Kasubi Royal Tombs –Uganda City Tour
Kasubi Royal Tombs : The Kasubi tombs is a resounding site that stands as the burial ground for four kabaka’s ‘’Kings of Buganda’’ who were Mutesa 1 died between ‘’1835 to 1884’’, Basamula Mwanga 11 died ‘’1867 to 1903’’ Kabaka Daudi Chwa 11 died between ‘’1896 – 1939 ‘’, Fredrick Walugembe Muteesa 11 died between ‘’1924 -1969 as well as the other members of the Baganda royal family. Basing on its history, this site remains useful ground for spiritual and political site for the Ganda people and also acts as a traditional architecture. Notably, in 2001 December it was described as one of the most fantastic building that was used by purely vegetal material in the entire region of sub-Saharan Africa, leading it to be listed on a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This royal tombs are located few kilometers away from the center of Kampala city in Kasubi Hill. It’s a burial ground of the four late kings of Buganda and other members of the kingdom like the princes and princesses who are their direct descendants who can be buried at the back of the main shrine thus acting as a tourist attraction to foreigners, schools and local visits. Kasubi tombs has been existing for century, becoming one of the 31 royal tombs spread across the Buganda Kingdom. Other smaller list of tombs found in place are Kyaggwe, Busiro, Singo. This tombs are historically important, basing on cultural and spiritual center in the entire Africa. Marking it one of the leading heritage sites in Uganda, because of its cultural and national value to the country. It became World Heritage site in 2001 and one of the most visited places by tourists on Kampala City Tour.
The main tomb has a rewarding piece of local architecture with the largest grass thatched building on earth. And it was built out of bamboo, wood and a roof that is grass thatched. More so, the main tomb was built in unique way with a lot of care just to make it stand out from similar structure.
The main grass thatched building was the main palace of kabaka Mutesa 1’’ 35th king’’ before his death in 1884.Then other three kings after he chose not to follow a tradition norm, he chose to be buried in their own palace and were laid to rest at the Kasubi tombs.
These tombs are divided into 3 main sections;
The 1st section is the area with the main structure that houses the tombs of the 4 kings.
The 2nd section is behind the main structure has several smaller buildings and graveyards.
The 3rd section is an open farmland.
The tomb is touched with a wooden gate ‘’Bujjabukula’’ with a grass thatched roof and woven reeds that acts as a welcoming view to the visitors. At the gate there are traditional guards who are positioned to secure the place. On visit here, as your approaches the main courtyard, you’re able to see the smaller houses that were built for the king’s wives and other members from the royal family, the spiritual guardian and her deputies.
The walls at the main structure they look attractive in traditional way of decoration with bark cloth and several mats where tourists can sit on visit. The structures displayed with all the king’s photos and stuffed leopard skin that can be seen by tourists /visitors to the main building. The leopard used to be a pet of Mutesa.
After Mutes a’s death, the leopard become uncontrollable thus killing many people. Unfortunately, it was killed and its skin was filled with material to keep its live shape. Other items include; rings of spears holding the roof together each representing ‘’52 clans of Buganda’ ’Each clan in Buganda in Kingdom is responsible for its task at the tomb. The Ngeye clan are responsible for maintaining the thatched roofs at the tombs. As the members of a clan age, they do pass on their skills to younger ones who take much task of maintaining the tombs.
The places in the tomb /sections of the main tombs can only be reached by widows of the Kings, the Katikkiro and some members of the royal family. Even the reigning Kabaka can’t go there. The four rooms were built close to the Kibira housing the four wives of the dead kings. And each dead Kabaka has a living wife. Of which their task is to cater after the dead king. The wives can be chosen from the clans of the departed Queens.
Unfortunately, in March 2010 the tomb got onto fire leading to some of the main building to be completely destroyed by fire, somethings that caused it to be under investigation. However, the Buganda Kingdom had to come out to reconstruct the tomb of their Kings and the rebuilding was assisted by the national government of Uganda in assist to restore the site and other funds were got by the government of Japan in 2014, along with the local people in order to ensure that the tombs are built.
Lastly, Kasubi tombs are one of the top tourist’s attractions in Kampala city, which is easily accessed either by foot or by car. Upon your visit you will be checked by the royal guides, then after visitors are issued a ticket at a fee 5 Dollars and East African Citizens UGX10000 this fees caters for the maintenance of the tomb and off workers at the site. You will be assigned a guide to take you around after paying the entrance fee.