Getting Around Safely in Uganda – For Visitors

Posted by on July 19, 2017

A Visitors Guide to Safely Getting Around Uganda

Getting Around Safely in Uganda – For Visitors to Uganda

Self-Drive, Taxis, Boda-Boda Motorcycle Taxis, Buses, Airlines, For Hire Vehicles,

Getting Around Safely in Uganda – For Visitors to Uganda – the Traffic a a visitor to Uganda Getting Around Safely in Uganda - For Visitorsencounters is overwhelming. Getting around in Uganda, in Kampala can be confusing, a picture of Chaos unleashed.

How does a visitor to Uganda make sense of it all and stay Safe and Sane in the process of getting around?

The Bradt Guide for Uganda, which is a great guide to Uganda, its history, and parks, its towns and places to see, falls short on Visitors getting around in Uganda.  They focus on the Backpacker who can jump on the back of a truck or Boda Boda and reach Murchison Falls Park or Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. 

Getting around Uganda and getting around safely for Visitors takes a bit more planning, an understanding of distances and times and our Starting Advice – get a Ugandan, better yet, a Ugandan Tour Company such as Kabiza Wilderness Safari help you in getting around safely in the Pearl of Africa.

Taxi-vansTaxi Vans – Matatus:

Are the easiest and lowest priced means in Kampala and rural Uganda to move around. Fourteen passenger van vehicles that plow the streets looking for a customer, stopping almost anywhere.  Stand on any street corner and put your hand out as you see one approaching (wave up and down).

The only thing for a foreigner to be aware of is frequent over-charges.  Ask any staff person at the hotel or other kind accommodation where you are staying what the price should be to where you want to go and they will tell you.  Then when the conductor asks you for a higher price you tell him what it should be, fellow passengers will readily side with you.  If you are going downtown this is quite easy and you will be dropped off in the taxi park, from where you walk to your downtown destination.

If you are going elsewhere you have to make a transfer to another taxi, but that is simply done by asking the conductor of the taxi you are taking for direction to the taxi that will take you there. Taking a taxi may seem like madness, but there is actually a lot of order to it.

Thefts are frequent while riding a Taxi Mini-Van, not just with visitors but Ugandans.  Laptops, cash, bags all taken.  Counterfeit Currency is also given to passengers as change, especially at night.

boda-boda-taxisBoda Boda Motorcycles:

They started out as bicycles and you can still find them, but have evolved into mostly

Indian manufactured motorcycles.  They are the fastest means from one point to another, but also the most dangerous.  Some foreigners find them exhilarating and enjoy the ride, while others such as myself shun them altogether.  Boda-Boda drivers are a unique lot of men, most of them have no license, drive without a required helmet and do not have a helmet for passengers.

Boda-Boda cycles are more expensive but again faster since they break every law there is and the 50,000 of them in Uganda cause daily havoc on the road, or off-road if the road is blocked, but they get you there.  They do have a high rate of accidents and many lives are lost yearly and bodies maimed, at the emergency ward admittance, most are from Boda-Boda incidents.  If you take one, you will learn how to pray, no matter what your spiritual background is.  Tell the Boda-Boda Driver to take it easy and if he goes beyond your fear threshold, let him know, enough is enough.

special-HireSpecial Hire Taxi:

This is the most expensive means of transport around Kampala and other towns.  It costs the most unless you are sharing the cost with someone else and then it can come down to the cost of a Boda-Boda. Depending on how many people are sharing.

Again most hotels have someone whom they can refer you to but also remember that often they get a commission for referrals and you may not get the best price.  Only yellow taxis in downtown Kampala have metered rates, everywhere else it is negotiated.

Hire a vehicle with driver: You can hire a vehicle for so much a day, plus fuel.  The rates in town will usually be a bit lower than out-of-town.


To many places that are not too far, you can take a taxi.  Otherwise, there are buses that will take you there for a very reasonable price and at a speed that is often faster than what you might be comfortable with.  They are a bit crowded but the normal way to getting somewhere 350 kilometers away.

Buses are also the means of getting to Rwanda, Kenya, and South Sudan.  You can fly, but the price difference is huge.

Bus Cautions – Do not take food or drink from other passengers.  Keep your valuables with you. Be aware that buses travel at high-speed and contribute to the high rate of accidents in Uganda and elsewhere.

Flying in Uganda:

There are services like AeroLink which flies to parks and places, mainly for tourists. Once you are in a park with them, you have to fly back to Entebbe to get to another park.

There is also at a higher price, charter services that will take you in between parks.

Lower priced services are like Eagle Air and Mission Aviation Fellowship that will take you to towns and places at more reasonable price.  However, most of those towns are not located near Tourist Spots and with MAF you have to belong to an NGO.  Flying in Uganda is quite safe and reliable and there have been no crashes reported.  The planes are well-maintained and have excellent Pilots.

avoid-self-drive-ugandaSelf Drive:

Something you want to avoid unless you have experience in African – Ugandan Driving.  It is best to avoid death-defying situations and being a risk taker.

You will need a 4-wheel drive vehicle that is road-worthy and checks  out thoroughly when renting.  Fuel is expensive about 1.40 USD per liter.  Check for spare tire changing equipment.  You will need an International Driver license or use your country’s license(for up to 6 months). You will need a log book, certificate of insurance.

Uganda has one of the highest accident rates in Africa.

Here is what Uganda Wildlife Authority suggests:  Self-drive options are best left for return visitors to the country and more seasoned travelers who are accustomed to driving in a variety of road conditions. You may find you are more comfortable leaving the driving to a Uganda safari driver guide who will also give you an interpretive commentary while you enjoy the scenic view.

Driver-Guide-linkThe Best Way to get around in Uganda:

Leave the Driving to us – let us create an itinerary for you. We can also do this for your Volunteer Group and from Pickup and Drop-Off at Entebbe Airport you are under the care of our Expert Driver-Guide, a kind of guardian angel who will help in making your time in Uganda, a successful one. He does not need a map, it is in his head, he knows all the latest road-conditions and more.

You are driven, you are given insight into the country, you are given cultural insights that you would not receive in any other way.

Add on top of that a safe and well-maintained vehicle, a personal driver-guide – Enjoy Uganda the way that it is meant to be enjoyed.

Getting Around Safely in Uganda – For Visitors – the best way is the most reliable one, with a Safari-Tour Operator such as Kabiza Wilderness Safaris who bring over 10 years of making Uganda real to clients without the hassle of a bus, boda-boda, self-drive or even hitchhiking…

Getting Around Safely in Uganda – For Visitors – if you have any questions – would like us to create an itinerary for you in Uganda, please let us know.