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Chris and Eric at Simba Scooters Kampala
Home » Africa » Uganda » Buying a scooter in Uganda & ViaVia Guesthouse | #pipikikitour2021 ? (1)

Buying a scooter in Uganda & ViaVia Guesthouse | #pipikikitour2021 ? (1)

What is it like to travel through East Africa on a scooter? Simply unique. Warm encounters with the locals, who look in amazement at that pikipiki (scooter in Swahili). On a scooter safari through wildlife parks (only possible in Uganda) you chug past herds of buffalo, elephants, zebras and those oh so gallant giraffes. In the event of a breakdown on the road, you notice that everyone wants to help you. Karibu mzungu! In the first part of the #pipikikitour2021 do we need to buy a scooter in Kampala first and stay with ViaVia Guesthouse in Entebbe. You can read all about it here.

Also read:

pikipikitour2021 ? (1) Buying a scooter in Uganda & ViaVia Guesthouse
pikipikitour2021 ? (2) Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Refugees & Scooter Breakdown
pikipikitour2021 ? (3) Murchison Falls NP | The first scooter safari
pikipikitour2021 ? (4) Drone images scooter safari | Murchison Falls
pikipikitour2021 ? (5) Bad luck in Pakwach and Gulu Central Market
pikipikitour2021 ? (6) Struggling through the mud in Uganda (video)
pikipikitour2021 ? (7) Kidepo Valley | The Legacy of Idi Amin

Arrival in Entebbe (near Kampala)

It is for the first time that I will not travel alone on a scooter through East Africa. Chris, the ever-enthusiastic owner of Wereldreizigers.nl, signed up a week before I left. 'I also want to experience this sometime.' After an unparalleled visit to the great migration in the Maasai Mara, we took a plane from Nairobi on 24 August (Kenya) to Entebbe (Uganda† The pikipiki tour can now really start.

Trouble with customs due to a drone

Well under 'guidance', by the way, because a Kenyan customs officer escorts us to the departure hall. A week earlier, Chris had to hand in his drone at customs upon arrival in Nairobi. Bringing a drone is prohibited without prior express permission (and quite a bit of paperwork and fees).

Chris decides this time before we fly to Uganda to dismantle the drone and we divide the parts among our luggage. Uganda is even stricter with regard to drones. Fortunately, customs in Entebbe don't notice anything and Chris is the king too. Because how cool is it to fly a drone over a herd of elephants or buffalo…?

Arrive in Entebbe, Uganda
Arrive in Entebbe, Uganda

Our stay in Entebbe

We are staying with ViaVia Guesthouse in Entebbe and share a beautiful tent overlooking a swamp. It is a good place to be, the nature around you is beautiful and the garden is well cared for. In the video below you get a good impression of the accommodation.

ViaVia Guesthouse belongs to a chain of Guesthouses which you can find in 17 places all over the world. The location in Entebbe is run by two Belgians who are often present, which is reflected in the quality of the service and the food. I once stayed in a ViaVia Guesthouse in Senegal and I really liked it.

Our tent at Via Via Guesthouse
Our tent on the water at ViaVia Guesthouse

In the morning the blue monkeys frolic around happily. They are visibly relaxed and not necessarily afraid of people. Playing in the trees, they often run and climb after each other, which is very nice to watch. We enjoy a delicious breakfast and Chris arranges a taxi to Kampala via Uber.

Monkeys at ViaVia Guesthouse
Monkeys at ViaVia Guesthouse
The ViaVia guesthouse breakfast
The ViaVia guesthouse breakfast

Buying a scooter in Kampala

A scooter had to be bought for the Pikipikitour. We are on our way to Salama street in Kampala. There are all kinds of second-hand motorcycles and scooters on offer. In 2017 I bought a nice scooter there, so we're going to see if there are any interesting bargains. Of course I don't remember exactly where all those shops were, but who cares. We have the greatest fun when we reach our goal past the huts and over some mud trails. We are always greeted enthusiastically with 'Mzungu!'.

A walk through a suburb of Kampala
A walk through a suburb of Kampala

Salama street

An hour's walk and we arrive in Salama street in Kampala. We walk through dozens of trades in scooters and especially motorcycles. However, it turns out to be quite difficult to purchase a good and relatively cheap scooter. There aren't many scooters out there anyway and the prices are absurd. We cannot find a reasonable scooter for under 600 euros.

Scooter and Motorcycle Shop in Salama Street, Kampala
Buy Scooter: Scooter and Motorcycle Shop in Salama Street, Kampala

For a moment we are almost tempted to just buy a motorcycle. Motorcycles (boda bodas) are the preferred mode of transport in East Africa. In particular, the Indian brands Bajaj, KWS and Boxer are extremely popular. New they cost around $1.000. Yet we decide to go for a scooter. I know the address for new scooters in Kampala: Simba Automotives, and Chris arranges an Uber to the only scooter manufacturer in Uganda (and East Africa).

