In Kampala, you have an interesting mix of old and new, African and Western, sophisticated and basic when it comes to shopping. In parts of the city there are markets that look as if they've not changed in 200 years, yet a few minutes away you can find a towering office block and a shopping complex offering designer labels and high tech computing equipment.
The range of goods available has to be the widest on offer in Uganda so if you need anything specialist or luxury its always best to purchase it whilst in Kampala rather than hope to find it elsewhere.
For Ugandan products, and essentials such as vegetables and fruit, its not worth visiting the more expensive western style shops, as the prices will be higher and the goods will have been sourced locally anyway.
Plenty of modern and 'western' style shops exist in purpose built complexes such as Garden City that are designed with richer Ugandans and foreign visitors in mind. Garden City has the feel and atmosphere of a typical western shopping centre or mall, with a mix of supermarkets, luxury goods and fast food outlets. There is air conditioning, an omnipresent security force, plenty of space and even seating and fountains to complete the luxury feel of the complex.
For those with cars, there is a large and tarmaced car park outside the complex, patrolled by armed security guards and probably one of the safest places in Kampala to leave you car.
Prices are higher than you'd expect to pay in other shops or at market stalls, as you'd expect, but many items are still much less expensive that their identical versions found in European stores. A bottle of local gin, for example, is going to cost you about 5000 shillings, instead of 30,000 equivalent in the UK.
If you want luxury goods, especially European and American brands, then Garden City is probably your best bet if you like to do all your shopping in one place.
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