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Uganda has a dynamic manufacturing, agricultural and tourism sectors. The country enjoys unique location at the heart of Sub-Saharan Africa giving it a commanding base for regional trade and investment. With neighbours Sudan in the North, the Republic of Tanzania & Rwanda in the south, Kenya in the east and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC ) to the west, this location though land locked, Uganda offers endless opportunities to any business-seeking investor and adventurous tourist.

 

Here’s some essential information for those spending time in our beautiful country.

 

Getting to  Uganda

International Airport: Entebbe International Airport.

Airport Tax: No airport tax is levied on passengers upon embarking at the airport.

Departure Taxes: When leaving Entebbe Airport in Uganda, travellers must pay a departure tax of $40. In most cases, this fee has been included in the price of the airline ticket.

From the Airport: Taxis from Entebbe Airport to downtown Kampala charge around US$50 for the 40km journey, which can take up to an hour.  The best way to get around the city is by a metered taxi or on motorcycle taxis called boda bodas.

 

Airlines/Airport:

The following airlines operate service to Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport. Charters to major  Uganda game parks and reserves, towns can be arranged. Contact your travel agent or hotel to learn more  

International flights– British Airways (BA), Brussels Airlines (SN),  Delta Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines (ET), Emirates (EK), Egypt Air (MS), Kenya Airways (KQ), KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KL), Qatar Airways (QR), Rwandair (WB), South African Airways (SAA), Turkish Airlines (TK), Fly Dubai (FZ) , Fly Sax, Fastjet (FN).

Charter Flights – Asante Aviation, Eagle Air, AeroLink Uganda

 

Entry/Exit Requirements:

A valid passport is required to enter Uganda (with an expiry date extending 6 months and beyond the date you intend to leave); and a return or onward ticket.

Visas are necessary for most visitors (with exception of a few exempted countries such in East African Community). Visas can be obtained at any Ugandan embassy or High Commissions near you. Visas can also be bought on arrival at Entebbe International Airport or at border posts. If you plan to obtain visa to Uganda at Entebbe Airport, you should confirm in advance that your airline allows you to board without visa.

Fees:   A single‐entry visa for Uganda is US$50 and is valid for 3 months. US$100 for multiple entries valid for six months from the date of arrival.  

Travellers are advised to pay close attention to the validity of their visa or special pass to avoid fines or travel interruptions

For more information on entry requirements, see the Uganda Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website: www.mofa.go.ug

 

Getting Around Uganda:

Travelling around Uganda has never been easier – flexibility exists in use of private or public transport, with the improving transport network and extended communication facilities to upcountry regions.

Travelling around Uganda is a true adventure. There are several ways to get around in Uganda, and the option you choose will depend upon your time constraints and your budget. Travelling by road is the most accessible and probably the cheapest way to travel though domestic flights are available. Public transport connects all major locations, and ventures far off the beaten track.

 

Tour Operators and Public Transportation:

Buses, taxis, VIP vans and several touring trucks operated by individual tour operators are all available to help travelers reach their destinations. Motorcycles or boda bodas, as they are locally known, can always be used for short distances. Safety can be a concern so its not recommended to travel without a helmet.


Consider finding a tour operator to assist with your travel plans.

 

Self Drive:

Self-drive options are best left for return visitors to the country and more seasoned travelers who are accustomed to driving in a variety of road conditions. You may find you are more comfortable leaving the driving up to a local driver guide who will also give you an interpretive commentary while you enjoy the scenic view.

 

Business:

The business environment is stable. Uganda has excellent infrastructure, telecommunication, and transport and business services. Uganda’s capital is Kampala and it is the central business district. Paved roads are in place to connect Kampala and major Ugandan towns, so does railways to some parts of Uganda and neighboring countries.

The Kampala Industrial Area, Namanve Industrial Area and Jinja industrial development zones are well-placed for industry start-up. If you are planning to invest in Uganda, see the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) www.ugandainvest.com  for business and investment opportunities.

 

Accommodation:

All standards of accommodation from backpacker hostels to high-end hotels. Kampala has several high-class hotel and modern conferencing facilities to choose from. A chain of hotels, up market game lodges, B&B, bush camps, beach resorts, chalets, cabins and campsites are well distributed in major towns and national parks in Uganda. Contact UHOA for a recommendation to our members

 

Personal Safety:

Much as Kampala is ranked among Africa’s most safe cities to travel, we urge you to take the same precautions you would in any other country, international city or town, particularly if sight-seeing in urban areas.

Most parts of Uganda can be safely visited by tourists. Take common-sense precautions (not walking alone in deserted areas at night). Valuable should be kept out of sight and vehicles locked. Don’t carry your important and portable items in the backpack.

For area safety information contact the Uganda Wildlife Authority tourist information office in major towns or outside national parks and game reserves. Alternatively, seek assistance from your preferred travel agent/hotel.

In case of emergencies, contact the nearest Uganda Police station or call telephone 999

 

Credit Cards, Banking and Currency Exchange:

Travellers’ cheques will only be accepted at Forex Bureaus (proof of purchase and your passport will be required).

Major credit cards are accepted at major hotels, shopping malls, Art galleries & Crafts markets, souvenir shops and good restaurants, though they are unwelcome elsewhere compared to cash.  

Charges may be as high as 5% and are automatically added to your bill. They cannot be used for cash advances.

