Kigali International Airport serves as the primary gateway for Rwanda's gorilla safaris. There are no direct flights from the United States, but many carriers offer one-stop itineraries. Brussels Airlines departs from Washington, D.C., with a stopover in Brussels. Ethiopian Airlines also flies from Washington, D.C., to Kigali by way of Addis Ababa. Lufthansa offers a flight from Chicago to Kigali via Brussels. Other airlines that fly to Kigali include Air France, KLM, South African Airways, and Turkish Airlines.
Most visitors arrive in Uganda via Entebbe International Airport, which has more than a dozen international carriers including: Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, British Airways, Emirates, Brussels Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, and South African Airways. Again, there are no direct flights from the U.S. Emirates and Qatar offer one-stop itineraries from Washington, D.C., to Entebbe via Dubai and Doha, respectively. British Airways flies from New York to Entebbe through London.
Two popular operators offer internal air transfers around Uganda. The Entebbe-based company, Aerolink Uganda Limited, is known for its affordable daily scheduled service plying a circuit that includes many of the national parks. Fly Uganda, operating from their private hub at Kajjansi Airfield (roughly halfway between Kampala and Entebbe), offer private charter and scheduled flights in a fleet of various aircraft, serving airstrips around the country. For a special treat, ask about their scenic flights over Kampala or the Source of the Nile, a great way to take in this area.
AeroLink Uganda Limited. A sister company to Airkenya Express (Kenya) and Regional Air Services (Tanzania), AeroLink launched their popular domestic scheduled service to Uganda's national parks in 2012. Their western "milk round" service departs Entebbe twice daily at 7:45 am and 12:45 pm, stopping at Kasese (for Kibale) and Kihihi (for Ishasha/Buhoma). Drop-offs at Semliki (minimum four passengers) and Mweya are possible, as well as Kisoro (at a surcharge and strictly mornings only). The northern route leaves Wednesday/Friday/Sunday at 12:30, landing at Bugungu, Pakuba, and Chobe in Murchison Falls National Park (minimum four passengers) and continues to Kidepo Valley National Park on demand (no minimum). While they keep good time, the exact schedule can vary due to local weather conditions and aircraft routing. Stay abreast of any changes by reconfirming your departure/arrival times the day before travel. Entebbe International Airport, Entebbe, Central Region. 0317/333–000 or 0776/882–205. www.aerolinkuganda.com.
Air France (Paris, Île-de-France. 800/237–2747. www.airfrance.us.)
British Airways (Harmondsworth. 800/247–9297. www.britishairways.com.)
Brussels Airlines (866/308–2230 Reservations. www.brusselsairlines.com.)
Emirates (800/777–3999. www.emirates.com.)
Ethiopian Airlines (800/445–2733. www.flyethiopian.com.)
Fly Uganda. With their own fleet of 12 light aircraft and 1 helicopter, Fly Uganda operates a range of domestic flight services from their private hub at Kajjansi Airfield (9 miles/15 km south of Kampala off Entebbe Road). Choose from private charters and daily scheduled flights—the latter work on an inducement, or seat rate basis—flying to/from/between the national parks of Uganda. Departures/arrivals from/to Entebbe can be arranged for a surcharge. Those combining a gorilla safari with the Serengeti may be interested in Fly Uganda's same-day connection linking the daily Coastal Aviation flights to Entebbe with Kihihi or Kayonza in northern Bwindi, assuming the weather plays ball. For a special treat, ask about their scenic flights over Kampala or the Source of the Nile, a great way to take in this area. Gate One, Kajjansi Airfield, Kajjansi, Central Region. 0772/712–557, 0772/712–553, or 0772/712–554. www.flyuganda.com.
KLM (866/434–0320. www.klm.com.)
Lufthansa (Köln, North Rhine-Westphalia. 800/645–3880 Reservations. www.lufthansa.com.)
Qatar Airways (877/777–2827 Reservations. www.qatarairways.com.)
South African Airways (Johannesburg, Gauteng. 800/722–9675 Reservations. www.flysaa.com.)
Turkish Airlines (800/874–8875. www.turkishairlines.com.)
Airports and Transfers
Kigali International Airport, previously known as Gregoire Kayibanda Airport, is approximately 10 km (6 miles) or a 15-minute drive from central Kigali. Uniformed taxi drivers are in abundance around the airport and will zip you downtown for a negotiable fee of around Rwf10,000 (US$15). Be warned that pricier hotels like Kigali Serena Hotel draw higher fare quotes. Uganda's Entebbe International Airport is 40 km (25 miles) from central Kampala. Airport taxis charge around Ush70,000 (US$27) for one way. Safari operators and hotels in both countries often include airport pickup in their fees or as an add-on service.
Entebbe International Airport (5536 Kampala Rd., Entebbe, Central Region. 256/041–435–30000. entebbe-airport.com.)
Kigali International Airport (KN5 Rd., Kanombe, Kigali, Kigali.)