24 Hours in Kampala
A one-day guide to Uganda's vibrant capital city
Uganda’s capital city is a busy, bustling city that borders the majestic Lake Victoria (the largest lake in Africa). Tourists to Uganda often focus on visiting wildlife and ecotourism destinations, but Kampala offers a range of artistic, cultural and culinary discoveries as well, many of which can be visited in one day. 8:00 a.m. Start your day with breakfast, a strong cup of premium Ugandan coffee and a glass of freshly-squeezed juice at Endiro Coffee. Despite its location in the busy Kisementi shopping district, this charming café boasts al fresco seating surrounded by lush foliage that blocks out the rush of the city. Try “The Local” breakfast platter, which features savory chicken or pork skewers, fried sweet potatoes and chapatis (Indian flatbread). 10:00 a.m. As an alternative to traditional city tours, several local tour operators offer boda boda tours, aboard the city’s ubiquitous motorcycle taxis. Not only are these bikes more agile than traveling in a car, the tours can also be customized to specific interests. Sites to visit include Mengo Palace the traditional seat of the kingdom of Buganda, which was built in 1884, the
National Theatre and the Rubaga Cathedral, where many of Kampala’s Catholics worship.
Most boda boda tours will include lunch, so plan ahead and end your tour with a sumptuous meal at Fez Brasserie, an international restaurant on the grounds of the Emin Pasha
hotel. Try the pickled tilapia starter or chilled avocado soup, followed by grilled beef steak or roasted lamb. After lunch, take a relaxing walk through the leafy hotel gardens. 2:00 p.m. Use a ride-sharing app or take a taxi to visit the Social Innovation Museum in Mpigi Town, about an hour outside of the city. This unique facility is operated by the Social Innovation Academy, an NGO dedicated to helping underprivileged young people attain job skills and
create small enterprises. A large focus of the organization is recycling, and a variety of “upcycled” projects can be viewed on site — including homes with walls constructed partially from plastic bottles and tile flooring material made from egg shells. The facility’s staff brim
with creative ideas and inspiring stories about how innovation can be harnessed
for social change. 5:00 p.m. Ride back to the city and head to Bukoto Street for some shopping.
Adjacent to the Kampala outpost of Alliance Francaise sit a handful of shops featuring local design: Kampala Fair sells dresses and home decor items made from locally-sourced fabrics with colorful patterns; Good Glass recycles glass bottles and other materials to create beautiful lamps, candle holders and chandeliers; and Kona sells brightly colored accessories, including bags and jewelry, inspired by Ugandan and Indian design traditions.
After shopping, treat yourself to an authentic Indian dinner and a picturesque garden setting at Khana Khazana. With authentic decor and a very extensive menu featuring the flavors of northern India’s Rajasthan state, this popular restaurant presents the perfect place to enjoy a relaxed dining experience. Take a table in the large outdoor seating area and try some dishes that make use of local ingredients, such as the coconut fish, made with tilapia from nearby Lake Victoria.
After dinner, catch a live yet intimate music performance at Sofar Sounds Kampala. Sofar is a unique concert concept, featuring secret live events held in alternative spaces — including private homes — around the world. Sofar Kampala shows put local singer-songwriters or instrumentalists at center stage, but the nature of the performance and the exact location are kept secret until the day before the event. Tickets are given out lottery style, so check the website (sofarsounds. com/kampala) well before your trip to secure admission.
Try to get to bed at a decent hour (as the morning ride to Entebbe Airport can take quite some time). Use the drive to the airport to take in some last sights and reflect on the colorful, creative capital that is Kampala.