Where to stay in Kampala

One of the most important questions you’ll have when visiting Kampala is where to stay in Kampala?

Kampala is a city built on hills and there are various areas in Kampala where you could stay depending on what you are looking to do in Kampala and your budget.

Visiting Kampala city as a tourist

If you are visiting Kampala as a tourist, what is your budget?

If you are a high spender and want to be located in the city center, the best area to stay in Kampala is Nakasero. Nakasero is placed centrally in Kampala and several of the large hotels such as Sheraton, Serena and our hotel, Prestige Hotel Suites, are located in Nakasero. From Nakasero, it is easy to get to several places in the city center and there are plenty of restaurants located nearby. Considering Kampala traffic, it is a good idea to stay in the city center.

If you are a high spender and would prefer to be located slightly away from the hustle and bustle of the main city center, but would like easy reach to the city center, Kololo is another area you could consider. Kololo has some nice hotels such as Golden Tulip and Fairway. The issue with Kololo is that whilst it has several bars and restaurants in its vicinity, there is a danger of noise from the bars during the night hours.

If you are a budget spender, there are several other areas you could consider such as Bukoto, Ntinda, Naguru, Makindye, Muyenga where you would be able to rent homestays/houses and apartments. These places are not that far from the city center as such (apart from Makindye/Muyenga – these are quite far) but the traffic makes it so. You could easily spend an hour or more travelling to the city from these areas because traffic in Kampala is pretty bad.

As a tourist, where you stay may not be much of an issue as you may be in Kampala for only a day or two.

Visiting Kampala city on business

If you are a business traveller, then it is best to be located close to the city center. Ofcourse, this depends on where most of your meetings will be taking place.

Most business travellers prefer to stay in Nakasero and then Kololo. Several large companies and institutions are centrally located, conferences are mainly held at Serena and offices are packed within the central business district i.e. in Nakasero.

If you are working with an NGO, then you may not need to be centrally located. Once again, this depends on where you will be spending most of your time. If you are working in the city and you have a low budget, consider Bukoto, Ntinda, Naguru. If you have a higher budget, Kololo and Nakasero are good options. Trust us, having to travel everyday in Kampala traffic is something you do not want to do.

If you are working further out towards Entebbe, you may choose to stay in Makindye/Muyenga/Kasubi.

Where to stay in Kampala

We hope this guide on where to stay in Kampala is helpful. If you would like more information on any of the above areas or other areas we have not mentioned, feel free to leave a comment. We will advise you on the pros and cons from an insider’s point of view!

What things should I pack for my stay at Prestige Hotel Suites Kampala?

Guests do contact us now and then asking what amenities we have and what they should pack when staying at our hotel in Kampala, Prestige Hotel Suites.

So we thought that we should put together a list of what we do have in our large suites and what you should pack for your stay at Prestige Hotel Suites Kampala!

Bathroom:

Provided:

  • Soap
  • Shower Gel
  • Shampoo
  • Towel
  • Toilet Paper
  • (Hairdryer on request)
  • Bathroom slippers
  • Bathmat
  • Bin

You should bring:

  • Toothpaste/Toothbrush
  • Any fancy shower gels, creams, exfoliators, oils, sunscreens, deodorant
  • Contact lenses/contact lens solution (if you wear these)
  • Shaving kit
  • Menstruation pads
  • Shower cap
  • Combs
  • Sewing kit (if you think you might need it!)

Bedroom:

Provided:

  • Bed, pillows, duvet
  • Storage space, hangers
  • Dressing table
  • (Iron/ironing table on request)
  • Mirrors
  • Mosquito nets
  • Air-conditioning
  • Free WiFi

You should bring:

  • Your clothes/shoes/socks!
  • Medicine
  • Make up
  • Bathrobe
  • Room slippers
  • Shoe polish (if you need it)
  • Dirty laundry bag
  • Lock to keep your valuables safe in your bag (some rooms have safe deposit boxes, some don’t)
  • Power adapters with square pins if you are visiting from Europe/India/a country that has round pin sockets
  • Phone charger
  • Ear plugs/Eye Mask
  • Sunglasses/Hat

Extended Lounge:

Provided:

  • Tea/coffee
  • Bottled water
  • Kettle
  • Fridge
  • TV
  • Sofas
  • Coffee Table
  • Dining Table
  • Bin
  • Information booklet
  • Free WiFi
  • Air-conditioning

You should bring:

  • Your laptop
  • HDMI cable/Chromecast cable (if you use these)
  • Green tea/caffeine-free coffee, fruity teas
  • Extra snacks, biscuits/cakes etc (if you love binging on food)
  • Books!

