Affordable getaway homes for festive season

Wednesday December 11 2019

Pearl Cottages in Kiwatule, Kampala. One can

Pearl Cottages in Kiwatule, Kampala. One can rent such fully-furnished apartments as getaway homes for the festive season. Photo by Tony Mushoborozi 

By Tony Mushoborozi

The festive season is upon us. Most people will get long breaks from work, to enable them go and celebrate with their families. Others will get their end-of-year bonuses as a pat on the back for the hustle they braved. These two factors alone (and there are several more) make it possible to get away from familiar surroundings, mostly for sanity’s sake.

Such homes are found on Lake fronts such as Entebbe, Jinja or Munyonyo, and upper scale neighbourhoods such as Kololo, and quiet suburbs such as Bunga, Lubowa and Naalya.
Generally, it is usually the kind of place that brings calm to the mind. Even if it is built in a place that is known for noise, such cottages are usually tacked away in leafy gardens, off the road and outside the residential and business centers.

These hospitality gems are for people that can’t travel far away from home. Maybe they have a little baby and would love to stay far enough from familiar neighborhoods and close enough to their paediatrician. Some won’t be caught over-spending. Experience has taught them that January is actually Jan-worry. So when they think of a getaway, they are thinking “close and affordable”. And the real estate players know this.

Real estate innovation
That is where the fully furnished apartments come in. They are found all over Kampala and other major towns such as Entebbe and Jinja. They have been established to fill this gap. They are usually as posh as fancy hotels: leafy gardens, beautiful finishing, secluded locations, amazing living quarters, and all the trappings of comfort. As a rule, the furnished apartments are always a lot cheaper than hotels.

In the quieter, fancier parts of Kiwatule for instance, there are cottages that one can rent.
Granted, all suburbs to the North of Kampala are mostly clogged with residential homes and hence not very quiet. But these fully furnished apartments are in very quiet locations. Some of these are little cottages that fit into each other like a jigsaw puzzle, yet distinctly detached from each other.

“We designed these apartments to offer ultimate rest to our clients,” says Jolly Joe Samula, the proprietor of one of the properties in Kiwatule.
“My little travel has taught me that detached cottages greatly enhance rest as opposed to side-by-side bedrooms housed in one huge block. In cottages like this, you are only distracted by the noise you create yourself. If you don’t, you don’t.”


In comparison, another such property has a great lake view near Munyonyo. Lake Victoria Maisonattes is a large structure that hold several flats. While one is comprised of cottages and the other a large high rise structure, both offer very quite spacious environments. While the former is surrounded by a dainty young garden, the latter has a magical views of the lake.

Such properties tend to encourage big groups to live together. They are usually made up of two bedrooms or more, leased together. They usually come fully furnished with comfy furniture and appliances, cooking gas, satellite TV and so on. Some even step it up with free WiFi.

Depending on location, some of these homes go for between $50 (about Shs184,000) to 150 (about Shs552,000) a night for a two-bedroom cottage or flat. The three-bedroom ones range between $100 (about Shs368,000) to $250 (about Shs921,000) a night. Such homes in Entebbe, Munyonyo, Jinja and Kololo being the most expensive areas.

The overriding point is that it is always cheaper than living in a hotel. “The innovative idea that cuts the rates heavily is the fact that the services are shared between the residents and the property management,” says Mariam Nampijja, the PR for one of the cottages in Kampala.

These homes offer enough space to make it possible retreat with your entire family. This is quite innovative. And depending on your kind of family traditions, you will either love or hate the fact that you will cook for yourselves. But then again, the online food-ordering apps are closer than friends these days.

The best way to find the getaway home for you this Christmas might be online searching. This narrows down your search to a desired location, price, specifications, and so on.
An online search should be able to give you the aura of the apartments, and help you chose those you can visit to inspect. So get searching.

So can you book for Christmas now? Apparently, it might be too late. Christmas bookings in such properties are made early in the year. The clientele, Ugandans in the diaspora mostly. “Most Ugandans in the diaspora sold everything when they left the country. So when they visit, they have to live in a rented apartment or hotel. These furnished apartments (and condominium properties) are built with that in mind,” says Cissy Namaganda, CEO of Cinam Properties, a company that deals in Condominiums.
The great news is that the festive season is longer than Christmas.