Border Crossing : Kenya - Uganda (9 September 2009)

Malaba, Kenya crossing to Malaba, Uganda

Paper work



Third party sticker/receipt and Comesa card

Visas - We had applied for visas in UK and bought a multiple entry visa from the Kenya Embassy for US$100 each which they said was valid for entry into all East African countries - Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.  We later learnt that this is NOT correct as we had to buy additional visas at the Ugandan border for US$50 each because according to the Uganda border, East Africa doesn't exist! 

Exit Costs from Kenya

Road Tax is charged on "per kilometre" basis.  At Moyale you normally pay US$40 for the distance to Nairobi and when you get to Malaba, you are charged based on your destination ie Nairobi, to Malaba, another US$40.  You can pay the full US$80 at Moyale.  Going through the Omo Valley route, there is no office in Kenya to charge you the road tax and in Nairobi, they don't charge you.  When you get to Malaba (Kenya), they will ask for the full US$80 charge.  We told a tiny little porkie pie and told the Customs in Malaba (Kenya) that they had taken our money in Nairobi and not given us a receipt.  (Off to hell for us!)  The balance of charge was then US$40 each from Nairobi to Malaba but we gifted US$20 each to the "Customs Benevolent Fund" and all the road taxes were waived.

Entry Costs to Uganda

Visas - US$50 each (bugger! see above)

A standard road tax charge for all foreign vehicles of currently USH41000 (GBP12) issued with a receipt!  This must be paid in local currency as US$ are not accepted.

Time to cross

Malaba, Kenya - 35 minutes process for all 2 vehicles and 4 people

Malaba, Uganda - 20 minutes process for all 2 vehicles and 4 people


Once you drive into Malaba on the Kenyan side, if you stop anywhere you will be inundated with touts approaching you asking to help you to cross the border.  I have to confess that once we got to the Customs offices we fell into using a tout because of the issue of the road tax,.  If you have paid your road tax, you really don't need the help of a fixer and on the Ugandan side, you have the Third Party sticker if you've already bought it in Ethiopia or you pay for Third Party insurance.

As you approach the border crossing, all trucks crossing are parked along the side of the road.  Pass these and proceed straight to the Customs and Immigration buildings.  Here you will be badgering constantly by touts trying to help.  Either take one and pay him to get rid of all other touts or studiously ignore all propositions.

Parking is to the left or right of the Customs and Immigrations buildings which are parallel to the roads running on either side of the buildings.  The buildings are single story beigey coloured and it looks like one long building as they are attached at the roof level.  Go to the second part of the building on the left-hand side and look for an Immigrations counter.  Here they stamp your passport.  Walk to the first part of the first building and the Customs office is at the top along the short side (you'll see what I mean when you get there!) and is accessed by a wooden stable door (opens in 2 parts).  They stamp you carnet here and road tax paid - insist on a receipt if you want to keep everything aboveboard.  Go down the right-hand side of the building to the Police Counter and they will stamp the owner's passport, record your details and clear you to proceed.  Although from this point on there is no-one on the Kenyan side that checks any details - at least for us there wasn't but this may have had something to do with our fixer.

Drive on through to the Ugandan side of Malaba and look for the single storey building on the left with a multiple storey building (with a big Stanbic advert) on the right.  Park outside the single storey building.  Go to the Immigration counter on the left for passport processing and visa purchases.  They have prices listed on the wall and on a tourist information pamphlet if you want to ask for one.  Exit this office and enter the next office (Insurance) where they will ask for your Third Party sticker.  We gave them our cash receipts and again, we don't know whether it was due to the fixer or not, but they accepted our cash receipt as proof of Third Party purchase.  Go over to the multiple storey building and go to the office on the bottom floor.  Your carnet is process here but he will not release it until the standard road tax has been paid.  The money is handed over to the bank teller on the 2nd floor who will issue a receipt and once you show this to the chap on the bottom floor, you get the carnet back.  Then it's back into the car with all processes complete, through the police boom where they check the road tax receipt and welcome to Uganda.