Know before you Go – Your Uganda Travel Tips and Advice for Visitors
Uganda – Know Before you – Here are the Essentials that you need to Know Before you Go to Uganda- the Pearl of Africa
Uganda Travel Tips and Advice for Visitors and Tourists on Safari. Information for visitors, tourists, and safari-goers planning to travel to Uganda. When traveling to a new to your country, it is best to know all that you can about it before you go.
No matter your background or country of origin, Uganda is unlike what you are used to. It is to be informed about what awaits instead of facing surprises.
One thing is sure; Uganda is different than what you think it is like. 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 while 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 atour operator 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.
Uganda – Know Before you Go- The Essentials You Need to Know.
Practical Uganda Travel Tips and Advice for Visitors and Tourists on Safari.
Uganda is a safer COVID Pandemic Travel Destination.
The excellent news for Ugandans, Visitors to the country, Tourists, and Safari-Goers is that Uganda is a safer COVID Pandemic Travel Destination. On April 30, 2022, Uganda will be the safest Pandemic Safari Destination in East Africa. We suggest that you go to the regional newspaper, the East African, for more information about the status of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo, South Sudan, Kenya, and Tanzania. Those are the present member states.
On April 27, 2022, the Ugandan Ministry of Health announced that all COVID patients in hospitals had been discharged with a clean bill of health. On April 13, there were only two patients hospitalized with COVID-19. New infections are all-time low, yet preventative measures must be continued.
Uganda reopened for Business earlier in the year. Kampala, the city before the pandemic, was a city that never slept, woke up, and partied all night. Schools, Churches, Mosques, Sports and Music Events, and public transport all came back to life.
The Uganda Ministry of Health, as of April 27, 2022, no longer requires incoming or outgoing passengers who are fully vaccinated to take a COVID PCR test. Mask requirements have also been eased.
Uganda has a long and successful track record of fighting disease outbreaks, and it also fought a most successful fight against HIV-Aids. Crack medical teams are well trained in an Ebola outbreak, usually contained in a brief period of time. With that background, Uganda implemented a containment strategy for the COVID Pandemic, receiving accolades from near and far.
When is 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 comes out each day.
The Benefit of taking 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 takes place in a Rainforest, meaning that it can rain any time of the year.
When and where do I get my 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 you have everything 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.
What should I pack for My trip to Uganda?
What you need to pack for your trip to Uganda depends on why you are visiting the country. If you are coming on Business, for a convention, we suggest that you dress more formals. 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 make plans 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 when it comes to health while in Uganda, and some may develop intestinal discomfort. None of our clients have ever come down with 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 that you also take our Travel Insurance, which includes COVID Pandemic Coverage.
Before you arrive here, we suggest that you visit a Tropical Medicine and obtain the vaccinations required and indicated by the doctor you are seeing.
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.
What can I do and see in Uganda?
Uganda has Africa Condensed into a country the size of the US State of Oregon. It is 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 has a combination of 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.
Entebbe International Airport – Your Gateway to the Pearl of Africa:
Entebbe International Airport is the gateway to Uganda, and it is the only International Airport in Uganda. Here, 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 coming 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 a popular option for our clients.
Will I be safe visiting Uganda?
Safety and Security are one of the things on the minds of travelers coming to visit 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 operator, treat our clients.
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 it is a cumbersome process to get them exchanged.
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.
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 as 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 the use of Swahili has increased due to it being 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
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. Take a look at our Coffee Lover Survival Kit, and 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.
Enjoy your meals while in Uganda, and yes, Vegetarians and Vegans are welcome. Ugandan Lodges, especially Luxury ones, will be able to 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, most often, you will 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.
How do I stay in touch with Home?
Staying in touch with Home while visiting Uganda: It has become a lot 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 lodge 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 full power, which is 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 full power to run a hairdryer.
We realize that not being able to use a hairdryer will be an inconvenience for some. On the positive, 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 lodges 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 just took your picture, you probably would 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, suggest that you ask before you take their picture. Your driver-guide can assist you if there is a communication problem. Additionally, it is a nice gesture of gratitude if give a small monetary gift to them.
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, 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 of 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)