Practical information for Uganda

Practical information and Travel checklist for tourists to Uganda

Official Name: Republic of Uganda
Capital: Kampala
Area: 236,580 sq km
Population: approximately 32.000.000 (Est)

Largest cities, with population:

  • Kampala 1,246,000 (2003)
  • Jinja 86,520 (2002)
  • Mbale 70,437 (2002)
  • Entebbe 57,518 (2002)Religious affiliations:
  • Roman Catholic 41 percent
  • Anglican 40 percent
  • Ethnoreligionists or indigenous beliefs 4 percent
  • Muslim 5 percent
  • Others 10 percent

People

Languages

English (official), Luganda, Swahili, other Bantu and Nilo-Saharan languages Lake Kyoga forms northern boundary for the Bantu-speaking peoples, who dominate much of east and central and southern Africa and, in Uganda, include the Buganda, and several other tribes like Busoga, and Bagishu. In the north live the Lango (near lake Kyoga) and the Acholi (towards the Sudanese border), who speak Nilotic languages. To the east are the Iteso and Karamojong, who are related to the Maasai and who also speak Nilotic languages. Pygmies live in the forest of the west.

Visa

You can buy your Uganda visa (US $ 50, -) at Entebbe airport. This is valid for 90 days. Please note that your passport has to be valid for 6 months upon departure from Uganda

At only $50 apply for your Uganda visa online prior to arrival OR UPON ARRIVAL. Website https://visas.immigration.go.ug

The East African Tourist Visa costs US $100 and allows a 90-days multiple entry to Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. Unfortunatlry, Tanzania is not (yet) a member of theEast African community and therefore not part of this special visa arrangement.

The Visa can be applied for upon arrival at the border, no (online) application in advance is required.

If travelling from the tropics, do not forget to carry your Yellow Fever vaccination card.

Your Rwanda Visa should be bought in advance to avoid hours of waiting at the border (price depends on nationality).

Tipping

Clients are advised to give a fair, reasonable tip to the local guides, cleaners, drivers etc. Tipping is very important but we can never force clients to tip, as it is voluntary. Our advice for local crew is the following:

Your driver/guide: 5-10 dollars per person per day
Porters: 5 dollars for half a day (3-4 hours) 10 dollars per day, 1 dollar for porters (hotels)
Rangers and guides: 10 -15 dollars in total (divided by number of persons)
Restaurants: 5 – 10 % (In cheap restaurants 10%, in expensive restaurants a bit less)
Hotels: 1 – 2 dollars per person per night

 

Luggage

We advise you to bring a bag or suitcase made of soft material. Hard cover suitcases are difficult to place in the car and are likely to break on the bumpy roads in Uganda

What to bring

Before the trip:

  • Check your flights and print boarding pass (frequent flyer pass) or bring ticket
  • Check if your passport is still valid for 6 months or more
  • Get all medical requirements (malaria profilax and injections)
  • Get your travel- medical and/ or cancellation insurances.
  • Bring a copy of your passport
  • Bring your yellow vaccination book
  • Get the phone number of your embassy in Uganda
  • Bring important phone numbers from home
  • Don’t forget your wallet, ATM/ credit cards and money
  • When you are on medication, bring your medication in a small box or bag. Make sure medication is allowed to bring.
  • Bring a book/ magazine, some snacks, ear plugs, neck pillow for during the flight

During the trip:

Clothes:

  • Flip flops
  • Sandals
  • Hiking boots
  • Belt
  • 2 Long trousers
  • 3 Short trousers
  • 2 Long sleaved T- shirts
  • 5 Short sleaved T-shirts
  • 1 or 2 blouses/ shirts
  • Swimming costume
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • 1 warm sweater
  • Rain jacket
  • Pajamas
  • 1 towel

Basics:

  • Small day pack
  • Travel guide
  • Pocket knife
  • Water bottle
  • Pen/ pencil + book note
  • Money belt

Phone

There are several mobile providers including MTN, Orange and Airtel. You can purchase a SIM card for relatively low cost (5 us dollar). Sim cards and airtime for the 3 competitive companies are available all over Uganda. Make sure that your phone is Sim- Lock- Free.

The country code for Uganda is +256

Internet

We ensure that we book our clients in lodges? Hotels with WI-FI. However, Internet cafés are found all around the country and are now even to be found in remote areas. Realize that internet speed is extremely slow. If you bring your own laptop you can buy a 3 GB wireless internet stick from either orange or MTN. Internet is relatively quick. Costs for this stick is about 100 us dollar per month (minimum 1 month). This stick can be bought in Entebbe, Jinja and Kampala.

Plugs and Voltage

British-style plugs with three pins: 240 V,50 Hz

Charging camera’s, phones, etc

In most hotels you can charge your camera’s, phones and other electricals. If you bring more chargeable items you might consider bringing an extension with extra outlets, since the number of outlets is often limited. We advise you to bring extra batteries for your camera, incase power cuts might occur.

Health

We are not qualified to answer all your questions in regards to travel health, so we strongly recommend you contact your GP or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. For more information you can visit:

http://www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk/destinations/africa/uganda.aspx

Bilharzia

In most of the Ugandan waters you find Bilharzia. Is a nasty small creature that enters your body through your skin and harm your liver. Make sure you do not swim in Lake Victoria or other Lakes. The river Nile is not Bilharzia free, but fairly safe to swim (and raft). Lake Bunyonyi is 100% bilharzia free and you can enjoy swimming in this lake.

HIV/AIDS

In Uganda -like most African countries- HIV/AIDS is well spread. Make sure you are careful with contact with blood.

Ambulance services

For emergency’s we recommend you the following hospitals and dentists:

Ambulance services:

Rescue Medical Services: +256 772217218 or +256 772349990

Ugandan Ambulance Service: +256 782556878 or +256 712112999

Clinics

The Surgery: 2nd Acacia Avenue, Kololo, Kampala: +256 41 4340084 or +256 752756003