Kasubi Tombs

Kasubi Tombs

Kasubi Tombs

Kasubi tombs is a well-known historical site for the royal kings of Uganda in the Buganda country. It used to be a place where people grew crops using old methods. In 1882, Kabaka of Buganda, Edward Mutesa I, chose to build the royal site to replace the palace that his father, Suuna II, had built in the early 1820s. In 1882, the “Sekabaka” set the site’s borders on the Kasubi hills. As soon as the royal house was built, Kabaka Mutesa II hired guards to keep it safe. The tombs are near Kasubi hill, which is one of nine hills in Kampala City. They are near Hoima road. In 1938, Kabaka Mutesa II used modern building techniques to fix up the royal site. They used steel structures, concrete beams and bricks, which they hid behind the traditional fences to keep the four kings of Buganda’s graves safe. The first Prime Minister, Milton Obote, got rid of the building in 1966. Obote afterward became the first president of Uganda. In 1972, Ugandan law chose to protect the site. It was then registered in the name of the Kabaka on behalf of the kingdom, and the current President of Uganda put it back in place in 1993.

In 1884, Mutesa I changed the new royal palace into a cemetery for the Kings of Buganda. This includes Kabaka Mutesa I, who died in late 1969, Kabaka Mutesa II, who died in exile in Seychelles in 1903, Kabaka Daudi Chwa, who died in 1939, and Sir Edward Mutesa II, who died in London in 1971. In the late 1300s, these Kasubi tombs were used to bury the first four kings of Buganda.


Locals call the royal tombs Muzibu Azaala Mpanga. They are 31 metres (102 feet) long and 7.5 metres (25 feet) long. They are on the edge of the entrance. This traditional building was made with wooden poles, earth, clay, grasses, sand, a thick thatched dome and 52 rings of palm fronds to represent the 52 clans of the Baganda people. People can’t get into the palace if they don’t stay out of the royal grounds, which are marked with bark-cloth trees.

Kasubi Tombs has got very many traditional houses inside the palace including the gate house (Bajjabukula) which leads you to two courtyards, a small courtyard house for drums were they protect the royal drums in local name “ndogo obukaba” and then second court yard located on hilltops surround with reed fence which was fenced with wooden poles, clay nails and soil which beautifies the Kasubi tombs of Buganda and has become part of the famous Uganda Safaris.

Kasubi tombs are a place for people who believe in custom, love culture, and want to learn more about things like witchcraft, traditional medicine, and traditional ways of dressing. Inside the tomb houses are sacred woods and bark cloth that is used as curtains. Visitors looking for Uganda Budgets Safaris can add this cheap tour of the Kasubi Royal Tombs to their City Tour. To visit the tombs, you will be asked to take off your shoes and take part in cultural experiences inside the tombs, where you can see spears, arrows, bark cloth, wooden poles, and a great chance to be blessed on these royal grounds. The Buganda king, Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, and other royal members are now in charge of these royal tombs. They are helping to make the house look nice so that the traditional history of Buganda can be kept alive. Charles Peter Mayiga, the prime minister of Buganda, has also done a great job on these royal tombs so that they can stand as a traditional heritage place for the people of Buganda.

kasubi tombs in kampala

Kasubi tombs were named a UNESCO heritage site in 2001 because they are the only traditional buildings in all of sub-Saharan Africa that were made out of plant materials. And the UNESCO part is 26 hectares on the Kasubi hills in the city of Kampala, 5 kilometres east of the city centre.

Unfortunately, in March 2010, these Kasubi royal tombs caught fire and were totally destroyed. Many traditional items were also damaged. No one knows what caused the fire, and investigations are still going on. Because of this fire, Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi, and the president, H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, both went to the spot and talked about how to fix it.

Getting money from the government of Japan, they started to fix it up in 2014. Now that the royal tombs are back to how they were before, they are a big part of Uganda’s tourist hub. For people who like to go on city tours, this site can be one of the places to visit in the city. It can also be part of a safari to Uganda, along with other safari spots in the city.

On your Kampala city tour, this ancestral home should be your first stop. It is loved and respected by thousands of people, and you will learn the full history of the Buganda kingdom. In fact, the word Uganda, which means “pearl of Africa,” comes from the word Buganda.

