Kampala Things to Do

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    Gorilla trackers
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  • Kampala downtown, Uganda
    Kampala downtown, Uganda
    by georeiser
  • Kabalagala, Kampala Uganda
    Kabalagala, Kampala Uganda
    by georeiser

Most Recent Things to Do in Kampala

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    Namirembe Cathedral

    by muguruki Written Jun 4, 2009

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    The Cathedral can be seen from all over Kampala sitting on top of Namirembe hill. Because of its position you can get a really impressive view of Kampala from up here, or as the near by Namirembe guest house likes to say “The Guest house with the Million Dollar view". I paid bugger all not a million dollars and walked from the centre of town.

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    Shree Swaminarayan Mandir

    by muguruki Written Jun 3, 2009

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    You can't help but notice the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir not far from the clock tower on Entebbe Rd as you enter Kampala. It has now been painted pink since my last visit it did need a bit of smartening up as last time I was in town it had had a few windows put through during protests at the proposed destruction of Mabira forest to make way for another sugar farm. Because an Asian owned company was behind the sugar plantation anything Asian seemed to become a target. Thankfully Mabira was untouched, the mandir was touched up and protests stopped.

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    KASUBI ROYAL TOMBS

    by DAO Updated Apr 5, 2009

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    The tombs of the Buganda Kings are here on Kasubi Hill in Kampala. The Buganda people are the largest ethnic group in Uganda. Huge traditional reed and bark-cloth buildings form an enclosure that has been a royal palace for the (Kabakas) since 1881. Four royal tombs now lie within the Muzibu Azaala Mpanga (main building) circular and domed building. Each King has pictures, weapons, medals and even a stuffed pet leopard adorning their graves. The small circular houses around the enclosure are lived in by the Kabakas' ‘Widows’ who look after this site. They are all royal descendants of the kings. Watch your step, I almost stepped on one of these noble ladies who was sleeping next to one of the graves.

    Your entry ticket included the free use of a guide (pictured) and they have a small gift shop as well.

    ** THIS IS A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE **

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Museum Visits

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    Something for the weekend Sir?

    by muguruki Updated Feb 3, 2009

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    This young chappie at M. Marahavan Saloon gave me the best shave I had in Kampala while I was there.

    I've tried a few barbers/kinyozi around Kampala there are a decent barbers in Old Kampala but this was the best I had. On the whole I find the Asian barbers seem to handle Bazungu hair better than some of the African barbers.

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    VISIT A VERY SPECIAL SOUVENIR SHOP

    by DAO Written Nov 21, 2008

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    This is not only a shopping tip, it’s a must see place. Uganda Crafts 2000 is a massive souvenir shop that does the things virtually no other souvenir shop can do. They sell local crafts, made by hand, created by handicapped and disadvantaged artisans, have a huge variety and their prices are often cheaper than competitors selling ‘made in China’ items. In addition they pay fair wages to people who might otherwise be truly begging on the streets. Many of the people who make the goods actually create them on site. In fact you see the workshops before you can get to the entrance of the shop. I believe this to be the best souvenir shop in Africa. I enjoyed my visit and purchases so much, I went back the next day to visit again. I bought small woven decorations made by school children to buy supplies for their school. Many of the crafts have the pictures and stories of the makers displayed. You can see the very people you help and their prices are market competitive. They do sell expensive quality luxury goods as well as some of the small decorations I bought for pennies. For budget travellers this is a must. You can get light weight cheap gifts to take home. It all helps.

    Some of the fantastic crafts they sell are: Baskets, Christmas Decorations, Batiks (a great and inexpensive gift that weighs nothing!), Handbags, Jewellery, Masks, Leather Goods, Musical Instruments, Key Chains, Trays, Greeting Cards, and a lot more!

    They are members of the International Fair Trade Association (IFAT) and their artisans are paid fair money for their productions. They also provide employment and training for the disadvantaged groups, particularly widows, children, the disabled and those living with HIV/AIDS.

    Open 7 days a week from 8am-7pm

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    Have a meal and a dip

    by muguruki Updated May 27, 2008

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    Swimming as a non-resident in various pools in Kampala tends to be more expensive than elsewhere in the country. The pool at the Hotel Equatoria is all right but at 10,000 is double what you would pay in Entebbe or Mbale. What is a good deal though is to go swimming here on a Sunday when for 15,000 you can swim and help yourself to the lunch buffet. It was sold to me as "you can swim, eat, swim, eat all afternoon.

    The food is good, salads, binyebwa, spuds, rice, various veg and meat and a choice of dessert with the Crème caramel being the best.

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    MONEY MATTERS – UGANDA SCHILLINGS

    by DAO Updated Mar 27, 2008

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    NOTE NO LONGER IN USE
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    The Uganda Schilling is divided into the following denominations:

    COINS: 50/u (less than $ 0.05), 100/u, 200/u, 300/u, 500/u

    NOTES: 1,000/u ($ 0.59), 5,000/u ($ 2.94), 10,000/u ($ 5.88), 20,000/u ($ 11.76), 50,000/u ($ 29.39)

    Overall I found the 20,000 & 30,000 a pain as many places did not want to, or could not, accept them. Ask a bank for only the 1, 5 and 10k notes.

