Monday, October 2, 2023
Uganda Travel Guide - Travel S Helper


travel guide

Uganda, formally the Republic of Uganda, is an East African landlocked country. Kenya borders it on the east, South Sudan on the north, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the west, Rwanda on the southwest, and Tanzania on the south. After Ethiopia, Uganda is the world’s second most populated landlocked country. The country’s southern region comprises a large chunk of Lake Victoria, which it shares with Kenya and Tanzania. Uganda is located in Africa’s Great Lakes area. Uganda, which is likewise located in the Nile valley, has a diverse but typically modified tropical climate.

Uganda derives its name from the Buganda kingdom, which governs a major section of the country’s south, including the capital, Kampala. Ugandans were hunter-gatherers until 1,700 to 2,300 years ago, when Bantu-speaking tribes moved to the country’s south.

Beginning in 1894, the British governed the area as a protectorate, establishing administrative law throughout the territory. Uganda won independence from the United Kingdom on October 9, 1962. Since then, there have been sporadic hostilities, notably a protracted civil war in the Northern area against the Lord’s Resistance Army, which has resulted in tens of thousands of fatalities and displaced over a million people.

English is the official language. Luganda, the national language, is widely spoken across the country, as are numerous additional languages such as Runyoro, Runyankole, Rukiga, and Luo. Uganda’s president is Yoweri Museveni, who took office in January 1986 following a six-year guerrilla struggle.

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Uganda - Info Card




Ugandan shilling (UGX)

Time zone



241,038 km2 (93,065 sq mi)

Calling code


Official language

English - Swahili

Uganda | Introduction

Settlement by Europeans was prohibited throughout Uganda’s period of British colonization, and there are now few Caucasians in the country. The word muzungu (plural wazungu) refers to whites (or other outsiders), and tourists can expect to hear it yelled out by youngsters in every part of the nation. It’s not a pejorative word (it means “one who is looking”), so grin and wave back – and do it as many times as you can. Otherwise, disregard.

Uganda is accessible and cheap, but it falls short of the high tourist standards set by more established destinations like Kenya or Tanzania, much alone South Africa. It has more edge, authenticity, and less predictability as a result of this. This does not imply danger (though read the section below on being safe), but rather more possibilities for delight—and frustration. The filthy urban hustle of Kampala, which is bursting at the seams, gives way to lush subsistence farming and tiny settlements. Roads are rugged, people are kind, everything appears to have its own distinct odor, and things don’t always go as planned.

The critically endangered mountain gorilla is the most popular attraction, although other primates like as chimps, birdwatching, seeing Murchison Falls, hiking the Rwenzoris, and white water rafting near the Nile’s source are all popular.


Although the climate is usually tropical, it is not uniform since height affects the climate. Southern Uganda has a wetter climate, with rain falling throughout the year. The rainiest months in Entebbe, on the northern coast of Lake Victoria, are March to June and November/December. A dry season develops farther north; in Gulu, approximately 120 kilometers from the South Sudanese border, November to February is considerably drier than the rest of the year.

The climate in the northeast is the driest, and droughts are common in certain years. Rwenzori, located in the southwest near the DR Congo border, gets significant rain throughout the year. The south of the nation is strongly affected by Lake Victoria, one of the world’s largest lakes with many islands. It avoids large temperature variations and promotes cloudiness and rainfall.


The nation is mainly between latitudes 4°N and 2°S (with a tiny region north of 4°) and longitudes 29° and 35°E on the East African Plateau. It rises at an altitude of roughly 1,100 meters (3,609 feet) above sea level and slopes gradually downhill to the Sudanese Plain in the north.

Lakes and rivers

Lake Victoria, one of the world’s largest lakes with numerous islands, has a strong impact on most of the country’s south. The most significant towns, including the capital Kampala and the neighboring city of Entebbe, are situated in the south, near this lake.

Lake Kyoga is located in the country’s center and is bordered by large marshy regions.

Uganda has several big lakes despite being a landlocked country. There’s also Lake Albert, Lake Edward, and the smaller Lake George, in addition to Victoria and Kyoga.

Uganda is nearly entirely contained inside the Nile basin. The Victoria Nile flows from Lake Victoria to Lake Kyoga, then to Lake Albert at the Congo’s border. Then it heads north towards South Sudan. The Suam River, which is part of Lake Turkana’s internal drainage basin, drains a region in eastern Uganda. The Lotikipi Basin, which is mostly in Kenya, drains the extreme northeastern portion of Uganda.


There is a major overpopulation issue in the nation.

The population of Uganda increased from 9.5 million in 1969 to 34.9 million in 2014. In the 12 years since the previous inter-censal interval (September 2002), the population has grown by 10.6 million people. Uganda’s population is very youthful, with a median age of 15 years, the lowest in the world. Uganda has the world’s fifth highest total fertility rate, with 5.97 children born per woman (2014 estimates).

