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Uganda

Getting around

Boat

The opportunities for travel on Lake Victoria are limited and potentially dangerous because the local boats are small and overcrowded. The only regular transport on the lake is to and around the Ssese Islands.

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Car & motorcycle

Car

A number of companies offer vehicles but prices are quite high. Best to forget about them completely and negotiate independently with a ‘special hire’ taxi driver in the capital. Budget lodges can usually provide a contact.

Roads are good between most major centres in the southern part of the country. In the north, however, minor roads are usually badly potholed, and after heavy rain they become impassable in anything other than a 4WD.

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Bus & tram

Bus

Everywhere in Uganda is linked by minibuses, which are known as ‘taxis’. Fares are fixed and often displayed, and there’s usually a sign with the destination. Minibus taxis leave when full, and on major routes starting from Kampala this means the official capacity of 14 passengers. However, once beyond the scrutiny of the capital, they soon pack ’em in like sardines.

Ordinary buses also connect the major towns. They’re cheaper than minibus taxis and are usually faster, as they don’t continually stop to pick up and drop off passengers. Most towns and cities have a bus station/taxi park.

One good way to travel around – but mostly to and from Kampala – is by the post buses run by the Ugandan Postal Service (UPS). Post buses run daily (except Sunday) from Kampala to Fort Portal, Kasese (via Mbarara), Kabale (via Masaka and Mbarara), Soroti (via Mbale) and Hoima (via Masindi).

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Train

Uganda’s railway network is used only for cargo; there are no passenger services.

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Tours

A few reliable companies in Kampala offer tours and safaris to the major places of interest, but the budget safari industry in Uganda is not nearly as well established as it is in Kenya and Tanzania. Costs are generally high.

Afritours & Travel (041-233596; www.afritourstravel.com ; Buganda Rd, Kampala) offers some of the cheapest organised safaris, including Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National Parks.

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Local transport

In Kampala and most major towns, bicycles (from USh500) and motorcycles (from USh1500), collectively called boda-bodas, take passengers. The fares are negotiable. Non­metered ‘special hire’ taxis are cars available for rent in most Ugandan towns.

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Air

Eagle Air and United Airlines offer a limited schedule to obscure parts of northern Uganda.

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