Uganda Information

The capital
The capital Kampala is serviced by Entebbe International Airport 40 kms away. The capital itself sprawls across seven hills each of historical importance to the country’s religions, culture and the economy. It is a modern cosmopolitan city bustling with economic activity while reaping from the benefits of political stability that has characterized Uganda since 1986.

Getting there
Entebbe International Airport is serviced by a number of International airlines, including SN Brussels, British Airways, South African Airways, Air Tanzania, Rwanda Air, Egypt Airways and Ethiopian Airways. Uganda can also be reached by land from Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania.

On arrival
A visa for those who require one can be purchased on the spot at Entebbe International Airport or at any over land border. Foreign exchange and ATM facilities are available at the airport. Our company will arrange your airport transfer to the hotel. Local time is GMT+3.

Health
A certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required. All visitors should take malaria prophylactic drugs. It is also advisable to drink bottled water rather than tap water.

Money
The unit of currency is the Uganda Shilling. Though the US Dollar is the preferred hard currency. The Euro and Pound sterling are also widely accepted. Hard currency cash can be exchanged for local currency at banks and private bureau de change in large towns. Traveler’s cheques are not widely accepted out side Kampala. Local currency can be drawn against visa and other major credit cards at selected ATMs in Kampala, Entebbe International Airport and in a few large towns. A few hotels and safari lodges accept American Express cards.

Language
Educated Ugandans are generally fluent in English, which is the official language. However of the 30 plus different indigenous languages, Luganda is the most widely used language across the country.

When to visit
In Uganda, any time is visitation time though mountain hikes, gorilla tracking and other forest walks are more challenging during the rains which generally peak over mid September to November and March to May.

What to wear
Day time temperatures are generally warm to hot so bring lots of light clothing, evenings are cooler, especially at high attitudes, so carry a couple of light sweaters too. Those who intend to hike on the mountains will be exposed to alpine temperatures and should pack accordingly. Solid walking shoes and sturdy clothing are ideal for forest walks. Do not forget to bring a hat, sunglasses and water proof jackets.

What to bring
A Valid passport is mandatory and visa requirements should be checked before you travel. To make the most of game reserves and national parks, carry binoculars and field guides. Photographers will need a zoom lens for wildlife (30-300 or similar).

Driving
Driving is on the left side. Visitors without experience of African roads are advised to stick to the drivers & vehicles organized by our company.

Tipping
Tipping is not standard practice at local hotels and restaurants but will always be appreciated. It is normal to tip 5-10% at tourist oriented restaurants. Guides and drivers should always by tipped.

Foods and drinks
Tourist oriented hotels and restaurants serve good western style meals, with a wider range of cuisine available in the capital and some larger towns. Local restaurants serve Ugandan dishes, typically ugali (stiff maize porridge) or matooke (cooked bananas) eaten with stew.

What to buy
A wide selection of local handcrafts are available as souvenirs. These include musical instruments, such as the hide drums made at Mpambire in the vicinity of Mpigi as well as excellent local basket work, paintings, batiks and pottery.

Climate
Uganda lies across the equator and boasts of tropical climate that is spring like in nature all year round. The country basically experiences seasonal climate of wet and dry, though it can be wet and cool at any time of the year. Due to varying global wheather patterns, evolutions between rainy and dry seasons can come and go intermittently.

The most common occurring weather patterns occur as follows.

December- February -the hot dry season
Provides birds and game viewing opportunities, though at this time of the year, the grass is rather long and smaller species may be hard to view. However this is a perfect time to track the Gorillas.

March
This is the beginning of the rains and game viewing is excellent over the short new grass. Gorilla trekking is pleasant and the spring like day conditions are off set by cool nights.

April – May –the heavier rainy season
Road infrastructure that includes some game tracks turns slippery and muddy. Conditions for gorilla trekking and chimpanzee trekking are more challenging but chances of viewing these gentle giants remains at an all time high of 98%.

June- October- includes peak tourist season of July – August
At this time of the dry season, it’s cooler and the roads are dusty which provides exceptional wildlife game viewing conditions in the game tracks. It is also a perfect time to trek the mountain Gorillas in Bwindi National park.

November -seasonal short rains
For bird lovers there could never be a better time to visit as hundreds of migrant bird species from Eurasia migrate to Uganda. Muddy and slippery conditions for chimpanzee and Gorilla trekking.