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Shopping in Uganda


Shopping in Uganda can be a confusing, even unnerving, experience for someone new to the task. You expect some of the products on display to vary from those at home, and to find vegetables and fruits that you can't name, but the way you shop will probably be a new experience too.

Shops in much of Africa come in two basic varieties. Firstly there are those which you are probably familiar; medium and large department stores and supermarkets that have clearly marked, non-negotiable prices on the goods they sell. Large settlements like Kampala have this type of shop where negotiating a price is neither required nor expected. Secondly, and far more common, are the smaller rural stalls and family shops where nothing has a name or price marked on it and you are expected to negotiate a price, or haggle until you and the shopkeeper arrive at a price that suits you both. It's a little like a cross between a good humoured argument and an acting class.

Purchases include bangles, necklaces and bracelets, woodcarvings, basketry, tea, coffee and ceramics.

The range of goods available in Kampala has to be the widest on offer in Uganda so if you need anything specialist or luxury its always best to purchase it whilst in Kampala rather than hope to find it elsewhere.

Shopping hours are 8 am-5 pm, Monday to Saturday; some shops may close earlier on Saturdays.


In Kampala, you have an interesting mix of old and new, African and Western, sophisticated and basic when it comes to shopping. In parts of the city there are markets that look as if they've not changed in 200 years, yet a few minutes away you can find a towering office block and a shopping complex offering designer labels and high tech computing equipment.

Nakasero market is located in the city centre and this where you get quality fresh foodstuffs. The parking there is tricky and the market it is prone to thugs. Like Nakasero market, St Balikudembe market (formerly Owino Market) is a downtown shopping centre that deals in almost all local foodstuffs, and used (second-hand) goods. This is the biggest market in the East African region and harbours over 55,000 people.

If you're in the market for souvenirs, check out the craft market on Buganda Road or the slightly larger crafts market behind the national theatre, near Garden City. Across the street from the craft market, you will find a number of tailors if you are looking to have clothes sewn.

There are a number of shopping malls in Kampala that offer cheap and affordable shopping options. Most of these malls are easily accessible even using public means of transport. There are also a number of Supermarkets in the City suburbs like Wandegeya, Ntinda, Kabalagala and Bugolobi.

Garden City, located at Yusuf Lule Road, is Kampala's upscale mall. Garden City can be a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of the centre of Kampala. Nakumat Oasis, which is next to Garden City, is a bit more upmarket.

Western-style supermarkets include Shoprite, Uchumi (at Garden City) and Nakumat. Shoprite is part of the chain of the South Africa Shoprite shopping malls and has two branches – Clock Tower and Jinja Road. Both branches offer services ranging from banking, telephony, restaurants, internet cafés, fresh food and groceries.

Next door to the Shoprite is is another huge modern shop called Game which sells DIY stuff, camping chairs, torches, batteries etc. There is also a chicken and chips café, a souvenir shop, a couple of banks, a phone shop, etc.

Pioneer Mall makes is located in the city centre and offer a wide variety of goods, ranging from clothes to jewellery and shoes, phone shops and restaurants. It opens everyday from 8 am to 8 pm.





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