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Home » Uganda Travel Guide & Tips When Traveling in Uganda

Uganda Travel Guide & Tips When Traveling in Uganda

This Uganda travel guide is a special compass that will help you easily explore the country’s beauty. Uganda, also known as the “Pearl of Africa” was first referred to by Winston Churchill in 1908 as a way to appreciate the breathtaking nature and wildlife of the country. Winston Churchill appreciated the wonderful wildlife in the country, including insects, reptiles, and over 1000 bird species, among others.

Uganda is located in Eastern Africa and is part of other East African countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi.

Discover the different endangered animals, for example the Mountain Gorilla Chimpanzees, Elephants, Leopards, and Rhinos among others in the different protected areas of the country. Major wildlife destinations include Bwindi, Murchison Falls NP, and Queen Elizabeth NP, among others.

Uganda has in the past years gone through different political events, especially through the Idd Amin years, that caused the country to be unstable for travelers. However, the nation is more peaceful for travelers to go to and more fun to visit with the right Uganda travel guide given to you by your tour operator.

Western Uganda is the richest tourist destination in the country with many national parks with world famous attractions.

With the growing tourism in the country, your reputable tour operator will provide you with amazing travel advice to guide you to a memorable experience in the country. This Uganda travel guide while traveling in Uganda will give you the best experiences for your tour.

Below are the different Uganda travel guide tips/travel advice that you may consider for your travels in the country.

Things to do and Places to Visit in Uganda | Best Places to Visit in Uganda

 

Uganda is a rich tour destination in Africa, with various places to view and things to do for your African safari. Get to discover the different places in the country through your tour operator and let them guide you through a successful trip in the country.

Local Travel – Uganda National Parks

National parks are the major places to visit in Uganda and the country has 10 national parks, each providing peculiar experiences for travelers to the country. Lake Mburo National Park is the nearest to the city.

The national parks in the country are spread in the Southwest and the Northern part of the country.

Local Travel – Southwestern Uganda Near the Democratic Republic of Congo Border

The parks southwest of Uganda are a common tourist attraction for travelers in Uganda, harboring most of the protected areas of the country. The nearest borders to these parks are the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

Below are the major national parks and their major activities in Southwestern Uganda.

Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable NP is famous for Mountain Gorilla trekking not just in Uganda but in East Africa. The park has the highest number of endangered Mountain Gorillas in the world, thus providing visitors with the best Gorilla tracking experiences.

Apart from tracking Mountain Gorillas, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park also carries stunning nature and wildlife that create a remarkable scenery for visitors in the country as a popular tourist destination.

Other destinations to track Mountain Gorillas include Virunga NP in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda’s Volcanoes NP, and Mgahinga Gorilla NP in Uganda.

Chimpanzee Trekking in Kibale National Park

The Chimpanzees in Kibale NP provide amazing experiences in the park through Chimpanzee trekking to watch the peculiar primates in their natural habitat.

Apart from Chimpanzee safaris, another great experience to have in Kibale Forest is the Uganda birding to explore the forest birds in the park.

Wildlife Tours in Queen Elizabeth National Park

The wildlife tours in Queen Elizabeth National Park will lead you to watch 4 of the Big Five games for example the tree climbing Lions, Elephants, Leopards, and Buffaloes. Rhinos can only be visited at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.

Queen Elizabeth National Park will be rewarded with various activities for example game drives, boat cruises, Chimpanzee trekking, tracking tree climbing Lions, and bird watching, among others.

Queen Elizabeth NP also carries a wide range of vegetation from the Eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo spreading through the parks.

Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls NP is the largest park in Uganda that was established in 1952. Murchison Falls NP has one of the highest number of animals in the country with four of the Big Five animals.

Therefore, the animals that you will find at Murchison Falls National Park include the Hippos, Giraffes, Oribis, Warthogs, and Bushbucks, among others. At the park, you may drive around Lake Albert to view more animals. Better still, you may experience a boat cruise for the best water adventures.

