Things to do in Kampala, Uganda
July 22, 2007 5:54 AM   Subscribe

I'm in Kampala for two weeks. What are some things I could do here?

I'm in Kampala (Uganda) for work for two weeks. What are some places/sights I could (must) see in the city and the environs? I will not have enough time to do more than a day trip on the weekends so anything that is far from Kampala wouldn't help me.

In the city: Are there any restaurants worth trying out (hopefully featuring local food, not pizza and fries)? How about shopping - I'd like to buy some carvings, some local dresses (should I get a tailor to have them done? - any recommendations?). What are some other local products besides coffee I should buy? Waybele Nyo.
posted by barrakuda to Travel & Transportation around Kampala, Uganda (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My old prof at radio school always talked about the electronics market in Kampala. I would think you could find a fixer who could drive you around the gather all of the things you need. Be sure to go out, apparently the clubs are spectacular.
posted by parmanparman at 6:29 AM on July 22, 2007

Best answer: I lived in Kampala for two years, so i think i can help!

Shopping: Go to the crafts markets on Buganda road in Nakasero. There is also a crafts market behind the National Theatre; they are both pretty much the same. A few of the booths sell fabric that you can get made into stuff. You'll have to get referrals for a tailor, anyone I'd recommend would probably have moved jobs or something by now. Also, try Banana Boat in the Garden City mall, it is slightly pricey but has genuinely nice stuff. You also must must go to Owino Market, down in Old Kampala. Please though, for goodness sakes, go with someone who's been before, whether a local or another visitor or expat. It's extremely large, extremely confusing, the shopkeepers can be overwhelmingly agressive, but it is one of the most insane crazy wonderful experiences. (Most people find it pretty overwhelming - be prepared!) Pretty much anything you can dream of (literally) can be bought there. Anything! While you're down there, marvel at the organized chaos of the taxi park. It's a sight to see!

Local food is pretty much the same wherever you go, I'd recommend going to one of the buffets so you can try everything. I'd recommend Steak Out, on Lumumba Ave; they had a good 5000 shilling buffet lunch when I was there. Or, just go to anyone of the zillions of local places; there aren't any menus since ugandan food consists of about 10 different dishes, max, and so there isn't a 'need' for a menu, usually. Again, it could be helpful to go with a local or someone who knows their way around the food. Kampala also has some of the most excellent Indian food in the world (really!), so go for dinner at Haandi or Khana Kazana. Sooooooooo gooooooooood.

Also, once you discover that local food only has so many variations and provides very little in the way of nutrition, you might be interested to know that there are pretty decent japanese, thai, tex-mex, belgian, and french restaurants around town.

Take a day trip to Jinja, and go white water rafting with Adrift. They have an office in Kampala (i don't remember which street, it's somewhere in Nakasero), they run day trips from Kampala. Or, if rafting isn't up your alley, go to jinja just to see the falls, and relax. When I was there, i went on a test-run of a 'cultural village walk', if that's up and running it would be very interesting. The folks at Adrift could tell you.

Go to Entebbe, wander around the zoo for a bit, and then go to Chimp Island. It can be an interesting afternoon diversion.

Nightlife is indeed fantastic! Watch your wallet/cell phone, and have fun. Club TLC, Club Silk, Ange Noir, and Rouge are all hilariously fun. Don't bother going to Silk or Ange until after 11 or 12 pm though, it'll be empty. TLC has a relaxed, pub-y section with pool tables, and club-y dance section, so there is something going on early and late. If you want to meet other travellers, or if you want a more low-key night, go to Blue Mango, or Fat Boys, Bubbles O'leary's. (O'leary's is probably your best bet for meeting people.)

Local products - there isn't much. Be sure to pick up a bottle of Waragi, if you drink alcohol. It's the local 'gin'. Other than that, it's crafts.

If you have no idea where any of these places are, buy yourself a guidebook, or pick up a copy of The Eye, a magazine available at most hotels and touristy spots.
Kale nyo!
posted by Kololo at 7:12 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

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