Uganda is not only referred to as the pearl of Africa for its rich wildlife bi diversity but Uganda is also richly endowed when it comes to culture it’s home to close 60 tribes of people. This makes this motherland one of the countries with the highest cultural diversity on the planet. In Uganda, its so easy to meet 10 people in a group and each one of them is of different ethnicity. And to celebrate Uganda’s cultural diversity, the ministry of tourism in conjunction with perfect events are organising another Uganda international cultural fair which is also run under the flagship name of Ekyooto Cultural Festival and it will be held from the 9th-11th of august 2019 at the Uganda museum which is Uganda’s center for culture and performing arts.
Highlights of this year’s festival
This year’s festival is highlighted by the participation of Ethiopia, this announcement was made during the meeting between Ethiopian ambassador to Uganda with the Ag Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities where it was agreed that Ethiopia would use this cultural festival to market Ethiopia as a destination as well as the diverse Ethiopian culture which includes unique attractions such as coffee-making ceremony dress code food and religion. This fusion of 2 diverse cultures would present an opportunity for the two parties to appreciate the values of each other. Alongside the cultural festival, you can enjoy a Kampala city tour that will give you an in-depth insight into the sites and sounds or Uganda safari attractions of Kampala. This 1 day trip in Kampala will see visit sites around Kampala which include
Bulange- Mengo. Located on Mengo hill on geographical co-ordinates 0o30’95”N 32o55’85”E, is Bulange -Mengo and this is the official seat of one of the oldest kingdom in east and central Africa the Buganda kingdom with a rich history dating as far back as 800 years ago, here you will find the Buganda parliament or commonly referred to as the “Lukiiko” in Luganda dialect. The first lukiiko to be built using bricks was constructed under the leadership of sir Apollo kaggwa as the prime minister of Buganda in 1902 when he contracted an Indian named Alidina Visram. This lukiiko was constructed near the kabaka’s lubiri palace and this was highly criticized by the royal kingdom subjects. As the kingdom grew, came the need for a much bigger lukiiko to be constructed so as to house all the kabaka’s delegates and a plan was hatched to construct a new lukiiko on Mengo hill which lies directly opposite the lubiri.
The architectural design of the lukiiko was brought by kabaka Muteesa II when he came back from exile in Scotland where he had admired this design and decided that his lukiiko should be constructed according to his design from Scotland. The construction of the new lukiiko lasted 3 years from 1955-1958 at a cost of 5 million which was a huge lump sum of money back then and this cost was fully footed by the kingdom treasury. The main lukiiko hall has got no upper floor because in the baganda culture, no one dares to sit above the king and this is loosely translated as “kabaka tatuulwa ku mutwe”.
The official kabaka’s chair
Inside this lukiiko hall is the kings’ official chair called “Namulondo” and it’s on this chair the king sits and administers his kingdom. Inside the foyler of bulange mengo are 50 Buganda clan totem potraits that have been prominently displayed. The newly constructed lukiiko on Mengo hill gave birth to the what is termed as the royal mile which is an avenue that connects the lukiiko to the lubiri that’s directly opposite the lukiiko. The royal mile is also referred to as “Kabaka ajjagala” loosely translated as “the king loves me”. This road is called so because the king of Buganda uses it as he goes to the Lukiiko to discuss issues concerning their subjects. As of recent, the clans of Buganda have put sculptures of their totems on either sides of this road in order to beautify it and also display all the 50 clans that make the Baganda people just like they are displayed inside Bulange Mengo. Note should be taken if you are interested in visiting this place, for ladies please wear either a 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 cover yourself with when you enter the gates of Bulange.
Uganda museum. Located 3 km along Kampala- Ntinda- Bukoto road is the Uganda museum, built-in 1908 by the colonial government, Uganda museum is the oldest museum in the East African region. This museum displays items ranging from musical instruments used by different tribes in Uganda, archeological artifacts, natural historical samples, royal regalia of different monarchies in Uganda and artifacts of the colonial era like cars used by the first colonial governors.
