Kampala is the capital of Uganda and has a population of over 2 million. It is the largest city in the country and is the political as well as commercial center of the country. English, Luganda and Swahili are the most prevalent languages here.
Kampala sprawls over a series of hills, each housing one sector of the city and covers a total area of 189 sq km. It lies in the south of Uganda with Lake Victoria to its south. It is located to the north of Mengo which was the capital of the Buganda kingdom during the 19th century. The city has been divided into five boroughs, namely the divisions of Kampala Central, Kawempe, Lubaga, Makindye and Nakawa in order to supervise local planning.
How to Reach (Transport) :
The city is served by the Entebbe International Airport which lies on Lake Victoria’s shores at a distance of 41 km from the city center and is accessible by the Kampala-Entebbe Highway. Airlines like African Airways, British Airways, KLM, Emirates and Qatar Airways operate passenger flights from several cities like London, Brussels, Amsterdam, Juba and Istanbul. Taxis, hotel shuttles and minibuses to Kampala are easily available outside the airport.
Nairobi operates a biweekly train to and from the city which offers a very pristine and scenic journey. Kampala is accessible from cities of Kabale, Fort Portal, Jinja and Kasese by bus. A daily ferry service connects Kampala to the islands of Sesse.
Inside the city, there are three major means of transport, namely, motorcycles (locally known as boda-bodas), minibuses (called matatus) and taxis (also called special hires). Taxis both metered or otherwise, while expensive are comfortable and relatively safer than the other two. Although boda-bodas are very fast, they have been known to have mostly reckless drivers who operate the vehicle at dangerously high speeds. Minibuses, although frequent and cheap, are mostly very crowded and slow.
When to Visit :
Kampala features a tropical rainforest climate and has two wet seasons, one from August to December and a shorter one from February to June. The city has a uniform temperature between 20 degree Celsius and 30 degree Celsius throughout the year. The best time to visit this city is from June to September when the weather is relatively drier as well as cooler.
Fairs and Festivals :
Kampala celebrates several religious and cultural festivals throughout the year catering to its rich heritage.
- The Kampala International Film Festival, also known as the Amakula Kampala Cinema Caravan Festival, takes place all over the country from September to November. It conducts several workshops, showcases various old and new films and is one of the most important festivals of the city.
- Bayimba International Festival of Music and Arts, held in September, is hosted in the Uganda National Theatre. It brings together all the visual art forms and offers a great platform to local as well as foreign artists.
- Nile Gold Jazz Safari, hosted in October, is a one day jazz festival. Musicians from all over the world gather in the city to celebrate this musical event.
Points of Interest (Places to Visit) :
Following are some of the must see places of the city:
- The Kasubi Tombs, built in 1881, is located on the Kasubi Hill. It is a World Heritage Site of UNESCO and has several buildings made of traditional bark cloth as a testament to the people.
- The Uganda National Museum, founded in 1908, has several exhibits showcasing the traditions, heritage and culture of Uganda. The most famous exhibit is the collection of musical instruments which are playable.
- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park houses over 100 kinds of ferns and 150 types of trees. It also has some of Africa’s endangered species of animals including several chimpanzees.
- The Botanical Gardens, located on the shores of Lake Victoria, is about 20 minutes from the city. It has exquisite picnic grounds and a variety of flora.
Kampala offers several kinds of accommodation options. Luxury hotels include Sheraton Kampala, Kampala Serene Hotel, Protea Hotel Kampala and Royal Suites which have modern and spacious rooms, swimming pools, restaurants as well as beautifully manicured grounds. Midrange hotels include Humura Resort, Silver Springs Hotel, Rivonia Suites and Casa Miltu Hotel which offer comfortable amenities at reasonable prices. Hotel Africana, a popular mid range hotel, is the only hotel which has its very own mosque. Golf Course Apartments have comfortable apartments with fully equipped kitchens as well as saunas and gardens and offer daily maid services. Several budget hotels including Red Chili Hideaway, The Kampala Lodge and Hotel City Square offer cheap and clean surroundings as well as free wireless internet.