Culture, history, religion

 

Culture

Uganda has a fascinating,  rich and diverse culture with plenty of experiences for you to choose from and lots to learn. In fact, you may need to ask for our advice on what is possible within your itinerary.

          

Arts & crafts

  • Art studios and galleries (Kampala) 
  • Bark cloth making (Kampala & central region)
  • Craft villages and shops (Kampala & all regions) 

Music and dance

  • drumming lessons  (Kampala & all regions)
  • drum making (Kampala & central region)
  • traditional music and dance performances (Kampala & all regions)

Cultural & tribal experiences

Kara-tuna (eastern region)

Igongo (western region)

Enyemebwa Cultural Center (western region)
This centre highlights the Hima culture and the importance of the Ankole long-horned cattle. As well as taking the cattle out grazing, you can visit the calves, try milking and participate in making milk products like ghee. You can experience music, dance and drama, as well as the arts and crafts of the Hima, like milk pot making.

Cultural sites

Nyero Rock Paintings (eastern region)
Located an hour’s drive from Mount Elgon National Park, these paintings are attributed to the Batwa hunter-gatherers and date back to before 1250 CE.

Walumbe Tanda Pits
According to Bugandan legend this is thought to be the place where Walumbe fell to earth and hid from Ggulu, the creator of all things. You can find out more about the legend at this site which contains around 240 pits and two shrines.

Amabere Ga Nyinamwiru (western region)
This cave is shrouded in local myth. Translated as ‘Breast of Nyinamiwiru’, it is said that King Bukuku of the Toro and Bunyoro kingdoms demanded that his daughter’s breasts were cut off because she refused to marry the man he had picked for her. The stalactites in this cave are said to be breast milk dripping from Nyinamiwiru’s breasts.

Annual festivals

Imbalu (August, eastern region) –  male circumcision ceremonies in Bagisu tribal culture which is a rite of passage during which boys become men

Kampala City Festival (First week of October) –  a week-long street party that brings together Ugandans and visitors to celebrate life and culture.

Milege (November, Entebbe) –  world music festival.

Community visits

  • village walks (all regions)
  • home stays (western region)
  • fishing village visit (western & central regions)
  • school visits (term-time only, all regions) 

Kingdom visits

Kasubi Tombs (Kampala)
These tombs are the burial ground for four kabakas (kings of Buganda) and were first built in 1881. In 2001 they were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but were destroyed by fire in 2010. Reconstruction is underway and they continue to be an important spiritual site for the Baganda.

Palace – Tooro Kingdom (western region)

 

History

  

Uganda Museum (Kampala)
Founded in 1908, Uganda museum is the oldest museum in East Africa. It exhibits Uganda’s natural-historical, ethnological, the unique traditional life collections and historic cultural heritage.

Independence monument (Kampala)
Uganda gained independence from Great Britain in 1962 and this is commemorated in the Independence Monument next to the Parliamentary buildings.

Speke Monument (eastern region)
The first European to reach Lake Victoria and discover the source of the Nile was John Speke in 1858. At this monument to him, you can enjoy great views of the lake and go on a boat tour.

Source of the Nile (eastern region)
In 1858, John Hanning Speke was the first European to discover  the source of the River Nile in Jinja. Take a boat to the point where the Nile rises out of Lake Victoria.

Colonial bunkers (central region)
Where the British in Uganda fought the Germans in Tanzania during the Second World War.

Rwandan Genocide memorial gardens (central region)
Visit the memorial gardens and mass graves on the shores of Lake Victoria where the bodies of Rwandese victims were washed up after traveling down river from Rwanda.

 

Religious sites 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Namugongo Martyrs Shrine (Kampala)

This shrine was built to honour the 32 young men who worked for King Mwanga II of Buganda, who were burnt to death in 1886 for refusing to renounce Christianity.

Baha’i Temple (Kampala)

This temple is the only one of its kind that remains in Africa for the Baha’i faith. Completed in 1961, it attracts hundreds of visitors from around the world. As well as the temple itself, the grounds are worth visiting too.

Namirembe Cathedral (Kampala)
This is the oldest cathedral in Uganda and is visible from much of the city of Kampala. It was first built in 1890, but has been through various reconstructions due to a series of unfortunate events, including strong winds and fire.