Prior to Idi Amin ordering the deportation of Ugandan-Asians (primarily of Indian descent) in 1972, the number of Indians in Uganda was estimated to be about 80,000. After Amin’s fall from power in 1979, however, many Indians returned to Uganda, and the population is currently between 15,000 and 25,000. Kampala, Uganda’s capital, is home to almost 90% of the country’s Indians. Approximately 3,000 Arabs and 20,000 Whites (mainly of English ancestry) live in the nation.

Uganda welcomed approximately 190,000 refugees in 2013, according to the UNHCR. The majority of the latter came from the African Great Lakes region’s neighboring nations, notably Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, and Sudan.


Christians made up approximately 85 percent of Uganda’s population, according to the 2002 census. The Roman Catholic Church has the most followers (41.9 percent), followed by the Ugandan Anglican Church (35.9 percent). Most of the surviving Christians belonged to Adventist, Evangelical, Pentecostal, and other Protestant denominations, but there was still a small Eastern Orthodox minority. The Presbyterian Church in Uganda, the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Uganda, and the Evangelical Free Church in Uganda are among the increasing number of Presbyterian denominations in Uganda, with hundreds of affiliated churches. Islam was Uganda’s second-most-reported religion, with Muslims accounting for 12.1 percent of the population.

Sunni Muslims make up the majority of the Muslim population. Shia Muslims account for 7% of the population, Ahmadiyya Muslims for 4%, and non-denominational Muslims, Sufi Muslims, for 4%.

According to the 2002 census, the rest of the population followed traditional faiths (1.0%), Baha’i (0.1%), other non-Christian religions (0.7%), or had no religious affiliation (0.9 percent).

The Northern Region, which includes the West Nile sub-region, is mostly Catholic, whereas the Iganga District in eastern Uganda has the largest Muslim population. The remainder of the nation is made up of people of various religious backgrounds.

Entry Requirements For Uganda

Visa & Passport

Ugandan visas are now available online at, as well as in embassies and high commissions across the country. The Uganda Visa Policy is based on the reciprocity principle, which means that all countries that need visas for Ugandans also require visas for Ugandans.

Fees for visas will begin on July 22nd, 2016. USD50 for a single entry valid for 90 days. Inland transportation costs $50. East Africa is a continent in East Africa. USD100 for a 90-day multiple-entry tourist visa.

Because multiple entry visas are expensive and must be obtained from Uganda’s diplomatic missions abroad, genuine tourists may want to consider the East Africa Tourist Visa, which was announced in January 2014 and first issued in March 2014, and allows for multiple entries in a 90-day period for USD100 and has no “country of origin restrictions.” This visa is available for purchase online (or when you get to Kenya or Rwanda if that is your first port). However, because some picky airlines may refuse to board you without proof of a visa, Rwanda has wisely set up an online website to issue them. This means that some tourists may prefer to fly into Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, rather than Entebbe or Nairobi, because the visa must be issued by the country you first intend to visit (similar principle to Schengen visas in the EU).

Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Comoros, Cyprus, Eritrea, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Malta, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Vanuatu, Zambia, and Zimbabwe are among the countries that do not require visas.

Visa extension

At immigration offices in Kampala, Fort Portal, Jinja, and Mbarara, you may obtain a free one-month visa extension. However, you can only obtain a visa extension on a 90-day single entry Uganda visa, not on a 90-day East African tourist visa.

How To Travel To Uganda

Get In - By plane

Ugandan air transport is centered at Entebbe Airport. Many flights to African cities depart from here.

  • South African Airways offers direct flights to and from Johannesburg on a daily basis.
  • Turkish Airlines has daily flights from Istanbul to Entebbe, with connections to Europe and Asia.
  • Emirates operates daily Boeing 777-200LR flights from Entebbe to Dubai, with connections to Europe, North America, and Asia.
  • Ethiopian Airlines has a daily Boeing 737 flight to Addis Ababa, with links to several African nations. Europe and Asia are two continents.
  • Qatar airways flies to Doha on a daily basis, providing links to Europe and Asia.
  • KLM flies from Entebbe to Amsterdam on a daily basis, either via Nairobi or directly.
  • Kenya Airways flies four times a day to Nairobi.
  • Brussels Airlines – Entebbe to Brussels is served three times a week by Brussels Airlines.
  • Egypt Air travels to Cairo on a regular basis, with links to Europe.
  • Etihad Airways offers flights to Abu Dhabi that link to Europe and Asia.
  • Fast Jet is a low-cost carrier. Dar es Salaam flights have links to a number of African nations.
  • Fly Dubai a low cost airline. Flights to Dubai. with onward connections to many Asia countries.
  • RwandAir – Kigali, Nairobi, and Juba are all served by RwandAir.
  • South Supreme airlines – Juba and Khartoum are served by South Supreme Airlines.
  • Fly-Sax airlines flies to Nairobi.

Get In - By train

Uganda Railways, popularly known as “The Lunatic Express,” is the sole railway in the country.

Get In - By car

Travelers using their own cars should theoretically be able to enter Uganda at any of the border crossings that are located on a major road, such as the routes from Kenya via Busia and Malaba. Private vehicles, including motorbikes, need a carnet du passage, but single-entry tourist visas should be easy to acquire (USD100).

