Kampala, the City of Seven Hills, is the capital city of Uganda and is, by a very large margin, the largest city in the country. Secondary to it is Jinja to the east and Entebbe to the south. Kampala is in the south central part of Uganda, near the northern shores of Lake Victoria.
Kampala, with a population of approximately 2.5 million, is by far the largest city in Uganda. Although a smaller city with less suburban sprawl than Nairobi or Lagos, the traffic jams and pollution can be every bit as bad. If you are travelling around the city, plan your days carefully to avoid spending many hours in the city traffic.
Uganda, as the recipient of massive amounts of Western aid money, hosts many non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Most of these are based in Kampala, so there is an established expat scene in the city.
The Kasubi Tombs, the site of the burial grounds for four kabakas (kings of Buganda), is a UNESCO World Heritage Site partially damaged by fire in 2010.
By planeWhen coming to Kampala by air, you will actually arrive in the city of Entebbe, 35 km (22 mi) southwest of Kampala.
You can get from Entebbe airport to Kampala:
- via Private Hire taxi (approx USh 75,000 one way)
- Via the Pineapple Express - Via Kampala and Jinja - (US$10-22) - http://www.entebbejinjashuttle.com/
- via the Airport express bus. http://entebbeairportexpress.com USh 30,000 has ten trips per day both ways.
- via Boda-Boda/shared taxi (matuta) (approx USh 7000 one way), this requires you to get the short distance (4 km) from the airport to Entebbe city on a Boda-Boda =USh 3500. you will need to walk from the airport to the airport gate to get a Boda-Boda. then Matuta from Entebbe to Kampala =USh 3500.
- via hotel shuttle (e.g. if you have a reservation with Sheraton ask for their shuttle - USh 39,000 added to your hotel bill, for one way trip if shared -chances are very high there are other hotel guests arriving on your flight).
By boda-bodaThe 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 USh 2000-5000, 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!
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,
By matatuMatatus 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 parkSome, e.g. those going along Ggaba road to Kabalagala, Kansanga, Bbunga, Ggaba and Munyonyo, leave inside the
Cooper ComplexThis 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
new taxi parkAlthough 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. The normal fare is USh 500-1500 per person when driving into the city (Nov 2015).
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.
By special hireIf you aren't up for the thrill of the bodas and don't have time for a matatu, taxis, also called special hires, are readily available at most central locations. A few taxis have meters, but most have not. Be sure to agree on the fare before you get in the car or you may be in for a nasty shock. Don't be afraid to haggle either; most destinations can be reached for USh 15,000 or 20,000.
Yellow taxi company is reliable, offering 24-hour service, phone +256 713 133 331, with fixed prices: USh 10,000 for trips within Kampala; USh 60,000 for trips to/from the airport. Prices correct at Dec 2010. They also have an allocated single taxi rank space outside Nakumat.
Car rentalSeveral 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.
phone: +256 414 344 332address: Plot 3/5 Bombo Rd, Emka House, KampalaSelf-drive gives you the flexibility and cheapness of not pre-booking accommodation since you can almost always find a place to camp in Uganda - if you hire the 4x4 with the rooftop tent, you're even more independent. Where necessary, they also offer basic 4x4 driver training and cross-border hires can also be arranged for additional fees. They also offer a free driver to get you out of the chaos that is Kampala traffic.
phone: +256 773363012Established in 2012 by a Dutch couple in Kampala, Roadtrip Uganda provides you with reliable car rental and a big dose of insider travel tips.
phone: +256701367970address: Najja Shopping Centre, Level 3, Room 03K, Kampala - Entebbe RoadEstablished in 2008, Rent A Car Uganda has grown into one of the leading car rental agencies in Uganda offering services such as airport transfers, self drive rentals, camping gears, city tours, Uganda tours, gorilla permits bookings for group, solo and couples with a chauffeur or on self drive. Rent A Car Uganda has a wide range of cars from sedan to 4x4 safari customised vehicles at a price starting from US$45. The cars are comprehensively insured and they unlimited mileage.
By city busLarge 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 1000.
