Do you love faith based tourism and you do not know which places to go to? Well, when you think about undertaking a Uganda tour package, think beyond its remarkable wildlife and cultural encounters! Uganda features among the best destinations in Africa that reward visitors with more than its incredible wildlife as you have opportunity to explore more about its significant religious sites.
The existence of several religious sites in Uganda denote that Ugandans aren’t only warm welcoming people but also the most committed religious people and it affirms the motto ‘For God and My Country.’ There are many religious sites covering both Christianity and Islam. Interestingly, Uganda has also hosted three different Popes on apostolic journeys with the recent one being Pope Francis who visited the pearl of Africa on 27th November 2015. Uganda is ideally one of the perfect destinations that you should consider for faith based tourism in Africa and your dreams would have come true. It features over 50 canonized martyrs and various people are also free to practice their own faith in this stunning country.
- Munyonyo Martyrs shrine
The Munyonyo catholic martyrs shrine wasn’t as popular as the rest of the religious sites till the Pope paid a visit to this incredible religious centre that it became famous. A visit to this area will certainly make you have a feeling that the martyrdom in Uganda could have began around this area. It is from this area that the first martyrs were murdered under the orders of King Mwanga the second on 26th May 1886 and they were canonized by Pope Paul the fourth in 1964.
It was from this area that in 1886 Saint Charles Lwanga the leader of Christian community in Uganda Baptized St Kizito, St Gyavira and St Muggaga, St Mbaga and others. The famous martyrs of Munyonyo shrine include St Andrew Kaggwa, St Denis Ssebungwawo and St Pontian Ngondwe. Given the current developments, Munyonyo church will feature as one of the tallest buildings in Uganda that stand at 45 meters with crucifix at 18 meters and will accommodate a congregation of about 1050 inside and 500 outside. For prayer needs, this is the best area that you should pay pilgrimage.
- Namugongo martyrs shrine
This is the most famous martyr’s shrines in Uganda where most people across the world flock to pay pilgrimage in Uganda. Each 3rd of June every year, thousands flock to Namugongo both local and international pilgrims. Namugongo martyrs feature two shrines the catholic shrine and the Anglican shrine, however the catholic shrine have many followers.
If you want to get a change in your faith, then this is the best place that you should pay a visit. About 24 catholic Uganda martyrs, 22 martyrs were murdered around 1885 and 1887 by King Mwanga of Buganda in the South of Uganda, 13 of the martyrs were burnt to death at Namugongo. 20 martyrs were beatified by Pope Benedict XV on sixth June 1920 and canonized by Pope Paul VI on 18th October 1964.
The other two martyrs were speared to death in Paimol, Gulu northern Uganda in October 1918 and they were beatified by Pope John Paul II on 20th October 2002. The Anglican martyrs who were murdered by Kabaka Mwanga around 1885 and 1887 plus the catholic martyrs and this makes Uganda a true faith based tourist destination. All the martyrs are remembered on third June each year.
- The Bahai temple
The Bahai temple began developing around 1951 and 4 years after, about 500 Baha’is in 80 localities plus 13 Bahai local spiritual assemblies, representing about 30 tribes and dispatched nine pioneers to other African areas. During the reign of Idi Amin when the Bahai faith was abolished and the murder of the Bahai hand of the cause Enoch Olinga and his family, the community kept on growing but the numbers ranged from 19000 to 105000.
- Gaddafi Mosque
This is another remarkable national mosque and best religious tourism site on Kampala Hill, old Kampala area. The temple was completed around 2006 and accommodates 15000 worshipers and features about 1100 galleries and the terrace cover about 3500. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya set the mosque as a gift to Uganda and for the good of the Muslim community. However, Uganda features several mosques but the Gaddafi mosque is exceptional on its own way. It was opened around June 2007 and renamed Uganda National Mosque in 2013 following the passing away of Colonel Gaddafi.
Other incredible religious sites that are worth visiting while on safari in Uganda include Namirembe cathedral, Shree Kutch Satsing Swaminyaran Temple, Jain Temple, Great Restoration Ministries and African Orthodox Church.
In conclusion, Uganda isn’t only for wildlife safaris but also for faith based tourism. A visit to this country presents variety of religious sites that are worth exploring while on Uganda safari.