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General

Kampala Serena Hotel is the Serena group’s Uganda flagship. This luxury Kampala hotel is an inspirational blend. It combines 5-star polish, pan-African panache, social style and business reliability. Kampala Serena Hotel is ideally located. This hotel is at the very heart of Kampala. Kampala Serena Hotel stands amidst 7.2 acres of landscaped grounds and water gardens. It is an oasis of cool and green, encircled by the seven hills of Kampala. Kampala Serena Hotel is a 152-room world-class hotel. It is the focal point of national, regional, business, political and social life.

Kampala Serena Hotel draws its architectural inspiration locally. This is from the abundance of Uganda’s lakes and rivers. This hotel has been created around a central water theme. This manifests itself in the extensive water gardens. You can also see this in the hand-carved panels and shimmering mosaics. Kampala Serena Hotel is inspirationally styled as a Kampala showcase for Ugandan art. This unique Uganda 5-star hotel in Kampala offers an international conference center. The hotel has a garden auditorium, a roof-top terrace and a rock-sculptured pool terrace. Kampala Serena Hotel has three restaurants, two bars and a spa. Kampala Serena Hotel is situated in central Kampala. This is 40 kilometers from Entebbe International Airport.

Accommodation at Kampala Serena Hotel

Kampala Serena Hotel has a wide range of rooms and suites. All the rooms are elegantly presented in a fusion of international and Ugandan style. The rooms have either a private balcony or terrace. Kampala Serena’s accommodation choices are some of the finest places to stay in Kampala city. All the rooms and suites offer 24-hour room service and air-conditioning. There is Wi-Fi and in-room modem hook-up. You have direct-dial phone, voice-mail and complimentary newspaper in the room. The rooms also have and in-room satellite TV, mini bar and a private safe. Power supply comes in 240V/3 pin (square)sockets and there is a shaver sockets. You will be provided with tea and coffee-making facilities. There is a hair drier, bathrobe and slippers in the rooms. You are also assured of porter/concierge, airport shuttle and limousine service. Most of Kampala Serena Hotel rooms are designated non-smoking. However, there is a number of rooms are available for smokers. These should be booked in advance to avoid any disappointment.

Facilities at Kampala Serena Hotel

Kampala Serena Hotel boasts of an exclusive Bambara Lounge. This is solely for the use of residents. The lounge offers a stylish lounge with newspapers, periodicals and café service. There is a Bedouin-tented outdoor terrace and meeting area. Additionally, the residents are invited to use the extensive services of the Business Centre. This offers a complete range of technological support. It comes with a series of private board rooms.

Check-in time

12:00

Check-out time

10:00

Cancellation / Prepayment

PAYMENT & RESERVATIONS POLICY
Reservation and confirmation of a room at Kampala Serena Hotel has requirements. Clients are required to pay 50% down payment for the requested services. The balance will be required at least 14 days prior to your date of arrival.

African Safari Tour will hold a reservation for up to seven days at a client's request. This is to allow the client time to send a deposit payment. This is if Kampala Serena Hotel booking are over a month prior to the service. This must be received before we can confirm your booking. If confirmation is not received within the seven days all blocked rooms at Kampala Serena Hotel will be automatically released for re-sale. The full amount of the service must be made within 14 days of date of arrival at Kampala Serena Hotel. As for bookings within a month of service, full payment shall be requested for. This will be required before confirmation of Kampala Serena Hotel is undertaken.


CANCELLATIONS
All cancellations must be received in writing. This will take effect from the date received by African Safari Tour. The following cancellation charges will apply.

More than 56 days before departure: No cancellation fee
56-49 days before departure: 25%
48-29 days before departure: 35%
28-0 days before departure: 100%

The non-issuing of an invoice or non-payment of deposit will not exempt passengers from these cancellation and administration fees. We regret we can make no exception to the charges and strongly recommend that insurance is taken out to cover cancellation fees. These cancellation charges can vary subject to the trading terms of our suppliers.

Children and extra beds

Children older than 2 years are welcome at Kampala Serena Hotel. One child from 2 to 11.9 years is charged 50 % of the room stay per night and person in an extra bed.

The maximum number of extra beds for children in a room is 2.

Any type of extra bed or child's cot/crib is upon request and needs to be confirmed by management.

Supplements are not calculated automatically in the total costs and will have to be paid for separately during your stay.

