Uganda is endowed with many lakes and rivers and it is home to the second biggest freshwater body in the world. Some statistics indicate that 18% of Uganda’s surface is covered by lakes, rivers, and wetlands.
In terms of transport, this comes with advantages. Water presents an alternative to easily connect from one part of the country to another.
The ferry on Lake Kyoga from Zangebe in Nakasongola District in central Uganda to Namasale in Amolata in the north cuts the journey from about 3-4 hours if one using road transport to between 45-60 minutes.
“We cross an average of 30,000 passengers per month, 15 buses, 500 trucks, 200 small cars and pickups, 2000 motorcycles, 800 bicycles and 4000 animals,” says Simon Masiko, an engineer from UNRA responsible for the ferry.
With financing from Uganda Road Fund, UNRA manages 10 ferries at nine crossings across the country easing transport needs of the population.
“The ferries on Lake Kyoga have enabled us easily go to Kampala to buy merchandise for our shops in one day,” says Fred Ajuk, a shop owner in Amolata. “It is also cheap for us,” he adds.
Using these ferries is free of charge to the users. People easily connect from one area to another thereby facilitating trade, which leads to business growth.
The Zengebe-Namasale ferry makes four return trips from Monday to Saturday starting at 5.45 am and ending at 5.30 pm. On Sunday, due to low traffic, there are only two return trips. Each of the nine ferries operated by UNRA and funded by URF has their schedule that is unique per area.