Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, is often referred to as the “City of Seven Hills.” These seven prominent hills are a distinctive feature of the city’s topography, and they have played a role in its historical development. The seven hills of Kampala are:
This hills was the major home for antelopes, known as Empala by locals (Baganda) and because they were very many living here, they named this hill a hill for Impalas as (Akasozi Kempala) and because it was the first hill to be established, they named it old Kampala.
It was the first to be published because it is where the army commander, mercenary, and the British colonial administrator Fredrick Lugard had his headquarters after shifting from Entebbe.
2. Namirembe Hill: Also known as “The Hill of Peace,” Namirembe Hill is the current home to the Namirembe Anglican Cathedral, a significant religious and cultural landmark in Kampala.
Also, Namirembe is derived from the word “Mirembe” which means Peace and it’s said that this is where the Judges, authorities of the kingdom used to sit down to settle family issues and bring back peace.
Kololo is one of the seven hills that make up Kampala and renown for the rich people.
This name was brought by the the height of the british rule in Uganda, Rwot Awich and Kabalega of Bunyoro vigorously resisted the British rule in early 19th Century. Chief Awich was arrested and brought to Kampala. He was incarcerated on top of Kololo which was wild and bushy by that time. During his cries, in Luo Language, “An Atye Kany Kololo” which mean “I am here alone”. Awich was crying that he has been left in the wilderness alone and a place far away from home. From that time, the people that had arrested him, together with Baganda, due to failure to interpret what Awich was crying for, started calling that place a place for Kololo hence making it named Kololo.
Kibuli Hill is the location of the Kibuli Mosque, one of the largest mosques in Uganda. It is an important Islamic center and a prominent feature of the city’s skyline.
Before, there was only one Kaaba “Muslim name” where the Muslims pray and they had to pray facing it. It was only one by then, and located in the current Kibuli, so whenever they would pray facing there, they would say (Baganda saying) the muslims pray facing “Kyiburi” because they failed to pronounce Kaaba. The educated people would call it Kaaba, as the locals call it Kyiburi, hence the combinations made the name to come out as Kibuli.
Nakasero Hill is known for Nakasero Market, one of the largest and busiest markets in Kampala. It is also home to government offices, upscale residences, and various businesses.
The word Nakasero is a Luganda name or from Akasero meaning a basket. Before Kampala developed, it was not having a lot of buildings, cars and the current crazy traffic. People would by their items and they find men with baskets (Obusero ) in local language, who could help them carry their item to their cars, tax parks and sometimes to their homes. These men used to sleep in Current Nakasero.
Before, it had not name, but later when these men with baskets would finish their work late in the evening, they would go to the hill (current Nakasero) to sleep. So it’s said that they would sleep with their baskets. So the Baganda would say men sleep with baskets, or would say a man has slept with a Basket, (Akasero). And this is how they came to name the hill Nakasero.
Lubaga Hill is home to the Rubaga Catholic Cathedral, which is one of the oldest cathedrals in Uganda. It also houses Lubiri Palace, the official residence of the Buganda king (Kabaka). Lubaga was got from the Luganda name “Okubaga” means to gather the ideas. It’s the place where the generals and other top leaders of Buganda Kingdom would meet to gather the ideas on how to run the kingdom.
Makerere Hill is primarily a residential area in Kampala. It has seen increasing development with modern infrastructure, including the current main University “Makerere University” residential neighborhoods and commercial establishments.
This name came when the king had his side dish (a second wife) who used to stay in current Makerere. So one night the king escaped from the palace, and went to visit this second wife. He never wanted to reach in the morning when he is still there, but unfortunately the next morning found him there. He then woke up in the morning an so surprised and shocked as he shouted saying “Gano Makeerere” meaning it’s already early morning and it was late for him already, because he wished to go back to the palace when it’s still night so that no one will know about him sleeping at another woman’s place.
These seven hills have contributed to the historical and cultural identity of Kampala, and they continue to shape the city’s landscape and character. Each hill has its unique attributes, offering residents and visitors a diverse range of experiences and viewpoints within the city. The current population in Kampala is about 6 million people, where some work and live in the city, and others work and stay out of the city.