Imagine having all of your weekend catered for in one place. There is no worry about someone driving away in your car, as it is being washed. You can monitor the whole process from a bar while watching football. Sounds cool, doesn’t it? Then take note of the modern car washing bays, with bars, restaurants, and even spas they are the latest fad to hit Kampala.
Since Kampalans are renowned for finding a good thing and immediately copying the idea, car wash bars are popping up all over the city. Most proprietors start with the car wash but with business booming, they open up a bar and restaurant. However, some have taken this trend a notch higher by not remaining with three in one but with a multi-purpose joint to cater to everyone.
Auto Fusion and Spa
Take for instance Auto Fusion and Spa at lower Buziga off Cape Road towards Munyonyo. Here, there is a health centre for massage and sauna services, a Wi-Fi business centre a play centre for children and a unisex beauty parlor.
There are two bars and a restaurant. Unlike elsewhere, Auto Fusion and Spa has spot fishing since this facility is close to the lake. You need not have a car to access this place. However, with several cars parked on the side of the road, you wouldn’t be that far off in thinking there is a party, especially on Saturday and Sunday nights. On Wednesday nights, live band entertainment takes over, you almost forget cars are being serviced nearby.
Pan World at Dewinton road is another multi-purpose joint. Initially started as a mini city car bond for used cars, a bar, unisex salon and restaurant were soon added. For a short stint, this place hosted a stand-up comedy outfit every Thursday night. For those looking for an extended lunch break, you can have your hair cut, have some lunch and buy a car while washing your old one. Opposite Theatre La Bonita and Christ the King church is another place that acts as a car wash but inside the enclosure are cars on sale. There is also a fast food joint and although it closes early for Kampala standards, it also acts as a small drinking joint.
Kifansalira Jet Car Wash
Along Gaba road is New Kifansalira Jet Car wash, bar and restaurant. It is located at the extreme end of Kansanga, at the approach to the swampy area near Bunga. There is also a full scale bar rubbing shoulders with this car wash. Sometimes, there are promotional nights attracting revelers such as Rwandan night where Rwandan ladies provide entertainment.
Jeremy Car Wash
Several years back, Jeremy’s Car Wash, just after the old Postal offices and close to the railway in Kampala, started this modern car washing system complete with drive in machines. Motorists fell in love with it. They would remain in their cars and have the machines do their work. Open throughout the week from 7.30am till about 7.00pm, Jeremy’s also has buffet and a fully stocked bar. In the past, there used to be karaoke entertainment over the weekend. Day and night parking is offered as a separate business.
Waterfalls Express is one of the very first washing bays to use the jet car washing technology. With a branch in Bugolobi near the Shell service station and another at Lumumba Avenue, they also have a beauty salon and restaurant to cater for customers’ other demands.
Car washing rates vary from place to place and which part of the car. The body alone, engine wash, vacuum cleaning, seats alone or a thorough valet service all command different rates ranging from UGX5,000 to 50,000 or more, depending on size of the vehicle and extent of dirtiness. It’s still too early to say if all-purpose car wash bars will be a lasting trend, or a fading fad around Kampala. But one thing is certain; they are a convenient, fun, and interesting way to keep the party going.