Kampala

Travel Guide Africa Uganda Kampala

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Introduction

downtown kampala

downtown kampala

© bejuan99

Kampala is the capital and largest city in Uganda with a population of about 1.4 million. It is located in the central south of the country at an elevation of about 1,200 metres and near Lake Victoria. Although African cities in general are not amongst the world's finest, Kampala is an attractive, lively and colourful city, with several ethnic groups to admire of which the Baganda are the largest with 60% of the total population. It is said to have been built on seven hills and every hill has its own features. There are good hotels and restaurants and most people visiting Uganda stay a day or two in Kampala at the beginning or end of their trip.

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Sights and Activities

Bahai Temple, Kampala

Bahai Temple, Kampala

© Natyb25

Uganda National Theatre (Uganda National Cultural Centre), De Winton St (next to Parliament), ☏ +256 414 254 567, ✉ culture@uncc.co.ug. A big cultural centre with a theatre that also hosts dance shows/lessons/events, comedy, movies, concerts, jam sessions, improv and discussion nights. The current program can be found at the entrance or on-line . There's also a library, a restaurant and a large African Crafts Village with dozens of shops selling souvenirs, crafts, and also some stuff that is more artsy then all the stuff you can find everywhere else. Worth visiting.
Bahai House of Worship is considered the Mother Temple of Africa of the Baha'i Faith. The temple is on the edges of Kampala located on Kikaya Hill. The building was designed by Charles Mason Remey who gave it the green dome that was constructed from mosaic tiles made in Italy. The lower tiles are from Belgium. and the colored glass in the wall panels came all the way from Germany. The temple grounds all include a great garden, house of worship and a guest house.
Markets and nightlife - lots of choices.
Nommo Gallery, Victoria Ave (next to State Lodge, 400m north-northwest from Sheraton Hotel), ☏ +256 414 254 567, ✉ culture@uncc.co.ug. Uganda’s National Art Gallery. Calm, spacious, green oasis in the middle of the city with art exhibitions (paintings and sculptures that can be bought) and two restaurants frequented by government employees.
Uganda Museum (Uganda National Museum), Kira Rd (4km north of city centre, to the west of Kololo hill behind the golf course), ☏ +256 414 267 538. Daily 10AM-6PM. A natural history museum, with some static displays commencing from the stone age and moving forward to Ugandan traditional life. USh Entrance: 5,000 (Ugandans), 10,000 (residents), 15,000 (non-Ugandans).
Uganda National Mosque (Gaddafi National Mosque), Old Kampala Hill (on top of the hill next to the new taxi park). Big, beautiful modern mosque commissioned by Muammar Gaddafi, the ex-Libyan despot, as a gift to Uganda and completed in 2007. Said to be second-largest in sub-Saharan Africa. Great, relatively close-up bird's-eye view of Kampala from up the minaret, though there are a lot of steps to climb. Just to the north of the mosque is Fort Lugard where the first Governor of the Protectorate, Frederick Lugard, was posted. USh 20,000 to go inside and up the minaret with a guide.
Kasubi tombs (Ssekabaka's Tombs), Kasubi Hill (5km north-west of city centre along Hoima Rd), ☏ +256 412 736 00, ✉ kabakafdtn@utlonline.co.ug. Burial ground of four Kabakas (kings) of Buganda and important place for the Baganda people. UNESCO World Heritage site. Nearly completely destroyed in a 2010 fire, but largely reconstructed with foreign aid.
Wamala tombs (14 km (30 min) north-west of city centre along Hoima Rd, take matatu to Nansana, then boda-boda), ☏ +256 414 501 866, ✉ ucota@africaonline.co.ug. Tombs where the remains of some of the earlier Buganda kings were buried including Kabaka Ssuuna 11 (1836-1856). During his time he had 148 wives and produced 218 children! The single tomb building was also completely destroyed by fire in 2012, and has now been reconstructed. Meaning there are no original tombs left in the city. No fixed entrance fee. USh 20,000 charged by security. May be negotiable.
Namirembe Cathedral (Buwama), Namirembe Hill (on hill 1km west of Gaddafi Mosque), ✉ namid@infocom.co.ug. By European standards, a small Anglican cathedral. Not very interesting of itself, but some views of the city. This is the fifth Namirembe Cathedral in Kampala, built around the time of WW1, after the four first were outgrown, blown down, nearly eaten by termites, and struck by lightning!
St. Mary’s Cathedral (Rubaga Cathedral), Lubaga Hill (1 km west of Mengo Hill). Another cathedral, Catholic this time.
Lubiri (Mengo Palace), Mengo Hill (large empty hill 1km south of the city centre, seen from most places). Royal compound of the Kabaka/king. Historically significant place, but not much to see. The original Lubiri was destroyed in 1966 when Milton Obote took power and the Kabaka fled the country. To the west along the Lubiri Ring Road is Kabaka's Lake, a man-made body of water ordered by King Mwanga of Buganda that you can walk around or canoe in, but, whew-wee, there's a little bit of a stink problem from sewage going directly into it. Cost to enter the lake area is USh 500.
Parliament of Uganda, Parliament avenue (from the taxi parks walk east along Kampala/Entebbe Rd until you reach Parliament Ave). Designed to represent the whole country and with visitors/tourists in mind; eg, look at the gate with the symbols of Uganda's different tribes or the giant carved wood art covering the lobby walls.
Independence Monument, Speke Rd/Nile Ave (between Grand Imperial and Sheraton hotels). Small monument, but of large symbolic importance.
Shri Sanatan Dharma Mandal Temple, 10 Snay Bin Amir Rise, ☏ +256 41 4256036. 6AM-12:30PM, 4PM-8PM daily, closed Su. A longstanding Hindu temple in Kampala where the emphasis is on Lord Shiva.
Uganda Martyrs Catholic Shrine Namugongo, Naalya-Namugongo Rd (about 9 mi from Kampala CBD), ☏ +256 392179039. 8:30AM-6PM daily. Shrine to the 32 men who were burned to death on order of King Mwanda II of Buganda in 1886 for refusing to renounce Christianity back in turbulent colonial times.