Once on safari, only cash can be used for currency conversion. Larger U.S. bills earn a better rate of exchange ($50 and $100 bills)

In Uganda, ATM machines are not readily available. Machines accepting VISA are at Entebbe airport and in Kampala, but are sometimes out of service and only pay out Uganda Shillings.

 

Health:

A vaccination certificate against yellow fever is required, and a vaccination certificate against cholera is recommended.

For short trips, ensure tetanus, polio, diphtheria, typhoid and hepatitis A vaccinations are up-to-date. Other recommendations include; Vaccination against yellow fever and anti-malarial medication and precautions.

For long trips of more than one month, consult a specialist travel clinic or the website of the Centres for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/travel

More adventurous activities such as mountaineering and hiking, gorilla trekking and chimp tracking, white-water rafting, canoeing and kayaking may pose additional risks and should be undertaken with care and caution.  Clients must be fit and healthy.

 

Medical Facilities in Uganda

There are private hospitals and clinics which provide 24-hour emergency and ambulance services. Check with your hotel or travel agent as to which one is currently to be recommended.

 

Travel Insurance:

Travel Insurance (often called trip insurance) is strongly recommended and is available from most travel agencies in the United States.

 

Tourist Information:

Information on accommodation, travel and places to visit is available at the Uganda Tourist Board; 4 Windor Crescents, Kololo-Kampala (www.visituganda.com) alternatively, for updated local travel info, check with the post offices in all major Uganda towns and cities or Uganda Wildlife Authority.

  

Clothing:

Consider shorts, skirts, sandals and T-shirts; occasionally, alight sweater might be required. Warmer clothing is necessary in mountain regions.

The rainy seasons are from Mar to May and from September to December.

Swimsuits, hats, sunscreen and sensible walking shoes are a must especially when visiting Ssese island beaches and resorts.

Smart-casual clothing is worn for evening entertainment. Smart-casual clothing or suits-and-ties are worn for business and social gatherings.

 

Taxation:

VAT is currently at 18% and levied on most items.  See Uganda Revenue Authority (www.ura.go.ug)

 

Climate:

Uganda is on the Equator which gives it an ideal climate with little variation. Mean temperatures are between 21ºC and 31ºC all year round. There are two rainy seasons from March to April and October to November. climate in ugandaTravel is often slower in the rainy season and trekking more difficult. Mountainous areas tend to be much colder than the plains and receive more rain. Temperatures in mountainous areas can go down to 10°C in certain months. Lodges and other facilities are open all year round. There is no bad time of year to visit Uganda!

 

Culture:

The culture of Uganda is made up of a diverse range of ethnic groups. Lake Kyoga forms the northern boundary for the Bantu-speaking peoples, who dominate much of East, Central, and Southern Africa. In Uganda, they include the Baganda and several other tribes.

In the north live the Lango and the Acholi, who speak Nilotic languages. To the east are the Iteso and Karamojong, who speak a Nilotic language, whereas the Gishu are part of the Bantu and live mainly on the slops of Mt Elgon. They speak Lumasaba closely related to the Luhya of Kenya. A few Pygmies live isolated in the rainforests of western Uganda. 

 

Road Safety:

Speed limits are 80km/h on major roads. On feeder roads and where roads cut through residential areas, look out for road signs/markings on speed limits. Beware livestock in the road near cattle corridors.

Driving through National Parks and game reserves, enquire from tourist information office or seek help from game rangers.

Look out for potholes on all high-traffic and feeder roads.

For up-to-date information on road maintenance works, see the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) website: www.unra.go.ug

 

Food and Water:

Tap water is safe. It is recommended that you drink bottled or boiled water only. Sodas, beer and alcoholic beverages are generally considered safe. Coffee and tea, as well as fresh fruit juices, are prepared with boiled water. 

Food and hygiene at hotels, restaurants and nightspots are excellent. Roadside  grills and markets places sell decent and fairly priced food

Uganda has a wide range of restaurants which serve diverse cuisines such as African Continental, Chinese, English, French, Italian, Indian, Korean, Lebanese, Turkish and several other cuisines.

 

Alcohol:

Several brands of local and international beer are available, including leading local beers: Bell, Club, Pilsner and Nile Special beers. Most spirits and wines are imported and are readily available. Uganda Waragi is a very popular local gin.

Drinking and driving is prohibited and purchase of alcohol under the age of 18 years is also illegal

 

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

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

 

Electricity:

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

 

Photography:

Though some types of film are available in many of the lodges, it is advisable to bring film and batteries with you or to purchase them in Kampala.  A pair of binoculars will prove extremely useful for a keen game viewer or birder. There is no charge for photography cameras and personal video recorders, but there may be a charge for commercial cameras in some places. Clients are responsible for any such fee. High-speed film is recommended for gorilla photos and high altitude filters are best for climbers. Check with your photo shop.

 

Recommended Reading:

-Uganda, The Bradt Travel Guide, 5th Edition (Philip Briggs) <<More here>>>

-Spectrum Guide to Uganda, 2nd Edition (Camerapix)

-Uganda’s Great Rift Valley (Andrew Roberts) available in USA from www.africanteagarden.com

-The Safari Companion A Guide to Watching African Mammals (Richard Estes)

-The Year of the Gorilla (George Schaller)

-Gorillas in the Mist (Dian Fossey)

-The Last King of Scotland (Chris and Tilde Stuart)