Scheduled & chartered domestic flights are now making travel between Uganda’s cities and national parks easier than ever before. Tourists can leave a forest lodge in the mountains of Kabale and have breakfast at Javas Cafe in Entebbe before catching their international flight back home at midday. Business people are making deals across the country and retiring home in time for an evening cuppa.
Given that few major urban commercial cities lie more than four to eight hours’ drive from the capital and that roads are now well-surfaced, flying is not yet a viable domestic transport option for most people in Uganda.
Regardless, Uganda practically has only one international airport in Entebbe and a couple of CAA-managed and privately run airstrips scattered around the countryside.
Only four flight operators, Aerolink, Eagle Air, Kampala Aeroclub (KAFTC), and the new entrant, Bar Aviation, operate daily scheduled flights between local airstrips and Entebbe International Airport. They also offer chartered flights in planes ranging from a 2-seater helicopters to 21-seater caravans.
The only local air services likely to interest tourists are scheduled domestic flights run by Bar Aviation and Aerolink to several game parks or nearby gateway towns.
Alternatively, the tour operator usually organizes charter flights with the aviation company for tourists travelling on a packaged luxury tour. That helps with the logistics and gives the traveller time to concentrate on their experience.
On the other hand, DIY travellers can also book directly with the domestic carriers since they all have operation offices in Entebbe or Kajansi. Aerolink and Bar Aviation have online booking systems that allow travellers and tour operators to book online.
The only destinations more often reached by air than by road are the remote Kidepo Valley National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park since the drive is likely to take more than 9 hours, even on recently well-paved roads.
It’s always frustrating to find someone at the check-in line trying to force the check-in agent to allow their excess luggage on board. Don’t carry your kitchen sink to the airport.
These light aeroplanes can only carry so much and have much smaller luggage holds than most typical airlines. The local airline operators have rules and regulations regarding flight baggage limitations. Always check the luggage allowance before your book your flight to avoid frustrations.
On all services, the maximum luggage weight is 15 kgs /33lbs in soft-sided bags. Also, standard checked luggage has three dimensions 24 inches (60cm) in height, 18 inches (45cm) in length and 13 inches (33cm) in width.
For hand luggage, 12 inches (30cm) height, by 21 inches (53cm) length, by 9 inches (23cm) width.
Personal items like handbags, small umbrellas, walking sticks, coats, and small backpacks can be stored under the seat in front of the passenger or in an overhead bin where applicable. These items must not exceed 5 Kgs/ 11lbs and are part of the baggage allowance of 15kgs/ 33lbs.
On Scheduled flights, please book and pay for an additional freight seat in advance to accommodate additional luggage. The extra seat will allow for an additional 75kgs/165lbs excess luggage.
If you wish to carry additional luggage on space availability, the prevailing rate of USD 3 will apply per kilo for local flights and USD 4 for Kisumu and Maasai Mara flights. This may not be an available option on the date of departure.