Kampala, Uganda, is built on seven hills, so you can often enjoy beautiful views of the city! This city is the bustling chaos you expect from an African city! However, the warm climate and proximity to Lake Vic, give the city a very relaxed, almost tropical feeling (very different from the metropolis of Nairobi). Kampala has been voted the best East African city to live in. Even better than Nairobi and the well-organised Kigali!
The centre is busy, chaotic and dusty with tall, grey buildings. Nevertheless, in general, Kampala is incredibly green. The paths have been constructed and the houses are built among the lush vegetation: palm trees, banana plants, cacti, jungle giants with dangling lianas, and colourful flowers…. Furthermore, the houses on the hills are built low, giving you a stunning view around every corner. Especially beautiful when you drive around in the evening and the hills light up like stars in the sky!
ON THE MOTORBIKE
East Africa is not really the destination for a nice city trip: cities are often big, busy, and chaotic. Still, it would be a shame to hop back onto a plane without having experienced urban Africa! We organise city safaris with which you can tick off all the “hotspots” of Kampala in no time and together with the locals you’ll end the day with an ice-cold Nile Special (local beer).
As we get on our bicycles in the Netherlands, we hop onto a boda-boda (motorbike) in Kampala. This word comes from border to border (throw a Ugandan dialect over it and you get “boda-boda”), and is used to indicate the Honda moped taxis. They drive right through Kampala to pick you up and drop you off wherever you want! Handy, because the traffic in Kampala is chaotic and often intense. However, on a boda boda you can easily zigzag through all the honking cars.
THE CITY SAFARI
Put a helmet on your head, accelerate, and just go! On the back of a boda boda you will drive over Kampala’s hills and pass through all of Kampala’s highlights. For example, Owino Market, one of East Africa’s largest markets. In this chaotic market you will find absolutely everything you need, also if you thought you didn’t need it. From edibles to clothes, souvenirs, or utensils. You can experience even more of the chaotic city life with a visit to town, where hundreds of people squeeze through streets with shops that all sell the same stuff and where you will also find the impressive taxi park. Think: a square with hundreds of taxi-vans, parked right next to each other, all with their noses in different directions. Organised chaos!
Christianity is the largest religion in Uganda, and in every street, you will find about 63 churches that sometimes look more like a music festival. However, during the city safari you will also visit places that originate from other religions. You can visit the Gaddafi Mosque. An imposing mosque, amazing architecture, and a breath-taking view of the city. Or get zen at the Hindu Bahai Temple, surrounded by a soothing green garden. If history was your favourite subject in high school, you’re in luck: the city safari includes a visit to the palace of former dictator Idi Amin. Creepy when you see his torture dungeons in real life!
Don’t forget to try a Rolex during the city tour! And no, we are not talking about the very expensive watch (that would be a shame and also not very tasty). Roll + eggs: the culinary highlight when it comes to Ugandan snacks! An omelet with vegetables is baked and rolled on a chapati. You will see cheerful gentlemen baking eggs on a steaming plate on every street corner in the city. Simple, but satisfying! And handy if you need to fill your stomach and prepare for what the night holds …
The nightlife in Kampala is also one not to be missed and is the ideal ending to your city tour! There is a reason the city has been awarded Party Capital of East Africa! Monday? Tuesday? Saturday? Every night is party night. Enthusiastically shaking your butt on Afro beats in steaming, sleazy local clubs? Or would you rather go for Tribal House in clogged, industrial warehouses? Wherever you decide to go: an ice-cold Nile Special is always available!