Uganda Travel Guide
Uganda is considered to be the pearl of Africa and it is a good destination for all those who love travelling. Like any other country, Uganda has her own tips that you should get to know in order to enjoy your stay in the country.
There are several places in Uganda that one can visit and enjoy to the fullest and these include the National game parks, mountains, lakes and Rivers, waterfalls and both the urban and local centers where you get to enjoy the different cultures that are exhibited by the different tribes that are found in Uganda.
Despite Uganda having people speak different tribes in the different parts of the country like Luganda, Lusoga, acholi, Runyankore, Rukiga and many more other languages, English is the formal language that is used for communication in education institutions and offices. Therefore as you are travelling to Uganda, you will find it easy to communicate using English but just in case you fail to get a person who understands, there are translators that you can use but you need to give them a token for their services.
There are a few tips that will make you enjoy your stay in Uganda and before you make that journey to the pearl of Africa, you need to know the following.
The Medication questions
Falling sick while on a safari or a vacation is the worst thing that one can happen to you and if you want to avoid this, there are questions that you need to ask yourself before you take a trip to Uganda.
What vaccinations will you need when you visit Uganda?
You will need to ask around for the vaccinations that are needed before you go visit Uganda so that you are safe. You will need the Hepatitis A and B, Tetanus, meningitis and Rabies.
A yellow fever vaccination is needed and you will need the yellow fever card at the airport as you come into the country.
Is the water safe for drinking?
The tap water in Uganda might not be treated to the right expectations but the bottled water is very safe to drink ensuring your safety.
There are different brands of bottled water on the Ugandan market and it will therefore be your choice to choose which one will fit your tastes.
Uganda is known for having a high rate when it comes to malaria and that is why before you visit, you will need to get anti malaria drugs so as to avoid getting sick.
Or if you fail to get the drugs, you will need to put on long sleeves and using mosquito repellant to avoid mosquito bites.
The shopping questions
When we all go for a trip, we need to go shopping and this also applies to when you visit Uganda. You will need to take back souvenirs when heading back to your different homes but before that we are going to look at what you need when you go on a shopping spree in Uganda.
Is bargaining acceptable when it comes to shopping in Uganda?
Yes, you will need all the bargaining skills you can come up with when you go shopping on a trip in Uganda. The locals tend to increase the prices of everything that they sell especially when they realize that you are a tourist.
Although you should also note that the prices depend on where you are doing the shopping from like if you are shopping from urban centers like Kampala the prices of most things are fixed but still that does not mean that you cannot bargain to get a fair price. And as you are bargaining make sure that you leave the seller when they are not hostile and also you should note that most bargaining is done at markets, stalls and entrances to the different tourist attraction sites.
The souvenirs you can get in Uganda
There are many souvenirs that one can get in Uganda and they range from shoes, art craft to clothes. Those that are into clothing, Uganda offers a wide range of brightly colored African prints that are made of different designs on the market and these can be bought in the different craft shops around the country.
You can also get yourself the beat crafted souvenirs made from different materials like wood, papyrus, banana leaves, clay and the items made from these include sculptures, woven baskets and mats, craft shoes, bowls, paintings, necklaces, bangles, earrings, beaded bags that come in different shapes and sizes and many more others.
The questions about food in Uganda
Uganda is known to be a food basket in East Africa due to the fertile soils found in the area. As you travel to Uganda you will be able to get fresh food from the different food joints, markets, supermarkets and other places where food is bought.
I know as a tourist you will want to know whether the food is okay and the few questions below will be the answers to your queries.
Is the food safe to eat?
The food that is served in high end hotels is well prepared to the international standards and is very safe to eat but this does not mean that the food served along the road is unhygienic. It might look as if it is badly cooked or prepared in a dirty place and therefore if you have a sensitive stomach, it is best to avoid it all together although it is delicious when you eat it.
It should be noted that the hygiene in Uganda is on a basic level but the good side of everything is that you will be able to eat fresh food like bananas, rice, fresh fish, meat, milk, potatoes, cassava and others.
