Nairobi - Kampala: Road Trip

I am traveling to Kampala, the City of Hills. Historically, Kampala is known for its many rolling hills, which reach an altitude of up to 4,000 feet at their highest point. The original number of hills was 7 but has since grown into many more. These include Kampala Hill, Tank Hill, Mulago Hill, and Nakasero Hill. Traveling from Nairobi to Kampala on the bus brings you tremendous adventures. Mine was at night, it was not much fun, but here I've noted how it goes.

My plan was to permanently move from Nairobi, Kenya to Kigali, Rwanda. I did a little research on the internet and over the phone with resident friends and others. Some friends told me it was easy to open a business and get a residence permit in Rwanda. So it has been a while since I started contemplating a move.

I stayed for a year in Nairobi now, traveled to many parts of Kenya, and I was staying on a tourist visa. It’s only possible to extend for less than six months. I had to leave after six months and then renew for another six months. Now my visa in Kenya has expired. The immigration office gave me the last two-week extension with a warning letter that either I should leave the country or present documentation. I decided to leave.

When I leave, I decided to go to Rwanda, where they welcome visas on arrival for all Africans. I also decided to use land transport and the easiest way was through Uganda. On the way, I planned to visit Uganda and explore a little.

My two-week visa expires on Tuesday, 19, 2022. Then I took the COVID test and bought a bus ticket from Classic Courier on Monday, April 18, 2022. 

The same day at 16:30 I was inside the bus. Our ticket says we’ll be leaving at 17:00, but we departed at 17:19 from Classic Coach Company Limited’s office at Duruma Road, Nairobi.

Bus seats were arranged in such a way that the same row was labeled with the same letter as A1, A2, on one side, and A3&A4 on the other side. The next row B1, B 2, and B3&B4 on the other side, until L1, L2, and L3&L4. It seems the bus had a total of some 48 seats.

Each seat was equipped with a socket outlet for your electronics, two USB2, and one 3-pin AC.

Following the Wayakiway road, Kikuyu, Limuru town, we arrived at Naivasha at 19:22.

Nakuru was almost asleep when we reached 21:05. We were given 10 min refreshment time at one supermarket. I ate my dinner, which I had takeaway from Winta House, one of the few common Habesha restaurants in Nairobi.

We arrived at Busia border area at 02:00. At the immigration, I had to have my vaccine and COVID certificates printed for 100 Ksh each. The small printing office is so cooperative and genuine that she will allow you to print only what is required by both the immigration offices.

Both the Kenyan and Ugandan immigration officers, whose bureaus are side by side on the same floor, have to find something to make money. You can’t escape them, you just have to bargain on the amount. The only legal fee is supposed to be $50 on the Ugandan side.

I was the last person to finish the hustle of the Exit/Entry. I was given a three-month visa to Uganda. The overall process took me 1 hr 10min.

Everybody on our bus was on board and all the bus attendants were waiting for me at the gate. We rushed to our bus and left Malaba at 03:14.

Since we are traveling at night time, I couldn’t capture what the area looks like.

Bugiri 03:45

Busesa 3:55

Nakalama 4:04

Iganga 04:09

Musita 04:21

Namagunga 05:12

Mukono: 5:30

Seeta: 05:40

05:49 we arrived at Kampala. The bus had to unload some of its goods at the customs office.

Trip ended at Classic office, Kampala.

Sunrise over Kampala was really impressive. The city was quiet, vehicles started moving here and there. As time goes, the bodabodas (motorbikes) started flooding the streets.

A friend of my friend by the name Nahom was waiting for my arrival. When I call him from the last bus stop and told him the direction, I had to take a boda to around Soya, Bunga.

After traveling the whole night, I fall asleep immediately on arriving at my friends’ house.

Later, I had to convert some of my USD into Ugandan Shilling, which, surprisingly, made me a millionaire for the first time in my life. One USD was 3,536.35 Ugandan Shillings.

My plan is to explore Kampala and its surroundings and I’ll put my travel experience to those places in Uganda in my next notes.


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Andom Gebreyessus