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“It's OK”

Backpackers Hostel & Campsite
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Backpackers Hostel & Campsite
Ranked #45 of 126 Speciality Lodging in Kampala
Edmonton, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“It's OK”
Reviewed 10 September 2013

Overall this hostel has a lot going for it. But it clearly is not trying very hard -- it's coasting off a great Lonely Planet write-up. It doesn't list with the Hostel Booking websites for a reason in my opinion. However, they have a great travel desk with very helpful staff.

The pros:
-Good food
-Nice staff -- Sharon was great.
-A reasonable location (easy to use the dalas and boda bodas)
-Fast Wifi! The best I had seen to date in Africa!
-People of all ages were there which made it fun.
-Very safe -- numerous uniformed guards with AK's at the gate attest to that.

The cons:
-Expensive food and drinks
-My single room was dismal but cost effective
-I got zapped (lightly though, no harm done) touching the shower handle
-No book exchange
-Pay for WiFi access? Seriously?

On the whole it was more than OK, but would get chewed up if an aggressive and hungry new backpacker-orientated hostel came to Kampala.

Room Tip: The Gorilla room was like a prison cell but the mosquito net was appreciated.
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
Thank travelburro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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94 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (17)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Portland, Oregon
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 August 2013

Being a hostel, it provided exactly what was anticipated: a clean bunk with a mosquito net, showers and toilets, some wifi, and a place to buy a hot meal and an adult beverage.

After a week without access to running water, I was eagerly anticipating a solid, hot shower. However, although the water was warm, the pressure was so weak that the water was the thinnest trickle that could still technically count as a shower. (The string of water was as wide as a stripe of toothpaste.) However, given the generally limited access to water in Kampala as a whole, this sufficed and was a huge upgrade from my previous week of NO showers.

For my first nights, I was placed in a 12-bunk room all by myself. Being a solo traveler, I was simultaneously relieved and disappointed, as I got solid sleep but felt isolated.

On my last night, a large (and loud) teenage group came in, and I was moved to another very crowded 12-bed room. After I settled in for the night, a man tentatively came to my bedside and whispered, "Excuse me, but I think you're in my bunk."

It turns out he had been moved to another bunk but then moved back, and in that interim, I was assigned to his bunk-- so it was double booked. It was a bit awkward to climb down in the dark and tiptoe through the trying-to-sleep room to get it sorted out. In the end, I had to gather my things (still in the dark, with 11 trying-to-sleep folks around us) and move to another room-- a different 12-bed room with no one else in it. It was a strange turn of events.

The wifi, though present, was in high demand, and as such, thready, slow, and generally intermittently functional. However, it was better than the zero wifi I had experienced earlier. There were plugs available in the restaurant / bar area, but many did not work. The employees were willing to plug in phones and other devices to the reliable outlets behind the bar.

It was easy to catch a matatu into "town" from the street in front of the hostel, but I was disappointed there were no tours available on the days I was staying there.

Overall, it was a great investment for the money (about $7 per night). I met some interesting folks and experienced some memorable events, and this made a decent home base for this part of my adventure.

Room Tip: Wifi in the rooms only works in rooms near the restaurant/ bar.
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
Thank AnitaLovesTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 7 August 2013

After having spent 2 months in Uganda and in numerous hotels and hostels, Backpackers was by far the worst. From the outside it looked nice and my friends and I were excited to try a new place to stay in Kampala as we usually stay at New City Annex which has a much better location, lower prices and self contained rooms. Backpackers offered none of this. Firstly, the location is a bit far from the areas of town we like to go to. We found the staff to be rather unhelpful, sassy, and even gave me a hard time when I asked for a pillow to sleep with. There was no hot water, and in fact no water at all and the toilets were clogged and smelly, as they were not being cleaned out regularly which should be done when there is no water. The food is decent but nothing special, and although there was a good vibe with all the other young people it was not worth it. I would definitely not recommend Backpackers. If you are looking for something cheap, there are plenty of other hotels and hostels in the city that offer lower prices, are walking distance to craft markets and malls, and offer hot water and kind staff.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Victoria R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Kampala hotels

Greenville, North Carolina
Level 6 Contributor
129 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 August 2013

This is a nice hostel in the middle of a big city and provided a nice escape from the normal out of place feeling travelers to this region might have. The price is pretty expected for the area but keep in mind that this hostel is in Africa and it is pretty old so the rooms might be a little run down compared to what you're use to. The bar area doubles as the front desk so it can get a little hectic if you're trying to check in at night. The food/drinks from the bar are great and provide a nice change from local dishes. Would definitely stay here again if I'm in the area!

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank TravelingPirate13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mombasa, Kenya
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 24 June 2013

was there on march 2013,the staffs are so helpful,the bar area is nice place to have a talk with friends.sometimes there is no power or water for couple of hours.
its africa so such things to happen are normal.
will go there again.Becker jay.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank beckerjay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Amman, Jordan
Level 4 Contributor
36 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 June 2013

Since visiting last year, this place has gone totally downhill. No water, poor sanitation, and most of all, not a good vibe. I used to love this place, but everything seems to have deteriorated. I came to Red Chilli and it's a completely different vibe and I am so much happier spending my money here. Do not waste time and money - go to Red Chilli. At least you will be able to shower and go to the toilet in peace, without worrying about water problems.
The beds in Backpackers, however, are better. But water is more important to me.

Room Tip: Anything in Red Chilli
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank ki2140
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 June 2013

We stayed at Backpackers for the last 2 nights in Uganda. All we needed was simple accommodation and that is what they provide, for a fair price.

We had a double Banda for 50,000UGX between the two of us. It was spacious, clean and comfortable.

The bar area is fairly pleasant and the food and drink menus are good too. The Internet is the quickest I've found in Uganda but there is a small charge (2000UGX for 1hr or 5000UGX for 4hrs).

Toilets and showers fulfil a function, they are not especially clean or glamorous but they get the job done. There is hot water but it seems to run out quickly and provides little more than a trickle. If you want a more powerful shower it will be a cool one.

The bar is fairly lively at night and this can be heard from the rooms. Personally I don't find this an issue and have come to expect this from budget accommodation but it's worth being aware of.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Ross T
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

Property: Backpackers Hostel & Campsite
Address: 3 km From the City Centre On the Natete/Wakiliga Rd, Kampala, Uganda
Region: Uganda > Central Region > Kampala
Hotel Style:
Ranked #45 of 126 Speciality Lodging in Kampala
Number of rooms: 23
Also Known As:
Backpackers Hostel & Campsite Hotel Kampala
Backpackers Hostel And Campsite

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