Shops in Uganda are closed on Sundays and have limited hours on Saturdays, but from Monday to Friday visitors can shop all they like from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. There are plenty of great shopping opportunities in the larger, more visited cities where cheap clothing and crafts can be found. Probably one of the most popular shopping destinations is Kampala’s Owino Market, which is the largest market in Uganda. Be prepared to bargain to get the best deals possible. On the complete opposite end of the scale is the massive Garden City Mall, which is filled with a plethora of shops dotted on three levels. The Fair Trade Craft 2000 is an excellent place to snatch up handmade fare trade gifts and souvenirs, while the Uganda Arts & Crafts Village is best for truly unique handicrafts from all over the country that can be grabbed for a steal for those that are good at bargaining.
There are also some great opportunities to shop outside of the capital city, like in Jinja. Main Street is lined with shops selling really unique items that are hard to find elsewhere, including paintings, drums, Ugandan guitars and regional handicrafts. Fort Portal is famed for its tea and some very high quality teas can be purchased, including ones that are beneficial to one’s health such as anti-allergy tea, anti-obesity tea, anti-cancer tea, anti-viral tea and anti-bacterial tea, among others.
This is by far Uganda’s busiest and largest market, sprawling around Kampala’s Nakivubo Stadium. It consists of booth after booth lined along chaotic alleys selling everything from household appliances to second-hand clothing. Everything here is extremely cheap, especially for those that barter, as merchants are notorious for raising the price for mzungus (tourists). Keep an eye open for well-known Western labels at rock bottom prices.
Garden City Complex
This is as upscale as it gets in Kampala, with three levels lined with shops selling clothing, books, shoes and Western food. It can be found right in the city centre and on top of all of its shops also houses a food court, a cinema and a bowling alley. If you are searching for top end clothing, an expensive pair of shoes, a novel to read or some Western fast-food it is the perfect place. If you are looking for a more authentic shopping experience then steer clear and head to the Owino Market instead.