Other African safari destinations to visit in Uganda include

  1. Lake Mburo National Park
  2. Mount Elgon National Park and Sipi Falls in Eastern Uganda
  3. Rwenzori Mountains National Park
  4. Semuliki National Park
  5. Lake Bunyonyi
  6. Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Local Travel – Northern Uganda

The most famous protected area in Northern Uganda is Kidepo Valley National Park which lies on the South Sudan border.

Kidepo Valley NP is a true African wilderness with amazing safari experiences and guides to lead you through its golden landscapes.

There are various wildlife to watch in Kidepo NP including the Antelopes, Ostriches, Bufaloes, Leopards, Spotted Hyenas, etc.

White Water Rafting at the Jinja Source of the Nile

The renowned River Nile, which is the longest river in the world has its source at Jinja, a town in Uganda. White water rafting at the Nile River is an adventurous, adrenaline-pumping experience and one of the most done safari activities in the country.

Apart from white water rafting the Nile River, other activities to do at the Jinja source of the Nile River include tubing, jet boating, kayaking, and bungee jumping.

Adventures at the Nile River/River Nile will also reveal to you the beauty of travel to Uganda.

Kampala City Tour

Kampala is among the major cities of Eastern Africa that will offer peculiar experiences as you interact with many people on your travel to Uganda.

The travel experience in the city will reveal the busy city life and the different places to visit during your travel to Uganda.

Things to Do/African Safari Activities in Uganda

There are different activities to do in Uganda during your trip, for example

1.     Mountain Gorilla Trekking

The Gorilla tracking adventure is Uganda’s most famous adventure leading tourists to the forests of Bwindi Impenetrable NP and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Bwindi is more famous for tracking the endangered Mountain Gorillas as it has more Gorilla families than any other Mountain Gorilla destination in the world, ie, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

2.     Game Drives

Game drives are also common, especially in the Savannah National Parks like Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, and Kidepo Valley National Park.

3.     Chimpanzee Trekking

Uganda’s Kibale Forest NP is home to the highest number of common Chimpanzees in Africa and the park is referred to as the Primate Capital of the World.

Meeting the chimpanzees is a great experience that brings you closer to these animals, that have a DNA similarity of about 98%–99%. Other places to do chimpanzee safaris in Uganda include Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Budongo Forest in Murchison Falls NP, and Semuliki National Park.

4.     Mountain Hiking Safaris

Uganda offers world-class hiking adventures in destinations like Mount Rwenzori Mountains & Virunga Mountains in the Southwest and Mount Elgon & Mount Moroto in Eastern Uganda which are the most commonly hiked in the country.

Other African safari activities to do on the Kazinga channel include the

a)    Boat Cruises at Murchison Falls NP, Queen Elizabeth NP, Lake Victoria, Nile River, etc

b)    Game Walking at Queen Elizabeth NP, Murchison Falls NP, Bwindi Forest, Rwenzori Mountains, etc.

c)     Relaxation trips on Lake Bunyonyi and the shores of Lake Victoria

d)    Cultural Encounters and Community tours at Bwindi, Kidepo, and Queen Elizabeth NP, among others

e)     Nature explorations at Rwenzori Mountains NP, Queen Elizabeth NP, and Bwindi NP, among others.

A Brief Travel Guide to Uganda for First Timers – A World to Travel Uganda Travel Tips | Travel Advice | Travel Planning Guide for Uganda

There are various Uganda travel guide tips and advice to use in the country for your tour. Below, we list the different travel tips/travel advice for your trip to the country.

Uganda Visa

Like other African countries, you will also need a visa to visit Uganda and you can get one by applying online for it through the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration at $ 50 excluding the service fee.

To apply for the visa, you can visit the e-visa portal https://visas.immigration.go.ug/

Unless you are seeking advice on visas from your tour operator, please avoid any other channels for gaining visas as you may either be charged more or fall victim to fraud.