We hope this list is comprehensive and you found this guide on what to pack when staying at our hotel in Kampala, Prestige Hotel Suites, useful. Feel free to let us know what else you would pack.

30 common local phrases in Luganda when visiting Kampala/Uganda

Survival Phrases – Communicating in Luganda when visiting Uganda (Kampala)

One of the most fun things to do when visiting a new country is to learn its local language. In Uganda, there are several tribes of people and therefore lots of different local languages, depending on where you travel to in Uganda.

If you are based in Kampala city, as it is located in the Buganda Kingdom, the local language would be Luganda, however, as different types of people have settled in Kampala city, you’ll find a long list of languages that are spoken. In fact, Swahili is probably a language that is spoken by most locals despite not even originating in Uganda (It originated from Kenya).

You can always try your luck and practise a bit of Luganda and see where it leads you. If that does not work, then everyone speaks English so you have a back up language anyway 🙂

P.S: We’ll also write up a list of these essential phrases in Swahili incase you would like to have fun with that as well!

 

We have highlighted a few phrases that you may want to use when travelling around Kampala city. In brackets, you’ll find the nearest equivalent of the English phrase in Luganda.

  1. Hello/How are you (Oliotya)
  2. I’m fine (Gendi)
  3. Thank you very much (Webale Nyo – if you are talking to one person; Mwebale Nyo – if you are talking to several people)
  4. Madam (Nyabo)
  5. Sir (Ssebo)
  6. You’re welcome Madam (Kale Nyabo)
  7. Goodbye/See you soon (Nja Kulaba Edda)
  8. I’m sorry (Nysonyi wa)
  9. My name is …… ( Nze ……..)
  10. Nice to meet you sir (Nsanyuse Okulaba Ssebo)
  11. Where are you from? (Ovaa wa?)
  12. I’m from …. (Nva…)
  13. Do you speak ……? (Oyogera ……?)
  14. I speak a little (Njogera lu tono)
  15. How much? (Meka?) p.s ask when shopping, taking local transport, buying gifts/souvenirs etc
  16. Could you recommend a place to eat? (Omanyi wa we nsobola okulya?)
  17. Could I see the menu? (Nsaba ku menu)
  18. Could I order….. (Mpa….)
  19. How do I get to Prestige Hotel Suites? (Ntuka ntya ku Prestige Hotel Suites?)
  20. To the right (Ku dyo)
  21. To the left (Ku kono)
  22. How long does it take to get to….? (Kitwala banga ki okutuukaku…..?)
  23. Could I use your phone? (Nsabaku simu yo)
  24. Where are the nearest toilets? (Toyi ziliko wa?)
  25. Where are your toilets? (Toyi zamwe ziliko wa?)
  26. What is there to see around here? (Mulina yo biki ebisanyusa ebyokulabako?)
  27. Can I buy you a drink? (Nkugulile yo ki?)
  28. Yes (Iye)
  29. No (Nedda)
  30. What time is it? (Zili sawa meka?)

Getting around in Kampala

We are going to get straight to the point. Getting around in Kampala is probably one of the most unpleasant things you’ll have to do while in Kampala.

visiting-kampala-uganda-getting-around-kampala-city-kampala-traffic

Narrow roads, rowdy drivers, boda-bodas and an over-supply of cars all create an experience that is one to be remembered or one to be loathed.

We highlight a few ways in which you can get around but take it from us, if you’re not one for risky adventure, it’s best to stick to a tour company driver/hotel taxi.

Boda-bodas

boda-boda-kampala-city-getting-around

The fastest way to get through the traffic chaos. Also, the most unsafe way to travel in Kampala city – we suppose you have to weigh your options. Most of the accidents that end up in Kampala hospitals are from boda-bodas but despite this, most people do prefer to take boda-bodas. Boda-bodas are basically scooters driven by drivers, most of whom probably do not have official licenses (we think).

