Casa del Turista is the only hostel available in Mbale, and having opened in March of 2013, it still has that new charm to it. The hostel doesn't offer any formal menu, but requests can be made, and a kitchen should be added sometime during 2013 to fix this. The hostel also offers internet, as well as free coffee in the mornings. There is also a community fridge available for those that need one.
The hostel is located right off the main road in Mbale, only a short, five-minute walk to the town's central clock tower. It is easy to find street food, fruit, or even sit-down restaurants right around the hostel. The bus stations are within walking distance from the hostel and a boda (motorcycle taxi) or private hire (taxi) can be found easily from the hostel. The location is also quite safe, and even at night it is safe for walking around due to its location in town. The entire building is also surrounded by a large concrete wall.
Rooms and Bathrooms
The rooms are nice and clean, but they are a bit small. The dorm rooms at the time of visit were a bit barren, but this is probably due to the fact that the hostel is still a work in progress. The private bedrooms are nicer and offer a bit more privacy as they are located in a separate building behind the hostel. There is also space on the roof for campers to pitch a tent, which despite its lack of grass, is a nice location with a beautiful view of the mountains behind it.
The common spaces still need some work, since there isn't currently many places to lounge around and make friends. There are a few tables outside, and one long couch in the entrance room, but other than that the hostel doesn't offer much. The roof of the building is quite large, and has a lot of untapped potential.
If you're visiting Mbale, Casa del Turista is the only option if you want dorm beds. The vibe of the hostel is exactly what you would expect in a backpackers hostel, but the place still has a lot of room to grow.
by Richard Ballentine
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
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