During your 2 Days Kampala Cultural tour and Buganda cultural trail, you will explore the unique and informative experiences of the Buganda kingdom and other several religious places; learn their great history and be like a local!
On your Buganda cultural trail, you will explore the authentic traditional culture and social life through music, traditional dance, artifacts, storytelling, craft making, spiritual healing, traditional herbal medicines, and traditional food preparations.
Kampala and Buganda Kingdom at large has a number of cultural sites that you can tour and explore in your 2 days trails. Such cultural heritage sites include; the King’s palace, Kabaka’s Lake, Kasubi tombs, Bulange Parliament, Wamala Tombs, Amin’s torture chamber, Totems of Buganda, visit Ndere Cultural Centre among other exciting historical places.
Below are some of the key tourist places in Buganda that you shouldn’t miss on your 2 days Kampala cultural tour and trail;
The Kasubi Tombs: This is a UNESCO World Heritage site where four former kings of Buganda were buried.
Kasubi Tombs is a burial ground for four kings of Buganda and other members of the Buganda royal family which makes it an important spiritual and political site for the Baganda.
These tombs are also important icons of traditional architecture however, the main buildings were destroyed by the fire that happened in March 2010. Consequently, in July 2010; the Kasubi tombs were listed as World Heritage sites under danger.
The Kasubi tombs sit on 64 acres on Kasubi hill; about 5 kilometers northwest of Kampala city Centre. Most of the land is used for agriculture and done using traditional techniques.
One corner has a royal palace which was built in 1882 by Kabaka Muteesa I (35th king of Buganda) to replace a palace that was built by his father Ssuna II in 1820. The new palace then became a royal burial ground on his death in 1884.
From the time immemorial, the body of the deceased Kabaka of Buganda was buried in one place, with a separate shrine for the deceased kabaka’s jawbone believed to contain his soul. Unusually, Kasubi contains the royal tombs of four Kings of Buganda.
Kabaka’s Palace / Lubiri: This is an important place in the Buganda Kingdom of Buganda with several offices and a number of tourist sites that attract hundreds of travelers all over the world such as the Idd Amin Torture Chambers, Royal mile, and the Bulange Mengo Parliament. Consider taking a tour of the palace and know why at some point the king’s palace was once used as a military barracks.
Kabaka’s Lake: This is a manmade lake that was dug by palace servants under the orders of Kabaka Mwanga with the interest of connecting Lubiri to Lake Victoria.
Naggalabi Buddo coronation site: This is where the Kings of Buganda are crowned. Naggalabi coronation site is located approximately 20 minutes’ drive from Kampala along Masaka Road on Buddo hill just 14 kilometers southwest of Kampala in the neighborhood of Wakiso district.
It is alleged that succession ceremonies take place at Buddo hill because it’s where Sekabaka Bemba who was a brother to Kintu won a battle against his brother and claimed the throne after killing him to declare himself as king of Buganda in the 13th century.
Naggalabi coronation site has different houses which are culturally significant during the coronation of the Buganda kings. The site has Buganda house where the prince spends nine days after being crowned king, during the nine days, no woman is not allowed to be in the area until they are completed.
After the coronation, the king normally lays strategies on how to run the affairs of the kingdom as well as selecting his cabinet to help him in running the daily activities of the kingdom. This period is commonly known as “Enaku ezobwerinde” which is translated as the days of tension. This tradition is fulfilled by all kings after the coronation.
The current Kabaka Ronald Kimera Mutebi II was coroneted in Naggalabi in 1993 and it was attended by many Baganda to celebrate and welcome their new King.
Kibuli Mosque: This is located on one of the seven hills that make up Kampala city ie Kibuli hill. The hill rises at 1211 meters above sea level. The land was owned by Prince Badru Kakungulu who was a member of the Buganda royal family before being donated to the Uganda Moslem community.
The Arabs came to Uganda in 1844 during the reign of Kabaka Suuna II of Buganda Kingdom, introduced Islam however, there were some teachings that contradicted with the traditions and customs of the Buganda culture such as circumcision but traditionally, the Kabaka doesn’t shed blood, therefore, this was unacceptable. Consequently, Mwanga 11 who was a son to Kabaka Ssuna stopped this practice when he became king.
