5 days Uganda Cultural Heritage Sites Tour

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829
5 Days
Entebbe International Airport
Kampala City

5 days Uganda Cultural Heritage Sites Tour

This trip will introduce you to Uganda’s Cultural Heritage sites around Kampala to learn about the past traditions and history of Uganda. 

Highlights: Bulange- Mengo, Uganda National Museum, Ssezibwa Falls, Kasubi Tombs, Makerere University, Ndere Cultural Centre, Rubaga Cathedral, Kabaka’s Lake, Namugongo Martyrs’ Shrine, Katereke Prison & Ba’hai Temple

Brief itinerary

Day 1: Uganda National Museum & Ssezibwa Falls

Day 2: Kasubi Tombs, Makerere University & Ndere Cultural Centre

Day 3: Mengo Palace, Rubaga Cathedral & Kabaka’s Lake

Day 4: Katereke Prison & Ba’hai Temple

Day 5: Namugongo Martyrs’ Shrine & Departure

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Uganda National Museum & Ssezibwa Falls

After breakfast, head to the Uganda National Museum- the historical site established in 1908 with an aim of preserving Uganda’s history found in Kamwokya on Kiira road. It’s a National Museum and is the oldest in East Africa and perhaps the best. It has a range of ethnographic collection and these covering agriculture, hunting, war and religion. Among the historical equipment that are found in the Museum include; historical hunting equipment, a collection of interesting traditional musical instruments, weapon entomology and archaeology. There are various huts from various tribes of Uganda.

The Uganda Society Library is also found in the main museum building and it contains a comprehensive collection of out of print books conspicuously absent from the Uganda public domain, and other published works relating to Uganda.

We shall continue to Ssezibwa Falls- The site is more than just magnificent waterfalls. It is part of an incredibly beautiful oasis just outside of Kampala that is steeped in legend, history and culture. The Buganda people can tell you how a woman gave birth hundreds of years ago to the two rivers that flow around a serene island here. 

Head back to the lodge for Dinner and overnight stay. 

Accommodation: Red Chili Hideaway (Luxury, Mid-range, Budget) 

Day 2: Kasubi Tombs, Makerere University & Ndere Cultural Centre

After breakfast, we shall head to Kasubi Tombs- the burial grounds of Buganda Kingdom past kings (Kabaka) and their family. The tombs are a UNESCO heritage world site. 

This place holds kings’ tombs like Kabaka Mutesa I (1884), his successor Mwanga (1910), Kabaka Daudi Chwa II who ruled from 1879 to 1939 and Edward Mutesa II who died in 1969 in exile in London but whose body was returned to Uganda in 1971 are at Kasubi. Constructed in the original palace of Mutesa, it contains several huts of Buganda traditional architecture built from poles, reed, thatch and bark. The tombs have an enviable collection of relics from a royal past such as artifacts which range from traditional music instruments, weapons, shields and spears. They are maintained traditionally by the various wives of the Kings who were polygamous, but today by descendants of the long dead Queens. Many of the wives of the various Kings, their sisters and relations are also buried here but not in the main palace. 

Later, we shall visit Makerere University- the first university in Uganda and also in Britain’s East African colonies. The university boasts interesting architecture and wide-ranging gardens. Alumni include prime ministers and well known intellectuals. Nobel Prize-winning author V.S. Naipaul spent time here as a writer-in-residence, and American travel writer and novelist Paul Theroux once taught here.

In the evening, we shall head to the Ndere Cultural Centre- a great place to experience the colorful dance and music that is traditional to Uganda. You will enjoy dinner along with a spectacular performance of colorful, high-energy dancing and music that displays the lively culture of the Ugandan tribes.

Head back to the lodge for overnight stay. 

Accommodation: Red Chili Hideaway (Luxury, Mid-range, Budget) 

Day 3: Mengo Palace, Rubaga Cathedral & Kabaka’s Lake

After breakfast, drive to Mengo Palace a very good place to learn about the history and culture of the Buganda Kingdom. Built in 1922, this small palace also called the haunted mansion was once a home to Bugandan kings. It has remained empty since 1966 when Prime Minister Milton Obote ordered a dramatic attack to oust Kabaka Muteesa 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. 

