Kinshasa (DRC) is the largest city in Africa by population size followed by Lagos Nigeria. Nairobi, Kenya holds the tenth population while Kampala, Uganda is the 23rd largest city in Africa with a population of close to 3.5 million people. By it’s mere population, Kampala city is a big metropolis. Currently the city metropolitan area extends up to 18 kilometers in radius and still expanding. In the coming ten to twenty years, the city will have expanded to cover far flung areas like Kayunga, Gobero after Wakiso, Kammengo on Masaka road Bombo town Mityana in Mubende road and Lugazi on Jinja Road. The city is facing unprecedented population pressure which, if not controlled, it will soon become one of the largest sprawls on the continent. The city is continually expanding horizontally instead of vertically. This is mainly attributed to poverty and lack of resources to build skyscrapers. Most of the buildings in Kampala are individually owned which implies that people with limited access to capital put up small housing units on tiny pieces of land.
The housing mortgage market in the country is still in it’s infancy with very few financial institutions ready to provide long term financial equity to support the budding industry. A few individuals who have some liquidity are putting up arcades and shopping malls yet these remain are also small and not up to international standards. Many of them are occupying small pieces of land since they cannot afford to purchase bigger tracts that would be ideal for modern shopping centres. Majority don’t have adequate parking space while others are three floor buildings occupying less than an acre piece of land. The largest shopping mall in Kampala today is Game shopping area in Lugogo. The other is Garden city followed by Oasis Mall on Yusuf Luke Road. Many more are coming up along the road corridors on major routes out of the city but these are still limited in size due to lack of adequate space. Metroplex shopping mall on the northern bypass was one of the largest shopping centres outside the city centre but has since lost business and is on the verge of total collapse. Acacia mall is perhaps the most popular mall currently. It has an advantage of being close to the city and yet quite modern. The architectural design is the best in Uganda so far. No wonder it’s highly patronized by expatriate community.
When you fly over Kampala city during day time you will see one of the most disorganized urban areas with dust covered brown rooftops. The CBD is quite small with a few noticeable buildings clamped together along Kampala road and Jinja Road. The outlying areas are dotted with several buildings which lack modernity in terms of both design and appearance. Most parts of the city are covered with dust with just a few green spaces. Surprisingly the areas surrounding the city in the suburbs look splendidly beautiful with natural green plantation cover still intact. Areas of Jinja with sugar plantations look just fantastic through aerial view. the same applies to Entebbe area as well as Masindi and the section all the way from the Kenya boarder. The entire lake Victoria basic is splendidly beautiful save for the shares that share the boundary with Kampala city. The shorelines have kept the natural greenery that is serene and inviting. Welcome to the city of Kampala.