My alarm went off at about 4:00am. “Our uber has been trying to reach us!” I heard Tasha say as we jolted out of bed to get ready and head out in time to the bus park. Thankfully we had already parked from the night before for our two night stay at Queen Elizabeth National park, so were out in no time when our uber arrived at the gate.
There were some cars on the road at 4:30 in the morning and more down town at the bus park.
We had tried to rent a car to take us, but that would cost about 400,000Ugx excluding the drivers daily rate (honestly my bank account laughed out loud at me) So when presented with the option to pay 30,000Ugx per ticket with Link Bus, the most reliable option, it was a no brainer!
Link buses are large, green and yellow buses with fares between 15,000Ugx to 30,000Ugx for destinations from Kampala, Fort portal, Kasese, Bwera, Mubende, Hoima, Masindi, Mutukula, Kaiso tonya, Masaka and Bundibudgyo.
Getting onto the bus felt different. It was still dark at 5:30am and the windows were shut as most people were asleep. Most of the seats were already filled leaving only the back row. There was a mom with a baby and two small kids, on the extreme left and a lady deep asleep on the extreme right. The back row could seat about 6 of us, but ended up having 8!
The bus conductor kept bringing the late people (who were mothers with small children) to the back. The guy sitting next to me did not understand how he expected the mothers to carry their children to which he rudely responded that we should stick to our seats. I now understood why people came earlier to get the window seats at the front.
We were now on the road with the sun rising and more cars coming on the road. With the bus awake, I could feel my foot on the car part (I can only pronounce in Luganda) because my neighbor was on his way to work and kept calling to update his colleagues. “Nzijja mukama-wange’’ he said for the third time….
The guy in the seat in front of us had not stopped complaining about feeling cheated. He had been charged to use the toilet and swore never to use their offices again. I didn’t really understand the origin of his beef.
Sitting at the back was not the best idea, as my long legs did not have enough room. We later shifted to the front when we got to the Fort portal stage. Did I mention we took the wrong bus to Queen Elizabeth? Yeah. That added to the irritation of knowing we could have spent less time on the road! So we got out in Kasese and took a taxi. Overall, here are my final thoughts:
- The ticket is affordable…making it possible for many to travel
- I liked the signs to ‘’Speak Up’’ when the driver was going too fast plastered up everywhere
- There was no loud radio station on all the way to the destination
- The speed was okay
- There’s no VIP section, so first-come basis( you may need to arrive at the bus station much earlier)
- They keep picking passengers off the side of the road. So this isn’t a bus going direct, just making several stops
- Sitting at the back was too crowded and the children had no seats, so stood next to their mothers
- It would make a huge difference if the windows at the back could open
There’s also need for one to come with drinking water as this is not provided by the short haul buses as opposed to the long distance buses. Have you used Link Bus services whilst travelling in Uganda before? Where to? I’d love to hear all about your experience 🙂
Photo: Papa Shabani Photography (@Papasotit)