I’ve learned time and time again during my travels that things don’t always go according to plan. Uganda was never in my initial plans. Then Miss Meriam back in Jena, Germany convinced me that I’d be doing myself a grave injustice if I didn’t visit this East African country. And so Zambia was out, and Uganda was in.
The good thing was that I already had a contact in Uganda, thanks to Meriam. I met Bryan through her back in Abu Dhabi. Bryan’s sister had agreed to let me stay at her place for a few days, and so after landing in Entebbe, Trevor and I grabbed a taxi to Kampala. We arrived in Kampala in the evening, Bryan picked us up in his van, and we headed out to the suburb of Bunga, where Charlotte and her husband, Peter, welcomed us with a delicious dinner of matoke (think mashed potato meets plantain).
The next day, Bryan took us out to the Kasubi Royal Tombs. This is the site where four kings of the Buganda tribe are buried. The Ugandan population is divided into 52 tribes. The Bugandan tribe is the biggest one.
The weird thing is that we were told the site was closed for renovations. And when we arrived, it looked very much closed. Then Bryan worked his magic on some guy wearing a suit who came to speak to him at the gate, and before we knew it, we were being escorted inside!
Picture in the bttom left: The structure’s roof has 52 rings to represent all 52 tribes of Uganda.
Muteesa I, the 35th king of Buganda, built this structure in 1882 to replace the palace that his father had built. The palace later became a royal burial ground.
In March of 2010, much of the structure was burned down. Work is currently underway to try and rebuild and restore this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Members of the royal family still live on the grounds here.
After a tour of the site, our guide offered to take us to another tomb site, the Wamala Tombs. We didn’t really have anything else planned for the day, so we agreed.
We pulled up to the gates, and the guard/guide at this site gave our vehicle a confused look. He probably wasn’t expecting visitors this afternoon considering the pouring rain. Then he saw our guide in the backseat and everything made sense. It appears that jobs at the royal site are passed down through the generations. For example, the security guards at Kasubi were related to security guards generations back. So our guide was somehow related to one of the kings.
It was a little hard to understand the guide at the other site, to be honest. However, I took three things away from visiting the second site.
1: We got to see the first “prison” of Uganda. Prisoners were just tied to that tree.
2: Bryan and I were treated to plenty of free alcohol INSIDE the tomb. It was a traditional Ugandan drink made of some sort of banana. It was delicious!
3: I make a good Ugandan!
Bryan and I dropped off the tour guide and headed for the Georgina Gardens, where we capped off the day with dinner, a beer, and a bromantic sunset.