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“Eating fish” on Lake Victoria – the Muzungu’s guide

Apr 4 • 15002 views • 28 Comments on “Eating fish” on Lake Victoria – the Muzungu’s guide African food, Uganda

“Eating fish” on Lake Victoria – the Muzungu’s guide

Regular readers of Diary of a Muzungu will know how much I enjoy venturing off the beaten track and sharing my favourite Uganda travel experiences. Here is my Guide to eating fish, Lake Victoria, Kampala – a few day out ideas you won’t find on any tourist itinerary.

“Eating fish” on the shores of Lake Victoria is very much a “hands-on,” communal experience, great for an Easter weekend outing. Where shall we go this week-end?

Guide to eating fish, Lake Victoria - Diary of a Muzungu

The Muzungu ‘enjoying’ –  Tilapia and chips at Kabaka’s Landing Site. Where to eat fish on Lake Victoria, Uganda

The fishing village of Ggaba derives its name from the Luganda word for ‘serve.’ The small landing site on the edge of Lake Victoria became known for its free and bountiful fish, giving the generous ‘serving’ spirit of the place its name. Ggaba and nearby Munyonyo are reached by driving south (approximately 12 km) from Kampala city centre, through Kabalagala and Kansanga. Ggaba is deliciously close to the Muzungu’s home.

There are different venues for different tastes. Here are my personal favourites.

Ggaba Beach Resort on Ggaba’s waterfront is probably the best-known place to eat fish on the Ugandan shores of Lake Victoria

The Ggaba Beach compound is a mixture of painted white buildings, symmetrical grass lawns and tarmac. There’s no actual beach but it is on the waterfront. It’s safe for kids to run around, but to me the place lacks personality: too much concrete and too many straight lines. That said, the fish is excellent and the service is good.

Guide to eating fish, Lake Victoria - Diary of a Muzungu

Where to eat fish on Lake Victoria. Part of the huge Ggaba Beach compound at Ggaba, Kampala, Uganda

Ggaba Beach is a good place to watch activity on Lake Victoria: wooden ferries moving people and firewood across the waterfront.

Diary of a Muzungu’s day out tips:
• Secure parking costs 1000 shillings.
• Fried whole Tilapia costs 25 / 30 / 35,000 Uganda shillings; 5,000 UGX for chips
• Ggaba Beach is a popular venue for big pop concerts, thus occasionally closed to fish-eating visitors at weekends.
• The music can be LOUD!

• Er… there is no actual ‘beach’ at Ggaba Beach!

Guide to eating fish, Lake Victoria - Diary of a Muzungu

Where to eat fish on Lake Victoria. View from Ggaba Beach compound across to Bole and Mukono. Ggaba, Kampala, Uganda

BEST FOR: families, secure parking, watching life on Lake Victoria

DIRECTIONS: drive to the end of Ggaba Road, through the trading centre and down a short steep hill. Ggaba Beach is the modern white compound in front of you. (Brits: think Butlins!)

Kabaka’s Landing Site (KLS) at Mulungu, Munyonyo

It was from here, in the 1870s, that Kabaka Mutesa embarked on hippo hunting expeditions to Lake Bulingugwe and beyond. The hippos are gone, and so is the Kabaka’s fleet of canoes, but Mulungu is still known as the Royal Port.

Guide to eating fish, Lake Victoria - Diary of a Muzungu

Where to eat fish on Lake Victoria. Brightly coloured umbrellas at Kabaka’s Landing Site – also known as KLS – Mulungu, next to Munyonyo, Kampala

Down at the shorefront restaurants of KLS, there are no frills, just fried whole Tilapia, Nile Perch and reasonably priced drinks beers, sodas and Uganda Waragi gin. Yum!

Guide to eating fish, Lake Victoria - Diary of a Muzungu

It doesn’t get fresher than this! A customer choosing his piece of Nile Perch at KLS Kabaka’s Landing Site. Where to eat fish on Lake Victoria

Diary of a Muzungu’s day out tips:
• Entering the Kabaka’s Landing Site costs 1000 Uganda shillings per person. Money goes to the Buganda Kingdom.
• Whole fried Tilapia are priced at between 15 / 25,000 Uganda shillings; 3,000 UGX for chips
• KLS is a nice spot for bird watching and watching the sun go down over Lake Victoria.
• You can also buy fresh fish, gutted and descaled, to cook at home.
• While you’re sitting on the waterfront, you may be asked if you want to take a boat out into Murchison Bay. I’ve seen a couple of lifejackets, but I’ve also seen people boarding holding bottles of Nile Special. Not entirely sure how safe said boats are…
• Despite outward appearances of KLS, there are decent toilet facilities. Just ask.