Namugongo martyrs’ shrine. This is a very important site especially for the Christian community in Uganda because it is believed that many of the 45 Christian martyrs were burnt to death from this place between January of 1885- 3rd June 1886. Of the 45, 23 were of the Anglican faith while 22 were of Roman Catholic faith. These were executed on the orders of the then king of Buganda kabaka Mwanga II who viewed Christian preaching as a threat to his reign. Namugongo was an execution ground for prisoners who had been sentenced to death by the king of Buganda and it attained its name from the act of literally hauling prisoners on their backs because they tried to refuse to match to the execution grounds in a peaceful way hence the word Namugongo comes from the act of “kugenda na mugongo” loosely translated as an act of “moving on or by your back.” However, this place lost its cruel and brutal past in years after the death of these martyrs as it was turned into a center for worship and prayer with both the catholic and Anglican faiths constructing churches on this grounds.
Another Attraction at Namugongo
Besides the ear-catching story, the Namugongo shrine is another attraction here, built by the catholic church, the shrine is a dome-shaped structure supported by 22 exterior pillars to symbolize each of the 22 Catholic martyrs that gave their lives for the faith. Inside this shrine, lies some of the remains and ashes of the martyrs that have been preserved for over a century now. The Anglican church has built a new church to befit the place with sculptures of the 23 Anglican martyrs who met their death because of their faith. The Catholic martyrs were venerated into martyrdom on 18 October 1964 by pope Paul IV after his historic visit to Uganda and this gave birth to a feast celebrating of Uganda martyrs on every 3rd of June as a way of remembering their sacrifices to the faith.
Souvenir shops. In Uganda, when one talks of souvenirs, a few places should strike your mind and that’s African village along Buganda road, national theatre craft shops and the Friday craft market in Nsambya off Ggaba road. These markets offer a wide range of souvenir items from African fabrics to locally woven items like mats, hats and other art work pieces like portraits and small sculptures that will provide you with something to remind you of your stay in Uganda as you probably plan a return trip to this pearl of Africa. Most of these operate on a daily basis but a few of them operate on a select day(s) like the Friday craft market in Nsambya operates mainly on Friday just like the name suggests.
Old taxi park. For those of you who come from countries where you have cabs for taxis and its only one individual or a pair of friends moving to a particular place that hail it to take them to their destination… well, you need to come to Uganda to see our version of taxis! trust me, it will be worth your time. For starters let me try to shed light on what we Ugandans call taxis… this is a fourteen-seater van which is used by the general public to commute from one place to another. These taxis are managed by two people i.e. a driver and a taxi tout who we normally call the conductor, his principle job is to call for people going to a particular destination to board his taxi, he also solicits for the transport fares from the on-board passengers before they get to their destinations.
Transport Fares In Taxis
While using Ugandan taxis, there are no fixed fares as the fares are determined by the demand and availability of passengers and travel hours…. You can easily board a taxi for 1000ugx as transport fare from one point to another and after just an hour the same taxi demands 2500ugx to take you still to the same destination. Now that’s where the old taxi park comes in, now imagine a swarm of these vans parked in one place with their conductors shouting all names of places within and outside the city, that’s the old taxi park right there… I tell you it’s an absolute frenzy and chaos when you come here, but don’t feel sorry for us cause that’s the way we like it! This taxi park is located in the valley between Nakasero and Old Kampala hill.
Besides of a Kampala city tour you can decide to visit jinja on another 1-day excursion to jinja. Uganda is known as the pearl of Africa and you can decide to extend your Uganda tour to other Uganda safari destinations like Murchison Falls National Park Uganda, Kidepo Valley National Park Uganda, Lake Mburo National Park Uganda, Semuliki National Reserve Uganda, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Uganda and all this can be done by buying any of our safari Uganda packages like
Uganda tour can be an exciting Africa safari adventure as it does not only give you the best of Uganda wildlife safari but also it can give you the ultimate gorilla safari Uganda experience as Uganda is home to the elusive mountain gorillas that can be found in the forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Uganda and this can be done either on a short Uganda gorilla tour or long gorilla safari Uganda tour packages