Know before you Go – Uganda Travel Tips and Practical Advice
Uganda Travel Tips and Advice for Visitors-Safari Travelers & Tourists to Uganda
Know before you go – Africa no matter what your background or your country of origin, is different. Words may mean one thing in your country they mean another. If someone wants to take you to saloon here, it is not for a drink but to get your hair done.
This Uganda Travel Tips and Advice for Visitors page is to make your time here an enjoyable and remember to laugh, keep your sense of humor, put away your schedule at times and remember that relationships are more important than 20 minutes.
Enjoy Uganda and read Uganda Travel Tips and Advice for Visitors before you go.
Travel to anywhere can be stressful and wear one out rather quickly and often a traveler is ill-informed as to what to expect in Uganda. Uganda is Africa and Africa no matter what your background or your country of origin. Uganda is different and it is best to be prepared and to be in the Know before you Go.
Uganda Travel Tips and Advice for Visitors that will make your African Safari Enjoyable
Preparing for your Trip to Uganda:
Coming to Africa, coming to Uganda, takes a bit of preparation, a bit of planning and it is best to use the services of a tour company such as Kabiza Wilderness Safaris that will assist you to make your time in Uganda a pleasure.
Read up about Uganda, both our Kabiza Wilderness Safaris website have lots of helpful information about Uganda which will be most helpful. However read out local newspapers, join us on facebook for daily updates about the Pearl of Africa.
Traveling to Africa is unlike any other trip you have ever taken, it is best to be prepared. Read books, read local newspapers, watch a few National Geographic Films, you might want to watch Gorillas in the Mist, or Out of Africa to get you ready for your Safari in Africa.
Getting to Uganda by Air – For Safari Travelers there are two ways:
If you are coming to Uganda on Safari the traditional Way is to fly into Entebbe International Airport and explore the country from there.
What most do not realize is this. If you are coming to track Mountain Gorillas, then you might consider into flying into the unofficial Gateway to Southwest Uganda – Kigali International Airport. From there it is 3 hours to Mgahinga Gorilla park and 4 1/2 hours to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Most of our clients that come to trek gorillas choose that option for convenience, depending on the Safari they may choose to fly out from Entebbe International Airport eliminating long drive-times. (Drive time to trek Gorillas is 9 hours.)
Practical Advice for Packing for Uganda- and the most practical is that you do not pack the kitchen sink – keep it down to the essentials starting with the reason you are coming to Uganda for. That can decide even the type of suitcase that you will need and use.
If you are coming for a Safari – you will need to pack differently than if you are coming as a volunteer or business visitor – however every visitor while visiting Uganda should make plans to spend a few days in the African Wild even on a mini-safari.
How much you can pack is determined by which region of the world you are flying from since different regions have different allowances for suitcases.
Packing wisely is the key and if you are coming for a Safari or as a volunteer pack with purpose and pack some things such as deflated footballs, books, dolls, no candy please, stethoscope, blood pressure kits and more…pack wisely.
Africa is different any part of the world, quite different from anywhere else in the world and it takes practical common sense to get the most out your time in Uganda
Nothing is predictable but the wonders of Africa. Often the African ways may frustrate a Westerner. Things like lack of customer service – something improving, the indifference of wait-staff, hotel management at times can drive a Westerner crazy.
Just before you lose your patience or sense of human – take a deep breath and realize that in many ways we may do things differently, but well have similar dreams of tomorrow
*Rely on your practical Common Sense along with a dash of adventure and awe along with a sprinkle of patience and a sense of Humor:“
The most convenient Way for Tourists to obtain visas for Uganda is on arrival at the airport in Entebbe if you are flying. By land, you can obtain the Uganda Visa at any entry point into the country.
You can apply for the Uganda Tourism Visa online if you want everything settled prior to arrival. The process in our opinion is cumbersome compared to the visa on arrival, there are photos, uploads of itineraries, plus a Credit Card fee.
We update our visa information for Tourists as it changes that you will not be caught unaware when you reach Entebbe International Airport
For those continuing on to Rwanda – as of January 1 -2018 visas can be obtained at the point of entry. There is also the East African Visa that allows you to move freely in between Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda.
Here you will find the most Advice and Tips about using money in Uganda including money safety and security tips for Uganda.
Uganda is a cash-based society where the US dollar reigns as the currency of choice, where the use of credit cards is limited because Traveller Cheques are not accepted everywhere and it is a cumbersome process to get them exchanged into Cash.
