Landmarks in Kampala

Crested Towers

Newcomers to Kampala spend most of their time lost. I sure did. There doesn’t seem to be a straight road in the city. The best way to start building your mental map is with some good landmarks. Bodo boda and taxi drivers will know all of these places so they make good reference points… if you can make it to a landmark that’s near to where you want to go, hopefully you’ll be able to figure out the rest!

Central Kampala

  • Crested Towers – This pair of big, blue-facaded buildings are one of Kampala’s most unmistakable landmarks. They sit near Garden City and Parliament, across the street from the Serena Hotel, and striking distance to downtown, Nakasero Hill, and Kololo.
  • Garden City – Not just a landmark, but a regular destination for many people, this was Kampala’s first enclosed mall. Now it competes with Oasis mall right next door and a handful of others.
  • Parliament – The big tower on Uganda’s Parliament building makes it recognizable from a distance. It is fittingly situated on Parliament Avenue, which intersects Kampala Road at Nando’s.
  • Nando’s – Once an oasis of western-ish food, Nando’s is no longer so unique in its offerings, but its location on the corner of Kampala Road and Parliament Avenue makes it a great reference point.
  • The Gaddafi Mosque – This beautiful place of worship towers over Old Kampala and can be seen from many parts of downtown.
  • Old Taxi Park – Not easy to see from a distance, but its location in the heart of downtown Kampala and its importance in getting around the city cheaply make it a great place to know.
  • Clock Tower – Named just as it should be, this intersection has a huge clock tower. It connects Kampala/Entebbe Road with the road leading to Kibuli and Nsambya.

Northeast Kampala

  • Kabira Country Club – On Kira Road in Bukoto, this monolithic and exclusive club is on the way from Lugogo Bypass or Kololo to Ntinda.
  • Kisimenti Mall – Basically a big parking lot surrounded by supermarkets, bars and Restaurants, Kismenti sits at the foot of Kololo hill near Kira Road.
  • Lugogo Mall and Forest Mall – Home to stores like Game and Shoprite, and branches of most of the major banks, these outdoor malls sit on the corner of Jinja Road and Lugogo Bypass.

Southeast Kampala

  • US Embassy – Situated on the far edge of Nsambya from town on Gaba Road, this fortress of Marines and lawns means you’re almost to Kabalagala, Muyenga, and Kansanga.
  • Italian Supermarket – Driving up from Kabalagala to Muyenga, you’ll see the Italian Supermarket on the top of the hill. From here you’re only a short hop from the International Hospital or Little Donkey Mexican restaurant. Curve right around the supermarket and you’ll be headed into Muyenga proper.

East Kampala

  • Industrial Area – This Dickensian district of warehouses sits between Town, Bugolobi and Namuwongo along Old Port Bell Road.
  • Bugolobi Shell – On the leading edge of Bugolobi along Old Port Bell Road, this well-known petrol station sits across from Jazz Supermarket and Hotel Le Bouganviller, and next to a charming Italian restaurant.
  • Makerere University Business School (MUBS) – Pronounced ‘moobs’, MUBS is just off of Jinja Road in Nakawa, near Lugogo, Bugolobi, and Naguru.
  • Spear Motors – A showroom for Mercedes and other high-end motor brands, this prominent landmark’s intersection on Jinja Road is about halfway between town and Kireka, with one road acting as a main thoroughfare into Ntinda.
  • Namboole Stadium – The center of Ugandan professional sports, this stadium sits on Jinja Road between Kireka and Bweogerere (which I challenge you to pronounce out loud). You’ll pass it on your way to Mukono or Jinja.
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About James

I'm a writer and a founder of Ember Arts, a company that uses craft jewelry as a front for helping women achieve their dreams. I've been in and out of Kampala since 2006 and just can't get enough of the Indian food. Could do without the traffic, though. Contact me at james@livinginkampala.com.