The Buganda Royal Mile, locally known as the “Kabaka’njagala Road” meaning “the King-loves-me” is a straight path connecting the Buganda royal palace and her parliament (administrative seat). The name Kabaka’njagala came into existence because the road was aligned with huge candlenut trees (kabaka’njagala in Luganda) that Kabaka Mutesa II distributed to his subjects to plant. Fifty two (52) candlenut trees were planted, each representing a clan in Buganda Kingdom.

The candlenut tree (Aleuritesmoluccanus) is a native plant in Asia, especially China where it is used for varnish, food, and in other places, as a property-line manager — because their silvery under-leaf made the trees visible and easy to distinguish from a distance. Here in Uganda, candlenut tree seeds are used as an improvised toy to play a marbles game locally known as “Dool”.

Twekobe, Buganda’s Royal Palace

Along the Royal Mile, you will see the Buganda court house. It is a custom in Buganda that the king’s palace and the court house face the same direction because the Baganda believe that the King’s spirits walk in a straight line so there should be no obstacle in the King’s way.

The Buganda parliament was initially confined within the palace premises and its seating was carried out under a big tree, later upgraded to a small room. While in exile in Scotland in the 1950s, Kabaka Mutesa II admired the architectural design of the Scottish parliament. He promptly obtained a copy of its plans and used them to build the current Buganda parliament on return. He also picked up the idea of the Royal Mile, which is a long historical road that connects the Holyrood Palace to the Edinburgh Castle in Scotland, brought it to Buganda and created a Royal Mile that is exactly one mile to connect the Buganda Royal palace to the parliament.

Bulange, Buganda’s Parliament

Just halfway between the royal palace and the parliament is an interesting round-about where only the Kabaka is allowed to drive through. This round-about is not a mere ordinary place but a place highly respected with significant symbols of different meanings in the Buganda kingdom. The Kabaka’s round-about has a special cleaner to keep it clean, a gate that is always kept locked with a guard on a stand-by to open when the Kabaka is nearing to go through it and close after.  With this arrangement of the Kabaka passing straight through the round-about, he attained a name “Lukoma Nantawetwa” meaning “the king does not go around the round-about”.  

Timothy Kintu (#TrekWithTim) the guide aka Trekking Timmy, launched trekking as a monthly activity with the first one done on Easter Monday  April, 2nd 2018. Follow us on our social media handles for updates on the forth coming challenges.

I have to start with a big Thank You to all the 24 walkers who turned up for the Uganda Colony Trek. You brought good vibes and fun energy. You made the trek fun.

In last week’s blog I gave you some background on the Uganda Colony Trek. But if you haven’t read it yet, here’s a snap recap.

This trek goes round the territory where the British first established their presence in Uganda. We call it Uganda Colony Trek (Uganda was actually a protectorate) because this particular ring was in all respects a British colony. It was a settlement managed in the apartheid style, with its own laws and governing system that did not apply to the native (local) communities surrounding it.

The British built rings like these everywhere they settled during the colonial era. Black people were not allowed into this ring unless they were laborers or clerks working in the offices and homes of British administrators.

As bulwark against possible attacks (they were surrounded by African settlements on all sides) they built a ring around the hills of Kololo and Nakasero (which form the central business district) and fortified with a ring of Indian settlements along the road we were walking.

First Leg

Remember how we said the trek is 12km. It turns out ‘those guys’ at Google are not as good at calculating distances as they think they are. The trek is actually 14km. All the better for us; everyone who initially thought 12km would be a tough stretch found themselves wishing the trail had been longer. Walking is so much more fun than running.

Here we are at Lugogo By-pass, where the trek started. This road is the line between Kololo and Naguru. Kololo is where top officials in the colonial administration lived. It was the most coveted real estate during colonial times. Still is today.

We had our first water stop at a Chinese supermarket in the middle of this stretch. As many trekkers would later come to learn, most of the businesses along this ring are owned by foreigners so in some respects the ring has not yet changed its character.

Below left, Josh, a volunteer guide, keeps the engines revving at the backline; while right,  a volunteer guide explains the history of Kololo hill and its significance in today’s social structure.

Here we are at Lugogo By-pass, where the trek started. This road is the line between Kololo and Naguru. Kololo is where top officials in the colonial administration lived. It was the most coveted real estate during colonial times. Still is today.

At the junction where Lugogo-Bypass drops into Kira Road is Kira Road police station, we turned into the stretch heading to Kamwokya-Mulago, and onwards into Kampala’s central business district.

The houses left of this photo are surviving structures of the Indian Quarters which served as a bulwark between the colony and the native settlements in the hills across. In this photo, Trekking Timmy (far right) is captured describing it to some guests on the trek.

The walk was going smoothly up to this point. The walkways newly built by KCCA ended here and we had to walk single file. I hope the authority sends a representative to walk with us next time.

Second Leg

Rain trapped us at the Uganda Museum, pushing the time count forward by an hour . Luckily for us, there was an intriguing storytelling session to capture our attention. The trekkers are treated to rare accounts of Uganda’s history, and a tour of the museum.

It isn’t a trek without good photos; the trekkers pause for a selfie with PR guru, Simon Kaheru. We are on Jinja Rd round about at this point, just outside what used to be railway yard. There is just a kilometre, or two, left on the trek but the trekkers feel fresh and ready for more.

And to wrap up the trek, after stretching the legs and learning something new about Kampala’s history, we sat down enjoy this delicious goat, graciously donated by one of the trekkers.Travel Massive was represented too. We had some talks about hiking and travel as we settled down to a variety of beverages and hot plates of Uganda’s breakfast staple, “Katogo”.

Special thanks to Simon Kaheru for contributing Rwenzori Water to the trek. Simon is also the guy who published the article that inspired this trail. Keep supporting the cause Simon.

Special thanks to Tom and the Red i crew for supporting the trek. Tom is the guy who contributed the goat we enjoyed after the trek.

This is all the fun you missed. Be sure to follow us on facebook, twitter, or better still, drop us an email on trekwithtim@trekkingtimmy.com

 

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