Entebbe is the prettiest and most charming town of Lake Victoria. It is like a summer lake resort where no more business is undertaken than is absolutely necessary. The town spreads in a passive, careless way over a low down which slopes, in an equally easy fashion,
to the lake. BBC
Its houses are more or less lost among the trees, for a great part of Entebbe is heavily wooded. Entebbe is even more attractive when seen close at hand than when viewed from afar. It is a picnic-suggesting haven amid a well-timbered botanical gardens park, the grass of which comes down to the water’s edge.
On reaching the high ground, Entebbe sits on a peninsula and is nearly surrounded by Lake Victoria’s waters. You can see a glimpse of Lake Victoria through a gap in trees or palisade of palm trunks from every point.
The view from the height upon which the State-House stands is unequaled for charm. It shows a broad arm of the sea, alive with islands, stretching inland to be lost among the tree-covered hills. It is a flood of blue water pouring eagerly into the great green forest. Its shores are marked by capes of palms, by creeks full of violet mist, and by gracious sand-rimmed bays of indescribable enchantment.
Sprawling along the Lake Victoria shore, some 35km south of Kampala, Entebbe exudes a tropical languor atmosphere. And particularly for those with a strong interest in natural history (and who aren’t looking for budget accommodation), it makes for an altogether more appealing introduction to Uganda than the capital, Kampala.
And even if you stay in Kampala, this pretty lakeshore town is worth a visit if only for its wonderful botanical garden, which is teeming with birds and practically guarantees close-up views of black-and-white colobus monkeys. Ngamba Chimpanzee Island on Lake Victoria, Mabamba Swamps, Ssese (Kalangala) Islands, and UWEC Zoo makes a great introduction to Uganda’s top attractions.
Spend a day or two in Entebbe before/after your countryside journey. There’s accommodation to cater to all travel styles. From budget hostels to upmarket luxury hotels, restaurants, and bars, Entebbe cuts off the crowded and noisy Kampala experience.
Getting To Entebbe & Away
Minibusses from Kampala to Entebbe leave from the old taxi park every ten minutes or so, and they take up to an hour. Entebbe is a sprawling place, and the central taxi park is in the Kitoro suburb 1km beyond the town center.
For flights out of Entebbe, Read, How To Travel To Uganda, Getting There & Away, and Domestic Flights in Uganda. You can also reach Entebbe from Masaka via the Ssese Islands or Nakiwogo Port.
Entebbe has a great selection of shopping malls within the peninsular and along the highway to Kampala.
For a more local feel, visit the Kitoro town center open market. The town is surrounded by both modern and upmarket supermarkets like Upland supermarket, Airgate, Pearl Supermarket, and Entebbe Shoppers.
Imperial Mall along the route to Botanical Gardens and UWEC also has forex shops, clothing, crafts, and the legendary Riders Restaurant and Bar.
Victoria Mall in the town along the highway gives you several shopping options, including groceries from Shoprite (a South African Brand), upmarket restaurants like Javas Cafes, fast-food restaurants like KFC, a cinema, forex exchange, banks, Kids and safari wears shop.
As you head out of Entebbe, Coinworth, Capital Shoppers, and Cynibel Supermarket, along the highway towards Kampala City, stand out as great shopping points.
Bureau such as Jetset Forex Bureau (Kampala Road & Entebbe Airport), Unimoni (Imperial Shopping Mall), and Metropolitan Forex Bureau (Victoria Mall) will change money faster and inexpensively than banks and bureaus in Kampala.
Many outbound travelers head down early to Entebbe to enjoy a pleasant afternoon rather than risking getting stuck in the Kampala traffic. Windsor Lake Victoria, Lake Heights, Hotel No.5, and Botanical Beach hotels seem happy to store luggage for day visitors who pay to use the swimming pool or take lunch.
The Lake Vic is perhaps a more pleasant setting, but the Botanical is convenient to wander down to the Botanical Garden or Wildlife Education Centre.
Map sales office Entebbe was the administrative capital of Uganda in the colonial era. Many government departments are still dotted around the residential area between the town center and Botanical Beach Hotel.
The pool at the Windsor Lake Victoria Hotel is open to non-residents on payment of Ush20,000. The Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel has a vast in-house swimming pool that you can use for UGX15,000. Protea Hotel (just outside the airport), Lake Heights Hotel, K-Hotel, and Hotel No.5 all offer public swimming pools for UGX 15,000 per person.
What to See in Entebbe
Entebbe Botanical Garden
Entebbe Botanical Garden is an attractively laid-out mix of indigenous forest, boutique hotels, shopping malls, and a desirable birdwatcher’s destination. The gardens offer an excellent introduction to Uganda’s birds ranging from Lake Victoria specials such as grey kestrel, yellow-throated leaflove, slender-billed weaver, and Jackson’s golden-backed weaver to the more widespread but striking black-headed gonolek, Red-chested sunbird, grey-capped warbler, and common wattle-eye.
In addition to various shorebirds, the impressive palmnut vulture and fish eagle are common, and a pair of giant eagle owls are resident. Forest birds include the splendid Ross’s and great blue turaco, as well as the noisy black-and-white casqued hornbill.
t is said that some of the early Tarzan films were shot on location in Entebbe —a thus-far unverifiable legend that gains some plausibility when you compare the giggling of the plantain-eaters that frequent the botanical garden with the chimp noises that punctuate the old movies.
There are some mammals around — no chimps, of course — but you can be confident of seeing vervet and black-and-white colobus monkeys, as well as tree squirrels.
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