To check if your country needs a visa or not, check the link https://immigration.go.ug/services/visa-exempt-countries to help with applying.

In case you need help, we can help in booking your visa in Uganda.

Eastern African Community Single Tourists Visa

Purchasing an East African Community single tourist visa will allow you to explore Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda. This visa costs $ 100 and it is valid for 90 days.

One of the Uganda travel tips/travel advice to note is that Uganda no longer gives visas on arrival.

Passport

Your passport for entering the country must have a validity of at least 6 months before you enter the country. t should have at least a page in which a person the visa can be stumped.

Self-Drive vs. Hiring a Driver

Self-drives are famous among many tourists. You can hire a 4×4 vehicle cheaply. However, using a Uganda travel guide is much more easier especially if it is your first time because they help to guide you as you explore the wildlife in their natural habitat.

When you hire a vehicle, you will most probably also get a driver along, but you will have to pay for your fuel. Ensure that you have enough fuel during your journey as gas stations can only be found in the town centers and the cities.

Road Conditions in Uganda

There are regions in the country with great roads and others are still a work in progress. Roads are manageable during the dry season but the rainy season causes many of them to be muddy especially in remote places thus making transportation a bit challenging.

Your tour operator will ensure that you get the right transportation means for your transportation to your different tour destinations.

Key Festivals and Culture

Uganda has a rich cultural diversity with people who present different ways and ethnicities. Additionally, Christianity covers 80% of the people in the country and thus it is important to respect both the cultural and the Christian ways.

What is the Currency in Uganda

The country uses Uganda shillings for trade and commerce. However, bigger hotels and other service providers are allowed to pay in both the Uganda shillings and the US Dollars, with a few. They also allow people to use credit card payments for international trade.

In the national parks especially, both foreign nonresidents and foreign nationals pay in the US Dollars foreign currency. However, having Uganda shillings will allow you to purchase local goods and services or even give travel tips/travel advice much more easily.

Other than the Uganda shillings and Dollars, other foreign currency used by foreign nationals in the country include Euros and Pound Sterling.

Additionally, foreign nationals can exchange money at the Forex office to give great value.

How Much are the National Park Entrance Fees in Uganda?

There is a little difference in the park fees. However, the most famous destinations in the country pay $ 40 for park fees. The less famous national parks pay $ 35 for park fees while the small reserves go for about $ 10 for the foreign nonresidents.

Vehicles are also charged differently for the park fees in the national parks, but if you use a tour operator, you will not need to worry about this. Your tour company will handle the park fees and they will provide you with further information.

How Much Does It Cost to Do Safari Activities in Uganda?

Different safari activities have different costs, and you can find them on the website of the Uganda Wildlife Authority. It also depends on the park that you are going to while you are visiting Uganda.

It is advisable to book your activity permits early enough, at least 6 months before your trip because activities like tracking the endangered Mountain Gorillas are among the most sought after. Last-minute bookings are usually possible in the rainy season when there is no high demand for the Gorilla permits.

When and Where to Buy Chimpanzee and Gorilla Trekking Permits?

The Uganda Wildlife Authority sells the Gorilla permits either directly to clients or through the tour operators. Foreign nonresidents pay $ 800 to purchase a Gorilla permit, foreign nationals pay $600 while East African residents pay 300,000 Uganda shilling to get a permit.

The best time to book your permits for tracking Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzee permits is about 6 months before your trip.

Are There ATMs in Uganda?

Yes, Uganda has ATMs that are open 24/7. Common to use are Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic Bank, and Absa Bank. Bank of Baroda is also considered best for bank cards of foreign nationals as they do not charge for withdrawing money.

How Expensive is it to Travel in Uganda?

To visiting Uganda is not as expensive as expected by many people. Traveling on a budget can help you manage the costs of your tour and you can do this by staying in camps or budget lodges and traveling in the rainy season where costs are mostly lowered.

