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Kampala - Uganda's Capital With An Organic Feel

Famous for the Impala (a species of antelopes), the area that was later to be called Kampala was gazetted by Kabaka Mutesa I. (King of Buganda) in the 1880s as one of his favourite hunting grounds.

It later grew as the capital of Buganda Kingdom with the kingdom's headquarters in Bulange - Mengo.

Kampala is the capital and biggest city in Uganda with a population of about 1.7 million inhabitants and is fast becoming one of the famous destinations in Africa.

The Capital City - Top Areas of Interest;

City Information      Kampala Map     Getting to K'la

City Landmarks      Life in the Capital      Cost of living

See my top Hotels in K'la       Search Hotels in the Capital

Battered in the late '70s when the Tanzanian forces attacked Uganda to get rid of Idi Amin and through to the early and mid '80s, the city has since rediscovered its glory and is a vibrant blossoming metropolis that has maintained its status to those who knew it in its early days.

image placeholder Kampala in the early days ('50s)

The city's past legacy and scenery speaks loud. Initially the capital of Buganda Kingdom, it was declared Uganda's capital at independence in 1962. It sits on 7 hills with a beautiful views of the landscape.

Its administration is divided into 5 borough councils - each headed by a division chairperson, that oversee local planning: The Central Division, Kawempe Division, Makindye Division, Nakawa Division and Lubaga Division.

These divisions are centrally governed by the Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) under the leadership of the KCCA Executive Director and the guidance of the lord Mayor of Kampala.

image placeholder Then and now - Kampala on the move

The city's skyline is ever changing with new modern architecture blending with the old to give it that organic feel. It has transformed into a modern city with a selection of excellent accommodation that cuts across different budget lines from the ordinary Bed and Breakfast (B & B) to the top notch five star hotels, and other facilities.

Need to go shopping? No worries, there is a blend of top of the end shopping malls and boutiques to supermarkets and your local shops/groceries. You will be pleased to know that Kampala is one of the places in the worlds where you can still bargain for the right price- at least in the local markets and some of the shops.

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It is the hub for Ugandan business. It forms the vital part of Uganda's economy and serves as the headquarters for many industries .It has every thing from a vibrant night life; cinemas and theatres, nightclubs, casinos, modern shopping centres, restaurants and lively pubs, recreation centres, sports facilities and schools to places of worship - churches and mosques.

Dinning in Kampala with friends, family or colleagues is relatively affordable. With the selection of modern foreign restaurants - notably the Korean, Chinese, Indian and Thai and with Nando's and Steers round the corner you are probably covered but why not try the Ugandan cuisine?! There is so much to choose from. The Ekitoobero Restaurant is well known for such a memorable Ugandan dish ... and just recently (I dare you ...) McDonnalds is in town - I won't tell you where!

Join the forum; the interactions and discussions on this city as seen through the various eyes. Here you will find quite a collection of information to make you feel at home. Grab yourself a FREE Copy of My Mini Guide to Uganda - lots of inside tips!

image placeholder Famous restaurant at Speke Hotel - Kampala

The kids will also love this city too. Wonderland Amusement Park (formerly Didi's world) is one of the modern family fun places particularly for the kids. There are other places for kids in and around the city for play, fun and meals.

Look out for the 'What's on' sections for your guide on the activities in and around the city. And if you want to explore the City's nightlife, its all here for you.

image placeholder Kampala at night

Kampala has developed into an important city for those attracted to modern moderate way of life, but also relative low cost living compared to the other cities in Africa. It is a city that thrives on change and has made a virtue out of reinventing itself.

It is a charming city that will take you by surprise year-round. Go sight-seeing! There are various places to visit; the local markets- notable is the famous Owino Market (renamed to St Balikuddembe Market a few years ago), see a friendly welcoming Africa; the people and take that tour around the city. Have you seen these landmarks?

A local friend/colleague will be more than willing to take you places; that is the cheaper option, but there are travel guides to help you with this at a cost.

You will appreciate that being in a foreign country can be challenging at times - No matter how much travelling you have done. At any one time if you needed to get in touch with your embassy/ foreign mission? No worries! Just follow the link.

Find time to visit the Uganda National Museum - Preserved to tell that story of where Uganda has been, its beauty and heritage. The stories are amazing! And those guys know their history-trust me!. Every time I visit, I enjoy the sound of the Ugandan drums and other musical instruments but the stories behind them too.

The city is also residence to the government of Uganda - housing nearly 90% of government ministries and facilities. It houses Makerere University, one of Africa's finest established universities, the Uganda National Theatre and the Kasubi Tombs - a sacred burial ground for the kings of Buganda, which is also gazetted as one of UN World Heritage Sites in Uganda.

image placeholder MTN Marathon - Photo by MTN Uganda

The MTN Kampala International Marathon is fast becoming 'the event' in the region. This annual event has attracted over 25,000 professional athletes, corporate runners and enthusiast in the past and continues to attract more every year. It follows a challenging route through the seven hill of the city. The proceeds go towards humanitarian causes whose thyme is different each year.

Why not join the fun! Hope to see you down there for this good cause - just mark the dates off!

... And then of course the now famous and irresistible Kampala City Carnival. Deem yourself lucky if you are in town in the first week of October because this is when it all happens. The atmosphere is ecstatic - the dress up, the drama, the music, lots to eat and drink, it's fun and a joy to be there.

This relatively new event which only started out as part of the celebrations to mark the country's 50th independence anniversary in 2012 has taken the city by storm, and has quickly been established as an annual event.

Getting to the city and around should be easy - my assumption is that all is well with your immigrations requirements and therefore legally in the country (I don't love to see you in trouble with the authorities).

image placeholder Commuter taxis in the Old taxi park

In and around the city, feel free to take the famous boda boda (taxi motorbikes) for that memorable ride but careful! - these guys can be fast and ride dangerously at times. Make sure you regulate his speed and if possible, ask him for a passenger's helmet- you will be lucky! but some actually do have a spare one.

The special Hire Taxis are also always on hand to take you places. And the cheap and quick option is to hop on and off the commuter taxis that go round about every where in the city.

One last this! - Some survival phrases in luganda (a language spoken in the central region and predominantly in the Capital) will do you good as you go about life in this city.

With all these and more ..., this city is a wonderful place to visit, not just from the tourist point of view - come see for your self!

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