With a tapestry of landscapes, excellent wildlife watching and welcoming locals, Uganda packs a lot into one small country. It’s home to Africa’s tallest mountain range, the Rwenzoris, the source of the Nile, the world’s longest river, and the continent’s largest lake. Rafting the Nile offers a world-class adrenaline adventure but the country’s most iconic experience is tracking mountain gorillas in their misty habitat. And if you view the Big Five, you’ll see that nature – diverse and resplendent – looms large here.
For most nationalities, including the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and Ireland, 90-day tourist visas can be purchased on arrival at Entebbe airport for $50, or at the Ugandan Embassy in your home country prior to departure.
Your passport must be valid for at least six months following the date of entry. As visa regulations change frequently, please check with the Ugandan Embassy in your country before departure.
When it comes health – most travelers do not become ill while in Uganda besides maybe some intestinal discomfort, none of our clients have ever come down with malaria.
There are precautions to take before you arrive here and some things to do after you get here.
Most visitors to Uganda will get some immunizations prior to coming here and purchase a malaria regiment. If you are coming from another country where there is yellow fever present you will need a yellow fever immunization.
RECOMMENDED PACKING LIST
High SPF sunscreen (Uganda is on the equator!)
Spare or rechargeable batteries (these are difficult to find once you are in the national parks)
Waterproof bags to protect equipment
Electric plug adaptors for 240 volts AC 50 Hz. UK-style square-pin plugs are used
Some people find contact lenses uncomfortable in Uganda because of the dust – you may find it more comfortable to wear glasses while on the road
Good walking boots/shoes
Sandals or other light shoes
Waterproof jacket or rain poncho
Lighter clothing for Kampala and the savannah, with layers for the cooler evenings
Warm clothing for mountainous regions, including thermal layers and a fleece
Uganda is a conservative country, and visitors should dress respectfully. Avoid short skirts and short shorts.
The Ugandan Shilling – cannot be purchased outside the country.
US dollars, UK pounds, and Euros are accepted by UWA for gorilla/chimp tracking permits and park entry fees. Many larger hotels will also accept US dollars and Euros – though you should check in advance.
Note: All US dollars must be printed post-2003, and should not be damaged in any way. Higher exchange rates are given on larger value notes
Banks and Forex bureaus will exchange cash, alternatively, you can use ATM machines – common in the major towns. They should accept Visa Debit and Credit cards.
Visa is more widely accepted in city hotels and stores, followed by Mastercard. Other credit cards are unlikely to work.
Do not count on being able to use cards outside of Kampala.
Alert your bank before using your card abroad to avoid it being blocked.
10 to 20% are usually given. If you spend 20,000 shillings – 8 USD on a meal and leave 2000 shillings or even 3000 shillings you will make someone happy. 5% and 10% for excellent service would be highly appreciated and not only is a bit of money but a small micro-investment in the life of an Africa.
Tips at Hotels & Lodges:
Though you may pay a fee for having your clothes washed and ironed, pay a little tip and the next time an even better job will be done for you. Often your shoes will be cleaned without you even asking. The little investment of a tip will be appreciated and increase the level of service you receive.
Some lodges have a tipping jar, which unfortunately is placed in a prominent place, ignore it and give to whom you want and served you well.
It is best to tip in the local currency such as Ugandan Shillings or since giving a tip such as one US Dollar is too hard to exchange often there is not a nearby bank or forex bureau. In addition, a single dollar would not get a very low exchange rate.
Your driver guide – a simple 10 USD in shillings per day will be most appreciated – on a game drive a tip to of less than 5 USD will make a difference to the Uganda Wildlife Ranger – on a gorilla or chimpanzee tracking hike the same is appreciated by the ranger who takes you on the trek.
Uganda uses a 240 volts AC 50 Hz square-pin plug, the same as the UK and Ireland.