Must see attractions in Kampala

  • Sights in Kampala

    32° East Ugandan Arts Trust

    This centre for Ugandan contemporary artists includes exhibit space, a library, workspace and resource centre. It is in the process of moving to a nearby space; keep an eye out for upcoming events on its website, including its biannual Kampala Contemporary Art Festival.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Kampala

    Mengo Palace

    Built in 1922, this small palace is the former home of the king of Buganda, though it has remained empty since 1966 when Prime Minister Milton Obote ordered a dramatic attack to oust Kabaka Mutesa II, then president of Uganda. Led by the forces of Idi Amin, soldiers stormed the palace and, after several days of fighting, Mutesa was forced into exile. The building's interior cannot be visited, but the notorious underground prison here is open to tours.

  • Sights in Kampala

    Kasubi Tombs

    The Unesco World Heritage–listed Kasubi Tombs are of great significance to the Buganda kingdom as the burial place of its kings and royal family. The huge thatched-roof palace was originally built in 1882 as the palace of Kabaka Mutesa I, before being converted into his tomb following his death two years later. The tombs were destroyed in an arson attack in March 2010, however, and are still being rebuilt, with no end to the work in sight at present.

  • Sights in Kampala

    Afriart Gallery

    This classy little gallery features works by serious local artists. Downstairs has changing monthly exhibits, while upstairs is a permanent collection, but everything is for sale.

  • Sights in Kampala

    Makerere Art Gallery

    Small, but definitely worth a visit, with fascinating monthly exhibitions; check the website for events. There are also some cool sculptures on the grounds.

  • Sights in Kampala

    Kampala Hindu Temple

    Right in the city centre, this temple has elaborate towers and a swastika-emblazoned gate. Peek inside to see the unexpected dome.

  • Sights in Kampala

    Parliament House

    Open to the public, a visit to parliament is an interesting way to spend an hour or two. You can either tour the building or see the government in action – during sitting weeks, parliament operates from 2.30pm Tuesday to Thursday and is conducted in English. You need to visit the public-relations department (room 114) to arrange a visit and make a written request to see question time. Usually you can arrange a visit on the spot.

  • Sights in Kampala

    Uganda Martyrs’ Shrine

    Located in Namugongo, this shrine marks the spot where Kabaka Mwanga II ordered the execution of 14 Catholics who refused to denounce their faith, including church leader Charles Lwanga who was burnt alive on or around 3 June 1886 – which is now celebrated as Martyrs’ Day. The shrine represents an African hut but looks more like something built by NASA than the Catholic church.

  • Sights in Kampala

    Uganda Museum

    There’s plenty to interest you here with a varied and well-captioned ethnographic collection covering clothing, hunting, agriculture, medicine, religion and recreation, as well as archaeological and natural-history displays. Highlights include traditional musical instruments, some of which you can play, and the fossil remains of a Napak rhino, a species that became extinct eight million years ago. Head outside to wander through the traditional thatched homes of the various tribes of Uganda; plus get a look at Idi Amin's Mercedes.

  • Sights in Kampala

    Bulange Royal Building

    A great place to learn about the history and culture of the Buganda Kingdom; guided tours take you inside the parliament building, providing interesting stories and details about the 56 different clans. Buganda Parliament is held twice a month on Monday mornings, though it is conducted in Lugandan. Buy your ticket at the adjacent Buganda Tourism Centre which also sells bark-cloth clothing and books on Bugandan culture.

  • Sights in Kampala

    National Mosque

    One of Kampala's premier sights, the prominent National Mosque (widely known as the Gadaffi Mosque) was begun by Idi Amin in 1972 but only completed in 2007 with a donation from Colonel Gadaffi. The hour-long tour allows you to scale its soaring minaret for the best views of Kampala, and takes you within its gleaming interior. Free entry for Muslims.

  • Sights in Kampala

    Rubaga Cathedral

    This twin-towered Roman Catholic cathedral has a memorial to the Uganda Martyrs, with 22 Catholic victims (later declared saints) enshrined in the stained-glass windows. They were among other Ugandan Christians burnt or hacked to death by Kabaka Mwanga II in 1885 and 1886 for refusing to renounce the 'white man’s religion'.

  • Sights in Kampala

    Namirembe Cathedral

    This huge domed Anglican cathedral, finished in 1919, has a distinct Mediterranean feel. In years past the congregation was called to worship by the beating of enormous drums, which can still be seen in a little hut alongside the church.

  • Sights in Kampala

    AKA Gallery at Tulifanya

    Formerly known as Tulifanya, this well-established gallery has knowledgeable owners who can inform you about artists who matter. It features a notable Geoffrey Mukasa collection.

  • Sights in Kampala

    Uganda Art Gallery

    Just down from Namirembe Cathedral, this small-scale gallery sells quality paintings by local artists at affordable prices.

  • Sights in Kampala

    Wamala Tombs

    A low-key Buganda royal site, Wamala Tombs is 11km north of Kasub. Arrange a guided visit at Kasubi Tombs.

  • Sights in Kampala

    Karibu Art Gallery

    An artist-run gallery and studio featuring emerging and established Ugandan abstract and contemporary artists.

  • Sights in Kampala

    Umoja Art Gallery

    A small contemporary gallery featuring Ugandan paintings and abstract sculptures in monthly shows.

  • Sights in Kampala

    Nommo Gallery

    Established by the Ugandan Culture Centre in 1964, Nommo is a reliable spot for quality artwork.

  • Sights in Kampala

    Katereke Prison Ditch

    Located on the outskirts of town, royal prisoners were starved in the prison ditch during the upheavals of 1888–89. Kabaka Kalema killed 30 of his brothers and sisters here in 1889 in his quest to keep control of the throne. It’s not much more than a deep, circular trench, but it’s an evocative site.