You will also be able to a variety of fresh fruits in the market and the prices for these depend on where you are purchasing them and these include apples, grapes, beet fruits, yellow bananas, pineapples, mangoes, jackfruits and many more other fruits
Security and safety
It is very safe to take a trip to Uganda as there are different police posts located in the different areas of the country and the tourist attraction sites are also well equipped when it comes to security measures. But like any other country you have to be vigilant with your properties especially when it comes to the conmen in the country.
Before it was extremely hard to find females walking alone in Uganda but with the improved security, female tourists can also come and take trips to the different parts of the country without being threatened.
What is allowed and not allowed into the country
There are several things that are allowed into the country especially if you are above 18 years and some of which are considered illegal in Uganda. So before you traveling you need to know that the following are allowed
- Two liters of wine
- 250ml of perfume
- 250g of tobacco products
- And for returning residents, goods worth 500US dollars are allowed
- One liter of spirits.
The following have been banned from Uganda
- Cultural arts crafts
- Some strong medication
- Pornography and others.
Note that if you are coming to Uganda for a hunting trip, you will need to get a hunting license before you travel to the Pearl of Africa.
Expenditure in the country
This will all depend on the tourist’s budget. In Uganda you will find all things ranging from the smallest of prices to the highest. You will be able to get food cheaply in town but there are seven star hotels where the international cuisines are served for those who can afford them.
The official currency for Uganda is Ugandan shillings but any currency that you come with can easily be exchanged at the different Forex exchange bureaus stationed in the different parts of the country. You will be able to exchange your currency to shillings so as to make purchase of things in the country.
You will also be able to withdraw your money using your Visa cards or ATM cards at the different ATMs located in the country. Tourists tend to spend more on the trips to Uganda but before you make that trip, ask the different safari companies for their packages and find out how much you will be able to spend on your trip and the different variations when it comes to pricing of the safari companies.
How is the communication in Uganda?
Once you come to uganda, you will be able to communicate with other people left at home through the different social media platforms like face book, snap chat, whatsapp, twitter and via Email. Although not every place in Uganda has Wi-Fi, you will have to purchase a Ugandan sim card and load airtime, data to ease communication.
Be aware of the thieves in town that steal tourists’ items and the street children who beg for money.
Uganda is a landlocked country located in East Africa, its surrounded by five countries and these include Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan. Its well known to be the pearl of Africa and because of this, it has been able to attract many visitors due to its wildlife, primates and the physical features. One may wonder how he or she may get to Uganda, below are some of the travel tips that will help you locate Uganda. Before you think about traveling get this in mind, when is the best time to travel, what safari clothes to wear, budget friendly accommodation and how to get there and move around the city.
Uganda has hospitable people that will welcome you and make you feel comfortable even if its your first time in country. For those who don’t have any idea on how to get to Uganda, the best way to surf on the internet and get the best safari company that offer you a better guideline and what it involves to get to Uganda. Just in case you spot the destination you have always desired to visit, look for the cheapest air flight online or perhaps call up a travel agent who can help you get a better deal to Uganda.
Uganda Safari Attractions
We are blessed with various Uganda safaris National parks which you can visit at any time of the year. These include Bwindi Forest National Park famous for gorilla trekking in Uganda. Other national parks include Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth and so much more. Besides the wildlife in the parks, there are more activities such as white water rafting on the Nile, Bungee Jumping.
Booking Your Safari To Uganda
There are quote a number of tour operators or travel agents in Uganda. We list only recognized Uganda Tour Operators who are experts in safaris and travel to Uganda. You can consult the same companies for your car hire or car rental in Kampala and around the country.
