Traveler in landcruiser buying matooke on the roadside

Getting Around Uganda

Travelling through Uganda is like stepping into a world of adventure. From dense rainforests, serene lakes and endless savannah plains to towering mountains and rich biodiversity, the Pearl of Africa is filled with all sorts of natural wonders.

But to truly experience this beauty, you need to master the art of getting around.

Embracing Boda Bodas

Picture this: you’re in Kampala, Uganda’s lively capital city, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of daily life but you need to get somewhere fast. This is where the boda bodas come in.

Boda bodas are motorcycles that are used as taxis. They move through traffic with ease, offering a thrilling and efficient way to navigate the city streets. Sure, it might be a bit chaotic at first, but hopping on the back of a boda boda is an experience you won’t soon forget.

Boda boda riders make the journey even more interesting with their catchy conversations about all sorts of things. You might not hear everything being said but you can just hum or exclaim in any way to make it seem like you are really enjoying the conversation.

Boda Boda in Uganda
A Boda Boda rider in Uganda – photo by Zach Wear

While boda bodas offer an exciting and convenient means of travel, you need to put safety first at all times. Do not hesitate to speak up if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe during the ride and remember to be mindful of your belongings to avoid any theft issues during your journey. Hold your bag tight if you must.

Public Taxis and Buses: A Taste of Local Life

For longer journeys between cities and towns, public taxis and buses are the way to go. These are the backbone of Uganda’s transportation system, connecting cities, towns, and remote villages across the country.

Using them will not only get you from point A to point B, but also get you in the rhythm of Ugandan life. They are often full of activity like passengers talking with one another and vendors hawk snacks and beverages.

One of the most remarkable aspects of traveling by public means is the sense of community it fosters. Regardless of background or social status, passengers from all walks of life come together for the shared experience of the journey. You can strike up conversations with fellow travelers, share stories, laughter, and even the occasional snack along the way. This way, the journey becomes as much about the people you meet as it is about reaching your destination.

Traveling by public taxi or bus in Uganda is not without its challenges. Delays, breakdowns, and overcrowding are to be expected of course but these moments sometimes lead to unexpected encounters and memorable experiences.

Despite the occasional bumps along the road, traveling by public taxi or bus in Uganda is a chance to slow down and the Ugandan culture and community.

Using Private Hire Vehicles

In major cities like Kampala and Entebbe, you can use ride-hailing apps like Uber, SafeCar or Bolt (formerly Taxify) to take you around.

If you are going on a safari in one of the national parks or exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations, you will need vehicles suitable for off-road terrain. Most private hire companies offer 4×4 vehicles with experienced drivers who are familiar with navigating through the wilderness.

With a private hire vehicle, you can enjoy a more exclusive safari experience away from crowded tourist buses.

Actually, many tour operators in Uganda offer safari packages that include transportation in private hire vehicles. They can arrange everything from vehicle rental to park permits and guided tours to give you a complete safari experience.

Private hire vehicles may be more expensive than group tours or self-drive options. However, the added comfort, flexibility, and personalized experience may justify the cost, especially if you are looking for a great safari experience.


Driving solo around Uganda is an experience like no other. Driving in the cities can be a chaotic experience with busy streets and unpredictable traffic patterns. You need to be cautious and patient, as well as be prepared for congestion, especially during peak hours.

Keep an eye out for pedestrians, cyclists, and boda bodas, and familiarize yourself with local driving customs and regulations to ensure a safe journey.

Once you’ve left the urban centers behind, the scenic Ugandan countryside awaits. From winding mountain roads to vast savannahs, each stretch offers its own unique charm. Take your time to soak in the breathtaking landscapes and don’t hesitate to pull over and explore on foot—some of Uganda’s most unforgettable sights are found off the beaten path.

Exploring the Ugandan Waters

Uganda is blessed with many rivers and lakes including the world’s longest river, River Nile. Other major water bodies include Lake Victoria, Lake Albert, and Lake Edward, among many others. These water bodies not only provide resources for local communities but also offer stunning landscapes for travelers to explore.

Boats and canoes are commonly used for both leisure and practical purposes serving as means of transportation. You can travel between islands on Lake Victoria or cruise along the Nile River all while enjoying beauty of these areas. These waters provide a serene backdrop for relaxation and reflection away from the hustle and bustle of roads and cities.

You can also take boat cruises to view the wildlife in Uganda for example spotting hippos and crocodiles as well as observing colorful birdlife along the river banks and lake shores.

For a more immersive and adventurous experience, you can try exploring in traditional dugout canoes. Carved from single tree trunks by skilled craftsmen, these canoes have been used by local communities for centuries for fishing, transportation, and trade.

Take it to the Skies

If you want to cover long distances quickly or access remote areas in Uganda, air travel is a convenient option. There are domestic flights to regional airstrips and national parks with regular schedules and relatively short flight times. For a private and personalized service, you can use chartered flights to reach your destination.

And if all you crave is a bird’s-eye view of Uganda’s stunning landscapes, scenic flights offer a unique and exhilarating experience. These flights take you over iconic landmarks such as the Rwenzori Mountains, the Nile River, and the vast savannah parks of the country. Whether you’re a photographer looking for the perfect aerial shot or simply looking to experience Uganda’s natural beauty from a new angle, scenic flights promise an unforgettable adventure.

Embrace the Journey

Moving around Uganda is an adventure with every mode of transport offering its unique experiences like negotiating fares with boda boda riders, exchanging stories with fellow passengers in a taxi, or simply gazing out the window as the landscape rolls by. So, embrace the journey, soak in the sights and sounds, and get ready to discover the wonders of the Pearl of Africa.

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