UGANDAUnanimous delight
Uganda's visitors consistently describe the local people as the most friendly in the whole of Africa.

General Information

Getting to Uganda

Uganda can be reached through Entebbe International Airport, which lies 40km from the capital Kampala. The Airport is serviced by a number of international airlines, including SN Brussels, British Airways, South African Airways, Kenya Airways, Air Tanzania, Rwandair Express, Egypt Air and Ethiopian Airlines. Uganda can also be reached overland from Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan and Tanzania.

When to visit

Uganda can be visited at any time, though mountain hikes, gorilla tracking and other forest walks are more challenging during the rains, which generally peak over mid-September to November and March to May.

Languages spoken

More than 33 different indigenous languages are spoken in different parts of the country, most of these belonging to the Bantu language group, several Nilotic and Cushitic languages and the Karimojong in the extreme northeast. The official languages, English spoken as a second language by most Educated Ugandans and Kiswahili are the most useful languages for tourists and are widely used between Ugandans of different linguistic background while Luganda serving a lingua franca.

Driving in Uganda

By East African standard, Uganda’s roads are generally in good conditions, however visitors without experience of African roads are advised to organize a vehicle with a driver rather than self-drive. Driving is on the left side.

Know about health

Preparations to ensure a healthy trip to Uganda require checks on your immunization status and it is wise to be up to date. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required. All visitors should take malaria prophylactic drugs. It is advisable to drink bottled water rather than tap water.

Uganda Visa

Visas are issued at Ugandan missions and embassies abroad and also at the entry/ exit points at the airports and at borders. Underlying the Uganda visa policy is the principle of reciprocity; all countries that require visas for Ugandans are also visa prone in Uganda.

Visa requirements are subject to change. It is therefore advisable to take advice from the relevant embassy before traveling.

Visa fees

  • Single entry-50 USD

It is advisable that clients doing a Uganda and Rwanda tour beginning and ending in Uganda purchase two single entry visas.

Rwanda Visa

Passports

Passports valid for at least six months are required by all nationals in the chart below.

Visa

VISITOR’S/TOURISM VISA

COUNTRIES Passport required? Visa required? Return ticket required?
UK Yes No Yes
Australia Yes Yes Yes
Canada Yes No Yes
USA Yes No Yes
Other EU Yes Yes Yes

Note: In view of the bilateral agreements, the nationals of the following countries may visit Rwanda without a visa for a period up to 90 days: USA, Germany, Canada, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uganda, Mauritius, South Africa, Kenya, Great Britain, Sweden, Singapore, Hong Kong and Burundi. The Visitor’s/Tourism visa should not be used for employment.                                
Nationals not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the embassy to the check visa requirements.

Visa note

Tourist and visitor renewing their visa at the immigration department can do so for 50 USD

Types of visa and cost

Visa costs are US$60 for single entry for up to three months.

Gorialla Tracking Requirements in Uganda and Rwanda

Please bring the following for tracking gorillas;

  • Hiking boots
  • A warm cardigan
  • Thick trousers and a long sleeve top are ideal for tracking
  • Raincoat
  • Waterproof container for cameras
  • A pair of binoculars if you are a keen birdwatcher
  • A pair of gloves

Encounter with the gorillas

  • When you encounter the gorillas always remember to be submissive
  • Do not look them straight in the face; rather, give sideway glances
  • Do not stand over them- crouch instead, stay in a tight group
  • Speak in whispers
  • Do not use flash photography

Gorillas are Wild

Most visitors might be tempted to think that the gorillas are tame. On the contrary, gorillas are wild and they should not be provoked in any way. The ORTPN or the Uganda Wildlife Authority does not take any responsibility for any injuries sustained by wild animals in their habitat. Keep a distance of about 7 meters from the gorillas and bear in mind that they have freedom of way.

  • Do not feed the gorillas
  • Do not entice them to get into contact with you in any way
  • Do not eat in the vicinity of the gorillas
  • Do not litter the park
  • Hiking, trekking and tracking the gorillas-the facts

Gorilla Tracking

This is strenuous activity and one should be physically fit to enjoy gorilla tracking. Professional guides will accompany groups but porters are available to carry personal belongings. The minimum age for tracking is fifteen years. Anyone with signs of communicable disease like cough or running nose will not be allowed to trek.

While possession of a gorilla permit is a guarantee of trekking, it cannot be a guarantee of sighting. However, the chance of sighting is high-95% or more. Maximum time allowed with the gorillas is one hour at a minimum distance of 7 meters.

No flash photography is allowed and filming is therefore recommended (minimum 400-1600ASA). Personal DVD recorders are allowed. Special arrangements need to be made for professional film-makers, and filming permits are required for commercial photography and filming.

