The 7 Best Art and Cultural Heritage Tours in Kampala, Uganda

Make Kampala city your central location and do several day trips to visit some of the attractions and sites that are hard to be combined while on a single tour. That is why we bring you different tours that offer a rewarding Uganda safari experience. Most tourists spend a night in Kampala after arriving at Entebbe and then quickly transfer to western Uganda for wildlife safari. But if you have few days after your safari, Kampala is worth to explore. The city may not be like any other city you have been to in East Africa, but it’s unique in its way. Here is our suggested tours that include popular attractions, sites as well as those that are less known.
The Kampala fresh food market tour
For visitors to Kampala, a tour to fresh food local markets can be a great experience in Kampala city. You may visit just to look around but we encourage you to get in action. Buy some fruits, interact with sellers ask the name of the fruit you have never seen or just make a praise the vendor for his stall. In the all time favorite markets such as Nakasero Owino and Usafi markets found downtown, gossiping is like wildfire.
Nakasero market- head to Nakasero market held every day for shopping or walk to explore the stalls. With your guide, learn about the different fruits and vegetables that make Uganda a fruit basket of Africa. Fresh vegetables, papayas, pineapples, kiwi, alfalfa sprouts, broccoli, egg plants, tomatoes just name it, the market has all you need. Nakasero market is the most visited in Kampala because it is located on the junction of Entebbe and Kampala roads, Nakasero hill.
Owino market, visitors to this market often struggle to navigate through the crowds but the locals, vendors are friendly and work hard till late evening. Owino has fruits and vegetable stalls but most popular for second hand clothing and shoes of all kinds, so there’s plenty to shop. Besides being the most popular, Owino is also one of the oldest markets in Kampala. Though, the new Tuskys mall building has led some of its parts to relocate, its energetic atmosphere has remained. Other markets to explore include Kalerwe, Usafi, Wandegeya, Nakawa and Nakulabye.
Sightseeing Kampala tour
This tour takes visitors through a rich culture and heritage of Kampala city. It features some of the great landmarks like Gaddafi national mosque, historical monuments like the independence monument, old buildings such as fort Lugard museum, Buganda kingdom’s lubiri palace, Kasubi tombs, Uganda museum, places of warship such as Bahai temple, Hindu temple, Rubaga and Namirembe cathedrals, and cultural centers like Ndere. Visitors are guided by knowledgeable local guide who can explain the cultural heritage and history on which Kampala evolved from a swamp to a modern city.
Kabaaka’s trail tour
This tour gives visitors insights into the culture, heritage and history of Buganda kingdom which dates back from 14th century and still active today. People of Buganda Kingdom refer to their king as Kabaaka who’s the supreme social and political leader of the kingdom.
The Kabaaka’s trail includes 7 cultural sites that are easily accessible on a tour within and outside Kampala city. They include Naggalabi coronation site, Kasubi tombs (UNESCO world heritage site), Wamala tombs, Katereke prison ditch, Namasole Kayange tombs, Namasole Bagalayaze tombs and center of hope and Sezibwa waterfalls. It may not be possible to visit all with a day tour but we always select the best and easily accessible for visitors.
Visitors can be able to participate in activities that give the real authentic cultural experience of Buganda kingdom. For instance a traditional ceremony/rituals at Naggalabi coronation site on how the Kabaaka’s of Buganda are crowned, Kasubi tombs a UNESCO world heritage, the burial grounds of the former kabaaka’s as well as enjoying traditional dance performances, arts and craft making, Buganda local food cultural experience, storytelling, traditional and spiritual healing and many more.
Uganda martyrs trail
Although the martyrs trail is mainly aimed at pilgrimage and spiritual experience, the trail also showcases some of the beautiful scenery, local food and culture of Kampala city. Visitors don’t need to be a religious believer to appreciate what the trail has to offer. Highlights along the martyrs trail include sites where the 23 catholic and 23 Anglican martyrs were killed and burnt alive for failure to denounce their Christian faith in 1885 to 1887. The prosecutions were ordered by the Kabaaka Mwanga of Buganda who opposed Christianity teaching blaming them for turning his followers from traditional spiritual religion into modern Christianity. The aftermath has been a worldwide Uganda martyr’s pilgrimage which millions attend every year 3rd June and the two popes have visited Uganda for the sake of honoring martyrs including Pope Paul VI in 1964 and current Pope Francis in 2015. The Uganda martyr’s trail encompasses five sites. They include Mapeera site in Sesse islands where the catholic brothers first stayed as they wanted to seek permission from Kabaaka before they begun their teachings, Kigungu church in Entebbe, Mapeera site in kisubi, Munyonyo shrine and finally to the main site, the Uganda martrs shrine at Namugongo. Unlike other sites, Namugongo shrine is the most popular with large Basilica built like African hut and has a capacity to accommodate over 1000. There’s also a museum, holy water pool and pavilion for pilgrimages.
Kampala by night life tour
Kampala city was nicknamed the sleepless city of East Africa because of its lively nightlife. This tour require visitors to have a guide and security, however Kampala is also listed as one of the highly secure cities to walk in at night. What makes it worth are the night clubs, casinos and cinemas, bars and restaurants, lots of roasted meat, Rolex and smelling spices. At least if you’re not a fun of partying, you would just experience the lifestyle including prostitutes who sell their bodies to make a living. Popular places include Kampala casino, Kabalagara area, clubs like silk, Amnesia, Governor and many more.
Uganda museum trail
Uganda museum is the oldest in east Africa having been established in 1902, it has been shifted several locations which visitors will visit. Uganda museum was first set at Fort Lugard museum old Kampala hill and as the artifacts and exhibits kept on increasing, it was shifted to Makerere University Margaret Trowel art gallery and center and finally a large building was put up at kitante hill kira road where the museum sits today. All the sites offer an amazing experience tracing the history, culture and Uganda’s wildlife diversity.
Bird watching tour
Kampala city itself is a favorite area to spot birds because it is situated on the northern shores of Lake Victoria. And its suburbs such as kololo hill, Makerere University hill, Namirembe hill have got a lot of trees that attract a variety of bird species. Though, birding in the city, you have to wake up early to escape the noisy vehicles but the good thing you remain within the city.
Another great site that birder must never miss while in Kampala is the Mabamba swamp, designated as an Important Birding Area (IBA) and a ramsar site. The wetland is home to over 300 species of birds including threatened birds like the shoebill stork, papyrus gonelock, Eurasian migrants like whinchat and many more. Mabamba can be accessible by 20 minutes drive from Kampala great for morning birding excursion. Those in Entebbe, will use a canoe to reach the swamp giving you more chances to spot birds.

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