Helpful Practical Uganda Travel Tips and Advice for Visitors and Tourists
Practical Travel Advice for Uganda for Visitors and Tourists-The Essentials for those planning a Safari in Uganda
Uganda Travel Tips and Advice for Visitors and Tourists on Safari. Here you will find Practical Travel Advice for Uganda that Tourists and Visitors will find helpful
Here you will find the Essentials for those planning a Safari in Uganda. Practical and helpful Information for visitors, tourists, and safari-goers traveling to Uganda. When traveling to a new to your country, it is best to know all that you can about it before you go.
One thing is sure; Uganda is different from what you think, unlike what you might have read in blogs and news articles written by people who often have not set foot in the country.
. Many visitors see Uganda through the prism of its past, the Myths, and the lingering Ghosts of Idi Amin. Nothing could be further from what they find on arrival in the Pearl of Africa.
The words of Aldous Huxley come to mind “to travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” The quote is so accurate, especially when it comes to Uganda.
The Uganda that awaits you is Welcoming, Friendly, Safe, Secure, and Stable for Visitors. Safe Visits, Safe Safaris, and Safe Gorilla Treks are the norm and not the exception.
Ugandan Hospitality means that you are welcome. It means taking responsibility for your well-being in our Home, the Pearl of Africa. The concept of African hospitality is far beyond offering you a refreshing drink. It means that you are part of the community and the family, and while here, we are here responsible for you. That is how we, as our operators, treat our Clients.
Upon departing, the reality is that most visitors will say something like this. “Uganda was different from what I expected.”
Our Uganda Travel Tips and Advice for Visitors to Uganda is for you to get to know Uganda before you Go.
Uganda is Africa. As you might imagine, it is only Better. Enjoy the Pearl of Africa.
Practical Uganda Travel Tips and Advice for Visitors-Tourists
Things you need to do Before you arrive in Uganda for your Safari.
Why You Should Visit Uganda?
What is there to do in Uganda for Tourists? Uganda has Africa Condensed into a country the size of the US State of Oregon, one of the most biodiverse places in the world.
There are many things to do and see in Uganda. The country offers more variety than any other East African Safari Destination. Choose what you want to include in your Safari while planning your time here.
Uganda, the Pearl of Africa, is a landlocked country. However, it has a lake that is as large as a Sea. The tallest Mountain Range is the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon. Kidepo Valley Park is remote, unvisited Africa as it used to be 50 years ago in the lands of the Karamojong Warriors – Herders, the remote Ik People on Mount Morungole where the only road is a footpath.
Murchison Falls Park, which has the River Nile, runs through it. The Park combines abundant wildlife and the most powerful waterfall in the world, Murchison Falls. There is Queen with its Tree Climbing Lions and explosion crater lakes, Kibale Forest Jungle with the largest Chimpanzee Population in East Africa, and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with the highest concentration of endangered Mountain Gorillas.
It is no wonder that Winston Churchill popularized the term Pearl of Africa. Why Visit Uganda? The above does not even scratch the surface of the country’s possibilities.
The Best Time of the Year to Visit Uganda
Uganda’s year-round Holiday Weather is another advantage for visitors to the Pearl of Africa. Though on the equator, Uganda has a temperate climate due to its elevation, vast lakes, and mountains such as the Rwenzori Mountains, the Virunga Volcanoes, and the Gorilla Highlands.
The best months of the year to visit Uganda are June through September and December through March. Even during its two rainy seasons, the sun still emerges each day.
The Benefit of a safari during the off-season is that there will be fewer people, more permits, and more choices at lodges. A reason that some choose April, May, and November er.
Gorilla Trekking occurs in a Rainforest, meaning it can rain any time of the year.
Best Time of year for Gorilla Trekking
Going on Safari during the Rainy Seasons
The Weather and Climate of Uganda
Getting a Ugandan Tourist Visa?