There is no fixed rate and everything in Kampala involves negotiation. If you are looking to travel within Kampala city, it should cost you an average of between 2,000/- to 5,000/- (about $1.5-$2) depending on your negotiation skills. From our hotel to Old Kampala, it should cost about 2,000/-. Old Kampala is where most of the tourist attractions in Kampala city are based. From our hotel to Kololo, it should cost about 3,000/-. Kololo is where most of the bars and clubs are located in Kampala. There is also a big shopping mall in Kololo.

If you’re not one for negotiation and prefer to take the safe road, you may consider using “Safeboda”. You can download their app and it works just like Uber. Safeboda drivers receive pre-training and probably follow the road rules better than your average boda-boda drivers e.g. they stop at traffic signals when the light is red.

Safeboda drivers provide you with a helmet but probably best to wear something on your head (a scarf?) before using the helmets. You don’t know whose head the helmet has been on!

Matatus (Mini-bus taxis)

matatu-mini-bus-transport-in-kampala

Matatus used to be the most unsafe option of getting around Kampala until they got overtaken by boda-bodas.

Matatus are mini-vans that can carry upto 14 people and they are the cheapest way of getting around (thanks to economies of scale). A single ride can cost between 500/- to 1,500/- ($0.25-$0.5). Once again, this depends on your negotiation skills but also on the colour of your skin. There are special prices applicable to foreigners and you’ll have to try that little bit harder if you have a lighter skin tone. But we all love challenges, don’t we? This applies to boda-boda drivers as well.

Matatus do take longer to get you to your destination than boda-bodas but the drivers are expert weavers at weaving through traffic. They will get you to your destination faster than a private hire taxi but there is also a higher risk of being delayed in an “incident”as they drive in a very haphazard fashion following the rules of their own brains.

From our hotel, you need to walk to Kampala road (city square) to catch a matatu. From there to Kololo, it should cost you 1,000/-. It is difficult to catch a taxi to Old Kampala, so probably best to stick to the boda-bodas/private hire.

Uber

uber-kampala-visiting-kampala-getting-around

Uber is a good mid-range option of getting around Kampala city and the drivers also drive safely thanks to the reviews system!

Getting around Kampala can cost anywhere between 5,000/- to 10,000/- ($2 – $4).

However, you will still encounter the standard third world problems of cars breaking down and Uber drivers taking longer roads to inflate the fare. You do have to know your roads or pretend to be knowledgeable so that they don’t try to over-charge you. Keep an eye on the route selected by Uber and always question the driver if he takes an alternative route. At the very least, he’ll know that you are monitoring him reducing any further instances of “taking you for a ride”. Excuse the pun.

As always, proceed with precaution. Earlier this year, a couple was mugged by an Uber driver. Late in the night around 12:00am, the Uber driver brought his car to a halt claiming the car had got spoilt. A few minutes later, three of his friends joined him and demanded that the couple hand over all their money/jewellery. One of the passengers resisted and he was beaten up by the four men.

Moral of the story, aim to travel with drivers who have completed several trips and have a good rating. Also, try to avoid travelling during the late hours of the night.

Hiring your own car

hire-a-car-visiting-uganda-kampala

If you are brave enough and you think you have what it takes to drive in Kampala traffic, you may consider hiring a car.

Hiring a car can be quite convenient if you will be spending most of your time travelling upcountry, however, driving within Kampala city is one of the hardest things to do. Not only do fellow car drivers not follow traffic rules, boda-boda drivers will also scratch your car without hesitating and drive off (sometimes with a smile). Experienced drivers who have been driving in Kampala for several years still complain about how hard it is to drive around Kampala.

Finally, be warned. Should you get involved in an accident with a boda-boda, it won’t be long before other boda-bodas gang up on you and create chaos, making it possibly the worst experience of your life.

Hotel Taxis

hotel-taxis-airport-visiting-kampala-uganda

Getting around Kampala city by hotel taxis can cost anywhere between 15,000/- to 25,000/-. ($5 – $8). This is the most expensive option, however, it may be the safest option of getting around Kampala city.

Hotel taxis are usually safe as hotels use these taxis everyday for picking up guests from airports and also taking them around the city. The drivers are carefully vetted and their job is at risk if they do not perform according to the hotel standards. You should always check with the hotel if you are unsure about how safe their taxis are and how long they have been using them for.