Get In - By International bus

A number of renowned foreign bus operators service Uganda. Nairobi, Mombasa, Kigali, Bujumbura, Goma, Bukavu Juba, Kisumu, Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Lusaka, and Harare all have direct bus connections to Kampala. In principle, all of these buses will enable passengers to disembark at major cities along the route, such as Jinja if traveling from the Kenyan border to Kampala. A normal trip from Kampala to Nairobi, including the border crossing, takes around 12 hours. Easy Coach’s bus from Kampala to Kisumu takes 7 hours and costs Ugx 43,000.

  • Simba Coaches goes all the way from Kampala to Harare Zimbabwe via Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Lusaka Zambia.
  • Easy Coach has three buses a day going from Kampala to Nairobi via Kisumu06.30am and 14.00pm and 18.00pm UGX 43,000/65,000.
  • Trinity Transporters has buses from Kampala to Kigali for Ugx 40,000. Goma DRC for $14. Bukavu DRC for $17.
  • Jaguar Executive coaches has two buses a day from Kampala to Kigali for UGX 40,000.
  • Mash Poa bus company has buses to and from Nairobi three times a day. fares from Ugx 65.000 and a bus to Kigali Ugx 40,000
  • Modern Coast Express have three buses a day to and from Nairobi via Kisumuugx 50,000/65.000. and Kigali ugx 40.000.
  • Dreamline Express Ltd have a bus at 5.30am from Kampala to Nairobi ugx 65.000

How To Travel Around Uganda

Get Around - By boda-boda

The boda-boda is a popular mode of transportation in Kampala and neighboring cities. These are tiny mopeds, motorbikes, bicycles, or scooters with back cushions that are utilized by locals for inexpensive transportation. If you’re going to use a boda-boda, be very cautious since they’re often engaged in accidents; nevertheless, they’re a fun and quick way to go about. It’s worth noting that if you tell the driver you want him to drive slower and safer, he may really listen.

Before you go on the bike, make sure you agree on a fee. They’ll attempt to charge extra by saying the distance was more than anticipated. Some people may get violent; tell them you’re going to contact the cops, and they’ll settle down. Always maintain a courteous and non-aggressive demeanor.

Make sure you advise them to take it easy. On Uganda’s Boda Bodas, a large number of foreigners and Ugandans are wounded or murdered.

Get Around - By bus

Uganda has a good public transportation system. Buses are divided into two categories. Taxis (sometimes known as “matatus”) are really minibuses or commuter vans that follow pre-determined itineraries.

There are also genuine buses that leave Kampala early in the morning and operate less often. There are many businesses that all operate out of the same geographical region. Postbus, for example, offers buses that go to most Ugandan towns and are safe, pleasant, and dependable. They leave the Kampala General Post Office around 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. Because the buses fill up quickly, if you board in the middle of the journey, you’ll have to stand or sit in the aisle until someone gets off and you can find a seat.

Buses and taxis operate on most intercity routes, whether they are paved (sealed) or dirt.

Domestic bus travel is fair and inexpensive between large cities, and is a decent option for travelers with time on their hands, although it may not operate on time. The journey from Kampala to Masindi takes around 4 hours and costs 12,000 Uganda shillings.

Both buses and “taxis” do not operate on a set timetable; instead, they depart from their terminal stop only when they are fully filled. On highly used routes, they fill up in minutes and this is not an issue, but on less-traveled routes (or if boarding a big bus), expect to wait a long.

  • Link Bus Services have buses going to and from Kampala to Fort Portal, Kasese, Hoima, Masindi, Masaka.
  • Post bus Uganda has big red 67 seat buses going to 1. Gulu, 2. Kabale via Masaka and Mbarara. 3. kisoro via Masaka and Mbarara and Kabale. 4. Lira via Jinja and Mbale. 5. Kitgum via Gula. the fare from Kampala to Kabale is Ugx 25.000. Masaka 10,000. Mbarara 15,000. Kisoro 30,000. Lira 30,000. Mbale 15,000. Jinja 5,000. Gula 25,000. Kitgum 30,000. 

Get Around - By taxi

The easiest method to travel about Kampala and the surrounding cities is to take a “taxi,” which is a minibus-style cab. In metropolitan regions, this is the most efficient and cost-effective mode of transportation; nevertheless, be wary of conductors who may attempt to overcharge visitors. They typically carry 14 people including a conductor, but overcrowding can occur in tiny rural communities. Minibus taxis are reasonably priced, frequent (in Kampala), and may make many stops.

They travel following pre-determined routes, picking up and dropping off passengers at any point along the route. Stand on the side of the road and wave your arm if you wish to go on. Say “stage” to get off, and the driver will pull over and drop you off at the next boda boda stop. “Driver, please pull over at X,” you may also say. Unless you’re in one of the major taxi parks, they’re not labelled with destinations, so you’ll have to listen to the destinations that the drivers shout out the window. If you’re not sure where to get a cab to your location (particularly at Kampala’s two massive taxi parks! ), just ask a nearby driver or conductor, and they’ll most likely be able to guide you.

