Boda-Boda motorcycle taxis
Kampala is a city of motorcycle taxis, or Boda-Boda as the locals call them. The motorcycle takes two passengers, but I have seen it with 3 passengers. Crash helmet is only mandatory for the drivers and not the passengers. Boda-Boda is a cheap way to travel around the city. Remember to bargain the price before you enter the bike. 1500 UGS (less than 1 USD) is normal for a short ride. 5000 UGS (3-4 USD) should be an OK price for a 15-20 minutes drive.
- Arts and Culture
- Road Trip
Raid on Entebbe
Ever seen the movie 'Raid on Entebbe?'
At a corner of the airport in Entebbe, you can see the Boeing 707 that was involved in the actual terrorist incident originating in Israel in '76.
Kampala Coaches: The Bus Company From Hell
The bus between Nairobi, Kenya and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, leaves at 5:30 in the morning – and takes fourteen hours. Kampala Coaches claims on their website to provide a safe, comfortable, and worry-free journey. Their mission is “to exceed customer expectations, all the time and everytime,” and their vision is to “provide unparalleled services.”
We arrived at the bus station at 4:30am—as instructed by the agent we called—to make sure we had a seat. Like most of the bus stations we’ve visited from New York to Nairobi, this one was in one of the shadier areas of town. By 6:00am the bus hadn’t arrived. At 7:00am we were still waiting. Finally, at 8:00am the bus pulls out of their tiny Nairobi office. We’d pulled an all nighter the evening before, thinking we’d be able to sleep during the bus ride.
When the bus arrives it is crammed full with people continuing on to Dar from Kampala, Uganda. We’re forced to squeeze into two seats in the very back of the bus, with people on either side of us.
The whole ride was a comedy of painful experiences -- a nearly 350 pound women sat next to us, the odor of people who had traveled all night hung in the air like a fog, we couldn’t recline our seats and there was almost zero leg room. Welcome to traveling in Africa, we thought to ourselves.
Soon, the coaches staff realized they wouldn’t be able to fit all the luggage under the bus, so they decided to pack the entire middle aisle with bags stacked on top of eachother. Keep in mind that we were in the back of the bus and the luggage prevented any sort of escape route if we should crash.
And just when we thought it couldn’t get worse, it did. The driver drove so erratically that we later thought he must have been drunk, stoned, or completely insane. Danielle thought cocaine, I voted for alcohol. The bus was flying over the unpaved roads and because we were sitting behind the back wheels we felt every single bump and wild turn of the wheel. At times, the bus was airborn as it flew over bumps and up and down hills. Both of us were jolted out of our seats on several occasions.
We begged them to stop -- just to let us use the bathroom -- about four hours into the journey. Bernie had to tell the staff that Danielle was pregnant (she’s not) to get them to stop. When they pulled off the side of the highway, they told her to just “walk behind the bus”—where any passing cars could see.
After that, we'd finally had it.
When the bus stopped in Arusha, Tanzania (the first feasible destination for us) about seven hours into the journey, we just got off. Enough was enough.
Kampala Coaches is one dirty, dangerous, disaster…
Just FYI (hopefully this site is of interest to you)
We've [Bernard Pollack and Danielle Nierenberg] been traveling across Africa and documenting our journey on a website called Border Jumpers [www.borderjumpers.org].
You can also follow us on Twitter @borderjumping
Currently en route to Uganda... (just came from Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania!)
Gone are the days when the only bus that plied the potholed roads from Kampala to Nairobi in Kenya were the ones operated by Akamba Road Services. One of the many new kids on the block (well certainly new to me) are Starways Bus.
They have a very organised booking office in a large compound on Buganda Rd near constitutional square. The buses that I saw coming and going while I was there looked like fairly new Scania models.
A trip to Nairobi will set you back 45,000 UGX. Departing at 7:00 am and 3:00 pm.
The Kigali bound bus costs 30,000 and departs at 2:00am.
Other departures are
Juba 12:30 am
Dar Es Salaam 2:00 pm
The organised chaos of the Bus Park
If you are travelling out of Kampala the obvious to place to head to is the Bus Park the other side of Nakivubo channel from the new taxi park. Buses travel to all parts of the country from here. Up and till a couple of years ago the bus park used to be three times the size it is now. The City council were also keen to sell off the remaining plot but the bus companies refused to shift to an out of town bus park fearing they would lose business.
I've never got on a bus here and left straight away the minimum wait for the bus to fill up is around 1 hour and at other times much longer. At least while you are waiting you can buy food from the dozens of hawkers selling everything from plates of chips, chilled drinks, the days newspaper, any amount and shape of loaf on the market to coffee beans wrapped in their little banana leaf pouch.