The best and only Way to obtain an Uganda Tourism Visa is by applying online for it.
Apply for the Uganda Tourism Visa online if everything is settled before arrival. The process is more cumbersome than the former system, where you obtained the visa on arrival.
Most East African countries have gone to some online system for visa processing.
Follow the instructions and submit the right items to Uganda Immigration. Payment is also online with your credit card.
Suppose you visit other East African counties such as Kenya or Rwanda, the East African Visa. Must be obtained from the first country you arrive in. Read more about an Uganda Tourist Visa. Read more about an East African Tourist Via.
What should I pack for My trip to Uganda?
What you need to pack for your trip to Uganda depends on why you visit the country. If you are coming on Business for a convention, we suggest you dress more formally—Ugandans like to dress smart, especially in the capital city of Kampala.
If you are coming for a Safari, what you will pack will depend on the type of Safari you will be on.
Check with your airline as to luggage limitations from your country. North Americans will have more generous luggage limitations than Europeans.
- Packing for a Safari: This page covers general safaris and gives you a packing list you can download.
- Gorilla Trekking Safari: Gorilla Trekking requires different clothing and gear, as does a Savannah Park Safari.
- Fly-In Safari: On a Flying Safari, you are dealing with weight restrictions of 15kg. You can have more luggage, but there is an excess charge.
As you can see, coming for a Safari, you will need to pack differently than coming as a volunteer or business visitor. Every visitor, while visiting Uganda, should plan to spend a few days in the African Wild, even on a mini safari.
What are the Health Requirements and Recommendations for Uganda?
Most travelers do not become ill in health while in Uganda, and some may develop intestinal discomfort. None of our clients have had malaria, yellow fever, etc.
Staying well on a safari in tropical Uganda begins while you are still at Home. As you book your Safari, we suggest you also take our Travel Insurance, including COVID Pandemic Coverage.
Before you arrive here, we suggest you visit a Tropical Medicine and obtain the vaccinations required and indicated by the doctor you are seeing.
Please look at our Staying Healthy on a Safari in Uganda Page. It covers COVID-19, Malaria, Yellow Fever, Bilharzia, Idi Amin’s Revenge – Traveler’s Diarrhea, and more.
Staying healthy on a Safari is essential to you as it is to us. The good news is that it does not happen often. Typically illnesses are because of conditions that you already have. Rarely do travelers come down with a disease, and some may contract some intestinal disturbances that we call Idi Amin’s revenge
Flying to Uganda:
Most Leisure Tourists fly to Uganda and land at Entebbe International Airport.
There are direct flights from Europe, Mideast, India and China/ There are no direct flights from Australia, North American Central and South America but you can fly directly from JFK in New York to Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi, Kenya.
There are also flights from Soth Africa, Tanzania and Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya.
In the near future Hoima International Airport will open and give tourists easy access to Murchison Falls National Park, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Budongo Forest and Kibale Forest.
We suggest that you take Uganda Airlines Crested Crane flights to Entebbe.
Read more about flying to Uganda: Read more about flying to Kigali, Rwanda which is a short drive to Mgahinga Gorilla Park and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Entebbe International Airport – Your Gateway to the Pearl of Africa:
Entebbe International Airport is the gateway to Uganda and the only International Airport in Uganda. Most visitors, tourists, and safari-goers enter the Pearl of Africa. It would be best if you were twice vaccinated for COVID-19 and had a yellow fever certificate and your preapproved visa Application with you.
Clearing the airport is straightforward and usually takes about an hour. If you are on a Safari with us, your driver guide will meet you in the meet and greet area for tourists on Safari.
If you are going to track Mountain Gorillas, you might consider flying into the unofficial Gateway to Southwest Uganda – Kigali International Airport. It is a three-hour drive to Mgahinga Gorilla Park and four hours to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Our Fly into Rwanda and Trek Gorillas in Uganda Safaris has become popular with our clients.
