Old Taxi Park

Posted August 14, 2010 in Kampala, Photography

Welcome to Old Taxi Park. It's the heart of Kampala.

The first thing to know about Old Taxi Park is that a measly 18mm camera lens can't fit it all in. If I point it to the left, I can capture hundreds more minibus taxis my first shot missed.

(Then there's the new addition across the street. And the taxis lining the roads surrounding Old Taxi Park. And New Taxi Park. And the inter-city buses. And the main market. All in a four-block radius. So ... lots of traffic.)

Today, let's zoom in.

Signposts and (more efficient) conductors point passengers to the appropriate 14-seat minibus taxis. Drivers thread their taxis through the chaos and into the rest of Kampala.

Vendors surround the park like a fence.

Then there are folks, like this self-labelled "street man", who hang around all day.

At night, the steps into the park are lined by light bulb vendors.

There are fewer taxis. While crowds wait for taxis, they buy snacks from candle-lit vendors who install themselves where taxis sit during the day.

It's almost an extension of the crowded market outside: hundreds of vendors serve thousands of customers.

It's lit by the moon, candles, taxi headlights and light-bulb shops, and it's enlivened by horns, megaphones, enthusiastic vendors and random shouts. To the beats of the nearest radio it pulses and shifts, absorbing empty taxis and pumping out full ones.

It's the heart of Kampala.