Special hire taxis, which you may book for yourself alone, are available in almost any decent-sized town. Because there are no meters, fares are negotiable over lengthy distances.

Get Around - By car

Uganda’s roads are similar to those seen across Sub-Saharan Africa. The majority of the important roads are tarred, but the quality of some of them may deteriorate. Some of the potholes get very deep. Many of the smaller highways and side roads are constructed of firm packed soil (murram) and are very fast and decent when graded. However, conditions may change from season to season, and they can worsen in severe rains, resulting in wash boarding. The easiest method to avoid wash boarding is to select a speed that is compatible with the road surface and efficiently skip from ridge to ridge. In the hilly areas of the south-west, unpaved roads may become impassable if it rains. Commercial bus and truck drivers, as well as pedestrians, cattle, bikers, pets, and the occasional police roadblock, add to the risk. Expect to drive at a pace of 60 km/h on average, but this may vary. The greatest advise is to drive carefully and be fully attentive at all times.

When planning a trip, the ideal question to ask is how long it will take rather than how far it will take. Local drivers usually have a decent sense of how long a trip will take them.

Because using public transportation may not fit safari-goers and it is difficult to reach the national parks, renting a vehicle may be a cost-effective option. It’s a good idea to rent a 4×4 with a driver since you’ll need local language help and experience if anything goes wrong on the road. As is customary among tourists, most establishments provide lodging and food for drivers. A low-cost choice is likely to leave you stuck someplace distant, perhaps causing you to miss days of your schedule. The best advice is to go to one of the big agencies unless you are okay paying cash in advance without a written contract and no network to assist you get out of a breakdown. Nonetheless, Uganda is a nation that is appropriate for self-driving, despite the above-mentioned circumstances, since it is safe.

In Kampala, many businesses provide vehicle rental services, both with and without a driver.

Destinations in Uganda

Cities and towns in Uganda

  • Kampala, Uganda’s capital, is a humming African metropolis. It is Uganda’s sole ‘city.’
  • Arua is a town in Uganda’s northwest region, accessible by daily flights from Entebbe Airport or by bus from Kampala.
  • Entebbe — On the banks of Lake Victoria, Entebbe is a mix of upscale residential streets and a plethora of government buildings, topped by State House, the Ugandan President’s official home. Uganda’s sole international airport is located approximately an hour south of Kampala by car.
  • Jinja — Jinja is a town on Lake Victoria near the Nile’s source, where Nile Beer is produced.
  • Fort Portal — Fort Portal is a clean, well-organized highland town surrounded by vast tea plantations, a handful of beautiful colonial buildings, and a spectacular Rwenzori background.
  • Gulu — The de facto capital of the north is Gulu.
  • Mbarara — Mbarara is a town in the southwest of Uganda on the way to many national parks.
  • Kabale — Kabale is a tiny village near Lake Bunyonyi in the country’s extreme south.
  • Kisoro — Kisoro is a town in Uganda’s far southwest corner, near the Rwandan and Congolese borders. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are also near by.

Other destinations in Uganda

  • Ajai Game Reserve – Ajai Game Reserve is a tiny reserve on the Albert Nile’s east bank.
  • With half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the best location to view them.
  • Mgahinga Gorilla National Park – a little off the main path, this park is home to the stunning Virunga Mountains, as well as a gorilla group and a variety of other species.
  • Kidepo Valley National Park is in Uganda’s far northeast corner, near the South Sudan border. The Apoka Lodge is surrounded by incredible wildlife that comes right up to it. Elephants, zebras, nile buffalo, and kob are all frequent visitors to the resort.
  • Murchison Falls National Park – located along the Nile River, this wonderful park provides superb animal and bird viewing opportunities as well as the stunning and mighty Murchison Falls.
  • The major portion of Queen Elizabeth National Park, between Lake Edward and Lake George, is a more concentrated version of East African parks in terms of wildlife, but with fewer spectacular views unless the mist-shrouded Ruwenzori Mountains are visible. The Ugandan Kob is an indigenous antelope found only in Uganda (and is on the coat of arms along with the crested crane, including on currency). A drive around the south edge of the Ruwenzori Range’s volcanic crater lakes is worth considering. In this park, the park contains the highest number of hippos in Africa, as well as the renowned tree climbing lions.
  • Kibale Forest National Park, near Fort Portal, is well-known for chimp monitoring and comes highly recommended. Birders will be aware that some of the finest birding in Central Africa can also be found here. In the vicinity are the Kasese Crater Lakes.
  • The Rwenzori Mountains are a mountain range in southern Uganda that borders the Democratic Republic of Congo. It stretches for 120 kilometers (75 miles) and is 48 kilometers (30 miles) broad, with Mt Stanley (5109 meters/16,761 feet) at its highest point. The range was originally mentioned as the “Mountains of the Moon” by ancient Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century, and was first climbed by Italian explorers in 1896. Its ice cover has shrunk from 6.4 square kilometers (2.5 square miles) a century ago to less than 1.28km2 by the end of 2006. (0.5 sq mi). Mitandi is located in the Rwenzori Mountains near Fort Portal. The location offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to explore the highlands and learn about the Bakonzo mountain people’s culture.
  • On Victoria Lake, the Ssese Islands are a lovely series of islands with secluded beaches and a little of forest. You could easily spend half a day walking through the jungle on your own. There is bilharzia in Victoria Lake, so if you go swimming, be sure to see a doctor afterwards. The journey to the Ssese islands, on the other hand, should take about 8 hours. Busi Island, which is around 45 minutes from Entebbe, is another option. There is a camp site with a hostel with a limited number of beds and several bandas that are currently being built.
  • Lake Bunyonyi is likely one of Africa’s deepest lakes. Swimming is popular owing to the low frequency of bilharzia parasites and the lack of hippos and crocodiles on the twenty-nine islands that make up the archipelago. The lake is 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) long and 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) broad, and it is located at an elevation of 1,950 meters (6,437 ft).

