Two weeks of hunting and we found a place to live in Kampala, which wasn’t any moment too soon as living out of a suitcase -and in my case doing a lot of working from the hotel bed – was starting to get pretty annoying.
We contacted a number of local ‘brokers’, but most of these were actually just some people who drive you around for a fee (if they even have a car, which a lot of them don’t so you need to arrange their transport as well). They bring you to places they just happen to know which are in need of tenants, pretty much regardless of what you are looking for.
The way it works is that if you decide to take a place they additionally ask both you and the owner a commission fee, so they just knock on a lot of doors and hope somebody will bite. Of the about 10 people who took us around, only one was a legitimate broker, and he actually spoke some Dutch as he studied in Groningen for a while and is married to a Dutch woman. Unfortunately the place we were showed was nice, but right next door to a stone quarry where they regularly blow things up with dynamite – that made it easy to keep on looking…
So, we ended up looking at maybe 25 places in total, some of which were actually quite nice, some we saw multiple times with different people, but mostly a lot at highly inflated prices or too far out of the way of what we were looking for. We also looked at furnished places, but those are only recommended if you like 1950s styling… At one point it seemed it could be a very long time before we would find something reasonable to live in. But then, as I was visiting some more places on a Thursday afternoon and was actually about to get back to the hotel (two of the places I had already seen before, one place I did like happened to be already taken, and the other places literally seemed about to fall apart), the guys taking me around suddenly thought of one more place in Buziga. “Okay, let’s view it, but that’s the final one as I am about done with it,” I said, and you guess it: the apartment was actually very nice & affordable, not too far from Marloes’ office and in a quiet neigbourhood with views of both the city and Lake Victoria.
So, after Marloes saw the pictures and we gave it another visit together on the following Saturday morning we took it! We then quickly embarked on finding some furniture and kitchen equipment which was another challenge in itself. Furniture here you buy at one of the street side markets. We borrowed a van of SolarNow, which we somehow managed to fill up to the latest free cm3, so that night we at least had some places to sit and a bed to sleep in. Getting the stuff in the van was hilarious by the way as a bunch of friendly random helpers didn’t really grasp the concept of taking care of our newly bought stuff, but in the end it all worked out.
The next morning however we noticed there were still some things not completely in order with the apartment… To cut a long story short: after three long weeks of daily visits of various kinds of workers: electricians, plumbers, carpenters and so on, a leaking roof, days on end without any water and electricity (there are frequent 24h power cuts here), a new bathroom wall (after a carpenter accidently hit a water pipe and everything came down as a result), new doors and god knows what else, everything seems to be working O.K. now! We can take a hot shower in either of the 2 bathrooms and the generator outside spurs to life when the power goes down again. Now if somebody could just shut up those stray dogs at night and tell the mosque and church in the area to keep it down a bit at 5.30 AM, everything will be perfect
Other than that, good news for any potential visitors: we live near two nice resorts, so swimming pools with a great view are within a few minutes’ distance. The Cassia Lodge, which is nearest, is located on top of Buziga hill – with a bit of the luck the pool is not crowded at all, so the next best thing to having your own pool
The next item on our wish list is a 4×4 car, so we can move around a bit more easily and buy the rest of the outfitting – a comfy couch and some curtains would be very welcome . We already tried a cheap Toyota RAV 4, but it I hadn’t driven 10 meters with it – on the left side for the first time ever as well – before I had a flat tire. Later on it also appeared to have some hidden damage under the bonnet, so we quickly returned it and are on the lookout for a good deal.