How To Travel To Uganda : Getting There And Away : Everything to know about getting to Uganda for safari: Are you considering a trip to Uganda and wondering how to get there most effectively? The Pearl of Africa has stunning scenery, unusual wildlife, a rich culture, and friendly inhabitants. Travelers from all over the world are drawn to Uganda by its beauty, which includes misty mountains, vast savannas, and picturesque lakes.
However, you must be aware of the main points of entry into the nation and how to get there before you leave on your trip. So let’s get started and investigate the various Uganda travel options! The easiest way to travel to Uganda is by air. The best way to enter Uganda is by air through Entebbe International Airport, located 37 kilometers outside of the capital. Uganda’s international borders are open twenty-four hours a day. Use any of the 40 immigration checkpoints that are currently located near Uganda’s border, including:
- Rwanda (southwest): Kagitumba, Gatuna, and Kyanika
- Kenya (west): Suam, Malaba, Busia
- South Sudan (north): Afogi, Nimule
- Tanzania (southeast): Mutukula
- DRC Congo (west): Bwera
- And marine ports on Lake Victoria.
UGANDA TRAVEL ALERT
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Uganda may have additional entry requirements and travel restrictions. If that’s the case, it can vary from day to day. Please inquire with your Focus East Africa Tour consultant to stay up-to-date on the most recent information.
HOW TO TRAVEL TO UGANDA BY AIR
For any tourist traveling for leisure, flying is the most practical way to get to Uganda from anywhere in the world. Entebbe International Airport, the only international airport in Uganda, will be your entry point.
The largest airport in Uganda is Entebbe Airport (IATA: EBB, ICAO: HUEN), also known as Entebbe International Airport. It serves the entire nation and is Uganda’s principal international airport. There are scheduled nonstop passenger flights to 27 locations across 15 nations. There are currently five domestic flights departing from Entebbe.
Currently there are no direct flights to Uganda from the United States, Canada, the Southern, Central, and Caribbean Americas, Southern Asia, China, Japan, Eastern, South-Eastern, Central, and Oceania. Only flights between Entebbe and Europe and flights between Entebbe and the Middle East are operated directly across international boundaries from Entebbe International Airport (EBB).
However, connecting flights are available from major cities around the globe, and regional airlines like Kenya Airways through Nairobi, Rwanda Airlines through Kigali, Ethiopia Airlines through Addis Ababa, and South African Airways through Johannesburg are among the least expensive.
Although there are no direct flights to Uganda, booking flights to Entebbe via Kigali, Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, or Johannesburg may be simpler for travelers. Uganda Airlines, the nation’s newest airline, which started operating in August 2019, promises to close this gap. The carrier currently provides service to Somalia, South Africa, the Congo, Burundi, and East Africa.
CHEAP FLIGHTS TO UGANDA?
Online searches for low-cost flights to Uganda will overwhelm you with offers that you can’t help but click on. It can be a little overwhelming to look for a flight because of how quickly technology is developing. There are numerous variables, including the dates, times, cost, fare class, airline, and others. It’s difficult to say whether you should search for the best price even when you know exactly when and where you want to fly.
Sadly, no website consistently offers the best deals. The prices of the majority of well-known OTAs (online travel agencies) are typically comparable, but not all of them provide the same benefits or search functionality. The majority of the time, purchasing a flight to Uganda directly through the airline’s website will result in you paying the lowest rate, or at least the same as the OTAs.
The top five OTAs I would suggest, among the many available online, are Kayak, Expedia, Priceline, Orbitz, and Agoda.
List of airlines that fly to Uganda
- Uganda Airlines
- Kenya Airways
- Ethiopian Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Etihad Airways
- Brussels Airlines
- Egypt Air
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
- Precision Air Services Plc.
- South African Airways
- Tarco Air
- Turkish Airlines
- African Express Airways
- EA Safari Air Express Limited
- Jambojet Limited
Arriving (and leaving) by air in Uganda
Entebbe International Airport (EBB), which is situated on a peninsula 40 kilometers from Kampala, the country’s capital, serves as the primary entry point for flights into Uganda.
At some airstrips across the nation, including Pakuba (Murchison Falls National Park), Kasese (near Queen Elizabeth NP), Kakira (Jinja), Kihihi (Kiso near Bwindi), and Apoka (Kidepo Valley NP), international charter flights can also land, typically by arrangement with immigration.
Immigration Entry Requirements
If you have the necessary documentation for Uganda entry, such as a passport with at least six months of remaining validity, a yellow fever vaccination card, and a return ticket, you should breeze through Entebbe’s entry procedures without incident. At all entry points, you must present your cards for the COVID-19 and yellow fever vaccines. To protect both you and others when visiting Uganda, make sure you meet these health requirements.