Will I be safe visiting Uganda?
Safety and Security are one of the things on the minds of travelers visiting Uganda on a Safari.
Uganda is one of the safest countries in Africa, and Kampala is one of its safest Capitals. However, it will be prudent to be wise, especially regarding money handling.
A night out on the town in Kampala is best done with a Ugandan at your side.
Be aware of a few things that will protect your valuables. It is the safest place in Uganda if you are on a safari.
Security is wrapped up in the concept of African Hospitality, and it means taking responsibility for your well-being while in our Home, the Pearl of Africa.
The idea of African hospitality is far beyond offering you a refreshing drink. It means that you are part of the community and the family, and while here, we are here responsible for you. That is how we, as tour operators, treat our clients.
What Currency do I use in Uganda?
Uganda is a cash-based society where the US dollar reigns as the Currency of commerce and tourism, and the official Currency is the Uganda Shilling. However, most Tourist Activities, Hotels, Lodges, and Tour Operators ask for payment in US Dollars.
The use of credit cards is growing but still limited, though the government is trying to make it more popular.
Traveler Cheques are not accepted in many places, and getting them exchanged is a cumbersome process.
Credit Cards can be used, but typically there is a 5% fee when you use a credit card. ATMs are located in major towns. Have a Visa ATM Card – Master Card can be used at limited banks. Forget American Express Cards with ATMs. If you plan to use a credit card in Uganda, notify your bank that you will be doing so.
The safest way for a traveler is to use an ATM Machine for money instead of bringing large amounts of cash with you.
More money information for visitors, tourists, and safari-goers can be found here.
Do they speak English in Uganda?
Ugandans might find that question amusing since the World Linguistic Society declared Uganda the best English-speaking country in Africa, to other East African nations’ chagrin, some of which did not even make the top 10 like Tanzania. Tourists that speak English will get along quite well in Uganda,
There are over 40 languages and various dialects spoken in Uganda. English is the official language, and. Kiswahili is the other one, but Swahili has a checkered past seen as the language of Soldiers and Prostitutes in Uganda. In recent years, Swahili’s use has increased because it is taught in schools and used in commerce.
Luganda is the language most often used in Kampala and the Central area of Uganda, and it has become the lingua-franca of the nation.
Uganda has its version of English that is called UgLish, and it is good to know the meaning of
What will I eat? What is the Food like in Uganda?
You will find the meals a delight in Uganda. Uganda is Africa’s Tropical Food Basket. Organically grown Vegetables are abundant, and its Beverages, from Tea and Coffee to the much stronger Waragi, will awaken your taste buds.
Some lodges and hotels serve, of all things, instant coffee. Look at our Coffee Lover Survival Kit; it will save the day.
The Ankole Cattle provides the lowest cholesterol Beef without being harsh if you like Beef. Most meals and lodges will be African Fusion Meals that you will enjoy for taste and presentation.
You must have a Rolex, not a watch but the favorite fast food in Uganda. If you are brave, you can try some Nsenene Grasshoppers, actually Bush Crickets.
Enjoy your meals while in Uganda, and yes, Vegetarians and Vegans are welcome. Ugandan Lodges, especially Luxury ones, can serve Halal Meals for Muslims on Safari since the country has a sizeable Muslim population. Kosher meals are more complex, and lodges are not set up with a kosher kitchen unless you visit the Abuyadaya Jews near Mbale in eastern Uganda.
How do I Avoid Cultural Mistakes while visiting Uganda?
Knowing Ugandan Culture, a bit of background, and history would help. The concept of family, time, relationships, language, and traditions all enhance your time in Africa.
Westerners are often straight to the point, and things are not that Way in Uganda. Everything in Uganda begins with a lengthy greeting.
Ugandans have a different concept of time. The style of Conversations and communication will often be culturally diverse in your country.
Even if you commit a cultural mistake, you will most likely be quickly forgiven. The best thing you can do is come to learn what life is like for Ugandans.