A one-way to Nairobi
Sadly no passenger service is available from Kampala train station anymore! This lovely old building hasn't seen a fare-paying passenger for some years. There was some hope a year or 2 ago when the stations and rolling stock were bought by a South African company but up till now there only seems to be freight moving along the line.
I think they are missing a trick here especially with cracks appearing in the side of Owen Falls Dam, if they have to close the bridge in Jinja down they could be on a nice little earner use the rail link again!
Around Kampala City
Minibuses ply the route into the city centre every day, the cost is very little, you really should try and have the correct change - just hold on tight! If they see that you are uncomfortable hanging out of the door then they will ask someone move so you get a seat!
Just shout when you want them to stop and they will - its all very easy.
One of my fondest memories of Uganda was sitting on a minibus travelling into Kampala city with a young Ugandan girl singing westlife songs at the top of her voice! Haha...I listen to them at home and here she is in Africa singing the same words I do all those miles away - and she sang so beautifully bless her.
- Budget Travel
Nairobi to Kampal overnight Bus- Price 2,400 Kenya Shiling
Departure 8.00 PM from Nairobi River Road
Arrival Kampala at Yusuf Lule Road/Nakumatt Oasis Kampala next morning 8.00 AM
Air Conditioned Bus with Reclining Leather Seats, Audio and Video Entertainment, Coffee, 1 Small Bottle of Water and Soft Drink is provided.
Kenya Uganga ticket from Kipepeo Hotel River Road Nairobi (Opposite Bank of Africa) Queens Coach Office at Cross Lane/River Road, Casino Cinema, 10 meters from the Kampala Coach (KS2,500) Office GPS -1.281241, 36.826113
Return Trip cost was UGSH70,000 departure ar 8.00 PM from Nakumatt Ocasis at Yusuf Lule Street GPS 0.319374,32.592423 the Booking office is at the Basement parking
- Budget Travel
Cheetah Safaris Uganda Ltd
We used Cheetah Safaris Uganda Ltd for all our safaris and tours within Uganda. The owner and safari/ tour consultant Robert is a former safari driver I had employed. Robert adds personal touch to the tours/ safaris because he is the one driving you and if he is not available, he will give you someone as qualified.
I had contacted Robert while in the US to arrange for a Gorilla tracking adventure for my husband who was traveling to Uganda/ Africa for the first time in his life. I wanted to make it an exiting and special time. One of the things Uganda is well known for is Primate Safaris including Gorilla and Chimpanzee tracking.
Robert secured the necessary gorilla permits for the dates I requested as well as reserved the necessary accommodation we would need in Bwindi.
The other reason I chose to go with Cheetah Safaris was because they offered me the best and cheaper 3 days package including accommodation, permit, all meals and a driver/guide for under $2000 for Mark and I.
Once we were done with Gorilla tracking, which we thoroughly enjoyed. We booked a 3 days/ 2 nights safari to Murchison Falls National park. Again, Robert gave us a great deal and was very professional in dealing with our needs.
I liked that he was calm during stressful situations where Mark and I, were almost freaking out. I guess coming from the US, we are used to get things in a hurry, so a little delay here and there looked liked forever.
Other trips we booked with Robert include a day trip to the Source of the Nile in Jinja, and a city tour of Kampala.
I definitely recommend getting in touch with him, if you plan or are planning a trip to Uganda.
- Adventure Travel
- National/State Park
Taxi from the airport to Kampala
Taxis from Entebbe airport to Kampala are fixed priced at 60000 UGS (27 USD), which is a bit too expensive for African standads. The distance to Kampala is 35 km, but the road is not fast. It goes through Entebbe city, some villages and the suburbs of Kampala before it reach the city. The trip takes about 35 minutes without traffic, but more than one hour in the peak hours.
The return price from Kampala to the airport is cheaper, about 45000 UGS + 2000 UGS (fee to enter the airport area). There are some security roadblocks on the way.
- Arts and Culture
- Road Trip
Sadly Aklamba are no longer in business
Good old Akamba bus safe and reliable and possibly reassuringly slow now have a website whose information I found contradicted what I was told at the office.
I always thought paying the extra for the royal service would be a bit of a rip but I was well impressed with the no messing drivers and the veg samosa and eggy bread included in the price for breakfast.
If you can make out the photo it has the prices of the buses as of Nov 2010.
If you can't its
48,000 UGX or 65,000 to Nairobbery
78,000 or 95,000 to Arusha
75,000 or 92,000 to Mombasa
Departures for Nairobi leave from their compound on De Winton Rd at
7;00 in the morning and at
14:00 15:00 16:00 in the evening.
The new new taxi park
Cooper Complex has now become the 3rd taxi park. Minibus taxis bound for Ggaba, Kabalagala, Kansanga and Muyenga Tank Hill now depart from here.
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