Hosting a baby shower in Kampala

Baby showers are fun parties held to celebrate the arrival of a beautiful bundle of joy. One of the more practical reasons for throwing a baby shower is to prepare the mother (sometimes both parents if it is a co-ed baby shower) for the arrival of the baby through gift and gab.

host-baby-shower-in-kampala    

What happens in a baby shower?

Baby showers usually involve lots of baby gifts being presented to the mom to be (and sometimes dad too) which can help reduce the cost of buying baby stuff for the parents – as well as lots of jokes and practical advice on how to prepare for a momma-pappa’s life. Being parents can be a daunting and stressful task and a baby shower is just what they may need. Mum and dad open the gifts presented which is almost like retail therapy.

Games can also be a fun addition to baby showers and if it is a co-ed baby shower, you could play partner games eg filling up baby bottles with a drink and setting a timer to see who guzzles down the liquid fastest!

Or you could even have fun activities such as setting up a onesie decorating station. 

organise-baby-shower

Who organises baby showers?

Baby showers are usually organised by friends/family of the mum to be. It is rarely the mum who throws a baby shower as that would look as though you are throwing yourself a party. This, however, is becoming increasingly common with moms-to-be organising a budget and even planning their entire baby shower the way they would like it. A tip is just be sure to get your best friend/sister to send out the invites so it doesn’t look like you are throwing yourself a party – well you are but you need to keep it subtle 😉

If you are the mum-to-be’s friend, it’s perfectly ok to check with her who she would like to invite when preparing the guest list.

throw-a-baby-shower-kampala

When to host a baby shower?

Baby showers are usually hosted about 7 months into the pregnancy. This makes sense as the baby is well on its way but also ensures that the mom is comfortable enough to enjoy the party!

Who to invite to a baby shower?

Baby showers usually involve close relatives and friends of the mum to be – because well – you can’t impose on a person to buy a gift. Those who attend baby showers usually present gifts to the parents so it would be pretty awkward inviting people who are not close to mum/dad and asking them for a gift.

Furthermore, you want mum to just be herself and enjoy every moment without being self-conscious about all the strangers who have been invited.

I thought baby showers were only for mum and her friends? What would dad do at the baby shower?

It is becoming increasingly common to invite dad along to celebrate the arrival of the bundle of joy. You would need to check with mum ofcourse whether dad should be invited. Some dads would love to be involved, others may loathe it.

However, if dads are involved in baby showers, then you can make it more fun by inviting his friends and arranging for games that can be enjoyed by both men and women such as the baby bottle competition we mentioned above!

A photo booth could also make for a fun addition!

coed-baby-shower-kampala-dad-and-mom

What sort of decor to go for?

It depends on the mum to be and who you are inviting. Usually, baby shower decor involves soft pastel colours. If the baby’s sex is known, and mum and dad are expecting a girl, then you could go for a baby pink oriented decor. If mum/dad are expecting a boy, then you could go for baby blue decor. If you don’t know the baby’s sex or just want to keep it neutral, you could use all the beautiful pastel shades.

If dad is attending as well along with his friends, then you could go for bolder colours such as purple or yellow or white and cut back on the pastel theme. You could also get rid of ribbons etc and add more gender neutral decorations.

baby-shower-kampala

Do guests have to be informed about what sort of gifts to bring?

Usually, the guests you would invite would know mum/dad pretty well.

The gifts they buy would be fun to open if they are a surprise and you just don’t know what to expect. We are pretty sure anyone being invited to a baby shower would buy something baby related, right? 

Sometimes, the parents may choose to arrange a registry service where they can select what they would like guests to bring. But this takes the fun out of the baby shower gift opening ceremony as parents will know what to expect!

how-to-plan-a-baby-shower

Do we have to arrange for return gifts?

If you have the budget for it, arranging for return gifts would make for a nice addition to show your appreciation to the guests who attended. It could be anything from chocolate, cosmetics, candles to spa vouchers. If you are inviting dad’s friends too, then you could arrange for pens, card holders or even chocolate cigars for them! It was customary for dads to pass around cigars to his friends on the arrival of baby news back in the day, so this could be a fun addition. 

Where to plan your baby shower in Kampala?

Where could you host your baby shower in Kampala? With us ofcourse! 🙂

We have a beautiful venue at our hotel that could be perfect to host your baby shower for up to 30 people. We can take the stress out of the planning by arranging the food, drinks and decor just the way you want it.

Simply drop in and let us know what your ideas are. We look forward to helping you arrange a memorable baby shower for mum (or dad) 🙂

baby-shower-ideas-kampala

 

Why are we one of the best hotels in Kampala?

But ofcourse, we are one of the 10 best hotels in Kampala to stay in. Why?

We’ll give you 3 good reasons why you should choose to stay with our hotel when visiting Kampala.

