Heading to East Africa's "green city in the sun"? Our Woman in Africa, Verity, has come up with the top spots, bites, and places to stay in Kampala, the gateway to Uganda's rolling hills.
For old-world charm stay at the Emin Pasha Hotel in Nakasero. Housed in a beautiful historical villa with lovely gardens, it's a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city.
Or, stay at the brand new and supremely swanky Latitude 0°. Perched on top of Makindye Hill, the hotel has been decked out with handwoven fabrics, warm brasses, and antique wooden doors from the East African coast. It has two excellent restaurants, a snazzy pool area and a roof bar with one of the best views in town, looking out over Lake Victoria.
If you're a When in Rome kind of traveller, you'll find your new threads in Kampala Fair, all made from colourful Kitenge fabric. Once you're dolled up, head round the corner to Good Glass for very jazzy products made out of recycled bottles, like lamps made out of old Amarula bottles. And for presents, homeware and local crafts, head to a Banana Boat shop. There are a few around town. And if you're peckish while you shop, Kardamom & Koffee sells beautiful homeware and wholesome nosh.
You obviously have to try Uganda's favourite snack, the Rolex (literally "rolled eggs"), an omelette wrapped in a chapati. Ugaroll at Kurb in Kisimenti is the place to go for a modern twist on this local staple. And beyond Ugandan street food, you're spoilt for choice: Pardis for tasty Middle Eastern food in a pretty garden; Izumi for modern pan-Asian cuisine and excellent cocktails; Khana Khazana for curry; Yamasen for Japanese in a phenomenal wooden and glass building; and Le Chateau Brasserie Belge on Ggaba Road for their monthly fancy brunches.
For your cultural fill, make sure you fit in a spot of afro-jazz at the Ndere Centre. If you need more, there are regular comedy, theatre, dance and music events at the National Theatre. Join one of Immersion UG's walking tours, food safaris and pub-crawls. Or explore Kampala's heritage buildings, including St Paul's Cathedral, using this brilliant app. And if you have time, get out of the city and escape to Jinja, a little gem of a town at the source of the Nile, only two hours' drive away from the hustle and bustle of Kampala. Go white water rafting, wander through its crumbly historical streets, or watch the birds on the banks of the Nile from the charming Kipling Lodge.
Kampala's traffic is notoriously bad. Beat the jams by taking a Boda Boda (motorcycle taxi). SafeBoda's drivers can be summoned using an app, have been trained, will give you a proper helmet and more importantly, a hairnet, so you can keep your cool and your coiff as you zoom around.
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