East Africa

More expatriates moving to Kampala

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A city built on seven hills, Kampala, the capital of Uganda, offers an exciting cultural experience for many foreigners. The country is considered the happiest in East Africa, according to the 2013 U.N. World Happiness Report. CCTV’s Michael Baleke reported this story about what Kampala residents think of their rapidly growing city.

As Uganda’s oil and gas industry continues to grow, more foreigners are calling it home. Many expatriates in Kampala said that it’s a comfortable and easy place to live.

But first, they caution, foreigners must get used to the roads and streets that are often jammed with cars and people from all walks of life.

For many foreigners commonly known as ‘Mzungu’ in Bantu and Swahili, it is no easy task.

“Kampala at first it is so crazy, for a mzungu its a little bit hard to find what you need,” Chris Perin of Canada said.

Kampala features modern supermarkets and shopping malls in the central business district, but the old open markets with fresh organic foods and fruits are also readily available.

“I went to the market, this was my favorite because the prices were so good and its also nice to talk to the people selling the food,” Perin said.

Perin said he enjoys sampling local dishes, including his favorite, posho and beans.

Carol Wawira, a marketer from Kenya said she also loves the food in Uganda, such as the sweet potatoes and yams.

But the city could be much improved if the infrastructure were better planned, expatriates said.

“If the signs were a little clear or maybe bigger, showing which road is going where, that could be a big help to a mzungu as well maybe once in a while a map,” Perin said.

Wawira said if they got rid of motorcycles, the city would also be more breathable.

By day, Kampala is bustling with business, but when night falls, the city’s clubs and bars light up. There’s also a growing arts sector, with live musical performances and stand up comedy.

Many enjoy dancing or savoring the popular locally-brewed beer.

“Nile special is perhaps my favorite, Tusker is good as well, and of course I have had some UG [local Whiskey]”, Perin said of his favorite drinks.

World happiness, by the numbers


Data from the United Nation’s 2013 World Happiness Survey. Weighted by population, the average score was 5.1 out of a scale of from 0 to 10. Factors for determining happiness included variables like real GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption, and generosity. For the full dataset and explanation, see the report here.



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