What Currency to use in Uganda? The official and unofficial Currency

Posted by on March 9, 2020

What Currency to bring to Uganda? What Currency to use in Uganda?

What is the Currency of Choice in Uganda?

What Currency to use in Uganda?  What currency do I need to bring to Uganda?  What money do I use in Uganda?  What is the Ugandan Currency? Common questions that are frequently asked by those planning to visit Uganda.

What Currency to use in Uganda? There is Official Currency, which is the Ugandan Shilling, and then there is the unofficial currency, which is the US Dollar.

As a Tourist, you will price, rates in US Dollars, and Uganda Shillings. Both the official currency, the Uganda Shilling, and unofficial currency, the US Dollar are needed, and both are used primarily at Tourists spot.

All Safaris are paid for in US Dollars. The US Dollar is the currency of Choice in the Tourism Industry in Uganda.

The Official Currency of Uganda – the Ugandan Shilling (UGX)

The Uganda Shilling is the official currency of Uganda, and when you visit Uganda on a Safari, you will need Ugandan Shillings on you.

The easiest way to obtain shillings on arrival in Uganda is to use an ATM Machine. You will need a Visa Card with most ATMs. Few accept Master Card and even fewer American Express. There are fees but work out the same as Forex Bureau charges in most cases.

You can also use a Forex Bureau at the airport, not recommended due to less than favorable rates or in towns such as Entebbe, Kampala, and most essential cities in Uganda.

You can and should use Ugandan Shillings at restaurants, do not use a credit card due to fees charged, buying souvenirs, tipping for services, at supermarkets.

Stick with the Uganda Shilling wherever you can since using the Uganda Shilling usually work out n your favor. However, there are limits to where it is expedient to use the Shilling.  Like a Tourist and Visitor to Uganda, you will find that many prices for Lodges, Permits, Tourist Activities are all Dollar Priced activities.

The current exchange rate makes things that are in Uganda shillings a bargain.  Be aware of the current exchange rate before arrival in Uganda.  Type into Google  Search for US Dollar – Uganda Shilling UGX, and you will have the information needed.

The Un-Official Currency of Uganda- The US Dollar:

If you are coming to Uganda on a Safari with us. It is priced in USD, and the reason for that is that most things in Tourism are paid for and priced in US dollars.

That includes Gorilla and Chimpanzee Permits, Park Fees, activities of the most kind such as White-Water Rafting, and more.  You can use Uganda Shilling, but it is you who loses in the exchange rate given by various companies from Lodges to Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Many lodges use the US Dollar as the price per night, some hotels in Kampala, and, of course, when you enter the country for your visa – everyone will take the Ugandan Shilling. Still, you lose out on the exchange rate that you receive since they will give you below the official exchange rate.

How much Money – US Dollars should I have with me on a Safari?  For Money Safety, we suggest a minimal amount.  Use your ATM card in case you need more local currency.  That works out best for you, and your money is more secure in your account than having cash on hand.  We do not recommend using Traveler Cheques – the reasons are the exchange rate is given, and the process of withdrawing money can be cumbersome.

Uganda is a Cash-Based society. Few use the Banking, though Mobile Money here has been a hit, and the money on the phone acts as a bank for many here.  It is one area where Africa has outdone the West when it comes to Mobile Money.

Your Money Stretches further in Uganda:

Whether you are using Dollars or Shillings, your money does also go in Uganda on a safari compared to other countries such as neighboring Rwanda.

What Currency to use in Uganda? Wherever you turn as a visitor to Uganda, you will be greeted by the price for service, lodging, entrance to park, gorilla permits, chimpanzee permits, etc. in US Dollars.  Logically the currency to bring to Uganda is US Dollars – that would be most convenient for you.  Make sure that the bills are 2003 or newer and have no tears, are not overly worn or damaged in any way., all those things determine what exchange rate you receive at the FOREX Bureau or Bank.

Avoid exchanging US Dollars or any other currencies such as UK Pounds, Euros at a place such as a hotel unless they have an official FOREX Bureau on the premises.  Just the other day, a client of ours wanted to exchange some US Dollars (100 USD Bill) into shillings, and they offered 2,000 Shillings to the dollars, which were 650 shillings less than most FOREX Bureaus.

Exchange US Dollars at FOREX Bureaus and Banks for best rates, and even there, you will see differences in the price of exchange.

Uganda Money Information – Tips – Advice:

In Uganda, you need both Uganda Shillings and US Dollars – Bring 100 and 50 US Dollar Bills and remember they need to be 2003 or newer, some FOREX will take lower bills, but your exchange rate will be lower.  When you arrive in Uganda, exchange some US Dollars into Shillings at a FOREX Bureau, the one at the airport is not the best to use.  Remember that you can use your Visa Card at ATM’s…Visa Card that is.

We suggest that you know before you go, and that includes knowing about Money, Security, how to keep things safe and secure. 

We have Compiled a variety of pages where you learn why not to use Credit Cards, Traveler Cheques in Uganda, avoiding Money Changes, tipping on a safari, getting the most out of your money.  It is one of our more popular pages, and you might find the information quite helpful.