Entebbe is a city in Uganda with a population of approximately 90,500. It is located on the shore of Lake Victoria near the capital city of Kampala.
“Entebbe”, in the local Luganda language, means a “seat”, and was probably named that because it was the place where a Baganda chief sat to adjudicate legal cases. It first became a British colonial administrative and commercial centre in 1893 when Sir Gerald Portal, a colonial Commissioner used it as a base. Port Bell went on to become Kampala’s harbour. Although no ships land there now, there is still a jetty, which was used by Lake Victoria ferries.
The entrance to the national zoo is located near to the jetty, though foreign visitors have noted the seeming incongruity of wild monkeys sitting in the trees over the zoo’s paths. The extensive National Botanical Gardens are also in Entebbe.
Entebbe is perhaps best known as the home of Entebbe International Airport, the main international airport of Uganda, which was started in 1947. Operation Entebbe, an Israeli operation to free the hostages of a Palestinian hijacking of an Air France plane, took place at the airport on July 4, 1976. The Israeli rescue operation was originally designated “Operation Thunderbolt,” but the Israelis changed the official name to “Operation Yonatan” in honor of Yonatan Netanyahu, the commanding officer, who died in the action.
Entebbe is the home of the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI).