Staying Safe while enjoying the legendary Kampala’s Nightlife
Kampala Nightlife – Safety and Security – Tips and Advice – Be savvy, Stay Safe while visiting Bars in the Nightlife Districts Like Kabalagala.
Kampala Nightlife – Safety and Security – Tips and Advice: Kampala is the city that never really sleeps. Visitors come from all over East Africa and beyond to enjoy the legendary Kampala nightlife. Often Safety and Security are not on the minds of visitors, but they should be.
The police try to protect the nighttime revelers, but there are too many bars to cover.
Most every bar of any size has security at the door. There are bouncers, and you might be scanned, patted down, or endure for your safety and well-being. Once inside – it is another world – it is Kampala from mild and wild.
There are guidelines – tips, and Advice you as a visitor or tourist should consider to be safe and have a good time in the town in the city that never sleeps – Kampala.
Kampala’s nightlife, especially in the Kabalagala Nightclub district, is known all over Africa. It attracts people from all over Africa, Rwandans, Kenyans, South-Sudanese, and Tourists who flock here for a night downtown in Kampala. The bars do not close at 2 am like in the West but stay open until dawn and beyond, and some stay open for 24 hours a day. No wonder Kampala is the city that never sleeps.
The music is loud, played mainly by a DJ – not too many bars have live music, though it is becoming more fashionable. The main thing is to stay safe and secure while out on the town – hitting Bars and Nightclubs in Kampala.
Kampala Nightlife – Safety and Security – Tips & Advice for Visitors and Tourists
Do not leave your Common Sense at Home or Hotel!
Going out for a night on the Town in Kampala begins with taking along a dose of old-fashioned Common Sense.
Alcohol tends to sweep away any common Sense we might have—another reason you should go with a Ugandan friend. Common Sense will tell you not to go out alone, have a non-drinker drive, and avoid some things below.
Common Sense – you are on another continent. The atmosphere is exciting, alcohol flows, and it is easy to throw cautions to the wind while out on the Town in Kampala.
Conmen and women abound with all kinds of con stories. We suggest that you do not commit yourself to anything and say no. The next day you will be glad that you did.
Do not leave your hotel room without taking Common Sense with you, and again go out for your night on the town with a local. Do not leave your Common Sense at Home or your Hotel!
Avoid Mobile Phone Loss and other valuables!
Smart Phones left casually on a bar table become targets. You can be diverted, look for your phone, and it is gone. The Sim card is removed, and you have just lost your phone. If you go to the toilet, never leave your phone on a bar table, even at a restaurant.
Put your cell phone in your pocket where it is out of sight. Leave your purses in your hotel, in their safe, or your room safe. Do not take chances with valuable things.
A Mobile Smart Phone is expensive in Uganda and seen as a status symbol when one sees it on a table – the need and greed factor sets in, and you can be out of your phone.
The thefts of Phones are a common occurrence in bars and nightclubs. Protect your Phone. Never put it on a table, and keep it on you or at your hotel.
Do not flash your Cash:
When going out on the town, take some shillings (no dollars) with you and take them out one note at a time-preferably out of your pocket and not out of your wallet or purse.
When going out, do not use US dollars, UK pounds, or Euros. The exchange rate will be atrocious in bars and nightclubs – plus, it draws more attention to you and what you have on you, making you a potential target.
Wallets should not be left in your back pocket but put in the front pocket of your trousers or jeans, where it is harder to extract.
Several Bars have ATMs, but it is best not to use them. Withdrawing money from a bar ATM is flashing cash around, and you do not want to draw unnecessary attention.
Don’t leave drinks unattended:
People put things into drinks to get whatever they can from you while passed out.
Such things are found regularly in the press, and it applies to other places as well. Taking a drink or food from someone on a bus is a no-no. – even the American Embassy site cautions against taking food or drink from someone on a bus – simply because people were robbed while passed out.
In some bars – a waiter or waitress will cover your drink. However, that is not good enough, don’t leave your drink unattended.
If you are unsure, buy another drink. Better to be safe than robbed while passed out. Don’t leave drinks unattended!
Avoid Mosquito Girls (sex workers):
Many Mosquito Girls are gorgeous. They know what to wear to attract you. With skimpy outfits and super-high heels, they draw your attention. They are the eye candy of the night.
Many speak excellent English (even University graduates turn to Prostitution). Some nighttime slay queens will learn to speak American or British Style English. All part of the act of enticement.
The downside is that many of these young women have a deadly sting. There is a high rate of STDs – over 50% of them have STDs of one kind or another. Then there is AIDS and HIM. Over 40 percent of them are HIV positive – some know their HIV Status but need the money.