Location

Yep. Nothing beats this. Are you visiting Kampala for business? Are you visiting Kampala for leisure? Either way, we are centrally located right near the central business district – only a 6 minutes stroll from Kampala road. We are quite close to the tourist attractions you need to see when in Kampala – only a 20 minutes drive from our hotel (if you don’t get stuck in traffic). Should you wish to visit Kololo for the buzzing night life, we are only a 15 minutes drive away by car. 

If you are visiting for business/leisure, you’ll be on a tight schedule and it is imperative you spend minimal time stuck in traffic. Kampala traffic jams are very bad and you could easily spend one hour in traffic across the stretch of one road only. Our hotel is very accessible and located in the Kampala city center, making it easy  for you to travel to any destination, whether it is the Finance Ministry or the Kasubi Tombs. 

Furthermore, we are surrounded by restaurants/cafes with easy access to shops, there is a large supermarket only 5 minutes away by walking and a local market for fresh fruits/vegetables only 10 minutes away by walking, two hospitals in the vicinity, several embassies, casinos and even a large African Crafts Market should you wish to purchase a souvenir to take back home from Uganda.

Good Value for Money

With every single room the size of an entire SUITE, you will not find bigger hotel rooms than ours in any hotel in Central Kampala. Our rooms are the definition of “spacious”. As one of our guests famously quoted, “this is not a room, it is a house”.

In every suite, you’ll have a bedroom with an en-suite toilet, a separate extended lounge and family toilet. There is enough space to work on the large table provided in the living room and relax in the lounge whilst catching a Manchester United game on our comfy leather sofas. Every Suite also has a balcony overlooking Kampala with city views. 

Did we mention we also provide complimentary tea/coffee in our rooms? There is air-conditioning both in the extended lounge as well as the bedroom. 24/7 Hot Water is available in the shower, Free Wi-Fi is available at your finger tips and we also have room service should you wish not to step out of your room.

All this, in addition to the fact that we have a fully stocked bar available to serve drinks 24/7, a large and clean Swimming Pool, Continental/African Cuisine Restaurant, 24/7 Reception, Taxi Service, FREE Full English Breakfast included in your rate, Daily Cleaning Service, Laundry Services, Pool Terrace, Free On-site Parking and a very Central Location, we think we offer a pretty good deal, don’t you?

Amazingly Awesome Customer Service

From the moment you step into our hotel to the moment you leave, you’ll realise our staff genuinely care about you and try their very best to ensure you have a good stay.

Being a small independent hotel, we train our staff to attend to every guest personally. Every guest is unique and has their own way of experiencing a hotel business/leisure trip. To this end, we endeavour to accommodate every guest and to fulfill as many guest requests as we can. We are more flexible than your average big brand hotel for which every guest is just another guest. For us, every guest is special and there won’t be a time when you won’t hear “Welcome Back!” if you are a returning guest. We also remember your requests during your stay with us.

Feedback is extremely important for us, be it positive or negative. If it is negative, it is an opportunity for us to improve and satisfy our guests even further – which is why we encourage you to let us know how your stay was. 

Why we are one of the best hotels in Kampala

These are the top 3 reasons as to why we are one of the best hotels in Kampala and we are sure you’ll agree these are three strong reasons to give us a chance to serve you. 

Basically, what we are saying is Just Come On Down and Experience Our Hospitality! We Look Forward To Welcoming You To Prestige Hotel Suites 🙂

What strikes first time visitors as special or unusual when they arrive in Kampala, Uganda?

So you have taken the bold step to visit Kampala (Uganda) and you are wondering what to expect?

Check out our list of all the fun, unusual, annoying and strange things you may come across. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

1. Boda-bodas – The streets are lined with them. Boda-boda drivers have their own set of rules; they drive on the road, on the pavement, across roundabouts, switch lanes without warning, may run you over without warning, so beware and check the road multiple times before you cross and while you cross. There are no zebra crossings in Kampala town.

2. Friendly people – The people in Uganda are known for their friendliness. Visitors are welcomed with bright smiles and anyone and everyone on the road will be happy to leave what they are doing just to talk to you (especially if you are a muzungu). 

3. Rolex – Nope, not a watch. Here, people eat rolexes rather than wear them. A Rolex is a Ugandan streetfood of eggs rolled in chapatti (flat unleavened bread). It has been named as one of the top picks in African streetfood. So how on earth did the name “Rolex”come about? Simple. “Roll eggs”. Try saying it really fast multiple times and see what you end up with.

4. Traffic jams – Your visit to Kampala will not be complete if you do not get stuck in a traffic jam. With an over-supply of cars and small roads, Kampala has become the city of traffic jams. Furthermore, cars do not follow road rules should there be a traffic jam, with cars driving bumper to bumper. We would not recommend you drive if it is your first time in Kampala and you are not well-versed with lack of road rules driving. The best way to get through this experience is to listen to music, keep calm and looking out of the window always helps. It’s very entertaining.

5. Green vegetation – No matter where you are in Kampala, you’ll see lots of trees lining the streets, in between houses, around commercial buildings, everywhere. It is the beauty of living in Kampala. The further out you go towards the sub-urbs, the more greenery you’ll see. 

