book your flight to entebbe international airport, uganda

Uganda is a popular destination for holiday, business, and volunteer travel. The physical landscapes, national game parks, emerging middle class, source of the River Nile, vast oil deposits, and welcoming culture are attracting not only visitors from Western Europe and North America, but also from other markets.

Diaspora Ugandans, Kenyans, South Africans, and Asians are coming and going with increasing frequency.

There are a number of ways to easily fly into Uganda. This page is an overview of getting here. It includes info about the various airlines that fly into Uganda and their services, transfer cities where you may layover on your way, and what to do once you arrive.

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The Real Uganda offers 2 – 12 week locally-led communty-based volunteer programs.

airlines flying into uganda

Most airlines flying into Uganda leave their departure cities early morning. Depending on where in the world you’re originating from, you may have an over night layover on your way. If it is more than 8 hours, check the airline information kiosks outside your arrival gate and ask for a free hotel room. Many airlines will grant it, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

If they don’t offer a free hotel room, you can choose to snooze in airport sleeping rooms. These are usually quiet, but also well lit, super cooled, and not particularly comfortable. Make sure you bring the blanket from your last flight.

If airport napping isn’t your thing, book a hotel in town.

If you do decide to spend a night, or even a couple days, remember to check out tourist visa requirements for your transfer country.

Here’s how to apply for your Ugandan tourist e-visa and here’s how to offset your carbon footprint when you fly.

Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines flies into Entebbe more than once, everyday. This carrier often has the best price, but the least spectacular service. Transferring through Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, your layover will be hot and unexciting. But if cost is your number one factor when booking flights to Uganda, Ethiopian will likely be your best bet.

I like Ethiopian when flying with children. Flying any African carrier rocks as Africans generally love kids and allow them freedoms Europeans don’t. As a parent, you’ll be in good company and never have to apologize for your kids being kids.

Ethiopian Airlines is part of the Star Alliance network, whose members include Air Canada, Lufthansa, Air China, United Airlines, and Air New Zealand. To be a part of Star Alliance, an airline must comply with the highest standards of customer service, security, and technical infrastructure.

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Etihad airways

Etihad flies direct to Entebbe from Abu Dhabi, UAE, on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, arriving at 13:00. Relatively new to Uganda, I’ve not used it personally, but The Real Uganda’s volunteers have. So far, we’ve had mixed experience with luggage arriving on time. Because they don’t fly in every day, you may be stuck waiting for your bag an extra day or 2.

However, if you’re flying from Australia or New Zealand, Etihad has great pricing. It’s worth checking them out. Just make sure to have a few days’ essentials packed in your carry on!

Etihad partners with Brussels Airlines, American Airlines, Virgin Australia, and Air New Zealand. 

air emirates

Air Emirates flies into Uganda every day, arriving from Dubai, UAE. Emirates easily has the highest quality services of any carrier entering Uganda. It has great luggage allowance, as well. While their prices are competitive, they’re not the absolute cheapest. They do, however, allow you to extend your layover in Dubai for a few days at no cost.

Dubai International Airport has amazing shopping and entertainment options for long layovers. Emirates also flies to 150 destinations in 81 countries all over the world.

The Real Uganda has seen a recent surge in volunteers who live and work in Dubai.

Dubai is a popular destination for Ugandan holiday makers and business people

Air Emirates partners with EasyJet, JetBlue, Quantas, and Virgin America, among others.

qatar airways

Qatar flies into Uganda everyday, from Doha, Qatar. Touted as the “world’s five-star airline”, its services are rather decent. Staff is polite, food is fine, the seating comfortable.

This is my favourite airline to use when coming from Europe. They always have the best price. If they don’t, check back the next week, and take advantage of their rolling sales.

They also have a huge network of flights, flying to 150 destinations around the world.

Hamad International Airport has great shopping, restaurants, and play structures for kids. I’ve never, nor have any of The Real Uganda’s volunteers, ever lost luggage using this airline when flying into Uganda. Of course, that’s not to say it won’t happen to you. It’s just not probable.

Qatar’s international partners include British Airways, American Airlines, Cathy Pacific, and Quantas.