New city scooter: Simba Automotives

And then we are in the showroom of Simba Automotives in the heart of Kampala. Once again there is a moment when we are in doubt. New motorcycles are just as expensive or cheap as scooters. According to Simba's sales employee, a motorcycle is really much more suitable for a Uganda tour through wildlife parks and on sometimes very bad roads.

He is right, but when we see those beautiful blue scooters, we are immediately sold. For 5 million Ugandan Shillings (1.250 euros) we have a giant 125cc scooter.

The deposit is made in a Covid Proof environment
Buying a scooter: the deposit is made in a Covid Proof environment

'Buy a scooter, pack up and go', that's what it sounds like from our mouths. Of course it doesn't go that fast. The scooters must first be made roadworthy and Ugandan law requires you to have or apply for a Tax number. That's a rather bureaucratic story, but luckily I own that number from a previous scooter purchase. In order not to waste valuable (travel) time, we have both scooters registered on my Tax number. We aim for a deposit of four million Ugandan Shillings on the counter (80 notes of 50.000, the largest banknote in Uganda with that beautiful gorilla on it).

Buying a scooter: Chris is beaming with the new purchase: a Simba City Scooter
Buying a scooter: Chris is beaming with the new purchase: a Simba City Scooter

The scooters are being made roadworthy and we have to wait two more days to discover Uganda with those beautiful blue champs. I can imagine bigger problems. We take another Uber to our excellent stay, ViaVia guesthouse in Entebbe. And it really isn't a punishment to stay an extra day in Entebbe! Chris decides to go to work for a while Wereldreizigers.nl.

Working remotely at ViaVia Guesthouse in Entebbe
Working remotely at ViaVia Guesthouse in Entebbe

Information about Entebbe

Entebbe is actually not a real city, but an overgrown village. Uganda's international airport is there and that means quite a few hotels. The hotel guests usually don't see Entebbe themselves, but stay there for a night before they leave for Kampala, thirty kilometers away, or elsewhere for the many game reserves.

Still, Entebbe is definitely worth a visit. Especially if you are in Uganda for the first time and do not want to be immediately overwhelmed by the hectic pace of the metropolis of Kampala.

Plane hijacking in July 1976

Incidentally, Entebbe is mainly known among the older generation because of an airplane hijacking in July 1976, see wikipedia.

And who of the old guard doesn't remember the Hollywood blockbuster Raid on Entebbe with Peter Finch and Charles Bronson?

The film was shot in record time right after the plane's hijacking in 1976.

Aero beach

Chris and I go for a walk in Entebbe. We go shopping and succeed in purchasing a few handy, compact backpacks for the scooter. And then suddenly we stand up Aero beach† It's all a bit outdated, but who cares. As I take off my clothes and prepare to step into the cool waters of Lake Victoria, I am stopped. 'Swimming is banned because of Covid.'

Aero Beach Entebbe (party club)
Aero Beach Entebbe (party club)
Entrance to Aero beach Entebbe
Entrance to Aero beach Entebbe

The carcasses of airplanes are spread over an impressive terrain. It even seems to include a fighter plane that was once used in the Raid on Entebbe. We take some nice pictures and have a drink.

Posing on an engine of a British Airtours aircraft
Posing on an engine of a British Airtours aircraft
An old fighter plane on Aero Beach
Nicely parked
And you can just walk on the hull
The cockpit of the large British Airways plane

Next to the planes are a number of images of leaders of African politics and from other parts of the world, such as the Obama and Gandhi family (and the son of ex-President Netanyahu, who was killed in the storming of the plane).

Together with Nelson Mandela at Aerobeach, Entebbe
Together with Nelson Mandela at Aerobeach, Entebbe

Pick up scooters and start pikipikitour 2021

What a fun and reminiscing in ViaVia guesthouse we're all set. Tomorrow we will go back to Kampala to pick up the new scooters we bought. The next destination on our new scooters is Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, you can read all about that in the next blog.

Also read:

pikipikitour2021 ? (1) Buying a scooter in Uganda & ViaVia Guesthouse
pikipikitour2021 ? (2) Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Refugees & Scooter Breakdown
pikipikitour2021 ? (3) Murchison Falls NP | The first scooter safari
pikipikitour2021 ? (4) Drone images scooter safari | Murchison Falls
pikipikitour2021 ? (5) Bad luck in Pakwach and Gulu Central Market
pikipikitour2021 ? (6) Struggling through the mud in Uganda (video)
pikipikitour2021 ? (7) Kidepo Valley | The Legacy of Idi Amin

Eric on a scooter in Uganda

Eric

What is it like to drive more than 10.000 kilometers in Madagascar on a locally bought scooter? Or on a pikipiki (scooter in Swahili) through East Africa? In more than 20 years I have visited more than 100 countries. This has resulted in a lot of priceless travel experiences, which I would like to share with you.

ERIC – OVER 100 COUNTRIES
– Currently in Kenya.
– Share unique travel experiences.
– Favorite destinations: Madagascar, Uganda, Japan, India and Colombia.

Seen a mistake? Ask? Remark? Let us know in the comments!

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Eric on a scooter in Uganda

Eric

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