Moving Cheaply Around Kampala
Moving Cheaply Around Kampala Reviews
Boarding a motor cycle (boda boda) Jul 07, 2011
well, this can be old news to you, but to some or most, its news! did you know that in most areas, strangers are charged afew dollars more than locals?
Here in Kampala, when a person knows that you are an outsider, the prices just shoot up. its not for goods (such as fruits, crafts etc) only, but for services also.
Now I am going to review the transport in and around Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, East Aftrica. Kampala offers alot of attractive sights and food to the eye scenarios. Its so exciting. But if you don't travel much, you don't see much... isn't it?
Travelling around Kampala can be done ;BY taxi, on foot; by special hire car; rental; bicycle or motorcycle (bodaboda)
There are companies, especially travel and tour companies that offer this service, i.e, renting vehicles. One can rent acar for as long as a month! You just need correct and valid documents and a driving permit from your home country or its equivalent. With this option, you can part with a handsome amount of money.
However its good in that you can enjoy a ride through the town,. without limits. Also you can move with friends to places of your like at the same time. And you won't worry about going home ( to your hotel) after the party! This option is cheap in the long run.
HIRING A "SPECIAL HIRE" CAR
Renting a car might not be as expensive as hiring a special car. This is because when you hire a car, it comes with a driver. And that driver will hike the fees because you are not local.
However, there is a time when you are going to a near by place and you find you need to go, and there is the Special hire car around what do you do... 'Bitter-sweet' kind of, huh? :)
There are motor cycle taxis on Kampala roads. They are called BODA BODA /bodaboda/. These can take you anywhere you like in a matter of minutes. Their patrons know how to squeeze through the tiniest gaps between the cars at rush hour.
When late for a meeting, luncheon or rendevous, just look at a man on a motor cycle and hiss- "ssssssiiiiii...!" he will stop and ride to you, tell him (99% are male) where you are going (most understand English), he will tell you the amount. (! ten times the real price)
but you will get there.
Motor cycles are good, you can access area much faster with them than any other means of transport in this city. When you don't know the way to a place or hotel, the boda boda man can take you there if you say its name. Even a motor cycle allows you to enjoy the fresh air, the sun and the environment around you. You can 'physically' sight see on a bike.
The only danger with this kind of transport is that these guys are very reckless. You have high chances of serious accidents with casualities. They don't respect traffic rules very much. Some don't even wear helmets!
Walking or jogging can also be enjoyable
you have to be wearing comfy shoe though, and good clothes that can blend with the dust. You pick alot of dust on the way, and you can be pushed about by rushing people on the streets. When you meet a person carrying alot of things on their head, please give way. ( they will be saying "faasi-faasi" meaning "space- space"
TIPS ON HOW TO TRAVEL WELL
Ok, after seeing the above means of travel, the following are general tips to ease your way through crowded streets and guarantee you an enjoyable visit to Uganda's capital.
1. Know where you are going and where you have come from. That is; write the places on paper so that when you get a boda boda or taxi, you can tell them where you are headed.
2. Know the price of the distance you are travelling. You can know it by entering a shop to buy something, like water and ask the shopkeeper the price of your journey, he or she will tell you the exact amount. DON'T ask the driver or cyclist BEFORE knowing the actual price of a good or service.
3. when you have alot of luggage, use a special hire. especially at night.
4. Do not walk far away your place of residence when you are alone. its very boring because you don't have someone to talk to or comment about what you have seen.
5.Its good if you tell some one you are to go with, AN HOUR BEFORE HAND. Locals don't respect time very much. if you expect him or her in twenty minutes, you won't see them after fifty! "traffic jam" they will tell you.
6. BEWARE of people who will befriend you and suggest you go with them in private cars- not taxis (marked with blue striped lines along the sides) or Special hire (marked with a big S on the sides) They may kidnap or rob you.
7. Travel with just enough money for transport, and the rest leave it in the bank. There are many bank out lets and ATM Machines around town that allow Visa cards, so why move with alot of cash?
8. When driving,respect traffic laws. Don't run the red lights. there is a time when they are not functioning and traffic police do the job. So be vigilant and listen for the whistles.
9. watch out for poor road users, especially the cyclists, they can cause accidents.
10. Remember: in Uganda, we KEEP LEFT.
These are some of the tips I can give you now, but there are many more, like buying groceries, watch out for fruits with bad sides.... but this is for next time , bye bye,. SAFARI NJEMA!
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