Getting There and Around
There are both international and regional flights to Uganda being offered by various airbuses including British Airways, Kenya Airways, Brussels and so much more. You can as well charter a flight but this can be damn expensive. Uganda has all means of transport although the most accessible is by bus, its cost effective and safe when it comes to traveling. Bus companies for instance Regional Coach, Link and Scandinavian Express and Akamba have strict departure time if travelers can’t adhere to this, they are often left behind. The Min buses usually go for shorter journeys.Transport in Uganda has been improved with well maintained roads, speed governors as well as seat belts to ensure the safety of all passengers. The buses assemble in the new taxis park and some may be got along the public roads.The bus fares are fixed but cheaper to all the passengers. In the villages, there are motorcycles, bicycles, taxis for hire that can take you to your destination and remember to get small denominations of money to ease on transport. Ugandans are friendly people and are so willing to give directions when required. A visa to Uganda guide has also been put here.
Weather & Best Time to Travel
Uganda is famous for its beautiful equatorial climate. This is because of the great forests and water bodies that surround it to provide both wet and dry season.Its a lowland area with favorable temperatures that range from 26°C during the day and close to 16°C at night. The hottest months are from December to February. Uganda is an all round year for travel spots.
What to Wear
The temperatures in Uganda keep on changing as you can find day temperatures warm or cold. You are advised to carry lightweight clothes that will give you a peace of mind. Evenings are well known to be so cold because of the high altitudes thus sweaters should be part of the luggage. Those interested in Mountain climbing should pack favorably, items that suit the activity to be carried out. In case you are going for a forest walk, take solid shoes and strong clothes that will handle the harsh environment.
Where To Stay, Uganda Hotels and Accommodation
Uganda’s accommodation is quite cheap and with better facilities to offer to its visitors. You are advised to reserve a hotel prior to you visit. This is to help us avoid the inconveniences that may come along the way. In case of a holiday in Uganda, you are recommended to book a lodge because it’s not guarantee that you will find the safari lodges free even when it’s not a peak season. Uganda is at all times visited by tourists therefore can your reservations in time. You can choose to camp around Kampala or in some parks.
Accessibility Of Hotels and Locations:
Once you are arranging for holidays or safari in Uganda, take time to discover the facilities the hotel is able to offer to its client online. The online Uganda Map may help you in relocating accommodation within the tourist destination.
It’s always vital to know how much money you are willing to spend on a safari and how much your accommodation will take up. The way to get a budge friendly accommodation is by checking out the room rates online or calling up the hotels to inquire how much they charge per night. All Uganda hotels are set to meet the standards of the first class hotels. Please take note, travelers are advised to make your bookings in advance and your safari.
Below is the list of Uganda’s public holidays that are officially noticed by all citizens: Liberation day(26 Jan),Women’s Day (8 March),New Years’ Day (1 Jan),Independence Day (9 Oct),Labor Day(1 May),Heroes Day(9 June),Martyrs Day(3June),World Aids Day (1 Dec),Boxing Day (26 Dec),Christmas Day (25 Dec),Human Rights’ Day (10 Dec),Africa Day (25 May)
What are the interesting activities I can Do while in Uganda?
Tours and Adventures in Uganda
There are so many activities and adventures on a Uganda safari that it is difficult to stick to the details on your plan. Here are some of the top interesting tourist activities in Uganda that most tourists have come to love through the years.
Gorilla Trekking Safari
This ranks as the most important part of any Uganda safari itinerary. The once-in-a-lifetime experience takes you through the dense forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National park on the slopes of the Rwenzori ranges in search of the gentle giants. Groups of 8 people launch every day into the forest canopy behind the lead of a trained and armed ranger! It is surely exciting and a challenge that may take you up to eight intense hours of trekking. Without mountain gorilla trekking expeditions, Uganda safaris are not same! Rwanda gorilla tours offer an additional experience to tourists who want to trek the gorillas twice.
Chimpanzee tracking and the Primates of Uganda
Uganda’s forests are home to an estimated 13 or more species of primates include the black & white colobus, red tailed monkeys, bush babies, olive baboons, gorillas and the habituated chimpanzees. Chimpanzee tracking is a fascination in Kibale Forest National park but there are also a few these primates in Semliki National Park and Ngamba island on Lake Victoria.