Credit Cards can be used but normally there is a 5% fee when you use a credit card. ATM machines are found in major towns, have a Visa ATM Card – Master Card can be used at limited banks, forget American Express Cards with ATM machines.
In Uganda it is about Cash and here is the information you need to make right the money choices.
Credit Card information for Uganda.
Safari Tips that are practical and that will avoid potential grief and frustration. We do not just sell safaris we tell you about what is the best for you while on Safari with us in Uganda.
Know before you go is best here, packing the right things without over-packing. Knowing what to wear to various activities and choosing where to stay while on Safari and of course what to eat.
There are tips and advice for most anyone, even Vegans, and Vegetarians. After all, we do not want you to go hungry.
Be informed before you go.
Just because President Clinton stayed there, does not mean it is a good hotel. I recently reviewed comments on the Internet and found one hotel where President Clinton stayed on a visit and found that the majority of comments were extremely negative. No mosquito nets, no hot water, and more.
Book your hotel through someone in Uganda such as Kabiza Wilderness Safaris who understands the Ugandan market and knows your expectations and your stay will be pleasant at an affordable price.
The choices range from Shoestring to Luxury Accommodations, from hotels that look like they came from the old Soviet Bloc to luxurious Tented Camps.
Note: Self-Booking of lodges for a safari often tends to lead to mistakes in location and paying more.
Most likely you will not be cooking on your own unless you are like me and live here. If you are going to cook for yourself I can tell you where you will find a butchery and bakery that is reasonable and cuts meats in western ways. As far as eating out, there are some basic precautions that one must use in order to stay healthy.
Avoid food that is not hot, avoid buffets where candles are used for sauces, this is especially the case with some sauces that will attract all kinds of micro-organisms, avoid fruit salads, green salads, ice cubes, juices where water is not boiled or bottled.
spicy food does not mean you will not get sick. You do not want Amin’s revenge and be laid up in your lodging instead of enjoying Uganda. Avoid Street Vendors.
Here are some simple and practical tips that are important to coffee lovers advice visiting Uganda. Call it a survival guide for those coffee lovers needing that just right cup of morning joe.
Great coffee may be easily gotten in your country, but in Africa, in Uganda where coffee was born and is grown, it is not always the easiest. In fact, at budget lodges, you just might receive tepid water and instant coffee, that in our opinion is like dancing without music.
Some simple practical advice for coffee lovers that you may be glad you read before coming to the Pearl of Africa.
Can a Vegan or Vegetarian survive visiting Uganda? This question is frequently asked.
Ugandans are not Vegetarians by choice, but by the limit of their financial resources that make buying meat, fish, poultry expensive and it is to vegetables and fruit that they turn to.
Uganda – has lots of fruit to choose from – vegetables such Broccoli, Cauliflower that was not readily available, great dark green Salad greens are now available here and there and lodges are growing their own.
We have had many vegetarians on vegans on Safari with us in Uganda and they all had a delightful time and we were able to able to create an itinerary for them that including Hotels and lodges where their dietary needs were met in a most satisfactory way.
Uganda is not a tipping culture country – however, your tip will be gladly accepted by a waiter, waitress, driver-guide, lodge or hotel staff during your time in Uganda.
What might surprise you is how much of an impact your tip left will have. It is also customary to tip your driver-guide while on Safari and those leading you on gorilla tracking or chimpanzee tracking and wildlife Game Drives.
Tipping may not be common in Uganda but as an ambassador of your country is a good thing to practice.
The tip does not have to be large – keep in mind the low salaries that a waiter or waitress receives here in Uganda.
Be sensible and practical. Would you do this back in your own country? Uganda, for the most part, is safe and enjoyable.
Safety and Security is one of the things on the minds of travelers as they approach journeying to Uganda.
Uganda is one of the safest countries in Africa and Kampala one of its safest Capitals, however, it will be prudent to be wise especially when it comes to money handling.
Be aware of a few things that will protect your valuables. If you are on safari it is the safest place to be in Uganda.
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 buy a malaria regiment. All Travelers to Uganda are required to enter Uganda.
The Staying well in Uganda page has health tips and advice that you will find practical and make your trip to Uganda more enjoyable.
You can bring an unlocked International Quad cell Phone with you and buy a Ugandan Sim Card from MTN, UTL, AfriCell or Airtel.
