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Uganda Travel Information

Uganda is one of the best destinations in Africa offering safari goers with ultimate adventures off the beaten track. Most of the safari enthusiasts know Uganda only for the Mountain Gorillas but it offers beyond that.

Its diversity of wildlife, landscapes, culture, scenery, and people make it a perfect tourism destination. This is one of the reasons why Winston Churchill named it the Pearl of Africa.

Traveling to Uganda is different from a trip in Europe, the United States, or any other African country though it requires planning if you want a trip of a lifetime. Uganda will offer you everything that you dream of, let it be the nightlife in Kampala, Uganda’s capital.

Travel to Jinja to the source of the Nile for thrilling rafting tours and other water activities. Go for wildlife watching in Queen Elizabeth National Park home to the four of the Big Five, birds, and tree climbing Lions in Ishasha.

Explore Murchison Falls National Park, the biggest game park in Uganda, Kibale Forest for exclusive chimp trekking, Kidepo Valley National Park a true African wilderness, Lake Mburo, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga, and the great lakes of the country.

Generally, Uganda offers a beautiful green countryside, organic food, and a mild climate to travelers. However, many people still have a feeling that Uganda is unsafe, but there is nothing to worry about as this Uganda travel guide or travel advice is going to tell you everything you need to know before traveling to Uganda. Below is the Uganda travel guide and travel advice when traveling in Uganda.

A Brief Travel Guide to Uganda for First Timers – A World to Travel

Within Eastern Africa, Uganda remains one of the best tourism destinations for travel enthusiasts.

It has many rewarding national parks and reserves that visitors can explore and on top of that, the main highlight is embarking on a Mountain Gorilla trek that will mesmerize you once you meet the endangered Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat.

This country welcomes foreign nationals for wonderful endless adventures.

Political Situation

The political situation is stable though political rallies, protests, and violent demonstrations can occur without any warning in Uganda. These are more likely during elections though the Ugandan government through police disperses demonstrators so that there is no harm caused to government buildings.

Be cautious about the colors you put on as they affiliate with political parties, especially yellow and red. If you get caught up in political events, stay calm and move away from the area using the safest possible route.

If you are traveling in the vehicle, ensure that the doors are properly locked, and the windows are all up. When in your accommodation within the area of a demonstration, stay inside your room and keep it locked.

Local travel – North-East Uganda

Mind northeastern Uganda as there are ongoing military operations in the Karamoja sub-region against cattle theft and violence. Many people have lost their lives during these operations.

Foreigners are not the targets during further attacks, but you should stay vigilant with caution and avoid traveling at night. The northeast usually floods in the rainy season, and this means that you need to monitor local media and use 4-wheel drive vehicles.

Local travel – Northern and Western Uganda

Mind the areas near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Our Uganda travel guide advises against all travel near these areas as you may be a victim of any terrorist attacks.

Recently, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo began joint military force to fight against the ADF in North Kivu and Ituri areas of eastern Congo. Military personnel are present on both sides of the border to keep the country safe.

Be vigilant and keep your security situation if you find yourself in these areas and monitor the local media, especially in the Uganda travel guide as there have been further attacks of recent.

Local travel – West Uganda

There have been a few incidents in western Uganda, especially in the Kasese area. Be cautious when in areas near Queen Elizabeth National Park, Semuliki National Park, and the Rwenzori Mountains as they are near the border to DRC and read more of the Uganda travel tips concerning the area.

Local travel – Southwest Uganda

Some parts of DRC neighbor southwestern Uganda and have a history of violence and instability and this means that you should take care when in these areas. Our Uganda travel guide advises against travel to areas of DRC that border Uganda just like the local authorities.

Local Travel – Eastern Uganda

Eastern Uganda is trouble free though during heavy rains, there is a risk of landslides, particularly in Bududa District and our travel advice is that you be cautious.

Local Travel – National Parks

Just be mindful when in the national parks near the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo that is Queen Elizabeth Park, Semuliki National Park, and the Rwenzori Mountains.

