How to fall in love with Kampala

Uganda- The reaction I received from people that I told I was going to work and travel there was almost all the time one of the following phrases “Oh ok. Isn’t that dangerous?”, “Oh this is in Africa right?”, “Oh shit!”, “Uganda? What the hell?!”. Just add the facial expression yourself 😀

Well, good that this kind of reaction never hindered me in looking forward to a travel destination. (one time I was visiting Poland and people asked me what the hell I wanted to do there)  About my short work experiences in the East African country you can read here.

This post will be the first of a few where, I will introduce the different regions and cities I visited in Uganda and what I did there and what I can recommend you to do:) I start off with the capital of Uganda!

Kampala

It’s THE city of nightlife! I was told you can go out from Monday to Sunday as there is always something happening. I tried it out, I can confirm! 😀  I spent over a week in the Ugandan capital and I loved every minute of it. Thanks to the amazing couchsurfer Destreet who me and my project team could stay with, we saw all the cool corners of Kampalas nightlife. If you ever end up in this city I warmly recommend you to stay at his place, he welcomes you with open arms and has the best tips for his city and you can see all the art he does and support in buying one of the beautiful pieces. Check out his website and couchsurfing profile 🙂

To get around the city please please please only use boda-bodas. Those are the infamous motorcyle taxis which are everywhere in Uganda. You tell them where you want to be dropped, you negotiate a price, you hop on, enjoy the ride and get there without stress. The city is far to full of cars! There is no way you get anywhere by car. However you can tell them in advance to drive slow and careful, ost of them will do that gladly. I always felt safe in the city also during night. Much more actually compared to Buenos Aires! So just always take not too much cash with you, but enough small money to pay the boda drivers and small snacks from street vendors. During night the usual safety things you always do are enough (hold your bag close to you when walking in the streets, not leaving your drink unattended etc.)

Places I enjoyed

National Mosque

I enjoyed this the most! You get a really nice and informative tour in the main building and afterwards you clim up the minaret and can enjoy the best view over town! The cost of this tour are 15.000 UGX  (around 4 Euro) After the climb up you can go and have a great and cheap lunch at Hunza restaurant which is just down the road of the mosque. Tip: Bring your own scarf as a girl then you can use that as a headscarf so the people there don’t need to lend you one.

Bahá’í Temple

I don’t want to spoil too much about this religious group, it’s super interesting to learn more about them: there is one of those temples on every continent. Tell me if you’ve been to one 🙂 In Kampala the temple is on top of a hill surrounded by a beautiful garden. Enjoy the view, the quiet peace and all the nice plants, here you can take a break from bustling and busy Kampala. The garden and temple are free of charge 🙂

Buganda Road Craft Market

This is the touristic market of crafts, clothes and art of Kampala. It’s in the city center and worth a visit 🙂 Be prepared to bargain for the things you are interested in, but that’s the whole fun of it as well! For me my greek side always comes out on those kind of events:P Opposite of the craft market you find a nice café (“1000 cups of coffee”) where you can get actual coffe not just instant one which you get normally get in Uganda. Be aware that their service is really slow I would only get drinks here. When you like to go to this market just tell the boda driver the name of the market they know where to take you.

Be spontaneous and explore

The city is really bustling and there is lots going on, take a look inside of one of the many malls even when they look weird to you 😛 My friend got her dreadlocks beautifully fixed at “Majestic Plaza” mall. It’s anything BUT majestic but the hairdresser is highly recommended! If you want to get dreadlocks, braids or cornrose they also offer their services to people with European hair. You can check their website here. Also I recommend you to talk to locals to get to know what’s happening in the city. There are lots of bands playing in the evening, art exhibitions, plays, or fun dance events happening in the National Theater.

Restaurants I enjoyed

Here is a small list of restaurants I enjoyed a lot! (Especially after 4 weeks of village food which is either rice with beans or potatoes :D)

Qué Pasa: Great mexican food, the portion are huge! Also your ever-hungry male friend won’t be able to finish his portion 😀 Their fresh juces and cocktails are also incredible. Middle priced, there is often live music!

The Coconut Shack: Feel like awesome Indian food? This is the place to go! It’s really high quality food and the dishes invite to share:) It’s not in the city center but if you are in the area eat out there. Also a middle priced place.

Hunza: They serve different kind of dishes from indian food  over arabic meals to african snacks they cover a wide range. They are really cheap but offer a great quality, you can sit outside on their terace and enjoy the view 🙂 Ask people at the national mosque to explain you the way there it’s really close to there.

Ethiopian restaurant: Unfortunately they don’t have a website, but it’s close to the Acaia mall. Ask people walking next to the mall about the restaurant it’s really closeby in a small quiet corner. You get amazing ethiopian food which is meant to share. You get a big plate of the typical soft bread and you dip it into sauces. Gather your friends and order either the meat or vegetarian version. Best of it: it’s a really affordable place!

Fat Cat Hostel: Next to the hostel I ate the best pizza in Kampala, service is really slow but when you are patient enough you can enjoy an Italian style pizza served on a hot stone! So just hang in there it’s worth it. Again a middle-priced meal which you get here.

I absolutely LOVED Kampala! I wouldn’t mind spending a longer amount of time in this city and actually living there for a while. If you have any other tips I missed let me know in the comments 🙂 And always remember: Wherever you go- go with all your heart ❤

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10 thoughts on “How to fall in love with Kampala

  1. Pingback: Ugandan Waterfalls and Rainforest Days | Fräulein Reiselust

  2. What a lovely piece you wrote here! Makes me very curious about Uganda. Keep up the nice article writing, it is very enjoyable to read 🙂

    Like

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