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Events and Festivals

Amakula Kampala International Film Festival

Also known as the Amakula Kampala Cinema Caravan Festival, this festival moves around the country over a course of four months, from the beginning of September to the end of November. It showcases both old and new films that feature themes of independence and fall under one of five platforms, which include African Panorama, Highlights and Tributes, Regional Views, Landmarks and Contemporary World Cinema. It also offers workshops on film training and creating soundtracks for silent films.

Bayimba International Festival of Music and Arts

Each September, this popular three-day festival takes place at the Uganda National Theatre in Kampala’s city centre. The festival focuses on arts and culture in Uganda and is a must for all visitors hoping to learn more about the music and art scene of the country. This festival has grown to become the country’s number one festival, in which Kampala truly comes to life. The festival brings music, film, dance, theater, and visual arts together under one roof, and showcase not only local artists but those from other East African counties as well.

Nile Gold Jazz Safari

This one-day event happens each October in Kampala and features some incredible jazz played by musicians from all over the world. Each year there is a new list of performers, but one thing that is consistent is that the music is always fantastic. Saxophones, bass guitars, drums, keyboards and pianos play to a growing audience of Ugandan jazz lovers, and of course visitors are always welcome.

This Is Uganda

This annual festival is to showcase the diverse cultures throughout Uganda through art, music, poetry and dance, with an emphasis on female artists. Each December thousands come to Kampala’s Kyandondo Rugby Club to watch some phenomenal live performances. The festival also has a lounge area where festival goers can socialize, as well as booths that promote woman’s rights, education and HIV/AIDS awareness.

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Weather

Kampala has a hot and humid tropical climate, with temperatures usually around 30 °C or just below. The hottest month is February when temperatures occasionaly hit 35 °C. The cooler period is from May to August when temperatures can drop below 15 °C but it rarely get colder. March to May is the long rainy season, with April being the wettest month. A shorter and less wet period lasts from late October to early December.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max28.5 °C29.3 °C28.7 °C27.7 °C27.2 °C26.9 °C26.7 °C27.2 °C27.9 °C27.7 °C27.4 °C28 °C
Avg Min17.9 °C18.3 °C18.2 °C18.1 °C17.9 °C17.7 °C17.2 °C17 °C17.2 °C17.5 °C17.5 °C17.8 °C
Rainfall71 mm54 mm119 mm174 mm124 mm66 mm56 mm91 mm106 mm126 mm152 mm86 mm
Rain Days7812161387911151410

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Getting There

By Plane

International
Entebbe International Airport (EBB) near the capital Kampala serves many international destinations including Nairobi, Mombasa, Khartoum, Kilimanjaro/Arusha, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar with Air Uganda. Other airlines serving the country are mainly African airlines serving a number of destinations in East and Central Africa. South Africa Airways flies to Johannesburg, Brussels Airlines to Brussels, British Airways to London and KLM to Amsterdam. Eagle Air has many charter flights to lots of African countries only.