Local authorities through Uganda’s conservative society have improved the security measures and always use a reputable or registered tour operator and if possible, contact the Uganda Wildlife Authority for more clarification and can advise about travel tips.

Uganda Entry and Exit Requirements

Check Your Passport and Travel Documents before You Travel

Before traveling to Uganda, your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Uganda.

Uganda Visa

Almost all foreign travelers require visas when coming to Uganda though you need to check out the visa policy. Our travel advice is that you purchase E-visas online through the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration.

The Uganda visa costs $50, exclusive service fee and you should avoid fraud portals as you can pay much more money for the visa. Avoid buying the visa on arrival at the airport as it can delay as sometimes the network can be offline or read more of the travel tips concerning the visa process.

Eastern African Community Single Tourists Visa

This visa is worth applying for especially for tourists intending to visit the East African countries. The visa works in Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda and it costs $100 valid for 90 days and it came because of international trade among these countries.

Visa Exemption for Uganda

Uganda exempts the citizens of the following countries from paying for the Uganda visa.

Citizens of East Africa are exempted, and these are Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, and Tanzania. Other African countries exempt from the Ugandan visa are members of the COMESA including; Madagascar, Angola, Eritrea, Seychelles, Swaziland, Comoros, Zambia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Mauritius.

Visas are also exempt for the following friendly countries; Barbados, Antigua, Fiji, Lesotho, Grenada, Sierra Leone, The Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Cyprus, Ghana, Bahamas, Gambia, Belize, St. Vincent, Tonga, Jamaica, Singapore and Malta.

How to Get to Uganda? | How to Travel to Uganda?

Uganda is a landlocked country bordering many countries that is Kenya in the East, Tanzania in the South, Sudan in the North, the Democratic Republic of Congo in the West, and Rwanda in southern west.

This country is only accessed by air and by road.

Getting to Uganda by road

Uganda has international borders open to all people and you will find immigration offices at the borders where you can present your travel documents.

Below are some of the borders of the different countries that you can use when coming to Uganda by road.

  1. Kenya (west) – Suam, Malaba, Busia
  2. Rwanda (southwest) – Kagitumba, Gatuna and Kyanika
  3. Tanzania (southeast) – Mutukula
  4. South Sudan (north) – Afogi, Nimule
  5. Democratic Republic of Congo (west) – Bwera

Getting to Uganda by air

Most of the travelers commencing to Uganda take this as the most convenient way of accessing the country. By air, you land at Entebbe International Airport the largest in the country just 40 km from Kampala the capital city.

However, you should know that there are no direct flights from Central America, the United States, Southern America, Canada, the Caribbean, Japan, Southern Asia, China, South-Eastern Asia, and Eastern Asia.

The different airlines that fly to Uganda include Uganda Airlines, RwandAir, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, Qatar Airways, Brussels Airlines, Etihad Airways, Emirates, Egypt Air, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, etc.

How to Get Around Uganda? | Travelling Around Uganda

Tourists or other people traveling to Uganda should know that there are only two ways to travel around the country and that is by air and road transport which is also the most common.

Road transport is the cheapest means, you can board motorcycles around Kampala, taxis, and buses for longer routes.

There are also domestic flights for those who want to fly to the different areas of the country. There are chartered flights from Entebbe International Airport and Kajjansi Airfield, and they land at Pakuba and Chobe in Murchison Falls Park, Kasese near Queen Elizabeth Park home to the tree climbing Lions, and Apoka in Kidepo Valley National Park.

Aero Link, Bar Aviation, and MAF are some of the top operators for domestic flights.

Road Conditions in Uganda

There are many roads in Uganda connecting to different major cities and towns which have been improved in recent years. However, some roads in rural areas are poor as they can become muddy and slippery, especially in the rainy season.

This is why you require a 4WD vehicle as it can pass on these kinds of roads and when driving in Uganda, you should always keep left.

Places to Visit in Uganda | Safari Destinations in Uganda

Uganda is one of the top tourist destinations in East Africa with amazing places to visit on your safari holiday. These range from national parks, reserves, major cities, and major towns. On counting, there are 10 national parks and 12 reserves.