We strongly recommend a breathable and light-weight rain jacket or poncho, a warm jacket or fleece for overcast days and evening, long-sleeved shirt and trousers, sturdy waterproof walking boots (seasoned or well worn footwear), leather gardening type gloves, sunscreen, cap or sun hat, sunglasses, insect repellent, comfortable day pack for carrying water and a minimum amount of personal items. Cameras and video cameras are allowed.

How hard should one prepare for gorilla tracking in Rwanda or Uganda?

Tracking takes place at altitudes of 3000 meters or more in Uganda-this means that moderate/ average physical fitness in what is necessary and not athletic fitness.

Tracking gorillas is conducted by patient, qualified and knowledgeable ranger guides with extensive experience in gorilla behavior.

Trekking and tracking is conducted at a moderate pace with plenty of stops for resting, and questions. Competitive hiking is discouraged as the aim of the guides, porter and the rangers is for all of the group members to make it to the gorillas and back to the base. Believe it or not, the slowest hiker/ trekker will determine the pace of the trek.

About Electricity

Uganda uses 240 volts. 3- Pin (square) sockets. It is recommended that you bring your own adaptor. Most hotels, lodges or camps can make arrangements for recharging batteries. Please ask us on booking if you have specific requirements.

Telephone/Internet:

International telephone communication is good from Kampala but more difficult in some rural areas. Uganda has a good mobile phone network throughout most of the country and local SIM cards can be purchased throughout the country. International roaming facilities are available.

Internet services are available in Kampala through internet cafes and most major towns will have access, although the quality and speed of the connection varies.

All of our drivers/guides have cell phones and maintain contact with the head office throughout the safaris. Airtime can be purchased for your use or the driver/guides’ mobile phones if necessary.

Currency used:

The unit of currency is the Uganda shilling, printed in denominations of Ush50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, 1,000 notes and Ush500, 200, 100 and 50 coins. The US dollar is traditionally the hard currency of preference, but Euro and Pound Sterling are also widely accepted. Hard currency cash can be changed for local currency at banks and private bureaux de change in all large towns, but travelers cheques are not widely accepted outside Kampala. Local currency can be drawn against Visa and other major credit cards at selected ATMs in Kampala, at Entebbe International Airport, and in a few other large towns.

Credit cards:

AMEX, VISA and MASTER CARD may be accepted at a few choice establishments in Kampala and some up-country hotels and lodges. Kindly note that credit cards are not widely accepted and most organizations reserve the right to levy a surcharge on credit card transactions, usually 7-10% on top of the original cost.

Begging/Donations:

We do not recommend that clients give money to beggars or street children as this only lends to the culture of begging and dependency. Donations can be made to established international and local charities that work with the homeless, street children or orphans.

We can arrange visits to local projects or institutions on request. If personal donations are preferred, we would suggest exercise books, pens or pencils as useful gifts.

Gratuities

Ugandans tip according to the level of service and there are no fixed or assumed rates. Culturally, people may not feel it appropriate to outwardly show their appreciation for money given, however salaries are generally low in Uganda compared to the neighboring tourist destination and all tips will be greatly appreciated.

On average you can tip between 5-10% in restaurants, $5-10 USD per day, per client for safari driver and guides; and $5 USD-10 per client, per day for rangers guide; $5 USD per day for porters on mountaineering and hiking safaris and $3-5 USD for forest walk guides.

Tips are very personal and this is only a guide. Feel free to ask management for advice.

Accommodation:

Uganda is still relatively new to international tourism. The seasoned traveler will find many lodges are not as luxurious as in some African countries, and then other properties may exceed expectations. There are accommodations of different standards throughout the country.

Electricity and piped/mains water supply may not always be available, though clients will usually find a hot shower waiting for them after a long days trek. In some remote locations, long-drop or compost toilets may be found.

Food may be basic but you are assured of fresh produce and a variety of tropical fruits, which taste so much better than supermarket imports in the West!

The more up-market lodges and hotels offer excellent facilities on par with other itineraries safari destinations. However, please remember that we are a developing economy and expectations should not be unrealistic.

Just Travel Uganda strives to book the best accommodation available for your budget.

Clothing:

Light summer clothing supplemented by a sweater or jacket should be sufficient all year round for Uganda. In the hilly and mountainous areas, waterproof jackets or ponchos, strong water proof walking/ hiking boots and warmer fleece or heavy sweaters will be required in the evening. Informal dress is usual, although Ugandans appreciate modest dressing. Cotton slacks and flat comfortable walking shoes are recommended on safari. Don’t forget to bring a hat and sun protection, along with your swimsuit. Request additional details at the time of booking for specific areas.

Weather

Kampala
May 26, 2017, 11:42 pm
Mostly clear
Mostly clear
18°C
current pressure: 1020 mb
humidity: 95%
wind speed: 1 m/s SSW
sunrise: 6:43 am
sunset: 6:51 pm
 

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