It is good to know some of the Cultural nuances in Uganda before you arrive. Please take a look at our Cultural Mistakes to avoid.
Read about the things to avoid on Safari in Uganda.
How do I stay in touch with Home?
Staying in touch with Home while visiting Uganda: It has become much more accessible. Most hotels and lodges have different WiFi quality available to their guests. We still have clients who choose their Safari unplugged from it all.
Most rely on their smartphone and tablet, which on Safari and Skype will work, and you no longer have to buy a local Sim Card, which has become more difficult for visitors to Uganda. You can use WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook, and Twitter.
Not all lodges are equal when it comes to WiFi. Some are slow, and others work intermittently. Transmission Towers are not always near a club. However, most of our clients manage to stay in touch with Home.
You charge your device in the safari vehicle or at your lodge’s front desk charging station. If you are in a club on the power grid, you can do so in your room.
Can I use a Hairdryer?
Often we are asked, “Will my hotels and Safari Lodges have hairdryers that I can use?” That is a tricky question since if you are on a Safari, you are often not on the power grid, and power is provided by solar energy and backed up by generators.
Neither solar nor generator-powered electricity can handle a hairdryer; they use too much power since they require a total capacity of 240 volts.
When it comes to hairdryers, there is not much good news. In Kampala and Entebbe, you might find hairdryers in luxury or mid-range hotels in other cities. On Safari in the wilderness with lodges and tented camps not on the power grid. These lodges use solar power and generators that do not provide the full ability to run a hairdryer.
We realize that not being able to use a hairdryer will be an inconvenience for some. On the positive side, you are in tropical Africa, temperatures are pleasant, and wet hair will not be as uncomfortable as in a northern climate.
One option is to sit out in the equatorial sun with a cup of morning coffee while your hair dries.
What about CPAP machines?
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you can still go on a safari in Uganda. Since most lodges and tented camps are off the power grid, there are power problems.
Most lodges have switched to solar power, which works well with low lighting. Some clubs use generators which would work. However, the generators are turned off from midnight to six in the morning. This is highly inconvenient for safari-goers who suffer from sleep apnea and has caused some to forego a Safari in Africa.
The solution is a portable CPAP machine with batteries that will take you through the night.
We are not medical experts. However, we have had quite a few clients suffering from sleep apnea who did just fine on their Safari because they came with a portable CPAP machine making their Safari possible. Such devices can be charged during the day at the front desk of lodges with charging stations.
Can I freely photograph Ugandans during my Safari?
Before taking a picture of anyone, first ask for permission. Put yourself into the place of the person whose photo you might want to take. If someone back home took your picture, you would probably be annoyed and offended.
Ugandans are just like you. Many might be annoyed by a Western tourist taking their picture. Additionally, Ugandans may feel that you will profit from taking their picture.
Like, I suggest that you ask before you take their picture. Your driver-guide can assist you if there is a communication problem. Additionally, giving them a small monetary gift is a nice gesture of gratitude.
We ask you not to take pictures that might be demeaning, such as you are standing with the Batwa People, who are smaller in stature than most travelers.
Further, you do not take poverty-pity pictures or what is referred to as Western Savior pictures.
We know Uganda – we Live and Work here:
We are a Tour Company, but beyond that, we are passionate about the Pearl of Africa, and our favorite pastime is to take visitors to the places in Uganda that are dear to our hearts.
Places where we have experienced up-close the Mountain Gorillas, Chimpanzees, Golden Monkeys, Lions, Elephants, Buffaloes, and giraffes.
We like Winston Churchill; we concentrate on Uganda, the Pearl of Africa we have experienced and are knowledgeable about, and love to introduce you to the country.
We know Uganda, not just about it. We know it; we do not need a GPS Device, and we do not need a Google map. We have it imprinted inside us; we know each and the experiences found there.
“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)