Walking

walking-in-kampala-getting-around-the-city

Sometimes the easiest way of getting around the city is by foot. You may reach your destination faster than taking a cab.

Before you book a hotel, it’s a good idea to check where you intend to spend most of your time while in Kampala. You can then book a hotel that’s close by.

However, please refrain from walking by yourself during the quiet hours of the night and keep an eye on your bags and pockets at all times as there are many pickpockets lurking around Kampala city.

Depending on where you stay in Kampala city, you may also get a lot of attention from by-standers, especially if you’re female and have a lighter skin tone. If you do not like being stared at, best not to walk.

Getting around Kampala city

There you have it. 6 ways in which you can get around Kampala city. Yes, we are aware this article sounds so dire and down-putting but we are only telling you as it is. Best to know what to expect and be prepared. Once you are in Kampala city and have tried the various modes of transportation, you’ll know what you are comfortable with.

Apart from the Kampala traffic, everything else about Kampala is amazing 🙂

If you stay at our hotel and would like to try various modes of transportation, feel free to ask our receptionists what the costs will be based on how you’ll be travelling and where you will be going. Our staff live locally and have a good idea of the fare you should be charged, making you better equipped to negotiate a fair price!

Happy travels!

Days trips from Kampala – Mabira Forest

The Wonders of Mabira Forest, Jinja, Uganda

If you’ve ever visited Uganda, you’ll know that it’s a place of immense beauty and splendour. This is partly due to the remarkable Mabira Forest.

visiting-mabira-forest-kampala-uganda

 

The Disappearing Forest

For those who are visiting Kampala city for a few days and would like to go somewhere for a day trip, Mabira Forest might be your calling. The remarkable Mabira Forest is a 300 square kilometre tropical rainforest located in Eastern Uganda. (Though this figure may not be accurate as every day the forest is being cleared for farming. It has been referred to as “The disappearing Forest” and we can vouch for this. Every time we drive past the forest, it seems to be getting smaller and smaller). Mabira Forest has been protected since 1932 and it is home to many endangered species referred to as the Old World Monkey only found in Uganda.

day-trip-to-mabira-forest

 

The Old World Monkeys at Mabira Forest

Personally, we have a story about these Old World Monkeys. The Mabira Forest is located on the Kampala-Jinja Highway. This road cuts directly through the Mabira Forest, which encampasses you as you drive through it. We knew that every time we drove along the Mabira Forest Patch, the Old World Monkeys would drop by for food (bananas etc). However, on one instance, you may not believe us, but the Old World Monkeys formed a horizontal line right across the path in an attempt to prevent us from driving through. This was the most ingenious thing we had ever seen or will ever see. As soon as they were given the bananas, they disappeared into the trees allowing us to carry on with our journey. This was atleast 25 years ago and we are not sure if the Old World Monkeys still pop by for bananas, but we are sure this would be an unforgettable experience for you if it happens.

mabira-forest-monkeys

 

Getting there

The Mabira Forest is accessible from the Kampala-Jinja highway and it may take about 2 hours to get there with usual traffic. However, should you get stuck in traffic, then it may take more than 4 hours. So be sure to wake up very early and be on your way.

 

At Mabira Forest

Rainforests are an important part of the eco-system of this planet. They provide a habitat for up to 50% of the world’s indigenous species and are characterized by high rainfall. Because Mabira Forest is such a thick forest, very little sunlight reaches the forest floor. This keeps the growth of plants
restricted, making it easier to walk around in. However, we would not suggest that the forest is an easy walk. There is lots of uphill and downhill walking required, with strong roots growing above the ground. There are also several insects such as red ants and other bugs, so we would suggest that you wear insect repellent or longer but light clothing to keep you protected. It is fine to wear normal trainers on a sunny day, however, you should carry a pair of gum boots just in case it rains heavily before your visit. It can get quite muddy.

Top things to do in Mabira Forest

There are several walking trails located in Mabira Forest and you can find more information about these from the Mabira Forest Visitors Center. You could also probably hire a guide to walk you around the trails and you can find out more about this from the center. The forest center is on the edge of Najjembe village approximately 500m north of the main road. Coming from Kampala, it is signposted to your left just before you reach the roadside market at Najjembe. A short walk or drive down this murrum road will bring you to the forest center where parking is available and the Visitors center.

