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“An excellent home base”

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Backpackers Hostel & Campsite
Ranked #51 of 138 Specialty Lodging in Kampala
Reviewed May 1, 2012

Convenient to Entebbe Airport, Kampala Backpackers is a great place to set as a home base. Having been working in a village with very primitive living conditions for quite some time, returning to Backpackers from time to time is a pleasant respite.

Excellent value for the money. With attentive and friendly staff, reliable showers, clean rooms and lavatories, this hostel attracts a lot of expats, tourists, graduate students, and most helpful to me, volunteers working for charities or NGOs. A great place to meet a variety of experts in their fields. The atmosphere is friendly and warm, and the campus has a safe, expansive open feel.

Backpackers is like an oasis in Kampala. Close to the center of town (3,000-4000 USh by boda boda), one wouldn't know it's so close to such a noisy, sprawling metropolitan center.

The menu offers simple variety, and the recent addition of a wood fired pizza oven has pleasantly expanded the options. A bit pricy, the pizza is nonetheless excellent, and a nice break from motoke or pasho.

I'll be returning to Uganda to further my work next year, and Backpackers will once again be my home base.

Room Tip: The dormitory sleeping is tidy, clean, and secure. But for a little more, I chose a single room. A...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled solo
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2  Thank 43Brian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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73 - 79 of 96 reviews

Reviewed April 11, 2012

The hostel was an enjoyable break from being on Makerere Campus for 3 weeks. It is a busy place but has a great open concept. There is ample outdoor areas for lounging and camping. Food was also great, I spent about 30,000 shil minimum on food and drink pre day. Power outages were a problem, especially if you are relying on a computer-keep charged! I had a single room, which could really use a mat to cover up the massive holes in the tiles (mats are really cheap!) The other issue in that area is the echo-if you get one group of drunk 19 year olds who have no concept that other people are there sleeping-you are in for loud night. There could be a quiet policy at some point, in that area. Staff are friendly!

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled solo
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2  Thank Leah G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2012

We stayed at both Red Chilis and backpackers. We should have never moved out of Red Chilis!

As we were travelling for one year and on a low budget, we opted to stay in the dorm room. We spent 10 months backpacking through Third World countries, so are by no means fussy or have high expectations, but I can open and honestly say that this was filthiest place we have ever slept in.

The toilets never flush, and so they make you use the longdrop oners.
Hot water is erratic.
The power is out most of the day. I know TIA but only having power a few hours a day is inconvenient and never happened to us anywhere else in Africa.
There is a few computers and internet, but see above.
Food is ok, nothing special, but order early, as waits are loooooong.
Staff is a bit hit and miss, there was one guy who is always super helpful and friendly.
The boda ride into town didnt bother us too much, you can also flag down a matatatu.
The room was the worst of all. Only one small window, and that led into a hallway rather than outside, so fresh air was scarce. The mattresses were just thin foam ones, and they smelled so bad and were so disgusting that is was almost unbearable. We slept in our silk liners and washed them a couple of times as soon as we left Backpackers.
The whole room smelled musty and just yuk.

The other thing that really bothered us staying there was, and I dont now how to say this, the clientele that stayed there. Dont get me wrong, we are in our mid 20s, and we do choose hostels for a reason, but Backpackers was full of 18yo British (sorry) Gap year students, who went out partying every single night. Being social and meeting people is one thing, sitting in smoke clouds between drunk party goers and not getting any sleep is the other.

To sum it up, we would not stay here again and certainly wouldnt rrecommend it either!

Room Tip: Whatever you do, dont stay in the dorm room!
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  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Kornspitz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2012

Basic accommodation but made up for by lovely staff, great food and atmosphere. Safari was brilliant. Fantastic value.

  • Stayed: November 2011
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3  Thank BeaB9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 12, 2011

Decent place with lots of travellers and cool common spaces. Single rooms were tiny (closet). No water and toilets were always full with sewage and used paper. Electricity goes off for the majority of the day / week. The only reason I found this frustrating was because other places I stayed in Kampala did not have this problem. Filtered coffee at bar is great! Other food is good but pricy for Kampala. I would choose to not stay here again.

Room Tip: Single rooms do not offer much privacy due to open air.
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  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled solo
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Thank Kumbi_Sahel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2011

A repeated question among East African backpackers is where to stay in Kampala - Backpackers or Red-Chili?
Well, until the guys at backpackers get their toilets to work the answer is easy. That's right, no flushing toilets! When we stayed there they posted signs on their locked toilets blaming Uganda's electricity company for not having water and therefore closing all the toilets. (I must say that the signs looked older than a few days - probably weeks)

Sad, pathetic, unacceptable - circle the correct answer...

Needless to say where I moved to after one night.

And yes, the Red-Chili does suffer from lackadaisical staff but they have that basic necessity called water.

Room Tip: probably your own tent
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  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank Ido H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 14, 2011

Guidebooks frequently lump Backpackers and Red Chili Hideaway together. We've stayed in both and Red Chili is superior in every respect. A quick rundown of Backpackers: our first room had bed bugs, they try to stop you from using the flush toilets (the other ones are gross), the food is not good and the menu is severely limited (and many things on the menu, such as pizza, aren't available often), and the overall place is shabby and run down. On the plus side the staff is friendly, the free wifi works well, and the showers are hot.. Red Chili has all the same plusses and is clean, neat, has decent food, and costs about the same.

Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
1  Thank led760
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Backpackers Hostel & Campsite

Address: 3 km From the City Centre On the Natete/Wakiliga Rd, Kampala, Uganda
Location: Uganda > Central Region > Kampala
Hotel Style:
Ranked #51 of 138 Specialty Lodging in Kampala
Number of rooms: 23
Also Known As:
Backpackers Hostel & Campsite Hotel Kampala
Backpackers Hostel And Campsite

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