The prevention slogan of the 1990s still applies. ABC. Abstention, Be faithful, Condoms. The safest way is to abstain – limit your alcohol intake. Stay wise despite the tempting young women who may give you more than you bargained for. You can also get robbed by mosquito girls, cell phone, wallet, money, credit cards, everything has gone, and that lovely girl you met is not to be found.
The night of fun ends in empty pockets. In the local newspapers, there have been reports where prostitutes use chloroform rubbed on their bodies. When the man passes out – all valuables are taken. Recently I heard of a Ugandan businessman who came to the front desk of his hotel wrapped in a towel. While he was taking a shower, she had taken his clothes, suitcase, laptop, and mobile phone.
Sound Common Sense Advice: If you look for a lovely Ugandan lady as a friend, go to church, office, or cultural event, but not a bar in Kabalagala.
Take a Special Hire Taxi or Uber Taxi:
If you are bar hopping or on a pub crawl, as some foreigners like to do, hire a unique taxi for the evening and let the hotel negotiate the price. They will get a cut. Still, it will be lower than if you bargained.
You need to be careful since many hires give commissions to hotel staff, so ask a wait staff person what the price should be. Be sure that the driver is a safe and sane one.
If our clients request a night on the town, our driver guides will be with you in the bars for your safekeeping and watch over things, and of course, they will drink sodas.
The Ugandan police now conduct nightly drunk driving stops, and it is not worth it to drink and drive in a foreign country. Uber Taxis and others like them operate in Uganda.
Take a Ugandan with you:
Especially if you have never been to Uganda and Kampala before, you should take a Ugandan along for your night on the town.
They can certainly keep you out of potential trouble. It may cost you a few more shillings. Still, your evening will be more enjoyable and safer with someone who knows their way around and someone who knows the Ugandan Culture and mindset. Such a person can give you insights you might miss otherwise.
Having a Ugandan along will make it a much more enjoyable evening since most Ugandans know how to avoid problems and understand safety and security in Kampala’s bar scene.
Go out with a local you will be glad that you did
Security at Nightclubs – Bars:
Security at most Bars and Nightclubs at larger establishments is good, and guests are scanned or patted down. Private security companies do this in many cases, and they are armed, and there might be two or more at a time, depending on the bar sizes.
Bouncers are on duty – Armed Security and more is done to keep the places relatively peaceful so that clients can enjoy themselves.
Tourism Police are now also making the rounds to some Bars and Nightclubs. You will also find police checking various bars for illegal activities such as drug use. Bouncers inside the bars are no-nonsense kind of guys that quickly stop any situation that disturbs others’ peace.
Do not use Ganja or Marijuana:
Ganja, as it is called here, can be bought anywhere. You can smell it here a lot. A recent visitor who used to do pot told me he could feel it just driving along the roads at night.
You can buy it almost anywhere, but the police also have noses and can smell it if you are smoking it, and it can create a problem for you, do not partake. Crack Cocaine and or Heroin may be offered to you. Decline.
The minimum fine is usually 80,000 shillings, more for a westerner. It can also mean overnight in jail. It is against the law, do not take any even if offered. Sorry if you are from Colorado or Washington State, where Marijuana has been legalized, here it is illegal.
There is also the amphetamine Khat, also called Mira or Mairungi in Uganda – stay away from it. However, it is not illegal to use, and it is a stimulant chewed in Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, etc.
A night on the Town for Women visiting Uganda:
It is usually relatively safe. A few friendly advances may be made, but a woman in the city is often just fine, but take a Ugandan along to be safe.
Dress as you would going out in your hometown. The Ugandan woman will often dress on the provocative side (though in daytime conservative. Highlight heels are the order of the day, revealing dress Andes, short skirts, skimpy hot dresses, and more petite.
You might receive a few marriage proposals on your night out, but you can always smile and say no thanks. They are primarily semi-serious, and with smiles, all-around is best to have a Ugandan along for the evening or p, much safer for in a group.
Enjoy Kampala, the city that never sleeps safely at night.
F you are on Safari with us, do not spend the night out on the town the night before your Safari begins. But stay in your hotel, have a good dinner and some drinks, and get the rest you need before an early start for your Safari. If you like, take in Kampala at night at the end of your Safari.
For our Clients on Safari, we offer a vehicle and driver-guide for a night on the town with us. Let us know.
Common Sense – never leave home without it and neither leave it in your hotel room – you will enjoy out in the city that never sleeps if you use your common sense.