My First Impressions of Uganda

I’ve only been in Kampala, Uganda, for a week and I’m already head over heels. I like it so much that when people ask me, “How are you liking Kampala so far?” I have to hold back from gushing about all the reasons I’m so enamored.

For those who don’t know, I moved to Uganda because I got a job as a marketing manager for a local company in Kampala. Funny enough, I have a lot of family here – I’m living with my aunt and uncle, and my cousins and their kids live across the street.

I’ll be sharing a lot about my life in Africa in the coming months. But first, I wanted to tell you about my first impressions of Uganda.

The pace of life is relaxed

I was surprised by how relaxed the pace of life is in Kampala. But it makes sense – it’s cheap, the weather’s balmy, and it’s relatively safe. Plus, most expats employ housekeepers so they don’t have to worry about cooking or cleaning.

The only un-relaxing thing is the traffic, which isn’t even that bad.

There’s a huge tech and startup scene

Thanks to the internet and the (relatively) newfound ability to work from anywhere, there are lots of tech companies and startups in Kampala.

My cousin works at a startup with a similar culture to my last job; they have an open-air office, ping pong tables, and a young staff that socializes with one another a ton.

It’s especially cool because the office is very international – they have a mix of Ugandans, Americans, Brits, Australians, and lots of other nationalities. (Much like the expat scene here!)

Ugandans are quiet but super nice

So far, every Ugandan I’ve met has been super nice. (About 90% of my coworkers are Ugandan, so I’m getting to know a lot of locals!)

The Ugandans I’ve met are laid-back, down-to-earth, and quick to laugh and smile. The only problem is that most Ugandans are very soft-spoken – I often can’t hear them because my hearing isn’t the best at this point. Way to go, earbuds.

Kampala is so colorful

While Kampala isn’t the most beautiful city, the colors here are so vibrant. From the red dirt to the green palms to the shocks of violet jacarandas and magenta bougainvilleas lining the road, I feel like I’m living in a Pantone palette.

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I keep wondering – is this just the honeymoon phase? Do I really like it here this much?

But truthfully, it feels good. After a few years of questioning everything in Colorado (is Boulder right for me, would I be happier if I lived abroad, is hiking even that great, etc.), it feels so refreshing to really, truly, love where I live.

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About Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is a travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Uganda. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour Magazine.

22 thoughts on “My First Impressions of Uganda”

  1. I am so happy that you love Uganda. Nit knowing much about it I
    Could not guess. It is very nice though when You live around
    Slow paced living. That was the south U S that I experienced growing
    Up. How is the food? How is it different? Do they speak Engllish?
    What is the entertainment? Am I missing pictures? I only see one.
    Looking forward to more of your life with photos.

    Love,

    Gamma

  2. I am so happy that you love Uganda. Nit knowing much about it I
    Could not guess. It is very nice though when You live around
    Slow paced living. That was the south U S that I experienced growing
    Up. How is the food? How is it different? Do they speak Engllish?
    What is the entertainment? Am I missing pictures? I only see one.
    Looking forward to more of your life with photos.

    Love, Gamma

    Gamma

  3. That’s so incredible that you are loving Uganda! It’s a country that has so much negative stigma, it’s amazing to see some positive feedback!
    I’m desperate to go to Uganda, I sponsor a child there and would love to meet her. Enjoy X

  4. I lived in Kampala for a few months years ago when I worked with Oxfam, it was a bit of a turbulent time for me personally as my Grandad passed away back home the day I arrived and I couldn’t return for the funeral, but I was so impressed with how kind and welcoming everyone was to me and so supportive. The pace of life is definitely very relaxed isn’t it and can take some getting used to. I remember we visited the most amazing Ethiopian restaurant there many times, the food was delicious but I cannot remember the name of it – perhaps you will find it!

    I can’t wait to hear more about your trip, have a wonderful time there!

  5. “Is hiking even that great?” I must have thought that exact thing so many times while living in Denver :) but I did it anyway because it was such a huge part of the culture. I’m glad that you’re having a great time and feeling settled!

  6. That’s so awesome! Excited to see more photos and hear more about life there. I had no idea what a booming expat scene there was there. Sounds like an exciting new chapter :)

  7. Hii
    I was looking over travel tips for Vietnam and I found your website and sww you are living in Uganda. Are you stil there?
    Im taking a few months off normal life to travel. I will be backpacking in Asia but first going to volunteer in Uganda for 5 weeks in a small village next to Kampala. I was glad to hear you loved there and that you felt safe.
    Keep posting awesome stuff.
    I’m mexican btw
    Xxx

  8. Hi Ashley,
    I loved the way you write about your first impressions of Uganda. I was in Uganda too (from 2008 till 2010). Will wait for more updates.

  9. Hey Ashley! I love your blog! I am just wondering what exactly you are up to in Uganda are you working for a start-up? I love the fact that you are able to travel and work at the same time.
    Wishes, Neringa

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