International phone calls are at 20 cents a minute to places such as Europe, Asia, and North America, at times there are country promotions such the US or UK, other times India and Pakistan.
You can even buy a local phone with sim-card for about 8 USD and give as a gift when you leave Uganda.
Phones can also be used to send or received money both in Uganda and Internationally -World Remit is the best way to send money to you in Uganda.
You can access the Internet at one of the many Internet cafe’s that you will find in Kampala and most larger Ugandan cities. Many hotels and guest houses will have internet access. WiFi is becoming more common and there are hotspots in Kampala. Some restaurants such as coffee shops will offer WiFi for their customers.
More and more Ugandans are accessing the Internet with a smart phone and you can buy data time for your smartphone or tablet.
You can use your laptop and buy a 3 or 4G USD dongle and if you are with a group you can even buy a low-cost router that can take care of up to 5 devices. Speeds can be up to 4G depending on the Network provider – MTN and Airtel are the two best providers.
Electrical Current and Plugs:
240 volts is the voltage in Uganda and you will need a UK plug. You can buy a converter plug that will make your appliance fit locally.
The power supply is iffy in Uganda – therefore it is best to stay in a hotel that has a generator system in place. Uganda can have extended power outages that last up to 12 hours. It is also good if you are using a laptop that you have a surge protector of one kind or another.
In Uganda, you can easily buy electrical strips with outlets that will work with your devices. If you are staying they might even have a power strip that will work your plugin
One thing to keep in mind – you might want to bring a book light since nightstand lamps are often non-existent in Ugandan budget and moderately priced hotel.
Ugandans in Kampala dress in style There is what you wear in town and what you wear on safari As Ugandans say “You are looking Smart”
When you come to visit Uganda one of the things that will amaze you is to see how well Ugandans dress in towns such as Kampala.
Short skirts such as mini-skirts – are not recommended – the style of dress for most of Africa is smart but conservative and that applies to women and men.
Shorts – in Uganda the only people you will find in shorts are school-boys – though if you are a visitor – no such thing would ever be said.
It is good to have one more outfit with you for functions that you might attend such as church – a special dinner, etc.
Uganda’s year around Holiday Weather – Is just another plus to visiting Uganda The Weather and Climate in Uganda Best Times of the Year to track Mountain Gorillas would be the dry seasons Uganda has the gift of Holiday weather year around.
There are two reasons, one is its place on the equator and the other reason is Uganda’s elevation. We have two rainy seasons, but even during them most would consider it Holiday Weather all – year-long.
One of the nice things about Uganda is that the sun will come out even during the rainy seasons of the year. For the most part, we do not have dryers or even washing machines – normally all laundry is done by hand and dries within hours when hanging on the line.
North of Masindi it is 5 degrees hotter than in Kampala, however in the Southwest of Uganda such as Bwindi Impenetrable Forest it can get quite cool at night and lodges give their guests hot-water bottles for a comfortable sleep.
Getting around in Uganda for Visitors. The various options that visitors to Uganda have as means of transportation.
There are mini-bus taxis that serve cities and the countryside. You have Boda-Boda Motorcycle Taxis by the thousands that offer quick, efficient transport, however with some dangers involved.
There are long-distance buses in the country and beyond to Kigali, Rwanda, Nairobi and even into Tanzania.
The best way is to be driven around Uganda on a safari – that is the most comfortable safest way to see Uganda.
Here are the Top-Tips for Women Travelers to Africa – to Uganda. Tips that will keep you safe and secure while in Uganda on a Holiday.
The safest way is for women traveler is to be on a Safari with a company such as ourselves where our Driver-Guides act as almost a guardian-angel to ensure your well-being on Safari.
There are many things you might want to know, need to know about Traveling in Africa, it its Pearl as a woman, out site will have most of the information and the tips for women travelers will give you all that you need to make your African Holiday in Uganda safe and secure.
Learn about when and where to get your visa for Uganda, what to leave at home and what to bring. Enjoy your time here.
Question about traveling to Uganda that you might have
“The Kingdom of Uganda is a fairy tale. The scenery is different, the climate is different and most of all, the people are different from anything elsewhere to be seen in the whole range of Africa….what message I bring back….concentrate upon Uganda – ‘The Pearl of Africa’.” Winston Churchill (My African Journey – 1908)