Here are some of the trails we have come across from the Center:

  1. Picnics

Picnic Trail
Leading from the picnic site, this short 15 – 20 minute self guided trail journeys into the forest meandering through regenerating forest along the valley of one of Mabira’s many forest streams.

 

It is ideal for children and visitors on a tight time schedule.

 

2. Bird Watching

Mabira forest is home to 315 species of birds such as Nahan’s francolin, Tit Hylia, Yellow and grey longbills, Purple-throated cuckoo shrikes, Illadopsises, Jameson’s wattle eyes.

You can spot 46% of Uganda’s forest birds in Mabira Rainforest which means you can spot several species of birds within a short space and time.

bird-watching-at-mabira-forest-safaris

 

Grassland Trail
Keen bird watchers will enjoy the Grassland Trail loop which offers good views into the broken canopy which, together with an abundance of fruiting trees, make sightings of large numbers of forest birds a real possibility.

 

It is a 3km trail which can take anywhere between 1 and 3 hours depending on bird sightings. It is well marked so visitors can walk alone or with a guide who will help interpretate the sights and sounds of the forest. The trail travels through regenerating secondary forest flanking the sides of the Najjembe stream valley. It is possible to link with other trails to extend your walk.

 

The Fig Junction Trail
Another trail through thick primary forest. The main feature of this trail is an impressive fig tree junction which provides an excellent bird watching area. Watch out for the Black Billed Turaco, Yellow Billed Barbet or Dusky Long Tailed Cuckoo. This trail takes approximately 2 to 3 hours from the forest center.

 

Buwoola Pond
Top afternoon birding spot in Mabira Forest. White Spotted Flufftail, Sooty Boubou, Shinning Blue Kingfisher, and Jamesons Wattle Eye can potentially be spotted here. Take a guide from the interpretation centre.

 

3. Monkey Spotting

monkey-trekking-spotting-in-mabira-forest-visiting-mabira-forest

 

The Radio Hill Trial Network
For visitors wanting a more ‘jungle like’ experience and views over the forest canopy a number of trail circuits link to Radio Hill where a steep climb is rewarded by panoramic view north over the forest reserve.

The Primary forest trails are across the main road from the forest center. Visitors enter a cool tropical shadowdy environment characterised by gurgling forest streams, giant tree trunks , twisted stems of strangler figs and the chattering of tribes of monkeys high above in the forest canopy.

This is intact tropical forest and rich in plant and animal life. Visitors will enjoy walking in this cool environment and wonder at the amazing natural formations in this artists paradise.

All walks in the primary forest must be led by a trained guide. They will chose a trial to suit your time schedule and fitness level. All walks are on looped circuits with resting points.

 

The Market Loop
This trail links two impressive fig trees and is a common area for monkeys which feed on the fruit. You may meet Red Tailed monkeys or Black and Grey Cheeked Mangabeys which often raid people’s gardens on the forest boundaries. The market loop takes approximately one hour from the Forest Center.

 

4. Butterfly viewing

butterfly-safaris-visting-mabira-forest-in-kampala-uganda

 

Butterfly Viewing Trail
This trail is much more open and sunny. It is characterised by many flowering plants such as Lantana Camara, whose pink and yellow flowers attract clouds of butterflies. Birds such as White Throated Bee Eaters and Pied Kingfishers enjoy this forest edge environment. This trail takes approximately 2 hours from the forest center.

 

The River Mabugwe Loop
This trail leads through intact rainforest along the path of the River Mabugwe which is one of the permanent rivers in Mabira Forest. A huge strangler fig is a prominent feature on the trail and the trail opens up in places to provide excellent sites for butterfly and bird viewing. This trail takes approximately 2 hours from the forest center.

 

5. Nature Walks

top-things-to-do-in-Mabira-forest-kampala-uganda

 

Gangu Ridge Trail
This is the longest trail and leads into shaded thick forest far away from the main highway. It takes approximately 3 to 4 hours and involves a trek through primary forest across three valleys including the Gangu valley. The trail has two resting points from which you can view birds, forest primates or you may spot signs of the elusive bush pig. This trail links to the Butterfly loop and Radio Hill Circuit.

