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Do they speak English in Uganda? Best English-Speaking Country in Africa

Posted by on March 18, 2021

Yes, they Speak English in Uganda-It’s the Official Language.

Tourists-Visitors often ask: Do they speak English in Uganda?


Do they Speak English in UgandaWill I have a Problem communicating? Do they speak English in Uganda? Questions clients and tourists often ask us.

Tourists love to see the natural wonders, wildlife, primates, cultural sites of a country. They also want to communicate, to have enriching conversations, times of learning beyond the things to do and see in Uganda. 

Do They Speak English in Uganda? Why communicating in English so important? The answer is a resounding yes.  English has become the lingua franca in the world of tourism. English has and is becoming the common language and mode of communication that enables people to communicate with one another regardless of one’s cultural, or ethnical background.

The added plus for English as the Lingua Franca of Tourism is that it is easy to learn to read and write in it. Something we witnessed when Rwanda adapted English as an official language.


Do They Speak English in Uganda? Ugandans are the Best in using English in all of AfricaDo they speak English in Uganda? Best English-Speaking Country in Africa

English is the Official Language in Uganda. The use of it has increased since the introduction of Universal Primary Education in Uganda. Not only that, but according to a study by the World Linguistic Society released in 2017, Ugandans speak the best English in all of Africa, followed by Zambia, South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Ghana, Botswana, Sudan, and Rwanda.  Tanzania, a major Safari Tourist Destination did not even make the top 10 list of Best English-Speaking countries since they heavily rely on Kiswahili.

English is one of Uganda’s two official languages. The other is Kiswahili and that has not been fully implemented in the school system. Something that is different with children who are being taught English as early as in Baby Class which is pre-school in Uganda. 

English-speaking tourists coming on a Safari will have no problems ordering food or drink, going on a gorilla or Chimpanzee Trek, or being with a safari driver-guide at their side. In Uganda, the plus for tourists is that you can have some intelligent conversations in English. This is a plus not communicated and taken advantage of by the Uganda Tourism Board in promoting Uganda as a grand tourism destination.


Do They Speak English in Uganda? Yes, and a resounding yes it is.  Ugandans do a pretty good job communicating in English.  OneDo they speak English in Uganda? Best English-Speaking Country in Africa may find it enjoyable having a Ugandan TV or Radio personality speak in pucker – Queens English, or another one sounding like they just came from Boston, Seattle, Cleveland, Ohio. In some cases, they have been outside of Uganda, while others taught themselves by watching movies, TV in English while a few have engaged English or American accent language coaches.

Uganda being the Number-1 English Speaking Country in Africa is an Added Plus for Tourists going on a Safari in the Pearl of Africa.

On a Safari, all staff at lodges, rangers in parks, the Tourism Police, Porters for your Gorilla Trek, most of all your driver-guide, they all speak English.  There still might be some cultural differences; however, most everyone you will contact will understand your requests and attend to your needs if you talk in English. This is  added plus compared to Rwanda, Burundi, DDRD Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, and other African countries.

From our perspective, that is an added comfort and convenience that most visitors do not realize.  What visitors to Uganda do not realize is that the Ugandan English Speaker is at home with a few other languages in most cases.


Do they speak English in Uganda? Best English-Speaking Country in AfricaDo They Speak English in Uganda?  

Most often, they do. At times, they throw in phrases that you think mean one thing when locally they mean something totally different.

It is called UgLish – Ugandan English, which is a form of English, but with a Twist.  Here and some phrases often leave you clueless.

Phrases such as someone announcing that they are going a short call and think it is a phone call while in Uganda means that they are going to the bathroom. Perplexed, Ugandan English has its own, let us say, personality, English with a Ugandan Twist locally referred to as UgLIsh, meaning Ugandan English.

UgLish has its critics among Professors, commentators, Educational Officials, Journalists, and others.  And yet, it has become ingrained into everyday conversation, even on Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp.

The downside of Uglish is this. While Uglish creaters new ways of expressing local concept much like

, a globalised world means that people should be able to communicate in standard English. “It is important to be understood the same way in Kampala, New York or London,” he says.

I think it adds a level of delightful humor to the conversation.

We have a whole page with some of the most common UgLish Phrases that you might find helpful, and most likely, you will enjoy.


Do they speak English in Uganda? Best English-Speaking Country in AfricaUgandans are friendly, welcoming, and open to learning about their Country. Culturally, they might be a bit reserved at the initial meeting, which is a cultural thing once they get to know you a bit and are like people elsewhere enjoying good conservations sprinkled with humor and warmth.

Do They Speak English in Uganda?  Darn, Good English – most of the time, it is not Pucker English nor the informal American Version, it is not the down-under Australian kind of English – it is English Ugandan style.  Simply delightful and refreshing. 

What may surprise you how well young people can speak English. One must take into account that most of them speak another language at home, such as Luganda. When Ugandans attend school, they learn English, though Uglish has and is creeping in.

 Uganda is Africa’s Top English Speaking Country that might surprise you. It surprised many here in the Pearl of Africa.  We, as a Ugandan Tour Operator, are delighted since it an added plus in promoting the Pearl of Africa.

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