6. Relaxed pace – You will either be bemused or frustrated with the relaxed pace with which Kampala locals live. Whether it is serving you at a restaurant, whether it is picking you up in a taxi, whether it is simply walking over to you, they will take their sweet time. Because what’s the rush? If you’re from a fast-paced city, you’ll simply have to keep calm, ask twice, and just remember you are on holiday. If you are looking to move here for work/business, then you’ll need to start meditation as well. 

7. Lots of fresh fruits – Pineapples, papaya, watermelon, passion fruits! Could this be heaven? Staying in Kampala means that you’ll get lots of vitamin C while you’re around. And even the juices are fresh! None of that “oh it’s fresh in the sense that it is from a packet or prepared from pulp”. Nope – it’s straight from the fruit.

8. Entertainment at traffic lights – We only have a few traffic lights in Kampala city. But while you wait for the lights to turn green (sometimes it never does), there are a couple of things you will notice.

  • Traffic police men that make the traffic worse rather than better – even if the lights are working, they will take matters into their own hands all for the worse.
  • Mobile markets – an entire line of vendors walking past your car, all selling different things. Forget going to the market, if you need anything urgently, this is the time to buy it. From bananas to garden tools to school biology charts of the human digestive system, they have it all.
  • Finally, you won’t miss the vast array of street children and disabled people knocking on your windows or “attempting to clean” your windshield. Whilst some of these may be genuine beggars, you have to realise begging has become an occupation in Kampala. It is not unusual to see girls holding multiple babies or old men in wheelchairs. Based on our experience, it is easier to beg in Kampala than to get a job. So if you want to be charitable, please do so – you may help a soul, but be careful with any phones/valuables. Keep these away from sight or they may be snatched.

9. Weather – The amazing thing about Kampala is you can walk around in shorts and flip-flops. At an average temperature of 28 degrees Celcius, the weather is pretty great. When it does rain, it’s pretty scary. Think extreme thunderclouds, lightning and sometimes hail storms. These usually last anywhere between a few minutes to 1 hour. Then they pass, the sun is out, and you won’t know it even rained. Unless the roads are flooded and traffic jams have built up.

10. Everyone speaks English – Yep. Regardless of all the good or bad points above, everyone speaks English so you’ll be absolutely fine. Uganda was a British colony and the schools still teach English as the main language. English is the formal language of Uganda. 

What are the best restaurants to try when visiting Kampala Uganda?

A very important question that you would ask when visiting any country! Below we will outline the top restaurants to try when visiting Kampala, Uganda based on our experience.

Top 10 restaurants to visit when in Kampala, Uganda

1. Mediterraneo (Italian)

This Italian restaurant and pizzeria does some really nice pizzas and we especially love the ambience. They have both an indoor and outdoor sitting area with lots of greenery making it the perfect spot for dinner. With an open air feel, lots of fresh air and good food, you are in for a treat.

2. Il Patio (Italian)

If you would like to get away from Kampala and feel as though you are back in Europe, you need to try this place. With very professional staff and a beautiful ambience, you’ll not believe you are still in Uganda. Everything is served to perfection, the food is really good too. Their portions are quite decent and they are reasonably priced for a beautiful restaurant.

3. New Moti Mahal (Indian)

This little gem in Kampala serves the best Indian food you could ask for. It serves authentic Indian food which is very reasonably priced. Most people will suggest places like Faze 2, or the Great Indian Dhaba, or the Copper Chimney(this restaurant is not bad either) or Nawab Bistro. However, take our word for it when we say that we have tried all these places and the food at Moti Mahal is authentic Indian cuisine that will leave you wanting more. They have a large selection – just be careful to ask for your food to be prepared mild if you can’t handle too much spice!

4. Tamarai (Thai)

If you are in the mood for Thai, there’s only one place you should be going to – Tamarai. Their Thai food is excellent but what we love about Tamarai is their large tea bar. If you are a tea buff, this is the place to go. With a large selection of teas imported all the way from Sri-Lanka, you’ll be in for a treat. They also have a large open-air feel seating area.

5. Fang Fang (Chinese)

Good chinese food in Kampala is hard to find last we checked. But if you really must eat Chinese food while you are in town, then we would recommend Fang Fang. They do a great many dishes and are reasonably priced.

6. Cafesserie (Fast food/Deli/Pastries)

If you are looking for food on the go or would like to sit at a decent coffee shop and work on your laptop, our favourite hang-out is cafesserie. They do really good food, the ambience is great – this depends on if you like a busy coffee shop or not. Cafesserie is always busy so if you are looking for somewhere more quiet, this may not be the place for you. They do lovely pastries and their ice-creams are pretty good too, especially as their ice-cream cones are freshly made right in front of your eyes.

