Kampala is the sprawling capital city of Uganda with an estimated 2.5 million people. Located in the southern-central part of the country, Kampala is bustling with people, life, and culture.
If you are traveling to Uganda on safari, what better way to enjoy some culture than a 24 -hour tour around Kampala?
In this article, we curated a list of activities and things to do while spending the day in Kampala. Time is precious, which is why we curated only the best-of-best. Here’s an insider’s guide on how to spend 24 hours in Kampala.
Coffee at 1000 Cups Coffee House
Apart from her gorillas, food, and culture, Uganda is known for her coffee. 1,000 Cups Coffee House serves the best of coffee from single-origin coffee beans across East Africa. From espressos to drips and aeropress, this cafe has the right blend of coffee to shake up your day. Enjoy warm cups of coffee with light snacks and small chops.
Visit Gaddafi Mosque
Gaddafi’s Mosque is Uganda’s national mosque built by late Libyan leader, Colonel Gaddafi. Located on one of the original seven hills of Kampala, this large exotic mosque gives a bird’s eye view of Kampala from the top of its minaret.
Tour the mosque after paying an entry fee of around 10,000 UGX ($2.66 USD). Take pictures and soak up the rich history. Women are given head-scarves and sarongs to cover up in keeping with the customs of the Islamic faith.
Visit Kasubi Tombs
The Kasubi tombs make up a UNESCO World heritage site. The Kasubi tombs serve as burial grounds for the kings of Buganda. These kings are believed to have escaped death by disappearing from Earth instead of dying. The palace contains Buganda regalia and exhibits a rich cultural heritage. Tour guides are always ready to explain these details to interested tourists.
Lunch at Mama Ashanti
Although in Uganda, Mama Ashanti serves the best of West African cuisine; egusi soup, jollof rice, African spiced tea, chicken kebabs, tomato stew, and native soups cooked in Africa. You can treat yourself to a hearty meal of egusi (melon seed soup) and pounded yam with cool ginger and passionfruit juice. Mama Ashanti also has spacious gardens with relaxation spots to shield from the mid-day sun.
Visit Uganda National Museum
This museum is the biggest and oldest museum in Kampala with different exhibits highlighting Ugandan history. Other exhibits range in subject matter covering nature, culture, technology, and traditional music instruments used by Ugandans throughout history
Shop at craft markets
Kampala has a good number of craft markets scattered round the city. Examples include Banana Boat, Afriart Gallery, Makerere Art Gallery, Quality Hill, Uganda Crafts 2000, Exposure Africa, Uganda Art Gallery, Craft Africa, Karibu Art Gallery, Nommo Gallery, and Umoja Art Gallery, to name a few.
These craft markets sell artworks, fabric, sculpture, jewelry, and souvenirs made by local artisans. Apart from materials made in Uganda, artisans also sell hand-made goods made from Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Tourists are advised to window shop and haggle thoroughly before buying items. Cheaper items are usually sold at the Jukali Handcraft Village, also known as the Friday Craft Market.
Visit Lake Victoria
What’s a tour ‘round Kampala without a visit to one of the world’s largest lakes? Lake Victoria has lots of activities to entertain you: white water rafting, kayaking, bungee jumping, jet boating, bird watching, you name it.
Don’t forget to try some of the local foods sold there like fried Nile perch with fried potatoes or traditional matooke, binyebwa, and chapati.
Cultural Tour at Ndere Centre
Ndere Centre is a melting pot of all cultures in Uganda. From cooking lessons to dance classes, Ndere gives you an experience of all Ugandan cultures at the same time.
Slowly wind down for the evening by watching any of the traditional dance and musicals from the Ndere Dance Troupe.
Dance groups display their talent on Sundays and Wednesdays by 6pm. Afrojazz performances take place on Friday evenings.
Dine at Antonio’s
Antonio’s serves the best meals from Uganda, Kenya, and North America. From pizzas to sumptuous rice dishes, stews and local cuisine, the menu is endless.
A typical dinner at Antonio’s includes local foods like chicken or beef pilau, chicken and masala chips, goat mochomo, kebab, and chips. Antonio’s also serves Chinese and Indian cuisine.
Party at Ange Noir
Ange Noir or the Black Angel is Uganda’s busiest and most popular dance hall and night club. Ange Noir gives the ultimate night out experience; drinks, disco, dance, and of course, the latest jams from the DJs.