HOW DO I TRAVEL TO UGANDA? HOW DO I GET TO UGANDA FOR A SAFARI?
Many travelers the world over ask themselves, how do I travel to Uganda? or how do I get to Uganda for my safari/business trip or even just for a friendly visit? well, in this document we have put together for you the various means available for you to travel to Uganda for whatever reason you wish to visit Uganda and the simple detail of where Uganda is located.
Below are the key things to consider when planning your travel to Uganda.
Where is Uganda? /Where is Uganda on the map of Africa?
Where is Uganda located? Uganda is a country in East Africa. It lies astride the Equator between Longitudes 29 East and 35 East and between Latitudes 4 North and South, at an average altitude of 1,100 meters above sea level.
Uganda shares borders with 5 other African countries including;
Rwanda in the Southwest
Tanzania to the South
Kenya to the East
South Sudan to the North, and
Democratic Republic of Congo to the West.
Uganda is also landlocked with no access to the sea. Uganda’s main cities; Kampala and Entebbe are located near Lake Victoria in the Central part of the country.
How do I travel to Uganda? How do I get to Uganda for a safari?
Flights to Uganda: Getting to Uganda by Air / What Airlines Fly to Uganda
- For obvious reasons, the most convenient way of accessing Uganda from Europe, North America, Asia, and South America is by air.
- Practically all fly-in visitors land at Entebbe International Airport (https://entebbe-airport.com/), which lies on the shores of Lake Victoria about 3 kilometers from Entebbe town and 40 kilometers from Kampala, the largest and capital city of Uganda.
- Immigration formalities are relaxed, provided your papers are in order, so if the queue is not too long, it should only take a few minutes to clear (possibly a bit longer if you need to buy a Visa on arrival).
- If you arrive outside banking hours, there are ATMs and 24-hour foreign exchange facilities at the Airport. It is also easy to pick a local SIM card, airtime, and/or a data bundle from one of the kiosks at the airport.
- Airport transfers can be arranged in advance through any hotel in Entebbe (indeed, many include it free in the room rate) and most tour operators and upmarket hotels in Kampala.
- An increasingly popular option for travelers who mainly interests in gorilla trekking in Uganda in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in the southwest is to fly in Kigali, the Capital of Rwanda, and transfer by road from there.
- It is quite a distance-145km/3-4 hours to get from Kigali to Mgahinga, or 170-220km/4-6 hours to Bwindi, depending on where exactly and you need to allow time for the border crossing, but it is still a lot quicker than driving from Entebbe.
- By prior arrangement with immigration, international charter flights can sometimes land at other airstrips around the country such as Kigihi for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Pakuba for Murchison Falls National Park, Kakira for Jinja, and Apoka for Kidepo Valley National Park.
What Airlines do Fly to Uganda?
There a number of International airlines that fly to Uganda but below are the major ones;
- Emirates − offers daily flights to Entebbe from Dubai. Website: emirates.com
- Brussels Airlines/Brussels – offers flights to and from Entebbe 3 times a week. Website: brusselsairlines.com
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines/Amsterdam −flights to and from Entebbe 5 times a week. Website: klm.com
- Ethiopian Airlines/ Addis Ababa – offers flights to and from Entebbe daily. Website: ethiopianairlines.com
- Qatar Airway: Qatar Airways operates daily direct flights to Entebbe from Doha, Qatar.
- Kenya Airways /Nairobi – offers flights to and from Entebbe 5 times a week. Website: kenya-airways.com
- South African Airways/ Johannesburg – offers flights to and from Entebbe daily. Website: flysaa.com
- Egypt Air− Website: egyptair.com
- Rwanda Air/Kigali-Website: rwandair.com
- Turkish Airlines− Website: turkishairlines.com
- Etihad Airways− Website: etihad.com/en/
- FlyDubai/Dubai− Website: flydubai.com
- Uganda has also relaunched its national carrier (Uganda Airlines) in 2019 and it currently offers regional flights. Website: ugandairlines.com/
Overland Travel To and From Uganda/ Travelling to Uganda by Road or Surface Travel.