7. The Bistro (Continental/Fast food)

The Bistro is located in a very happening area of Kampala – Kisimenti. This restaurant is a good spot for lunch and they do a really good salad bar once a week. They serve pretty much everything – so you could say it’s a continental/ fast food joint. Their food is well prepared and you are bound to find a lot of expatriates dining here – overall a good place to dine and people watch.

8. Yujo Izakaya (Japanese)

Yujo is located pretty close to us and is a great Japanese restaurant to try out while in Kampala. The food is pretty good for what you would find in Kampala and they have a balcony overlooking a beautiful garden. The ambience is quite nice – though the food is slightly pricey – so you should visit when feeling lucky 🙂

9. Cafe Javas (Fast food/Continental)

If you are feeling really hungry and could eat anything and everything, you should probably pop by Cafe Javas. They have several branches around town and you’ll quickly realise that it is one of the most popular food chains in Kampala. It’s got a cafe feel to it but they serve anything from Italian to Mexican to Fast food. They do some really amazing desserts so you could pretty much have a full three course meal here at a reasonable price.

10. Prestige Hotel Suites Restaurant (Local food)

We are very careful when it comes to suggesting places for local Ugandan food. Whilst there are a few places like 2K or St Anthony, we cannot comment on hygiene. You should check these places out for yourself if you would really like to try local Ugandan food.

Alternatively, at our restaurant, we serve a variety of local Ugandan and African foods prepared in a safe and hygienic environment. Unfortunately, our restaurant is only open to guests. So if you are staying with us, you could try out our selection of Ugandan food – meat served with a selection of rice/matooke/posho garnished with Nakati/avocado. You could also try out the matooke with groundnut sauce which is a staple in Uganda.

Check out our menu.

Restaurants to try when in Kampala

We hope you like dining at the restaurants we have suggested above. However, there are several restaurants in Kampala and if you have tried all the above, you could also check out some of these:

•Khana Khazana
•Asian Fusion
•Le Château Brasserie Belge
•The Lawns
•Pardis
•Masala Chat House
•Faze 2
•Arena Sports Bar and grill
•Izumi
•Mythos Greek Tavern and Lounge
•Biryani House
•Nawab’s Asian Bistro
•Java House
•KFC

Why Choose Us?

There are probably a hundred different hotels you could choose to stay in when in Kampala. So why stay with us? Keep reading, we’ll tell you why 🙂

We create a homely atmosphere

  • “Each room is a suite”

What makes us unique and different from other hotels is that our rooms are designed differently. Each room is a suite without the expensive price tag. You have a bedroom with an en-suite toilet, a family toilet and an extended lounge.

  • Our staff are friendly, approachable and listen to every guest’s query

We train our staff to ensure that they treat every guest specially – as though they are the most important person in the world. We listen, problem-solve and then act. Most of the time, our guests get what they request for. When we can’t solve the issue, we openly listen to feedback and act upon it if it is feasible given our resources and circumstances.

  • We get to know the Guests – every single one of them

If you have stayed with us before, there will rarely be a time when our staff won’t say “Welcome back” unless the receptionist is new! Oops! (But don’t worry, even then, we will inform the new receptionist if we are expecting you again). We train our staff to talk to guests, get to know them, have a conversation and make them feel at home.

  • We are flexible

Being a family owned hotel, we are more flexible and cater to as many guest requests as we possibly can. We just want you to be happy 🙂

  • We create that home away from home feeling

We want to provide that warm homely feeling. We are not a big brand hotel where you are just another guest. You will be greeted, smiled at by pretty much all the staff on the premises and you’ll probably bump into not just your room maid, but the owner as well! Whether you stay with us for a day or a month, we will never let you feel as though you are in a strange place far away from home.

Our Location is very special

  • Centrally located

What makes us pretty special is our location. We are located only a 6 minutes stroll from Kampala road and the Central Business District. There are very few hotels located this close to the city center and we are proud to be one of those few.

  • Very accessible

No matter where you intend to go, whether it is the Central Business District, whether it is one of the tourist attractions in Kampala, whether it is a bar in Kololo, we are strategically located such that you can get to all of these areas within minutes from our hotel by car.

  • Cut time spent in traffic jams

Traffic jams in Kampala are what nightmares are made of. If you have ever been stuck in one, you’ll know what we mean. If most of your time is to be spent in the city center, it is best you stay in the city center and cut time spent in traffic jams. Time saved will make for good TV time.

Our customers always come first

  • We train staff to put you first

Once you arrive at our hotel, you’ll quickly realize that our staff genuinely care about ensuring you have a good stay. They’ll ensure you settle in well and try to cater for any requests you may have as promptly as they can.

  • Our staff will treat you as well as the hotel owner would

One thing that’s very special about our staff, which is hard to find in other hotels in Kampala, is that the staff will care for you just as well as the hotel owner would. Several of our staff have been with us for many years and feel attached to our hotel. They feel as though it is their own and will endeavour to cater for all your needs just like the owner would.

