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Stunning Kampala, The Then Home Of Impalas

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Uganda’s capital city Kampala was once a gazetted area for hunting and the impala was the dominant animal. This place had many other animals like bush duikers, squirrels, leopards, civets and genets. Some of these species still abound but the dominant impala was hunted to extinction
Unless you have an artist’s mind; it is hard to imagine that places like Bank of Uganda, the Parliament or even Kisementi used to be dominated by hunters wielding spears with nets and dogs chasing after the springing spiral-horned antelopes, called the Impala. It is after this animal that Kampala acquired her name.

Before this place was named Kampala or even Buganda, it had another name. It was called Muwawa and the people who live here were not called locally Baganda but Balasangeye.

The “Muwawa” was truly a hunting area and known home to several species ranging from lions to rhinos we now sought out for in highly protected areas because when the game shifted from the traditional hunt to feed to modern Business which was introduced by the Aldina Visram and other indias joined later by the British.

Before the arrival of the British in the area, the Kabaka (King) of Buganda had chosen the area as his favorite hunting ground because of its numerous rolling hills, and wetlands.

When the British arrived in the region, they renamed it ‘Hills of the Impala’. The translation in Luganda, the language of the Buganda people, yielded Kasozi Ka Empala (KasoziKa meaning hill of), and Empala being the plural for impala. To the listening ear, Ka Empala sounded like one word Ka’Mpala. When the king would go hunting, the Buganda people would say Kabaka a’genze e Ka’mpala (the Kabaka has gone to Ka’mpala). Thus was born the name of the city Kampala.

It is believed that in 1890, Frederick Lugard built a fort camp for the Imperial British East Africa Company near Mengo Hill. In 1894, the British government officially established a Protectorate to help the British gain control of the Nile as well as other interests. After the British made formal claims to the land, the capital city was moved to the nearby city of Entebbe, about 30 miles away.

Kampala remained the commercial and communications center and was a major industrial center of the protectorate.

Since then, Kampala grew to be the capital of the Buganda Kingdom. A lot of cultural heritage buildings can still be found there, such as the Kasubi Tombs, built in 1881.

Kampala also strategically has the Lubiri Palace which is the royal house of the Kabaka, the Buganda parliament, and the Buganda court of justice.

In 1905, the British government formally declared the entire territory to be a British colony. From1905 Entebbe was the recognized city not until the 1962 when the country got her.

Kampala continued to play the primary economic and manufacturing role to Uganda.


Kampala is the largest city and the capital of Uganda. In 2006 its population was approximately 1,189,000. The city was built over the old capital of the Buganda Kingdom located on Mengo Hill. Some buildings from the Kingdom still survive in the city such as the Buganda Parliament Building and the Buganda Court of Justice. Originally a city of seven hills, it is much larger today. The city is 1,300 meters (4,265 feet) above sea level in the southern part of Uganda, eight kilometers (6 miles) north of Lake Victoria. Thus Kampala experiences a mild climate even with its close proximity to the equator.

Kampala also claims to have been built on 7 hills, although it is not quite true. The 7 historical hills of Kampala are;

1. Kasubi Hill: the first hill in historical importance, and home to the Kasubi Tombs, burial ground of the Previous Kabakas of Buganda
2. Mengo Hill: where Lubiri Palace is located, as well as the Buganda court of justice, and the Lukiiko, Buganda parliament
3. Kibuli Hill: home to the Kibuli Mosque. It is believed that Islam was brought to Uganda before Christianity by Muslim slave traders. They settled around Kibuli and spread the word of God
4. Namirembe Hill: The first Christians in the area were Protestants. This made it home to the Namirembe Anglican Cathedral.
5. Lubaga Hill: site of the Rubaga Catholic Cathedral, and the ‘white fathers’ neighborhood
6. Nsambya Hill: home to the Nsambya Hospital
7. Kampala Hill: the hill of the impala which hosts the ruins of Fort Lugard. This hill gave its name to the city.

With time, the city spread to Nakasero Hill where the administrative centre and the wealthiest residential area are, Tank Hill, where the water storage tanks that supply the city are located. Mulago Hill is the site of The national Refferal Hospital Mulago. Due to growth. The city is now rapidly expanding to include Makindye Hill and Konge Hill. Kololo Hill to the east of Nakasero hill, is the highest hill in the city, at 1,300 meters above sea level, and is home to the Uganda Museum.

Kampala is linked to Entebbe International Airport, which is the largest airport in Uganda. Boda-bodas (local motorbike transport) are a popular mode of transport that gives access to many areas within and outside the city. Standard fees for this range from USh: 1,000 to 2,000 or more. Boda-bodas are useful for passing through rush-hour traffic, although many are poorly maintained and dangerous.

In 2007, it was announced that Kampala gets rid of commuter taxis from its streets and replace them with a City bus means. Kampala has major roads that go to other areas of Mukono Mpigi, Bombo, Entebbe, Wakiso, and Gayaza
Pioneer Easy Bus Company is a private transport company, started public bus service in Kampala with 100 buses each with a 60-passenger capacity (30 seated and 30 standing), acquired from China. The buses operate 24 hours daily.

In 1922, Makerere Technical Institute was founded which later was named Makerere University and now known to be the oldest largest institution of higher education in East Africa. Today over 30 other Univeristies are said to be recognized by the national council for higher education.

Primary schools and secondary schools serve the role of founding the education system, And the Universities intake student.

Politically, Kampala experienced political unrest during the times of its first president, Milton Obote and his successor, Idi Amin. During those two decades the national government could not construct an infrastructure of roads, bridges, and highways quickly enough to accommodate the large number of rural migrants to the city.

A big part of the city was destroyed during the war with Tanzania in 1978, which culminated with the removal of Idi Amin Dada from power in 1979, and the civil war. The city has since then been rebuilt.

Kampala is surrounded by hills to the north, papyrus wetlands, and Lake Victoria to the south.
Today the city is administered through the 2011 KCCA Act that delegates power to Ministry of Kampala. The Lord Mayor who is elected by the people leads political wig.

Kampala Capital City Authority is a corporate body with perpetual succession and may sue and be sued, has the power of governing and administering the Capital City on behalf of the central government subject to the KCCA Act.

Most of the many hills of Kampala are topped with religious institutions such as churches and mosques as well as hospitals and large hotels. The city’s lowlands frequently have flood-prone shantytowns, where the majority of the population resides.

Over 70 percent of Kampala’s population lives close to or in poverty. Although the British had occupied Uganda for six decades, their architectural impact was slight unlike other African cities occupied by Europeans during the colonial era. Thus Kampala is known as a distinctly African city in architecture and culture. The city had approximately 100,000 Asian citizens before they were expelled by Idi Amin in 1972.

Since then, the city has since then been rebuilt with constructions of new construction of hotels, banks, shopping malls, educational institutions, and hospitals and the improvement of war torn buildings and infrastructure. Traditionally, Kampala was a city of seven hills, but over time it has come to have a lot more. Take Time And Tour The Lovely City

By Kabagambe Gerald.