Uganda to Tanzania: Border Crossing Guide via Mtukula

Visiting Tanzania from Uganda? Crossing the border between Uganda and Tanzania is doable. It’s quite a long journey but based on my experience, it was pretty okay. There were some hiccups but nevertheless, the whole journey was pleasant.

Uganda to Tanzania: Border Crossing Guide via Mtukula
Mwanza, Tanzania

If you want to cross the border between Uganda to Tanzania, your journey will start in Kampala – Uganda’s capital city. You will be leaving almost midnight, arrive in the border town of Mtukula early in the morning and you can continue your journey to Mwanza, Dar Es Salaam, and other towns and cities in Tanzania. [Check out our Tanzania Visa Application Guide]

The bus journey from Kampala, Uganda to Mwanza, Tanzania

There’s probably another bus company with service to this route but I only found FRIENDS bus when I googled online. I did not want to miss the bus since my itinerary is fixed so I booked a seat a day in advance. The bus fare from Kampala to Mwanza was UGX65,000 or roughly around USD18. There are two buses leaving every night from Kampala, one bound for Mwanza at 11:00 PM and another one to Dar Es Salaam at 12:00 MN.

The bus that I took was supposed to leave Kampala at 11:00 PM but in reality, it departed past 12 midnight. It was full of cargo, non-airconditioned, and some seats were broken. There were assigned seats but some are nowhere to be found. I noticed that the seating arrangement was not the same as the one at the booking counter. At the booking counter, the seat was 2/2 (2 seats on the left and 2 seats on the right) but in actual, it was 2/3. Some passengers said that was not the usual bus. It was a bit uncomfortable but I had no choice so I got it.

Arriving at the Mtukula Border

The bus arrived at the border around 4:00 AM. We got down the bus and lined up for a secuirty check at the border. The officer at the border checked our passports/travel documents and yellow fever vaccination certificate (yellow card). Some of the bus passengers did not have a yellow card so they were asked to go to a cubicle and get vaccinated should they wish to continue their journey to Tanzania.

I passed the security check and lined up for an exit stamp at the Ugandan Immigration. The Immigration Officers of Uganda and Tanzania sit side by side so it was pretty convenient. I got my exit stamp easily but I had to wait for a little long for my entry stamp at the Tanzanian Immigration. This border crossing route is not really a tourist route so I thought it was the reason why the officer did not know how to handle my case. Little did I know that there are only 5 entry ports that the eVisa are accepted.

The immigration officer at the window was so kind and courteous so I did not worry. She called her colleague and discussed my situation that I had an eVisa. The officer that she called processed my entry stamp and welcomed me to Tanzania! 🙂

After clearing the immigration, I went out of the border office to wait for our bus. It was around 5:00 AM when we finished the immigration formalities. I thought we were ready to leave but we had to wait almost two hours more at the border because apparently, there were too many cargoes to inspect. They had to unload the cargoes and reload them back again. We left the border almost 7:00 AM.

ATM at the Border Control

There is an ATM machine just outside the border control office. It is located on the right side once you get out of the building.

The journey from Mtukula to Mwanza

After clearing the border, I thought we were good but I was wrong. The bus was stopped at the checkpoint just less than 5 minutes from the border. Some of the passenger’s luggaes were inside the bus. The police wanted all the big luggages to be transferred to the luggage compartment. It took us almost 30 minutes to move ahead.

I thought that was it but guess what, we had to stop every about an hour for a police check. I don’t know what was going on but your guess is as good as mine.

Anyway, we had a short lunch stop in Bukoba and we continued our journey to Mwanza.

We arrived at the ferry station at around 4:30 PM. In a few minutes, we departed the ferry station and in less than an hour, we were already in Mwanza.

Have further questions? Let me know in the comment section below, I’d be glad to answer them.

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