Kisenyi Slum, located in the heart of Kampala adjacent to the capital's central business district, is a huge neighborhood where some of Uganda’s poorest and most vulnerable residents live in extremely close quarters, many without access to running water. Despite these challenges, Kisenyi has a lively, vibrant atmosphere filled with informal businesses—everything from butcher shops and fresh produce vendors to furniture and metalworking shops. It’s been nicknamed Little Mogadishu after the 18,000 Somali refugees who call the slum home.
Visitors to the Kisenyi slum have the opportunity to see how local NGOs have started grassroots projects, such as the Slum Aid Project, to make sustainable contributions to improving the lives of those in Uganda’s most vulnerable populations. With a local Kisenyi resident as a guide, travelers can explore the area and meet district residents to hear stories and gain a clear understanding of the realities and challenges of daily life here. Tours to the slum often stop at the Uganda Parliament building, Owino Market, Nakasero Market, Old Taxi Park, Gaddafi National Mosque, and Lubiri Palace as well.
Things to Know Before You Go
- An educational tour of the slum can offer powerful insight into the Ugandan capital.
- Wear closed-toed shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces.
- Proceeds from Kisenyi tours often go toward funding community projects.
How to Get There
Kisenyi is situated in the heart of downtown Kampala’s central division, and while it’s possible to get there on your own, it’s preferable to visit with an experienced tour guide from the community to make your visit as educational and noninvasive as possible.
When to Get There
Plan to visit Kisenyi during daytime business hours, when the slum’s assorted businesses and small-scale industries are in full swing. March through May and October to November are the rainiest months in Kampala.
A Note on the Ethics of Slum Tourism
We are sensitive to the issues and concerns surrounding slums, and we understand that tours of them may not be suitable for everyone. We strongly believe that these tours are educational and allow for a better understanding of Ugandan life inside Kisenyi.