Given their unique way of worship, Uganda’s Christian churches have become a source of tourism attraction by international visitors to Uganda.
Almost every week, the number of international arrivals to Uganda to attend church services is continuing to increase.
Initially, religious tourism was basically due to the Uganda martyrs in Namugongo until of recent when other churches started gaining recognition.
Among the top sites of religious tourism in Uganda are;
1. The Uganda martyrs shrines in Namugongo.
These are famous for the ugandans who were killed by King Mwanga of Buganda for proving their loyalty to Christianity. There are three martyrs shrines in Namugongo; the Catholic shrine, the Anglican shrine and the moslem shrine. Thousands of people visit these shrines every day but majority of them visit in June every month.
2. The Bahai temple.
Each continent in the world has only one Bahai Temple and Uganda is Africa’s spiritual heart for the Bahai because it has the Mother Temple in Kampala and over 10 Bahai centers distributed throughout the country. It is estimated to have 1000 followers.
3. The Kakande Ministries.
Famously known as the Synagogue church of all Nations, the Kakande Ministries is believed to be a healing solution ground where people with different issues go to in order to have them solved in a miraculous way. The Kakande Church is located in Mulago and headed by Prophet Samuel Kakande. It is said that Kakande succeed this church from the late John Obiri Yebowa who, according to the Pentecostal church history in Uganda, started the spiritual power movement which has taken over the Pentecostal church today. At least 8 of every 10 legendary pastors in Uganda once worked with either Obiri or Deo Balabyekubo who was the assistant of Obiri.
4. Pr. Robert Kayanja.
Kayanja Ministries and Rubaga Miracle Centre Cathedral is also one of the pastors that have contributed to religious tourism in Uganda. He is one of Uganda’s prominent legendary pastors believed to have spiritual healing powers.
5. Pr. Aloysius Bugingo.
Bugingo is the founder of The House of Prayer church in Makerere. Although the pastor is known for controversies, he is one the pastors who is contributing to religious tourism. Many people both locals and international are outpouring at his church every week.
6. Faith of Unity Church or Desteo Owobusobozi.
The faith of Unity was founded by Desteo Bisaka commonly known by his church as “The Lord God of the Power of God (Omukama Ruhanga Owobusobozi). The faith of Unity located in Kapyeemi Hoima district in western Uganda. They practices worship like the Catholic church. It has however remained a centre of study by different scholars and tourists who want to deeply understand the faith. Some of the issues attracting tourists include the fact that Bisaka is refered to as God and also the way he was burred. According to World Religions, Faith of Unity is one of the dominant churches in Uganda with alot of similarities with Christianity.
Bisaka who started as primary school teacher and a Catholic church catechist died at the age of 91. His body was not burrier but preserved and kept in a glass coffin. The coffin is kept in one of his homes at Kapyeemi, the headquarters of the faith.
Religious tourism is one of the sectors that has contributed to the growth of low cost travel Accommodation since most of the travelers are looking for cheap hotels and Guesthouses to stay overnight either before or after prayers. Some of these church services either start very early in the morning or end at night and this creates the need for accommodation and feeding services.