Uganda Travel guide, Tourist information to Uganda & Rwanda
Getting into Uganda, passport and Visas, when to visit, health, languages, money etc
The major entry point to Uganda is Entebbe International Airport, which lies 40km from the capital Kampala. The air port is serviced by a number of international airlines, including SN Brussels, British Airways, South African Airways, Kenya Airways, Air Tanzania, Rwanda air Express, Egypt Air and Ethiopian Airlines. Uganda can also be reached overland from Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania
Pass port and Visa requirements:
Passports valid for at least six months from date of entry are required by all tourists to Enter Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Congo. On Arrival, customs and immigration officials are polite and efficient, and a visa – for those who require one – can be purchased on the spot at Entebbe International Airport or at any overland border. Foreign exchange and ATM facilities are available at the airport, which is also serviced by several shops and restaurants. Jungle Safaris Uganda Limited will arrange air port transfers.
NOTE: Nationals of the countries listed below are exempted from visa requirements for travel to Uganda. They do, however, need to have a current passport issued by their respective countries.
Members of COMESA: Angola, Burundi, Comoros, Eritrea, Kenya, Malawi Mauritius, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Others exempted are: Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Jamaica, Lesotho, Malta, Sierra Leone, Singapore Solomon Islands St Vincent & the Grenadines, Tonga, Vanuatu, Italy (Only diplomatic passport holders) and Cyprus.
When to Visit
Uganda can be visited at any time, though mountain hikes, gorilla tracking and other forest walks are more challenging during the rains, which generally peak over mid-September to November and March to May.
Currency: The currency used is the Uganda Shilling (Ug.shs). Coins are issued for smaller denominations of 50, 100, 200 and 500 shillings. Bigger amounts of 1000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 Uganda Shillings are issued in notes.
US dollar, GB Pounds, EURO and Yen are readily exchangeable. Large US dollar bills attract the best exchange rates. Currency exchange rates are not constant and are posted at all banks and forex bureaus around Kampala, in major up-country towns and in the local newspapers. The exchange rate by the beginning of 2013 was US$1 = 2600 Uganda Shillings and GBP1 = 3350 Uganda Shillings. There are no restrictions on other international currencies.
It is strongly recommended that you change money in Kampala prior to your safari where more favorable rates are offered.
Photography during the Uganda safari: It is only polite to request people before taking photographs. However, it is not permitted at any time to take pictures of, or near, military buildings or soldiers. Film and other photographic accessories are available in Uganda. For digital photography, it is recommended that you bring extra batteries and a car charger. Most Hotels and Lodges provide facilities for battery recharging of visual and audio equipment. Feel free to confirm in time. There is no charge for photography cameras and personal video recorders, but there may be a charge for commercial filming and photography in some places.
Binoculars: A pair of binoculars is quite useful for up close game viewing or bird watching so do not forget to carry them.
Internet and Telephone services: Internal and international telephone communication is good from Kampala but can be problematic in some rural areas. Uganda has a good mobile phone network in most of the country though the network can be weak in some remote areas nonetheless local SIM cards can be bought throughout the Country. Also, international roaming facilities are available. Internet services are widely available in Kampala at internet cafes, and most major towns will have access, although the quality and speed of the connection may vary.
Electricity: Uganda: 240 volts. 3-pin sockets. We suggest that you bring your own adaptor. Most hotels, camps and lodges can make arrangements for recharging batteries. Please ask us on booking if you have any specific requirements.
Alcohol: Several brands of local and international beer are available, leading local beers include: Bell lager, Club beer, Pilsner lager and Nile Special lager while Guinness, Heineken and most spirits and wines are imported and are readily available. However drinking of alcohol under the age of 18 years is also illegal.
Begging/Donations: It is not recommended to give money to street children beggars or beggars as this only worsens the culture of begging and dependency. Donations can be made to established international and local charities that work with the homeless, street children and orphans. We can arrange visits to these local projects and organizations on request.
Drinking Water: For your health, we strongly recommend that you do not drink spring or tap water. Most restaurants and hotels provide boiled drinking water, or you can alternatively choose from several available brands of mineral water.
Fresh tropical fruits and vegetables are plenty throughout the country. A wide range of dishes, both traditional and international, are served in the hotels and restaurants.
Health Requirements: Certificates may be required for vaccinations against yellow fever. Check current medical advice on typhoid, cholera and hepatitis. But these diseases are not very common, so do not feel obliged to spend a lot of money on injections. The malaria risk is general, and prevention measures should be undertaken. It is advisable to start anti-malarial medications 10 – 14 days before arrival and continue with the same for two- three weeks thereafter.
Language: The official language is English but Kiswahili and Luganda are commonly spoken. Actually in Uganda over 40 languages are spoken!
Luggage: Airlines will offer you 20-40 Kgs, or two pieces, of luggage on most flights. It is preferable for you to use soft luggage as space in vehicles is limited. If you come with winter clothes, we can arrange for their storage for you will not need them on safari.