Also, you can use public means of transport to cut off transportation costs for example buses, boda bodas, matatus and taxis.

How to Best Travel Across the Country

Traveling to Uganda is great through one of the registered tour operators who can help you organize an itinerary and create the best trip for you. They will also help you with booking activities and the different lodges that you will stay in during your trip.

Your tour operator will also help with organizing your transportation to the different national parks through a 4WD or a safari van in case you are on a group tour.

There are different ways to travel in the country but mostly through air and road means.

Traveling in Uganda by Air

This is the best means of transport to use when entering the country. Every flight entering the country is through Entebbe International Airport which is in Entebbe which is among the major towns on the shores of Lake Victoria just about 46KM to Kampala, the capital and one of the major cities in the country.

There are also other airlines like Aerolink that you can use within the countries for your trips in the different national parks for your domestic travels.

Different airlines fly into the country as listed below.

  1. KLM
  2. Kenya Airways
  3. Uganda Airlines
  4. Qatar Airways
  5. Ethiopian Airlines
  6. RwandAir

Traveling in Uganda by Road

Road transport is common within the country and by visitors coming from other countries.

While crossing the Rwanda border, you may either use the Katuna border in Kabale or the Kyanika border in Kisoro.

If you book through one of the tour operators, moving within the country will be easier since you will have transportation to the different destinations included in your itinerary.

Best Time to Visit Uganda on a Safari Vacation | When to Visit, Uganda Travel Guide

To visit Uganda is great all year round. However, the dry season is considered the best time to visit Uganda which is from around December to February and June to August.

The wet season runs between March to May and October to November and it can be challenging for trekking on nature trails which often become muddy.

The peak season is usually the high season with many travelers in the country.

Do you Need Vaccinations to Travel to Uganda?

Yes, you require vaccinations to visit Uganda for your tour, the most important being the Yellow Fever Vaccination. Besides, without your Yellow Fever Vaccination certificate, you can not apply for a visa.

Another travel advice to take is to vaccinate for Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Malaria, and DTP, Cholera. Rabies and Hepatitis B Depending on where you are going,

Currently, you no longer need a Covid 19 vaccination card or a PCR test to enter the country, your tour operator will provide you with further information in case of any changes.

Is there Malaria in Uganda?

Getting Malaria is a risk while you travel in the country, thus, it is advisable to take anti-malarial medication before you enter the country. Many travelers in remote national parks usually take malaria tablets in their medical facilities.

Which Language is Spoken in Uganda?

Uganda has more than 40 languages, the common language is English, spoken by nearly anyone who has gained education. There are areas you may find with people who do not speak good English but this is also rare.

Being friendly people, it is polite to greet the locals with a “How are you?” instead of “Hi” when interacting with them.

It is great if you take time to learn a few words in the local language especially Luganda or Kiswahli which is the more common country.

Is it Safe to Travel to Uganda at the Moment? | Is it safe to travel to Uganda | Is it Safe to Travel to Uganda Currently? | Is it Safe to Travel to Uganda Right Now? | Is Uganda Safe to Travel to Now?

It is considered generally safe to visit Uganda on your trips. You are advised to remain in a group and avoid traveling in the night alone or showing off expensive personal items.

Kidepo Valley National Park on the South Sudan border in the North is also a safe place while you visit Uganda on your safari adventure as there is security from local authorities to keep you safe.

Travelers to the country should however take note of the following travel advice for safety

  1. Avoid moving alone in the night, especially in lonely places
  2. Move with the duplicates of your travel documents to not incur much expense in case they get lost.
  3. If you are traveling with expensive gadgets, make sure that you keep them in a way that does not attract thieves.
  4. When taking photos of people, make sure that you ask for permission to not be in danger. Additionally, it is often not allowed to take photos of government buildings.
  5. Travel insurance is one of how you can keep safe in the country. In case of a medical emergency, your travel insurance will help with getting medical treatment in the medical facilities cheaply. This will allow you to easily receive an emergency medical evacuation.
  6. The LGBT community travelers are however advised to keep a low profile and avoid any same-sex relations while in the country as the practice is illegal according to the anti-homosexuality Act. The anti-homosexuality act comes with imprisonment and in some cases death penalty by the local authorities, thus taking this travel advice is important for same-sex couples.
  7. Avoid idleness whether in streets or government buildings as they may cause suspicion or wrongdoers.

