A lot more to Munyonyo

Wednesday July 25 2012

By Grace Kenganzi

For people not familiar with this area, the name Munyonyo is synonymous with the Commonwealth Resort, which has made the area popular, especially in the past 20 years. And as a result, what started out as a small fishing village of sorts is now an eclectic, largely residential community—eclectic in ethnicity, religion, economic activity and the income bracket of its residents.

You will find Munyonyo tucked in Makindye Division with Buziga to the north, Salaama to the northeast, Lake Victoria to the south, Bulingugwe Island to the southeast, Ggaba in the east, Lubowa to the west and Makindye in the northwest.

In Munyonyo, wealth and poverty snuggle up to each other, and so you will find the beautiful mansions and behind their high walls, shanty houses, accommodating more than three families. Despite this, crime in Munyonyo is not commonplace since it has a fully functional police post with a holding cell. Also, most gated residents employ security guards and dogs, which make it robbery difficult. The police records more attempted robberies than actual ones.

Land and housing
In the past 20 years, more people have moved to Munyonyo, making the price of land housing quite high. In the early 1990s, a quarter of an acre cost Shs2.5m at least that is what Mr James Arinitwe paid in 1995. Today the same piece of land costs Shs200m.

Though the majority of Munyonyo’s residents are Ugandan, there is also a largely international community, scattered all around. Because of this, some property agents price their land and property in dollars. For instance, Uganda Property Agents’ portfolio lists beach front property of one to two acres, costing $250,000 to $500,000. So if you plan on buying land in Munyonyo, prepare to part with a sizeable amount.

For someone planning to rent, housing is as expensive as Shs2m a month or as cheap as Shs250,000, depending on the size of the house. The first are two-three bedroomed houses in upscale neighbourhoods, with gated fences and the latter are detached or semi-detached houses with shared fencing.

There are also fully furnished houses and apartments like Munyonyo villas, which are also priced by the dollar. Most of these establishments offer internet services, a generator and cable TV. If you want to buy land, or rent a house, most reputable estate agents and brokers can help and the area also has local brokers, who can take you around at fee and the community centre can help you locate them.

Munyonyo has government and private primary and secondary schools, though none of them widely known. For that, most residents take their children to schools outside this area. The sight of school vans and buses is common in the morning and evening because of this. The buses and vans navigate the area smoothly since most of the roads are good and they are usually maintained by private individuals, after whom some of the roads are named.

Munyonyo has access to treated piped water since it is very close to the Ggaba water plant so residents rarely have water problems. Electricity in the area is subject to Umeme’s load shedding troubles, though Umeme responds quickly when complaints to do with electrical faults are called in.

Main attractions
The biggest attraction to this area is the five-star Commonwealth resort, where the 2007 Commonwealth Head of Governemnts Meeting was held. Here, you can enjoy boat rides, horse racing, and the other joys a hotel has to offer.

Munyonyo also has Christian landmarks, where some of the Uganda Martyrs were killed. There is the King’s court, a shrine to mark the place where Andrea Kaggwa was beheaded, and Denis Ssebugwawo’s monument. These attract people, especially in June.

Since Munyonyo is bordered by the lake, some people have taken advantage of this for private boat rides. So you can find people taking a sail on the water, during the weekend. Others indulge in a little fishing, more for recreation than catching food.

Connecting to Kampala
Munyonyo is approximately 13km away from the Kampala city centre by road. If you are using public transport, prepare Shs2,600 for a to and from journey. Considering that most homes are off the main road, prepare at least Shs5,000 to cover all transport costs, including boda bodas.