Travel Tips

This page contains the most up-to-date information for your travel while in Uganda. By plane

Entebbe Airport is the main airport for Ugandan air travel. Many flights to cities in Africa and Europe take place from here. Direct flights to and from Johannesburg run three days a week on South African Airways. Direct flights to and from London run every other day on British Airways. Emirates offer flights from Entebbe to Dubai via Addis Ababa on Airbus A340S with onward connections to Europe, North America, and Asia from Dubai. Ethiopian Airlines offers service to Addis on Boeing 737s. Kenya Airways and KLM fly daily from Entebbe to Amsterdam either via Nairobi or direct.

By bus

Several bus companies offer direct lines between Kampala to Nairobi, Kigali and Dar-es-salaam. A night bus from Kampala could start at 16:00hrs to arrive at 06:00hrs in Nairobi.
Uganda has decent bus system. There are two classes of buses. The "matatu taxis" are actually minibuses or commuter vans which run fixed routes. Then there are the real buses which run less frequently, usually leaving Kampala early in the morning. There are many companies which almost all leave from the same general area. The buses fill up so if you get on mid trip you'll be spending some time standing before somebody gets off and you can get a seat.

Domestic bus travel is reasonable and cheap between major centers, and is a good choice for backpackers with time, but may not run reliably on schedule.
Note that both buses and "taxis" do not run on fixed schedules; rather, they leave their terminus stop when they are completely full. On heavily-traveled routes they fill up within minutes and this is not a problem, but on less-traveled routes (or if getting on a large bus), be prepared to wait a while before departure.

By taxi

The best way to get around Kampala and the neighboring towns is by using minibus-type taxis called matatus. This is the most efficient and cost-effective method of transportation in urban areas, but try not to get ripped off by the conductors as they sometimes try to overcharge tourists. The Matatus are crowded, cheap, frequent, and make lots of stops.

They run along fixed routes, picking up and dropping off people anywhere along the route. If you want to get on, stand at the side of the road and wave your arm. To get off, say "stage" and the driver will pull over and let you off. They're not marked with destinations, so you'll have to listen to the destinations that the drivers are yelling out the window. If you're not sure where to catch a taxi going to your destination, just ask a nearby driver or conductor, and they'll probably be able to point you in the right direction. Taxis, called special hire taxis, are available in most every decent sized town. Fares are negotiable over long distances.

By car

The roads in Uganda are comparable to many in Sub-Saharan Africa. Many of the minor roads and side roads are made of hard packed earth (murum) and when graded are quite quick and reasonable. However they will deteriorate in heavy rains and wash boarding frequently occurs. The best way to deal with the wash boarding is not to slow down, but to find a speed sympathetic to the road surface and effectively skip from ridge to ridge. Commercial drivers of buses and trucks compound the danger, as do pedestrians, livestock, cyclists, dogs, and the odd police roadblock. Plan on 60km/hr as a typical rate of travel (speed will vary, though!). The best advice is drive cautiously and stays totally alert.

When planning a journey it is best not to ask how far it is but to ask how long it will take. Local drivers normally have a good idea of how long journeys will take. Expect to pay a lot to hire a vehicle. A sensible choice is to hire a 4x4 with a driver given that you will need local language assistance and expertise should something happen on the roads. Most places have accommodation and meals for drivers as this is common among travelers. This will cost upwards of US$100.00 per day (not including fuel).