Transport in Uganda

Transport in Uganda refers to the transportation structure in Uganda. The country has an extensive network of paved and unpaved roads.

A map of Uganda showing main roads as of 2014


Stuck vehicle in Southern Uganda

As of 2017, according to the Uganda Ministry of Works and Transport, Uganda had about 130,000 kilometres (80,778 mi) of roads, with approximately 5,300 kilometres (3,293 mi) (4 percent) paved.[1] Most paved roads radiate from Kampala, the country's capital and largest city.[2]

International highwaysEdit

Northern bypass in Kampala

The Lagos-Mombasa Highway, part of the Trans-Africa Highway and aiming to link East Africa and West Africa, passes through Uganda. This is complete only eastwards from the UgandaDR Congo border to Mombasa, linking the African Great Lakes region to the sea. In East Africa, this roadway is part of the Northern Corridor.[3][4]

It cannot be used to reach West Africa because the route westwards across DR Congo to Bangui in the Central African Republic (CAR) is impassable after the Second Congo War and requires reconstruction. An alternative route (not part of the Trans-African network) to Bangui based on gravel roads and earth roads runs from Gulu in northern Uganda via Nimule and Juba, South Sudan and Obo in south-east CAR. This is used by trucks but sections are impassable after rain.[citation needed]

The route has been closed at times during war and conflict in northern Uganda (the Lord's Resistance Army rebellion) and South Sudan, but up to July 2007 had not been affected by the Darfur conflict and was the only usable road between East and West Africa. The security situation should be checked with authorities in northern Uganda, South Sudan and south-eastern CAR before use.[5]


As of 2017, Uganda's metre gauge railway network measures about 1,250 kilometres (777 mi) in length. Of this, about 56% (700 kilometres (435 mi)), is operational. A railroad originating at Mombasa on the Indian Ocean connects with Tororo, where it branches westward to Jinja, Kampala, and Kasese and northward to Mbale, Soroti, Lira, Gulu, and Pakwach. The only railway line still operating, however, is the MalabaKampala line.[1]

Railway links with neighboring countriesEdit

Couplings and brakesEdit


Standard Gauge Railway

The six countries of the East African Community are in the process of constructing railway lines with 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge tracks. Kenya had, by June 2018, completed the construction of the MombasaNairobi section of its Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), which cost US$4.47 billion (original budget was US$3.2 billion), borrowed from the Exim Bank of China.[8][9] The country now plans to extend he SGR line to Nakuru, Kisumu and Malaba, when funds become available.[10]

Uganda plans to construct a total of four SGR lines, totaling 1,547 kilometres (961 mi), at an estimated cost of US$12.6 billion.[11][12] Uganda's SGR is planned to link it to four neighboring countries, including Kenya, Rwanda, DR Congo and South Sudan.[13]

The Rift Valley Consortium

Between 2006 and 2017, a company known as Rift Valley Railways (RVRC) managed the Kenya Railways Corporation's and the Uganda Railways Corporation's 1,000 mm (3 ft 3⅜ in) metre gauge railway systems, under a 25-year concession.[14][15]

In August 2017, the government of Kenya terminated the RVRC concession, citing failure by RVRC to perform as stipulated in the concession agreement.[16] In October 2017, Uganda followed suit,[17] but RVRC ran to court to stop the termination.[18][19] In February 2018, Uganda Railways Corporation finally took possession of the concession assets and resumed operating the metre-gauge railway system in Uganda.[20][21]


Lake Victoria is the principal waterway with commercial traffic. In conjunction with train services, the railway companies of Uganda and Tanzania operate train ferries on the lake between railhead ports of the two countries and Kenya. These ferries load rail coaches and wagons. Jinja and Port Bell, on a 7 kilometres (4 mi) branch line from Kampala, are the railheads for Uganda, connecting to Mwanza, Tanzania and Kisumu, Kenya.[22][23]

