Uganda Travel Info You Should Know
It can be overwhelming to have a wealth of knowledge about the incredible attractions you want to explore in a country, yet possess little information about the destination itself prior to your trip. Here, we provide crucial Uganda travel information you should acquaint yourself with before embarking on a Ugandan Safari.
Uganda, often referred to as the ‘Pearl of Africa,’ boasts thriving tourism, agricultural, and manufacturing sectors. Located strategically in the heart of Sub-Saharan Africa, it serves as a pivotal hub for tourism and investment within the region, sharing borders with Kenya to the East, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to the west, South Sudan to the north, and Rwanda and the Republic of Tanzania to the South. Despite being landlocked, Uganda offers a plethora of opportunities for adventurous travelers and prospective investors. For those planning to explore our beautiful country, we have compiled essential Uganda travel information to assist you in your journey.
Getting to Uganda.
International Airport: Entebbe International Airport.
Airport Tax: Passengers are not levied any airport tax upon embarking at the airport.
Departure Taxes: In most cases, the departure taxes are included at the airline ticket but travelers pay an airport tax of USD40
From the Airport: From Entebbe airport to downtown Kampala, the journey is 40km and airport taxis charge USD50. Travel time from Entebbe airport to Kampala can go up to an hour. Getting around Kampala city is best enjoyed in a metered taxi of a boda-boda-motorcycle
Airlines/Airport: Uganda has one major international airport i.e. Entebbe International Airport. it also has a number of airstrips especially in major towns, game parks and game reserves. You can contact your travel agent about travelling around Uganda to learn more.
International flights: Emirates (EK), British Airways (BA), KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KL), Brussels Airlines (SN), Delta Airlines, Turkish Airlines (TK), Ethiopian Airlines (ET), Kenya Airways (KQ), Egypt Air (MS), South African Airways (SAA), Qatar Airways (QR), RwandAir (WB), Fly Sax, Fly Dubai (FZ), Fastjet (FN).
All visitors to Uganda must have a passport with at least 6 months validity counting from the time they intend to enter Uganda and the time of leaving. Depending on the type of visa one has, you many also need an onward or return ticket to enter Uganda.
With the exception of members from the East African community and some few countries, a Visa to Uganda is a necessary requirement for most of the visitors. Please check well and confirm whether you come from a country whose nationals have visa free entrance permission to Uganda.
For those coming from countries where you require a visa to Uganda, please visit any Uganda embassy of High commission near you for assistance. You can also obtain a Uganda Visa upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport of at border posts. For those intending to obtain Visas at Entebbe Airport, it is wise to first confirm with the airline whether you will be allowed to board the plane without a Visa. Alternatively, one can also apply for a Uganda visa online. Please follow the link https://visas.immigration.go.ug/
Fees: The cost of a single‐entry visa for Uganda is US$50 with 3 months validity. A multiple entry visa is at US$100 with a validity of 6 months from the day you enter Uganda. Please be keen and confirm validity of your visa to avoid interruptions and penalties while in Uganda.
Please follow the link www.mofa.go.ug to get more information about the entry requirements from the Uganda Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Getting Around Uganda
Travelling within Uganda is flexible with the use of private of public transport since there has been a reasonable extension of communication facilities and transport networks in the upcountry regions.
Whatever kind of transport you use, traveling around Uganda is adventure. Getting around Uganda can be done in various ways. It all depends on your budget and time constraints to make a decision about which means to use.
The cheapest and most accessible way of getting around Uganda is by road. Almost all the major locations are connected by public transport. Even domestic and charter flights are available.
Public Transportation and Tour Operators
Matatus, boda-bodas, taxis, VIP vans and many touring trucks of all kinds are available and operated by tour operators to support travelers reach their destinations. Boda-bodas (motorcycles) are commonly used in towns for short distances. Travelling on motorcycles is highly recommended since safety is a concern.
It is better to find a tour operator to help you in designing your travel plan.
Self-drive is good for travelers who have been to Uganda before, they are used to driving in different road conditions. It may be more comfortable to hire a local driver guide so that you can sit back and enjoy the thrilling views of Uganda.
To do with business, Uganda is stable-with good infrastructure, transport, telecommunication and business services. The business centre is Kampala and it is also Uganda`s capital. Kampala is well connected with other major towns in Uganda by paved roads and to some towns, the railway is available, even linking you to neighboring countries. Should you be interested in investing in Uganda, please look out for the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) for details or follow the link www.ugandainvest.com
Uganda has all standards of accommodation from High-end hotels to backpacker hostels. There is a wide range of high-class hotels with modern and elegant conference facilities for visitors to choose from. Almost everywhere in Uganda, there are different stages of accommodation from major towns for safari destinations like national parks.
To find out more about accommodation in Uganda, please contact the Uganda Hotel Owners Association.
Uganda is ranked among Africa’s safest countries to visit. However, it is your mandate to take precautions regarding safety that are similar to the ones you would take in another country, city or even village.
Almost all the parts of Uganda can be safely visited by tourists. You just need to take come sense precautions like not walking alone at night especially in deserted areas, keeping your valuables away from other people`s sight, keeping the vehicles locked and also not to carry your important items in the backpack. Should you face any safety emergency in Uganda, please contact the Uganda police at telephone 999 or reach any nearest police station for help.
For more information about your safety in Uganda, ask your travel/ tour operator agent for details.
Credit Cards, Banking and Currency Exchange
Only Forex Bureaus will accept travelers’ checks (they may require you to present your passport and proof of purchase).
