Uganda’s bustling capital: with a population exceeding a million, Kampala is far Uganda’s largest urban centre. The fast-growing city has a distinctive setting, spread across a series of prominent hills close to Lake Victoria. Though Kampala has long out grown its historical title of the ‘city of seven hills’ the original seven summits remain important focal points, topped by distinctive land marks of cultural, religious and colonial significance.
Kampala is an extremely safe city to explore and visitors should be sure to experience the striking contrasts with in the city centre on the slopes of Nakasero hill. Above Kampala road , the main thoroughfare, leafy avenues are lined by restored colonial buildings – many occupied by quality restaurants and hotels- and brand new office buildings while, down hill, congested streets descend to color full markets, chaotic bus parks and permanent grid lock of vehicles, bodabodas(moped taxis) and pedestrians.
Kampala offers a wide choice of accommodation including several five star hotels- this was greatly expanded prior to Kampala commonwealth summit in 2007- decent mid-range hotels and popular back packer hostels.
Kampala offers all the amenities of a modern capital, while Entebbe and Jinja provide relaxing retreats beside Lake Victoria and the source of the Nile respectively. Though the national parks lie several hours’ drive from Kampala the capital is surrounded by countryside containing tracts of tropical forest, wetland and lake shores where birds and primates can be found.
CLIMATE: Tropical, tempered by altitude (1,200 meters above sea level). Temperatures rarely rise above 30C ( 85F) or fall below 18c (65f) January is the hottest month.
LANDSCAPE: the scenery of central Uganda is dominated by low, flat – topped hills between which broad wetland valleys drain into Lake Victoria.
CULTURE AND PEOPLE: THE people of Kampala and Ugandans in general – are friendly and approachable. Although, today, Kampala is a social and cultural melting pot, it remains the historical capital of the region kingdom of Buganda, home of Baganda, Uganda’s most numerous people. The Baganda are intensely proud of their kabaka (king) and history and traditions that date back to the 16th century.
CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL SITES:
A number of historical sites in and around Kampala call to mind a time of dramatic change in the 19th century when the Baganda encountered Islamic traders and British colonialists and missionaries. Several are found atop the city’s original seven hills, notably the Protestants cathedral on Namirembe hill, the catholic cathedral on Lubaga, Fort lugard in old Kampala and kabaka’s palace on Lubiri hill. Further afield are the Kasubi and Wamala tombs, Katereke prison Ditch, Naggalabi coronation site and Namugongo martyrs’ shrines. Culture comes to life at Kampala’s Ndere centre, where a regular of events includes colorful displays of music and dance from around the country.