Kasubi Tombs are a place of worship in the Buganda kingdom. They are on a hill in Kampala. As the place where the last four Kabakas were buried, it is a very important religious centre for the royal family. The Kabaka and his representatives often hold important Ganda cultural events there.

Kasubi tombs hill is divided into three main areas: the main tomb area, which is at the western end of the site, an area behind the tombs with buildings and graveyards, and a big area on the site’s eastern side that is mostly used for farming.


The entrance to the site is a beautifully built gatehouse called Bujjabukula. Ganda tradition says that the guards who keep watch over the spot hide behind a see-through woven reed screen and keep watch around the clock. This gatehouse was built with wooden poles that held up a thatched roof and reeds that were woven together to make the walls. Bujjabukula leads to a small garden with a round house called the Ndoga-Obukaba. This is where the royal drums are kept.

The main attractions at the Kasubi Royal Tombs.

Royal Tombs at Kasubi are made up of three main areas: Bujjabukula, the historic gatehouse at the entrance to the site; Olugya, the main courtyard; and Muzibu Azaala Mpanga, the former palace and present royal tomb where the last four Buganda kings are buried. But there is still a lot more to see than just the three main sights.

The Kibira (sacred forest).

Is a sacred area of the main structure where the spirits of the Kings are believed to dwell? Only wives of Kings, Katikiro, and some members of the royal family can go there. Even the Kabaka who is in charge can’t go there. Near the Kibira, four rooms are built for the four wives of the dead kings. Each dead Kabaka had a wife who is still alive. The dead king is their responsibility. The wives come from the clans of the queens who have died. From this front courtyard, you can get to the main courtyard, called Olugya.

kasubi tombs

The main courtyard (Olugya).

On entering the courtyard, visitors are immediately captured by the beauty of the thick thatched roof which extends all the way down to the ground. Muzibu-Azaala-Mpanga is entered through a low, wide arch with richly made reeds on both sides. Inside, a large bark cloth separates the “sacred forest” where the four royal graves are from the rest of the building.


Is circular in plan and has a dome-like shape. Kabaka Muteesa I, rebuilt the main house, which you can see today, in 1882. Kabaka Sunna II, Muteesa I’s father, built the first house in 1820. It no longer stands. Inside the house, there are symbols of power like drums, spears, shields, medals, and pictures of the Kabakas who are buried there. The floor is covered with a thick layer of lemon grass and palm leaves mats.


Mujaguzo is a set of drums that belonged to the King of Buganda. Among the drums in Mujaguzo are Entenga, Entamivu, Namanyonyi, and Kawulugumu, which were used often in the palace. “Of course, some of the drums have been lost, especially after the kingdom fell, but the most important ones are still around.

Why you should visit the Kasubi Royal Tombs.

The method of thatching used at the Kasubi tombs is very different from any other African or European thatching method.

The grass is made into cone-shaped bundles that are put on the roof structure without being tied, except for the first layers at the bottom. When one of these packs goes bad, it is easy to pull it out and put a new one in its place.

The thatching is carried out by the members of Ngeye clan (colobus monkey clan), who are the only people allowed to do the work.

On your Kampala city tour to the royal tombs, you will find and see a lot more. Things like;

The seven horned calabash.

The king’s spear and shield.

The first cooking stone.

Back cloth making the kings stole etc.

Kasubi tomb is the only World Heritage Site in Kampala. Throughout the year, there are many traditional rituals, such as the funerals of royal family members. One of the rituals is for when the new moon comes out. Some events that are more spiritual, like talking to mediums, are done in secret (away from visitors). Traditional medicine women and men from all over Buganda come to the shrine to ask the spirits of the Kings for help with their work.

How to get to the Royal Tombs.

Kasubi Tombs are on Kasubi Hill, which is on Masiro Road in Kampala. It takes between 20 and 25 minutes to get to the City Centre from Kasubi Hill. Private transport by Car Rental Companies can be organized although public means by motorbikes (locally known as Boda boda) or Matatus are available within the Taxi parks or Boda boda stages.

So, if you go on a tour in Uganda, you can have a lot of fun and learn a lot at Kasubi royal tombs, you will not get disappointed.

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