Guide to eating fish, Lake Victoria - Diary of a Muzungu

Entry to the Kabaka’s Landing Site is managed by the Buganda Kingdom. Where to eat fish on Lake Victoria. Ggaba, Kampala

Guide to eating fish, Lake Victoria - Diary of a Muzungu

I love being surrounded by nature – but don’t fear the huge Marabou Storks, they are all part of the experience. Where to eat fish on Lake Victoria. Ggaba, KLS Kabaka’s Landing Site

BEST FOR: groups of friends, bird watching, Buganda history

DIRECTIONS: from Ggaba Road, pass Speke Resort Munyonyo and the turning to KSL is a few hundred metres further on the left. The road has recently been tarmacked.

The waterfront market at Ggaba Landing Site

For the more adventurous – and the best prices – head right down to the waterfront itself, where you may even watch your fish being landed and descaled. Men play pool under the tin roofs of the quayside. On the waterfront, the fish is frying and the market is in full swing. It’s a great place to sit and watch the world go by if you enjoy a bit of a crowd.

Diary of a Muzungu. Ggaba landing site, Kampala, Uganda

Diary of a Muzungu at Ggaba landing site on Lake Victoria. PHOTO Isabel Romano, Diario de Abordo

Diary of a Muzungu’s day out tips:
• Ggaba can be congested. If possible, leave your car and walk the last few hundred metres. Alternatively, someone will help you find a place to park, in exchange for a small tip.
• Monday is market day, however, every day you can buy fresh fish, smoked fish, the best value dried mukenne (silver fish), all your fruit and vegetables, tripe and offal, everyday household goods and vibrant Tanzanian fabrics, imported via Mwanza, a day’s ferry ride away.

BEST FOR: people watching, shopping

DIRECTIONS: drive to the end of Ggaba Road, through the trading centre and down a short steep hill, on through the market.

Beach House, Event Gardens, Ggaba

Undoubtedly the most laidback place to eat fish, Beach House is a favourite with couples, students from Kampala University accommodation and groups of friends. On Sunday afternoons it’s a popular hang-out for a small group of bikers.

Guide to eating fish, Lake Victoria - Diary of a Muzungu

Beautifully wrapped packets of g nuts (ground nuts) arrived just in time to go with my beer, courtesy of this friendly young man with very cool shades. Beach House Event Gardens, Ggaba.

I love the lake view and the flocks of Marabou Storks with their background of Papyrus swamp. Kick off your shoes and enjoy the feel of grass under your feet.

Guide to eating fish, Lake Victoria - Diary of a Muzungu

Quiet gardens on the edge of Lake Victoria at Beach House Event Gardens, Ggaba – can get busy at week-ends, especially with students from the next door Kampala University accommodation. Where to eat fish.

Where to eat fish on Lake Victoria. Ggaba, Kampala

Once you see this view, turn left and head down to Beach house Event Gardens. Students from Kampala University walking to Ggaba market

Diary of a Muzungu’s day out tips:
• As well as whole fried Tilapia, Beach House also sells roasted meat (muchomo) in the evenings.
• A whole Tilapia and chips costs 30 k.
• There is a small car park, for which there is no charge.
• Here you can catch a boat across Murchison Bay to Bole and Mukono District. Ask someone to call the boat over while you have a beer. It should cost you just 8,000 UGX to hire a boat to take you across. This is the cheapest way to cross to Lakeside Adventure Park or Lagoon Resort, both brilliant places for a day out or a weekend away. Just say Diary of a Muzungu sent you! (From Bole landing site, you will need to catch a boda for a very scenic 10 minute ride through the Bush).

BEST FOR: nature, watching the sun set over Lake Victoria, romance

DIRECTIONS: There are two ways to reach Beach House: through Ggaba trading centre and then left at the main boda stage, or, passing through Bunga, turn left at the Oryx petrol station (formerly Engen). Look for the Kampala University accommodation signpost.

Thanks for reading The Muzungu’s Guide to eating fish, Lake Victoria, Kampala. I’ve visited all these places and – at the time of visiting – all information was correct, but I can’t guarantee it will remain so. Do check these places out for yourself, and tell me what you think? This blog post is based on an article I wrote for Nakumatt Smartlife magazine.

Have you visited any of these popular lakeside destinations? Where do you recommend going to eat fish in Kampala? I’d love to read your comments 🙂

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28 Responses to “Eating fish” on Lake Victoria – the Muzungu’s guide

  1. Sheila Ejalu says:

    Thanks Charlotte for this review. I live in Kampala but really had no idea where I could enjoy such fresh fish any more on the spot. Since you live so close by, one of these days I’ll come round and hang out with you right there. Great stuff. See you soon. Happy Easter.

    • the muzungu says:

      Happy Easter Sheila! You should come join us – we’ll be at Kabaka’s Landing Site afternoon, come rain or shine – you know us Brits 🙂
      Tx for the appreciation, had fun researching – eating and drinking! – this article.

  2. Vali Jamal says:

    Been there/done that. These are certainly eating places less-visited but worth a visit. To me there were (haven’t been there in three years) two drawbacks to the servings: They don’t use any spicing; they don’t serve bread or chapatti with the fish. For spicing when I accompanied we’d take along some chili powder; for bread/chapatti we’d stock up from the village. The waiters don’t mind. You missed out the fish fry at Speke Resort on the same shoreline It’s the fav place for Uganda Asians/Indians on Sundays. The fish is spiced. Prices are higher. At Entebbe on the beach just before reaching town and at the Zoo.