Below are some of the sought-after places to visit in Uganda travel guide.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park; has almost half of the world’s population of Mountain Gorillas making it a great place for Mountain Gorilla trekking adventures.

Queen Elizabeth National Park; is a savannah park having four of the big five animals and tree climbing Lions in the Ishasha sector. You get to enjoy game drives and a boat cruise when in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Murchison Falls National Park; is the largest national Park in the country having the world’s strongest waterfalls (Murchison Falls). Tourists can enjoy game drives and boat cruises with sightings of amazing wildlife when in Murchison Falls Park.

Kibale Forest National Park; has 12 primate species making it the primate capital of the world and it’s the best place for Chimpanzee trekking in Africa.

Kidepo Valley National Park; is the true definition of African wilderness as it has the best scenery and rare animals hard to spot anywhere else like the Wild dog.

Rwenzori Mountains and Mountain Elgon; offer the best hiking tours. You will enjoy views of the snowcapped peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains.

Lake Mburo National Park; has the highest number of antelope species and it is the best place for walking safaris.

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary; is another popular tourist destination offering opportunities to trek Rhinos on foot.

The source of the Nile River; is situated in Jinja the adventure capital of East Africa and you can enjoy sunset boat cruises, rafting, kayaking, quad biking, bungee jumping, and more. The Nile River is the best place to be in Uganda.

Lake Bunyonyi; is the second deepest lake in Africa having a beautiful scenery of terraced hills and 29 islands that you can explore.

Safari Activities to Do in Uganda | Things to Do in Uganda?

There are many safari activities in this Uganda travel guide or travel advice that you can enjoy when you visit Uganda. Most of the things to do are enjoyed within the national parks which require you to have park fees and other touristic places.

  1. Mountain Gorilla trekking gives you a chance to meet the endangered Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga.
  2. Chimpanzee safaris are outstanding within Kibale National Park, Budongo Forest in Murchison Falls National Park, and Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
  3. Safari game drives are epic within the savannah national parks and give you close encounters with wildlife in Queen Elizabeth Park especially tree climbing Lions, Kidepo, Murchison Falls National Park, and Lake Mburo National Park.
  4. Sport Fishing is remarkably outstanding in Murchison Falls Park, Lake Mburo, and some parts of Lake Victoria and Lake Albert.
  5. Boat cruises are enjoyed on River Nile, Murchison Falls National Park, along the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth Park, Lake Albert, Lake Bunyonyi, Lake Bunyonyi, Lake Victoria, and Lake Mburo.
  6. Birding or bird watching is another amazing activity to enjoy in Uganda, especially in national parks like Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth Park.
  7. Mountain climbing and hiking as this is great in the Rwenzori Mountains and Mountain Elgon.
  8. White water rafting is epic on the source of the Nile
  9. Community encounters are amazing in areas surrounding the national parks or in small communities.
  10. Golden Monkey tracking within Mgahinga Gorilla Park.

There are so many other activities to enjoy when visiting Uganda though a few have been mentioned.

Best Time to Visit Uganda on a Safari Vacation

Uganda Travel Guide

Uganda welcomes visitors all year round and the best time depends on one’s schedule and how they plan to travel. Our Uganda travel guide advises visiting Uganda in the dry season or months which are from December to February and June to August.

During the dry season, it is easy to view wildlife as animals congregate on water sources, and the tracks are dry leading to easy accessibility. This is also the best time for Gorilla trekking and chimpanzee safaris.

Tourists can also visit Uganda in the wet season or wet months which are from March to May and from September to November. During this time, it’s easy to encounter Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees as they are nearby due to the abundant food.

You get to watch the beautiful scenery as new grasses are growing again and most of the lodges and hotels are discounted which is easy to travel on a budget.

What to Pack When Visiting Uganda?

In this Uganda travel guide or travel advice, we look at the essential items that you need to carry when visiting Uganda. Although these are essential items, never forget to travel light.

