Nakasero Market has served as one of Kampala’s main trade spots since 1895. The vibrant and often chaotic market offers insight into local life and serves as a stark contrast to the embassies and elite hotels that surround it. Fresh produce can be purchased in the the large outdoor section, while the indoor portion specialises in clothes, machinery, and souvenirs.
It’s recommended to browse the stalls with a guide to secure the best deals and overcome the language barrier; many city tours feature Nakasero Market and provide an easy way for travelers to orient themselves in bustling Kampala, which can often feel overwhelming for first-time visitors. If visiting independently, you can pick up well-priced souvenirs or fill your bag with fresh fruit. Look out for fast food vendors selling fried grasshoppers orrolexes (omelette-and-vegetable-stuffed chapati).
Things to Know Before You Go
Nakasero Market is a commercial hub that provides insight into local life in Kampala.
Remember that fresh, locally-sourced produce won’t keep as long as store-bought stuff back home.
The labyrinthine market can get hectic, so it’s worth exploring with a local where possible.
Bartering is expected; be sure to bring smaller notes.
As with any city market, be mindful of your belongings.
How to Get There
Conveniently located in the city center, the market is easily accessible on foot,matutu (bus), orboda boda (motorbike taxi). City tours offer hassle-free navigation between Kampala’s central attractions.
When to Get There
Prices are generally lower early in the morning, when new stock has just arrived. Visit early to secure the best deals and beat the daytime crowds.
Owino Market (St Balikuddembe Market)
Combine your visit with a trip to Kampala’s biggest market for a comprehensive shopping experience. It’s easy to spend a whole afternoon browsing Owino’s labyrinthine avenues; from second-hand designer garments to fragrant and exotic spices, the stalls have it all. Interestingly, most of the market’s 50,000 vendors are women.