 

Radio Hill Loop Circuit
A trip straight to the viewpoint at the top the radio tower on Radio Hill will take approximately 45 minutes. It is well worth the climb to witness a marvellous panoramic view over the forest, from here you can start to appreciate the sheer scale of the forest which is the largest in Central Uganda.

 

Macaranga Loop Trail
This trail is characterised by the Macaranga species of trees with their amazing thorny stems. Discover how these trees protect themselves against forest predators. This trail takes approximately 1½ hours from the forest center.

 

6. Mountain Biking

mountain-biking-in-mabira-forest

 

The Mabira forest walking trails are also great for biking. You should ask for more information about this at the visitors center.

Mountain Bikes can be rented at Griffin Falls camp, outside of the forest at a National Forestry Department facility and you can also rent bikes from Nile River Explorers in Jinja if you’re coming from there.

Ofcourse, you are always welcome to carry your own.

 

7. Zip Lining

top-things-to-do-in-mabira-forest-zip-lining

 

If you’re an adrenaline fan, you can also opt to go for Zip-Lining. The Super Skyway Zip line is the only Zip-Line above the tree-tops in East Africa.

The activity can be done from 8 am – 12 noon and from 1 pm – 6pm. Ask for more information at the visitors center.

 

8. Weekend getaway and camping

where-to-camp-near-kampala-in-uganda

 

The Mabira Forest is also great for getting away from Kampala city for the weekend. You can choose to either stay at a lodge or camp.

Accomodation:

a) You can choose to stay at the Mabira Forest Lodge that features 15 high end cottages with a restaurant, gym and swimming pool.

b) There are also bandas and campsite where you can choose to pitch your own tent. For more information, contact Mabira Forest Ecotourism Centre. P.O. Box 142 Lugazi. Tel 0712 487173, 0712 955671, 0712 920515.

 

You can choose a trail and hire a guide. Depending on how good your guide is, you can expect to be shown a number of medicinal plants, birds and snakes that are indigenous to the Mabira Forest.

You’ll find the forest to be considerably dark, with just a few glistening streams of sunlight beating through from above. It’s also surprisingly quiet, depending on what time of day and year you visit.

The afternoons are fairly quiet when it comes to birdlife, so opt for mornings or evenings. Be sure to keep your eyes open for the strangling fig tree that lives purely off its host until it completely takes it over.

After your forest walk, you will probably need to eat. Good food can be found in the nearby town of Jinja, even for those with dietary needs or preferences. Overlooking the Nile you’ll be able to plan the next part of your holiday. You might even wish to travel down some of the Nile on a boat, as it’s
close to Victoria Lake which is recognised as the source of this amazing river.
In conclusion, Mabira Forest is definitely a destination to include in the itinerary of your trip to Uganda.

If you need any further information, feel free to get in touch on info@prestigehotelsuites.com. You can also find out more information about us from our website: http://www.prestigehotelsuites.com.

Hope you enjoy your day trip to Mabira Forest and found our top things to do in Mabira Forest useful!

The 5 top tourist attractions to visit in Kampala

Kampala is the capital city of Uganda perched on several hills. It is a small city and you could pretty much visit all the attractions in one day. If you are visiting Uganda to explore the mountain gorillas or perhaps you are going on a safari to a national park, it is worthwhile staying in Kampala for a day after your adventures.

 

History of Kampala

Before Kampala became a city, it was comprised of hills covered with grassland and wetlands. This housed several antelopes, of which one species was referred to as the “Impala”. The King of the Baganda (a tribe in Uganda) had at that time reserved the grounds of Kampala as a hunting reserve.

When the British arrived, they referred to it as the “Hills of the Impala”. The Baganda translated this to “Kasozi” meaning “Hills”, “Ke” meaning “of”, “Empala” plural for “Impala”. Over time, this shortened to Kampala.

 

The top 5 tourist attractions to see in Kampala

  1. The Seven Hills

Kampala is referred to as the city of the seven hills. This is an attraction in itself. Even though Kampala has now expanded covering several hills, the original seven hills remain very important.  The original seven hills of significance are:

  • Old Kampala
  • Mengo
  • Namirembe
  • Lubaga
  • Nsambya
  • Kasubi
  • Kibuli

No matter where you are standing in Kampala, you will always be surrounded by hills.

