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Travelling in East Africa

Overview

Welcome. Karibu. Bienvenue. With so much beauty to savour, wonderful people to meet, tasty cuisines to sample, travelling in East Africa is guaranteed to be fun.

 

Documents you need:

  • Passport
  • Visa (for non EAC citizens)
  • Alternative travel documents for East Africans
  • Other requirements for East Africans (Certificate of Identity / Inter-state Pass)

 

Choosing how to travel:

Air:

The East African Community is connected to the world by a network of international airports, most of which are located in or adjacent to the region's major cities. Most major towns in different Partner States also possess smaller airports.

The Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency (CASSOA), an institution of the Community, works closely with national civil aviation authorities to ensure that air travel in the region is safe.

 

Road:

There is a host of bus services connecting all East African capitals and major cities, but with EAC-enhanced co-operation in the area of transport, East Africans can now drive private cars across borders and across the entire EAC region, free of charge, for visits no longer than seven (7) days.

The maximum period allowed for one to use a car not registered in the host Partner State is six months, although you will be required to pay $20 per month as temporary road licence after the seven-day grace period has elapsed. Anyone using a private car has to fill a form, obtainable at border crossing points or local Revenue Authority office, which grants permission for free access for a week.

A valid driver’s licence is required for driving in any of the Partner States.

Ensure that your car is insured before you travel, with a valid sticker displayed on your vehicle as proof of insurance (seek advice from your insurer on the available insurance options). Also make sure you carry an original copy of your car Log Book or at the very least, a photocopy.

Ports of entry (applies to road transport only*)

  • Kenya - Uganda border: Busia and Malaba
  • Kenya - Tanzania border: Namanga and Holili
  • Tanzania - Uganda border: Mutukula
  • Tanzania - Burundi border: Kigoma
  • Tanzania - Rwanda border: Rusumo
  • Rwanda - Burundi border: Akanyaru
  • Rwanda - Uganda border: Gatuna / Katuna

 

Sea:

The region’s principle seaports include; Mombasa in Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Mtwara and Tanga in Tanzania.

 

Best time to travel based on weather, time zones and public holidays

Weather:

Climatic conditions vary from tropical to temperate, depending on elevation.

There are two common rain seasons in the Partner States: the long rains from late March to early May, and the short rains, from late October to early December.

 

Time zones:

Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda belong to the East Africa Time zone, which is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+3).

Rwanda and Burundi belong to the Central Africa Time zone. CAT is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2).

 

Public holidays:

Most government institutions close on public holidays in EAC Partner States, although immigration points (airports, border entry points etc) remain open.

Similarly, most business fixtures remain closed on such days.

Below is a table showing the official public holidays in the EAC Partner States:

EAC Partner StatePublic holidays
Burundi1 Jan New Year’s Day; 5 Feb Unity Day; 1 May Labour Day; 21 May Ascension; 1 Jul Independence Day; 15 Aug Assumption; 13 Oct Anniversary of Louise Rwagasore’s assassination; 21 Oct Anniversary of President M. Ndadaye’s assassination; 1 Nov All Saints’ Day; 25 Dec Christmas Day
Kenya1 Jan New Year’s Day; 10 Apr Good Friday; 13 Apr Easter Monday; 1 May Labour Day; 1 Jun Madaraka Day; *10 Sep Eid al-Fitr; 20 Oct Mashujaa Day; 28 Nov Eid al-Adha; 12 Dec Independence Day; 25 Dec Christmas Day; 26 Dec Boxing Day
Rwanda1 Jan New Year’s Day; 1 Feb Heroes’ Day; 7 Apr Genocide Memorial Day; 10 Apr Good Friday; 13 Apr Easter Monday; 1 May Labour Day; 1 Jul Independence Day; 4 Jul Liberation Day; 15 Aug Assumption; 1 Oct Patriotism Day; 25 Dec Christmas Day; 26 Dec Boxing Day
United Republic of Tanzania1 Jan New Year’s Day; 12 Jan Zanzibar Revolution Day; 9 Mar Birth of the Prophet; 10 Apr Good Friday; 13 Apr Easter Monday; 26 Apr Union Day; 1 May Labour Day; 7 Jul Saba Saba Day; 8 Aug Nane Nane Day; *10 Sep Eid al-Fitr; 14 Oct Nyerere Day; *16 Nov Eid al-Adha; 9 Dec Independence and Republic Day; 25 Dec Christmas Day; 26 Dec Boxing Day
Uganda1 Jan New Year’s Day; 26 Jan Liberation Day; 8 Mar International Women’s Day; 10 Apr Good Friday; 13 Apr Easter Monday; 1 May Labour Day; 3 Jun Martyrs’ Day; 9 Jun National Heroes’ Day; *10 Sep Eid al-Fitr; 9 Oct Independence Day; *16 Nov Eid al-Adha; 25 Dec Christmas Day; 26 Dec Boxing Day

* Note: Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramdhan) and Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) festivals are determined by local sightings of various phases of the moon and are, upon confirmation, declared public holidays in three of the five EAC Partner States, namely: Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

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Quick EAC Facts

Quick EAC Fact# 1

East African Community
EAC Close, Afrika Mashariki Road
P.O. Box 1096
Arusha
United Republic of Tanzania

Tel: +255 (0)27 216 2100
Fax: +255 (0)27 216 2190
Email: eac [at] eachq.org