Top Tips for Parenting in Kampala | By Deborah Isharaza

 We have talked to a lot of parents these last few weeks about what they wished they had known or been told when they first arrived in Uganda. Here are some of the highlights.

Travelling

The rain can bring Kampala to a standstill so don’t plan to cross Kampala with the kids in the car when it’s raining heavily. Kampala also comes to a standstill on the days national schools open and close so don’t plan to travel across Kampala on these days either.

 Come with a car seat to Uganda. Car seats here are low quality and expensive.

 Seat belts are not commonly used in Uganda. If your children will be in a car with a nanny or driver, you cannot over emphasise enough the use of seat belts.

 All travel seems to take forever. Make your kids an I-spy sheet and laminate it so you can reuse it again and again on journeys.

 There are few places to go for a walk around Kampala, mainly because there are very few pavements. Big pushchairs or travel systems are a waste of time, bring a lighter stroller or baby sling for airports and for when you do find somewhere to go for a walk.

 You can drive on your home country Driver’s licence/permit for 6 months and then you need to get a Uganda licence. It is a simple process.

Medical

Doctors here are happy to hand out their phone number so get your favourite doctor’s number and keep it on speed dial. However if you don’t like the diagnosis you were given or your child is not getting better, seek a second opinion.

 Bring or buy pop up mosquito nets for the children so you can set them up in bed anywhere and at any time, especially if you’re travelling and arrive late or have other kids over for a sleepover.

 Give your children malaria prophylaxis when travelling up country.

 You can buy small elasticated mosquito nets that fit snuggly over a car seat or buggy which are great for allowing your child to sleep out in the fresh air or if you are out after dusk. You need to buy these before you come to Uganda or get them made here.

Birthday Parties & Playdates

Expect people to be late both arriving and picking up their children at the end of parties and playdates. Expect siblings to stay for parties too.

 Food is expected at anything you host, so if a party is anyway near a meal time, your guests will expect food.

 If you’re taking the kids out for the day, go early, as everyone visits places late so that’s when places get overcrowded.

Buying Items

All baby products are sold for the same price you buy them overseas, if not more, so bring as much as possible with you. Many items in Kampala are cheap plastic items or poorly made and don’t last long.

 Facebook groups are great for buying and selling items.

 There are very few maternity products available in Kampala so bring them with you from home if you’re planning on having a baby.

 If you are fussy about certain brands (for example baby formula), bring it with you as whilst most things are available here, it might not be the brand you require.