"Snatch" Kampala Travelogue by travelinxs

Kampala Travel Guide: 239 reviews and 660 photos

On our way to the capital, Kampala, Becks and I stopped over at Jinja and stayed in a banda, or wooden hut, out at Bujagali Falls beside the source of the Nile.

The guard at the entrance gate made my day when he accepted my pleas that I was a student and gave me the student discount.

A favorite stop over for the overland tour companies such as Explore and Exodus, it was all about kayaking, rafting and partying. But the beautiful setting was haunted by a Frenchman, drowned the day before, kayaking over the rapids and still under the water somewhere, a foot trapped in the boulders.

I ran into David and Helen of the Lake Nasser contingent and also Martin on his BMW. Martin had nearly killed another motorcyclist after ramming him on the highway, though to the doctors surprise and Martins relief, the man lived and a one off compensation payment kept him out of prison.

Arriving in Kampala wasn’t especially pleasant. It was chaotic, very hot and crowded. We planned just a couple of days R. & R. but became stranded for a week. It was just too much like hard work to leave.

We met up with Craig and Lynley (NZ) out at our Red Chilli Hideaway hostel; a couple of common Kiwi mockers who were great fun to hang out with.

Craig and I went to the barbers. To celebrate my twenty years of traveling I had the same cut that Id had when I first came to Africa as a teenager. A cru cut with tramlines shaved down each side. It probably left me looking like a thug, but I guessed that at least it would reduce my chances of getting mugged.

That night I got mugged.

It was Saturday evening and we all went out for an outstanding steak meal at the unpretentious Le Petit Bistro before hitting Als Bar. Kampala had a reputation as the party capital of East Africa and it was fun, though something of a pick up joint.

The others left around 2am and I stayed on another two hours. I took a boda boda, or motorbike taxi, back to the hostel. Taking my (new) wallet out to pay and the b*****d snatched it and roared off!

I gave chase, shouting and swearing. With my eyes focused on his back, I was determined to catch him, but my legs decided to try a short cut and I ran up a bank and slammed into a tree.

Running back toward the hostel, I shouted for the two security guards to call the police. On hearing shouts of police coming out of the dark, they closed and locked the gates.

As if things weren’t bad enough, I was now locked out of my own hostel!

Down on the main road I went to two night petrol stations but again, any mention of the word police was met with raised hands and turned backs. Nobody wanted to get involved.

An affluent Ugandan couple agreed to take me in their Shogun to the police station. The nonchalant officers in the scruffy office took little interest and I quickly gave up.

The Ugandan couple took me home to their smart city flat and made me coffee. She was very defensive of me but there was something about him that made me very wary. He had some obscure connection with the security services and feeling threatened I thanked them and got out.

I spent a few hours on the couch out at the Backpackers Hostel before making my way back to the Red Chilli.

The following evening was far more serene. A BBQ in the hostel grounds of fresh fish cooked in banana leaf and vegetables bought from the market and chilling out to music.

We did finally get out of the city and took a bus south.

(.. continue)

  • Page Updated Dec 31, 2007
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