On a cold Sunday afternoon through the Kampala Northern Bypass, I arrive at Mukalazi Zone in Bukoto, a Kampala suburb. It is located on the Bukoto-Kisaasi Road when you branch off at Kabira Country Club.
On the gentle sloping area, a number of visible structures, both for commercial and residential purposes stand tall. While there are those that are already complete and occupied, a good number of them that will be apartments, as per their visible construction plans, are also under construction.
They begin from the hill top up to the Kampala Northern Bypass that separates the zone from Kisaasi.
What is however visible is that there appears to be no more big plots of land for horizontal expansion. This perhaps explains why most developers have resorted to expanding vertically, as most structures under construction are being built with more than three floors from their foundation level. These apartments are also built with provisions of basement parking.
Reasons for development
Abdu Kiggundu, a broker, says the modern infrastructure in form of roads has greatly contributed to the fast development of Mukalazi Zone, compared to 10 years ago. “All major roads that connect and lead you to this zone are tarmacked, much as they are narrow,” Kiggundu says, adding that it is also easy to access through a number of routes such as the Kampala Northern Bypass, Lugogo Bypass and Naguru, among others.
Bukoto, being home to Kampala International School Uganda, which is a stone throw away from Mukalazi Zone and employs a great number of foreigners who prefer self-contained apartments and clean environments, this has contributed to the noticeable development.
“Most of these foreigners do not like staying far away from their places of work. They find it economical to spend less or nothing at all on transport costs but pay more and live comfortably,” Kiggundu explains, adding that the proximity of most, if not all social services such as banks and hospitals in Ntinda partly explains the development of the zone.
Cost of rent and land
Darius Kamara, a resident, says the cost of rent increased when all access roads were tarmacked.
“I rent a self-contained double roomed house at Shs500,000. This might be considered a bit expensive but I end up saving a lot because I work in Ntinda and only need a few minutes to move from my home,” Kamara says.
Kiggundu says renting a two or three bed-roomed house is approximately between Shs600,000 and Shs1.2m because most of them are surrounded by perimeter walls and security is assured.
Kiggundu observes that since the greater part of the area has all been developed and houses built, it has pushed the cost of the small plots available for sale high. These plots are located at the lower end of the zone, neighbouring the Northern Bypass.
A 50x100ft plot of land, he says, costs between Shs80m and Shs150m. This is determined by among other factors, the distance from the road and whether the land comes with a land title.
Much as some Kampala suburbs hardly have any vegetation, Mukalazi Zone is still gifted with plenty of vegetation in form of eucalyptus trees that tower above the numerous perimeter walls.
Leah Ainembabazi, a resident in the area says security is mainly under the neighbourhood watch system, apart from homes that have private security guards.
“When a neighbour is going to be away from their home for more than two days, they notify their immediate neighbour to keep an eye on their property so that robbers do not break into their house,” Ainembabazi says.
This, she says, is in addition to the police motorised patrols that are carried out especially during the night. There is also a stationed police booth located at the edge of the zone just along the Northern Bypass.