SHOPPING TOURS IN UGANDA
Today, almost all people on safari in Uganda both international and local consider shopping as another way of enjoying leisure. Below we have listed for you some of the places you can choose to shop from while in Uganda.
Shopping in Kampala
Kampala being the city center of the country has a number of places where visitors can go for shopping. Shopping is mainly done in supermarkets, shopping malls, local markets, arcades, crafts and souvenir markets/shops, coffee shops among others.
Local markets offer visitors a glimpse into the everyday life of Ugandans, it is a mesmerizing experience. The famous markets around Kampala include; Nakasero and Owino Markets. Nakasero market is enjoyable with visitors that don’t like congestion since it is a little more relaxed, you can buy fresh vegetables and fruits and also other things like shoes, textiles, clothes, electronics among others.
Whereas Owino market is Uganda’s busiest market with over 500,000 traders. It is also called St. Balikuddembe Market and it’s known for its hustle and an understandably chaotic environment with various products including second hand clothes, electronics, traditional medicine and brightly coloured East African Kitengi fabrics.
Visitors interested in buying crafts and souvenirs can visit the different craft markets or souvenir and craft stores around Kampala. But many people opt for Craft stores rather than craft markets because it is more relaxed and tranquil shopping in stores. Although to a larger extent, you may end up paying a lot than you would have spent at the craft market since there is no room for bargaining at the craft stores.
Exposure Africa is a craft market found in Kampala along Buganda Road next to Daisy’s Arcade, it is Kampala’s largest craft market with over 30 stalls and the sellers welcome you with smiling faces. Don’t forget to compare prices on similar items since different sellers price differently, this gives you room to bargain. Some of the items on display are made from Uganda however the biggest percentage of them is imported from Kenya.
Uganda Art and Craft Village is one of the oldest craft markets, it is located in Kampala near the Uganda National Theatre. It is made up of a number of craft shops and stalls that display their items at reasonable prices such as Ugandan dresses and shirts, handicrafts made from wood carvings, leather items, small tables and chairs that are usually carved with a wildlife scene.
In case you are around Kampala don’t miss out on the Friday Craft Market found along Ggaba Road in Nsambya. It takes place only on Fridays displaying handicrafts and other items. Here tourists have chance to directly get in touch with the Artisan themselves hence can easily bargain and get an item at a fair price since you are not dealing with resellers but the very people that made the items.
Visits another world of crafts called Craft Africa which is located along Buganda road in Kampala. This place offers exceptional souvenirs and other items from Uganda and Kenya such as bangles, Masai blankets, Kikuyu bags, wooden necklaces, batiks, coconut necklaces and ear rings, photo frames, African sandals, paintings, and Uganda crane jerseys.
A stop at any Banana Boat outlet around town is worth your time and money. There is a Banana Boat outlet at the Lugogo Mall, along Cooper Road Kisementi at Plot 23 and at the Garden City Mall. The shops sell better and beautiful crafts, art pieces, and African fabrics from Uganda and other African countries such as jewelry, carvings, batiks, greeting cards, metal art and many more. At these shops, you might end up buying items at a slightly higher price but you have a bigger setting if items to pick from.
For a tourist interested in Art, Nomo Gallery works for you, it is the country’s National Art Gallery with various aesthetic Art work from different artists both local and all around East Africa. It is located in Nakasero, on Plot 4 Victoria Avenue near Sheraton Hotel.
Most shopping around Kampala function more like Western malls and on various levels within the mall that offer different services such as cinema, gyms and spa, parking lot, restaurants, craft shops, perishable food items etc.
Some of these malls include; Acacia Mall at Kisementi Kololo, Pioneer Mall, Metroplex shopping mall in Nalya, Quality Shoping Village in Lubowa about 2km Kampala-Entebbe Highway, Mukwano Mall near New taxi park, Lugogo Shopping Mall, Freedom City in Namasuba along Kampala-Entebbe highway, the Garden City Mall along Yusuf Lule Road and many more.
Shopping in Entebbe
Entebbe town is located in Wakiso district on the northern peninsular of Lake Victoria approximately 40km from Kampala. Entebbe also hosts the country’s International Airport. There are a number of places tourists can visit for shopping the moment they step their feet in Uganda or as they head back home before their departure flight.