    • the muzungu says:

      You’re right Jamal, the only flavourings are chopped onion and salt. As well as taking spices (and bread), I would also suggest taking:
      napkins or ‘baby wipes’
      tonic water (if you’re a Uganda Waragi drinker like me)
      Although the staff come round with water and soap to wash your hands, they aren’t always there when you need them, so napkins would be useful.
      After the sun goes down, it’s quite difficult to see what you are eating – hence the candle suggestion.
      As for tonic water, none of the bars down at Kabaka’s Landing Site ever stock it.
      You’re right, I should add Speke Resort.
      As for days out in Entebbe, that’s a whole blog post in itself! Expect to read it here one day soon 🙂

  3. Most interesting among blogs about Uganda I have stumbled upon, keep up the good work!

  4. […] Apr 4 › “Eating fish” on Lake Victoria – the Muzungu’s guide » […]

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  6. […] Apr 4 › “Eating fish” on Lake Victoria – the Muzungu’s guide » […]

  7. Richard says:

    am loving the stay of various mzunguz in uganda. i appreciate to there stay that they got love to our developing country.
    your all the best.. i wish i had that alot…. i would have invited all of you for a lunch.
    good job.

  8. kevin says:

    nice blog but that isn’t KK beach. It’s actually gaba beach(kk beach is their neighbor) – [blog corrected and updated]

    • the muzungu says:

      Dear Kevin, thanks for taking the time to correct me. You’re totally right – by the time I wrote this blog, I knew every other place except K.K. Beach – which I’ve visited twice now. Next revision of this blog also needs to feature Speke Resort Munyonyo, which has the best [actual!] beach of all of them.
      Where do you go to eat fish? Which place is your favourite?

  9. […] Lake Victoria is the world’s largest freshwater tropical lake and sits as the jewel in the crown of the African Great Lakes region. Sitting across the borders of Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania, this is where the Nile begins, which was one of the world’s most historically significant rivers. The lake itself is home to some fascinating features, such as the different islands and reefs to enjoy. The peninsulas and islands of Lake Victoria are home to some luxury lodges where you can relax near the glistening waters and take tours around the lake to see some of the unique features and wildlife. A great place to visit to experience the Lake Victoria region from Uganda is the town of Entebbe where you can feel the breeze from the fantastic lake. Here you can enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and the botanical gardens, which are visited by many different bird species. You can also meet one of the sources of the great Nile in Jinja to imagine where this river runs and the history linked to this incredible waterway. The most popular Lake Victoria island to visit from Entebbe is Ngamba Island, which is home to a private chimpanzee sanctuary protecting orphaned chimpanzees. The sanctuary was set up by the Chimpanzees Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWCT) and funded by a number of organizations, including the Born Free Foundation, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and the Jane Goodall Institute. A travel blogger who visited Lake Victoria from Uganda is Charlotte from […]

  10. […] A travel blogger who visited Lake Victoria from Uganda is Charlotte from […]

  11. Ggaba Landing Site is a favorite, easily accessible and reasonable pricing. However, it becomes challenging when it rains and the access routes are muddy and clogged with parked cars. Otherwise, its lake view makes you forget the hustle getting as you chomps on those fish bone.s

  12. Chong says:

    I’m an expat myself in Kampala.
    I wonder why they only prepare fish one way (fried)
    Do you think it’s because fish are not kept properly cooled from the minute they hit the fishing boat?
    Imagine they filleted it instead and made a delicate dish instead (ceviche even? lol) but this is Uganda after all, so not going to happen.

    • the muzungu says:

      Hi Chong. Down at the lakeside, things are very basic. I can’t say I’ve seen a fridge! I love the fact we’re eating fish that’s straight out of the lake.
      I love the “no frills” set up.
      The prices are low because the food preparation is minimal. There’s certainly room to develop what they have in Ggaba and Munyonyo, but I love that the area is packed with couples and families. It would be a shame if they were priced out.
      If you want ceviche (or fresh raw fish) I’m sure Yujo, the Japanese restaurant, in town can help. The Sheraton Hotel also has a seafood buffet.

  13. kakoma says:

    Thanks for this guide. Was looking for a place in Gaba to take a group of friends a few weeks ago; should have seen this then! Great tips

  14. […] I told him that I thought I’d caught Malaria in Ggaba, he said: “Yes, well that’s Ggaba, that’s not […]

  15. […] won’t always get Bilharzia if you swim in Lake Victoria and, if you do, it may take weeks, months or even twenty years for you to show […]

  16. […] from Kampala is marked by streaks of pink and orange daybreak filtering over Port Bell and Lake Victoria. Houselights twinkle in the darkness. Kampala is so pretty at this time of […]

  17. […] my blog “Eating fish” – where to eat fish on Lake Victoria for the full lowdown on Kabaka’s Landing Site and other places you can eat fish by the […]

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