  • Feedback is very important

The most important thing for us is feedback. We are always listening, learning and improving. It is a continuous process. We want to make your stay at Prestige Hotel Suites as comfortable as possible and will do everything in our power to ensure this is the case. If you have something to say to us, say it without hesitating at all. You can inform our reception, the manager or even send us an email at info@prestigehotelsuites.com. We will happily listen, take on your feedback/advice and try our best to improve where possible.

 

All these are the reasons why you should choose us. We hope we have caught your attention 🙂

So, if you are looking for a home away from home, where you won’t have to worry about a thing, where you can settle in without any awkwardness surrounding you, just feel free to come on down to Prestige Hotel Suites and experience our hospitality. We look forward to welcoming you.

 

Visiting Lake Bunyonyi (Wakanda)

Lake Bunyonyi which means “the place of many little birds” is one of the most beautiful lakes in Uganda.

29 islands adorn its waters and if you are a Marvel fan, you’ll most likely have heard the claim that Lake Bunyonyi is Wakanda from the movie, Black Panther. The Golden city of Wakanda is built on a series of islands and many have compared it to the islands of Lake Bunyonyi.

lake-bunyonyi-wakanda

Lake Bunyonyi is close to the border of Rwanda and is a perfect spot to end your trip after mountain gorilla trekking in the impenetrable Bwindi forest. The drive from Bwindi forest to Lake Bunyonyi is very picturesque (about 3 hours) and you’ll be treated with stunning views of tea plantations and many other vegetables and fruits.

For those who collect currencies, you’ll spot Lake Bunyonyi on the 5,000/- Ugandan Shilling note.

Top 10 things to do at Lake Bunyonyi

So now you know Lake Bunyonyi is a must-see place on your visit to Uganda, you’ll be wondering how many days to spend there and what to do. Below, we have compiled a list of things to do at Lake Bunyonyi that may be of interest to you!

1) Relax and take in the views

From the  moment you wake to the moment you sleep, you’ll be treated with wonderful views of the islands depending on where you stay.

One of our favourite places to stay is the Lake Bunyonyi Eco resort. Once you arrive at Lake Bunyonyi, a small boat will take you towards Kyahugye Island where 10 beautiful cottages are built. Opt for the cottages at the top of the island for the best panaromic views you could ask for.

In the early mornings, you’ll be mesmerised by the way mist encircles the islands and how the views change with every passing minute as the sun rises. In the evenings, you’ll be thrown aback by the beautiful sunsets. What we love about this island is that you’ll be able to spot zebra, waterbucks and antelopes as you walk around the island.

lake-bunyonyi

2) Swimming

Lake Bunyonyi is one of the few lakes in Uganda that is hippo, crocodile and bilharzia free that makes it great for swimming. However, precaution must be taken because this lake is 44m deep, which makes it one of the deepest lakes in Africa.

For the good swimmers, Lake Bunyonyi is a haven for swimming. Just be sure to undertake some safety precautions such as having a canoe nearby.

3) Take a nature walk

As Lake Bunyonyi is comprised of 29 islands, you could just as well take a nature walk on any one of the islands.

Make sure to go with a guide who will take you to visit some of the more picturesque islands and even guide you towards some beautiful villages.

4) Visit the “punishment” island

Most who visit Lake Bunyonyi will hear tales about the “punishment island”.

It is told that the Bakiga people who inhabited these islands would canoe girls who became pregnant out of wedlock here. The girls would be deserted on this tiny island, where they would either starve to death or die while swimming back to shore. This would hopefully intimidate girls so that they would abstain from sex before marriage.

During the early days, men needed to pay for a bride with cows. Men who were poor and could not afford to make such a payment would be allowed to go to the island and pick up a girl.

Thankfully, this practice of abandoning girls on the island was discontinued in the first half of the 20th century.

5) Bird-watching

As Lake Bunyonyi is known as the place of little birds, your trip would be incomplete without a bit of bird watching, wouldn’t it?

With over 200 species of birds, you’ll spot some beautiful species such as grey-crowned cranes, red-chested sunbirds and several fly-catchers.

You can take a boat ride to the Nyombi swamp, where you can spot several species. Best to take a guide so as to make the most of your bird-watching trip.

6) Visit Sharp’s island (Bwama and Njuyeera)

In 1931, a missionary called Leonard Sharp established a leprosy treatment centre on the then uninhabited Bwama island. A church, patient quarters and a medical facility were built, while Sharp settled on Njuyeera Island.

Those with Leprosy were brought to the island where they were treated by the doctor. It remained open until the 1950’s. Now, there are two schools located on the island and the students arrive by boat.

7) Cultural tours

Why not go on a historical and cultural tour to learn more about the people who live here?

You could take a tour and visit the local Batwa Pygmy people who were the original people of the forest. You could interact with locals, view dance performances and even stay in one of the villages to learn their way of life.

8) Mountain Biking

If you enjoy cycling, one of the more fun ways to explore the islands is with a mountain bike. You could find these mountain bikes at lodges, alternatively, it may be worth while organising these with a tour company.