Prince Nuhu Mbogo collaborated with the British and later he was given a plot on the hill in Kibuli thinking he would build his palace there however, he built it in the valley and donated the land on the hill for a small mosque to be constructed. Later, Prince Mbogo’s son, Prince Badru Kakungulu donated a further 80 acres where the present-day Kibuli mosque is built.
Uganda Museum: It houses the Uganda’s rich cultural and historical heritage.
Wamala tombs: This is where the King Suuna II of Buganda was laid to rest. It is a place of ritual and cultural ceremonies.
Wamala Tombs are located in Nabweru Wakiso district, and just 30 minutes’ drive from Kampala city center.
Kabaka Suuna was the 29th king of Buganda whose leadership happened around 1824. The king had a number of wives and one time he gave away one pregnant woman to the Arab visitors who took her away to Abyssinia (Ethiopia).
The Islamic region was introduced in Uganda during the time of king Ssuna by the first Arabs who arrived in Buganda in 1844.
The Arabs gave him gifts such as mirrors, guns, and clothes. He was the first Kabaka of Buganda to put on Kanzu.
During the reign of Kabaka Ssuna, he conquered and annexed the counties of Bugalazi and Buyaga to Buganda. He loved adventure and spent his free time hunting.
King Ssuna is commemorated for building Kasubi Tombs which was his first palace after the coronation but later decided to go back to Wamala to be close to his mother, for whom he had built a house at nearby Kagoma village.
King Ssuna was also the first Kabaka of Buganda to be buried with his jaw intact. The word Kabaka is derived from the phrase: “Kano kaba kani?” which translates to “Whose jaw is this?” This is because upon the Kabaka’s death, his jaw would be removed and the elders would ask the widows whose jaw it was.
Upon his death, his palace at Wamala became his tomb. The tomb was given the name Batanda bezaala and they are looked after by a number of caretakers led by Nnalinya.
According to Buganda culture, a king does not die but gets lost in the forest; therefore, inside the tomb, one is shown the entrance of the forest, however; it is a taboo to look beyond the entrance.
Nnamasole Kanyange Tombs: This place links the mother and son forever.
Katareke Prison: This ditch is a peaceful shaded site, and circular in shape with an enclosing area of about 70 meters in diameter. The ditch and bank are earthworks; about 10 meters from top to bottom, and located about 30 minutes from Kampala past Buddo town along Masaka road and just 1 Km from Nsangi trading center.
This is where the Kabakas imprisoned and punished lawbreakers. The Katereke Prison ditch is said to have been dug by Kabaka Kalema in the late 19th Century who was one of the great former King of Buganda. In 1888, strange people who claimed to be Muslims overthrew Kabaka Mwanga from the throne and he was succeeded by Kabaka Kiwewa however his rule was short-lived. After Kabaka Kiwewa, Kabaka Kalema was enthroned.
Kabaka Kalema was strongly opposed by his siblings and other members of the community, consequently, he ordered his clan chiefs to construct a prison and imprisoned all princes and princesses who were his rivals which is the present day Katereke Prison ditch.
Despite imprisoning most of his rivals, Kabaka Kalema’s leadership was still threatened and therefore, ordered the execution of brothers and sisters who were 30 in total. This caused widespread fear in the Kingdom among his subjects who feared losing their lives.
After a year, Kabaka Mwanga returned to the throne and exiled Kabaka Kalema who passed away just months after.
The Katereke Prison Ditch is among the most important cultural sites during your 2 Days Kampala Cultural tour and Buganda cultural trail. It is also a great destination for birdwatching, hosting a number of bird species.
Nnamasole Baagalayaze Tombs and Cultural Centre: This is a place of hope, celebration, and learning. You can conclude your 2 Days Kampala Cultural tour and Buganda cultural trail with a visit to the craft centers along Buganda road and the National Theater where you can buy some souvenirs to commemorate your visit to Uganda. If you still have time, you can extend your trip to Ndere Cultural Center for yet another rewarding cultural entertainment of Uganda and beyond through music, dance and drama.