Uganda bordered by five countries;
- To the east by Kenya
- To the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- To the south-west by Rwanda
- To the south by Tanzania
- To the north by South Sudan
Of these, many visitors cross in or out of Uganda overland from Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda but the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan are largely off-limits to casual travel. Uganda’s land borders are generally very relaxed, provided that your papers are in order.
- Traveling from Kenya to Uganda and from Uganda to Kenya
Traveling between Uganda and Kenya could not be more straightforward. The pick of the direct coach services between Kampala and Nairobi which departs from Kampala Oasis Mall 2 times a day and docks at the rough (River Road) end of Nairobi city center from which, it is safer to take a taxi to your next destination.
You can also do the trip by stopping at the likes of Jinja and Busia in Uganda, and Kisumu, and Nakuru in Kenya.
The direct rail service between Nairobi and Kampala founded years ago, but it is possible to take a trail from Nairobi as far as Kisumu.
Plenty of public transport runs on from Kisumu to the Ugandan border at Busia, where buses to Kampala tend to pass through in the early morning, but matatus run throughout the day. You can also be picked from here by a Uganda tour operator to your next destination to Uganda.
Traveling from Tanzania to Uganda and from Uganda to Tanzania
The only direct route between Uganda and Tanzania connects Masaka to the port of Bukoba, crossing at the Mutukula border post.
It is possible not to travel non-stop between Kampala and Bukoba, but far easier to take the direct Friends Safaris bus from their office in Old Kampala.
These leave at 05:00 and 14:00 and tickets cost around US$10. Friends Bus also runs to Mwanza (US$18)(though it is more interesting to leave the bus in Bukoba and take the thrice weekly ferry cross Lake Victoria).
If heading from Kampala to Arusha and Moshi it is quicker and more comfortable to travel via Nairobi. Regular shuttle buses run between Nairobi and Arusha and take around 5 hours.
Traveling from Rwanda to Uganda and from Uganda to Rwanda
Two main border crossing connects Uganda and Rwanda. Cyanika lies 15km south of Kisoro while Katuna is 21 km south of Kabale.
It is perfectly straightforward to drive yourself so long as you remember that the Rwandan authorities expect vehicles to drive on the right, have appropriate insurance, and carry breakdown warning triangles.
Jaguar Executive Coaches run four buses daily from Kampala to Kigali from their stage on Namirembe Road, 500m uphill from the main cluster of the bus and taxi parks around Nakivubo Stadium (at around US$12).
Visa if required can be obtained at the border, but countries are covered in the East Tourist Africa visa that can be bought on arrival at Entebbe or Kigali.
Traveling from D R Congo to Uganda and from Uganda to DR Congo
There are several routes between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. From north to south, the main ones are Arua-Aru, Ntoroko-Kasenyi (a boat crossing on Lake Albert), Bwera-Kasindi, Ishasha, and Bunagana.
Of these, only the last sees much in the way of tourist traffic, this being the most convenient crossing for mountain gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park, and visiting other locations such as Nyiragongo Volcano. Bunagana is 8km from Kisoro and served by daily buses from Kampala.
Getting Around in Uganda.
Traveling in Uganda by air
Flying has never been an option for most visitors on a Uganda safari though some more luxury safaris now use flights to cut the driving time between Murchison Falls National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park or Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks.
Kidepo Valley National Park is the only Uganda safari destination that is reached by air almost as often as it is by road. This is because it is very difficult to drive up from Kampala or Entebbe to Kidepo in one day.
- Aerolink (aerolinkuganda.com/en ) is the most useful domestic airline to the traveler in Uganda. It runs a daily return flight from Entebbe west to Semiliki, Kasese, Mweya (Queen Elizabeth), Kihihi (for Ishasha and Buhoma), Kisoro, and north to Bugungu, Chobe, Pakuba, and Kidepo.