Ensure that you follow all the safety precautions and further information from your tour operator, guides, local authorities & Uganda travel guide to be safe. Also, monitor local media to know the things that are happening in the country. Uganda has in the past also had cases of insecurity but local authorities continue to work hard to prevent further attacks.

Health Uganda Tips

Travelers in Uganda are sometimes exposed to a lot of health risks during their trips to the country. Below are some of the important health travel tips/travel advice to take while in the country.

  1. Pack insect repellent to keep your skin safe from insect bites that may cause diseases like Malaria.
  2. If you are to eat the street local food or snacks, then it is best to look for a clean stall.
  3. Do not leave your food or drinks unattended as some people may drug it with illegal drugs.
  4. Research shows that 40% of the sex workers have HIV and 50% other sexually transmitted diseases, therefore, avoid sex workers.
  5. Stick to bottled water in case you need drinking water during your Uganda holiday.
  6. Carry medical treatment in case you have any illnesses.

Other Uganda Travel Guide Tips/Further Information for your Uganda Safari

1. You are Advised Not to Drink the Tap Water

Tap water in Uganda is not meant for drinking. However, you can freely use it to bathe, wash your face, or brush your teeth. It is advisable to drink bottled water during your trip to Uganda.

2. Stay inside the Park

Staying inside the park will allow you to enjoy the different nature activities of the park more easily. Staying inside the park allows you to stay close to the natural environment.

3. Offering Money, Food, and Clothing to Children

Giving money, clothes, and food to people in the streets by the Ugandan government became illegal on 22nd April 2019. In case you wish to donate to people in the country then it is best to ask your tour operator about the best way to do it or go through an orphanage.

4. Do you Tip in Uganda? | Tipping in Uganda Safari

It is normal to tip in Uganda and the act comes with much appreciation. You may tip the local tour guide on game drives, boat cruises, or nature walks or the waitress/waiter in a hotel.

You will leave big smiles behind for tipping the workers during your adventures. Tipping usually goes between $5 to $10 per person.

5. Buy a Local SIM card to Access the Internet

Not many hotels in Uganda provide WIFI so you are advised to buy a local SIM card that will allow you to buy data cheaply to be connected to the world and also get the country’s information for the local media. You will need your passport to help in the process of buying a SIM card.

6. What is the Food Like in Uganda

The local food in Uganda is great! The Ugandan food in restaurants includes Matoke (green-cooked bananas), with ground peanuts. Other foods that are usually added to these are Cassava, sweet potatoes, Cabbage, Greens, and Beans.

A rich region of Uganda also has Indian food due to the Indian influence in the country. Also, get to order and enjoy Uganda’s famous Rolex snack in a stall or local restaurant.

If you are staying in a midrange or luxury lodge, you will have a three-course meal, especially in the evening with Western dishes like steak, pasta, and fish.

7. Is There Electricity in Uganda? | Electricity plugs in Uganda

Electricity is mostly in the city, but few places in the villages have power. Most of the lodges and hotels use solar and power generators and many will be available for light and charging.

Carry an electricity plug adapter to keep your gadgets charged at all times.

8. What is the Time Zone in Uganda?

Uganda is 3 hours ahead of GMT.

9. How Many Days Should I Spend on a Safari in Uganda?

The number of days you spend on your Uganda safari will depend on the experiences that you would like to have during our tour.

Travelers usually book between 5 days to 14 days, but some tours go up to 30 days.