The Real Uganda’s online shop sells uniquely Ugandan apparel. Look great and support our community programs.

south african airways

South African Airways flies into Entebbe 6 times a week from Johannesburg. While this used to be a popular flight for people coming from Australasia, it is now mostly used by people hailing from southern Africa.

South African Airways is part of the Star Alliance Network.

brussels airlines

Brussels Airlines has a direct flight from Belgium into Entebbe every night. Also a popular option for visitors from northern Europe and North America, it must compete hard with Ethiopian, Emirates, and Qatar. Flight prices are higher than competitors, but getting a direct flight from Europe really cuts down on travel times.

Brussels Airlines is also part of Star Alliance.

SN Brussels Airlines Headquarters, Brussles

KLM royal Dutch Airlines

KLM flies from Amsterdam to Entebbe everyday, arriving after 10pm. It’s a popular flight for people coming from northern Europe. It used to be very popular with visitors hailing from North America as well. However, Ethiopian, Emirates, and Qatar now fly from many major cities, without a European stopover, and offer better prices. If you want to cut down on travel times, this is a great option.

My favourite thing about flying KLM is the array of chocolate bars, salty snacks, and sodas quietly offered at the back of the plane. Just help yourself.

Should you choose to fly KLM, Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is amazing. They have an indoor green space and a casino. Something for everyone?

KLM’s international partners include Air Canada and Delta Airlines.

egypt air and turkish airlines

Both these carriers fly into Uganda daily but arrive and depart between 02:00 and 04:00, and are often late. These are inconvenient flight times to say the least. If flight prices are competitive, this may not matter to you.

Turkish Airlines in a bid to increase local tourism, does offer free multi-day layovers in Istanbul, but loses luggage often.

Both airlines are part of Star Alliance.

kenya airlines

Almost all the above carriers also fly to Entebbe via Nairobi, Kenya. Since Nairobi receives more annual visitors than Entebbe (we’re working to change that!) flights to Nairobi may be better priced.

There are multiple daily flights between Nairobi and Entebbe, you can usually choose a morning, afternoon or late night option.

It is important for travelers to know that if one or more of those flights is not sufficiently booked, it will be cancelled without notice. Passengers are simply booked on the next Entebbe bound flight. However, adding a few more unexpected hours to your travels may not please you.

Lake Bunyonyi, in south western Uganda. Credit: Neil Palmer (CIAT)

A great way to easily compare prices is to use a website like Skyscanner or CheapAir. You can get alerts when flights go on sale, info on when is the best time to book, and compare flexibility/flight change/refund policies as well.

What to do on Arrival at Entebbe, Uganda

First, take off your jacket. No matter what time of day you arrive, it’s hot out here. Customs at Entebbe International Airport is not air conditioned. It does have free wifi, though.

You’ll first queue to show the required COVID-19 and yellow fever vaccination certificates. Then you’ll queue for customs. Here is where you present your passport with your e-visa Approval Letter. Neither of these procedures is lightening quick. What’s nice is that once you’re through, your luggage is usually waiting for you. There are 2 carousels, yours will be easy to find.

Once inside the arrivals lounge, you can change cash at the forex bureau or withdraw from the ATM machines. Airport forex rates are usually less than optimum, but don’t differ vastly from those found in town. The ATM machines take Visa related cards. Leave your MasterCard at home.

Want to connect a local phone line? Head over to one of the few telecom shops in the arrivals lounge. They’ll sort you out with a SIM card, airtime, and an internet data package for your unlocked smart phone. SIM cards are $1. Monthly internet costs start at $10 for 10Gb of data. It gets cheaper the more you buy.

Now, you’re ready to head out side. If you’re traveling with The Real Uganda, you’ll have someone waiting for you. They’ll be just outside the big glass doors holding a sign showing your name.

If you’re traveling on your own, don’t get flustered by the drivers vying for your business. This is Uganda, no one means to do any harm. Bargain hard and ask to see “the book”. There are set prices into Entebbe, Kampala, Mukono, and other up-country destinations. But no one will offer to show it to you. These guys are motivated, so expect a hard sale! And remember to smile…


You’ve Made it to Uganda!

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