Getting Around Uganda
Travelling to Uganda is interesting and adventurous, travelling in and around Uganda is even more interesting and adventurous.
If you looked at traffic in Kampala, at first glance it looks like madness. Very complicated madness. But a closer look shows you that it is not that complicated. Public transportation might need a bit of planning before you travel, but it is readily available and easy to arrange. There are different kinds of public transport so you get to pick whichever is most suitable for your travel needs at a particular time.
What are the different types of public transportation in Uganda?
The public transportations means are; boda-boda motorcycles, taxis, buses and airlines.
Taxis: these are in the form of vans that carry 14 passengers. In Kenya they are called Matatus.
They are very common, easily accessible from almost anywhere in Kampala, and are cheap. They stop almost anywhere to pick and drop off passengers, so it’s easy to get one. Every taxi usually has a driver and a conductor. If you are not sure of your destination you can always ask for directions from either of them.
The downside of taxis especially for foreigners is that once the conductor realizes you are new in town and of foreign descent, they have a tendency to over-charge you trying to make an easy profit from your ignorance. But they do not insist much if you quote the right price to them, because the other passengers will often back you up.
Taxis are found in almost every part of Uganda, not just in Kampala. 8 Days Safari And though they might seem quite chaotic there is actually a lot order in their arrangements. Not every taxi will take you to your destination; each taxi operates along a specific route. They are a cheap and easy way to get around Kampala, and Uganda.
Boda Boda Motorcycles:A ride on a boda boda motorcycle in Kampala is just as thrilling as it is scary. They started out as bicycles and you can still find them, but have evolved into mostly Indian manufactured motorcycles. You can get a boda boda almost anywhere in Kampala. They maneuver through Kampala traffic in a very scary way, but more often than not get you to your destination in time. Boda boda are way more expensive than taxis, but because they break almost every traffic law, they are fast and that is why many people think the cost is worth it. For many foreigners a boda boda ride is a new and exciting experience, especially if they have never been to Africa before. Remember to wear your helmet and don’t be afraid to ask the boda boda rider to slow down if he’s going faster than you can handle. Boda bodas do have a high accident rate so safety is key.
Special Hire Taxi: special hire taxis are what people in North America refer to as cabs. They are the most expensive means of travelling in and around Uganda. It can be a bit cheaper if you’re sharing with someone so you split the cost. Hotels usually know some special hire taxis that are trustworthy that they can recommend to you, or call up for you. So if you are staying at a hotel, most times all you have to do is inform the reception of your need and they will call up a taxi for you but you probably will not get the best price. The rates are negotiable; it is only the yellow taxi company in Kampala that has metered rates for its taxis.
Bus Services: There have been some bus operator in Kampala and there are still a few. The most popular was the pioneer bus service which stopped operations even before they had operated for a year. There are still a couple of buses operating in Uganda, but in a way these almost function like a bigger version of the taxis. They carry more passengers, and are usually cheaper than the taxis.
Vehicle hire: another alternative means of transport is to hire a vehicle from a vehicle hire company. Many tour and travel companies also offer this service. You can hire a vehicle with a driver for a day with fuel inclusive in the cost. Some companies give you the option driving yourself, rather than using a company driver. Hiring a vehicle to move in around Kampala of course is cheaper than hiring one to travel to other parts of Uganda. But it is convenient and comfortable if you are on a Uganda safari
Air transportation: some airlines such as eagle air fly to some local destinations in Uganda at affordable. There is also Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF) and they fly to the Ssese Islands. These airlines are is comfortable and safe.
If you are a thrill seeker and an adrenaline junkie biking is another way to move around Kampala. This can be quite the scary experience in Kampala’s traffic.
Although not advisable, you can also hitchhike especially if your stranded and do not have much hope of getting a taxi. Some good “Samaritans” will expect you to pay some cash though.
On your safari in Uganda, you of course will want to travel to other parts of the country. The game parks, game reserves, and most natural physical features, even gorilla trekking are all found up- country. To travel to the other districts to enjoy the sights you can either use a taxi, or a bus, or you could hire a vehicle. Buses are usually more reasonably priced although they can be crowded.
You can also travel by bus to neighbouring Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania.
Whatever your preferred means of transportation in and around Uganda is, be sure to enjoy your Uganda safari, and stay safe.