Nkumba, a town with a lot of potential

Wednesday April 1 2020

Nkumba University has become the lifeblood of

Nkumba University has become the lifeblood of the town it was named after. The university attracts a number of people including students, lecturers that support many local businesses. Photo by Tony Mushoborozi. 

By Tony Mushoborozi

Nkumba has that distinctive vibe of a university town. From housing to the choice of most business establishments it is clear the university is the energy behind this community. Just like Kabalagala or Wandegeya, a simple survey shows how inexpensive it is to live here with the numerous low-cost meals and of course, the requisite bars and shops.

Nkumba is found in Wakiso District, approximately 10 kilometres, by road, north-east of Entebbe International Airport, along the northern shores of Lake Victoria, the second-largest fresh water body in the world.

Other than being the closest to the international airport, Nkumba’s other claim to fame is being home to Nkumba University an institution that is truly woven into the soul of the town.

While there are many businesses and institutions, much of what happens in Nkumba is a direct result of campus life.
The university brings to the area students, who spend money on restaurants and services, and attract lecturers and administrators, who do the same.

Saturated market
Unfortunately, thanks to the university most investors invested in student accommodation which in turn overwhelmed the demand leaving most of them empty.
In one of the roadside storied hostels, self-contained rooms are being marketed at Shs150,000 a month. The same rooms were once Shs2m a semester, according to Siraje Kato, a property broker.

The broker says that last year, one hostel that used to house about 300 students was sold for Shs200m.
“The owner tried and failed to get more students to sleep in it,” he says.
Kato says that most mizigos that were specially built and priced as student accommodations have fallen in rent prices too.


“A room that used to cost Shs500,000 a month is now at Shs300,000. These are large self-contained rooms that were built to hold four students,” Kato says.
Irrespective of this setback Nkumba has other charms such as its proximity to L. Victoria and its numerous beaches and the thriving Entebbe Town.

Economic activities
Nkumba has a vibrant social scene with a number of entertainment centres that mostly feature local artistes. But when one gets past the image of youthful entertainment and it turns out that many of the same cultural amenities that appeal to students secure neighbourhoods that allow people to move around any time, an abundance of restaurants and shops, reliable public transportation, sports and cultural events also make sense for people looking for a family home.

Living in such a youthful community is invigorating especially for the older population that have retired but still want to keep active and current in their outlook.

From an economic development perspective, the opportunities for investment are limitless because of its location and middle class demographic.
Since Nkumba is only a few kilometres from Entebbe Town, investing in a hotel or motel should be viable. Also superior housing would be a great investment for the many expatriates working in different NGOs in the town.

The town has a developed road network system, being connected to the Kampala expressway. It is also connected to the national water and electricity grids.

Cost of land
A 50ft x100ft plot just off the expressway goes for Shs65m currently. The price goes lower and lower up to Shs30m for those that are two-three kilometres away.
One of the best locations for a home is Bubuli, right at the edge of the great swamp north of Nkumba.

Here, 50ftx100 plots go for between Shs30m and Shs40m. Bubuli has spectacular views because of the expansive flatness of the nearby swamp. I know you are thinking a swamp and a home don’t go together but the land form of Bubuli is in such a way that a bedrock rises out of the swamp so distinctly that it leaves a mini cliff.

This would be perfect for evening walks and bird-watching. Very desirable village. An acre off the road and not on the lakeshore, goes for Shs300m and Shs400m. This would be well-suited for future students’ hostels.