Kampala is a mountain place, though you will never say that! It is on a plateau at 1189 metres a.s.l. and a few kilometers away of the northern coasts of Lake Victoria. The lake is its main tourist at-traction. Kampala is a very young city, built in the 19th century around the British military fort that would protect the whole territory. It became the national capital of Uganda in 1962, as soon as the nation was independent but was partially destroyed – a few years later – during the civil war.
So Kampala really started to exist only in the 1980s. This is why it looks so modern, bright and new. It still keeps some old monuments, anyway, and offers many interesting places to visit. It is the most important city of Uganda, though the President of the Republic lives in the nearby twin town Entebbe, 30 km southwards. Entebbe also hosts the main Ugandese airport and the two cities are closely connected, also through the lake.
The beauties of Kampala
The capital of Uganda is a modern city with a very few historical monuments which are kept as precious jewels. It is proud of its places of worship, especially. In Kampala you can visit churches, mosques and other religions’ shrines. Worth the visit: the Catholic Cathedral of Rugaba, the Anglican Cathedral of St. Paul (both built in the 19th century), the great Ghadafi Mosque. This muslim place of worship was built after the will of lybian Colonel Ghadafi and finished in 2006, after his death. It is the most beautiful mosque of Uganda and also called “the National Mosque”.
Baha’i House is a particular shrine, one of just 10 others in the world. Here, it belongs to the Muslim culture but was planned as a “worship house” for people of any religion. So every single person can walk in and pray his/her God with his/her own prayers. The Kampala’s Baha’i House was built between 1900 and 1903 in the typical Indian architecture, because this kind of temple was first planned in Asia.
Other places of interest
In Kampala you could also visit a royal palace. Mengo Palace is a beautiful villa of the 19th century. It is not “royal” anymore, now it is a prison and a museum dedicated to the old prison but it used to be the house of king Kabaka Mutesa II up to the 1960s. More modern and different in style, the Palace of Parliament can be visited by booking the tour in advance. In Kampala you can also enjoy nice shows and performances at the National Theatre, or find information about history and local art at Uganda National Museum. Worth the visit also the Monument to Independence and the Monument to the Martyrs of Namugongo.
Kampala and the lake
Kampala’s city centre is not overlooking Lake Victoria but its newest area are involved in the tourist itineraries concerning this beautiful lake. So the capital has a close connection to the water and some of the most beautiful beaches of Uganda are here. Try places like Ggaba Beach, the very romantic Mulungu (especially at sunset!), have your best stay in the straw huts of Busabala Love Beach or at the modern hotels of Lutembe. You can also take part into special lake safaris organized by local tour operator. They will show you all the beauty of Lake Victoria, its shores, the immediate inland. A real African dinner on a typical local ferry-boat is an experience!
How to get there
To get to Kampala you have to land at Entebbe International Airport. Then, bus service or taxis will take you 30 km northwards to the capital city. You can reach Kampala also from any other lake city, leaving both from Ugandese ports or Kenyan and Tanzanian ones.