After the coup against Muteesa II, the palace building was converted to army barracks, while an adjacent site became a prison and torture-execution chamber built by Idi Amin in the 1970s. 

It is a terrifying site, there’s a dark concrete tunnel with numerous dark, damp cells, which were separated by an electrified passage of water to prevent escape. 

There some original charcoal messages written by former prisoners on the walls: one reads, “Obote, You have killed me, but what about my Children!” 

On the grounds are also the scrap-metal remains of Muteesa’s Rolls Royce destroyed by Idi Amin. The building’s interior cannot be visited, but the notorious underground prison is open to guided tours that take you inside the parliament building, providing interesting stories and details about the 56 different clans of the kingdom. Buganda Parliament is held twice a month on Monday mornings, though it is conducted in Luganda. 

We shall also visit the Rubaga Cathedral (Saint Mary’s Cathedral) which was built in the early 20th century, located on Rubaga Hill one of Kampala’s original hills. It is the base of the Catholic Church in Uganda. The views from the cathedral are amazing; the cathedral’s exterior and the building itself are very grand and well built. There is also a statue of St. Mary in the front and a memorial to the first African Catholic bishop in Uganda.

We shall then visit the Kabaka’s lake- a man-made covering about 5 acres just on the outskirts of Kampala. This lake was created during the regime of Kabaka Mwanga (in 1880) mainly for his enjoyment inform of fishing and swimming. The Kabaka had a plan of extending this lake to lake Victoria with an aim of creating an escape corridor during times of war, but this was not achieved. A visit to this lake comes with tourism activities like birding and spot fishing.

You will also sample some local Ugandan food, delicious chapatis and the famous Rolex (it’s a roll with eggs) and some local meat grilling.  Return to your place of stay for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation: Red Chili Hideaway (Luxury, Mid-range, Budget) 

Day 4: Katereke Prison & Ba’hai Temple

After breakfast, you will be picked and head to Katereke Prison Ditch- a historical prison that tells the story of a brutal and violent Buganda History. It speaks of a powerful Buganda King who imprisoned all his sisters and brothers in the early 1888.He later brutally murdered them for fear that they might dethrone him. Currently, the prison is cultural site that reminds people about this harsh regime in Buganda. 

It was constructed by Kabaka Kalema who ascended the Buganda throne controversially in 1888 after Kabaka Mwanga was forced into exile. It is part of the Kabaka’s trail.  Insecure, Kalema rounded up every potential person he imagined was a threat to his reign and sent them to Katereke. Royals and peasants alike were incarcerated. Among the unfortunates was Kiwewa who was an interim King and ruled briefly from the time of Mwanga’s exile to Kalema;s ascent to the throne. Together with his wives, two of Mwanga’s infant sons and even Kalema’s own brothers and sisters were killed at Katereke. These killings wrought his down fall and brutal death which was not only to avenge the deaths but was also to stop him for he was starved for seven days and shot in the head.

Later proceed to Ba’hai Temple- There are only seven Ba’hai temples in the world and Uganda holds one of them in the whole of Africa. This temple is the continent’s religious home for Baha’i faith located on Kikaaya Hill 6 km from Kampala City on Gayaza road. You can walk through the beautiful gardens, or get a short tour and explanation of the Ba’hai faith and related information. It is a very peaceful and serene environment with great views.

Head back to the lodge for Dinner and overnight stay. 

Accommodation: Red Chili Hideaway (Luxury, Mid-range, Budget) 

Day 5: Namugongo Martyrs’ Shrine & Departure

After breakfast we shall visit the Namugongo Martyrs’ Shrine: (Uganda Martyrs’ Shrine) – This shrine is located in Namugongo and it 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 in Uganda.

The shrine was built in their memory and yearly Christians from all over the world make a pilgrimage to the site and those from East Africa – Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania trek.

After Lunch, you will be transferred to the airport for your departure. 

END OF THE TRIP

NOTE: If your trip is not on that very day, you can choose to add a flavor to your tour by visiting the Ssese Islands or Chimp trekking in the Ngamba Island Sanctuary or canoeing in Mabamba wetlands where you’ll also enjoy Uganda’s amazing bird species.

 

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