It kind of just hit me. As I was cruising on the back of a Boda taking me back to my hostel I realized that I love this city. Maybe it’s the fact that the majority of people are more than happy to help you in any way, give you directions or even bargain for transport, or the fact the Boda drivers actually charge you the fair price, or the fact that its home to my favourite hostel, the Red Chilli Hideaway. Sure it’s a bit of a muzungu fest but the locals working here always elicit a laugh, and the atmosphere makes you want to stay for weeks.
The whole compound contains dorms, cottages, private rooms, and of course camping anywhere you can pitch a tent (my choice of accommodation). The main lobby has a small, undersized, but nonetheless fun pool table, free wi-fi, homemade stone oven pizza, and of course a large supply of Tusker. Although if you’re traveling by road from Kenya or Rwanda you’re in for a long bumpy overnight bus, the sleepless neck strained night is worth the time you’ll have here. Did I mention that monkeys hang about in the trees overhead and will hop down onto picnic tables to retrieve forgotten lens caps.
It’s fairly popular, creating a diverse array of travelers making the trek all the way to Cape Town, planning to climb Kilimanjaro, or like myself, traveling through East Africa. There’s even a few brave ones who purchase a dirt bike an attempt the drive through East Africa.
Did I mention the food? Kampala is home to the Rolex. Yes, it is what you were thinking, a delicious omelet wrapped in the greasiest chapati they can find. It may slow your heart a little but is well worth it. Many restaurants offer a price per plate, and a plate is as much rice, beans, myotoke, peanut sauce, and sweet potato you can pile on it, and there’s plenty to go around.
Overall, the whole feel of Kampala is hard to pinpoint. Between the honest and hilarious locals, bustling streets, and amazing mytoke (banana stew) it’s just somewhere I feel at home.