Domestic
Eagle Air probably has the most domestic flights, flying between Entebbe and most major towns. Several other smaller charter airlines have flights as well, including those to small airstrips in or near national parks.

By Train

Discussions on improving the railway service within Uganda has dragged on for years. While semi-high speed rail is expected to arrive by the mid 2020s, the current 100 year old network is in a dilapidated state. As of the early 2020, the only active line from Namanve in the eastern suburbs of Kampala. The national operator Uganda Railways Corporation has promised to launch intercity trains, but nothing have materialized so far.

By Car

Kampala is connected to the rest of the country by relatively good tarred roads, although it is recommended to hire a 4wd and be only travel during the day.

By Bus

Many buses serve from Kampala to dozens of destinations in Uganda and beyond. There are regular buses to Nairobi and Kigali.

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Getting Around

By Car

Several agencies offer car rental, with or without driver. While self-driving in Kampala may not seem tempting, car rental is a great option to explore the rest of the country. Upon request, most businesses can get you safely out of Kampala before handing over the keys.

By Public Transport

The fastest and most dangerous method is the boda-boda: motorcycles that you see all over the city. You won't be in Kampala long before being propositioned by a boda driver. If you're not interested, a simple 'no' will get them to leave you alone. You can get most anywhere on the back of one for UGX3000-5000, but make sure to agree on the fare before the ride begins. Men usually ride facing forward while women are expected to ride side saddle; very risky. Females can get away with riding facing the front, but may be accused of riding "like a man," though the locals are fairly understanding of female tourists doing this.

Boda-bodas are extremely dangerous as their riders will do whatever it takes to get you to your destination quickly. Expect to dart in front of and against traffic and even though crowds of pedestrians when necessary. Boda-boda accidents account for most of the hospital visits and traffic fatalities in Kampala; you have been warned!

Boda-bodas got their name from the bicycle taxis that operated at some of the busy border crossing points. Buses had to discharge their passengers at the exit border control, who then had to walk to the entry border control. The distance across no man's land at some borders can be considerable. Hence the bicycle taxis would cry "boda-boda" (a corruption of the English "border to border") to the weary travellers. These bicycle taxis can still be found in most smaller Ugandan towns, however, in Kampala they have been replaced by motorcycles. Boda-bodas charge USh 3000-5000 for trips within Kampala (foreigner price; correct at July 2011). It is almost impossible to get anywhere for under USh 2000, and longer trips may run you up to USh 7000.

In-app Boda-Boda rides around Kampala are focusing more on passenger safety with the introduction of the mobile App-Based motorcycle transport service providers who are trained, more professional and have helmets for passengers. The rides are ordered in the app and fares are shown before confirming the request. Most service providers allow payments via the app or cash payments. These app-based boda-boda service providers in and around Kampala include SafeBoda, Uber, Bolt,

Matatus are a series of minibuses that follow relatively pre-set routes all over the city and many other parts of the country. Confusingly, they are known as taxis in Uganda. It might be a bit confusing in the beginning how to use the matatus to efficiently get where you want to go, but it's really not so difficult.

Their routes usually go between the city centre and some suburb. The majority of matatus to/from the suburbs leave/finish inside or around the old taxi park. edit Some, e.g. those going along Ggaba road to Kabalagala, Kansanga, Bbunga, Ggaba and Munyonyo, leave inside the Cooper Complex. edit This can be hard to find since that's basically inside a shopping mall. Other matatus leave directly from the streets around the old taxi park or farther away up to Kampala road, and some leave from the 3 new taxi park. edit Although that park is mainly reserved for matatus and larger buses going further out to all corners of Uganda and neighbouring countries.