You’ll find older buildings and historical attractions as well as the Gaddafi Mosque in Old Kampala.

The Kasubi tombs are located on Kasubi Hill.

The Kabaka’s Palace/Idi-Amin’s torture grounds can be found on Mengo Hill.

Several cathedrals can be found on Namirembe Hill and Lubaga Hill, some dating back to 1885.

Kibuli Hill is a pre-dominantly muslim area with the Kibuli mosque being located here.

As Kampala has expanded, several other hills are now quite important such as Nakasero, Kololo, Ntinda, Naguru, Makindye, Mulago and Tank Hill.

The State House is located in Nakasero with several up-market hotels and financial companies. Our hotel, The Prestige Hotel Suites, is located in Nakasero as well. Several embassies such as the French and Dutch embassy are located in the Nakasero area.

You’ll find some lovely bars, restaurants and clubs in Kololo. Bigger houses and the elite also tend to stay on this hill. There are also some embassies and military barracks on Kololo Hill.

There is a large expat community in Tank Hill. However, Tank Hill is quite far from the city center compared to Nakasero and Kololo Hill. Ntinda, Naguru and Makindye Hill also has some good housing options.

The national hospital, Mulago Hospital is located on Mulago Hill.

It would be easy to see most of the hills as you live in and experience Kampala. Enjoy a quiet night’s stay on Nakasero/Kololo Hill and enjoy food at one of the lovely restaurants in Kololo, spending the rest of your time exploring other attractions on the other hills.

2. Kasubi Tombs

Kasubi-tombs-places-to-visit-in-kampala

The Kasubi Tombs is located on Kasubi Hill and is a UNESCO world heritage site. It has been described as “one of the most remarkable buildings using purely vegetal materials in the entire region of sub-Saharan Africa”.

The Kasubi Tombs are located within the Baganda Kingdom and are of great importance to the Baganda. It is the burial site for 4 Baganda Kings and other royal family members. The King of Baganda referred to as the Kabaka is a very important figure and is an unquestioned symbol of the spiritual, political and social state of the Baganda Kingdom. It is an active religious place and century old rituals are still carried out by the Baganda.

Some of the major buildings in the Kasubi tombs were destroyed in a fire in 2010 and the cause is still unknown. During this period, riots broke out and 2 rioters were killed with five seriously injured. The Kasubi tombs have now been placed on the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger.

Opening hours are from 8:00am – 5:00pm.

Entrance is 10,000/-

History of the Kasubi Tombs

The Baganda belong to the Bantu speaking people and their civilization dates back to the 13th century AD. According to oral traditions, the first Kabaka of Buganda was called Kintu. He is said to have arrived with his wife Nambi, whose hand he won by performing heroic deeds at the command of her father Ggulu, the god of the sky.

At Kasubi and in all other royal tombs, there is an area behind a bark cloth (lubugo) curtain known as Kibira or forest where certain secret ceremonies are performed. At the Kasubi Tombs the Kibira is the area where the real tombs of the Kabakas are, while in front of the curtain there are raised platforms corresponding to the position of each Kabaka’s tomb behind the curtain.

The first Kabaka to be buried at Kasubi was Muteesa I, who was the 35th King.

Getting there

Kasubi Tombs are located on Kasubi Hill close to Old Kampala Hill. You can easily get there by boda or Uber or a privately arranged taxi. Please note the traffic in Kampala is very bad and it can take very long to get to any destination if you get stuck in traffic.

From our Kampala city center hotel, it takes about 17 minutes by car with the usual traffic. If you are staying on other hills such as Naguru, Ntinda, Tank Hill, Makindye Hill, it can take over an hour to get there should you get stuck in traffic.

3. Gaddafi National Mosque

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The Gaddafi National Mosque, also referred to as the Uganda National Mosque, was commissioned by Colonel Gaddafi of Libya as a gift to the Ugandan people of Muslim faith. On the death of Colonel Gaddafi, the mosque was renamed and is now the Uganda National Mosque. (On Google maps, it is called the Kampala Central Mosque)

It is located on Old Kampala Hill close to the Kasubi tombs and you can visit both these places as they are in the vicinity. The Mosque can be viewed from anywhere in Kampala and forms part of the Kampala Skyline. It is open to all, however, women have to follow the Muslim dress code and must be veiled as per the Islamic custom.

