Entebbe is a city built on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda. The city is the location of Uganda’s international airport. The drive to or from Kampala is about an hour. The United Nations uses Entebbe as a depot and staging area for their vehicles and heavy equipment that are part of peace keeping and other missions in the central African region. Entebbe offers a relaxed stop-over alternative to Kampala on your way into or out of the country by airplane, as the air is clean, the streets are safe to walk, and the old colonial gardens and parks with the lake in the background make for a serene atmosphere.
Entebbe is perhaps most famous for an Israeli commando raid on July 4 1976, when over one hundred mainly Jewish hostages held on a hijacked Air France plane were rescued. The rescue was complicated by the fact that the then Ugandan president, Idi Amin, was supporting the hijackers. Over 40 Ugandan troops were killed by the Israelis during the rescue.
State House, the official residence of the President of Uganda, is on a hill overlooking the center of Entebbe.
Entebbe airport is Uganda’s major gateway and is served by several African and international airlines. As of 2014 there were daily flights from Addis Ababa with Ethiopian, from Cairo with Egyptair, from Dubai on Emirates, from Istanbul with Turkish and from Johannesburg with South African. British Airways, Brussels Airlines and KLM have several flights weekly. Kenya Airlines flies in more than once a day from Nairobi.
To get to Entebbe from the rest of Uganda will usually involve passing through Kampala. Small minibuses go to Entebbe from Kampala every 30 minutes or 1 hour. The fee is UGX3000 (USD1) but for foreigners sometimes the driver will ask UXG6000 USD2. The journey itself takes 45 minutes to 1 hour, much quicker when you avoid Kampala’s chaotic rush hours. You can take the minibus in the minibus station near to the Kampala central market, with signs of every destination served.
Boda-boda (Motorcycle Taxi) is the easiest choice to go around. As boda-boda accidents are one of the most common medical concerns in Uganda, hiring a taxi from a trusted source (decent hotel, friend, or colleague recommendation) may be wiser.
Entebbe’s Zoo – If you are not having any safari planned, this might be your opportunity to catch a glimpse of Africa’s wildlife. The zoo (formally known as Uganda Wildlife Educational Center) has a medium-size collection of wildlife saved from captivity, including lions, rhinos, zebras, crocs, giraffes, hyenas, chimpanzee and others. All animals are held in large, natural-like areas that gives a nice semi-authentic feeling. Admission for foreign adult is 30k Shillings (about $12) and you end up with 1.5-2 hours of good-old fun. The zoo opens daily in 9am and it is advised to come early before the animals go hiding in the shade from the midday’s sun.
Botanical Gardens – while not spectacular, the gardens are of interest to botanists and bird-watchers. They host stands of large trees in a park like setting, an alleged filming site of a “Tarzan” movie, a troop of colobus and vervet monkeys, and various birds. As of 2005, the unofficial guides at the gardens were unusually aggressive for Uganda, and if you engage their services you should agree on a reasonable price beforehand.
Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary – This is the most loved Sanctuary situated into Lake Victoria and it protects the orphaned chimps and for your holiday in Entebbe take a boat cruise (speedboat) of 45 minutes from the water front club and visit the places in one day.
Boat trips on Lake Victoria. These include fishing trips for clients having more time in Entebbe and the fishing trips starts from the water front club.
Fresh fruits and wonderful, sweet smelling, black German bread at the authentic, if somewhat cheesy, bakery that opened its doors on the lakeside in early 2008. A popular retreat for all tourists and not simply Germans, Cafe Bavariana offers excellent pastries and proper mirco foam cappucinos and other espresso based coffees. They are particularly proud of the organic, free-trade, coffee that they procure from the gorilla-clad slopes near the Rwandan border. Open six days a week, Monday to Saturday, from 7.30am until 10pm.
4 Points, Kampala Road, (By the airport and Pearls supermarket). Great Indian food, good atmosphere cheap beer. Has a bar with a pool table, and expats are welcome.
The Gately, Kampala Road. Thai inspired menu. Open for breakfast, and is the only “English” breakfast other then the Boma (need reservations. Friendly atmosphere and warm, oddly quick, service. edit
China Garden, Kampala Road (Across the street from the war monument). Every town has a Chinese restaurant. The food is good, and its all outdoors so watch the weather.
Goretti’s Pizza, Lake Victoria. A good pizza by the lake. Service is very slow, so plan on having a few drinks. Beautiful scenery, sand in your toes kind of place. Don’t go around dusk unless you don’t mind being eaten while you eat.
Nickey’s Pizza, Kampala Road (Beside the mosque). Wood fired, clay oven pizza. Indoor and outdoor seating. Slot machines and a pool table. Good service and good pizza.
Faze 3. New place in town. Great Deck, overlooks the lake. Good assortment of western and Indian foods. Try the daily pot pie. Great coffee end excellent fruit shakes!