The Port Bell ferry wharf is visible on high-resolution Google Earth photos at latitude 0.2885° longitude 32.653°.[24] Other ferries serve non-railhead ports on the lake.[25] There are dry dock facilities at Port Bell (Luzira), which were under renewed use as of June 2018.[26][27][28]

A new inland port, Bukasa Inland Port is under development on the northern shores of Lake Victoria, at Bukasa, in Wakiso District, about 20 kilometres (12 mi), by road, south-east of the central business district of Kampala, the capital and largest city of Uganda.[29] When completed the inland port is designed to handle up to 5.2 million tonnes of freight annually.[30] The port will facilitate movement of goods from the Tanzanian ports of Dar es Salaam and Tanga, via rail to the port of Mwanza on Lake Victoria. Barges would then bring the cargo over the lake to Bukasa. This would reduce Uganda's near-total dependence on the port of Mombasa, Kenya.[31]

Lake Kyoga and the Victoria Nile south of the lake constitute the second most important commercial waterway. There used to be a steamboat service between Namasagali, a railhead port on the Nile, going as far as Masindi-Port on the other side of Lake Kyoga.[citation needed] Other waterways such as Lake Albert, Lake George, Lake Edward, and the Albert Nile do not carry commercial traffic to any great extent.


Entebbe International Airport is Uganda's largest and busiest airport, servicing in excess of 1.5 million arrivals annually, as of 2015.[32] In February 2015, the Government of Uganda began a three-phase expansion and upgrade of Entebbe Airport planned to last from 2015 until 2035.[33][34][35]

In January 2018, SBC Uganda Limited, a joint venture company between Colas Limited of the United Kingdom and SBI International Holdings of Uganda, started construction of Kabaale International Airport in Hoima District.[36][37] The first phase of construction, including the runway and cargo-handling facilities, is expected to be ready in 2020. This phase is primarily to support construction of the Uganda Oil Refinery.[38][39] The second phase of construction, focused on the facilitation of passengers and boosting tourism and business, is expected to conclude in 2022.[38][39]