Accommodation & Hotels in Uganda

Uganda has a large number of hotels. If you stay on the upper end, expect to spend over $100 a night. Typical traveler Simple rooms with shared toilets will be available for approximately 15,000 to 30,000 shillings in guest homes, lodges, and inns.

for the really frugal traveler There are a variety of Backpackers hostels to select from and base yourself at in Kampala, Entebbe, Jinja, Masaka, Fort Portal, and Kabale, including Kampala Backpackers, Entebbe Backpackers, Masaka Backpackers, Yes hostel Fort Portal, Jinja Backpackers, and Kabale Backpackers. Some are better than others, and some may fit various tastes, so it’s important to read Trip Advisor evaluations to see what’s best for you.

Depending on whether you camp or stay in a dorm, a night in one of them will cost you between UGX9,000 and 18,000 Ugandan shillings. Private rooms or safari tents are available, and some include self-catering cottages that are ideal for extended stays or groups. Truck excursions, which are popular with the less autonomous tourist, often utilize them.

There are also Bed & Breakfast businesses that will provide you with a homey sense away from home at the most affordable prices.

National Parks

UWA’s lodgings in the national parks are often modest, although they are cheap when compared to other options. They differ in terms of facilities and pricing, with the lowest being as little as USD5.00 per person each night.

There are few medium priced alternatives, and the top end options, although costly, are inferior to those found in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and other mature tourism destinations in Africa. Unfortunately, there are few options. There are a few noteworthy outliers, but it’s preferable to go high-end or stay in the UWA budget lodgings and spend the extra money on a better car!

Things To See in Uganda

There are plenty of accessible vacation highlights in Uganda. Uganda, dubbed the “Pearl of Africa” by Winston Churchill, is known for its stunning scenery and kind people. Uganda is still one of the poorest nations in the world, and it is still rebuilding from some terrible years, but it is now an accessible place to visit and really experience Sub-Saharan Africa. Tourism is increasing, but it is still genuine, and Uganda has many of tourist attractions. It is not a destination for magnificent architecture or a plethora of metropolitan attractions; rather, its treasures lay in its incredible diversity of animals, landscapes, and culture. Wildlife viewing is by far the most popular activity, with half of the surviving mountain gorillas and all of the Big Five residing in the country’s beautiful national parks.

Natural beauty abounds in this region, with vast, dry savannah in the north, dense rainforest in the center, and lush, snow-capped mountain vistas in the east. The Rwenzori Mountains National Park, which is included on the Unesco World Heritage List, is home to Africa’s highest mountain range, which is covered in dense rainforest on the lower slopes and icy moorlands on the upper ones. Several of the tallest summits are covered with snow and glaciers all year. Mt. Stanley is the tallest peak in the country and the third highest in Africa. Rise early to watch the morning fog dissipate over beautiful Lake Bunyonyi. From the banks of Africa’s biggest lake, Victoria Lake, you may watch fisherman at work; the pristine beaches of Kalangala are a great place to do it. The Ssese Islands, which are also on Lake Victoria, are ideal for some beach time.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a one-of-a-kind safari destination in the world. The 340 wild mountain gorillas in Bwindi, half of the surviving population of this critically endangered species, are a significant attraction. The thick woods of the park are home to 10 primate species, 110 other animal species (including African elephants), over 350 bird species, 200 butterfly, and 220 tree species, making it one of Africa’s most diverse eco-systems. Queen Elizabeth National Park is the most accessible and therefore most popular safari destination, with dozens of big species often sighted. The population of tree climbing lions that live here, a behavior observed only here and in Tanzania, is of special interest. An early morning excursion to the plains surrounding the Kazinga canal, which draws animals of all sorts all year, is your greatest opportunity of viewing the vast diversity of species in this region.

The variety of Uganda’s bird life is incredible. While most national parks have excellent birding opportunities, Kibale Forest National Park is particularly exceptional, and is also known for its chimpanzee tracking. Murchison Falls National Park is home to several spectacular waterfalls.

