Babies and Kampala

Babies and Kampala

Some of us arrive in Kampala footloose and fancy free. We breeze through customs, take our taxi, and then boda around the city with reckless abandon. Then there are those of us that come with children. Arrival is a bustle of wet wipes, after-flight snacks, car seats, and taxis. There will be prayers to the nap-god that the children will simply fall asleep during the drive into town, and then, once you settle in Kampala, there’s the arrangement of a safe and reliable car to shuttle the kids around town in. It is complicated and often frustrating to find even the most basic information out there. So for those of you who have just arrived with precious cargo, this one’s for you.

Of course, how you get through your arrival will depend on the age of your children and the equipment you’re willing to bring. If you have older children who don’t need a car seat, it’s important you double check the taxi to make sure it has working seatbelts, as there’s about a 50/50 shot it will not. Make sure you get this out of the way before you start negotiating a price.

If you are arriving with a child in need of a car seat, it’s a good idea to arrange for this before the flight. You can always arrive with one, although they are bulky and difficult to travel with. Or if you’ve lived in Kampala before or have contacts here, ask them procure a car seat for you pre-flight, and have a pre-arraigned taxi driver bring it in their car when they pick you up. Car Seats for children and infants are available at Game, Capital Shoppers in Ntinda, Mothercare at Garden City, and Shoprite. If you haven’t lived here before, have zero contacts, and a car seat is non-negotiable, it’s best to call a special hire from some of the more expensive hotels and make a special arrangement with them.

So now you’ve gotten into Kampala and to your new home, now comes transportation. For a safe and reliable car to get around town in, there are a number of car bonds and dealerships you can visit (many on Kampala-Jinja Rd). Bonds will have used cars from abroad, so you will be the first owner in Uganda. Of course at dealerships you will have a choice between brand new cars and used models. Another option is to visit the expat forums (like ours!) in Uganda where departing expats often sell their vehicles for reasonable rates.

As for all that special baby equipment you’ll need, Kampala has a number of options for you. For basics like cribs, changing tables, and high chairs, there are a ton of options at the furniture shops on Ggaba Road, and the price there is negotiable. These are also sold at some of the larger name brand stores, but bear in mind you’ll be shelving out top dollar for them.

Other infant-to-child basics are readily available around most of Kampala. Bottles and formula can be found at most Nakumatt stores, Game, Shoprite, and Capital Shoppers. Bouncy chairs and games to keep your child entertained are also at Game and Shoprite, although be aware it comes with a cost. Because of this, it’s best to ask expat forums on Facebook to see if any families are selling off their old baby possessions.

For older children, you’ll likely be looking to enroll them in school. Kampala offers a couple of schools that are up to international standards. ISU and KISU are some of the more popular choices for expat parents. However, these can be fairly expensive. Rainbow International School and Heritage International School are also highly recommended, although it should be known that Heritage has a particularly Christian emphasis.

Then of course there is finding healthcare for your child in Kampala. If this is your first time in Africa, Uganda can seem like a pretty scary place healthwise. We have ebola outbreaks, typhus outbreaks, and malaria. However, living in the city of Kampala, health concerns tend to be fairly upfront and basic. Still, it’s always important to find a good pediatrician. A few come highly recommended. There is a child’s doctor at The Surgery, which is one of the premier clinics around Kampala with western-trained doctors. There is also the The Children’s Clinic with one of the top pediatricians in the country; also notable is Princeton Children’s Clinic in Kololo.

For children’s clubs and programs there are also a few fun groups around Kampala. Tots and Art Uganda involves classes in a number of art forms for children under 12 years old. UG Sandbox is also a great page for connecting with other parents and sharing noteworthy information about raising kids in the city. And if you’re into ballet, Kampala also offers a ballet and modern dance school for your child.

For older kids who need to get out of the house and burn off some extra energy, tennis lessons for kids and other sports programs exist at Makindye Country Club, Munyonyo Resort, and the Lugogo Tennis Complex. Here they can play fooball, take swimming lessons, and interact with children from around the city. Time2Play is also a well known facility where younger kids get a lovely mix of education and playtime on equipment that rivals most playgrounds back home. And for a handy guide to children’s play areas in Kampala, check out our article: Kid’s Day Out in Kampala.

Navigating certain aspects of life with children will always be a challenge. Moving to a new city is hard enough, but you’re likely moving to a new country, and new continent, so no doubt unique obstacles will arise. However, Kampala is a very child-friendly city with a lot of really great programs. With a little bit of help from your fellow parents, and a little bit of information from us, we can make the transition as smooth as possible.

Parenting Groups & Clubs

UG Sandbox:
Tots and Art:
Kampala Ballet and Modern Dance School:

International School

Rainbow International School:
Heritage International School:


The Children’s Clinic (Dr. Kasirye): +256 41 34535/ +256 31 264953, Plot 40 Kyadondo Road, Kampala
Princeton Children’s Clinic: 25641 453 0704
The Surgery:

About Lizabeth Paulat

Hi, I’m Lizabeth, a freelance writer whose been stomping around Kampala for the better part of two years. I came here while pursuing a story and decided never to leave. I’m originally from Seattle and have found refuge in both the sun and the culture of Kampalans (plus I still get the rain when I’m feeling homesick).I’m always trying to unearth new and interesting stories about Kampala’s culture and development and am so exited to have an amazing platform to explore the city with. I hope to bring a bit of know-how and a bit of fun to Living in Kampala. Feel free to contact me any time at