Best Places To Go in Kampala
Whether you are in Uganda for gorilla trekking safaris or any kind of business, Kampala will be your starting point. It is a safe city and easy enough to navigate on foot, despite a complete lack of signposting. The most used means of transport in Kampala are taxis minibus known locally as matatus – they are common all over East Africa and depart only when are full. They are quick, cheap and convenient. There are two matatu parks in downtown Kampala, known as the –Old and –New taxi parks, always crammed with thousands of identical looking vehicles,. It is where all matatus start and finish their journeys. Despite seeming chaotic, they are actually very organised and you just need to ask where the matatu going in your direction is parked . Just remember to yell the Swahili word for stop, ‘simama’ when you reach your destination.
Kampala’s motorbike taxis known as boda-boda (read as ‘border-border’) are convenient and cheap but a little scary. Unlike in the neighbour’s Rwanda, helmets are not worn. Just yell in swahili ‘pole pole’ – (slowly, slowly) to your driver if you are uncomfortable with the speed.
Kampala is the best place to change whatever money you need for your visit to Uganda. There are countless banks and foreign exchange bureaus along the city’s main drag, Kampala Road. They offer competitive exchange rates far better than you would get in smaller towns where the process is painfully slow as the banks are not familiar with traveller’s cheques.
Kampala’s banks accept US$, GBP, and Euros in both cash and traveller’s cheques in exchange for Uganda Shillings. Both are usually exchanged with no commission. The exchange rate for cash transactions does vary, depending on the denominations changed. For example US$50 and 100 notes receive a higher exchange rate than the smaller US$10 and 20 notes.
Forex Bureaux’s rates are better than Banks. I have been to both and i found Banks to be having low value exchange rates when selling dollars to them for shillings. And high rates when buying dollars from them. ATM in Kampala are common and do mainly accept visa-linked cards and are unreliable.
In general, exchange rates given when withdrawing cash from Ugandan ATMs using an international Visa card are only a little worse than those advertised by other money changers. The commission you get charged (and any other charges) for ATM withdrawals will usually be fixed by your own bank back home. So it better you check these rates before you travel to Uganda or you can look them up online. Withdrawing money from ATMs will mean you have to carry less cash with you, which you might find advantageous if you're going to be away for a long time.
Cafes and Restaurants in Kampala
South African fast food chains have taken Kampala by storm. Nando's (fried chicken), Steers (burgers and steaks), and The Chicken Inn (fried chicken) have all taken residence along Kampala Rd. Around town, there’s a fair selection of Chinese, Ethiopian and some excellent Indian restaurants, thanks to Kampala’s large Asian community.
For local food, try the worker’s cafes or the open-air stalls around the market or taxi parks where you can pick up nyama choma (meat stew) or luombo (meat steamed in banana leaves), accompanied by a chipati or matoke (cooked, savoury bananas and the country’s staple). Uganda's fresh water fish is also highly recommended especially the Nile perch and the tilapia. The best deal is the all-you-can-eat Ugandan buffet at the Kampala Casino - one of a rather staggering five casinos in Kampala - but you have to be nicely dressed to get in.
The best place for a night out, and Kampala residents like to party, is in the Kabalagala district on Gabab Road – all taxi drivers know the way. Al's Bar and the Half London bar next door are institutions on Kampala’s nightlife scene. Both are partially open air, with large dance floors, live music and boisterous bars. They attract a mix of local clubbers, ex-pat workers and overland travellers. The Sheraton Hotel also has a British-style pub serving ale from around the world - at a price!
Khana Khazana restaurant
Undoubtedly the best Indian restaurant (if not the best overall) in Kampala. The food is authentic, rich and well presented. The food served is Authentic Indian cuisine. The staff is very courteous and very prompt. Its better to have a placed reserved in advance as after 9:00 pm the place is usually packed. They dont accept credit cards and for the dollar you wont get a good rate. Its better to pay in the local currency. Stand out items are the aloo chops for starters, and for mains chicken kesariya (no 73), lamb/mutton with spinach, and the creamy black lentils.Nice decor, the ambience is busy but relaxed and service is efficient. Bit more expensive than other Indian restaurants in the city but the quality and atmosphere is so worth it
1. THE LAWNS RESTAURANT & GARDEN LOUNGE
Wide range of Game Meat options and other regular meat & Veg optionsThe Lawns restaurant offers wide range of fusion delights from across continents and best collection of Wines and Spirits. The lovely and serene ambiance and exceptional service makes it the best restaurant in the town. Price: US$11-20 Comparison: least expensive Address: Plot 34, Impala Avenue, Kololo, Kampala
2. FUSION 9-BUKHARA
I ventured out to this new restaurant few weeks back n simply loved evrything about it. The food was gorgeous, the surrondings were superb coz they have given a very jungle like theme to the place amidst which u have a resturant,lounge,bar and a sheesha bar which is on a hieght and from there everything looks brilliant. The restuarant which has a concept of a Dhaba i-e a very ancient concept of sitting on couches called the 'charpai' ,n screening of latest bollywood songs with video's ..........oh the experience is so unwinding and relaxing. Since it is surrounded by gardens and is so open u can feel the fresh air while eating warm and sumptuous food
My personal favorite was hahahahaha nearly everything i ordered right from malai kofta (cottage cheese dumplings in a beautiful creamy sauce),chicken tandoori( i guess everyone really knows wat chicken tandoori is), dal bukhara (now that is my personal favorite as well but i dont really know what it is exactly hahah hang on but i am sure of 1 thing that it tastes simply heavenly) and finally Kashmiri rice( steamed rie with dry fruits and vegetables). Gosh the food out here is great it is located in Kampala, Kololo hill, opposite Kaboja school .