10. How Much Does it Cost to Have a Tour in Uganda?

The cost of your Uganda travel depends on various factors for example how long you will stay, activities to do, level of luxury, and season to visit Uganda, among others. Daily expenditures will thus range between $150 to $500 per day.

11. Cheapest Ways to Travel in Uganda

There are various ways to travel cheap ways like traveling in the low season, using budget accommodation, and traveling a group to share some expenses.

12. What to Expect on a Safari in Uganda

Expect to enjoy the best safari experiences during your tour in Uganda for example game viewing, primate watching, birding, nature walks, and cultural encounters, among others

13. Can you Bargain in Uganda?

Bargaining is like a norm in Uganda, and you can do it in open markets and stalls. Supermarkets and shops have a specific price on some goods.

Packing List for Uganda Safari, Uganda Packing List & Uganda Clothing Guide | Foreign Travel Checklist

Here are various things to carry for your Uganda tour to help sustain you during your tour. These include clothes, travel documents, gadgets, etc.

Among clothes, it is important to carry trousers and long-sleeved shirts plus comfortable sturdy shoes or waterproof hiking boots when for excursion activities to protect and make you more comfortable. Light clothes and shoes or sandals for evenings are also recommended.

When visiting Uganda communities, especially in Uganda’s conservative society, it is important to dress decently, that is long skirts or dresses. Additionally, packing a rain jacket or rain poncho will protect you in case it rains.

Also, have your important travel documents for example visa, passport, yellow fever vaccination certificate. It is important to make multiple copies of each.

Other things to pack for the tour include malaria pills, a flashlight, insect repellent, a backpack, sunglasses, garden gloves, especially for when you are Gorilla trekking, and your international driving license in case you wish to self-drive.

A camera, camera charger, and binoculars are important gadgets to carry during your safaris or tours. Recommended cameras to use during your tour are the DSLR or any camera with many lenses and an optical zoom. Carrying extra batteries also helps when your battery goes down during a trip.

Other important things to bring for your trip include a hat for sun protection, a first aid kit, malaria pills, a money belt, lightweight wool socks, toiletries, a notebook & pen, a swimsuit, hand gel or sanitizer, and a sweater.

Accommodations – Lodges, Camps, Hotels in Uganda

Uganda travel guide

In Uganda, lodges, hotels, and safari camps range from luxury to midrange, and budget to suit every kind of traveler in the country. By booking a tour operator, you will have the best lodges, camps, or hotels for your experiences in the country.

The costs of these lodges range from budget, to midrange, or luxury as seen below.

Budget: $8 to 100

Midrange: $100 to 300

Luxury: $300 to 1500

Top Notch: $1500

What are the Best Guided Travel Experiences in Uganda for 2023-2024?

Visiting Uganda offers a wide range of tours to experience during your safaris. Below are the different tours that you can have for your trip in the country, and they can be customized to suit the purpose and the experiences that you would like to have.

Proposal Itinerary for 1 Week in Uganda

A 1-week safari itinerary is an amazing experience that can be customized for the experiences that you like to have. Below is an example of the highlights of this one-week safari itinerary in Uganda below.

Day 1: Arrival at Entebbe International Airport near Lake Victoria and Transfer to your Hotel

Day 2: Rhino Tracking at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and Game Drives at Murchison Falls National Park

Day 3: Game drives at Murchison Falls National Park and Boat Cruise to the Bottom of the Falls

Day 4: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park and Evening Game Drive

Day 5: Morning Drive to Ishasha Sector to track tree-climbing Lions and Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Day 6: Tracking Mountain Gorillas at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi

Day 7: Relaxation at Lake Bunyonyi and Departure to Entebbe Airport

In conclusion, a Uganda travel guide will give you the right way to travel to Uganda for your safari holiday. Discover how to travel to Uganda safely and more comfortably for the most reliable experiences.

We can help you plan a customized travel to Uganda – Inquire and book your safari holiday today.

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