Mengo Palace (Lubiri)
Though the main palace is not open to the public, visitors are welcome to explore the grounds and visit the former torture chambers, with tours available at reception. Notable features include a perpetually-burning ceremonial fire that’s only extinguished upon the king’s death; the Kabaka Collection, which offers visual insight into the Buganda Kingdom; and the dungeons, where handprints and messages of despair are testament to the atrocities committed by Amin and his secret police.
Things to Know Before You Go
Mengo Palace plays an important role in the turbulent history of Uganda.
Women wearing trousers or shorts can borrow a wrap from reception.
Spending time at the former prison can often be emotionally distressing for visitors.
There is an admission charge for the palace grounds.
How to Get There
Mengo Palace (Lubiri) is connected directly to the Bulange building by the Kabaka Anjagala Road, making it an ideal stop on a historical city tour. The palace is a 30-minutes uphill walk from the main bus terminal and taxi park, and around five minutes byboda boda (motorbike taxi).
When to Get There
Each year, a week-long Buganda Tourism Expo takes place at the palace. Visitors can get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into palace life and gain insight into the cultural heritage of the Buganda Kingdom.
A House Fit for a King
Though the palace is the official residence of the Buganda Kingdom, the reigningkabaka (king) (Muwenda Mutebi II of Buganda prefers to stay in his Banda Palace, to the northeast of the city. This is perhaps due to the violent deposition of his own father from the palace, who later died in exile, or the untold number who were executed here under Amin’s brutal regime.