WHAT EVERY VISITOR SHOULD KNOW
Tropical climate; with the country experiencing two rainy seasons and two dry seasons annually. If you would like to avoid the rains the best periods to travel will be June to August and December to February. Nevertheless, Uganda is arguably a place to be all year round.
English is the official language. In many places however Luganda and Swahili are commonly spoken.
The country’s local currency is the Ugandan shilling. However, other currencies can easily be exchanged at forex bureaux in the country’s central business district for local currencies for a very good rate. Most payments will be required in Ugandan shillings. If necessity arises, most lodges, hotels, accommodation facilities and tourist destinations accept foreign currency though the US dollar, Euros and Pound sterling are the most commonly accepted. Please note that all accommodation facilities and tourist destinations reserve the right to set a particular exchange rate as they deem appropriate.
Credit cards are accepted at most banks and ATMs but the most commonly used is VISA. Some but relatively few accommodation facilities and tourist destinations accept credit card payments but a surcharge will be subjected with every transaction made.
Traveler’s cheques are accepted at some banks but the process is very tedious and it is generally advisable to resort to either credit card or cash options.
These are well spread in Kampala and have provisions to exchange almost all international foreign currencies at reasonable rates.
Uganda is one of the most secure African countries but it is very important for tourists to be relatively security cautious. All items of relative value should be safe in the custody of a hotel’s safe. Never leave any of your valuables in a parked vehicle without any of you left in it.
What to wear
This is entirely decided based on where you intend to go, which months you have travelled and what activities you intend to engage in. Light rainwear, sturdy walking shoes, long sleeved trousers are the way to go if you intend to track the mountain gorillas. For a white water rafting spree on the Nile you will need a T-shirt with board shorts or a swim suit, and waterproof sunscreen for wear on the river. Shoes or sandals are unnecessary but pack a towel with another change of clothes and warm top which you will require at the end of your rafting trip.
Where to eat
This will solely depend on where you are at the moment but most lodges, hotels and tourism destinations cater for both local inter-continental cuisines with a wide variety to choose from. In Kampala the restaurants are well distributed. Most tourism destinations have restaurants and getting a sumptuous meal will not be a problem. Where a restaurant cannot be accessed your tour operator will provide a packed meal. In cases of mountaineering meals and chefs are also catered for.
Ugandans are generally very hospitable and will readily help out a stranger. There is basically no hostility or racism in Uganda. You can easily get directions from a stranger. Nevertheless be cautious on who you talk to because even if Uganda is a low crime zone, petty thieves are not absent. Caution will help you keep your valuables at bay.
The road network is generally good and fully accessible with tarmac in the Kampala and most of the major cities upcountry. Potholes are a common menace especially when travelling upcountry. A 4×4 vehicle is recommended for safari especially in national parks where the terrain is predominantly murram.
Entry and exit
Entebbe airport is Uganda’s main entry and exit point in the instance of international flights. A visa can easily be obtained on entry if you fulfill the necessary requirements. In the absence of traffic jam a drive from Entebbe to Kampala transfers by road will be little less than an hour.
Uganda has a really rich culture with over 60 tribes. Every culture has something unique ranging from its dress code, dance and way of life to mention but a few. It’s because of this aspect that a Ugandan cultural trail is very interesting.