Leaning into the soft lakeside soil, or sandwiched between buildings like a disaster movie set, the corroded hulks of antiquated aircraft are conserved on this lively beach by Lake Victoria.
The unlikely attraction is a mere stone’s throw from the abandoned control tower of Entebbe’s old airport, the scene of the Operation Entebbe hostage liberation in 1976. This Israeli Defence Force mission followed the hijacking of an Air France airliner en route from Tel Aviv to Paris.
Though a persistent local legend claims that one of Aero Beach’s corroded exhibits is the original hijacked plane, none of the planes here were actually involved in the incident. The particular Air France aircraft that was hijacked was spared a rusty retirement as a giant lakeside climbing frame, having been salvaged by its owners following the hostage liberation.
The airplane graveyard, which also boasts a bar and restaurant complex famed for its freshly caught tilapia dishes, is made more surreal by its series of selfie-magnet statues representing famous figures like Nelson Mandela, Queen Elizabeth II, Barack Obama, and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. In recognition of the historic rescue mission, a statue of Commander Yonatan Netanyahu of the Israeli Defence Force (the brother of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu), who was killed during the operation, has been recently added to the collection.
Know Before You Go
Aero Beach is easy to find, on the left side of Airport Road before the security check point for Entebbe International Airport. It is passed by almost everyone arriving into Uganda by air. There is an entrance fee payable on the way in to the complex.