One city bus goes to and from Constitutional Square past Acacia mall, and one bus goes to and from Constitutional Square past Lugogo Mall.
phone: +256 414 254 567address: De Winton StA 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.
phone: +256 414 254 567address: Victoria AveUganda’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 Museumphone: +256 414 267 538address: Kira RdA natural history museum, with some static displays commencing from the stone age and moving forward to Ugandan traditional life.
Uganda National Mosqueaddress: Old Kampala HillBig, 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/tower.
phone: +256 312 262 680address: Kikaya HillBeautiful and incredibly peaceful place. Nice view too.
phone: +256 412 736 00address: Kasubi HillBurial 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.
phone: +256 414 501 866Tombs 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.
Buwamaaddress: Namirembe HillBy European standards, a small Anglican cathedral. Not very interesting of itself, but good view of the city.
St. Mary’s Cathedraladdress: Lubaga HillAnother cathedral, Catholic this time.
address: Mengo HillRoyal 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.
address: Parliament avenueDesigned 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 Monumentaddress: Speke Rd/Nile AveSmall monument, but of large symbolic importance.
Inside the city
Sunday boda boda tour around townGo on a Sunday morning, when streets are largely empty in stark contrast to other days, to cruise around the city on a boda-boda, get a feel for the different parts of the city and see lots of stuff in little time: Like the docks, beaches and fish markets at Ggaba or Port Bell, all the wonderful hills providing great views and nice buildings on top, and the extreme contrasts between different neighbourhoods. For an extra trustworthy driver use one associated with the place you stay at and make them arrange an extra helmet.
phone: +256 414 227 111, +256 417 716 000Speke is a very posh resort where rich people stay, but during the weekends it also serves as a recreational place for Kampala's aspiring middle class (especially the younger generation). There is ample of space to play volleyball or football, and there is a large well-kept pool (large enough to actually swim in) with an adjacent gym and squash courts. The park is also a good place to go for nice, relatively private but 100% secure romantic evening walks along the shores of Africa's largest lake.
Book safari directly with Uganda Wildlife Authorityphone: +256 414 355000, +256 312 355000address: Kira RoadArrange park entry, gorilla trekking and other tours directly with the Uganda Wildlife Authority. It does have some of its own safari packages and can provide assistance (information, guides, vehicles) to people wanting to organize a safari more independently.
Book safari through a tour operatorNormally done via internet/phone/mail, but sometimes it can be convenient to visit the operators offices to arrange details or make payments.
phone: +256782997991address: BugolobiOffering both budget and luxury tour options, Hakuna Matata Safaris is a unique East African company that operates to all national parks, game reserves, mountains and island destinations in Rwanda, Uganda, Congo, Burundi, Kenya and Tanzania From Kampala city. It also offers tour to Jinja to visit the source of Nil River
Farther awayBoth Entebbe and Jinja can be easily reached from Kampala in around an hour in reasonable traffic, so day trips to these cities and the activities surrounding them are possible from Kampala. Most excursions and safaris farther away will involve overnight stays. The closest real safaris are in Murchison Falls National Park and Lake Mburo National Park, about 4 hours away.
- Go for a safari in one of Ugandas national parks or game parks listed at Uganda#Other_destinations.
- Excursion to Entebbe to the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, where you can watch chimps being fed, which is even more entertaining than it sounds. Boats leave from near the zoo at 9AM and 1PM, price is US$70, for 4-hour round trip.
- Visit the Zoo, beaches and Botanical Gardens in nearby Entebbe, (40 min. on Boda motorcycle taxi, USh 15-20,000).
- Bungee jump dipping your head in the headwaters of the Nile, near Jinja.
- Jet-Boating on the Nile, up and down some of the smaller rapids.
- Do an ATV safari along the headwaters of the Nile, driving through various small towns.
Owino marketOwino market is one of the largest in this region of Africa. The endless booths that line the chaotic alleys of Owino offer a mind-boggling array everything from homemade irons, to American hand-me-down-clothes with the Goodwill price tags still on then, to an amazing array of African foods, to any and everything else under the sun. Everything at Owinio starts cheap and gets cheaper with bargaining. Owino was completely destroyed by fire mid-February 2009, but has since been reopened. Owino is near the center of Kampala, and any Boda or taxi driver will know how to get you there. Come prepared for a crowded maze of goods and people.
