Kampala City

Kampala city is the capital city of Uganda and holds a great position in the most rapidly growing cities in Africa and the world at large. Kampala Covers an area of about 187 kilometers squared and has 176 square kilometers of land and 13 square kilometers of water. Kampala the capital of Uganda lies on the altitude of 1190 in the time zone of UTC +3 (EAT) with a population of 1,507,080 people according to the 2014 population census. Kampala the city of seven hills the largest of Uganda is situated on the shores of Lake Victoria experiencing two wetter seasons and dry season with an average temperature of 21.3°C and an average annual rainfall of 1293 mm. In Kampala city, July is driest and coldest months with 62 mm of rain and average temperatures of 20°C. March is the wettest and most warm month with an average rainfall of 180mm and temperature average of 22.2 °C

Kampala City
Kampala City

History of the Kampala City

Before the arrival of the British colonialists, Kampala City was reserved as a hunting spot for Buganda’s royal family. It was composed of hills with grassy wetlands in the valleys harboring the famous antelopes i.e. the “impalas”. When the British administrators arrived, they called the area “hills of the impala” which the native Baganda translated as “Akasozi k’e mpala” and from this tale, Kampala town adopts its name “Kampala” because the city grew on Kabaka’s hills. Kampala city developed as a capital city of the great Buganda kingdom which saw the building of the kingdom’s significant structures of Kasubi tombs built-in 1881, the king’s palace “Lubiri”, the Buganda Parliament and the Buganda court of justice in different parts of the city. During the British administration captain Fredrick Lugard the British colonial administrator built a British forum on Mengo hill which was used by the British to occupy Buganda as a protectorate and based in Buganda to extend their influence to Ankole, Toro Kingdom, and Bunyoro kingdom.  By 1905 the most of the regions and kingdoms making up present-day Uganda were declared a British colony. In the times of British administration when Entebbe Town was the capital city but Kampala gradually flourished as a  primary economic, education and manufacturing region of the British protectorate. The present-day Makerere University was established as Makerere Technical Institute as the first university in the whole of the east coast of Africa.

After Uganda receiving independence from the British in 1962 with Kabaka Edward Mutesa the Buganda king as the president and Milton Obote as the vice president, Kampala continued to develop with multiple infrastructures such as shopping malls, hotels, banks, educational institutions were built in the city. Kampala city has a lot of history in different regions of the city, for example, the overthrowing of the then president Kabaka Mutesa by his vice president Milton Obote and the scuffle took place in the kabaka’s place on Mengo hill. Another significant incident was a military coup that resulted in the overthrow of Milton Obote by his former sergeant Idi Amin in 1971. Idi Amin’s regime was full of trouble including the killing of opposing opponents, expelling of all Indian residents and Jewish people living within the city. The climax of his leadership was invading Uganda’s neighbor Tanzania and the clashing resulted in the Uganda-Tanzania war which saw the overthrow of Idi Amin dada at the expense of extreme damage of many Kampala’s structures.  

The 7 Hills Of Kampala City

Kampala city ranked as the best city in East Africa to live in by mercer a global development consulting agency based in New York after Nairobi and Kigali. Kampala is surrounded by wakiso district with towns like Bweyongerere, Namugongo, Kajjansi, and Entebbe. It is an important city for Uganda as a nation for commercial, political, cultural and religious importance harboring significant structures. The capital city has five divisions that are Kampala, Kawempe, Makidye, Nakawa, and Rubaga Division. Kampala city lies on 7 hills of which it derives the name of a city of 7 hills. These hills have different purposes, history and they harbor significant architectural impressive structures that are of interest to numerous tourists both local and international. The 7 hills consist of:

  • Old Kampala Hill: Old Kampala hill southwest of Kampala city in the central division at the elevation of 1210 meters used for commercial, educational, religious and residential purposes with numerous business offices, restaurants, hotels and residential houses. Old Kampala hill is bordered by Makerere in the north, Nakasero in the east, Mengo in the south and Namirembe in the south. Kampala hill is a religious significant location so treasured by Islamic believers and tourists who flock this place to tour the architectural impressive structure, i.e. the largest mosque in Uganda. The Uganda National Mosque has 15,000 seating capacity and also the Uganda Muslim supreme council offices are located here. Other important structures in old Kampala include Fort Lugard the first military administration offices, old Kampala hospital, old Kampala senior secondary school, Nakivubo stadium and many more.  
  • Mengo hill: Mengo hill at the altitude of 1220 meters in the Rubaga division is bordered by old Kampala hill in the north, Nsambya hill in the east, Kabuye town in the southeast, Ndeeba town in the south, Lubaga hill in the west and Namirembe hill in North West. Mengo Hill is a political, cultural religious and educational significant hill. Religiously Mengo Hill is an important location for Baganda people and the Buganda kingdom as it harbors the main Mengo palace for the kingdom. Mengo palace was constructed in 1885 by Mwanga II the 31st king (kabaka) of the Buganda kingdom and consists of a small airstrip. Politically mengo hill houses the Bulange house offices for Kabaka and Buganda’s Lukiiko (Buganda’s parliament) and it is where the historically famous 1900 agreement between the Kabaka of Buganda and British colonialists. Other significant landmarks in mengo hill include the Kabaka‘s manmade lake, Mengo hospital, and St Lawrence university Kampala campus.
  • Kibuli Hill: Kibuli hill found in Makidye Division lies at the altitude of 3973 is bordered by kabalega in the south, Nsambya hill in southwest and Nakasero in the north east. Kibuli hill is an important location for Islamic believers, it is where first Muslim leaders in Uganda settled around the 19 century. Most of the potion of the hill was owned by Prince Badru Kakungulu who donated it to the Ugandan Muslim community, Kibuli hill hosts Kibuli mosque, Kibuli secondary school, Kibuli hospital, Kibuli teacher training college and police training school.
  • Namirembe hill: Namirembe hill at an altitude of 1260 meters and 1 mile from the city center is situated in the Lubaga division adjacent to the mengo hill. It derives its name from a local Luganda word meaning peace and according to legendary tales the hills was a gathering place for peace and war victory celebrations. Namirembe hill is bordered by makerere town in the north east, Mengo hill in the south west, Lungujja town in west, Kasubi tombs in the northwest and Nakulabye town in the north. Namirembe hill is so sentimental to Anglican believers as it is their main worship place in Uganda and Buganda as well since the establishment of offices for the diocese of eastern equatorial Africa in 1890 by Alfred Tucker, the hill also harbors St Paul’s Cathedral sitting on top of the hill which was constructed from 1919 to 1960s. The hill is also home to headquarters of the province of the Church of Uganda, the residence for the archbishop of the church of Uganda and residence for the bishop of Namirembe Anglican diocese. The magnificent view of the city from the namirembe hill is so intoxicating.
  • Rubaga hill: Rubaga hill is situated in the Rubaga division at an altitude of 1220 meters deriving its name from a Luganda word meaning “okubanga” which means a process of planning or constructing a wall. It is surrounded by mengo in the east, namirembe in the north east, Kasubi town in the north, Lubya in North West, Lungujja and Lusenga in the west. Rubaga hill is a culture, religious and education important place, it is 3 kilometers from Kampala city. Culturally the hill used to serve as a location for palaces of kabakas (kings of Buganda kingdom) from the 18th century for kabaka Ndawula Nsobya the 19th kabaka of Buganda and the place was used as a base for planning military expeditions by Buganda generals. Unfortunately the palace caught fire and burnt into ashes and with the coming of catholic white fathers in 1879 the hill was offered to them Kabaka Mwanga II in 1889 and constructed St Mary’s cathedral most known as Rubaga cathedral an architecturally impressive structure.
  • Nsambya hill: Nsambya hill at the altitude of 4000 ft. is also found in the center of Kampala 5 meters southwest from the center along Ggaba road. Nsambya hosts Nsambya Hospital, Nsambya Home Care, American Embassy to Uganda, St. Peter’s Primary School – Co-educational elementary school, St. Peter’s Secondary School – Mixed secondary school, Nsambya Secondary School – Mixed day & boarding secondary school, St. Joseph’s Primary School – Elementary school for girls, St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Nsambya (JOGINSA), Nsambya Police Barracks, and Radio Sapientia Uganda 94.4FM.
  • Nakasero hill: Nakasero hill situated in Kampala central division at the altitude of 1240 meters is located in center of Kampala. Nakasero is significant to the economy and politics of Uganda as it hosts most of business offices numerous government offices and buildings .it is bordered by Mulago in the north, Makerere in northwest, old Kampala in the west, namirembe and mengo in southwest. Nakasero hill hosts Uganda parliament buildings, state house, headquarters of Bank of Uganda, Headquarters of Uganda Wildlife Authority, Uganda Bureau of Statistics, Uganda Commercial Court Building Complex, Uganda Government Analytical Chemistry Laboratory, Uganda High Court, Uganda Investment Authority, Uganda Ministry of Finance, Planning & Economic Development, Uganda Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Uganda Ministry of Health, Uganda Ministry of Internal Affairs, Uganda Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry, a number of hotels like Grand Imperial Hotel, Fairway Hotel & Spa, Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala Hilton Hotel, Kampala Intercontinental Hotel and many foreign embassies like Embassy of Austria, Embassy of Belgium, Embassy of Cuba, Embassy of Denmark, Embassy of France, Embassy of Finland, Embassy of India, Embassy of Ireland, Embassy of Italy, Embassy of Kenya, Embassy of Nigeria and more structures.