·        Passport and Yellow fever vaccination certificate

·        Camera and extra batteries and lenses

·        Binoculars

·        Towels

·        Insect repellent

·        Daypack /small rucksack

·        Ziplocs /dry bags for keeping valuables or wet clothes

·        Notebooks

·        Personal Medical treatment supplies

·        International plug adapter

·        Flashlights

·        Swimsuit

·        First aid kit

·        Personal prescription

·        Toiletries

 

Uganda Clothing Guide

Traveling in Uganda requires you to put on decent clothes and the kind of clothing you put on is determined by the type of activity you are going to engage in or weather conditions.

Below is what to wear when in Uganda;

  1. Khaki/neutral-colored clothing
  2. Casual clothes for evenings
  3. Good hiking shoes
  4. Lightweight waterproof jacket
  5. Lightweight wool socks
  6. Sunglasses
  7. Gloves
  8. Bush hat with brim for sun protection

Health Uganda Travel Guide

You need good health if you are to travel to Uganda as it is one of the essentials that is required before visiting Uganda. Before traveling, purchase health insurance and travel insurance to help you in medical treatment emergencies and make sure that you get the necessary vaccinations.

There are many health centers and hospitals where you can go when in Uganda for medication though the standards may be low compared to those of your country. Also, the medical facilities are limited especially outside of Kampala.

The pharmacies or medical facilities may not be well stocked to your expectation, and this means that you need to carry your medication from home as prescribed by the doctor.

If you are several ill, then you can have a medical evacuation to bigger hospitals in Kenya or Tanzania.

When in Uganda, avoid sex workers or do not engage in unprotected sex as you can get sexually transmitted diseases.

Yellow Fever Certificate Requirements

Before traveling to Uganda, you are required to be vaccinated against yellow fever as you need to present your certificate at the immigration office.

You may also get vaccinations for the following;

  1. Hepatitis A and TDAP
  2. Typhoid
  3. Cholera
  4. Hepatitis B
  5. Rabies

Is It Safe to Drink Tap Water in Uganda?

Avoid all tap water when in Uganda as it is not safe like that of Western countries. Tap water is not purified as you can get Typhoid. Always drink purified, boiled water, or bottled water mineral water.

You can get bottled water in supermarkets and shops in all parts of the world.

Is There Malaria in Uganda?

Yes, and this is because Uganda is a tropical country and mosquitoes breed in different regions and that’s why you need to be with anti-malaria drugs and always sleep under a mosquito net.

When traveling in tropical forests, make sure you have insect repellents to keep away mosquitoes and other bugs.

Food Travel Guide of Uganda

Uganda Travel Guide

This is one of the basic needs and you can’t go a day without eating in Uganda as the food is amazing. You need to be cautious if you have any food allergies so that you do not fall victim. You can enjoy Ugandan food in hotels, lodges, and in a local restaurant.

What Is the Food Like in Uganda?

You will be mesmerized by the taste of local food in Uganda as it is organic and there are several food options you can try out like Halal, Kosher, and vegetarian meals. When booking your Uganda trip, its better you say your dietary conditions.

You can always try out the local food of Uganda like stews accompanied by matoke, potatoes, rice, cassava, yams, beans, and ground nuts.

Apart from local dishes, restaurants also prepare and serve continental meals like Indian food, Mexican food, Chinese cuisine, Italian food, French cuisine, and Asian meals.

All meals can be three-course meals beginning with a starter, main course, and dessert like cake slices or chocolate slices.

Be cautious about street food as it can bring you infections and sickness, because of hygiene though you can try out the Rolex a local delicacy for most people.

You can also try out the beverages in the country, and if you are a coffee lover, then you won’t leave Uganda as it is served fresh. Tourists can also try out the locally brewed beers to the last drop like Nile special, Club beer, Uganda Waragi, and Bell lager for a great taste.

Ugandan Currency | what is the currency in Uganda?