Accepted credit cards

Visa Card, MasterCard, American Express

Facilities

  • Air Condition
  • Bar
  • Beauty salon
  • Car hire
  • Catering service
  • Convention floor
  • Desk
  • Fitness
  • Free toiletries
  • Hairdryer
  • Hotspots
  • Laundry
  • Lounge
  • Minibar
  • Outdoor pool
  • Private bathroom
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Safety Deposit Box
  • Sauna
  • Seating area
  • Shops
  • SPA
  • Telephone
  • TV
  • Wake up service
  • WiFi

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Kampala

Kampala

Kampala is the capital city of Uganda. With a population of 1,208,544 (2002), it is the largest city in Uganda. It is located in the district of Kampala at 0°19’N, 32°35’E, at 1,190 m (3,900 ft) above sea level. Kampala City is situated 40 km north of Uganda’s international airport at Entebbe on Lake Victoria, and is spread haphazardly over seven hills. Its name comes from a Kiganda expression – kasozi k’empala – meaning the hill of antelopes (impala). Kampala is the the largest city in the country. The city gets its name From Impala (Aepyceros melampus) a medium-sized African antelope that used to roam the jungles where Kampala seats today. will amaze you with its beauty, culture and hospitality before you venture the rest of the country

Kampala is also popularly known as the city on many hills because it is spread over 10 hills. With a population of approximately one million, it’s on the small side for a capital city and retains a small town charm. People passing each other in the street often know each other and stop for a chat. Local clientele mix in the bars and restaurants and shopkeepers greet regular customers warmly.

The city centre is vibrant with shops, roadside traders, markets, and the mind-boggling matatu (minibus taxi) stands providing local color and atmosphere. The Nakasero fresh food market just off the city’s main drag is one of the most colorful places in East Africa with piles of bananas, pineapples, tomatoes, mangoes and every fruit and vegetable you can think of – and some you can’t – ugly jackfruit or matoke (cooking banana). Kampala is the gateway city for visitors to Uganda and is one of East Africa’s most laid-back and friendly cities and you will undoubtedly pass through it en route to a safari in Uganda’s national parks.

Kampala is the capital city of Uganda in East Africa. Over 1 million people live in Kampala making it Uganda’s largest city. Kampala was the capital of the Buganda Kingdom several hundred years ago. Today, Kampala is a modern looking city, with outlying townships spreading far beyond the original “seven hills” the city was built upon. Many of Kampala’s more modern buildings were built in the 1980’s since the city suffered significant destruction during the “Liberation War” between Tanzania and Uganda in the late 1970’s.

Sports & nature

Kampala is not necessarily known for its sightseeing and I don’t think they had the old taxi park in mind when they christened Uganda the ‘Pearl of Africa’ but Kampala nevertheless has some sites that are definitely worth visiting if for nothing more than to say you did it! If you are travelling round and planning to sight see in Kampala we would suggest that one to two days is plenty to see its attractions. If you’re based here for a while then you can always space them out over weekends or save them all up for visiting friends and relatives.

Gadaffi Mosque, Old Kampala
I put this at numero uno mainly because it boasts the best view of all of Kampala from the top of its minaret. The mosque itself is also an impressive building and tourists are allowed to walk around it at will (even taking photos). Built by…yes you guessed it…former Libyan leader/dictator Colonel Gadaffi it is Kampala’s largest mosque. Entrance is 10,000 UGX and women are given a headscarf and sarong to cover up and then taken around by a guide. (pay in the office around the side of the building).

Kabaka’s Palace and Idi Amin’s Torture Chambers
This is the historic seat of the Bugandan king, located on Mengo hill exactly one mile up from the Buganda parliament. It is largely unoccupied these days due to the horrific functions in took under the rules of Idi Amin and president Obote. Amin built his torture chamber here, which saw the murder of an estimated 300 people, basically anyone stronger or smarter than Amin or anyone he thought ugly… While you can’t go in the palace itself you can get a guided tour around the torture chambers (10,000 UGX) which offers a harrowing, but important, insight into Uganda under Amin. Authentic messages of desperation written on the walls in human excrement and blood remain to tell the tale.

Ba’hai Temple
Found on Kikaya Hill off the Gayaza rd this is the only one of its kind on the African continent and definitely worth a visit. Located quite far out of town (the other side of the northern bypass) it also boasts the best green space in the whole of Kampala, with extensive grounds, that if you’re not of a spiritual persuasion are a perfect picnic spot and place to spend a chilled out Sunday. If you are of a spiritual nature or just curious about the Bah’ai faith then I recommend the Sunday service (starts at 10.30 am).

