Uganda

Getting to Uganda

The main airports in Uganda are Entebbe International Airport (EBB); Kampala Airport (KLA) and Jinja Airport (JIN)

There several airlines that can get you into Uganda, the major include Air Uganda, British Airways, KLM, South African Airways, Ethiopian Airways, Emirates, Kenya Airways, SN Brussels, Air Tanzania, Egypt Air, and Dario Air (Cargo) among others. All these shall get you here in the preplanned time.

Direct flights are only available from three cities in Europe; British Airways, Brussels and KLM offer direct flights from Europe with Emirates being the major link to the East. There are no direct flights from America but there are connections through code sharing airlines from Europe and South Africa. The only direct flight between Uganda and other African countries are; Ethiopian airlines, Egypt air, Kenya Airways, Air Zambia and South African Airways. Charter services can be arranged on request.

Entry requirements

With effect from March 1, 1999, the Government of Uganda introduced visa requirements for all visitors entering Uganda. However this is in exemption of the following countries:

Banking in Uganda

Uganda has a relatively modern banking system. Generally the banking hours are; Mon-Fri 0830-1400, Sat 0900-1200. Most Forex bureaux are open until 1700 and able to do electronic transfers to and from overseas. ATMs are available in the major towns including Kampala and Entebbe. Outside Kampala, it might not be easy to use traveler’s cheques. It might be a good idea to take a reasonable amount of cash in US$ or Euro for use.

Climate in Uganda

Uganda enjoys a lovely climate for travel. Most parts of the country are warm enjoying temperatures ranging from 20 degrees C to 25 degrees C (70 degrees F to 77 degrees F). The higher parts of the country can however be quite cool and the mountain areas like Mount Elgon are much cooler. The heavy rains are experienced between March and May and again between October and November.

Clothing for Uganda Travel

During the day, temperatures will generally range from warm to hot depending on the region. Dressing in layers might help you handle the temperatures especially if you are traveling from one region to another. Evenings can be cooler in the high altitude areas so bring along warm clothing. For the hot sun, bring along a hat, cream and sunglasses. If you intend to climb the mountains, you should pack appropriate walking shoes, sturdy clothing and waterproof jackets.

Use of Credit Cards in Uganda

American Express, Diners, MasterCard and Visa are accepted but not widely used in Uganda. Major hotels restaurants, travel agencies and shops in urban areas accept the common credit cards.

Currency of Uganda

The currency in Uganda is Uganda Shilling (UGX). Notes are available in the following denominations of UGX 50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5,000 and 1,000. Coins are in the following denominations of UGX 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1.

Customs and Excise regulations in Uganda

Visitors to Uganda who are over 17 years of age can import the following items into Uganda;
500ml of perfume, 1 bottle of wine or spirits, 200 cigarettes or 227 grams of tobacco. The exemption does apply to visitors coming from Kenya and Tanzania.

Drinking Water in Uganda

Drink only bottled water. This is available in plenty in Uganda. If not available, please use only sterilized or boiled water.

Driving and Road Travel in Uganda

Driving in Uganda is on the LEFT. Observe a speed limit of 80 kph /50 mph in the towns and 100kph /62 mph on highways. An international Driving Permit is recognized in Uganda. Visitors must also pay for a temporary road license. If you are new in Uganda it is advisable to avoid self-drive. Instead get a local driver to take you around. There are still many police and military check points on many roads.

Electricity in Uganda

The voltage usage in Kenya is 240 volts, AC and plugs with three round or square pins. Adaptors are available at some hotel receptions – but it might be advisable to carry one yourself. A small deposit may be required as security when you borrow the adaptor. This deposit is refundable upon return of the adaptor.

Emergency Numbers for travelers in Uganda

For any type of Emergencies call: 999

Currency Exchange in Uganda

Foreign currency may be exchanged at the Central Bank, commercial banks and foreign exchange bureaux found in Kampala and the other major towns.

Health is Uganda

HIV/Aids is widespread and all travelers to Uganda should bear that in mind. A vaccination against Hepatitis B and tuberculosis is recommended. Visitors coming from countries that are considered infected by yellow fever are required to have a yellow fever vaccination certificate.

Being a malaria endemic zone, visitors to Uganda are strongly advised to take malaria prophylactic before traveling. Do not drink water from the tap. Buy bottled water.

Languages in Uganda

In Uganda, the English language is the official language. It is spoken by many people in Uganda. Kiswahili is also spoken. Luganda, one of the dominant Bantu languages is more of a lingua franca in Kampala, Entebbe and the major towns. Other local languages are also spoken.

Medical Facilities in Uganda

Medical facilities in Uganda are still far below the standards of many western countries. However the large towns have medical facilities of reasonable standards capable of handling common medical conditions.

Visitors to Uganda who need special and personal medicines should bring their own supplies. However, in this regard, it is advisable to enquire from the high commission or embassy about the import conditions for any such medical supplies. Travelers should also consider a comprehensive health insurance including possible air evacuation cover in case of a serious illness or accident.

Photography in Uganda

Travelers to Uganda who would like to take commercial photographs are required to get a permit from the Uganda Ministry of Information. For casual photography, remember it is illegal to take photographs of airports and military installations.

Public Transport in Uganda

In the major towns, there are minibuses that operate, locally known as Matatu. For the locals, they are a very quick form of transport. But they are usually overcrowded and sometimes unreliable in their schedule.

There are some bus companies that operate between the towns like Kampala and Entebbe.
Private taxis are available from the airport and from the hotels. Car rental is also available from the major towns.

Safety and Security in Uganda

The north eastern part of Uganda is still considered unsafe and non-essential travel should be avoided. You can travel to Kidepo Valley national park but preferable mode of transport should be by air. If you can, avoid road travel by night outside Entebbe and Kampala.

In the recent past, there has been an outbreak of Ebola virus in the Bundibugyo district which killed about 40 persons. Travelers should also avoid border areas around Lake Albert due the conflict with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Shopping in Uganda

Possible items to purchase as souvenirs or gifts include bangles, necklaces and bracelets, woodcarvings, basketry, tea, coffee and ceramics. Mon-Sat 0800-1700 some shops may close earlier on Saturdays.

Telecommunications in Uganda

The conventional telephone is available but unreliable. Cellular phone is available and more reliable. Cellular phones extend to all major towns and international roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies. The country code is 256. In the major towns, and in some hotels, you will easily find internet cafes.

Time zone in Uganda

GMT + 3.

Guideline for Tipping in Uganda

In Uganda, tipping is not standard practice at local hotels and restaurants, but it will always be appreciated. It is normal to tip 5-10% at tourist-oriented restaurants. Guides and drivers should always be tipped.