Make the most out of your stay Kampala
Kampala is Uganda’s capital city. Here, the drinks are cool and the people are warm. It is located in the southern part of the country, north of Lake Victoria. It occupies a series of hills at an elevation of about 3,900 feet (about 1,190 metres). Many people travelling to Uganda skip Kampala because they are told it is busy and kind of congested. But, of what essence is it to visit a country and not explore its main city?
According to Grace Natabaalo, a Ugandan journalist, Kampala is a place to get comfortable as long as you learn some Luganda, ask for directions and dress wisely.
Here are some tips to consider to make your stay worthwhile and more comfortable:
Book your hotel in advance. The city is loaded with accommodation services and travel agencies to help you make this process simpler. You may opt for hotel or lodge accommodation. Also, Airbnb would not be a bad idea. Sites such as airbnb.com allow you to find vacation rentals, cabins, rental units, unique homes and experiences in Kampala – all made possible by hosts.
You will have a chance to interact with your host first hand and ascertain if this is the best place for your stay, depending on what you want. Somehow, it is a better option because you will have a resident to help you with any information about the city as well as give you company. The most important thing is choosing a place near the city so that you skip traffic jam and the chaos of the morning rush.
Boda Boda tour
Boda boda which translates as motorcycle in English, is one of the commonly used means of transport in Kampala and more flexible compared to others.
Boda bodas are believed to have got their name from the bicycle taxis that operated at some of the busy border crossing points in the late 1980’s to early 90’s. 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” (“border to border”) to the weary travellers. These bicycle taxis can still be found in some smaller Ugandan towns, however, in Kampala they have been replaced by motorcycles.
If you’re in a rush to get to an appointment, a boda boda should come in handy. Not only is the boda boda experience unique and exciting, but it also gives you the opportunity to explore the city cheaply and efficiently. Ensure to get a boda rider that speaks English to guide you and provide information in regards to history, different places, food and tips to make your tour enjoyable. Travel companies such as Walter’s Tours Uganda provide professional boda boda rides that will make the experience worthwhile.
This tour could take about two to six hours, giving you all the highlights, you need to know about Kampala and Uganda in general. Some of the places include Gaddafi Mosque, craft and food markets, the Hindu Temple, museums and Buganda Kingdom Parliament among others.
Throughout East Africa, Kampala is renowned for its nightlife, hospitality and happy people. If you want to experience the best of Kampala’s party scene, look out for laid back bars and progress to clubs such as Panamera, the Garage Lounge, Kyadondo Rugby Club, Exo Lounge, Thrones, La Venti, The Gardens Najjera and Acacia Mall bars like Kenji’s, among others. The rule is to party like a local and fit in.
If you do not drink alcohol, there are plenty of drinks that are non-alcoholic or cocktails. But while you party, keep your phone in your pocket, don’t put your money on display and don’t start fights. Remember drunken men tell no tales.
This is a very common activity in Kampala and you can’t miss the excitement that comes with it. Locals call it hopping because you jump from one club to another till morning when its usually time to start your workday. Ugandans are very friendly and it does not matter whether you are a visitor, if you want to befriend them, they will show you what partying means.
Do not worry about the music, Kampala night life crowd is very diverse and the DJ will ensure he plays music that caters to each and everyone’s liking. Move with a local so that you can visit several clubs that have different ambiances and you will definitely have a great chance of dancing, having fun and singing the night away.
You must not forget to try some Ugandan beer from the source of the Nile.
Kampala is a city with warm temperatures and sometimes the sun is scorching hot and you need a public green garden to cool off or wait for friends. With the new developments, most open spaces have been used for business but places like equatorial gardens, Railway Park gardens on Kampala road, Sheraton gardens and Katwe playground are some of those you can relax without paying.
Also, if you’re looking for exquisite green space experience, the Bahai temple is one of those places you can enjoy a picnic and enjoy the green clean sceneries while catching the view of Kampala city from the hill.
There is nothing to tell if you didn’t go food touring in Kampala. Book a half day guided tour to learn about Ugandan food and culture, try different cuisine, Ugandan traditional snacks or take 2 hours of Ugandan food cooking class. This tour will help you help you uncover a world of authentic, mouth-watering Ugandan meals. Alternatively, if you are the adventurous kind, just walk into any restaurant, ask what’s on the local food menu and tantalise your taste buds. Food variety ranges from matooke, plantain, millet bread, pumpkin, potatoes, groundnuts, beans, posho, and an assortment of fruits and vegetables among others.
The famous rolex
Not the watch, it is different here. As Ugandans have been known to say: “We don’t wear Rolex, we eat them.” Rolex; the snack – is a shortening of “rolled eggs”.
According to Raymond Kahuma, a Ugandan YouTuber who broke the world record of making the world’s largest rolex, the popular dish, found at road-side stalls throughout the country and is made from a vegetable omelette added tomatoes wrapped up in a chapati.
The ingredients that make a rolex may vary with most including chicken eggs, vegetables (onions, tomatoes, cabbages, carrots and peppers), all-purpose flour and cooking oil.
It is a quick fix meal in Kampala and is widely consumed at any hour of the day. As you walk around the city, you will definitely find a stand at almost every corner. You will not regret trying it out.
Neighbourhood Uganda is a peaceful country full of loving people, very hospitable and warm. The police are always on alert and people can be out as late as 4am or even morning. Some places are not safe to walk alone in the night especially the Northern bypass or flyover roads but the city is mostly safe to tour anytime. Also, just make sure your phone is safely tucked away at all times unless you really need to use it and keep good company. The number one tip is be friendly, make as many friends and enjoy yo