Exercising in Kampala

Exercise in Kampala

One of the keys to staying healthy and happy wherever you are is staying physically fit. And though exercise in Kampala can seem daunting with all the congestion and smog, if you dig a little deeper you’ll find as much physical challenge as you can handle.


Gym rats can find everything their bulging heart muscles desire in Kampala, from machines and free weights to spinning and kickboxing classes. There are even facilities for yoga lovers, pilates practitioners, and martial artists. For the best in town, pay your way into Kabira Country Club in Bukoto or Serena Hotel near Parliament. For the more budget conscious, look into Royal Suites in Bugolobi, Fairway Hotel at the Kololo/Nakasero roundabout, and R & M Fitness in Kansanga. For a nice Saturday splurge, head out to Speke Resort Munyonyo for the Olympic-size pool and well-appointed gym. And for yoga, pilates, and other alternative forms of exercise drop by the Acacia Avenue Wellbeing Center in Kololo.

Walking the Hills

Long ago Kampala was nicknamed the City of Seven Hills. These days the Kampala metro area includes closer to 20. Most people can’t walk to the market without at least a couple hundred feet in elevation change. For those looking to burn some calories, there’s nothing better than a long walk or run up and down some of Kampala’s ubiquitous slopes to get your heart and lungs pumping, especially considering Kampala’s elevation of almost 1,200m (4,000ft)! Kololo, with its relatively light traffic and winding, hilly streets, is perfect for an evening workout. Just keep your eyes open for stray bodas and holes in the sidewalk, be careful about staying out after dark, and have fun exploring.


There are groups, clubs, and regular pick-up games for almost any sport in Kampala, (except maybe baseball). Football (soccer), basketball, and volleyball are especially popular, but you can find your niche in just about anything. Hang around the Makerere Business School fields in Nakawa or the Makerere main campus in Wandegeya to find other players, get plugged in, and start playing!


From basketballs and tennis rackets to home fitness equipment, you can find most everything you need to stay in shape in Kampala. Check out Asiatic Sports near Kisimenti, Game in Lugogo Mall, and Nakumat in Oasis Mall for a good selection of home fitness equipment. And of course, there is always the magical mystery of Owino market downtown, where you can always find everything you never needed. Equipment is generally pretty expensive in Kampala, so don’t hesitate to get creative!


If you’re looking to work out with some buddies, we’ve done a series about exercise classes in Kampala.


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.