Kampala - Post Report Question and Answers

What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing is generally great and improving, large houses or apartments, there are a few compounds with multiple houses. Very large 4 bedroom relatively new houses. Would recommend living in Muyenga/Tank Hill, Munyonyo, or Lubowa neighborhoods for best commute. Commute is horrible for all of the mission on the north side of town - up to 90 min. They are trying to move more housing south. The good shopping is in the North but the expressway around makes it easy IF you live in Munyonyo or Lubowa. There is a motorpool shuttle to the embassy but that is all changing and/or going away. Uganda is cracking down on only one dip vehicle per household. Commute on Southside is still anywhere from 15 min to 1 hr depending on neighborhood and traffic. Traffic is the worst I have ever seen in my life, like Mumbai. Google images, it is not wrong. - Jan 2024

We love our house. We live in Muyenga and have a house with a large yard and a nice layout with lots of storage. The housing pool varies from large house with large yards and pools to apartment complexes or townhouse complexes. From our neighborhood, the commute to the Embassy post-Covid is about 15 minutes. On a very rare bad day, it can take 45 minutes in the evening but that's uncommon these days. The housing is spread among four areas of town and commute and convenience vary widely. Some neighborhoods are closer to the school and some are closer to more of the diplomatic community. Pros and cons to all. - Jun 2022

I would say there are no typical housing sizes. New and old, big and smaller size, decent to large size yard, large storage to not so much storage. All the houses are built with bricks or cinder blocks, and concrete. Commute depends on the weather, traffic, time of the day, condition of roads, activities in some neighborhoods, and route you use. We lived in a suburb and a good day was 30 min. Another day was two hours or more into/from Kabalagala. - Dec 2021

Housing is OK and there is a wide range. Most houses are bigger than what people need and many have very large yards. Singles will mostly be put up in the apartments if there's one available. Locations are hit and miss. Traffic here is horrendous. Some of the neighborhoods are closer to the embassy and have a 30 minute max commute time while others have longer commute times. I live under 5 miles from the embassy and my commute home is typically 45 minutes but once a week or so it can take over 2 hours. - Aug 2020

I love our house. It’s very spacious with a lush, large garden/yard. It’s Africa so we have a lot of MyService requests, but in general the house is great. I’d definitely recommend the Naguru and Kololo neighborhoods. Both have gyms and restaurants and if your kids attend KISU then their commute will be short. Your commute to the office though will be unpredictable. On average it’s 40 mins. In my opinion, the traffic here is debilitating. - Nov 2019

Single family residence with guest quarters, and staff quarters. 3br 3bath + 2br 1 bath (guest) + 1br 1 shower (staff quarters). Medium-sized yard with banana, avocado, mango, and jack fruit trees. I added a few arabica coffee trees to the mix. - Oct 2019

Our house is great. We live in Muyenga (one of the hills in town). Our house is not huge, but definitely adequate. Definitely the size we'd be able to afford in the States! Some houses are larger, but then usually they have smaller yards. We have a good sized yard and are lucky enough to have a small pool. Muyenga is one of the closest hills to the Embassy; our commute is about 20 minutes (can be 10 or up to 60+ depending on traffic). We even have decent little grocery stores on our hill, so can rely on those for our primary grocery options, rather than heading through the traffic to the larger chain grocery stores (Shoprite). - Mar 2019

Housing varies widely. Housing in Kampala varies between the extremely nice to the extremely poor, and that difference seems to cause unhappiness by those who are in not in ideal housing and have no choice. Housing sizes and layouts are do not seem standardized, and I find construction quality tends to be fairly low. Commute times vary greatly depending on location. All neighborhoods have bad traffic that can be unpredictable. It can take hours to go only a few kilometers, and there is generally no reason why that is the case. - Feb 2019

Our house is very reasonable. The rooms are very small, such that we don't really have any floor space to put anything, but it's a cute house with a pretty yard. Commute time ranges from 15 minutes to 1.5 hrs depending on the jam. - Jan 2019

Housing is largely single family homes scattered across seven neighborhoods. The commute is pretty long, unpredictable, and the pollution from vehicles and motorcycles is choking. Some (rare) days a normal 15 minute commute can turn into two hours. There is no traffic management plan and the roads are full of potholes. If you bring a vehicle, it should be an SUV. - Dec 2018

We adore our house; it’s massive with a gorgeous yard. - Dec 2018

Our housing is amazing but not without its issues. We have four bedrooms, four bathrooms, an office and a huge and beautiful yard for my children to play in. A lot of people complain about the housing, however, I think that they do not remember that they most likely could not afford a home like the one they are assigned if they were back in US. I have visited many of the homes in the housing pool and find pretty much all of them to be more than adequate. Are some old? Sure. Do some have funky layouts? Yes. Are there issues with the houses? Absolutely, but that is normal for all houses, whether they are in Kampala or in the US. Things break and need to be repaired in housing all over the world, it's no different here. Facilities tries their best to get to issues in a timely manner.