Matatus will stand in the park until they are full, something that normally takes less than 15 minutes, but can take over half an hour (or even over one hour late at night or on Sundays). Matatus that leave the area around the park are hence full, which makes it difficult to hop on a matatu at other places in the city centre. Unless you're very lucky, you'll have to go to where the matatus start in order to leave the city centre.

Each matatu has a driver and a conductor. Don't be frightened if you can't understand what they're saying. Ask one of them for your destination and you'll be told yes or no. When you get in, expect to be squeezed. Each vehicle is licensed to carry 14 people, but they will pack in as many will fit (and their belongings). If you don't like this it's a good idea to sit in the back of the vehicle, since usually the squeezing is limited to the first 2 rows. Once the matatu starts moving people can get off at any time. When you reach your destination, tell your conductor "Stage" and they will stop the van.

Whenever a matatu has empty space the driver will go slowly and honk repeatedly. If you want to get on, just make some gesture and it will slow further down and shout out the destination, just shout your destination as response and they will pick you up if it's along the way. There are often also a number of further staging points along the way where the driver will again stop and wait until they can fill the vehicle. This can take a few seconds or several minutes; just be patient. In some cases drivers won't take you if you only go relatively short distances, since that will mean they'll risk losing money if they can't fill your place quickly once you're dropped. You pay the conductor when you exit, although some people give the conductor money while the vehicle is moving so that he can make change ahead of time.

Going with a matatu is generally cheap, safe, slow and nice. Ugandans are often happy to start up a conversation or help you out, and if the conductor tries to overcharge you or make you take an inefficient route, passengers are likely to point that out to you and scold him. People also complain if a driver takes too long to wait for passengers or drives recklessly and will even collectively quit the van in protest if a driver drives too bad.

Large city buses that run on fix routes. This mode of transport is still limited but some buses run along Jinja Road, which has some designated bus stops. all the city buses start at Constitutional square on Kampala road. The fare is USh 1,000.

One city bus goes to and from Constitutional Square past Acacia mall, and one bus goes to and from Constitutional Square past Lugogo Mall.

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Eat

There are a number of dining options in Kampala ranging from the cheap and local to the very fancy (and very expensive).

Everywhere you go you'll see signs for little hole-in-the-wall restaurants (including some called "pork joints"). Most of these places don't have menus, so you'll have to ask what's available. Common options include meat (usually beef), rice, beans, Matoke (steamed green bananas, served mashed). Common dishes that can be found in most of the city restaurants and in the country side are Fish and Chips and chicken and chips. These meals vary in servings and will cost between UGX4500-9000. Be sure to ask the price ahead of time so that you don't get surprised later on. Prices are typically UGX500 per item, but can vary. Sodas and bottled water will cost more too. Matoke with groundnut sauce can be delicious!

For a street snack, the famous "Rolex" is very enjoyable. It is made out of a chapati (kind of a pancake) wrapped around an omelet, with cabbage and tomatoes. Expect to pay UGX700-1000. Other street food includes roast chicken, goat and beef. This is usually served with chips or a salad or both. Pricing is per piece UGX2000-4500. If you are looking for something healthier but still want to enjoy the experience of roadside eating, the best bargain is with roasted corn or maize. The white maize is slow roasted on a charcoal grill and is available for UGX500-600 per cob. Freshness is guaranteed as Maize is a common plant found throughout Uganda. Usually the vendors will have a stall close to a source of maize plantation.

