More thrills from Uganda
After two days of nonstop amazing adventures in Jinja, east of Uganda, it was time to finally experience Kampala! Kampala is the major city hub of Uganda, just like Lagos is to Nigeria. I have travelled to many places around the world and very few places can compete with Lagos when it comes to traffic but Kampala, almost took the cake.
A drive that should have taken us two hours ended up taking about five hours. I had not booked hotels prior to coming and I thought I could just wing it by hopping around to compare different hotels within the downtown neighbourhood while also looking at what online deals were possible. This, was a terrible plan.
On route to finding a hotel with good enough amenities, we drove by a back-packers hostel called The Fat Cat. Immediately, I knew it was where I needed to stay for my three nights in Kampala. On checking in, I met a slew of other travellers from around the world, ate dinner made from scratch by my new friends, and soaked in their colourful stories of their Kampala experiences.
I have compiled a few tips from my experience.
Tip #1: Hostels are awesome most especially for solo travellers. There are loads of online reviews to let you know of the clean, friendly ones in good location and I tend to prefer hostels in larger bustling cities like Kampala. It can get a bit boring when traveling solo, most especially in a bustling city.
Tip #2: Avoid riding a Boda Boda (okada/local bike transport) at night. And if you really have to, make sure you ride through very busy neighbourhoods. Many of the people I spoke to had way too many misadventures of riding the Boda Bodas. Luckily, Uber recently started working in Kampala and many now rely on them for safer transportation.
My time in Kampala was more so on a slower pace of travel, the wedding I flew in for was fast approaching and many of my friends were in the country, so let’s just say that I got a wee bit distracted by hanging out with friends while eating so many variations of the local food.
Tip #3: For those who have enjoyed the amazing ways South Africans prepare their meat dishes, you need to try out Ugandan skewered pork and goat! Coal-roasted dishes tend to be a bit on the dry side with way too much char for flavour. In this case, there was just enough char to balance out the natural sweetness of the tender coal-roasted pork. It was such a blessing to experience.
Tip #4: The food in Uganda is not peppery in any way, so Nigerians that love pepper, definitely carry a small bottle of pepper sauce as a travel companion. Oddly enough, I found the balance of flavours just right for me. Also, instead of just eating rice as a side to your saucy dish, many restaurants serve smaller portions of all the side dishes on one plate for the same price.
I also squeezed in some site-seeing activities while in Kampala; I dressed like a Muslim while visiting the Gaddafi Mosque, shopped in their artisanal market, and attempted to get a glimpse in to the Bahai temple but it was closed for renovations. I highly recommend visiting the mosque to any visitor, that was a major highlight for me. A lot of the items in the artisanal market come from Kenya, so proceed with caution and haggle away.
The most spectacular experience for me in Uganda was surprisingly the engagement party in Kampala’s Ndere cultural centre. There are not enough words I can use to describe the amazing sounds from the Burundi drums welcoming us into the engagement halls. From the high jumps, to the colourful dance, to the beautiful music, every one of us that flew in for the wedding felt most welcomed and in awe of the amazing cultural display.
To properly experience east of Uganda through my eyes, visit my travel channel, https://www.youtube.com/ZeeGoes I reckon that you would fall in love with Uganda just like I did.
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