Traveling in Uganda on a budget. Kisoro.

We went to Uganda in April 2015, during a complete trip
(8 months), through Southern and Eastern Africa.

The Highlands, in Southwest Uganda, is a very beautiful area surrounded by volcanoes, hills, lakes, fertile land. Friendly villages.
The main road Kisoro-Kabale-Mbarara is in good conditions, getting renew completely(some works near Mbarara).

KISORO is a small rural town, 10 km north of Cyanika border (Rwanda), same distance to Bunagana border (Congo). Peaceful area.

Beautiful and green landscape surrounded by high volcanoes (Mgahinga NP) and not too far there are lakes (Mutanda, Mutolere, Chahafi). Nice area to walk around. Cool weather (Kisoro lies at around 1.900 m).
On the surrandings there´s also is a small refugees camp (OK, safe to walk).

If you are planning a budget trip in Uganda, here you can find useful information to visit Kisoro, in a independent and low-cost trip.

    Public Transport in Kisoro   

There´s no bus station in Kisoro, all the bus offices and taxis are in the same area, in the center, around the big Crane Bank. 

Kisoros small, you can walk. ´Many boda-bodas (moto-taxi) and bici-taxis, everywhere, if you need them. 

 From Cyanika border (Rwanda) to Kisoro: taxi, 10.000 Sh (3 €), 20 min (but they will probably start asking double price); if more people you can share the price. Also many boda-bodas (around 3.000 Sh, bargain). The road is good, new tarred road.

From Kisoro to Kabale: bus or shared taxi, 10.000 Sh, 2 h (80 km). 
The buses leave very early in the morning (5:00 to 6:00) to Kabale and Kampala. Latter, there are taxis (shared cars) going to Kabale and from there easier to catch transport to main places. 

No early-morning people, so we waited 2 hours to fill the taxi (starting at 10 am, and it was market day). This is Uganda, be patient to fill a car or van! 
Kisoro-Kabale road is perfect, new tarred road. Beautiful views over the volcanoes, hills and valleys, passing also Echuya Forest (a patch a real forest left... not many in Uganda).
Market days in Kisoro are Monday and Thursday,  maybe easier to fill transports, but always be patient.

   Cheap accommodation in Kisoro  
For such a small town, there are many lodges, all over the town. Most of them have a pub and the quality of the rooms can vary a lot so check first. It can be better to pay a bit more and get a quieter room. We saw at least 5 first.

The prices in simple lodges are: 10.000 Sh/pp (shared WC) and  25.000-30.000 sh (10 €) for a self-contained double room.
In the area behind Coffee Pot and Gorilla Junction (just a few minutes up the road going west), there are a few lodges where most of the customers are "mzungus" and also have affordable rooms.

Accommodation on the neighbour lakes is usually expensive, except at Mutanda Eco Community Center (camping and dorms), but to get there you will need a boda-boda on the dirty roads or a special hire.

Virunga Hotel: where we stayed.
Price for a double room self-contained: 27.000 Sh (negotiate). Hot shower, more or less hot. 
Very clean and super quiet guesthouse, with a beautiful garden where you can also camp. Also rooms with shared bathroom (cheaper) and new rooms (more expensive). Nice staff. Very recommended!

   Food & drinks in Kisoro  

Many small simple restaurants all over the town and many stalls with chapatti-rolex, chips, etc.
We ate at Mountain View restaurant: local food and also special menu. Cheap prices and big dishes. Clean and nice staff. Just at the corner, behind Crane Bank.Recommended!
Many small shops, a few supermarkets, market.

   Services in Kisoro  

Banks and ATMs, internet shops, pharmacies. It´s an important trading town.
There´s a UWA office (just next to Coffee Pot restaurant), for the national parks information and gorillas permits.
Try to get a free copy of Gorilla Highlands booklet, advertisements but also maps and some usefull information of the Kisoro-Bwindi-Kabale-Bunyoni area (transport, accommodation). To download it

   Things to do in Kisoro   

  • Walk in the surrounds: small villages, hills, fertile green land, with the big volcanoes in the background... and small volcanoes hills with fields. Wherever you go near Kisoro, it´s beautiful!
  • Just go south of town (on the way to Mgahinga NP) and enjoy the views of the volcanoes. Even in the rainy season (april) we saw the volcanoes! Kisoro area is quite wet and rainy.
  • Climb the hill north of town (up the quarry) and you will have wonderful views of Lake Mutanda and the volcanoes. Just ask the locals.
  •  If you want to reach Lake Mutanda, it´s a few km north of Kisoro (the southern shore is around 5 km away). You can walk there or take a boda-boda (dirty road). Lake Mutolere, much smaller, is just a few km further on the right. We didn´t go.
  • If you have money to spent, you can see the mountain gorillas. We didn´t go, it´s out of our budget, but click here to see all the information about the gorilla´s tracking in Uganda.


  1. Ola! im planning a 2 month trip in eastern africa in march 2016, nairobi to victoria falls via ouganda. Thanks for all the precious info, that will help to prepare it. Do you know if bringing a tent in that region is a smart choice? Cyril

  2. Hi Cyril.
    Specially for southern Africa (Zambia&Zimbabwe for exemple) a tent will make you save money.
    In eastern Africa, you can find cheap rooms in towns but if going to parks camping will always be the cheapest accommodation.
    Details on our blog.


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