- Also, Fly Uganda (https://flyuganda.com/), operates thrice-weekly flights from Kajjansi Airfield near Kampala to Kihihi for those interest in gorilla trekking in Uganda.
- Eagle Air (https://www.eagleair-ug.com/) is more specialized in northwestern destinations such as Gulu, Arua, and Pakuba, and it also flies to the South Sudanese capital Juba on request. Scheduled flights are subject to a minimum number of passengers and there are often diversions to other destinations.
- Self-drive in Uganda
Potholes are common, although roads are generally in good condition. Be warned things can get very messy come rainy season.
Most roads in Uganda are unsurfaced and tend to be variable in conditions from one season to the next, with the surface being trickiest during the rains.
A 4X4 is the best vehicle for use on Uganda Safaris and other long journeys
Also if you decide to rent a self-drive vehicle, check it over carefully and ask to take it for a test drive.
Check the conditions of the tyres and ensure that there is at least better two spare tyres, both in good conditions to be used if the need presents itself.
Ugandans follow the British customs of driving the left side of the road.
The following documentation is required at all times:
- Vehicle registration book ( a photocopy is acceptable)
- Vehicle certificate of insurance and
- Driving license
Your own domestic license is acceptable for up to 3 three months but is a good idea to have an international driving license.
The speed limit is 100km/h on the open road and 50km/h in built-up areas.
If you don’t have a valid insurance sticker or any other transgression, you will be presented with a charge sheet to clear at the bank within 28 days.
Filling stations charge around US$1.20 per liter for petrol and slightly less for diesel. Shell and Total stations are the most popular and both have at least one outlet in larger towns.
Car hire in Uganda
Car-hire prices in Uganda tend to be expensive compared to other parts of the world. Most tour companies will charge around US$100 Per day for a 4×4 with driver but excluding fuel. However it is possible to get good deals.
Prime Safaris & Tours Ltd have affordable cars for hire in Uganda no matter where you’re traveling to Uganda.
Our 4×4 safari Land cruisers and safari vans for hire feature the strength to negotiate the challenging landscape including the Kigezi highlands and Karamonja landscape.
Because of varying landscapes and the nature of the connecting murram roads at times, it is not advisable to drive yourself in Uganda especially if you are new in the country.
We have an expert driver-guide who offers the themed interpretation and you through challenging road section carefully and safely as they have the expertise in this.
This is a lovely attempt that will offer you a safe and trusted leisure and educational tour exploring the pearl of Africa in detail.
Bus travel in Uganda
Coach and bus services cover all major routes and are probably the safest form of public transport in Uganda.
On all trunk routes, the battered old buses of a few years back have been replaced or supplemented by large modern coaches that typically maintain a speed of 100km/h or faster, allowing them to travel between the capital and any of the main urban centers in western Uganda in less than 5 hours, generally at a cost of less than US$10.
Taxis (Matatus) travel in Uganda
These white minibusses. They generally have no departure time, but simply leave when they are full. Taxis tend to charge slightly higher fares than buses, and the drivers tend to be more reckless, but they allow more flexibility, especially for short hops. The terminal where they depart is called a taxi park.
Boda Boda (motorbike taxis) travel in Uganda
These offer one of the most popular ways of getting around in Uganda. They are called Boda Boda because they originated as a means of smuggling goods from border to the border along ruler footpaths.
They are a convenient means of suburban transport and also great for short trips where no public transport exists.
Fares are negotiable and affordable—a fraction of a US dollar in most towns. If you are reliant on public transport it is inevitable that you will use a body at some stage. When you decide to use a Boda boda, try to identify a sensible-looking operator, ideally of mature years.
Old riders are generally better. Tell your driver to go slowly and carefully or even to stop for you to get off if you don’t feel safe. You should ask for a helmet.