The houses are spread out over several neighborhoods, Muyenga (closest to the embassy), Kololo (closest to restuarants and nightlife), Naguru (close to restaurants and KISU) Makindye (not really close to anything) and Lubowa (farthest from embassy, but closest to ISU which is the embassy-sponsored school). Traffic can be terrible, and you have to decide if you want your kids to be stuck in it or yourself...... - Oct 2018

Many of the houses are pretty large and look nice at first glance, but seem to have a host of issues. Depending on the random housing assignment that is thrown your way you can live anywhere from 10-30 minutes from the embassy without traffic (pro-tip there is always traffic and 20 minute drives can turn into 2+ hour drives). We have had a host of plumbing and power issues that are made worse by a housing and maintenance department who are often need multiple trips to your home to repair things. The houses just aren't built well so there always seem to be problems. We've had people shocked in their showers from electrical issues, people with constant mold in their cupboards and closets and most people have had at least one pipe burst in their home. Again, the houses and some of the yards are very big which is cool. - Sep 2018

Housing is horrible in my opinion. If we want to use our washer or dryer we have to turn everything else in the house off. We have two air conditioning units but they can’t be used at the same time or we lose power. Same goes for using the stove; everything else must be turned off in the house or we lose power. There have been times we have lost power more than five times in one day. We had water pipes burst and flood our house. We have “sliding screen” doors that haven’t worked more than a week of us being here. Constantly have repair people at the house “fixing” things but the repairs don't seem to last. We live in Naguru and the commute can be anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours to the embassy. The traffic is horrendous. - Sep 2018

We are one of eight families living in an apartment building, which is not typical for Embassy housing. The apartment is nice, and the building sits high above the city above air pollution and noise. We have a swimming pool and gym. Commute to the Embassy is about 20 minutes, and anywhere from 45 minutes to 90 minutes to go back home. A decent fully stocked grocery store in 10 minutes drive away, and a department store 15 minutes away. - Aug 2018

Great housing, great garden, nice residential neighborhood (green, fairly clean) yet close to restaurants and supermarkets. Any commute in Kampala is challenging, but that's the case in most capital cities these days... - Jun 2018

Very nice housing with a great yard. Traffic is terrible. The embassy is two miles from our house and takes anywhere from 20 minutes to 1.5 hours to get there. Most people prefer the neighborhood that is closer to the embassy (10 minutes) but we weren't assigned to it. - Jun 2018

Housing is good and the yards are ridiculously awesome. Traffic is awful (not as bad as Delhi) and it often takes 45-60 minutes to drive to the Embassy from Kololo. To give some perspective, it takes my husband 30 minutes to run home. People will often not go somewhere due to the traffic annoyance. - Aug 2015

Housing is generally older but spacious and nice. Our commute is usually 15-20 minutes but sometimes traffic can turn it into an hour or two. One afternoon it took us FOUR HOURS to get home. Word was that the President was driving around and that was the issue but I never saw any real evidence to support that. Anyway, traffic in Kampala can be horrendous for no apparent reason. Despite the presence of traffic police everywhere, they are completely incompetent and do more harm than good. - Jun 2014

Most are single family homes except for a handful of apartments (8?) and those are typically assigned to singles, unless requested otherwise. Commute time can vary drastically from neighborhood to neighborhood. Also, it varies when local schools are in session. Rule: just leave before the locals get on the road. - Oct 2013

Large homes and apartments are available. The Tank Hill neighborhood is the closest to the US Embassy, with a commute of about 10 minutes. Traffic here can get pretty crazy, so some of the farther neighborhoods require an hour or more in traffic. - Mar 2013

Great housing - large houses, large yards, all in walled compounds with guards. Space is not a problem here. Mostly living in Kololo (recommended), Bugolobi (nice houses, but built on a swamp - mosquito issues), and now, Tank Hill (newer houses). - Sep 2009

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