Travelling Around Uganda

Getting Around Uganda

Once in Uganda, the cheapest way to get about is through public transport and there are standard Bus companies in operation and these connect to the major towns on a daily basis and are usually cheaper than minibuses which in Uganda are reknown for reckless driving. However, traffic policemen stationed along the way and installation of speed governors have helped in the reduction of speed levels but in spite of this, buses remain the better option for they stop less often and take you to your destination unlike Omnibuses that lure passengers then offload them when the route turns out to be unprofitable which is the case if not full. However, although buses have schedules, these are often not strictly followed and they tend to always leave later than their stipulated departure times because they want to leave full. The only buses that are an exception to this are Link which plies the western route and Gaaga which plies the Northern route (Arua only and Nairobi). All the buses leave early and some even as early as 5.00 am and as late as 10.00 pm for Gaaga.
In addition to the normal buses is the EMS post bus which has a reputation for careful driving and safety. These travel from Kampala to all the major towns in Uganda and the fares are cheaper by a dollar or a little more than the normal buses. They stop less often usually at post offices but there’s only one route and although you may not have to book, in the event that you do, it guarantees you a seat as often they are full to capacity and it’s easy to miss a seat. However they leave quite early at 8.00 am every day.

 All of these buses have exclusive or shared terminals. Akamba’s  is on Dewinton street near the National Theatre, Gaaga’s is at Arua park, Scandinavian Express’ is at Lumumba Avenue, Kampala Coach is along Jinja road section of the main Kampala City Street and for the rest including Teso Coaches, Kakise, Elgon Flyer and a host of others including omnibuses which ply the eastern route – Mbale, Soroti, north – Gulu, Lira can be found at Quali Cell Bus Terminal near downtown Kampala. It’s usually difficult getting buses to the north eastern route – Moroto,  Abim and generally Karamoja region from Kampala. Instead, you can connect from Mbale and Soroti very easily.
For mini taxis, there are two parks; the Old Taxi Park and the New Taxi Park. These are not far from each other and are both near the Qualicell Bus terminal which is in between the two.  From both parks you can get taxis to most destinations.

Motor cycles for hire known as Boda Boda are a most convenient way of getting about in the city and the surbubs and with them too, you will have to haggle over the price quoted and they will always back down and you will be surprised at how much you save. However, don’t fall in love with gaggling to a point that you expect a fair deal at the expense of the person offering the service and always expect bargain prices for it’s worth remembering that they are in business.
However, you can also hire a vehicle if you so desired and the opportunities for this are limitless. Unlike buses and omnibuses whose fares are fixed, you may have to haggle with the drivers of these vehicles to get a fare price because there is no uniformity in their fares. However, even after considerable haggling they are quite expensive given the high fuel costs which are higher compared to other countries in Africa.
There are also several smaller airlines that offer both scheduled and charter flights from Kampala. One of them is eagle air which offers flights throughout the country. Destinations include Arua, Gulu, Moyo, Nebbi although few tourists go these places. It also flies daily to Pakuba airstrip in Murchison Falls National park daily and once a week to Kasese.

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