36 Hours in Kampala

"Welcome to K'la City...where the food is delicious but the roads are shitty."
- Ugandan Hip Hop Proverb

The New York Times Travel section runs an occasional series on what to do with 36 hours in a city of their choosing. They forgot to cover Kampala, so I did.

2PM Bribe a fisherman at Munyonyo Fish Market
Lake Victoria is a defining feature of the region and an absolutely stunning site. What better way to experience the lake than on a fairly unreliable, hollowed out log that smells like Nile Perch? For $4 per day you can bribe a fisherman for his boat. Within 500 meters of shore there is an uninhabited island.

7PM Rehobot Ethiopian Restaurant
The best restaurant in Kampala is a hole in the wall Ethiopian place on Kabalagala Road called Rehobot. The restaurant is operated by the charming and lovely Momma and her daughter Tashfanish (Hope in Amharic). Go to Rehobot for the delicious, bountiful portions of vegetarian and meat dishes for under $2, and stay for the conversation with Ethiopian exiled journalists who sit around all afternoon chewing khat across the street.

10PM Evening in Kabalagala
Kabalagala is the Vegas of Uganda. Lively and low cost, with bars, restaurants and shops with influence from all over east and central Africa, all within a few blocks. Brilliant for spit-roasted local chicken and football matches.

10AM Cafe Pap
Modernity personified. Operated by the spiffy director of the Uganda Coffee Marketing Board, Pap has flat screens, wireless and a delicious buzz.

12PM Old Taxi Park
Some compare it to the gates of hell. Others find a subtle beauty in the collective sulfur belches of several hundred ill-repaired mini bus taxis crammed into a small, crater-like hole in the middle of Kampala. Read Moses Isegawa's Abbysinian Chronicles for a elegant description that is matched only by seeing the Park in person at high noon.

1PM Pilau place in Wandegeya- Makerere University
Eating Pilau makes me think of Zanzibar and the Swahili Coast. For $1, you can get a massive and delicious portion of this spicy rice dish in Wandegeya, the student hangout neighborhood near the entrance of Makerere University. Digest over a game of pool at Club Five on campus.

8PM Breakdance Uganda practice
Abramz Tekya, the founder of Breakdance Uganda is one of the most visionary and creative young Ugandans I have met. He managed to create a project that harnessed the power of breakdance to teach positive living and give kids in tough situations throughout the country an outlet for their art. Watch wild kids breakdance and connect with the local hip-hop scene.

10PM Mexican Food at Fat Boyz
Fat Boyz plays Reaggeaton music and serves Mexican food. Who can mess with that?

1AM Rouge
If you want to stay out until 6AM like the rest of Kampala's crazy kids, this nightclub is the spot. Hopefully they will have a website soon.

10AM Owino Market
Markets are where the action is in Kampala. Even though Owino is tame compared to the Old Taxi Park, you will still find your share of energetic hawkers selling everything from sandals to mangoes. Sunday is meat delivery day, so try to avoid getting sideswiped with a cow shank being unloaded off the back of a pickup truck. Make sure you try the fried grasshoppers; they taste like potato chips.

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  • Heh. Nice thingy, here. Very nice.
    I thought, from the title, that you were announcing that you were dropping in for the BHH for a while ... living life on the growling side, you know.

    I really like your descriptions. Really.

    By Blogger The 27th Comrade, at 2:36 AM  

  • very, very nice. only you forgot steak sandwiches

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:54 AM  

  • Be honest about Kabalagala.You have deliberately left out the many Americans and Europeans who have divorced their wives back home,and decided to spend their pensions on former prostitutes,they conveniently call "wives" ouch ouch

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:15 PM  

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