The currency used is the Uganda shillings and the symbol is (UGX). The Bank of Uganda is responsible for minting, distributing, and destroying currency. Coins start from 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 Uganda shillings.

Bank notes have denominations of 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, and 50,000 Uganda shillings.

Other foreign currency like dollars, euros, and pounds are also used in the country as well. You can exchange money or foreign currency into Uganda shillings when you arrive at Entebbe Airport or at the different forex bureaus in the country.

Of course, after exchanging money, you will be a millionaire but do not go places showing off as you can be robbed. Keep money safe and avoid moving with big notes.

ATMs in Uganda

Uganda is blessed with many bank operators who have ATMs spread in most parts of the country and they accept Visa and Master cards. Be cautious that some cards don’t work in the country or visit your home bank first to activate your card before traveling to Uganda.

Do You Tip in Uganda?

Yes, you can tip in Uganda as it is the best way of showing gratitude for a good service. In restaurants, you can tip 10% of the meal price and this will leave a smile to the service provider.

Is Bargaining Acceptable in Uganda?

Bargaining is acceptable in Uganda within towns and markets. Mind that some prices on items are fixed especially within supermarkets. It is okay to negotiate the price as some people overprice items when they see your color.

Where to Stay in Uganda? | Accommodation in Uganda?

There is no need to worry about where you will be staying during your stay in Uganda as there are many facilities that can accommodate you with comfort and great services.

The accommodation ranges in hotels, hostels, guest houses, Motels, resorts, African safari lodges, and camps. All these are categorized into luxury, midrange, and budget accommodation.

Accommodation is within all centers, towns, national parks, and reserves. Budget accommodation costs from $10-$80 per person per night, midrange starts from $100-$200 per person, and luxury accommodation starts from $300 and beyond per person per night.

FAQs

Is It Safe to Travel to Uganda Currently? | Is It Safe to Travel to Uganda Right Now? | Is Uganda Safe to Travel to Now? | Is It Safe to Travel to Uganda at the Moment?

Yes, Uganda is safe to travel as it has low crime rates. You can visit the national parks and reserves without any inconveniences though you should avoid moving on isolated streets at night.

You should also avoid border areas near the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.

Locals are sweet and welcoming and the local authorities have improved the security measures of this country. Always follow local media and read about Uganda travel tips for further information.

How is the Wi-Fi in Uganda?

The Wi-Fi in Uganda is not that great though it is offered by most lodges in the main areas and sometimes it can be slow. It is always better to buy a local sim card as it has fast internet.

When and Where to Buy Chimpanzee and Gorilla Trekking Permits?

You can secure Chimpanzee and Gorilla trekking permits from the Uganda Wildlife Authority through registered tour operators. Always use a reputable company so that you are not scammed, and you need to book the permits in advance as they can be out.

As of now, a Gorilla permit costs $700, and a chimpanzee permit costs $200 for your African safari for foreign nationals.

Why Visit Uganda?

There are many reasons why travelers visit Uganda for safaris and below are some of these reasons.

  1. Uganda has half of the world’s endangered Mountain Gorillas (459) that you can trek in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga
  2. This country offers the best bird watching as it has over 1063 bird species, especially in Murchison Falls Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, and Semuliki National Park.
  3. Uganda is a Big Five destination (Rhinos, Lions, Elephants, Leopards, and Buffaloes).
  4. Has River Nile the longest river in Africa
  5. Uganda has the biggest freshwater Lake in Africa – Lake Victoria
  6. This country is a great destination as it is crowd-free
  7. Uganda is home to the tree climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park
  8. Has stunning scenery which is outstanding
  9. This country has 10 national parks and 12 game reserves
  10. Uganda has the highest concentration of Nile Crocodiles in the Nile River in Murchison Fa and Rothschild Giraffes

Is There Uber in Uganda?

Yes, there is Uber in Uganda, it is one of the used private safe travel apps in Uganda. However, you know that it is only used around Kampala and a few surrounding areas. There are also other options like Bolt, Diva, Safe Car, and Safe boda.

How Are the Gas Stations Like in Uganda?

