Bit of a horrible journey this! On a previuos visit to Lira the bus took exactly 4 hours, but on this last visit the bus took 7.5 hours plus the usual 1 hour at the bus park in Kampala waiting for the bus to fill. I almost got on to the previous bus but the person in front of me got the last seat. i was quite gklad really as that bus hit a couple who were riding a bike and killed them.
There are several bus companies leaving the bus Park in Kampala, this time I left on a White Horse bus, Otada have got a bad reputation at the moment but I guess all bus companies are as bad as the road they are driving on. Which at the moment is being repaired so you don't get to see tarmac until you are welll past Nakasongola towards the Masindi junction.
Even if you are coming the other way from Soroti don't expect a decent road. The Lira Soroti road is also in the process of being paved. 2 different companies are working on the road at either end and are suposed to meet in the middle somewhere near Dokolo in 5 years time.
There is another way to get to Lira from Kampala and I don't mean the way on the road via Mbale Soroti. The first time travelled to Lira I went as far as Nakosongola and from there caught a matatu to the shores of Lake Kyoga. There is no need to get this transport from Nakosongola as the matatu comes straight from the bus park in Kampala. I arrived by the side of the lake at around 6 in the evening everyone left the matatu and boarded the boat but we didn't leave till it was getting dark at around 7. There was a lovely sunset as we crossed the very calm waters of Kyoga reaching Namasale on the other side an hour or so later.
From there to reach Lira you have to jump on the back of a truck but the only problem is that the truck doesn't leave Namasale until 5 in the morning. A bus leaves at the same time but in the direction of Soroti. I got a few hours sleep in a lake side lodge, probably the worst that I've stayed in Uganda. I got a knock on the door of my room got dressed and scrambled aboard the truck that was about to leave in the darkness.
The roads this side of the lake are terrible and what might seem like a short journey took us 9 hours to get to Lira!
I'd paid my fare and boarded the White horse bus to LIra. Aftre an hour the bus was full ready to leave. But it didn't!
Some real serious repair job was being done under the drives wheel arch. Various bits of engine were being removed in basins and amechnic was sucking out fuel from a pipe and spitting it back in a bottle (mmm nice). Passengers were getting a bit pzzed off to say the least I thought it was quite funny. Just a shame the condutor had done a runner with the cash!
After almost 4 hours I bit the bullet and boarded the Otada bus that was going to Lira but had to pay another 25k. A couple of other passengers were doing the same but most looked as though would be sending the night in Kampala.
I have since heard the best company to travel to lira with is Gaagaa coach. They have a big office at Arua Park in Kampala but I think their buses to Lira leave from Kisenyi bus park in Kampala. You can book before hand and even chose a seat. Posh aye!
The telephone No for Gaagaa coach's Kampala office is 075900832
The best and most hassle fee way to get to Lira is by Gaagaa Bus. They now have their own compound at Arua Park on Ben Kiwanuka street. they have designated counters for each detination Paidha, Arua, Koboko, Lira, it is all very organised unlike the Qualicel Bus Park.
The only bus to Lira leaves at 10 in the morning and departs from Lira (from what I remember) mid afternoon