Namirembe Catherdral
Again, one of the main draws of this cathedral is the great view it has across Kampala. It is, however, in my opinion, also the most beautiful of Kampala’s Christian cathedrals. Word of warning though – ever since they started renovating it they try and charge any muzungu wandering around with a camera or looking vaguely touristy a 10,000 UGX donation towards the renovation (even if you don’t go in). My advice? Tell them you’re a) worshipping b) got to rush and meet some friends but will be back after and will pay then. For those of you interested in theology or looking to worship – this one’s a protestant church. After you’ve checked out the cathedral you can always also pop to Namirembe guest house for a spot of lunch or down to nearby Java’s for a coffee.

Owino Market
Part of the old taxi park in central Kampala. A ‘dirty mental chaos’ is probably the best words to describe Owino and the taxi park! It’s the kind of place you might go in to with 5 friends and come out alone and inexplicably missing your left shoe…Nevertheless it is definitely an experience worth having just to appreciate the hectic life and get a contrast to Kololo’s manicured lawns. The market sells nearly anything you can think of, but the best buys for foreigners are on the African print fabrics sold here by length, and the wide range of second-hand clothes and shoes, including many designer labels – I’ve got a great Ralph Lauren jumper from there…! There is also quite an interesting Voodoo market, selling all sorts of weird and wonderful things if you can manage to negotiate the maze and find it! As always make sure to haggle and keep your personal belongings close and don’t wear any obvious jewelry or big handbags.

Lake Victoria
Obviously you couldn’t come to Uganda and NOT check out the second largest freshwater lake in the world! A good way to see the lake is by taking a short boat tour on it. You can get a half day boat cruise for around US $80 from Kampala, or even out to Ngamba Chimp Island to see some wildlife (about a 45 minute trip depending on the weather). You can also get a sunset cruise for 25,000 UGX leaving from the Beach House (next to Kampala University), Ggaba at 5.30pm and arriving in Mukono at 11pm with Beach House cruises and I’ve heard of people asking fishermen down at the lakeside by Port Bell informally to take them out on the lake and doing a 45-minute trip to Ggaba road fish market for lunch and then back for around 40,000 UGX. Top your trip off with some fresh tilapia on the lakeside at Sssese Islands gateway beach (about 30-40mins outside Kampala off the Entebbe road) or the other numerous lakeside joints and then head up to Cassia lodge hotel (on Buziga Hill just off the Gabba road) for a cocktail to watch the sun set over the lake.

Craft Markets
While Uganda may not be know within Africa for its crafts – and lets be honest a lot of them are imported from nearby Kenya and DRC – there is still, however, some good local stuff being made, and whether you’re decorating your house, buying your family 20 identical but ‘authentic’ Christmas presents or just looking for some souvenirs of your time here, the Kampala craft markets offer some good options. The largest craft market is on Buganda rd, central Kampala and is open 7 days a week. Be careful to shop around and haggle before buying anything. Cheaper and often better, however, is the Jukali handicraft village – better known as the ‘Friday craft market’ up in Nsambya, off Gabba rd. It operates to some extent every day but as you can guess from the name only really comes into full force on Fridays. It has a good selection of artwork, jewelry, wooden and stone sculptures as well as a small amount of fabrics.

Entebbe Botanical Gardens
Ok, so not technically speaking in Kampala, but if they can make Kampala’s international airport in Entebbe then I think I can include it in this list. Entrance to the gardens is 3,000 UGX for locals and 10,000 UGX for foreigners. It is definitely worth picking up a guide at the entrance as well, for a bit of background and explanations  – including a demo of Tarzan’s vine rope-swinging. Payment of the guide is whatever you want to give them (more or less) but we were so impressed with ours when we went we were happy to pay a lot for his time. For those plant and bird lovers out there are over 300 different species of plant and countless birds including sunbirds, weavers and eagles. The gardens are open 7 days a week from 9am- 7pm.  Located just off the Entebbe road before Entebbe town on Berkeley road.

The Uganda National Museum
Found on Kira rd it is the biggest and oldest museum in Kampala. Purporting to showcase Uganda’s cultural heritage with displays of ethnological and natural-historical exhibits. It could definitely do with a bit of a spruce up, creative revamp and a dusting. It is in fact a bit like being stuck in a fantasy movie where the long forgotten exhibits come to life at night or transport you to an alternative universe…still it is the main museum in Kampala and for those with a passion for knowledge and artefacts (or a sense of humour) it may still be worth a visit. Opening hours are Monday to Saturday (10.00am to 6.00pm), Sunday and Public Holidays (12 Noon to 6.00pm) and entrance is 1,000 UGX (500 shillings for children) for Ugandans and 3,000 UGX  (1,500 UGX for children) for foreigners. If you want to take photos it will cost an extra 5,000 UGX and 20,000 UGX to take a video.

