Uganda Layover:Places to see and things to do in Kampala
If you have seen the movie The Last King of Scotland you would totally understand what I wanted to do in Kampala, Uganda. I wanted to study more about what the country has gone through, what these people’s history really entailed, and how it has transformed the nation, developing it into Uganda as we know it today. To be honest I actually wanted to see the remaining footprints of Idi Amin, the military leader and President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979.
Idi Amin, who became known as the ‘Butcher of Uganda’ for his brutal rule whilst president of Uganda in the 1970s, is possibly the most infamous of all Africa’s post-independence dictators.
Today Uganda is a stunning country, lush and evergreen, and its temperate climate makes it a heaven on earth.
The country has so much wildlife with some of the species which are about to extinct like Gorillas and Chimpanzees are found here.
In fact, this is one of the reasons Uganda is called “Pearl of Africa”
Uganda Layover:Places to see and things to do in Kampala
1.)Uganda Wildlife Education center
The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) opened in 1952 as a zoo and has transformed into a rescue center.
All of the animals that live at the Centre were either rescued or born there. There is also a medicinal plant garden with aboriginal plants of Uganda.
The first animal I met was my favorite – Sushi, the shoebill stork who has lived at UWEC since 1976. Do you know that less than 500 shoebill storks left in the world?Some also say that they exist from the dinosaurs era.But yes this was in-fact one of the surreal experience I had in Uganda.
UWEC has other animals like lions, hyenas, white rhinos, giraffe, Nile crocodiles, baboons and Grey African parrot.
2.) Idi Amin’s Torture Chambers
During his 8 years of rule in Uganda Idi Amin is estimated to have around 100,000 people killed, tortured or imprisoned.This all happened in the center of Kampala city in a place which we now call Torture chambers.
The victims would be blindfolded and driven around the palace grounds all day in order to make them believe they there were far away from where the drive started. None would guess that they were still on palace grounds in Kampala. The chambers are elevated multiple feet above the ground and are surrounded by water. The only way in when the torture chambers were active, was by boat. The water was electrified, turned on and off as necessary by those in command. When the entrance was closed there was no light. Each chamber held about 500 people. Oxygen would run out, feces would pile, victims starved. Some chose to jump into the electrified water to end their suffering quickly.
Such is the horror that took place in Torture chambers.
This leaves me with the Question?
How is it that those who don’t have any love for humanity, often earn and retain power for so long?
It is one of the largest lakes in Africa and it borders 3 nations-Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.It is also the source of famous river Nile.The lake was discovered by the British explorer Joh Speke and named after the then Queen (Victoria) who was at the reins of England that time.The whole city of Kampala is surrounded by Lake Victoria.A great way to spend your evening is to sit by the lake with your loved ones.
Tilapia Fish is the best gift lake Victoria has given us.Its a world famous freshwater fish and can be found in abundance in the country.
I loved the Tilapia fish curry with rice and chapati.
5.) Brave Owino Market
It is the largest open market in Uganda and is one of the crowded markets I have ever seen in my life.
It’s estimated that there are over 50,000 vendors/traders in Owino Market, of whom approximately 70 percent are women.It has everything from clothes to household items, electronics, cosmetics etc.To be honest its an experience to just ender around such a huge market, just make sure you have a local to show you around.
The palace is the official residence of the king of Buganda. For people who don’t know what Buganda is, it is the subnational kingdom of Baganda tribe and is the largest of the traditional kingdoms in present-day Uganda, spread out in the modern districts like Kampala.
7.)Nile Special Beer
Africa as a continent is known for its production of different kinds of beer.Every country has its own kind and Uganda is no exception.The Nile Gold beer is the national beer of the country and also one of the strongest beers of Africa. It’s a yellow golden colored beer with aromas of malt and corn.
The Gaddafi mosque is an iconic mosque and totally eye-catching.It was built by late Gaddafi and in-fact was a gift to Uganda.Not many people know that you can actually climb on the top of the minaret of the mosque and get spectacular views of the Kampala city
Entrance is 10,000 UGX
The cathedral is located on the famous hill Rubaga and overlooks the entire the city of Kampala.It’s a sacred site for roman Catholics and is considered to be one of the top religious attractions in Uganda .
The Ndere Centre in Kampala is known as the Home of Cultures and has ‘cultural nights’ 3 times a week, which made it the right place to close my layover.The whole evening was filled with cultural songs and dance performances performed by the various tribes of Uganda.
The best part is even you can be a part of the dance performance.The night is later followed by the dinner which has all kinds of traditional foods of Uganda.
Schedule – (Wed, Fri, Sun only — 6-11 am).
Layovers is a personal travel blog which was started by Baba Aka Karanveer .He currently works as Cabin crew for a well known international airline that flies all over the world.He loves traveling to new countries where he explores the culture, the city, and its food. He hopes to inspire you to live a life you love and settle for nothing less than extraordinary.