Garden City. The food court at this shopping center offers a wide variety of options including Lebanese, Italian, Indian, and more. There are particularly good masala dosas served in the food court. Unlike a traditional food court, you order from a menu and a waiter brings food to your table. There is a good Indian restaurant named Nawab on the roof of Garden City, and a steak restaurant that's quite good.
Cafe Javas, Oasis Shopping Plaza (next to Garden City) Expat and local hangout. Flawless service. Great breakfasts and wonderfully rich coffee. Free wireless internet. Opens at 6AM and stays open late.
New York Kitchen, Garden City Basement (next to Stanbic bank parking garage). Has an assortment of authentic New York-style food.
Fang Fang (Chinese Restaurant), Roof Terrace, Communication House, Plot 1, Colville St (Enter the Communications Tower government office block and, after passing throudh the security check, take the steps to the first floor.), ☏ +256 414 344 806, fax: +256 414 250 422, ✉ reservations@fangfang.co.ug. Large, plush, well furnished place with many private side and meeting rooms. Well stocked bar. Authentic menu and cuisine. 6 piece per plate starter, vegetable USh 16,800, meat USh 19,800, prawns USh 29,800; crab in ginger & garlic sauce USh 65,800.
Just Kicking, Kisementi shopping Centre, good choice of pub food and continental dishes, weekend nights BBQ.
Pizza or BBQ night at the Red Chilli Hideaway, Butabika (10km east of city centre along Port Bell road and then left, at lake 500m from Butabika Hospital), ☏ +256 772 509 150. 6-9PM. Even if you're not staying there it might be interesting to spend an evening at this backpacker hangout and get some good travel tips from fellow travellers or listen to stories of some avid backpackers and cross-Africa (motor)bike/car drivers.
The Lawns Restaurant & Lounge Bar, ☏ +256 414 250337, ✉ reservation@thelawns.co.ug. Plot 34, Impala Avenue, Upper Kololo Terrace, Kololo, Kampala. Features a wide variety of fusion delights from all across continent. Only restaurant in Uganda offering full range of game meat. Starters range from USh 14,000 to 25,000. Main course range from USh 18,000 to 40,000. The wines includes South African and a number of European selections, ranging from USh 30,000 to 150,000. This has a fantastic ambiance, and the food is amazing.
Paradise: Sheraton Kampala. Features a variety of Indian and continental dishes. Main course range from USh 20,000 to 40,000. The wines includes South African and a number of European selections, ranging from USh 40,000 to 150,000.
Serena Hotel: just down the hill from the Sheraton. A variety of South Asian and African dishes prepared with flair. A complete meal for two will run to about USh 200,000, excluding alcohol.
Khana Khazana, this is one of the best (more expensive) Indian restaurants: It is on Acacia Avenue, up from the Protea Hotel, in Kololo.
Mamba Point: this is one of the best (more expensive) Italian places. The address is 22 Akil Bua Road-Nakasero: 031-256-3000. Be sure to go to the Italian Restaurant on Akil Bua Road, not the Pizzeria on Lumumba Ave, although the Pizzeria is one of the best in town.
The Pyramids Casino: this is the place to go when someone else is paying. It is more expensive than just about anywhere, except for the Serena. It has good pastas and meat, and is a bit more interesting for continental/fusion food than major hotels like the Sheraton or Serena. It is on Yusef Lule Road, across from the Golf Course.

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Drink

Drink only bottled water - spring water brands like Rwenzori and Blue Wave can be trusted - or tap water that has been boiled/treated appropriately.

If you feel like going out, go out, you should be safe, just exercise common sense. Ugandans are very sociable. Kampala's nightlife centers around the neighborhoods Bukoto and Kabalagala. Several clubs are also in the Industrial area (e.g. along 1st/6th Street) and along Kampala road plus Acacia Avenue. Popular clubs are Club Silk, Venom Club, Club Amnesia, Casablanca, Cayenne Restaurant and Lounge, the Mask Lounge Club and Ange Noir. Going out clubbing in Kampala can be very expensive.

Just Kicking sports bar, Kisementi (at end of Acacia Avenue). Good for a relaxed drink with an international crowd. It gets very lively during weekend nights and whenever a major football match is screened.
The Lawns Restaurant & Lounge Bar, Impala Avenue, Kololo (on south-eastern slope of Kololo hill, close to where airstrip ends). Good if you want a quite and tranquil environment. The Lawns offers beautiful garden lounge bar. Try their wide range of cocktails or wine with amazing starters.