As of June 2018, according to the CIA Factbook, Uganda had 47 airports, five of which had paved runways, namely Entebbe Airport, Gulu Airport, Soroti Airport, Nakasongola Airport and Jinja Airport.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Ministry of Works & Transport (2017). "Key Summary Statistics". Kampala: Uganda Ministry of Works and Transport. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  2. ^ DLCA.LogCluster (2017). "Map of Uganda Showing Main Road Network". Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  3. ^ NCTTCA (2018). "About the Northern Transportation Corridor". Mombasa: Northern Corridor Transit and Transportation Coordination Authority (NCTTCA). Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  4. ^ Safe Way Right Way (29 February 2012). "Maps of Kenya and Uganda Showing the Northern Corridor Route" (PDF). Nairobi: Safe Way Right Way Organization. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  5. ^ Rick Gladstone, Thom Shanker (14 October 2011). "Armed U.S. Advisers to Help Fight African Renegade Group". The New York Times. New York City. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  6. ^ "The Railway Gazette" (21 July 1939). "Metre-Gauge Beyer-Garratt 4-8-4 + 4-8-4 for the Kenya & Uganda Railways". Quoting The Railway Gazette. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  7. ^ "Specifications & Standards". Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  8. ^ Kacungira, Nancy (8 June 2017). "Will Kenya get value for money from its new railway?". Nairobi: BBC Africa. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  9. ^ Gaffey, Conor (31 May 2017). "Kenya Just Opened A $4 Billion Chinese-Built Railway, Its Largest Infrastructure Project In 50 Years". Newsweek. New York City. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  10. ^ Igadwah, Lynet (6 December 2015). "Proposed link to Nakuru could push up costs of SGR". Business Daily Africa. Nairobi. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  11. ^ Wesonga, Nelson (7 April 2017). "Minister defends Shs45.6 trillion Standard Gauge Railway project cost". Daily Monitor. Kampala. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  12. ^ Kuo, Lily (24 July 2017). "Uganda's Chinese-built high speed railway will cost even more than Kenya's did". Quartz Africa. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  13. ^ Bonface (10 September 2015). "US$3.2bn Standard Gauge Railway line to connect Uganda and South Sudan". Nairobi: Construction Review Online. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  14. ^ Njoka, Kimathi (28 July 2006). "East Africa: Kenya And Uganda Railways Takeover Date Postponed". The Standard (Kenya) via Nairobi. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  15. ^ Sambu, Zeddy (28 July 2006). "Kenya: Railway Takeover Pushed to November". Daily Nation via Nairobi. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  16. ^ Muchira, Njiraini (1 August 2017). "Kenya ends Rift Valley Railways contract". The EastAfrican. Nairobi. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  17. ^ Frederic Musisi, and Thembo Kahungu (8 October 2017). "Government cancels Rift Valley Railways deal". Daily Monitor. Kampala. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  18. ^ Musisi, Fredric (12 February 2018). "Uganda, Kenya failed railway deal - RVR Chief". Daily Monitor. Kampala. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  19. ^ Musisi, Fredric (12 February 2018). "Government, RVR in fresh legal battle over railway deal". Daily Monitor. Kampala. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  20. ^ Ngwomwoya, Amos (23 February 2018). "Passenger train services to resume on Monday". Daily Monitor. Kampala. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  21. ^ Alfred Ochwo, and Mercy Ahukana (27 February 2018). "Kampalans welcome revamped passenger train services". The Observer (Uganda). Kampala. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  22. ^ Balagadde, Samuel (29 October 2009). "Uganda: Government to Repair Grounded Ships". New Vision. Kampala. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  23. ^ Kagenda, Patrick (10 September 2008). "PPDA finally allows repair of MV Pamba". The Independent (Uganda). Kampala. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  24. ^ Google (10 June 2018). "Location of Port Bell Wharf Pier" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  25. ^ Atcnews Staff (12 April 2014). "New ferry starts services from Entebbe to Kalangala/Ssese Islands". Kampala: Aviation, Travel and Conservation News. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  26. ^ Lubulwa, Henry (24 February 2018). "Government pressured to revamp ship servicing in Luzira". Daily Monitor. Kampala. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  27. ^ Ssekweyama, Ezekiel (20 February 2018). "Government Clears Operations at Dry Dock". Kampala: Uganda Radio Network. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  28. ^ Al-Mahdi Ssenkabibrwa (2 April 2018). "MV Kalangala suspends operations for 23 days to undergo servicing". Daily Monitor. Kampala. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  29. ^ (10 June 2018). "Distance between Post Office Building, Kampala Road, Kampala, Uganda and Kirombe, Kampala, Uganda". Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  30. ^ 256BN (25 April 2016). "Bukasa Inland Port secures funding". 256 Business News (256BN). Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  31. ^ Biryabarema, Elias (12 February 2013). "Uganda to build inland port to reduce reliance on Kenya". Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  32. ^ Economist Intelligence Unit (2 March 2016). "Rise in foreign visitors to Uganda". Economist Intelligence Unit. London. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  33. ^ Nakitendde, Hadijah (23 June 2015). "NRM manifesto roots for aviation infrastructure expansion". Kampala: Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  34. ^ (May 2016). "Entebbe International Airport Expansion". Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  35. ^ Mugalu, Moses (31 August 2015). "Upgraded Entebbe to handle 3 million passengers". The Observer (Uganda). Kampala. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  36. ^ The Uganda Today (2 March 2018). "Hoima Airport contractor SBC Uganda urged to hire local residents". Kampala: Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  37. ^ Odyek, John (30 January 2018). "Hoima International Airport to Employ Locals" (PDF). Kampala: SBI Uganda Limited Quoting New Vision. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  38. ^ a b Steenhoff-Snethlage, Erin (11 December 2017). "Second international airport on the way for Uganda". Johannesburg: Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  39. ^ a b Odyek, John (12 February 2018). "Hoima airport to be complete by 2020". New Vision. Kampala. Retrieved 10 June 2018.

  This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook website