Travel Tips for Uganda

Uganda

Location

Uganda lies astride the Equator in Eastern Africa at an average altitude of 350 feet above sea- level. The country is bordered by the Republic of South Sudan to the North, the Republic of Kenya to the East, the Democratic Republic of Congo to the West, and the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Rwanda to the South.

Climate

Uganda enjoys a tropical climate, though the heat is tempered by the altitude, as much of the country is more than 3200 feet above sea level. Rainy seasons are from March to May, and September to November Dry seasons are from December to February and mid June to mid August Average temperatures range from about 61F in the southwestern highlands to 77F in the northwest; but in the northeast, temperatures exceed 86F.

Time Difference

Uganda is 3 hours aheadof GMT, on EAT or Eastern Africa Time. Ther eis no daylight savings in Uganda.

Entry Requirements

For most nationalities, including the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and Ireland, 90-day tourist visas can be purchased on arrival at Entebbe Airport for $50, or at the Ugandan Embassy in your home country prior to departure. Your passport must be valid for at least six months following the date of entry. As visa regulations change frequently, please check with the Ugandan Embassy in your country before departure.

Electricity

Electricity in Uganda is 240V and frequency is 50Hz. The socket/plug type is Type G, which looks like this:

Tipping protocol

Tip guides, porters, drivers and waiting staff as you would back home.

Shopping

Prices are fixed in shops, but food and craft markets will be more flexible. You stand a better chance of getting a reduced price if you purchase several items from the same seller. Prices are generally very low – so do consider if what you are asking for is fair.

Culture

Please do not take photos of the local people without asking. Dress respectfully and it is always helpful to learn how to say please and thank you in the local language.

Language

English is the offical language in Uganda. There are over 50 local languages, Luganda is most common. Swahili is also spoken by many people as a second language.

Health Tips

A yellow fever vaccine is essential – bring your certificate with you. Hepatitis A and B, meningitis, polio, tetanus and typhoid vaccinations are also recommended.

A rabies vaccination is recommended for anyone who expects to be in close contact with animals, or in a very remote area Be aware that some of these require a course of injections, and others take several days to take effect, so you should visit your doctor or travel clinic as soon as possible before you travel.

Even if you are taking anti-malarials, you should still wear insect repellent, long-sleeved shirts, long trousers and closed shoes. This will also help protect you from other diseases carried by mosquitoes and other insects such as tsetse flies. All accommodation in high-risk areas will have mosquito nets – be sure to use them.

Avoid swimming in Uganda's lakes – they carry a high risk of bilharzia

Tap water is not suitable for drinking, though bottled water is readily available throughout the country.

Mountain climbers should familiarize themselves with the symptoms and treatment of altitude sickness. Above 6400 feet, altitude sickness can affect anyone, irrespective of age, fitness or previous experience. The risk is reduced by slow ascents to enable acclimatization, while the most effective treatment is immediate withdrawal to a lower altitude.

Currency & Banking

The local currency is the Uganda Shilling (UGS). Currency can be exchanged at major banks and in hotels. Travellers’ checks are not a convenient mode of payment in Uganda.

MasterCard and Visa are accepted in Kampala and ATM machines are available in the capital Kampala. We suggest you carry sufficient local currency and additional US dollars to cover the cost of any additional purchases.

Religion

Uganda is a predominately Christian country. Roman Catholics make up about 41% of the population, Anglicans 40%, Islam 5% and other beliefs 14%.

What to Pack for Gorilla Trekking

  • It often rains heavily, even in the dry season, so a light raincoat will be useful. Sturdy walking boots with good ankle support and grip are also recommended.
  • A light shoulder bag or small rucksack is useful to carry your packed lunch, water bottles, raincoat, camera and other essentials. Local porters are also available
  • Strong gloves are of enormous help, as you will be hauling yourself uphill by grabbing the bushes, and often sliding downhill on the seat of your pants
  • During the track, wearing a pair of walking trousers or gaiters will prevent cuts and scratches
  • Carry a water-proof plastic bag to wrap your camera and film or memory cards in
  • Flash photography is strictly prohibited as this may upset the gorillas. Make sure you bring ample supplies of high-speed film or memory cards.
  • Make sure you are completely familiar with the workings of your camera before you observe the gorillas

Luggage

It is highly recommended that you lock your luggage with a secure padlock. It is also advisable that you do NOT pack valuable items in your checked luggage.