As you approach Hima Town from Kasese on Kasese-Fort Portal Road, two structures stand tall in the company of an allée of different species of trees on the right and left side of the road. These two structures of Hima factories are the main features that tell the story of Hima Town.
The cement factories have turned the area into an investment hub for commercial housing for business and accommodation facilities.
Hima continues to see rapid growth in real estate as many investors are still rushing to the area to buy land for investment.
Hima is located in Hima Town Council, Kasese District, 23 kilometres from Kasese Town along Kasese-Fort Portal road and 56 kilometres from Fort Portal town on Fort Portal-Kasese Road.
Many travellers coming from Fort Portal Town going to Hima prefer using buses because the cost is lower than that of taxis. A bus ride costs Shs5,000, while a taxi is Shs4,000.
However, both 14-seater taxi and bus rides from Kasese Town to Hima cost Shs2,000.
Alternatively, one can access Hima by air transport.
Hima is a stop point for travellers going to Kasese, Bushenyi, Mbarara and Bwera border with Democratic republic of Congo.
Truck drivers, who ferry pozzolana from Kabarole District sleep in Hima Town, and have boosted local businesses such as restaurants and accommodation.
Other travellers, especially tourists going to Queen Elizabeth National Park in Kasese District using Fort Portal-Kasese Road, always stop in Hima to shop for merchandise. Queen Elizabeth National Park is 67 kilometres away from Hima Town.
Many service providers in Hima Town have named their businesses such as health facilities, fuel stations, clinics, and cooperative societies after Hima to gain from the benefits that come with a known brand name.
Besides the factories, Hima has many other commercial structures coming up.
Bosa Banywani, who owns a boutique in Hima Town, reasons that their area is experiencing rapid growth in housing investment because it is synonymous with Hima cement, which has attracted many investors. He says the existence of Hima cement factory and upgrade of the 56 kilometre Hima-Fort Portal Town Road that is being tarmacked is the reason many investors are rushing to the area to grab plots of land from landowners to put up investments.
“These two factories employ many workers who have rented many houses and investors have decided to tap into this opportunity by investing in housing,” Bosa Banywani says.
He says Hima has undeveloped plots that are available for sale in the neighbouring places, has got fertile soils that support the growing of maize of large scale, which has caused scramble for land in the area.
Cost of land
Banywani says an acre of land outside town that cost Shs500,000 10 years ago now goes for Shs20m.
In 2017, Banywani bought an acre of land kilometres away from Hima Town at Shs5m but now he has partition the acre of land into plots of 50 by 100ft selling each at Shs5m. He says a 50x100ft plot along the main road costs between Shs18m and Shs30m.
There are many commercial houses available for rent. Front commercial rooms on the main road go for between Shs100, 000 and Shs150, 000 while back rooms for accommodation are between Shs50, 000 and Shs70, 000.
There is a police station located in the middle of the town. There is also Hima army barracks three kilometres away.