10 Reasons Why Kampala Is the Best East African City to Work and Live In
Yeah, I said it, Kampala beats any other East African capital for the best place to live and work. The appeal may not be immediately obvious. It is not as clean as Kigali, or by the cerulean Indian Ocean like Dar, or as globalized as Nairobi, but let’s be real: Kigali is way too restrained, living next to the ocean means extreme humidity, and globalization homogenizes us all (one mall looks just like the next).
Here are 10 reasons Kampala is a superior place to make a life as a young professional.
Ugandans love strangers. Many of us are naturally curious and relish the opportunity to show you the best of our country. We fell in love with Kampala, why wouldn’t you? Prepare to be greeted enthusiastically, asked into people’s homes, and invited out for drinks.
It’s no wonder that Uganda is the most diverse nation in the world. Home to more than 40 ethnic groups, we also host citizens of every nation, whether expatriate, immigrant, or refugee. In spite of this, or more accurately, because of this, we all generally manage to get along.
One benefit of the wide range of nationalities and ethnic groups that call Kampala home is the vast selection of eating experiences on offer: luwombo, bibimpap, jollof rice, “rolex”, spicy tuna rolls, poutine, katogo, bratwurst, boo, halloumi, chapatti, and shawarmas, just to name a few.
If it is eaten within the four corners of the world map, you can probably find it in Kampala. We may not have the greatest customer service, but we cannot be beat for the sheer variety of foods proffered in this cosmopolitan city.
Like most East African capitals, Kampala has a growing traffic problem. Streets are narrow, and cars compete with boda bodas, taxis (matatus), cyclists, and pedestrians for space. Luckily, Kampala is a fairly compact capital, so your meetings are likely to take place within a 3-kilometer radius, and if you’re running a little late, grab a helmet and jump on a boda.
The Weekend Getaways
When you need to escape the hustle and hassle of the city, Uganda is your oyster. White-water rafting, camping, game drives, beach hotels, hiking and climbing, and bungee jumping are all just a few hours from the capital.
Does the pile of paper on your desk seem too much to tackle? Set up your out-of-office email auto-response and take a weekend off to explore this beautiful country.
If you cannot afford a whole weekend, take an afternoon to see for yourself why Kampala is called the City of Seven Hills. Naguru, Kololo, Buziga, and Mengo hills all offer incredible views.
Taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture can clear your head and get you ready for that big project or looming deadline.
Kampala’s arts scene is only just getting its legs, which is what makes it great. Poetry nights, arts festivals, and live music events are popping up all over town. The arts calendar is full every day of the week and every month of the year if you are willing to look, listen, discover, and participate.
Bayimba International Festival of the Arts is the highlight of the year, with musicians from all over the continent and diaspora performing over three days for less than a dollar a ticket. The LaBa! Arts Festival, DOADOA arts market, and 32 East are other spaces worth experiencing.
Kampala is one of the safest cities in Africa. It doesn’t have the frightening reputation that plagues urban areas like Johannesburg and Nairobi. If you are tired of watching your back and clutching your purse, this might be the city for you.
We are most famous for our nightlife. Thanks to the security and people who know how to enjoy life, Kampala’s bars and clubs are open from Sunday to Sunday until long after sunset. There’s always a party to go to, a barbecue to attend, or a new club opening to get our dance on.
Azonto and Ndombolo the night away in Kisementi or Kabalagala, or get to know the locals at your neighbourhood kafunda. Then get a rolex (an omelette rolled in a chapatti) at 3 a.m. on your way home.