Nakasero marketA lot smaller and more pleasant than Owino, good for fruit and veg. More accessible from Kampala road and better suited for a (relaxed) stroll.
Exposure Africa Crafts Villageaddress: Buganda RoadAfrican arts and crafts village with dozens of stalls.
Uganda Arts & Crafts Villageaddress: National TheatreAfrican arts and crafts village with dozens of stalls.
Garden CityOn the complete opposite end of the spectrum from Owino is Garden City. and if you are in the market for an Internet cafe, a Forex bureau, coffee shop, an expensive pair of shoes, a travel agent, a cinema, also has a capital shoppers supermarket. and more under the same roof, then Garden City is for you. Garden City can be a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of the centre of Kampala.
Gameaddress: Lugugo MallOwned by Walmart USA. Another huge modern shop which sells DIY stuff, camping chairs, torches, batteries, etc. There is also a chicken and chips cafe, a souvenir shop, a couple of banks, a phone shop, etc.
phone: +256 414 250 077address: Plot 32-36 Bombo RoadUganda Crafts, Uganda's oldest fair trade craft shop, has been working with disadvantaged artisans since 1983. They are known for their baskets, but also stock lots of traditional Ugandan products, including musical instruments, jewelry, batiks, carvings, and bark cloth items. They also carry products from Kenya, Rwanda, and the Congo. They are certified fair trade by the International Fair Trade Association, which means that they pay their artisans promptly and fairly.
Kasumba Square MallKasumba Square Mall is at the edge of Kampala west at the intersection of Busega Round about and Northern bypass highway, This Mall was developed as to alleviate congestion and to deliver goods and services to the community as Kampala is becoming congested city due to rapid population growth.
address: Acacia Avenue.Has a Century Cinema with a ticket price of USh 10,000 on a Monday. Also has a Shoprite Hypermaket
address: Lugugo Mall, Acacia Mall & Village Mall
Mega Standard Department Stores & Supermarketsaddress: Burton StreetHas six floors, and sells 60% of local-made produce. Mega standard now also have a department store and supermarket in the Oasis mall.
- Senana shopping centre and hypermarket Buganda road downtown Kampala. Open 8AM-7PM. Has large supermarket and department store.
BudgetEverywhere 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 USh 4500-9000. Be sure to ask the price ahead of time so that you don't get surprised later on. Prices are typically USh 500 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 USh 700-1000. Other street food includes roast chicken, goat and beef. This is usually served with chips or a salad or both. Pricing is per piece USh 2000-4500. 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 USh 500-600 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.
Great Wallphone: +256 712 937 148address: Plot 21 Kampala RdOwned by Chinese from Beijing, this clean and comfortable restaurant serves big portions of tasty, classic dishes. Menu is in English and simplified Chinese (with strange character mistakes - I suppose 15 years away is a long time). There is a ceiling fan and service is attentive, polite and extremely rapid by Ugandan standards. If you've got a boney bum, bring a cushion.
- Bhagwatt Restaurant, ovolacto vegetarian, small eatery, overlooking Nakasero Market Square. Open 8AM to 8PM. Good quality abundant thali USh 7000. Will cater for vegans if you specify.
- Govindas, ovolacto vegetarian, in Dewinton Road near Nakumat, offers thali at USh 15000 at lunchtime, and a full menu of Indian dishes. Popular with local Indian community. They also serve Vegetarian Pizzas and Sandwiches. A reasonable variety of Indian Sweets is available too.
- Makere University Food Technology department, offers a tasty "local food" lunch, at USh 7000.
Mid-rangeJinja Road is a good place for a variety of meals.
- 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.
phone: +256 414 344 806address: Roof Terrace, Communication House, Plot 1, Colville StLarge, plush, well furnished place with many private side and meeting rooms. Well stocked bar. Authentic menu and cuisine.
- Just Kicking, Kisementi shopping Centre, good choice of pub food and continental dishes, weekend nights BBQ.
