Ugandans are getting serious about fitness. Just drive over Tank Hill in Muyenga one evening and you’re likely to see as many joggers as cars slogging up the steep hill…and sometimes the joggers are faster.
For many though, gyms are a great way to burn off the lunchtime buffet and stress of long days sat behind a desk. For others, the chance to build muscle and impress the ladies is irresistible. Everyone, though, is looking to stay healthy and no matter your motivation, gym usage in Uganda is on the rise. So whether you’re building biceps in Bugolobi, Bukoto or Bunga, or toning your muscles in Munyonyo, Muyenga or Makerere, there is bound to be a gym in Kampala for you.
The gyms with the greatest variety of equipment are invariably at the big hotels of the city, and are unsurprisingly the most expensive. At Kabira Country Club in Bukoto, there are countless treadmills, bikes and weight machines. Facilities are modern and second to none, with a good mixture of free weights and machines. At 30,000 UGX for gym use, including swimming pool, sauna and squash court, Kabira is at the upper end of the gym spectrum. However, if you wanted a truly indulgent exercise day, for 25,000 UGX the club offers a one hour full body massage, which is exceptional value and well worth it. The Speke Resort at Munyonyo is also an excellent gym choice, and for 30, 000 UGX you get use of the gym, squash court and Olympic size swimming pool. Facilities are of similar quality.
In the centre of town, Garden City contains a well-stocked and popular health club with an excellent range of modern gym equipment for all tastes. A variety of classes, including aerobics and pilates, are held regularly and a number of serious lifters populate the weights benches. With a scenic open view of the golf course this is a great place to work out. At 18,000 UGX per session, it is pricey but very convenient for an after-work workout. The Sheraton boats tennis and squash courts in addition to the gym all available for 15,000 UGX per person but the gym lacks the variety of equipment of the other higher priced gyms.
For those looking for a decent gym on a lower budget, southern Kampala has many options. Hotel International on Tank Hill, Muyenga has a decent gym at approximately 10,000 UGX per session, although the range of cardiovascular equipment far outstrips the more meagre selection of weights equipment. The Muyenga Club on the opposite side of the road, has some weights machines, although most of them are several decades old. However, with squash being only 10,000 UGX per game, the squash court is very popular. Headed down the hill, Bamboo Health Club also has a decent gym, and at 5,000 UGX UGX per session offers aging machines with decent variety and overall value. It has some free weights too for the more experienced weight lifter.
Towards Munyonyo, Buziga Country Resort has a well-stocked, if crowded, gym in a series of tiny rooms located at one side of the hotel. The weights machines are in good condition and there are some good free weight options. The treadmills, however are manual and not electronic. At 5,000 UGX though it’s very affordable, even if it is perhaps not the best choice for a cardiovascular workout.
The best value gym at present is arguably RM gym in Kansanga, on Ggaba Road just past the trading centre. For 5,000 UGX there is a small variety of cardiovascular equipment and a decent range of free and machine weights. Sauna and massage facilities are available at extra cost. As with all of these gyms, membership is available, but remember to calculate honestly how many sessions you are likely to commit to in a month before you make the payment.
Whether you are looking to pile on pounds of muscle or keep the pounds off, Kampala is full of gyms that will meet your needs, and many more are starting up. Exercise has been proven to make you stronger, healthier and happier. So give no excuses, get off the sofa and get exercising!