Return/onward ticket restrictions
A traveler will only take a flight to Uganda without a return ticket if they want to explore more of Africa. There is a small but real chance that immigration officials will treat you harshly if you are coming with a one-way ticket for this or any other reason because they are worried that you won’t have enough money to purchase a flight out of the country.
Naturally, the more wealth you have, the less likely it is that they will inquire about your finances. And if you have a credit card, they will almost certainly agree to let you in.
If you plan to visit nearby nations, you can emphasize this intention by obtaining an East African visa, which will indicate that you want to visit Rwanda or Kenya while you’re there.
Finally, since an onward ticket is technically necessary for entry into Uganda, there is little point in disputing the decision or acting unnecessarily aggressively toward immigration officials who are only carrying out their paid duties. Patient diplomacy is a far better strategy.
If you arrive without a return ticket, the worst that can happen is that you won’t be allowed entry until you buy a ticket back to your home country.
If you plan to travel out of Uganda by land, you must confirm with the appropriate airline that your ticket will be refunded after you have left the country. You should also choose a departure date that will allow you enough time to travel to a place where you can arrange the refund.
TRAVELING OUT OF ENTEBBE AIRPORT
The first thing you should do after clearing immigration and customs in Entebbe is to purchase some local currency. Although the rates are lower than at the private forex bureau in town, there are 24-hour foreign exchange facilities at the airport.
A group of men wearing blue shirts will be waving their hands for attention as you leave the airport doors. Those are airport taxi drivers; if your trip has been planned, your tour manager will be waiting with a name placard, of course. They are always available for any and all arrivals.
The cost of a private airport taxi from the airport to Entebbe is approximately $5, and the cost to Kampala shouldn’t exceed US$35. As an alternative, you can take a shared taxi from the airport to Entebbe, where you can board a minibus for about US$2 per person from the former taxi park in Kampala.
OVERLAND—THROUGH BORDER ENTRY POINTS
Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Sudan are the five nations that Uganda borders. The majority of visitors to Uganda arrive and depart by land at the Tanzanian or Kenyan borders.
40 entry and exit points, 13 passport centers, and 9 regional offices run by Uganda’s immigration department are available to assist you with your travel arrangements. The main reason that tourists cross the border into or out of Uganda from Rwanda is to see the mountain gorillas on both sides.
The DRC is effectively off-limits to leisure travel due to ongoing border insecurity. Following the end of the protracted civil war in that nation, international NGOs and other organizations are now active there.
Although there is a lot of commercial traffic from Uganda crossing the border near Nimule, Oraba, and Moyo, foreign visitors who are not affiliated with an aid organization or NGO should get local advice before going there to explore.
Land borders in Uganda are typically very lax. You shouldn’t encounter any issues as long as your paperwork is in order, and there is very little chance that you will be questioned about your next plans, finances, or vaccination records. The worst that could happen at Ugandan customs is a quick inspection of your luggage.
If you believe you will require local currency, you may need to exchange money at any overland border crossing into or out of Uganda. Moreover, carry small bills with you so you can tip easily and buy trinkets.
Crossing between Kenya and Uganda by road
There are several ways you can cross between Kenya and Uganda, and it couldn’t be easier. Through the Busia or Malaba border crossings, you can travel from Kenya to Uganda by car or bus. A bus will probably travel through Kisumu before entering Uganda at the Busia border crossing from Kenya.
Your certificates for the coronavirus negative test and yellow fever vaccination will likely be requested by immigration. Display your passport with a six-month validity and your $50 USD visa. I advise getting an East African Visa, which costs $100 and entitles you to travel to Rwanda, Kenya, and Uganda.
Unless you choose the wrong travel vehicle, comfort is guaranteed because the road is well paved the entire way to Kampala. There are bus routes that travel from Nairobi to Kampala in about 12–13 hours, stopping in significant cities along the way. The MASH bus service in Kampala and Nairobi appears to be your best option.
This company runs a comfortable daily coach service that departs from De Winton Road across from the National Theatre at 18:00 (check-in is 45 minutes earlier). The depot is pleasantly pleasant, with a nice café and a welcoming waiting area. Tickets for one-way travel cost US$35.
Crossing between Uganda and Tanzania
Masaka and the port of Bukoba are connected solely by a direct route that crosses at the Mutukula border post. Three times per week, overnight ferries continue from Bukoba to Mwanza.
If you have the funds, you can travel by catamaran speed boat between Port Bell in Kampala (MV Amani) and Mwanza (MV Bluebird) on the Tanzanian side of Lake Victoria in about 3 hours. From Port Bell to Mwanza, the cargo ferry service takes about 19 hours.
