March 7, 2015

WELCOME TO "KAMPALA" THE CITY OF THE GREAT LAKES REGION OF EAST AFRICA



“Ekibuga”, so it goes in local lingua franca , visitors over time have  coined it the city of seven hills but a more befitting terminology should just go by the city of the plantain, it’s a centuries old tradition to indulge in “Matooke” consumption which almost everybody here irrespective of origin seem to enjoy. The delicacy is non-other than green plantain usually steamed and served with all kinds of stew.
During day it’s bustling with human activity but as night falls so does it gradually grind to a trickle ultimately to a halt in the central business district.


You need to hire a special ride from one of the city’s best guides to help you go places and to maximize the city tour. Their fleets are modern and air-conditioned although one pays a premium.
For first comers, it’s the spectacle of the famous omnibuses (kamunye) snaking out of town in an unbreakable metallic chain, traffic can be punishingly slow; only to be interrupted by several taxi commuters bumping into another.
One such incident will suck in several hot headed commuter drivers; it spells doom, for them it’s the last major attempt to pocket as much dime before the day dies down.The notoriety of this time is that, not any form of authority save for a few self-made traffic guides;they are at times diminished to a mere struggle to control the marauding army of drivers.

THINGS TO DO
This city is a beehive of activity, there are thousands of years in history to tread way back in time for both first comers and locals alike. A jagged skyline with no form regulation in building styles, just telling from the architectural designs. The post office building which dons colonial style impressions lies at the epicenter of Kampala. This city is awash with avenues and streets that lead to nowhere and as such, you may call it a closed city.
To experience the spirit of the city one has got to do what kamapalans do best, walk. It’s the remarkably oriental style beautiful Christ the King church built by departing Christian Indians that landmark the city. Monumental just is a stone’s throw away is the newly constructed twin tower housing the president’s office.
Northward about two kilometers is the once spectacular Mulago hospital, this was once the most modern and huge medical establishment in eastern Africa; it’s been reduced to a high rise medical establishment devoid of esteem as in the old days. It’s been rumored to have been an architectural feat at the time in newly independent Uganda.
The only publicly known Uganda museum whose collection is among the most diverse in Uganda lies a paltry seven hundred meters from Mulago, you will witness the diversity of this country, with its tribal heart as well as wide range of instruments of sorts.
One kilometer off the Mengo road is the magnificent Old Kampala mosque; its domes can be seen far and wide in Kampala’s east side.
Just within six minutes’commuter ride westward from city center; you will be ushered into the heartland of medieval kingdom Buganda. A radius spanning two square miles lies relics of all the years of history some of which is buried beyond our eyes.There is a mix of modern and historical monuments dotting this area. The “amasiro” newly burnt down but being reconstructed burial grounds of Buganda kings (a UNICEF heritage site). It’s a must see while in Kampala.
 In the same perimeter area is the Namirembe cathedral seat of protestant church, Rubaga cathedral seat of Roman Catholic Church in Uganda, the Bulange building seating both administration and legislative bodies of the Buganda kingdom.
The colonial architecture Bulange building
A famous avenue lined by trees “kabaka anjagala” will lead you to the original royal palace enclosed in a perimeter walled fence. This piece of history was last inhabited by the King in 1966.
Atop a continuous hill range northwest of Kampala is Makerere University coined “ivory tower”, it’s the center of academic excellence as it has been for the last 60 years or so, a mix of sprawling aged student’s residential hall and faculty buildings. It’s however well-kept heavily forested making it a plush green, a real pinnacle of creative thinking
SHOPPING
If you are one of those career shoppers, high end, middle class neighborhood shopping is all around. From oriental clothing lines to European bureaucratic linens, the city is ready for shoppers. Multi storeyed shopping malls packed with shops selling all sorts of imported textiles and heelers are commonplace here.
Kampala has metamorphosed into a shopping hub of the region, supermarket to neighboring countries .You are sure to find it teaming with Sudanese, Congolese, Rwandese, Tanzanians, Kenyans among others doing all aura of shopping to take home.
THE GARDEN CITY is the ultra-modern mall with world class theatre, plentifully supplied with trendy restaurants and awash with hair and clothing boutiques. Tel 0006715
NAKUMATT OASIS, is just adjacent, it’s well-endowed with banks and eating houses and book stores Tel 000681
THE ACACIA MALL, Very upmarket and located in Kisementi’s rich neighborhoods, Tel 0006742.

This country littered with rough roads, it’s not alien to discover a huge pothole in the epicenter of upmarket Kampala, the scene replicates as one navigates into the deeper country side. An army of refurbished automobiles usually imported from Japan and to lesser extent Dubai is the most affordable to folks here.
Continued breakdown and energy inefficiency characterizes Uganda’s’ fleet, to remedy for much of the hassle in their operation is the sizable number of back door auto repair workshops; these enlist a huge number of unemployed youth usually using crude methods to mend cars. Usually paid paltry sums by their bosses to tinker and mend these metallic pieces.
One might make up that Kampala is home to old fashioned Japanese car brands, no; there are lots of brand new machines. You will enjoy energy efficiency and realize a huge reduction in driving costs. Energy here costs a fortune. The trick should be avoid visiting backyard car repair workshops as well putting to rest nagging hefty energy costs by  finding a brand new name in town.
Kampala is the frontier to many inland journeys by international agencies.To extend their services to Democratic republic of Congo, South Sudan and rural Uganda .An ardent supporter of your hectic journeys will surely be this ISUZU D-MAX 4X4  machine, i have experienced firsthand.
It’s not the preserve of the rich and the informed public or those who have an instinct for value of their money; it’s a necessity for long distance travel that characterizes NGO and Government official travel arrangements.

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