Pizza or BBQ night at the Red Chilli Hideawayphone: +256 772 509 150address: ButabikaEven 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 Barphone: +256 414 250337Plot 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.
- Fang Fang Chinese Restaurant: one of the best Chinese places. There are two in Kampala one with an attached hotel (nearer to the Sheraton) and open to outdoors (so don't forget to wear bug spray). They keep two white rabbits that hop on the grass in the main patio area and will put up with children petting them if you feed them a carrot or cucumber. The second Fang Fang is in downtown Kampala at Communications House; they have indoor seating and a roof terrace.
There are many Indian restaurants in Kampala, like Haandi on Kampala road, Masala chat and Govinda on Dewington Road, Khana Khazana and Khyber Pass Speke Hotel behind NSSF, and Indian Summer in Tankhill Parade.
phone: +256 758 935 839address: Plot No. 16, Acacia AvenueOffers a happy hour.
AlcoholIf 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.
Evening out in KabalagalaKabalagala is an area with many bars and restaurants that is very lively at night and popular both amongst locals and expats. Go there, have fun and get to know some locals, but keep in mind that some girls (not the majority) are actually there to work. Kabalagala has everything from shabby waragi shacks to fancy establishments like Club Venom at the top of Tirupati Mazima Mall.
Evening out in BukotoBukoto began as a purely residential suburb, but is now spawning many popular nightlife spots. Good alternative to Kabalagala and less muzungus than further down along Acacia Avenue.
Expat night at Bubbles O’Leary’sphone: +256 31 2263815Bubbles is an Irish pub in Kampala that serves as the main expat hangout (along with several other places along Acacia Avenue). Go there to get some (shocking) insights into the giant industry that is NGOs, aid and volunteering in Uganda.
Clubbing in the Industrial AreaSome very fancy clubs with steep prices, others more normal, lots of showing off, students enjoying themselves, dance floors fill easily, good dancing, some old mzungu men, hookers, ... partly bizarre but in the end the same as everywhere else around the world. The popular Club Silk, Ange Noir and T1 are on First Street. Several other clubs are on 6th Street.
Just Kicking sports baraddress: KisementiGood 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 Baraddress: Impala Avenue, KololoGood 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.
Uganda does, however, have a serious drink problem with the U.N. saying it has the highest alcohol consumption rate in the world , much of this is sold on backstreets, hence official figures don't rate it so highly. Don't let this put you off, the city is still safe even with this undesired tag.
Coffee and juice
Bancafeaddress: Nakumat (Oasis)Excellent coffee, good espresso and they sell beans and ground coffee.
Cafe JavasGood chain that is at several locations around the city. Has working Wi-Fi.
Good African Coffeeaddress: LugogoOffers an excellent array of coffee concoctions and a good selection of food. Looks like a coffee shop/cafe with outdoor seating, but also offers a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu with burgers, steaks, fish, roasted chicken, pitas, salads, etc.
Juiceaddress: Dewinton RoadA very good juice cafe, offering a huge selection of juices, including various herbal remedies.
phone: +256 772 505 619, +256 782 544 313address: Buganda RoadUpscale coffee shop popular amongst muzungus. Serving a several regional varieties of coffee, American style.
Lusam Inn Resthousephone: +256 772514773address: Namirembe roadDouble room with own bathroom a walk uphill from the Taxi Park.
New City Annexphone: +256 414254132address: De Winton roadClean fan single/double rooms with outside hot water bathroom. Near the bus offices for buses going to Kenya.
New Diplomataddress: William streetSingle/double room with own bathroom.
Hotel New Gloriaphone: +256 414257790address: William streetSingle/double rooms with own bathroom and TV.
Marie Hotelphone: +256 392961139address: Martin road
Mukwano Guest Houseaddress: plot 27 Nakwano Place RoadSingle/double rooms.
Kawanda Country Innaddress: off Bombo roadFan double room with own bathroom and TV and free breakfast.
Medina Guest Houseaddress: Kaboowa Road and Church RoadA/C double room with own bathroom. TV and free breakfast.