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Sleep

Fat Cat Backpackers, 13 Bukoto Street, ☏ +256 771393892. Dorm beds. Breakfast included in the price. US$15 per dorm bed.
Red Chilli Hideaway, 13-23 Bukasa Hill view road Butabika, ☏ +256 772509150. Dorm beds. Has a swimming pool. US$12 per dorm bed.
Kampala Backpackers Hostel and Campsite, kampala Natete road lungujja (about 3 km from down town Kampala), ☏ +256 414274767. Camping. Dorm beds. Single/double rooms. A long 3-km walk up hill from Down town. The Backpackers is more like a bar than a backpackers. The rooms look run down. Camping US$7. Dorm bed $10. Single room $15. Double room $25.
Ewaka Guest House and Backpackers, 8/9 Salim bey road (Ntinda new market Ntinda town), ☏ +256 755925966. Camping, dorm bed, sharing a bathroom, double room sharing a bathroom. Camping US$5. Dorm bed $10. Room $20.
Mother Theresa Guest House, Ismail Road. Mbuya. Kampala (off the new Port Bell road), ☏ +256 700296379. Check-in: noon, check-out: noon. Very clean single/double rooms with own bathroom. single USh 30,000, double USh 50,000.
Royal Arch Inn Guest House, 547 Mutebi Road, ☏ +256-414345088. Check-in: 24 hours. Double rooms. Has hot water, and TV. USh 25,000.
Palm Gardens and Guest House, Gayaza Road off Msisi road Makindye. Check-in: 8AM, check-out: 10AM. Single room with own bathroom, net, TV. The hotel has 13 rooms. from USh 35,000.
International Youth Hostel Uganda, Wakaliga on Narnirembe-Netete road. a/c single/double rooms with own bathroom USh 56,000 per person.
Prestige Hotel Suites, Plot 9 Lumumba Avenue, Nakasero, ✉ info@prestigehotelsuites.com. Air-conditioned suites with a swimming pool, bar, lounge, free parking and 24-hour reception. Fast free on-site Wi-Fi available. From US$80.
Hotel International 2000, Plot 3209 Tank Hill Road, ☏ +256 712 998 080, ✉ reservations@hotelinternational2000.com. Offers 30 tastefully furnished, giant-sized and standard rooms ranging from single to executive with other ammenities like health centre, swimming pool, bar and restaurant, Colored gardens, conference halls, Wifi, wide parking space. Prices starts at US$70 per night.
Protea Hotel Kampala, Kololo. 35 km from Entebbe Airport, the brand new Protea Hotel Kampala offers 4-star luxury and 5-star service. 59 rooms and 11 suites, all en-suite and air-conditioned; restaurant, bar, satellite television, air-con. Close to gym, tennis and squash courts, etc. Also includes a business centre, wireless internet throughout, currency exchange, 24-hour room service and Reception.
Hotel Africana, Plot 2-4 Wampewo Ave, ☏ +256 414 777500. Well-established hotel with lots of parking, swimming pool, gym, Wi-Fi, apartments; near a large shopping mall but can be noisy on a concert/wedding weekend. Only hotel with its own fully-fledged mosque.
Hotel Ruch. Central location right next to the Sheraton. Well-maintained bed & breakfast hotel with nice gardens and a bar. On-site Wi-Fi available. from US$50.
Fang Fang Hotel on Ssezibwa Road in Kampala has clean rooms, air-con available, hot running water, a great Chinese restaurant on the premises (with nice garden seating), and is not overpriced. Recommended. Centrally located near UWA offices.
Aminaz Garden Place (In Kololo). Very good, clean and safe accommodation.
Golf Course Apartments, in Kololo. Not to be confused with pricier Golf Course Hotel which is fairly nearby. Very comfortable apartments around £100 per night. Offers swimming pool, gym, sauna, tennis court, garden. Kitchens fully equipped for self-catering. Daily maid service, cleaning, laundry. Pleasant green environment away from traffic noise.
Speke Hotel, City Center, in City Center. One of the earliest hotels in Kampala, and very different from the upscale Speke Resort in Munyonyo. It is on a busy street where prostitutes ply their trade at night. The rooms are clean with wooden floors and clean toilets, AC, free Wi-Fi, but it tends to be spartan, and isn't posh by any stretch. The hotel has a pizzeria, Indian restaurant (Khyber Pass), A pub/bar Rock Garden Cafe. There is an Crane Bank ATM inside the hotel (may work, but most international cards will need to use the Barlays a few minutes walk away). Prices start from around US$120 per day.
Shangri-la Hotel, Plot 8/10 Ternan Avenue, Nakasero (right across from the Sheraton Hotel), ☏ +256 772222623. Budget place with breakfast and pool close to the Independence monument and other downtown attractions. USh 132,106.
Golf Course Hotel, Plot 64-86, Yusuf Lule Road, ✉ reservation@golfcoursehotel.com. This hotel next to the Garden City Complex offers huge rooms and apartments, modern facilities, a large and fancy pool and very relaxing views of the tropic golf course.
Kampala Serena Hotel, Kintu Road, ☏ +256-414-309000, ✉ kampala@serena.co.ug. Another five-star hotel just further down the road from the Sheraton. Offers modern and spacious rooms. Swimming pool, large garden, a health club and also several restaurants and bars are all on the hotel premises. The hotel is also close to the popular shopping malls at Yuseuf Lule road. From US$150 per night.
Sheraton Kampala Hotel, Ternan Avenue, ☏ +256-31-2322499. Renovated, the Sheraton is the leading high-end hotel in town, occupying extensive nicely manicured grounds.
Speke Resort, ☏ +256-414-227-111. In Munyonyo, about 10 km from the city centre by the shores of Lake Victoria, and not to be confused with the Speke Hotel (above). An excellent getaway from city life. You'll find plenty of animals around (and often in) the resort. Has a large swimming pool, as well as an infinity pool by the lake. Gym, spa, and choice of restaurants with lake views. Free cable internet to rooms, but Wi-Fi only in the foyer and restaurant areas.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Safety

