‘Mengo’ is a Luganda word for grinding stones. Legend has it that the ancient migrant communities from Ssesse Islands who settled on the Hill used stones to grind their food. At 4,000 feet above sea level, Mengo hill is steeped in political and religious history. It is located at the Kabaka’s palace (lubiri) and inside it, there is the magnificent Twekobe (Kabaka’s official residence). Most Ugandans today unknowingly refer to Mengo hill as ‘Lubiri hill’.
It is at this Hill that the famous 1900 Agreement was signed between the Kabaka of Buganda and British colonial officials establishing Uganda a British Protectorate. Near the palace is the Kabaka’s lake, the biggest man-made lake in the country. The lake was dug in 1880s on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga who wanted to link it to Munyonyo on the shores of Lake Victoria. Mwanga, a staunch fan of regatta, wanted to sail from Mengo to Munyonyo on his many hunting expedictions.
There are many different species of birds on the three small isles of the lake.
The history of Mengo hill is also the same with that of Namirembe hill, the seat of the Anglican Church in Uganda, because of the monarchy’s close association with the Church of England.
Indeed at Namirembe, just across from Mengo hill and nearly at the same elevation is the Bulange (the office building for the Kabaka and the kingdom’s Lutiiko). Near Bulange is Kisingili’s three-storeyed 1 roomed house built more than one hundred years ago.
In the courtyard you will find the more than a hundred-old giant turtles that were imported from the Seychelles islands where the British once exiled Kabaka Mwanga.