Kampala, Uganda – most liveable city in East Africa? 2


Kampala, capital city of Uganda, used to be called Kam-pothole due to the sorry state of its roads. But Kampala has come a long way in recent years – in 2016 it was declared the most liveable city in East Africa (it came 169th in global rankings).

But is there anything to do in Kampala? Is it worth a visit?

Kampala, Uganda

Downtown Kampala. Photo credit: Amrita Ronnachit

Kasubi Tombs, Kampala

This huge thatched hut was originally a palace built for Kabaka Mutesa I, monarch of the Buganda kingdom. It was converted into a tomb following his death in 1884, and has been used as a burial ground for the royal family ever since.

Kasubi Tombs, Kampala. Uganda

The Kasubi Tombs, prior to their destruction by fire in 2010. Photo credit: Amrita Ronnachit

Sadly the site was ripped apart by a deliberately lit fire in 2010. A long-running reconstruction program – a program which has drawn much criticism – has promised to have the Kasubi Tombs rebuilt by the end of 2016.

Ndere Centre

The Ndere Centre puts on a thrice-weekly night of entertainment – with a focus on traditional dance and cultural performances – for an amphitheatre filled with dinner guests.

I don’t normally enjoy dinner and dance show combos – they’re usually a little too cheesy for my liking – but I’d heard good things about the Ndere Centre, and while the food is nothing to write home about, the performances are so lively and upbeat you’ll find it hard not to enjoy yourself.

Bahá’í House of Worship, Kampala

Baha'i House of Worship, Kampala, Uganda

‘Baha’i House of Worship, Kampala, Uganda’ by Bxtst, 2011. Image available online at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Baha%27i_House_of_Worship,_Kampala,_Uganda.jpg under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence. Full terms at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

There are only eight Bahá’í Houses of Worship in the world (for a long time there was only seven – an eighth opened in October 2016 in Santiago, Chile; the others are in the USA, Australia, Samoa, Germany, Panama, and India). The final house of worship, the Mother Temple of Africa, is in Kampala, Uganda.

Downtown Kampala

Kampala, Uganda

Photo credit: Amrita Ronnachit

There isn’t a great deal to do in Kampala, but one aspect of the city that shouldn’t be underrated is that it the people are friendly and the streets are safe to walk around on your own. It’s even safe to walk around at night – which will be a welcome change for those that have been travelling around Kenya and Tanzania.

Kampala, Uganda

Photo credit: Amrita Ronnachit

Is Kampala worth a visit?

There isn’t much to do here, especially with the Kasubi Tombs still being restored, which means if you’re someone who needs a jam-packed itinerary of sights and activities then I’d give Kampala a miss. But if you’re happy exploring new cities without any particular agenda, then Kampala is a great opportunity to be out on your own in East Africa. More transport info here.


More on East Africa:

Kenya:

Mombasa – Fort Jesus explored, and the Moi Avenue Tusks explained

Old Town, Lamu – 12th Century Swahili port city, caught in a time bubble

Ol Pejeta Conservancy – black rhinos, Grevy’s Zebras, and the elusive oryx

Rwanda:

Hiking amongst the Tea Fields of Gisakura

Kigali – clean, green capital with harrowing genocide tours

Tanzania:

Zanzibar, Tanzania – mystical paradise or cold, hard, tourist trap?

Climbing Kilimanjaro (Lemosho Route)

Ngorongoro Crater – lions, rhinos, hippos, zebras in a 600m deep pit

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