Hotel Harambeaddress: Plot 14-18 Nakivubo Place RoadTwin/double rooms with own bathroom and cable TV. Has free WiFi.
Tuhende Safari Lodgephone: +256 772-468360address: Martin RoadHas a dorm with 3 beds per dorm.
Jotena Hotelphone: +256 414-543048, +256 752218000, +256 772951037address: 80 William StreetBig clean fan single/double rooms with own hot water bathroom, TV, internet, free breakfast. The USh 30,000 rooms have outside bathrooms.
Dolphin Guest house.phone: +414-255786address: plot no 26 william streetSingle/double rooms.
I C U Guest houseaddress: Bazzekuketta Road
Hotel City Squarephone: +256 781 433483address: Plot 42 Kampala roadsingle/double rooms with own bathroom. Internet and breakfast.
Selam Restaurant and Lodgeaddress: Ggaba road KansangaSingle rooms.
G One Hotel.address: Rubaga Road
Sam Sam Hotelphone: +256 4-14274211address: Natete road
Kings Cross Hoteladdress: Rubaga RoadFree breakfast.
Hotel Olympiaphone: +256 414-266743address: off Ggaba road
phone: +256 700296379address: Ismail Road. Mbuya. KampalaVery clean single/double rooms with own bathroom.
Royal Arch Inn Guest Housephone: +256-414345088address: 547 Mutebi RoadDouble rooms. Has hot water, and TV.
Palm Gardens and Guest Houseaddress: Gayaza Road off Msisi road MakindyeSingle room with own bathroom, net, TV. The hotel has 13 rooms.
International Youth Hostel Ugandaaddress: Wakaliga on Narnirembe-Netete roada/c single/double rooms with own bathroom
- Tagy Hotel Plot 6b Martin Road. single/double rooms with own bathroom. USh 30,000/40,000.
- All the backpacker hostels in Kampala set prices in US dollars at USh 3650 to one.
phone: +256 771393892address: 13 Bukoto StreetDorm beds. Breakfast included in the price.
phone: +256 772509150address: 13-23 Bukasa Hill view road ButabikaDorm beds. Has a swimming pool.
Kampala Backpackers Hostel and Campsitephone: +256 414274767address: kampala Natete road lungujjaCamping. 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.
Ewaka Guest House and Backpackersphone: +256 755925966address: 8/9 Salim bey roadCamping, dorm bed, sharing a bathroom, double room sharing a bathroom.
- Bushpig backpacker's bed in a 4-bed dorm $15.
address: Plot 9 Lumumba Avenue, NakaseroAir-conditioned suites with a swimming pool, bar, lounge, free parking and 24-hour reception. Fast free on-site Wi-Fi available.
phone: +256 712 998 080address: Plot 3209 Tank Hill RoadOffers 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.
- 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 Africanaphone: +256 414 777500address: Plot 2-4 Wampewo AveWell-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 RuchCentral location right next to the Sheraton. Well-maintained bed & breakfast hotel with nice gardens and a bar. On-site Wi-Fi available.
- 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 PlaceVery 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. Discounts for certain NGOs and other organisations reduce rooms to $80 per night. Stays of one month or more prices reduce to US$1800 (non discount) or £1525 (discounted). Prices correct December 2010.
- 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.
address: Plot 64-86, Yusuf Lule RoadThis newly opened 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.
phone: +256-414-309000address: Kintu RoadAnother 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.
phone: +256-31-2322499address: Ternan AvenueRenovated, the Sheraton is the leading high-end hotel in town, occupying extensive nicely manicured grounds.
phone: +256-414-227-111In 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.
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.
InternetIn May 2013, the Sheraton Hotel had unsecured Wi-Fi. Although the connection is not particularly fast or the signal strong on the ground floor or first floor buffet breakfast restaurant, "executive floor" 4 has a strong and fast connection and comfortable sofas to the left of the lift. There's a good 360-degree view of the city from the rooftop at stop 11 of the elevator.
Internet cafesFrom USh 1000 per hour.
