UGANDA to RWANDA
Date: 15th September 2013
Border Post: Cyanika
This was another of the lesser used border posts – our favourite.
Arriving at the borderpost, there is no real indication of where to go, but we headed over to the right and parked under the tree.
1. First, there is a tiny little square building that is the police. Stop in here to have your passport details entered into a big book, and also make sure to pick up your gate pass for the vehicle (which entertainingly says “Let them go!!) You should also receive a little piece of paper for each passport which you need to give to the immigration official.
2. Secondly, we headed to the immigration building, which had a long queue of people. There seemed to be only 1 queue for entry and exit, so we grabbed our departure forms and completed them while in the queue.
3. When we entered the building, there were only 2 counters – one for “East African” and one for “Other”. There wasn’t much fuss as we were stamped out of the country.
4. Next, we crossed the road to the Customs office. It was a large modern building – with 2 desks next to each other in an otherwise large empty room! The customs official was very friendly, and stamped the carnet. He was also looking for import / export documents, but I gently reminded him that the carnet was for import / export. He smiled as he remembered. His parting words summed up our visit to Uganda – he thanked us for visiting his country. I thanked him for having such a hospitable place to visit.
We hopped back into the car and headed to the boom. We gave the lady our “Let them go” piece of paper and left Uganda into the 30m “No Man’s Land”.
The little stretch of No Man’s Land until you reach the Rwanda boom is where you change sides of the road – the stop sign is on the other side of the road!
1. We parked the car and headed into the little police office on the left hand side of the road. Our vehicle details were entered into the infamous big African book. Then, we needed to find someone to open the boom for us … but despite the number of people milling around, it was difficult to get someone to open the boom. I asked if I could open it, and then a lady police officer, who had just seated herself – begrudgingly stood up and walked the 10m over to the barrier. This definitely isn’t Uganda anymore …
2. We parked the car on the right behind some trucks and went to the building on the right for immigration. We went to the “Entry” counter which had no queue, but were asked to join the “Exit” queue as there appeared to be only 1 official on duty. It didn’t take long to reach the front (nudging a queue jumper out of the way). RSA passport didn’t need a visa and was stamped in. Norway passport already had a visa and was also stamped in.
3. A few counters to the right of this counter was where we needed to do customs – strangely not through the door on the side of the building which clearly said “Customs”. The carnet was handed over and stamped. No fees were payable.
4. There were lots of money changers on hand to change those last few Uganda Shillings into Rwanda Francs. I didn’t notice an insurance office, so not sure where insurance would be obtained if needed. We still had our valid COMESA insurance.
Back to the car, we hopped in and headed off. There was no boom to open, and soon we were heading down on the right hand side of the road into Rwanda.
All in all, it took us an hour – about standard for border crossings in this part of the world.
FYI: COMESA Yellow Card Insurance, covers Burundi, DRC, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Rwanda, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. You need to purchase normal insurance for the first country you enter, and then COMESA is an endorsement purchased once you are in the country. The cost of the COMESA endorsement depends on the number of further countries you want to travel into: 1, 2 or 3+. Zambia appears to be one of the cheapest places to buy COMESA insurance.
Tags: border crossing from Uganda to Rwanda; overland border crossing from Uganda to Rwanda, Uganda Rwanda border crossing