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Kampala

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The capital and biggest city of Uganda, Kampala, is located close by to Lake Victoria’s shores. The city is very colourful and vibrant, and is rich in history. It is situated on numerous hills, each encompassing a significant government or religious structure. The city is split into five different areas that oversee local planning.

The king of Buganda, Mutesa I, had selected the region that was to become Kampala as one of his favourite hunting grounds. The region was made up of hills and wetlands, making it a perfect breeding ground for a wide range of game – specifically a species of antelope called the impala. Upon the arrival of the British, one of the hills was aptly named ‘The Hill of the Impala’ due to the big concentrations of impala in the area.

The city developed as the capital of the Buganda Kingdom and remains so to this day, with various buildings remaining, including the Kasubi Tombs (constructed in 1881), the Lubiri Palace, the Buganda Parliament and the Buganda Court of Justice. The city experienced heavy destruction during the Uganda-Tanzania War, but has since been rebuilt with an array of hotels, banks, shopping malls, educational establishments and hospitals, as well as an improved infrastructure.

Kampala houses the headquarters of the East African Development Bank, situated on the Nakasero Hill, and the national Uganda Local Governments Association which can be found on Entebbe Road. The first hill of historical significance is Kasubi Hill, which is home to the Kasubi Tombs – a sacred burial ground of Buganda Kabakas (kings). The Uganda Museum is located on the top of Kololo Hill, and features a fascinating assortment of traditional musical instruments.
Kampala boasts a tropical wet and dry climate, with its warmest month being January and its rainy season from August through to December. The local Baganda ethnic group makes up more than 60% of Kampala’s population, which is estimated to be over 2.5 million. The people of Kampala and Ugandas in general are known to be very friendly and hospitable. The city is very safe to roam around in during the evenings.

Explore the city by means of a boda boda (motorcycles), matutu (minibus) or regular taxis. If visiting this area on holiday, be sure to pay a visit to the Uganda Museum, the Kasubi Tombs, the Nommo Art Gallery, Bahai Temple and other intriguing attractions of the region. Spend some time rafting the headwaters of the Nile, bungee jumping near Jinja, jet-boating on the Nile or on a tour through numerous small towns nearby.

You could also spend your days visiting the markets of the area (Owino and Nakasero in particular), or participate in some more thrilling activities. Gorilla safaris can be booked in the Bwindi National Park, which are sure to provide you with an unforgettable experience. A trip to Mburo National Park will take around four hours, but gives you the guarantee of spotting hippo, zebra, gazelles, crocodiles, birds and warthog. Drenched in history, and with so much to do and see in the region, Kampala makes for a fantastic holiday destination for anyone paying a visit to the beautiful and magical continent of Africa.

Related article: Shopping and Dining in Kampala 

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