Boat travel between Kampala and Bukoba is an option, but using Falcon’s direct bus services is much simpler. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday at 10.30 a.m., these depart from the central bus park in Kampala, allowing passengers to board the overnight ferry to Mwanza and return the following day. Tickets are 30,000 UGX each.
Now that the roads leading from Mwanza to the south are paved, you should enjoy yourself while driving by yourself. It is much preferable to take a backpack on the three-times-per-week passenger train from Kigoma or Dar es Salaam on the shore of Lake Tanganyika via Tabora.
In northeastern Tanzania, it is also possible to travel by road from Mwanza to Arusha. If you don’t want to go on a planned safari, you can still fulfill your African wild dream of seeing the Serengeti by taking one of the few buses or Land Rovers that travel the 12- to 18-hour daily journey from Mwanza to Arusha via the Serengeti and Ngorongoro. Just make sure to bring the US$80 required for national park entrance fees.
Crossing between Uganda and South Sudan
Before the ongoing civil wars in Sudan and northern Uganda forced it to be shut down for years, the “Nile Route” via Juba was very well-liked by tourists. Finally, there is peace in both regions, and the rebel-held region in the south of the nation is now known as the Republic of South Sudan. Now, travelers can fly with Aerolink or take a land route through Gulu, Kiboko, or Moyo to reach Juba, the new capital of South Sudan.
Since the 2005 peace accord, a flood of NGOs and business opportunists have poured into the region, so you won’t be traveling alone. This development theoretically opens up the tempting possibility of following the Nile between its headwaters in Uganda and its effluent into the Mediterranean. In practice, it might be challenging to arrange your passage between southern and northern Sudan.
Before exploring Southern Sudan, gather as much information as possible from contacts at embassies and NGO organizations. Despite appearing to be peaceful on paper, war has long been a way of life in this nation, and landmines and widespread gun ownership are still major issues.
Crossing between Uganda and Rwanda
The two main border crossing points between Uganda and Rwanda are between Kisoro and Musanze (Ruhengeri) via Cyanika and between Kabale and Kigali via Katuna (Gatuna on the Rwandan side). While most people find the Kagitumba border inconvenient, both sides have public transportation.
The immigration checkpoints on both sides can take more than an hour at Katuna/Gatuna, the crossing that is by far the busiest.
Each morning (except Sunday), a few minibuses run directly to Kigali from Kabale, and a large number of shared-car taxis travel to the border from Kabale. You can also wait at the main intersection in the morning for buses headed from Kampala to Kigali in the hopes that they will pass through with open seats. On the Rwandan side, minibuses run continuously to Kigali (two hours away). The border is always open.
There is no public transportation between Kisoro and Cyanika, so you’ll need to take a taxi (Ugx 35,000) or a boda-boda (motorcycle taxi; Ugx 8000). It only takes about 112 hours to travel from Kisoro to Musanze (Ruhengeri) on the Rwandan side due to frequent transportation and good road conditions. The border is always open.
Another option is to take a direct bus (Ugx 40,000), which will take you from Kampala to Kigali in seven to nine hours and include a lengthy border crossing. Reliable company Jaguar Executive Coaches offers daily services to Kigali at 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 8 p.m., and 9 p.m. additionally, it offers a “VIP” option with plusher seats. Buses from Simba (Namayiba Terminal) depart daily at 2 a.m. for Kigali (Ugx 40,000; 11 hours).
UGANDA TRAVEL VISA
It is crucial to confirm your home country’s visa requirements. While some nationalities might be able to get a visa right away, others might need to make an online application first. There are two different types of visas available for entering the country.
- Tourist visa: This single-entry visa entitles you to a stay of up to 90 days in Uganda. The cost of this visa is $50.
- A tourist visa for East Africa is available to those who want to travel to Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda. It costs $100 and permits multiple entries between the three nations.
Verify that your passport is still valid at least six months after the date you intend to depart from Uganda. Your passport should also have two blank pages available for entry and exit stamps.
VACCINATIONS AND HEALTH REQUIREMENTS
Yellow fever vaccination records are required for all tourists older than one. Keep in mind that your travel options will largely depend on your preferences, your available funds, and the amount of time you have as you plan your trip to Uganda. For you to have time to rest and get ready for your safari the following day, we also advise that you book flights that land in Uganda in the late afternoon. Regardless of the method of transportation you select, Uganda is going to be an amazing adventure.
Uganda offers awe-inspiring travel experiences, from tracking mountain gorillas in the dense forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to going on thrilling safaris in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Explore the vibrant cities and serene countryside while taking in the warm Ugandan hospitality and local cuisine. Pack your bags, gather your identification, and get ready to be astounded by Uganda’s beauty and wonders. Travel safely!