Although Uganda’s urban life offers a limited number of attractions, the twin towns of Kampala and Entebbe are worth a visit. Despite being just 35 kilometers apart, these two villages have very distinct personalities. Kampala, Uganda’s sole real metropolis, is safer and less hectic than most of its African equivalents, and the Kasubi Tombs (albeit ruined) and National Museum are worth seeing. Entebbe, the previous capital, is much smaller and more attractive. If you’re flying in or out, its beautiful position on the beaches of Lake Victoria and the verdant National Botanical Gardens make it a great spot to stay.

Things To Do in Uganda

  • In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, go gorilla tracking. You’ll need to purchase a permit, which must be reserved in advance owing to limited availability (only a few tourists are taken near the gorillas a day, in order not to disturb them). With a permit in hand, you’ll be able to get up close and personal with a troop of critically endangered mountain gorillas in their native environment for one hour. The Uganda Wildlife Authority sells licenses for USD500 apiece, or you may arrange a gorilla safari via a tour operator who will handle the permits and other details for you. The UWA tariff is up for renewal on July 1, 2013, and costs for licenses (and other activities) may increase after that date. Please keep in mind that tracking takes place from four distinct starting locations to up to 11 separate habituated gorilla families, so double-check permit availability against your travel and lodging arrangements.
  • On the Nile, rafting. Uganda is a world-class rafting location, and many organizations provide excursions down the Nile, ranging in length from half a day to two days, and from relaxing family outings to grade five rafting. A rafting trip including transportation from Kampala, as well as food and drink, would set you back approximately USD125.
  • You may hire quad bikes (a four-wheeled motorcycle also known as an All Terrain Bike) at the Nile’s Spring for a quick (and dusty) sightseeing tour with a local guide.
  • Go on a horseback safari along the Nile and the surrounding villages.
  • Take a safari. The Association of Uganda Tour Companies has a list of reliable tour operators to meet a range of budgets.
  • Go to Sipi, which is approximately an hour away from Mbale. It’s a lovely small hamlet perched on a hill with spectacular views and waterfall walks. It’s worth paying for a local guide since many people of the community rely on them to support their families, and it’s worth the money simply to avoid everyone following you and offering their own guiding services if you go without one. The Crow’s Nest, with its magnificent views of the waterfalls, is a great location to spend the night in Sipi. Crows Nest is OK, but don’t anticipate hotel-level service, and bringing our own food is advised due to their sluggish service and poor cuisine.

Food & Drinks in Uganda

Food in Uganda

Luwombo, which is beef or groundnut sauce cooked in banana leaves, is available to try. It has a delectable fragrance and is always served with “meal,” which in Ugandan slang refers to any kind of carbohydrate. Plantain matooke in the south, millet in the north, and potatoes in the west are the main “foods” of the area. Other popular “foods” include cassava, posho (ground maize), sweet potatoes, and rice. The entire fried fish is delicious, but it’s generally only available at the beach, and it’s often served with chips or French fries. Traditional matooke, binyebwa (groundnut sauce), chapati, and beef stew are also popular choices in Kampala. Toasted sandwiches or omelets are available in a variety of locations for the less daring.

If this does not appeal, it is preferable (and much more fascinating) to buy fresh food from roadside stalls or markets—fruits and vegetables abound and are extremely cheap, to say nothing of the roasted chicken or goat on a stick. There are also a number of fast-food restaurants in the city center, including Nando’s, Steers, Domino’s Pizza, and Hungry Lion.

The cost of a typical local dish ranges from UGX1,500 to UGX5,600.

A street vendor’s pineapple slice may cost as low as 300 shillings.

For excellent Chinese cuisine in Kampala, go no further than the Fang Fang Hotel. Fang Fang Restaurant (different and more costly than the hotel), Golden China Restaurant (both in the city center), and Nanjing Hotel on Kololo Hill are other excellent Chinese restaurants.

Try the Boma Guesthouse on Gowers Rd in Entebbe (see below under Sleep). The Golf Course Restaurant and the Airport Motel, among other locations, provide local cuisine in Entebbe.

The Ling Ling in Jinja serves excellent Chinese cuisine. The Source Café on Main Street serves a wide range of cuisine and allows you to browse the web while you dine.

Drinks in Uganda

Coffee is one of Uganda’s greatest exports, but the British converted Ugandans to tea, making getting a good cup of local java almost difficult, particularly outside of Kampala. Try the coffee shop 1000 Cups on Buganda Road in Kampala. Ugandan coffee is sold at the airport, Banana Boat shops, and several hotels by The Source Cafe in Jinja. Kiira Kawa is the brand name for the coffee (River Coffee). In the Kampala region, Good African Coffee and Cafe Pap are two excellent eateries for cuisine and coffee. Stop by the Source Cafe in Jinja for a delicious cappuccino—they have the cutest espresso machine! Alternatively, if you’re in the west, stay at the Hotel Mountains of the Moon in Fort Portal.

Chai tea is readily accessible and tastes best in rural regions near tea farms. Signs will be placed in stores and kiosks indicating where it may be bought.

