Transport in Uganda – travel tips for visitors
If you are planning a holiday or visit to Uganda soon, you should be planning on how you will be moving around during your stay.
Uganda has a number of transport options that you can use. We will talk about them and give you the pros and cons for each.
These are the major public transport means. The matatu`s, locally known as “taxis”, are 14 seaters. These are mainly used for short distances but they can be used for long distances as well. You can easily find one especially in the Kampala metropolitan ares . You can jump on to one anywhere along your route as they stop anywhere for passengers to disembark or get on. You can also find them in the various taxi parks. If you want to use a taxi for a long distance route, its advisable you get it from the taxi park.
These normally carry 28 passengers and are used for short and medium distance routes. They operate like taxis.
3. Coaches or buses
For long routes, coaches are what most people use. These usually carry 67 people.
In rural areas and towns that are a bit distant from Kampala, small private cars have also been converted to public transport vehicles. For example, a car that is licensed to carry 5 people will be used to carry 8 – 10 people.
Advantages of the above modes of transport (Matatu, Coaster and Buses)
- They are easily accessible.
- They are also cheap. For example if you use a matatu from Kampala to Kasese where Queen Elizabeth National Park is found, a distance of 370 km, you will pay about $25 for a return journey
- They are never on time. They do not move on a schedule. They wait for passengers to come until the vehicle gets full before it can set off for the journey. If you are to use these, allow plenty of time.
- You have to use cash. There is no online payment. There is no option of a pre- paid card.
- They are usually congested with people from different walks of life.
- There is no app you can download on your phone
4. Motorcycle (Boda bodas)
These can carry one or two people. You can find them in any part of the country. They are cheap and fast. They are not usually held up by traffic jam because they do not obey traffic rules. They are fairly cheap.
The disadvantage is that they are prone to accidents. Many of the riders are not professionally trained to ride the motorcycles and so they easily cause road traffic accidents. Injuries sustained can be severe.
There are a few companies that have tried to make this business professional and safe, for example safe boda Uganda. If you must use a boda boda, use those one of those. They have mobile apps that you can download.
Please note :Uganda has not functional train system for public transport.
You can easily hire a vehicle in Kampala. There are so many Car hire services . You can hire these as self drive but you must have an international Driving License. In Uganda cars are driven on the left. Try to find a car in Kampala because not all parts of Uganda will have these services and if they do they may be more expensive than in Kampala. You could also hire a car with a driver. This is recommended as Driving in Uganda can be quite difficult and google maps are not reliable. Click here to see our car hire services.
If you do not want a self drive, you can hire a car as a one off through various ways. There are apps you can use for example UBER. In Kampala Metropolitan , cars for special hire can also be packed in different places where they can be found. We recommend you use the online apps to hire a car for one off trip.
We hope you have a lovely stay in Uganda.