Let’s Have an Understanding of Buganda’s Roots with a Kampala City Tour to the Kasubi Tombs

Let’s Have an Understanding of Buganda’s Roots with a Kampala City Tour to the Kasubi Tombs

Did you know that Uganda is home to the oldest royal tombs in the east and central Africa? Do you want to no more about these tombs? Let me accompany you on a Kampala city tour as we visit the amazing tombs in Kasubi. This 1 day Kampala city tour /Kampala day tour/ Kampala tour takes us to Kasubi which is found 5km from the heart of the city along Kampala –Hoima road, is the Kasubi tombs on geographical co-ordinates of 0o19’45”N 32o33’12”E. The Kasubi tombs sit on about 26 hectares of land on top of Kasubi hill with the borders to the tombs grounds being demarcated using the bark cloth tree also referred to as the mutuba tree. But most of this is under agriculture which is carried out using traditional farming techniques. The Kasubi tombs are the official burial site for the kings of Buganda which are also referred to as “masiro” in the local Luganda dialect and in 2001 these tombs were added to UNESCO world heritage sites due to their significance to the Baganda people’s culture. These tombs were constructed by Kabaka Muteesa I during his reign in 1882 hence making them the oldest tombs in east Africa. These tombs right now are the resting places of 4 kings of Buganda i.e. Kabaka Muteesa I, Kabaka Mwanga II, Kabaka Daudi Chwa, and Kabaka Muteesa II. These tombs are just part of the 31 royal tombs we have in Buganda as it was a tradition to have each king buried in different tombs around the kingdom depending on their demands in their wills hence Kasubi tombs having the remains of 4 previous kings of Buganda has created a deviation from the past traditions.  In Buganda, there is a belief that the king doesn’t die but rather just transits/disappears to the next world and its termed as “abuze” or “okukisa omukono”. This therefore means that it’s important to prepare the place where the king is going to be living for eternity. The main ceremonial area is found north west of the entire complex, there is a gatehouse called bujjabukula which leads to a small courtyard and drum house called ndoga bukaba which houses the royal drums. The main attraction here is the main house called muzibu azaala mpanga whose architectural design will make you marvel at the architectural ingenuity of the Baganda of the 19th century as this building is designed in a circular shape of 31m or102ft wide, 7.5m or 25ft high and its only supported by wooden poles and the entire building was made out of wattle and daub with a roof made of a thick thatch in a dome shape that is supported by 52 rings of palm fronds that represent the 52 clans of Buganda. The thatching of the masiro is done by members of the Ngeye(colobus monkey) clan that have to pass on the technique to the younger generations.  In 1938 during the reign of kabaka Muteesa II, the kasubi tombs underwent a major renovation phase where bricks, steel beams and concrete columns were introduced to replace the wattle and daub and the wooden poles that could nolonger support the weight of the roof but these were heavily concealed using traditional materials. The entrance to this building is a low wide arch that is separated by reed partitions and decorated using bark cloth and memontos.  The actual kabaka tombs are housed inside the tombs in a room called kibira and they are concealed from public view by a bark cloth curtain. The floor of the house is coved by lemon grass and palm leaf mats and the inside of the tombs is decorated by the members of the Ngo(leopard) clan.

Unfortunately, on march 16th 2010, the Kasubi tombs were set on fire by an arsonist and this almost plunged the entire kingdom into chaos and anarchy as the local Baganda people saw this as an attack on their Buganda cultural heritage but as of today, the tombs have been refurbished and restored to their pre 2011 glory thanks to the current Buganda prime minister’s drive called a “Tofaali” meaning a constructing brick which was aimed at rallying all the Kabaka’s subjects to contribute towards the restoration of the king’s burial grounds. The restoration works also received funding from the government of Uganda and UNESCO because these tombs are a UNESCO world cultural heritage site.  Note should be taken if you are interested in visiting this place for ladies please wear either a knee length or over the knee length skirt and a blouse that covers your chest properly or if you are to wear pants, please move with an extra plain cloth to.

After the visit to the Kasubi tombs, your Kampala day tour / 1 day Kampala city tour doesn’t really have to end as you still have so many other attraction you can still visit and these include Namugongo martyrs shrine and listen to the religious history of this land, proceed to the oldest museum east Africa Uganda museum to fully understand Uganda’s political journey and the nation’s culture. Meet the hustle and bustle of Kampala with a visit to the old taxi park in Kampala to have an in-depth understanding of Uganda’s transport then slope to the Owino market and see how Uganda’s trade to earn a living or negotiate for the best bargain there is in town. Still while on this Kampala day tour, don’t miss out on visiting Bulange Mengo and Kabaka’s palace or Lubiri Mengo to further a more robust understanding of one of the oldest kingdoms on the plains of east and central Africa.

Besides the Kampala city tours, Prime safaris offers oyu a wide range of the Uganda safaris/ Uganda tours  that include short Uganda wildlife safaris/short gorilla tours Uganda/ short gorilla tours, Uganda mountaineering safaris, Uganda birding safaris,  Jinja city tour/ 1 day Jinja city tour/ long Uganda wildlife safaris, long gorilla safaris Uganda