Life in Uganda: What We Love – and Hate

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Life in Uganda can be joyful and annoying in equal measure. But, at least, it’s never boring.

Perhaps this explains why, with more than one million international travellers visiting Uganda every year, this landlocked East African country’s inbound tourism is on the rise.

Its unique attractions aside, Uganda is also favoured for its unrivaled social life – the main reason the capital Kampala has been christened East Africa’s entertainment capital.

Let’s take a look at what makes life in Uganda tick – and some aspects of the country that make us frown.

Friendliness

Ugandans are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet – friendliness that is perhaps borne out of the country’s multi-cultural nature. With more than 50 native tribes, Ugandans are used to interacting with people from different cultural, social and economic backgrounds. It’s little wonder that many foreigners come to Uganda as tourists and end up making the country their home.

Social life

Ugandans are a social bunch. In this country, every time is party time! It’s not surprising to find several hangouts filled up Monday to Sunday with several revellers partying the night away. For entertainers, Uganda is a gold mine because they have work every single day of the week!

Unique attractions

Like Winston Churchill put it, Uganda is truly the Pearl of Africa! This is a country that offers visitors adrenaline-filled experiences such as canoeing past the crocodiles on River Nile (the world’s longest river which also has its source in Uganda), gorilla trekking in the thick jungles of Bwindi Forest, birdwatching in Mabira Forest, sightings of the African Big Five in the country’s national parks, hiking one of the continent’s highest mountain peaks (Ruwenzori), exploring the country’s unique cultures – the list goes on and on.

Beach life

The southern part of the country nestles on the shores of Lake Victoria – the world’s second biggest fresh water lake – which makes several Ugandan towns such as Entebbe, Masaka, Kampala, Mukono, Wakiso and Jinja offer great beach life. The most popular beaches can be found in Kampala and Entebbe, but the unspoilt ones can only be found in other towns.

Affordable cost of living

Kampala is ranked the best and cheapest city in East Africa due to low rent prices and abundance of all varieties of food. In fact, $500 is enough for one to live a decent life in Uganda’s capital.

WE HATE

Insecurity

Much as Uganda is relatively safe, especially compared to most countries in the Great Lakes region, it’s common for street thieves to snap up your phone or bag in daylight and disappear with the speed of lightning. Burglary is also common in most parts of Uganda, especially in Kampala and neighbouring towns that are home to many jobless youths. But the good news is that Uganda’s thieves are usually unarmed and they always try to avoid violence, so at least your life is safe.

Ugandans’ negative vibe about their country

It’s quite surprising that for a country that is one of the most loved by foreigners, many Ugandans actually think that they live in hell! It’s just a few of them, especially those that are well travelled, who appreciate the natural beauty, economic freedom, political freedom (even though not at the most fundamental level), the fabulous weather, friendliness of the locals, social freedom and the affordable cost of living the country offers.

Litter everywhere

Littering is one of the things Ugandans are good at, which makes Kampala a robust contender for the Dirtiest City in Africa accolade.

Disorderliness

Disorderliness seems to be the order of the day. It’s one of the reasons Kampala’s traffic jam is unbearable, especially for someone who is coming from more orderly cities such as Kigali. Motorists have complete disregard for traffic rules and traffic police also seems to be overwhelmed.

But despite all of Uganda’s shortcomings, the country remains one of the most livable in Africa.

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