Long story short: UGANDA
Days spent: 14 (from January 12th to 25th, 2018)
Distance ridden: 1275 kilometers
If you wish to see the detailed route, please this click the image of this map above to open a new page with OUR FULL ROUTE on Google Maps.
Challenges: pretty much none - compared to Kenya, traffic in Uganda is more relaxed (except for Kampala - that’s a one crazy city!). The only annoying thing on the roads were the awful speed bumps made of 2 to 7 small humps that sometimes are positioned in a way that it’s impossible to go over them gently. Or sometimes they would have one hump, but so tall, that not only cars would be dragging their bottoms over it, but our motorcycles as well!
1. Staying at "Moses Camp"on the slopes of Mt. Elgon with a fantastic view of the valley bellow and overlooking one of the Sipi falls, where water fall 100 meters down...
2. A lovely town called Jinja, located right on the source of the river Nile, where it flows out of the biggest lake in Africa - Lake Victoria.
3. Staying in the campground on a tiny crater lake Nkuruba with three different species of monkeys running around!
4. Lake Bunyoni - a very scenic lake near the border with Rwanda in between the mountains with an interesting red mud road leading to it.
5. The national road through Queen Elisabeth national park - everyone can use it, you don't need to pay for entrance to the park, but technically it goes right through it, therefore a lot of wild animals can be seen in the savannas all around.
Other Places to visit: Murchison Falls, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Queen Elisabeth National Park.
Accommodation: The average price we paid for camping for two people in one tent per night was 8 Euros.
The campgrounds had showers and most of them had hot water or were able to make it on request.
Overall we were surprised to meet very many tourists and travelers from various countries: we met backpackers from Israel, musicians from France, a volunteer on 6 months project from Bulgaria, cyclists from Alaska, overlander-truck-couple from Germany, students from Norway, Peace Corps people from USA. That surprised us as while we were in Kenya, most of the campgrounds we stayed in were empty - there was rarely anyone else there apart us!
Entering and exiting:
IN: we entered from Kenya on the Malaba border crossing with Carnets de Passages. The customs people did not even look at the motorcycles, they were mostly interested to get us to pay 72 000 Ugandan Shillings (about 16 EUR) per motorcycle for road tax or something that would allow motorcycles to stay in the country for 30 days. That has to be done in the bank next door. The bank only accepts Ugandan Shillings in cash. The forex office was there and working.
The immigration officers stamped us out of Kenya (one stop border post) and the other ones in the next window had us fill in some information on the paper card and charged 50 USD per person for Ugandan visa. They would take the money themselves, but only in USD (also cash).
The whole process was very quick and easy. The queue at the bank to pay the taxes for the motorcycles took the longest.
OUT: we left Uganda to go to Rwanda through the Cyanika border crossing. Exit was very smooth. On Ugandan side there was only the customs office. They stamped out the Carnets without any questions asked and without looking at the bikes (again!). The exit stamp into the passport was put by the officers on the Rwandan side.
Roads: Driving on the left side of the road. All main roads vary between very good paved ones to very bad paved ones, but all the side roads are made of red dirt, which is best to ride when it’s a bit humid, otherwise when dry it’s very dusty, when very wet it’s crazy slippery.
Fuel: About 0.87 EUR for a liter of premium unleaded. Shell and Total gas stations are available all around the country. And mostly they would accept payment by Visa or Mastercard.
People: All very friendly and relaxed. Everyone speaks great English in Uganda as well as many other local languages.
We were hosted by a great local guy Odeon in Kampala. He introduced us to a part of his family and a few friends. Everyone was well educated, well traveled and very interesting to talk to!
Roadside eateries: The best quick roadside snack is a traditional Ugandan rolex: they cook a chapati (something between the Islamic style naan (bread) and a thick crepe made from flower and water) and an omelette with some tomato and onion. They roll the omelette into chapati, pack it into a plastic bag and it’s ready to eat. We paid about 1500 Ugandan shillings (about 0.3 EUR) per one rolex with omelette from two eggs.
Also you can buy bananas, mangoes, papayas, sugarcanes, cooked corn or giant jackfruits to snack on.
Other than getting a rolex or snacking on fruits, all the small cafes usually took very long time to get the food ready (sometimes more than one hour of waiting time...)
Food shops: very similar to Kenyan. The choice is very small. Even in supermarkets, the bigger part of the building was dedicated to toiletries, cleaning products, toilet paper, etc.
Ugandan beer is quite cheap, but tasty. You have to leave a small deposit for a glass bottle when buying it.
Traffic enforcement: the traffic police in Uganda are dressed in bright white and therefore look strange, but it’s easy to spot them from far away. We weren’t stopped in Uganda, we stopped ourselves next to the two lovely officers to ask about the conditions of the road ahead.