Situated on Kasubi hill, within Kampala, Uganda, the Kasubi Tombs site is an active religious place in the Buganda Kingdom, the largest of the traditional kingdoms in present-day Uganda. To the millions of Baganda people the Kabaka, or ‘King’ of the Buganda people, is the unquestioned symbol of the spiritual, political, and social state of the Buganda Kingdom.
As the burial ground for the previous four Kabakas, therefore, the Kasubi Tombs are a place where the Kabaka and others in Buganda’s complex cultural hierarchy frequently carry out important Ganda rituals. To this day, the wives and daughters of previous Kabakas live and work on the site, which is guarded by representatives of Buganda’s traditional clans. The site also contains the Buganda Kingdom’s collection of ritual drums.
In 2010, the complex was struck by a devastating disaster. The mausoleum and largest grass-thatched hut in the world was gutted by fire on March 16, 2010, at about 8.30 p.m. local time. The cause of the fire is as yet unknown. Fortunately, not all of the structures were completely destroyed.
In 2014, restoration efforts backed by the Japanese government began. As such, this is still an active spiritual site and is still open to tourists.
Know Before You Go
The tombs have yet to recover from the 2010 fire, though what remains is open to visitors. As of summer 2023, admission costs 30,000 UGX. Be aware, however, that guides don't often stick to this number.
According to Bugandan custom, women are also asked to wear skirts or dresses while walking around the tombs. Guides are often able to lend cloth wraps upon request.