It is one of the biggest mosques in Africa and is able to accommodate upto 35,000 people. It stands on the original spot where the British hoisted their flag to declare Uganda a British colony.

Climb the Minaret to get a 360 degree view of Kampala city and from here you’ll be able to see all seven hills of Kampala and more. The mosque is open from 9:00am to 6:00pm daily, except for Fridays, when it closes for prayers between 2:00pm-6:00pm.

Entrance is 10,000/-

Getting there

You can easily get there by boda or Uber or a privately arranged taxi. Please note the traffic in Kampala is very bad and it can take very long to get to any destination if you get stuck in traffic.

From our hotel in Kampala, it takes about 15 minutes by car with the usual traffic.

4. The Uganda Museum

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Even though we have added the Uganda Museum to the top attractions to visit in Kampala, it would not fall under OUR top picks. When visiting the Uganda Museum, please do not expect to find anything along the lines of the British Museum.

It is a small museum, largely unvisited by the locals, hence expect to find a hint of dust – some may say it is so old that it is a curiosity within itself.

You are bound to get a glimpse into some of Uganda’s history as you discover some fossils, local tools, musical instruments etc. Perhaps going there with a guide would make it more interesting as they would be able to give you more insight and tell you tales about the tools and instruments.

With a bit of funding and care, the Uganda Museum could probably do with a make-over. Given that East Africa is the cradle of man i.e. the birthplace of man-kind, you would expect to find a lot of interesting history here.

So, we would urge you to visit the Uganda Museum because your donation would help a great deal in re-vamping this place. Also, you can not say you have visited Kampala city without dropping into the national museum!

Opening hours are 10:00am-5pm.

Entrance is 3,000/-.

Getting there:

You can easily get there by boda or Uber or a privately arranged taxi. Please note the traffic in Kampala is very bad and it can take very long to get to any destination if you get stuck in traffic.

From our Kampala hotel, it takes about 15 minutes by car with the usual traffic.

5. The Kabaka’s Palace and Idi Amin’s torture chambers (Lubiri/Mengo Palace)

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The Kabaka’s palace is located on Mengo Hill and is worth a visit, mainly because of Uganda’s past involving Idi Amin. The whole world knows about Idi Amin’s dictatorship and standing on the site where Idi Amin’s torture chambers were located may be quite humbling. Perhaps going with a guide would make it an even more interesting experience.

It is thought that over 30,000 people were executed in these chambers. Ranging from electrocution to death by Amin’s operatives, these chambers’ walls leave a glimpse of the slow death that was suffered in blood and excrement.

On a brighter note, the Kabaka’s Palace also forms the historic seat of the Baganda King.

Opening hours are 8:00am-5:00pm.

Entrance is 10,000/-

Getting there:

You can easily get there by boda or Uber or a privately arranged taxi. Please note the traffic in Kampala is very bad and it can take very long to get to any destination if you get stuck in traffic.

From our Uganda hotel, it takes about 15 minutes by car with the usual traffic.

The TOP 5 PLACES TO VISIT IN KAMPALA

We hope you enjoyed reading through our article on the top 5 tourist attractions in Kampala and hope it provides you with sufficient information on what to see when you in Kampala!

We hope you have a lovely time exploring our city!

 

Introducing ourselves

At the Prestige Hotel Suites, we want you to have a comfortable night’s stay in central Kampala. Our hotel is a modern hotel in central Kampala with clean and classic suites comprised of extended lounges with prices starting from $80. A home away from a home.

“I was impressed at how big the suites were! The rooms are really nice and there is enough space to work and relax at the same time”

Location, Location, Location

Our Kampala Hotel is located within the Nakasero area, only a 6 minutes stroll away from the Central business and shopping district (Kampala road). All hotel suites are tastefully decorated with modern furniture and are equipped with air-conditioning. All suites have balconies over-looking Kampala city with beautiful views.

“I like the beautiful city views”

Comfort

For your comfort, we have a swimming pool, bar/lounge, pool terrace, fast and free WiFi, 24 hour reception, ample parking space and a daily cleaning service.

“The staff are very friendly and helpful. I will be back.

At the Prestige Hotel Suites, you will always receive a warm welcome. We look forward to serving you.