There are gas stations in almost every town in Uganda. Many operators sell fuel, and we recommend Total Energies and Shell because of their unique services.

You can find shops on the stations for groceries and snacks. There is always a person who operates the pump, which is not like that of Western life, so always be respectful.

Is Uganda Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Yes, Uganda is safe for female travelers as the local authorities have ensured security for all travelers. Just like any other country, women call for attention so be cautious as many eyes can be on you. Always avoid isolated places, especially at night, and always put on long-sleeved clothes to cover your body.

Is Uganda Friendly to LGBT Travelers?

On 30th May 2023, the anti-homosexuality act was brought into law in Uganda, and it includes prison sentences and the death penalty for same sex activity and supporting the LGBT community.

As of now same sex relationships lead to the death penalty according to the anti homosexuality act. If you are part of the LGBT community, you need to be cautious when traveling in Uganda not to engage in same sex relationships.

This means that Uganda is not friendly to same sex relationships or to LGBT travelers and always gets further information concerning the act.

What Languages Are Spoken in Uganda?

There are over 41 languages spoken by the different tribes in Uganda. English has been the official language since independence in 1962 though Luganda is widely spoken especially in the central region.

Swahili is spoken by some Ugandans, and you will hear more of the Runyakitara language.

Some of the Luganda words you can try out include;

  • Thank you – Luganda (webale) response, kale
  • How are you? – Luganda (Olyotya) response, Gyendi
  • Water – Luganda (Amaazi)
  • Come – Luganda (gyangu)
  • Bye – Luganda (Welaba)
  • Can I have some – Luganda (Mpaako)
  • Good morning – Luganda (Wasuze otya)
  • Food – Luganda (Emeere)
  • Breakfast – Luganda (Ekyenkya)
  • Good night – Luganda (Suula bulunji) and so many more.

Can I Visit Uganda on A Budget?

Yes, you can visit Uganda on a budget on your African safari. You can use public means as they are cheap to go to the different areas of the country and there is budget accommodation in almost every national park and reserve. Keep in mind that the entrance park fees remain the same.

What Is the Time Zone of Uganda?

It is 3 hours ahead of GMT and does not observe daylight savings.

What Do I Need to Know Before Traveling to Uganda?

Before traveling to Uganda, you need to have a valid passport with a visa, you need to have a yellow fever vaccination certificate, and you need to read about the local news and the Uganda travel guide, travel using reputable tour operators, and pack all the essentials that you require though avoid packing illegal drugs.

What Does A US Citizen Need to Travel to Uganda?

All US citizens to Uganda need entry visas and yellow fever vaccination certificates before they travel to Uganda for an African safari.

Can US Citizens Travel to Uganda? | Can Americans Enter Uganda?

Yes, US citizens travel to Uganda as long as they have a valid passport with an entry visa. Always read more of the Uganda travel guide to be updated so that you don’t miss any information.

How Expensive Is It to Travel in Uganda?

On your Uganda holiday, you can spend around $104 per day. Recent travelers have spent $27 on meals, and $20 on transport. The average accommodation price is $92 and you should know that most tours are priced per person.

There are also other components that you need to pay like park fees and permits.

What Should I Be Careful of In Uganda?

Be cautious when walking or traveling at night, never leave food and drinks unattended in public, avoid street food, and keep your valuables in a safe position.

Do You Tip in Uganda Restaurants?

Always tip 10% of the price of the meals.

How Much Money Do I Need to Travel to Uganda?

There is no specific amount for traveling to Uganda as it all depends on the type of safari you wish to engage in and the number of days you will be spending. On each trip, you need to consider accommodation prices, safari activities, transport, meals, and entrance park fees.

Budget tours cost from $150 per person per day, mid-range from $300 per person per day, and luxury safaris start at around $600 per person.

Let me hope that our Uganda travel guide has been relevant especially if you are wishing to visit Uganda sooner for a safari holiday. If you have any further inquiries concerning any Uganda travel tips, kindly reach out to us for

 

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