For a city suburb of Lubowa’s size to have two international schools and a university, this is enough to show that this is no ordinary village. Even if you can’t afford to live here, you should learn from the good practices espoused.
Lubowa is a residential gemstone that the property sector in Uganda should emulate. Located in Sabagabo, Lufuka, Ndejje Municipality, Wakiso District, the obvious landmark that tells a first timer they have arrived is the Roofings steel factory on Entebbe Road, about 8 kilometres south of Kampala city.
To get to Lubowa, you turn off a few metres to the steel factory and go up the hill. The steepness of Lubowa hill levels out after about 400 metres and the road divides into a Y-junction. On the left is Lubowa Terrace and on the right is Naziba Road.
Most of Lubowa’s attractions lie along Naziba Road. It goes up the hill in a gradual climb that reveals the charming eccentricity of this neighbourhood. As you go up this quite thoroughfare, you get the feeling that you are in a well-run, more financially stable country.
The exclusivity of the neighbourhood and the quality of the property intimidates. There are no bodabodas wondering about or kiosks at the street corners. You will not help but wonder what kind of people live up here.
Good urban planning
Along Naziba road, you pass an international school here and a boutique hotel there. The apartment blocks are pristine and luxurious. The driveways leading to villas higher up the east-ward escarpment are long, winding and tarmacked. Even after it has just rained heavily, the tarmac road is pure black with cleanliness. The sense of tranquil here is the kind that happens when man lives peaceably with nature.
At the end of the hill, Lake Victoria greets you with it is shiny magnificence and the freshness of its breath. You would think Lubowa worked with totally different municipal rules from what other neighbourhoods follow.
Back to the Y-junction, Lubowa Terrace takes you farther down the hill. This crescent takes you past a university and other exclusive properties before it slopes to the valley and joins Kigo Road in Lweza. You will soon find a second international school, standing only a few metres from the one uphill.
Super modern estate
Right at the point where the Lubowa Terrace starts to slope into the Lweza valley, there is a new estate that has cemented Lubowa, quite literally, into the property market as a model settlement. What arrests your attention is not so much the scale, but the quality and surprising architectural loveliness of it all.
An official at the estate says the project belongs to an investment club. The project that started in 2009 has 150 units. Everything about this place seems right.
The roads are wide enough for two cars to go past each other without having to reverse into someone’s gate. The plots are designed to align without trying to commercialise every square inch like is the case with other property companies. There is enough space for roadside trees and electricity poles between the fences and the road.
From some vintage points, one can see that much of the land in Lubowa is still vacant but it is not up for grabs. It belongs to National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
However, a house costs between Shs700m and Shs1b.
Why Lubowa is different
“About 25 years ago, much of the land in Lubowa was owned by National Housing,” says Frank Semambo, one of the community leaders in Lubowa.
“In the late 1990s, National Housing embarked on a project to build a housing estate on the vast chunk of land. After only building a small fraction of the planned project, the company seems to have ran out of money. NSSF then took over the land after the former failed to pay back a loan,” Semambo says.
It appears that by the time National Housing ran out of money, they had already set a positive precedent. The professional planning and beautiful execution of the little they had done set a good example for the people that would later buy plots of land in the outskirts of the estate.
Own property in Lubowa
According to a street advert on Lubowa Terrace, the houses in the new estate are up for sale. Also to note is that NSSF recently started constructing the Lubowa Estate that National Housing failed to actualise. This means that if you plan today, you might be able to own a house in Lubowa when the estate is completed in a few years.
Lubowa is quite literally a place you can live the good life. It is a testament that order is possible in a country like ours where disorder is modus operandi.
But there is one concern. “Many of the houses in Lubowa are sold to foreigners who are not well checked. This might become a security threat later. I sense danger in the next 20 years, if nothing is done to streamline how the property trade is done,” says chairman Semambo.