See also Travel Safety

Kampala is a relatively safe city. It is fairly safe to walk or take matatus around some areas at night, but don't take unnecessary chances. Kampala is not safe to walk around in after dark, especially if you are a white. It is assumed that all whites have money. It is also not safe to drive around, day or night, with your windows down or unlocked. Someone could reach in through the window and take your cell phone right out of your hand or open the door and take your laptop right off your lap.

Air pollution is among the worst in the world, so again, keep your windows up, doors locked and set your car button to circulate the air and not take in external air, especially if you are following a diesel powered MV.

Boda-boda motorcycle taxis are notoriously dangerous, but are sometimes so convenient it's difficult not to use them. If you do decide to use them regularly consider buying a helmet (they are not provided by the driver). Although it defies logic at first glance, you might want to consider taking a boda-boda in which the driver does not have a helmet. Drivers without helmets tend to drive slower, and as they never have helmets for the passengers, this means that you are a bit safer. With the introduction of the in-app Boda-boda riders, you can ride safer on a motorcycle in Kampala.

Don't plan on using your credit card. If it is accepted, there is a good chance of fraud. Safer is withdrawing money from ATMs using your Mastercard or Visa-card. Many ATMs take Mastercard or Visa card. Ecobank, Equity bank, Stanbic are the banks that takes MasterCard branded cards. Barclays Bank Uganda has a fee at all its ATMs for all overseas banks cards.

To stay safe, also be aware of the many prostitutes in Rock Garden at Speke Hotel. There are several stories about guys being duped, drinking beers laced with rohypnol, ending up short on cash, cell phones, credit cards and bank cheques.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes can be readily found in Kampala and Jinja. In most larger towns you'll find internet cafes running off of either VSATs or mobile phones. The Internet connection bandwidth is very low and can be frustrating for those who are used to a high speed internet connection.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Mobile phone network coverage is available in most parts of the country (over 80%), but geography can cause trouble in the mountainous regions. SIM cards are cheaply available everywhere in 'starter packs' but need to be registered before use. They make a good deal though, as prices for international data roaming are extremely high.

Mobile broadband (3G, HSDPA, HSPA, HSPA+) is available in several places. Airtel has mobile broadband available in larger places along Jinja Road. An example of price for mobile broadband on a phone through Airtel is UGX25,000 for 1GB traffic in one week.In the more rural areas, a slower (EDGE) connection might be available. Orange also offer mobile broadband. Other networks include MTN (the biggest in Uganda), Warid Telecom and Uganda Telecom.

Post

Posta Uganda offers reasonable services. Prices are not high, though it might not be the fastest company. Expect postcards and letters to take at least 7-10 days to Europe, longer to North America and Australia. Post offices are generally open from around 8:00-9:00am until late afternoon. If you want to send parcels overseas, it would be better to use companies like TNT, UPS, FedEx or DHL, as they are competitively priced and also much faster.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 0.3133
  • Longitude: 32.57137

Accommodation in Kampala

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as well as Peter (2%), Lavafalls (2%)

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This is version 26. Last edited at 14:15 on Oct 2, 20 by Utrecht. 17 articles link to this page.

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