3. Fang Fang
The Best Chinese Food Ever !!
The food at Fang Fang is fabulous. It used to be at the Greenland Bank Building but has since moved and is in a beautiful place now. There are private rooms for larger groups and the waitstaff is excellent. You can also choose to sit outside which is atop the roof so you can overlook the city. Very romantic setting. It is always the restaraunt of choice with our group when going to Kampala. especially after being in villages for a month. What a treat. You will not be disapointed. Prices are not expensive especially for what you get. They made us a beuatiful watermelon bowl filled with fruit complimentary to our large group. Was a nice touch.
Sweet and sour chicken. Almond Chicken, the veggie special and actually there isn't anything except maybe octopus and millet, that I don't like. The ice cream is tasty too.
Theme: Chinese/Dim Sum Price: less than US$10 Comparison: about average Address: Will Get that later Directions: Cant remember as it moved but will find out and list here
4. Khyberpass restaurant at Speke Hotel
ABSOLUTELY GREAT INDIAN RESTAURANT
absolutely delicious tandoori and other Indian specialities for reasonable prices friendly staff
tandoori chicken chicken khorma
Theme: Indian Price: less than US$10 Comparison: less expensive than average Address: speke hotel
5. Haandi Indian Restaurant
Offers wide variety of North Indian Punjabi cuisine at mid range prices. Dining is formal with linens and black tie waiters. You can watch the chefs prepare your food through the large windows.Air conditioned. Mains $7.00 - $15.00US
Theme: Indian Price: US$11-20 Comparison: more expensive than average Address: Kampala, Uganda Directions: Location: Kenyatta Ave. in Kampala, Uganda
n Uganda's largest and capital city, one can find a large number of Kampala Shopping zones. From colorful and bustling markets to newly developed shopping malls, Kampala now has it all. There are many upscale hotels that cater to the influx of tourists. Here is a list of the top places to go shopping in Kampala.
Garden City reflects the very western style of shopping malls and caters mainly to the upper-class locals and tourists. One is able to find a good number of stores selling imported garments, footwear and accessories. Garden City also has an excellent food court that houses many well known fast food restaurants. The mall has a super market, cinema and Internet cafe. Parking is not a problem as Garden City has a huge car park that is well guarded at all times.
Shopping in Kampala will be incomplete if you have not yet explored the local arts and crafts. Located on Buganda Road is an excellent craft market. Here you will be able to find beaded jewelry, sculptures and other local arts and crafts for good prices. This is a good place to pick up souvenirs if you happen to be looking out for the right ones. Yet another art and craft market lies just behind the plush Garden City mall.
Kasumba Square Mall
Kasumba Square Mall lies at the intersection of Busega Round About and the Northern ByPass Highway. This mall houses a good number of interesting shops and restaurants. There is a guest house that offers rooms at good rates. Tourists and backpackers will find this location to be a perfect one.
Lugogo Shopping Mall
Lugogo Shopping Mall is placed on Jinja Road in Kampala. This shopping mall contains a wide variety of stores, offering tourists and locals a good shopping experience. The complex is huge and stretches over 12,000 square meters. The in-house supermarket stocks locally sourced products such as honey and other fresh produce.
Owino Market is one street side market that no tourist should ever miss. The colors, sights, smells and crowds are sure to overwhelm any visitor, as it is so rare. This market can be found in central Kampala. It is much like a flea market with stalls that sell secondhand items, delicious Ugandan delicacies and more.
Capital is one of the cheapest supermarket in Kampala, it is situated near Nakivubo Market. It is ideal for general groceries, food and drinks .