Discover the Best Swimming Pools in Kampala: A Guide for Ultimate Relaxation

Embark on a pool-hopping adventure in Kampala, embracing the diverse options that cater to every preference and budget. Whether it's a luxurious experience at Serena Hotel or a hidden gem like Jacaranda, Kampala's pools promise a perfect day of relaxation and enjoyment.

Nov 12, 2023 - 21:51

One of the favourite activities for expats in Kampala is to spend the day lounging by a pool. Thanks to Kampala's ideal location on the equator and the city's growing number of upscale hotels, the city offers plenty of warm weather and swimming pools. If you're planning a pool day, get there early to secure the best lounger spots, as these venues tend to fill up on weekends.

Kabira Country Club

Situated in Bukoto along the Old Kira Road, this hotel boasts one of the bigger pools with lush palms all around. It also offers what is widely regarded as Kampala's greatest (though by no means affordable) gym. For 30,000 UGX, you can enter the pool for the day. This also gets you free access to the gym and a discount on any workout programmes that day. There's even a play area and a lovely kids pool just around the corner for families with young children. It is also possible to schedule private swimming lessons in advance. The restaurant, which has a large TV screen and a good assortment of cuisine (my personal favourites are the steak sandwich and quesadillas), is next to the pool. But be advised that if you plan to spend the day here and eat, it won't be an inexpensive day out because the food is fairly overpriced!

Speke Resort

Situated in the upscale Munyonyo neighbourhood, this pool is unquestionably the best in Kampala. It overlooks Lake Victoria. In addition to an Olympic-sized pool, it features an adjoining gym for anybody seeking a full-body workout or some serious swimming. The cost of entry is 20,000 UGX. Fortunately, the meal here is a little less expensive than at Kabira and offers delicious poolside fare like fish fingers, club sandwiches, and cheese naans. Because of its location, you can stroll around the lake and, rather than being angry that you can't swim in its bilharzia-filled waters, head up to the pool and jump in! The cost of using the pool includes access to the gym, and towels are available for a little additional fee. Similar to Kabira, there's a tiny kid-only pool with family-friendly sun loungers. For individuals hoping to follow in the footsteps of Michael Phelps or Ye Shiwen, private swimming lessons can be scheduled. The people watching, though, are definitely this pool's greatest feature, in my opinion. You frequently don't even need to bring your book for entertainment!

*TIP* The same company that owns the Speke flats on Wampewo Avenue also owns Kabira Country Club and Speke Resort. If you are staying at any of these locations, or you know someone who is, and you would like to check out any of the others, you can gain free entry with a note from management.

Emin Pasha Hotel

In line with the hotel's boutique motif, the pool is somewhat tiny here. The spa package they provide is the main attraction, even though it's not always kept the cleanest. You can use the pool for the entire day for 70,000 UGX, which also includes a sandwich and fruit juice, as well as a massage in the opulent poolside spa (you can mix and match other spa treatments instead of a basic massage). If you visit on a weekday, you may have the place to yourself. This is undoubtedly a terrific spot to treat yourself for a fair price. There's also the added benefit of complimentary towels!

Sheraton Hotel

Situated off Nile Avenue in the heart of Kampala, the Sheraton has a handy swimming pool. The daily entry fee of 15,000 UGX covers the use of the fitness centre, which includes aerobics courses, as well as a towel. For people who want to keep their possessions safe, there are lockers by the pool. Again, it is not the ideal choice for serious swimmers due to its circular shape, but it is a pleasant location to hang out and/or play because it has a tiny children's pool next to it and some inflatable balls and inflatables. In addition, if you're like that kind of thing, they have a midday poolside grill where all items are priced at 15,000 UGX, poolside drink service, and Kylie Minogue songs that play nonstop. To guarantee yourself a better sun lounger by the pool, get there before lunchtime.

Serena Hotel

As the largest and most luxurious hotel in Kampala, Serena Hotel offers a premium pool experience at 60,000 UGX for non-hotel guests. While pricier, it caters to those seeking a lavish atmosphere and top-notch amenities.

Imperial Royale Hotel

This hotel, which is adjacent to the Serena, is considerably more affordable, with rates starting at 20,000 UGX. On the fifth level, there is an outdoor pool that is reasonably large and has beautiful views of the city. Again, because of its central location, it's more convenient than some of the other, more remote pools for a relaxing day. It's all concrete, so it lacks some of the nicer, garden vibes of the other main pool hotels.

Cassia Lodge

The greatest views in Kampala may be found at this undiscovered hotel gem. From the summit of Buziga Hill, you have a clear view of Lake Victoria. It's a fantastic spot for a beverage around sunset. Additionally, it features a very small infinity pool that costs 10,000 UGX per day to use (towel hire is additional). The food is excellent, particularly the fish dishes and pork nyama choma, and a full day is absolutely worth it. The only issue is that, being mostly cosmetic rather than large enough for genuine swimming, the pool fills up quite rapidly on the weekends. You run the risk of running out of room around the pool if you arrive after noon.


This pool is located on Albert Cook Road, opposite the Backpackers Hostel in Mengo. It is small and not very clean, but it is also inexpensive. It is designed for swimming rather than sunbathing, like the Lido style, and attracts many locals. The entrance fee is only 6,000 UGX, and there are a few plastic chairs around the edges that can be used as sun loungers. On Sunday evenings, it becomes a lively outdoor nightclub that plays loud R&B and hip-hop music from 5 p.m. onward. This could be either appealing or annoying to you, depending on your mood, so keep that in mind!

Imperial Resort Beach (Entebbe)

Imperial Resort is a popular destination for many Kampalites who want to escape the city on the weekends. It is located in Entebbe, about an hour away from Kampala by car, depending on the traffic. The resort has one of the cheapest pools in the area (only 6,000 UGX for entry) and a private sandy beach on the shore of Lake Victoria. It also has a delicious meat grill restaurant called Carnivore and a sports bar with many screens. It is a great place to spend a day and enjoy the beach atmosphere. You can also visit other nearby beaches, such as the Ssese Islands gateway beach on the way there and Lido Beach on the way back. Lido Beach is opposite the old airport and is famous for its lively parties on Sundays and frequent beach volleyball tournaments. The best way to get to Imperial Resort is by driving, but you can also take a matatu from Kampala. There are many matatus available, especially on Sunday night when they run until 2 a.m. back to Kampala!

Disclaimer: The prices mentioned may not be up-to-date. Please check with the respective establishments for current pricing information.

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