Update: After more than 50 years in operation, Akamba Bus closed its doors in May 2012. Jump to this comment to find out what my current recommendation of bus operator for this route is.
Did you travel during the day or at night? What route did you choose?
I make this journey all the time!
Although occasionally I fly between these two destinations, I do so rarely because of the exorbitant price of air travel on this route.
Traveling by bus is 8 times cheaper and is convenient enough, especially when I’m not particularly time-constrained.
Credible Bus Services Plying the Nairobi-Kampala Route
Many bus companies serve this route.
The only three that are worth knowing about, in my opinion, are Akamba Public Road Services, Scandanavia Express Services, and Regional Coach Services (which I will refer to from now on simply as Akamba Bus, Scandinavia, and Regional).
Of these three, Akamba Bus and Scandinavia are by far the superior services, though when the need arises, Regional is an O.K. alternative.
I will tell you about these services in a three-part series.
In this first post of the series, I will tell you all you need to know about making this journey with Akamba Bus.
In the next two posts, I will tell you what you need to know about traveling with Scandinavia and Regional.
Akamba Bus is the oldest of the three services I will discuss.
I am not sure when Akamba Bus came into existence, but my parents tell me that it existed even in their day.
This is both a good and bad thing.
Starting with it being a good thing, Akamba Bus has a lot of experience ferrying passengers on this route and has mastered the art of doing so safely.
Of the three bus services, Akamba Bus has the best and longest safety track record.
During the 9 years that I have regularly traveled this route, I have never heard of a major road accident involving Akamba Bus.
If safety, above all, is what you are looking for, look no further: Akamba Bus is the bus for you.
As a bad thing, because of its age as a service, Akamba Bus buses are often no longer in the best of conditions and can be quite rickety.
There are two ways that I know of to circumvent this problem.
The first is to pay a little more and use the more up-market Akamba Bus service known as Akamba Royal. The other is to use a trick that I learned from a cousin who also makes this journey often: travel with a pillow to cushion “the blows”.
This you can always do when traveling by bus anywhere in East Africa and goes a long way to making a bus ride a lot more comfortable.
READ ALSO: Sleeping Mattress Tip: Use a Mattress Pad
I am not sure why, but most people I know prefer to travel using the Busia route.
Out of habit, I too used to travel using that route.
The journey was more comfortable, and once again I wondered why people prefer to use the Busia route. (Is this your preference? If so, why?)
During the day, buses leave early in the morning, at 7 a.m.
At night, they leave at 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
Akamba Royal, the up-market service of Akamba Bus, departs from Nairobi only once a day, in the morning at 7 a.m.
I recommend day travel the first time you make this journey so that you get to see what lies between the two capital cities.
Once you have seen what there is to see, I recommend night travel on all subsequent journeys.
The journey now takes 13 hours due to bad roads and government-imposed speed limits.
Traveling at night makes this long journey seem much shorter since you can sleep most of the way.
The last ticket I bought for Akamba Bus’s executive service (the regular service) cost me only 1,400 Ksh, while the Akamba Royal service cost 2,100 Ksh.
If day travel and money are not considerations, then I do recommend spending the extra money to travel by Akamba Royal.
Akamba Royal, being a newer service, has more modern and comfortable buses and, in my experience, tends to be more prompt.
If you have any comments, or questions you would like to ask, please leave me a comment below.
Join me tomorrow to hear more about traveling with Scandinavia on this same route.
The day after that, I will tell you about traveling with Regional.
If you will be making this journey soon, I wish you a safe and comfortable trip.
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Photo Credit: WorldWideEndeavors.org