Explore the various villages on the islands and learn about the people and their way of life as you do so.

9) Ride in a dug-out canoe

You could also opt to hire your own dug out canoe or rent one if you have no clue about canoeing.

This is a fun way to learn more about the way of the life of the local people and see Lake Bunyonyi through their eyes.

10) Photography

If you are a keen photographer, there are plenty of opportunities to practise your skills.

From birds to islands to animals to people, you’ll be in for a treat!

Visiting Lake Bunyonyi and things to do at Lake Bunyonyi

We hope you enjoyed reading our blog on what to do at Lake Bunyonyi and will definitely make it your mission to visit Lake Bunyonyi on your visit to Uganda.

lake-bunyonyi

Where to stay in Kampala

One of the most important questions you’ll have when visiting Kampala is where to stay in Kampala?

Kampala is a city built on hills and there are various areas in Kampala where you could stay depending on what you are looking to do in Kampala and your budget.

Visiting Kampala city as a tourist

If you are visiting Kampala as a tourist, what is your budget?

If you are a high spender and want to be located in the city center, the best area to stay in Kampala is Nakasero. Nakasero is placed centrally in Kampala and several of the large hotels such as Sheraton, Serena and our hotel, Prestige Hotel Suites, are located in Nakasero. From Nakasero, it is easy to get to several places in the city center and there are plenty of restaurants located nearby. Considering Kampala traffic, it is a good idea to stay in the city center.

If you are a high spender and would prefer to be located slightly away from the hustle and bustle of the main city center, but would like easy reach to the city center, Kololo is another area you could consider. Kololo has some nice hotels such as Golden Tulip and Fairway. The issue with Kololo is that whilst it has several bars and restaurants in its vicinity, there is a danger of noise from the bars during the night hours.

If you are a budget spender, there are several other areas you could consider such as Bukoto, Ntinda, Naguru, Makindye, Muyenga where you would be able to rent homestays/houses and apartments. These places are not that far from the city center as such (apart from Makindye/Muyenga – these are quite far) but the traffic makes it so. You could easily spend an hour or more travelling to the city from these areas because traffic in Kampala is pretty bad.

As a tourist, where you stay may not be much of an issue as you may be in Kampala for only a day or two.

Visiting Kampala city on business

If you are a business traveller, then it is best to be located close to the city center. Ofcourse, this depends on where most of your meetings will be taking place.

Most business travellers prefer to stay in Nakasero and then Kololo. Several large companies and institutions are centrally located, conferences are mainly held at Serena and offices are packed within the central business district i.e. in Nakasero.

If you are working with an NGO, then you may not need to be centrally located. Once again, this depends on where you will be spending most of your time. If you are working in the city and you have a low budget, consider Bukoto, Ntinda, Naguru. If you have a higher budget, Kololo and Nakasero are good options. Trust us, having to travel everyday in Kampala traffic is something you do not want to do.

If you are working further out towards Entebbe, you may choose to stay in Makindye/Muyenga/Kasubi.

Where to stay in Kampala

We hope this guide on where to stay in Kampala is helpful. If you would like more information on any of the above areas or other areas we have not mentioned, feel free to leave a comment. We will advise you on the pros and cons from an insider’s point of view!

What things should I pack for my stay at Prestige Hotel Suites Kampala?

Guests do contact us now and then asking what amenities we have and what they should pack when staying at our hotel in Kampala, Prestige Hotel Suites.

So we thought that we should put together a list of what we do have in our large suites and what you should pack for your stay at Prestige Hotel Suites Kampala!

Bathroom:

Provided:

  • Soap
  • Shower Gel
  • Shampoo
  • Towel
  • Toilet Paper
  • (Hairdryer on request)
  • Bathroom slippers
  • Bathmat
  • Bin

You should bring:

  • Toothpaste/Toothbrush
  • Any fancy shower gels, creams, exfoliators, oils, sunscreens, deodorant
  • Contact lenses/contact lens solution (if you wear these)
  • Shaving kit
  • Menstruation pads
  • Shower cap
  • Combs
  • Sewing kit (if you think you might need it!)

Bedroom:

Provided:

  • Bed, pillows, duvet
  • Storage space, hangers
  • Dressing table
  • (Iron/ironing table on request)
  • Mirrors
  • Mosquito nets
  • Air-conditioning
  • Free WiFi

You should bring:

  • Your clothes/shoes/socks!
  • Medicine
  • Make up
  • Bathrobe
  • Room slippers
  • Shoe polish (if you need it)
  • Dirty laundry bag
  • Lock to keep your valuables safe in your bag (some rooms have safe deposit boxes, some don’t)
  • Power adapters with square pins if you are visiting from Europe/India/a country that has round pin sockets
  • Phone charger
  • Ear plugs/Eye Mask
  • Sunglasses/Hat

Extended Lounge:

Provided:

  • Tea/coffee
  • Bottled water
  • Kettle
  • Fridge
  • TV
  • Sofas
  • Coffee Table
  • Dining Table
  • Bin
  • Information booklet
  • Free WiFi
  • Air-conditioning

You should bring:

  • Your laptop
  • HDMI cable/Chromecast cable (if you use these)
  • Green tea/caffeine-free coffee, fruity teas
  • Extra snacks, biscuits/cakes etc (if you love binging on food)
  • Books!

We hope this list is comprehensive and you found this guide on what to pack when staying at our hotel in Kampala, Prestige Hotel Suites, useful. Feel free to let us know what else you would pack.

30 common local phrases in Luganda when visiting Kampala/Uganda

Survival Phrases – Communicating in Luganda when visiting Uganda (Kampala)

One of the most fun things to do when visiting a new country is to learn its local language. In Uganda, there are several tribes of people and therefore lots of different local languages, depending on where you travel to in Uganda.

If you are based in Kampala city, as it is located in the Buganda Kingdom, the local language would be Luganda, however, as different types of people have settled in Kampala city, you’ll find a long list of languages that are spoken. In fact, Swahili is probably a language that is spoken by most locals despite not even originating in Uganda (It originated from Kenya).

You can always try your luck and practise a bit of Luganda and see where it leads you. If that does not work, then everyone speaks English so you have a back up language anyway 🙂

P.S: We’ll also write up a list of these essential phrases in Swahili incase you would like to have fun with that as well!

 

We have highlighted a few phrases that you may want to use when travelling around Kampala city. In brackets, you’ll find the nearest equivalent of the English phrase in Luganda.

  1. Hello/How are you (Oliotya)
  2. I’m fine (Gendi)
  3. Thank you very much (Webale Nyo – if you are talking to one person; Mwebale Nyo – if you are talking to several people)
  4. Madam (Nyabo)
  5. Sir (Ssebo)
  6. You’re welcome Madam (Kale Nyabo)
  7. Goodbye/See you soon (Nja Kulaba Edda)
  8. I’m sorry (Nysonyi wa)
  9. My name is …… ( Nze ……..)
  10. Nice to meet you sir (Nsanyuse Okulaba Ssebo)
  11. Where are you from? (Ovaa wa?)
  12. I’m from …. (Nva…)
  13. Do you speak ……? (Oyogera ……?)
  14. I speak a little (Njogera lu tono)
  15. How much? (Meka?) p.s ask when shopping, taking local transport, buying gifts/souvenirs etc
  16. Could you recommend a place to eat? (Omanyi wa we nsobola okulya?)
  17. Could I see the menu? (Nsaba ku menu)
  18. Could I order….. (Mpa….)
  19. How do I get to Prestige Hotel Suites? (Ntuka ntya ku Prestige Hotel Suites?)
  20. To the right (Ku dyo)
  21. To the left (Ku kono)
  22. How long does it take to get to….? (Kitwala banga ki okutuukaku…..?)
  23. Could I use your phone? (Nsabaku simu yo)
  24. Where are the nearest toilets? (Toyi ziliko wa?)
  25. Where are your toilets? (Toyi zamwe ziliko wa?)
  26. What is there to see around here? (Mulina yo biki ebisanyusa ebyokulabako?)
  27. Can I buy you a drink? (Nkugulile yo ki?)
  28. Yes (Iye)
  29. No (Nedda)
  30. What time is it? (Zili sawa meka?)

Getting around in Kampala

We are going to get straight to the point. Getting around in Kampala is probably one of the most unpleasant things you’ll have to do while in Kampala.

visiting-kampala-uganda-getting-around-kampala-city-kampala-traffic

Narrow roads, rowdy drivers, boda-bodas and an over-supply of cars all create an experience that is one to be remembered or one to be loathed.

We highlight a few ways in which you can get around but take it from us, if you’re not one for risky adventure, it’s best to stick to a tour company driver/hotel taxi.

Boda-bodas

boda-boda-kampala-city-getting-around

The fastest way to get through the traffic chaos. Also, the most unsafe way to travel in Kampala city – we suppose you have to weigh your options. Most of the accidents that end up in Kampala hospitals are from boda-bodas but despite this, most people do prefer to take boda-bodas. Boda-bodas are basically scooters driven by drivers, most of whom probably do not have official licenses (we think).

There is no fixed rate and everything in Kampala involves negotiation. If you are looking to travel within Kampala city, it should cost you an average of between 2,000/- to 5,000/- (about $1.5-$2) depending on your negotiation skills. From our hotel to Old Kampala, it should cost about 2,000/-. Old Kampala is where most of the tourist attractions in Kampala city are based. From our hotel to Kololo, it should cost about 3,000/-. Kololo is where most of the bars and clubs are located in Kampala. There is also a big shopping mall in Kololo.