The Establishment of Kampala in Different Interests

Kampala City of 7 hills has many other establishments which are of interest to tourists for example: 

  • Culturally:  the city hosts Mengo palace, Ndere Cultural Centre, Kasubi tombs, National theatre, and National Museum.
  • Politically: Kampala city hosts many political offices including Uganda parliament, state house, Headquarters of Bank of Uganda, Headquarters of Uganda Wildlife Authority, Uganda Bureau of Statistics, Uganda Commercial Court Building Complex, Uganda Government Analytical Chemistry Laboratory, Uganda High Court, Uganda Investment Authority and many more.
  • Historically: Kampala city hosts the independence monument, stride monument, and
  • shrine.
  • Economically: Kampala hosts many businesses with their offices and headquarters, shops, arcades and malls, for example, kingdom Kampala mall, garden city mall, acacia mall, banks like centenary bank headquarters, DFCU, KCB and Equity, bank of Uganda headquarters, Nakasero market, Owino market, and many shops.
  • For sport, Kampala has numerous stadiums, for example, Nelson Mandela Stadium, KCCA Stadium (Home of the KCCA football team – “Kasasilo Boys “), Nakivubo Stadium, Lugogo stadium, Kayondo Rugby stadium and many more. Also, Kampala City is home to city oilers one of east Africa’s top basketball club teams among other large teams like the KCCA soccer club.
  • For entertainment: Kampala has numerous clubs that make the city come alive in the late hours of the night because it is also referred to as “the City that never sleeps“, and prominent clubs include guvnor, club play, H2O, liquid silk and many more.
  • Religiously: Prominent worship places in Kampala include Gadhafi mosque, Baha’i temple, St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral located on Namirembe Hill, Rubaga Cathedral, the Uganda Martyrs Shrine in Namugongo, the seat for the Roman Catholic Church and many other churches.
  • Accommodation: Accommodation and food in Kampala city can be got from numerous hotels like Serena hotel, hotel Africana, fairway hotel, Pearl of Africa, Café javas and many restaurants for food

Accessing Kampala City

Kampala city is used by Entebbe International Airport as the main gateway to fly in and out of Uganda and a smaller kajjansi airport. While in the city different means of road transport can be used for example buses, boda-bodas, and taxis, also a train can be used to connect to the city from neighboring towns like Nakawa and bweyongerere.

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