Some establishments provide lower-end South African wine, but stick to the beer. Any of the four main brands will suffice, but for those who worry about such things, the Pilsner is the only one without added corn sugar.

It is recommended that you consume bottled water, which is often referred to as mineral water at local restaurants. The water that comes out of the taps hasn’t been treated.

Money & Shopping in Uganda

The Ugandan shilling (UGX) (sometimes spelled Ush or Shs) is the country’s currency. This indication (5,000/-) will also appear. UGX50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5000, 2000, and 1000 bank notes, as well as 500, 200, 100, and 50 shilling coins, are available (10, 5, and 1 shilling coins exist but are rarely used).

Some larger hotels and restaurants take US currency, while safaris and rafting excursions (like as Red Chillis in Kampala) are often billed in US dollars. These activities may be paid with UGX, although the conversion rate is often provided at a disadvantage. In addition, using credit cards often incurs an additional charge (usually about 5%). As a result, bringing USD to cover these expenses may be advantageous. The apparent disadvantage is that one must carry a significant quantity of USD with them at all times.

Throughout the nation, ATMs accept debit and credit cards. Most ATMs accept Mastercard and Visa credit and debit cards. The finest ATMs to use are those from Stanbic Bank, Ecobank, Equity Bank, Kenya Commercial Bank, GT Bank, and I&M Bank. Different ATMs allow for withdrawals ranging from UGX400,000 to UGX2,000,000, but the typical limit is UGX1000,000. Because it is difficult to purchase Ugandan shillings outside of Uganda and in neighboring countries, withdrawing shillings from airport ATMs is the most convenient alternative. In Kampala, only Standard Chartered bank ATMs accept Master and Union pay cards. Outside of Kampala, there are just three Standard Chartered ATMs that accept Visa cards.

For Overseas bank cards, Barclays Bank charges a hefty fee at all of its ATMs. However, Stanbic Bank and Equity Bank charge no cost for Overseas Bank cards at their ATMs.

Due to a shortage of funds or system issues, ATMs may shut. Visa and Master cards may now be used to withdraw money from ATMs throughout Uganda. Pickpockets follow visitors from one bank’s ATM to another in Kampala when their cards aren’t accepted.

Credit cards are accepted at a variety of establishments, including bigger hotels, airlines, supermarkets, and stores in shopping malls.

Your American Express, Union Pay, JCB, Diners Club, Maestro, and Discovercards may be used at any Equity bank ATM to withdraw cash. There are a lot of them all across Uganda.

Travelers’ checks are difficult to cash in Uganda, so don’t bother carrying them.

Prices in Uganda

Food and products are both inexpensive. You can get by with UGX75,000 a day on a shoestring budget, omitting park trips and other costly activities.

Except at the larger shops and malls, make sure you haggle for anything you purchase in town. When purchasing from street sellers in town, never pay face value. Because hotels may be expensive, it’s a good idea to search for a hostel in Kampala if you’re a student.

The majority of visitors must get a visa at the airport; in July 2016, this cost USD50 (single-entry 3 month). Bills must be from before 2003! . The most common visa is the $100 East African 90-day visa, which is valid in Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda.

Tipping is not part of Ugandan tradition and is not expected, but it is appreciated nevertheless.

Traditions & Customs in Uganda

Uganda is a Christian/Muslim country with a strict culture. Wearing revealing clothes or blatantly displaying one’s sexuality is usually frowned upon by women. The sole exception is in specific Kampala nightlife settings. The majority of Ugandans attend church or mosque on a regular basis and believe religion to be an essential component of a moral society. Never make a religious remark in front of a Ugandan!

If you wear shorts outside of the obvious tourist locations, you would not be regarded seriously, and most Ugandan adults would never wear shorts unless they were participating in sports. To blend in better, wear a pair of light-colored pants. In rural regions, most women wear skirts, although pants are acceptable in cities and bigger towns.

Women in downtown Kampala may dress as they would in any major western metropolis. There are many women dressed neatly in tight sleeveless shirts, tight jeans, or dresses or skirts that do not cover the knees. As a foreigner, you are not required to dress up, but it is prudent to avoid wearing costly jewelry or similar items for safety reasons.

The most frequent type of greeting is a handshake. You may offer your wrist instead of your hand if your hands are damp or filthy.

If you see two guys holding hands, don’t be shocked. This is not an indication of homosexuality (which is illegal and punished), but rather a gesture of friendship.

Culture Of Uganda

Uganda’s culture is varied due to the vast number of groups. Many Asians (mainly from India) who were exiled from Uganda during Amin’s reign have returned.


The country’s national basketball squad is becoming more successful. The Silverbacks are the team’s moniker, and they made their debut in the 2015 FIBA Africa Championship.

Uganda qualified for the 2011 Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania for the first time in July 2011, defeating Saudi Arabian baseball club Dharan LL, but they were unable to go owing to visa issues.


Uganda’s film industry is still in its infancy. It is growing rapidly, but it still confronts a number of obstacles. The growth of film festivals such as Amakula, Pearl International Film Festival, Maisha African Film Festival, and Manya Human Rights Festival demonstrates support for the sector. Filmmakers, on the other hand, face competition from marketplaces in other African nations, such as Nigeria and South Africa, as well as big-budget Hollywood films.