Rubaga Cathedral
Another Cathedral but this one is of the Catholic persuasion. Again this cathedral is located on one of Kampala’s many hills so views are great. Kampala is fabled to have 7 hills. It in fact has 22 but Rubaga is one of the original ones and, therefore, worth a visit for historical reasons. The cathedral also boasts a memorial to the first African Catholic bishop in Uganda martyred for the cause of bringing Catholicism to Uganda and is the current headquarters of the Catholic Church in Uganda. Entrance is free although voluntary contributions are welcome.

Nightlife info

Kampala is a very lively city both in the day and at night. Kampala is one of the safest places to move in the night. Almost every corner of the street is a club, pub or an entertainment center to enjoy. Blurring music is part of the nights in Kampala-western, Uganda and contemporary music…Ugandans will dance to anything!

Drinking Pubs and bars are a blend of styled bars with rustic African décor, pool tables and special dance floors, Full pubs with hang out for many foreigners (locally called Mzungu) and the clubs with music, drinks and everything. Many Ugandans are funs of clubs and will get their dancing shoes on for every day of the week.

Bubbles Olearly’s Pub
An Irish Pub in Kampala located on Acacia avenue. It offers lunch, breakfast, stews,steaks and is an evening in pub for whites working or visiting Kampala. Authentic hangout with theme nights, cold beers, wide screen for international games and Premier league matches and so much more

Kyoto Restaurant
On Shimoni road Kampala and at Centenary Park serves cold beers, excellent steaks and grilled meats to enjoy. The staff is friendly and welcoming. Revellers and the crowd at Kyoto are standard basically good for dining. The music is fairly loud making a good ambiance to hang out for weekends and evenings
Fat Boyz at Kisementi is surely fun. Lots of wines and Beers served cold, loud music and a few white revelers (Bazungu). There are grilled meats and fast foods enjoy in the comfortable furniture.

Wagadougou
Is located near Kisementi is purely African. The crowd is both white and Africans served with refreshing beers and wines at cheaper prices compared other hangouts in Kampala. There is a towering balcony to take sight of kampala’s neon lights and activity at Kisementi

Boda Boda
Oon Garden City rooftop is a great place to find the Kampala’s corporate world. The beers are cheap, great food, cocktails, grilled meats, friendly staff and music. There are pool tables and a dance floor to get jiggy all night long.

Mateos
Kampala road is open 24/7 serves ice cream, expensive cocktails, beer and cold soft drinks. It is  a good place to start your night fun
Kabalagala and Kasanga are lively throughout the night with a number of streets lined with bars, pubs and clubs. This Kampala suburb is actually good place to visit for drinking and dancing all night along.

Capital Pub
Is a famous hang out in Kabalagala made up of 5 different bars with pool table and blurring music to dance to. The pub is grass thatched with wooden stools and high vaulted ceiling.  It is the place to visit all through the week. Be cautious of the ‘women of the night’ prostitutes that you’ll find here. It is a favorite spot for Bazungu’s and a few Ugandans. It is open 24/7 although the days are quiet and more peace compared to the nights

Al’s Bar in Kansaga
Opens every day 24/7 with wines, beers, pool table and music. It is lively in the wee hours of the night (at 2am). Many night revelers end their night trail at Al’s Bar. It is a fun place to go dancing and of course drink yourself silly! It is another pub to catch Uganda’s bazungu and loads of prostitutes. Be Careful with your property.

Hunter’s Pub
Kasanga has fun reggae nights on Sunday and attracts a large crowd of Rastafarian and wannabe reggae artists in Kampala. The nights are fun, grilled meats and tea.


Half London
Is more reserved hangout and pub in Kasanga. Pool table, drinks, beers, grilled meats and music are part of the ambiance at Half London. It is another place to catch the ‘women of the night’ chasing after white men ‘bazungu’.
Victoria Tavern is a stylish modern pub and hangout on Kampala road. Wednesdays are good with visiting DJs, nice music, dance floor is spacious as the rest of the pub. Fairly priced drinks, wines, cocktails, steak and whisky.

Jokers
Is a large bungalow on Buganda road with several in house bars, muchomo (Grilled meats), dining and cold drinks. Quiet place with not many revelers except corporate who enjoy the ambiance and comfortable furniture.

Steak Out
Also located on Buganda road is a popular hangout for youth, whites, tourists and everyone. Beers and other drinks are served cold and quite cheaply. Lots of chicken, fast food, muchomo and loud music to dance to all night long.

