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Taxis, busses and other transport in Uganda

Old Taxi Park in Kampala, Uganda The main vehicles of the puplic transport in Uganda are small mini busses, which are called here "taxis". In contrast to our taxis these are approved for 14 people and low priced. Nationwide they are distinguished by their blue chequered markings.

How does it work?

These taxis are driving on fixed routes, mainly through the cities and from their centres to the suburbs. It is not that easy to tell which taxi goes where, so it is best always to ask. All the gandans are really friendly and they will help you.

You can flag them down everywhere and you can get off everywhere. The payment is done after the ride. the amount depends on the distance. When you drive far out of Kampala you don't pay more than a few Euros. You pay when you alight the co-driver at the rear door. Always carry enough small change with you. Advice: When you first use a taxi, take somebody with you who knows how it works. After this test you will see how easy it is.

Its not always comfortable to use taxis in Uganda. Sitting with 14 people in a small car, in the middle of a traffic jam with 30° outside - there are better things in the world. If you want to avoid such a situation, using a special hire is the better choice.

The last few kilometers with boda boda

In addition there are the so called "boda bodas", either as motorbikes or bicycles. That means that you are the pillion rider. The boda bodas are uesed for the destinations off the main roads, instead of walking home some kilometers from where the taxi stops. Within Kampala the main advantage of boda bodas is that you safe time during rush hours. You reach your target by boda boda quickly, while all others have to wait in the traffic jam.

Boda bodas are very cheap. For a distance of some few kilometers you pay only 50 cent. However, their use is not without hazard in the bustle of the streets. Because there is no helmet you could use, and you cannot be sure if the driver knows anything about "safe driving".

White man on a boda boda?

Often the Ugandans wonder about white tourist on a boda boda. From their perspective every tourist is "rich". Therefore white people could afford an own car, or at least could afford a "special hire". If you don't feel uncomfortable when people on the street wonder about you, then you can safe a lot of kilometers on your feet.

Special hire: more comfortable, still cheap

A "special hire" in Uganda is that, what we would call a "taxi" in Europe: A standard vehicle for 4 persons + driver, who drives you wherever you want. This works very well, and the drivers are frindly, helpful and they know one's way around.

The fee does not depend on the distance or the duration, but its negotiated before you start. Of course as a tourist you always pay a little bit more than a Ugandan. But nevertheless you can drive through whole Kampala for not more than 5 Euro - some insider tipps from the driver inclusive, and sometimes air conditioned!

When you walk through Kampala by feet, the drivers of "special hire" and "boa boda" permanently make you offers to use their vehicle. This is always meant kindly and friendly, even the hundredth offer. Therefore you should also be friendly when you refuse this offer.

Travelling by bus in Uganda

All cities in Uganda are linked by bus. The bigger coaches are preferable compared to the smaller shared taxies regarding security and comfort. Especially recommended are the post coaches, for which you can obtain tickets at every post office. Departure is normally at the post office as well. To travel by bus is in general cheap. On average you pay 1-2 Euros per 100 km. It is best to by your ticket the day before departure.

There are also international connections, for example to Nairobi (Kenia) or Kigali (Ruanda). Details, addresses and fares you can establish through known travel guides for Uganda or locally.

Travelling by trains

There are nor trains you could use in Uganda. Only a few connections exist in the whole country, but they are used only for transport of goods.

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