Feelings Struggle, directed and written by Hajji Ashraf Ssemwogerere in 2005, was the first officially recognized film made entirely by Ugandans. This year commemorates Uganda’s acceptance of film, a period when many film buffs were pleased to call themselves cinematographers in various capacities.

There are two kinds of filmmakers in the local film business. The first are filmmakers that utilize the guerilla method to filmmaking popularized by the Nollywood video film period, cranking out a film in two weeks and showing it in improvised video halls. The second is the director who has a film style but is restricted in finances and must rely on a competitive donor cash scramble.

Despite the fact that Ugandan film is developing, it nevertheless confronts significant difficulties. Along with technical difficulties like honing acting and editing abilities, there are also financing and government backing and investment issues. There are no film schools in the nation, banks refuse to provide money to film companies, and film distribution and marketing remain weak.

Starting in 2014, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) is drafting rules that would compel Ugandan television to broadcast 70% Ugandan material, with 40% of it being independent productions. Ugandan cinema may become more popular and successful in the near future, with the focus on Ugandan film and the UCC rules favoring Ugandan films for mainstream television.

Stay Safe & Healthy in Uganda

Stay Safe in Uganda

Since its independence in 1962, Uganda has been home to some of the most horrific crimes in modern African history, especially under the vile tyrant Idi Amin, but things have steadily improved since 1987. After 25 years of Yoweri Museveni’s stereotypically’strong man’ leadership, the country is now reasonably stable. Kampala has evolved into a significant trading hub in East Africa.

It is absolutely safe to go north to Murchison Falls National Park and Ajai Game Reserve. Overlanders from Tanzania and Kenya often pass through Jinja on their way to Uganda.

Kampala, like any other city, may be dangerous. It is best to stay in tourist zones, although well-dressed tourists who aren’t flaunting the newest cameras, expensive jewelry, or bulging bags are unlikely to attract unwelcome attention. Because of its counter-jihad efforts in Amisom, several jihadist organizations have threatened the nation (the UN force in Somalia).

Non-blacks on the street, on the other hand, stand out and are likely to be looked at openly, which may be uncomfortable for people unfamiliar with traveling in Africa. Asians will be presumed to be Chinese, and will often be exposed to “ni hao” and/or Asian language impersonations (e.g. “Ching chong”). While it may be unpleasant to Asian Americans (or Asians from comparable cultures), it is virtually never meant to be impolite and is nearly never an indication of anti-Asian prejudice. What little begging there is in African cities is among the most courteous and inoffensive, nowhere worse than non the West. Small children have unfortunately become a nuisance in certain rural areas visited by visitors handing out sweets and money, but nothing like the swarming throngs seen in many cities across the globe.

In the late 1990s, robbers assaulted a party of visitors in the gorilla tracking area of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park near the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, killing many persons. There have been no incidents since then, and all parties are now escorted by armed guards (which was not the case before). There is a noticeable security presence in the area, but this is more of a precaution than a reaction to a particular threat.

In response to Museveni’s anti-jihad measures, some jihadists have carried out retaliation attacks.

LGBT travellers

In Uganda, homosexuality is outlawed, and views toward LGBT individuals are negative. Though the infamous “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” of 2011, which suggested the death penalty for “serial offenders,” failed to pass, a new version was approved in 2013 that imposed a life sentence. In Kampala, there is a tiny underground homosexual culture, but violence is frequent, therefore gay travelers should exercise great caution. Uganda has been identified as one of the worst countries in the world to be gay, according to several research. As a result, if you are homosexual and want to visit Uganda, you should keep your sexual orientation hidden. It is now unlawful to know that someone is gay and not disclose it to the police, according to a newly passed legislation.

Stay Healthy in Uganda

The incidence of HIV/AIDS infection is very high (even though lower than neighbouring countries). Do not engage in unprotected sexual activity.

In certain parts of the nation, Ebola and Marburg haemorrhagic fevers are prevalent. The vectors of these viruses are unclear, although bats are suspected to be involved. As a result, travelers should avoid (or proceed with great caution) entering caverns. If you’re bitten by an animal, presume it’s infected with a disease and get medical help right once.

Take malaria prevention measures! Malaria-carrying mosquitoes may be found in most of the country’s lowest elevations. If you’re going up-country, it’s worth looking for a packet of Artenam while you’re in Kampala. Artenam is a safe and effective therapy for malaria, even in chloroquine-resistant forms.

Diarrhoea and intestinal worms are other issues, so travelers should be cautious about what they eat and drink. Always have hand sanitizer on hand to use before eating. When eating fresh produce, be sure to thoroughly wash it before eating it, and stay away from raw items in restaurants. Travelers should get ciprofloxacin before leaving their native country as a prophylactic, since it may be used as a remedy.

Remember that Schistosomiasis is prevalent in several of the lakes. If you’re not sure, ask the locals before paddling along the lake’s edge.



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