Wildlife safaris and National Parks in Uganda
There are more than 10 National parks and reserves in Uganda gifted with a wide range of flora and fauna. The most visited include Murchison Falls Park (which is the largest) and the Queen Elizabeth National Park. Take a game drive or a guided safari walk in the wilderness and encounter Uganda’s best kept mammals like the tree climbing Lions, zebras, Uganda kob, elephants, buffaloes, hippos, Harte beest and many more. Unique safari experiences take you to Lake Mburo National park for a canoe ride for sights of Uganda’s birds and animals visiting the vast lake.
Lake Bunyonyi Tours
Lake Bunyonyi is found in South Western Uganda in the district of Kabale. It is Africa’s second deepest lake dotted with a few islands that are historically important to the people in this area. The lake is named after the birds that nest on the lake’s shore and surrounding swamps such as kingfishers, malachite eagles, sun birds, bee eaters, the rare shoebill stork and a few of the Albertine endemic species. Take a canoe ride to the island, nature walks around the lake or go swimming – Yes…the lake is Bilharzia free and good for swimming! You can visit Lake Bunyonyi, enroute Bwindi for gorilla tracking or safaris to Rwanda.
Bird watching safaris
If you are a nature enthusiast, then Uganda must have a special place in your heart. Over 3,000 species of birds are recorded to have nests in papyrus swamps, forests, lakeshores and national parks allover the country. Some of the best birding destinations like Lake Bunyonyi, Bwindi forest park, Kazinga channel in Queen Elizabeth Park and also in the different cities. Kampala city also has a few swamps with notable species like the stork and sun birds among others.
Hiking is not a popular sport In Uganda but you can be among the few tourists to reach some of the peaks of Uganda’s skyline. The ‘mountains of the moon’ popularly known as the Rwenzori mountain offer great hiking experiences often challenging but worth when you reach the glaciated peak. Mount Elgon, an extinct volcano in Eastern Uganda is also good for hiking and at the same time discover some unique plant species that grow on the slopes of this fertile rock.
River Nile Adventures
It is the world’s longest river with its source on Lake Victoria in south central Uganda. The river has a number of rapids and water falls on its course to the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt. Bujagali falls is particularly good for kayaking and water rafting with class I, II and IV rapids while Bungee jumping is also done near the falls. You can continue pursuing the river to the spectacular Murchison Falls on the Victoria Nile in the west and so on
Kampala City Tours
Kampala is the capital city of Uganda and the busiest town in the country. It is Uganda’s largest town and an important centre for business, industry, transport and administration. There are also many interesting things to note and tour about this friendly town such as the independence monument, Uganda Museum & art galleries, Makerere University, Kabaka’s palace, the National theatre, Uganda Martyr’s Shrine at Namugongo and the different religious centres around the capital.
Cultural tours and safaris
Uganda is home to many tribes and peoples who live in harmony. Almost every part of Uganda has a tribe that relates to it with a unique heritage and institution called a Kingdom. The most popular kingdom is Buganda in central Uganda with proper institutional structures headed by the Kabaka who is the king. Some of its significant tourist sights include Kasubi Royal tombs, the Kabaka’s palace and lake in Mengo, Sezibwa falls and a host of cultural/spiritual sites dotted around the country. Other kingdoms worth visiting include Toro Kingdom Palace in Fort Portal and Busoga in Jinja among others.
Lake Victoria tours
Lake Victoria is Uganda’s largest lake seen on landing at the Entebbe International Airport. Catch a ferry or hire a charter boat to the spectacular Ssese Islands for a treat of the best beaches in Uganda. Ngamba Island is also another island to visit on the lake, synonymous with the Ngamba Chimpanzee sanctuary. The best ways to relax on one of these islands is by taking nature walks, forest walks, go fishing or treat yourself to some of the best fish in Uganda’s waters. It is the perfect place to relax after hectic safaris in Uganda before you take your departure flights.