Uganda travel info
days, june- july 2005
alone in a wholly independent travel
24th june- 12th july 2005
How I moved:
autobus, minibus (matatu), moped (boda- boda) and hitch hiking
cheap guesthouse, dormitory and rented tent
What I liked:
the safety of the country, the friendship of the people, lake
Bunyonyi, the fresh weather and travelling around on the mopeds
What I disliked:
being referred as white man (mzungu), being packed like hell
in the minibus (matatu), waiting at the bus station and the
breakdowns in the middle of nowhere.
Uganda is not a cheap country! For eating, accomodation, pubblic
means of transport 30$/day for a low budget travel + visa
fees (30$ for every entry) + park fees (from 35$) + extras (for
instance: rafting (95$))
very nice weather: hot (not too much), but dry. In the south
(lake Bunyonyi) can be even chilly (12-20 C), bring a good sweter!
despite being a big city, even Kampala is safe. No dodgeys and
people weren't pushy. I didn't even have health problem, but
protect yourself against mosquitos and watch out bathing on
the lakes (risk of Bilharzia). The last but not the least, keep
the distance from the Congolese border!!
if travelling by pubblic means of transport a lot of patience
and don't forget a good flash lamp!!
I didn't expect the travel in
Uganda (the central and southern part) to be so easy. It's quite
plenty of means of transports: for the long connection there're
big and comfortable buses, then matatu (minibus) everywhere
for the medium- short distances, while by boda- boda (moped)
you can avoid to walk even 100m!
You can find cheap accommodations almost
everywhere, where water and electricity are not such so unreliable
as in Rwanda. Being an english speaking country helps a lot,
but the fact that the people are more used to the whites made
my staying more relaxed than in Rwanda. Locals are not pushy
to sell you their services and I didn't experience particular
attempts of cheating. Unlike in the neighbouring country overcharging
is not common, and it's not necessary to bargain like hell everywhere,
anyway being still far from fixed prices.
Besides there are some tourist spots like
the lake Bunyonyi (very nice place) or Bujagali falls where
it has been a pleasure to meet some foreigners and exchange
some travel experiences. Kampala is for sure not the nicest
town I've ever been, but to be a big town in Africa, it's not
that bad, and above all it's safe. Besides here you can find
the only one VISA ATM in Uganda and Rwanda!!!! In the south
the weather is quite fresh (lake Bunyonyi even chilly) while
eastwards is hotter, but still very bearable.
As for Rwanda, Uganda is not a cheap destination
(cheaper than Rwanda), especially for the park fees (50$), the
rafting (95$) and everywhere you need to rent a private vehicle
(like in Queen Elisabeth National Park).
One thing you've really to keep in mind:
you are in Africa, you need to have patience; things will work
out, but they need their time, in particular dealing with the
public means of transport.
The last but not the least, you will need
a steel ass to travel by matatu painlessly.
TRAVEL IN UGANDA
I flew to Entebbe, a small nice town on the bank of
lake Victoria that is a good welcome for those arriving in Uganda. It was midnight, hence
I slept in a simple but convenient guest house very near the airport (Farba hotel, 9$).
The following day by my first lift of boda boda, (on the back of a moped) and of matatu
(crowded minibus) I reached Kampala. Hanging around here I spent one day and the next
morning I was sitting on a comfortable private bus heading to Kigali. It took 9 hours
(10$, breakdown included) and it has been an easy travel despite the long distance.
From Butare (in Rwanda) I reached the wonderful lake Bunyonyi in
Uganda, where I rented a tent with the mattress (5$) and stayed for two days in a camping
on the lake bank. My days here have been the best of the whole travel: here I met a
Slovenian volunteer (Brigita) who took me to the local school where she was working for
the last six months. This school is supported by Miha, a Slovenian guy who found out that
lake Bunyonyi is his place and moved definitely here. Drop by their site: www.edirisa.org and have a look to the great job
they're doing there!
After few days I set off again to the Queen Elisabeth National Park:
thank to www.absoluteafrica.com had a lift
from the lake to Kabale, then it took the whole day by bus, matatu, bus again, on foot,
and finally private car to Mweya village. Here I found a cheap accommodation but I quickly
realised it's not a good place to be without your own vehicle. I had the typical launch
trip visiting the hippos and the elephant but then I was just looking forward to be again
on the road. I had to beg a little bit some Germans for a lift from Mweya through the park
till the main road where I hitch hiked till Kasese. The funny thing is that during the
lift they diverted to chase the lions hence I even had my unplanned safari for free!! From
Kasese I did by matatu just half way to Fort Portal then because of a breakdown they
dropped me off on the road. By miracle after a while a bus passed by and let me to the
My money were running out so the day after I was in Kampala (6h,
10$) to withdraw some cash by the only one working visa ATM in Uganda. At end of the
travel I spent two days at Bujagali falls (Speke campsite 5$) where I rafted (95$ full
day) and it turned out really cool even if easily harmful.