If you’re not one for negotiation and prefer to take the safe road, you may consider using “Safeboda”. You can download their app and it works just like Uber. Safeboda drivers receive pre-training and probably follow the road rules better than your average boda-boda drivers e.g. they stop at traffic signals when the light is red.

Safeboda drivers provide you with a helmet but probably best to wear something on your head (a scarf?) before using the helmets. You don’t know whose head the helmet has been on!

Matatus (Mini-bus taxis)

matatu-mini-bus-transport-in-kampala

Matatus used to be the most unsafe option of getting around Kampala until they got overtaken by boda-bodas.

Matatus are mini-vans that can carry upto 14 people and they are the cheapest way of getting around (thanks to economies of scale). A single ride can cost between 500/- to 1,500/- ($0.25-$0.5). Once again, this depends on your negotiation skills but also on the colour of your skin. There are special prices applicable to foreigners and you’ll have to try that little bit harder if you have a lighter skin tone. But we all love challenges, don’t we? This applies to boda-boda drivers as well.

Matatus do take longer to get you to your destination than boda-bodas but the drivers are expert weavers at weaving through traffic. They will get you to your destination faster than a private hire taxi but there is also a higher risk of being delayed in an “incident”as they drive in a very haphazard fashion following the rules of their own brains.

From our hotel, you need to walk to Kampala road (city square) to catch a matatu. From there to Kololo, it should cost you 1,000/-. It is difficult to catch a taxi to Old Kampala, so probably best to stick to the boda-bodas/private hire.

Uber

uber-kampala-visiting-kampala-getting-around

Uber is a good mid-range option of getting around Kampala city and the drivers also drive safely thanks to the reviews system!

Getting around Kampala can cost anywhere between 5,000/- to 10,000/- ($2 – $4).

However, you will still encounter the standard third world problems of cars breaking down and Uber drivers taking longer roads to inflate the fare. You do have to know your roads or pretend to be knowledgeable so that they don’t try to over-charge you. Keep an eye on the route selected by Uber and always question the driver if he takes an alternative route. At the very least, he’ll know that you are monitoring him reducing any further instances of “taking you for a ride”. Excuse the pun.

As always, proceed with precaution. Earlier this year, a couple was mugged by an Uber driver. Late in the night around 12:00am, the Uber driver brought his car to a halt claiming the car had got spoilt. A few minutes later, three of his friends joined him and demanded that the couple hand over all their money/jewellery. One of the passengers resisted and he was beaten up by the four men.

Moral of the story, aim to travel with drivers who have completed several trips and have a good rating. Also, try to avoid travelling during the late hours of the night.

Hiring your own car

hire-a-car-visiting-uganda-kampala

If you are brave enough and you think you have what it takes to drive in Kampala traffic, you may consider hiring a car.

Hiring a car can be quite convenient if you will be spending most of your time travelling upcountry, however, driving within Kampala city is one of the hardest things to do. Not only do fellow car drivers not follow traffic rules, boda-boda drivers will also scratch your car without hesitating and drive off (sometimes with a smile). Experienced drivers who have been driving in Kampala for several years still complain about how hard it is to drive around Kampala.

Finally, be warned. Should you get involved in an accident with a boda-boda, it won’t be long before other boda-bodas gang up on you and create chaos, making it possibly the worst experience of your life.

Hotel Taxis

hotel-taxis-airport-visiting-kampala-uganda

Getting around Kampala city by hotel taxis can cost anywhere between 15,000/- to 25,000/-. ($5 – $8). This is the most expensive option, however, it may be the safest option of getting around Kampala city.

Hotel taxis are usually safe as hotels use these taxis everyday for picking up guests from airports and also taking them around the city. The drivers are carefully vetted and their job is at risk if they do not perform according to the hotel standards. You should always check with the hotel if you are unsure about how safe their taxis are and how long they have been using them for.

Walking

walking-in-kampala-getting-around-the-city

Sometimes the easiest way of getting around the city is by foot. You may reach your destination faster than taking a cab.

Before you book a hotel, it’s a good idea to check where you intend to spend most of your time while in Kampala. You can then book a hotel that’s close by.

However, please refrain from walking by yourself during the quiet hours of the night and keep an eye on your bags and pockets at all times as there are many pickpockets lurking around Kampala city.

Depending on where you stay in Kampala city, you may also get a lot of attention from by-standers, especially if you’re female and have a lighter skin tone. If you do not like being stared at, best not to walk.

Getting around Kampala city

There you have it. 6 ways in which you can get around Kampala city. Yes, we are aware this article sounds so dire and down-putting but we are only telling you as it is. Best to know what to expect and be prepared. Once you are in Kampala city and have tried the various modes of transportation, you’ll know what you are comfortable with.

Apart from the Kampala traffic, everything else about Kampala is amazing 🙂

If you stay at our hotel and would like to try various modes of transportation, feel free to ask our receptionists what the costs will be based on how you’ll be travelling and where you will be going. Our staff live locally and have a good idea of the fare you should be charged, making you better equipped to negotiate a fair price!

Happy travels!