Rock Garden
At Speke Hotel in uptown Kampala is quiet hang out open with terrace bars and restaurants for the whole night. Watch out for Kampala’s prostitute on the street chasing after white men and single men who visit without company of any female. There is great food and drinks although somewhat expensive.

Club Obbligato
At Little flowers bat valley on Bombo road is a good place to catch live music and one of Uganda’s oldest music bands Afrigo. There are theme weekend nights, live band and visiting big Ugandan artists. It is an excellent place to dance to music from the 80s and 90s.

Sabrina’s Pub
On Bombo road is located in Kampala business centre, just a few minutes’ walk from Club Obbligato. There are a couple of bars, pool table, a large stage for live performances and Karaoke. You will fortunately catch up on Uganda’s musicians doing a show there over the weekend.


Rhino Bar
At Sheraton Kampala Hotel is fairly crowded. It is great on Fridays and Saturdays with corporates heading out to night clubs  like silk and Angenoir.

 

Culture and history info

Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, is the largest urban settlement in Uganda. It lies on a plateau, spread over more than twenty rolling hills. With an altitude of 1180m above sea level, Kampala has a pleasant weather, with annual temperatures averaging 17 degrees (minimum) and 21 degrees (maximum) Celsius. It has a population of 1.5 million people.

Kampala’s history is derived from both folklore and historical fact. According to folklore, much of the area where a Kampala stand today was dominated by wetlands and rolling hills. This made it an ideal habitat for the Impala and other members of the antelope family which grazed on the slopes of the hills and came down to the wetlands for water. The palace of the Kabaka (king) of Buganda, located on one of the hills, overlooked this landscape rich in Impala. He turned it into his hunting grounds.

Folklore merged with history when the British Empire builders arrived at the end of the 19th century. "Impala" was the English name for that particular antelope family, so the British referred to the area as the "hill of the Impala".

The Baganda, eager to adopt foreign words into the local language, translated "hill of the Impala" into Luganda as "kasozi k' Impala" (pronounced "ka Impala" and eventually "ka mpala"). So whenever the Kabaka left his palace to go to hunt his favorite game, royal courtiers would say "the Kabaka has gone to Kampala to hunt" and the name stuck.

Kampala grew up around a port constructed by Frederick Lugard in 1890 for the British East Africa Company. In 1890, Kampala was declared the headquarters of Uganda's colonial administration. The name Uganda itself is said to have derived from the inability of the British to pronounce the word "Buganda". When the British arrived in Uganda in the late 19th century, they found the people of Buganda Kingdom, the Baganda, "a cultured people with a government and parliament (Lukiiko)". Buganda formed the foundation of their colonial empire, and that's how Kampala, lying near the Kabaka's palace, came to be declared Uganda's capital.

Although it now spreads over more than 20 hills, it is still sometimes referred to as the city of seven hills. The first hill in historical importance is Kasubi Hill, where the Kasubi Tombs of the previous Kabaka’s are housed. The second is Mengo Hill where the present Kabaka's Palace and Headquarters of the Buganda Court of Justice are. The third is Kibuli Hill, which is home to Kibuli Mosque. Islam was brought to Uganda before the Christian missionaries came. The fourth is Namirembe Hill, home to Namirembe Protestant Cathedral. The Protestants were the first of the Christian Missions to arrive. The fifth is Rubaga Hill, where Rubaga Roman Catholic Cathedral is, and was the headquarters of the White Fathers. The sixth Nsambya, was the Headquarters of the Mill Hill Mission. It now houses Nsambya Hospital and the seventh hill, the hill of the Impala is where the ruins of Lugard's Fort can be found. This is where Kampala got its name.

The city grew as the capital of the Buganda kingdom, from which several buildings survive, including the Kasubi Tombs (built in 1881), the Buganda Parliament, the Buganda Court of Justice and the Naggalabi Buddo Coronation Site. Severely damaged in the Ugandan-Tanzanian War, the city has since been rebuilt.

The main campus of Makerere University, one of East and Central Africa's premier institutes of higher learning, can be found in the Makerere Hill area of the City. Other features of the city include the Ssezibwa Falls, Ugandan National Theatre, St. Balikuddembe Market (formerly Owino Market) and Nakasero Market.

The city also hosts one of only seven Bahá'í Houses of Worship in the world. It is known as the Mother Temple of Africa and is situated on Kikaya Hill on the outskirts of the city. Its foundation stone was laid in January 1958, and was dedicated on January 13, 1961.

 


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