- Linking Worlds (Quality Shopping Village) 1000 m from Entebbe Road with a fast internet connection
- KayeNet internet cafe is a chain of Internet cafes at the following locations:
- (Nakulabye) Beauty House, Plot 494 Makerere Hill Rd, Mengo, opposite Chez Johnson Hotel.
- (Nalubwama arcade) Nalubwama arcade, 1st floor- shop f1-2, Ben Kiwanuka street, opposite old taxi park.
- (Wandegeya) Plot 151, Bombo Rd, Wandegeya, opposite Stanbic bank, above Kookee supermarket.
- (Market Street) Energy Centre Building, Level 3, Shop 36, Market Street, Nakasero.
- BBC World Service can be heard on FM radio 101.3MHz in central Kampala.
TVSatellite TV is widely available in bars, hotels, restaurants, etc. Stations available include Al Jazeera, BBC World News, CNN.
- phone: +256 414254525address: 33 Kololo Hill Drive
- phone: +256 (0417) 700 800address: 24 Lumumba Avenue
- address: Plot 1577 Ggaba Rd
- phone: +256 312 312000address: 4 Windsor Loop, P. O. Box 7070
- Jinja, one source of the Nile and amazing whitewater rafting can be reached in around one hour.
- Fort Portal, in the vicinity of the popular Queen Elizabeth National Park, the Kibale Forest National Park and the Rwenzori National Park, can be reached in around 4 hours.
- Kabale, Lake Bunyonyi and the gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park can be reached in around 5-6 hours.
- Driving to Gulu takes 4-5 hours by bus.
- Murchison Falls National Park also takes about that time to reach.
- Tororo, Mbale and Mount Elgon National Park can be reached in a couple of hours to less than half a day.
- Furthermore, it used to be possible to reach Ssese Islands from Port Bell in Kampala with the MV Amani, but that service seems suspended and the main ferry from Entebbe, MV Kalangala, is in prolonged repairs.
- Equator line: just go to the New taxi park and get on Kampala-Equator mini buses (USh 7000) or the Kampala-Masaka Mini buses (USh 12000). The final stop of Kampala-Equator mini buses are few meters away from the Equator line. They make u turn and head back to Kampala. It is 1.5-hour drive from Kampala. The equator line is just before the town of Kayabwe. There is water flow demonstration (a hoax) for (USh 10,000). All the mini bus drivers know when and where you should get off.
Matatus and larger buses out of Kampala leave mainly from the new taxi park. A few may still also leave from the old taxi park. There are many companies (almost 100) that run larger tour buses that leave from numerous bus terminals/stations surrounding the new taxi park, or for buses going east into Kenya at De Winton Road. You can take buses of differing sizes and quality going to all major cities in Uganda and to Juba (South Sudan, min. 12 hr), to Malaba, Eldoret, Nakuru, Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya, and to Kigali (Rwanda); amongst others. Sometimes there are more or less direct buses to Tanzania (like Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Moshi and Bukoba), but those lines do not seem very profitable since companies pop up and disappear quickly (TZ is not so nice with border fees/customs/trade/immigration/etc. so there is less demand for travel there combined with higher costs).
In general bus operators, schedules, prices and routes change constantly, so information found on the internet will often be out of date. If you want to go somewhere it is best to try to find a phone number where you can confirm departures or just ask around where buses going there and there leave, and go there early in the morning. Keep in mind that some companies will consistently employ bad drivers, and accidents do happen, so it is worth using a company that has a good reputation (some of which should be listed below). Also, while the minibuses (matatus) are relatively safe when traveling in Kampala's crowded and slow moving traffic, they are generally considered relatively unsafe on the fast roads in the countryside populated by heavy trucks and buses. Bigger buses are safer, especially since at least some of them are run by larger companies that care about their reputation and are better regulated/monitored by the government. An up to date list of bus routes going east is this. An older but more comprehensive list of bus routes out of Kampala is here.
Major bus terminals/parks and companies for leaving Kampala
New taxi parkMatatus and larger buses going everywhere!
phone: +256 412 555 115address: Main post officeGovernment-run post bus, reputed for its safety and popular among western budget tourists. Departures M-Sa 7-8AM in the morning M-Sa
Arua parkMainly for going north, like Gulu and Juba.