALACE
Being Buganda Kingdom’s parliament and Lubiri being the Kabaka’s residence. These are statues that stand for the government and no one hates a photo with a “Whitehouse”. The Palace is on Mengo hill, one mile up from parliament.
7. UGANDAN DISHES.
MATOKE…!! I repeat MATOKE! Kampala is the Banana city, HA! Okay not literally but there’s a point in being called the food city. The restaurants here have some good food at affordable prices and if you are a foodie take a break from French fries and have a taste of the African dishes. Am not a foodie though, hence no specific or unique recommendation. But! CHAPATI was my favorite and a single Ugandan Chapati knocks you down. I won’t even talk about the Rolex.
8. LAKE VICTORIA.
Am not sure but I think Uganda is one of those Landlocked African countries with a very large percent of water mass. Sharing the 2nd largest freshwater lake in the world with Kenya and being the source of the World’s 2nd Longest River you are presented with an opportunity to enjoy all kinds of Cruises, Sunset or Tilapia. You can take boat rides from Port Bell or canoes if you are up to the “Row your boat” challenge.
9. NDERE CULTURAL CENTRE.
Music is art and art is a mental touch, feel and personal expression and live music is the Art. Ndere offers traditional dances and music and is a cultural Centre showcasing all Ugandan cultures from meals, to music and lifestyles on specific days (Wednesday, Friday and Sunday). Remember to book your place earlier.
10. KAMPALA CENTRAL.
Have you ever walked around in town looking for nothing specific or anything in particular, well me neither. But a number of times I’ve walked around all towns I’ve been to just to take in what the town offers, sight see, window shop and capture a few moments while staring at the monumental features and buildings.
This post is already long enough but I thought I could sneak in a few 2 things that you could do in Uganda not specifically in Kampala. Did you also notice and count the number of hills I’ve mentioned; well I hope you are not wandering away yet.
This has been on my bucket list but I need a better plan and more days. The best gorilla tours are on the western side of Uganda and need like a whole day to the forest. It’s the ultimate primate experience, a jungle trek with a breathtaking rainforest. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the Ideal adventure.
SAFARIS & WALKING TOURS.
Am not into National parks if they don’t have a unique experience and well every National Park has at least one. Murchison Falls, Ruwenzori Mountains, and Lake Mburo national Park look good in photos I’ve seen, HA! And I wouldn’t miss to tell you that.
Or a take a drive down to Jinja, Bungee jump on the Nile, Visit the Source of the Nile, Boat ride at Itanda falls, Sunset cruise on Lake Victoria and Raft on the Nile.
There’s no reason you haven’t been to Uganda.
Love & Love 🙂
Credit to the photographers who took some of the photos.