Kitooro Market is one of the popular markets in Entebbe and a perfect destination for tourists ready to experience Ugandan culture at its best. The stone-walls and eye-catching water fountains make it look even more attractive. The market is busiest on Tuesdays where majority of vendors display all they have to offer such as carved wooden items, women’s clothing, household items such as fruits and vegetables among others.
Travelers interested in buying groceries from various kinds of Ugandan cultures can opt for Kitubulu Market. It is one of the town’s busiest markets. Also ensure to bargain hard because sometimes vendors tend to raise prices when they see tourists around the market.
Visit the Entebbe Crafts Village for amazing crafts and art made by Ugandans. This is the country’s largest crafts and art retailer. It is situated along Kampala-Entebbe Highway on Plot 12 Portal Lane. Some items on display include; bangles, foot wears, paintings, jewelry, sculptures, antiques, garments, batiks among others.
In Nakiwogo along Kiwafu road, there is a market called Nakiwogo market that has lots on display such as vegetables, household furniture, clothing, fruit and beverages and electronic appliances.
To wrap up your shopping while in Entebbe visit the Magnificent Victoria Shopping Mall. It is a multipurpose mall covering an area of about 18,000 square metres of land. The mall is an entertainment and commercial infrastructure which is strategically located at an intersection along Entebbe-Kampala road with first class outlets that cater for all kinds of people; shoppers, those interested in dining, fashion, entertainment and leisure can only expect the best.
Some of these outlets include; supermarkets, boutiques, pharmacies, cinemas, restaurants like KFC, Café Javas and different brands like Orange, MTN, and Vine Pharmacy etc.
Shopping in Jinja
Jinja is a touristic destination located in the Eastern Part of Uganda along the northern shores of Lake Victoria approximately 81km from Kampala, the capital of Uganda.
Just like other towns, Jinja town also is home to various art and craft shops that sell a number of things that represent Uganda’s culture such as textiles, drums, and sculpture among others. Usually a tour to Jinja is not counted complete when tourists don’t visit the source of the Nile, and one of the most eye catching things upon arrival are the craft shops with variety of items displayed. The choice is yours because it’s just a lot to offer.
Also visit the Jinja Central Market which stands as a landmark of Jinja town. This exciting market is set to accommodate approximately 7,000 vendors and currently it has over 3,500 vendors that sell clothing, poultry, crafts, fresh vegetables, and fruits among other things.
Other craft shops in Jinja include; the Nile Source Art Shop, Eden craft shop, Source of Life craft shop, Kisakye Crafts Shop and many more.
Shopping on Kampala-Masaka Road
This road is found in the central region of the country and connects Kampala to Masaka District. It is this road that leads travelers to the different attractions in the West and southwestern parts of the country. Along this road there are areas; Kayabwe and Mpambire that are automatic stops for tourists who want to take photos and above all buy crafts and souvenirs.
Kayabwe is a small town along Masaka Road where the Equator line passes and is a regular stop for most tourists that want to engage in the equator experiment and take a number of photos. In addition to this experience, you can go for souvenir shopping in the different craft shops around, there are also restaurants where you can get a snack or lunch.
Mpambire is an authentic and local African village along Kampala-Masaka road with about 1,000 residents whose main activities are crop cultivation and drum making. Most tourists visit this area to see the process of making drums and other crafts – buying crafts from these people is a way of supporting them earn a living since many of them entirely depend on drum making as a source of income.
Shopping in National Parks
Uganda has 10 National Parks, and most of these National Parks have well established craft and souvenir shops found in the Park and in the neighboring villages. In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, within the Buhoma sector tourists can take a short walk to go for shopping in Buhoma Village which has a number of craft shops.
In Murchison Falls National Park, tourists can visit a remote community in Mubako village. There is a small craft shop that displays hand-woven items and wooden sculptures made by the locals. Also in the villages of Kigaragara and Kihaguzi is a group of women called Boomu Women’s Group where the locals also engage in making of crafts and such as bangles, woven baskets, and beaded necklaces among other things.
Buying these crafts made by the locals is one way of supporting the people in these communities since to some what they earn is what they depend on.