    The website listed at the bottom of this tip has a fantastic link where you can just print off a small pocket guide of the Schilling vs. the US Dollar – and its updated daily!

    2 WARNINGS!

    1) The photos on this tip are of old notes!
    Anything with Idi Amin is a souvenir only. There is a website here that shows current notes (towards the bottom of the page):
    PHOTOS OF UGANDAN SCHILLINGS

    2) Watch out for old coins!
    A knowledgeable member of VT reports that in rural areas some folks may try to give you small and/or old coins. The website listed at the bottom of this tip has pictures of the current coins. The smallest, 50 Schilling coin, is virtually useless.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Business Travel

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    FIRST & LAST CHANCE - FOREX AT THE AIRPORT

    by DAO Updated Mar 26, 2008

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    If you really need to exchange foreign cash notes when you arrive, or exchange back before you leave – do not worry! There is a Forex Bureau on the far left hand side of the terminal building – as you face it – at Entebbe International Airport. The nice lady that works there does not give you the best rate you can get, but there is no fee and she is reasonable. If you are leaving Uganda, just remember this. What choice do you have?

    Located at ground level, outside facing the drop-off zone.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Business Travel

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    ATM's - THE SAFE WAY TO GET CASH

    by DAO Updated Mar 26, 2008

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    The safest and easiest way to carry cash in Kampala and Entebbe is not to carry much at all. Barclays Bank has an ATM right in the terminal building that is easy to get to right after you land. They also have a lot of ATM’s available in Kampala. The web link below shows you their locations. They have a full service branch on Kampala Road with 2 ATM’s and a guy with a shotgun protecting you 24 hours a day (really). In addition, you always get a better rate through credit and debit cards than cash. Of course, speak to you bank on any charges. The extra 2-3% you get is often clawed back. But it is safer than cash. Barclays Bank (UK) has an extensive ATM network and they recently bought Nile Bank.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Business Travel

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    THE BEST FOREIGN EXCHANGE RATES FOR CASH

    by DAO Updated Mar 26, 2008

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    The best exchange rate I got for cash was at Crane Bank on Kampala Road in Kampala. One other bank was close and the rest were into the shocking range when they disclosed their fee on top. Crane gave me a straight rate with no fee. They also have a range of ATM’s in Kampala and at Entebbe International Airport. On top of that, they are friendly.

    Please remember though, rates change. There are at least 6 Banks and Forex Bureaus in 3 blocks on Kampala Road giving different rates,. It took me 10 minutes to find the best deal.

    Related to:
    • Business Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel

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    THEY DO NOT LIKE SMALL US DOLLAR NOTES

    by DAO Written Mar 26, 2008

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    In Uganda, banks and Bureau de Changes (called Forex Bureaus locally) do not like U.S. Dollar bills in the smaller denominations of $1, $5 , $10 and $20. They will give you a lower rate of exchange than for $50 & $100 bills. Only with Dollars do they do this. I believe because of past fraud issues. Beware places (pictured) that will not even write the rate for smaller bills. In some banks the difference is around 5%. In the ones you have to ask, expect to loose more than that.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Business Travel
    • Budget Travel

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    New National Mosque

    by croisbeauty Updated Oct 7, 2007

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    New National Mosque
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    It is called New National Mosque, very huge and new construction situated on the top of one of the seven Kampala hills. Actually, it dominates the whole city area overlooking Nakasero Market and the Old Taxi Park.
    Before getting to Kampala I new nothing about Muslim community there but seems like it is very significant there. There are other smaller mosques in that area concentrated around New National Mosque.

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    Sahatan Dharm Mandir Temple

    by croisbeauty Updated Oct 7, 2007

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    Sahatan Dharm Mandir
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    Sahatan Dharm Mandir Temple belongs to a Hindus religion about which I barely know something. This beautiful temple, situated in the heart of Kampala overlooking Nakasero Market, is probably the most attractive building in the city centre. To me it was the most intriguing because of the swastika which can be seen on the fence around the temple.
    The swastika became the symbol of the Nazis, yet the symbol iself has a long and varied history. The image was used by many cultures around the world representing life, sun, power, strength and good luck.
    In India the word swastika is composed by the Sanskrit; "su" = good, "asti" = to be, and the suffix "ka". The arms of the Indian swastika are angled in a clockwise direction, so this one displayed on the Temple has nothing to do with the Nazists.

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    Ssenene, Ugandan fast food

    by muguruki Updated May 24, 2007

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    The rainy season in Uganda brings the grasshoppers out to play around every streetlight in the city and not far behind them a gaggle of kids trying to catch them and put them into plastic bags or jam jars and then take them home to fry (the grasshoppers and not the kids that is, but saying that being a Veggie I have tried neither).

    Or you could buy them raw and alive or fried with or without wings and legs from any of the markets around town. Personally I stick to a "rolex" when it comes to Kampala street food, an omelette and salad wrapped in a hot chapatti, yum!

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    Bahai temple

    by muguruki Updated May 24, 2007

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    Have a picnic in the grounds of the Bahai temple.

    I'm always a bit wary of going to any religious establishment in case they start pushing their superstitions on you, but this place wasn't too bad even considering it was a Sunday and fairly busy with believers. Infact it was all quite pleasant until someone got the guitar and tambourine out.

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Kampala Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Kampala things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Kampala sightseeing.

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