Most of the modern hotels, art galleries, shopping malls, good restaurants, souvenir shops and craft markets accept major credit cards. However, in other areas, only cash is welcomed. Credit card charges may rise up to 5% and this will be added on your purchase bill.
Cash money is good for currency conversion and larger bills for example (US$50 and US$100 bills) earn a relatively higher rate of exchange compared to smaller bills that are below US$50
ATM machines accepting VISA Cards are only available in major towns mainly in Entebbe at the airport and Kampala and they only pay out in Uganda shillings.
It is a requirement for every visitor in Uganda to hold a vaccination card against yellow fever. And a vaccination card against cholera is recommended.
For short time travelers to Uganda, is good to update your polio, tetanus, typhoid, diphtheria and hepatitis B vaccinations. Please carry anti-malaria medications and precautions or buy them upon arrival.
If your planning to travel to Uganda for a long holiday, consult a specialist travel clinic or reach out to the Center for disease Control in Uganda on their website; http://www.cdc.gov/travel
For tourists who love adventure, be cautious about some adventurous tourist activities that may be risky such as white-water rafting, canoeing and kayaking, mountaineering and hiking, gorilla trekking and chimp tracking. Make sure you are in good health.
Medical Facilities in Uganda
Private hospitals and clinics work 24/7 with their ambulance services. Ask your tour operator to recommend some of the current hospitals and clinics for you.
It is highly recommended for you to have insurance before travelling to Uganda, just like anywhere in the world.
For details regarding travel destinations, and accommodation facilities, please contact your tour operator to guide you or visit www.visituganda.com for more information.
From March to May and September to December, it is usually a rainy season in Uganda, but still a sweater or light jacket can work, visitors can consider T-shirts, shorts, skirts, and sandals. Though when you are planning to visit mountainous regions, warmer clothing is necessary. For visitors to Islands and beaches, don’t forget sunscreen, sensible walking shoes, hats, swimsuits among others. For business and social gatherings, suits and ties maybe necessary and for evening entertainment, please prepare smart-causal clothing.
Currently, Uganda’s VAT is at 18% and this is levied on most of the items. Find out more with Uganda Revenue Authority www.ura.go.ug for details.
Uganda has very little climatic variation since the country is crossed by the equator which give it an ideal climate. The country`s annual average temperature is between 21ºC and 31ºC. Uganda has two major rainy seasons from October to November and from March to April. Travel is more rewarding during the dry season and gorilla trekking tends to be difficult in the rainy season but it can possibly be done.
In some months of the year, mountainous areas can experience temperatures as low as 10°C and even receive more rains than plains. Accommodation and other support facilities are open all year round. Uganda can be visited any time of the year!
Uganda is rich in culture with a diverse range of ethnic groups. Much of the East, Central and Southern Uganda is dominated by the Bantu speaking people up to lake Kyago which is their northern boundary. The Nilotics (langis and Acholis) dominate the North. Iteso and Karamajong are also found in the east but speak Nilotic language. The Gishu who live near Mt Elgon are part of the Bantu people and they have very rich cultural traditions. In the forests of western Uganda, there is also a very interesting tribal group called the Batwa also known as the pygmies.
On major roads, the speed limit is 80km/h. look out for road signings on speed limits on feeder roads and where roads cut through residential areas. If you are driving in cattle corridor areas, beware of livestock. If your driving through wildlife reserves, seek help from the game rangers or tourist office information available. Should you require updated information regarding road maintenance works, please checkout on the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) www.unra.go.ug
Food and Water
Trusted water in Uganda is only bottled and boiled water. Though tap water is also safe. Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are generally considered safe. Fresh fruit juices are prepared with boiled water, coffee and tea is safe too.
The hygiene at restaurants and other nightspots is perfect. The market places sell food at fair prices and the places are descent.
Uganda’s restaurants serve diverse cuisines like Italian, Chinese, English, Lebanese, French, Indian, Korean, Turkish, African Continental and many other cuisines.
Uganda is a paradise for people who like fun, lots of local brands of alcohol are available as well as international beer. Common local beers include; Pilsner, Club, Bell, Nile Special beers among others. Spirits and wines are imported from different countries and readily available in Uganda. The popular local gin is Uganda Waragi.
Caution: Don’t Drink and Drink in Uganda and Alcohol is not for sale to persons under the age of 18 years. It is illegal and punishable if caught.
International telephone communication in Kampala is very good, however, it may be hard in distant rural areas. The use of mobile phones in Uganda is the most effective with good network allover the country. Purchase of local SIM cards is available from all towns and trading centers country wide. International roaming facilities are also accessible.
Internet Cafes are available in major towns to give you internet but for high speed internet, Internet cafes in Kampala and Entebbe towns are recommended.
As tour operators, we equip our driver guides will cell phones to maintain contact between our guests on a safari and the Head Office throughout the safari. If necessary, you can use the driver guide`s mobile, airtime is always there to meet your communication needs.
Uganda: 240 volts. 3-pin (square) sockets. Adapters are individually owned, please bring your own. For recharging batteries, most lodges and hotels make arrangements for the guests. For specific requirements, please talk to your tour operator at the time of booking.
For keen game viewers and birders, it is good to carry a pair of binoculars, photography cameras and personal video recorders are free of charge, however is some areas, commercial cameras maybe paid for. Visitors will be responsible for any fee of such kind. For wildlife and gorilla photos, a high-speed film is recommended and climbers should think of carrying high-altitude filters. For details, check with your photoshop.