browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

What Currency do I use in Uganda? The official and unofficial Currency

Posted by on March 13, 2021

Visitors and Tourists ask – What Currency do I use in Uganda?

The Uganda Shilling (UGX) is the Official Currency – Tourists will need the Unofficial Currency-US Dollars (USD)


What Currency do I use in Uganda? What is the Ugandan Currency? Questions that visitors and tourists often ask when coming to Uganda. As a tourist visiting Uganda, you will need both the Official Currency, the Uganda Shilling, and the Unofficial Currency, the US Dollar.

What Currency do I use in Uganda? the Uganda Shilling the Official Currency

What Currency do I use in Uganda? The official and unofficial CurrencyIf you visited Uganda in earlier times, you would need to acquire Cowrie Shells, later the Indian, and then East African Rupee. Times and currencies in Uganda have changed. 

The Official Currency of the Republic of Uganda is the Uganda Shilling issued by the Bank of Uganda. The currency code used is UGX, although USH used to be the symbol and now is the sign used locally. 

The Uganda shilling is a stable, convertible Uganda currency that floats against foreign Currency on the international market. 

Uganda Shillings come in 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 notes. There is are also, 50, 100-, 200-, 500-, and 1,000-Shilling coins. The 1,000 Shilling coin is especially attractive.

The Central Banks of Uganda has created attractive banknotes that emphasize some of its culture and natural treasures, such as a mountain gorilla on the 50,000-Shilling bills.

The 50,000 Shillings note has been named among the nine most beautiful currencies in the World. According to the International Bank Note Society (IBNS) ratings, the note’s distinctly rich and well-design features make it the World’s 3rdWhat Currency do I use in Uganda? The official and unofficial Currency most beautiful Currency.

The 20,000 Shilling note features one of the country’s beautiful crater lakes, Lake Nyinambuga. Traditional musical instruments are on the 10,00-Shilling note. 

On the 5,000 shillings noteyou will see illustrations of Lake Bunyonyi and the MV Kaawa Ferry on Lake Victoria. The 2,000 shillings note has the Speke Memorial’s on it along with an outline map of Uganda with the equator, a woman uplifting a child, the Nile River, and the crested crane.

The best advice for tourists is to stick with the Uganda Shilling wherever you can since using the Uganda Shilling. Due to the exchange rate, it usually works out in 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, Gorilla and Chimpanzee Permits, Park Fees Tourist Activities are all mostly Dollar Priced activities. Besides, Safaris for International Tourists are priced in US Dollars.


What Currency do I use in Uganda? The Unofficial Currency – the US Dollar

What Currency do I use in Uganda?Uganda, like many African countries, uses two currencies. The official one is the Uganda Shilling. Then there is the currency used in trade, commerce, and tourism, the US Dollar.

Suppose you are coming to Uganda on a Safari. It is priced in US Dollars, and the reason for that is that most things in Tourism are paid for and priced in US dollars. There is a good reason for that since many tourist-related activities, lodging. Safari prices are set in US Dollars. 

In practice, tourists pay for a safari before arrival. The Safari price normally includes everything but tips, drinks, souvenirs, personal items, and visas on arrival. 

If on Safari, you will not need a lot of actual cash on you if you have a Visa credit or debit card that allows you to withdraw money in Ugandan Shillings at an ATM located in many towns on your safari route.  We suggest that you read our “How much money do I bring on Safari?” Page.

Forget using Traveller Cheques, they have become outdated, are difficult to use, and you receive a lesser exchange rate.

For security and safety, it is best to carry a smaller amount of cash on you, and today in Uganda, ATMs are readily available and much more convenient than carrying hundreds if not thousands of dollars on you,


What Currency do I use in Uganda? Getting the most value for your Money – Tips for the Best US Dollar Exchange Rate in Uganda


Use the Current Rate of Exchange Calculator: 

Currency Calculator

Please Note – The actual exchange rate you receive at a Forex Bureau, Bank, or ATM in Uganda may vary slightly due to fees charged.


What Currency do I use in Uganda? The official and unofficial CurrencyForex Bureaus if you have cash:

US Dollar Exchange Rate in Uganda – Forex Bureaus are the best when changing money into Ugandan Shillings from US Dollars, UK Pound, Euros. Forex Bureaus are in major towns such as Entebbe, Kampala, Jinja, Masindi, Kisoro, Mbale Mbarara, Fort Portal, and others.

Banks are also available in most cities, and there you can also exchange your money into Ugandan Shillings. Expect to get a slightly lower exchange rate.

When you land at Entebbe you there is Forex Bureau in the arrival area. Though one does not usually give the best exchange rate, the convenience may outweigh the less favorable exchange.

When Changing US Dollars into Ugandan Shillings, you get the best rate when using $50 and $100 Bills, 2008, or newer. Bills should be clean, not torn, and have no marks on them.

Before exiting a Forex Bureau, make sure that your money is secured and out of sight. Please note: You must bring newer US Dollar bills, 2008 or newer.  You will get a lesser exchange rate on older or damaged bills.


What Currency do I use in Uganda? The official and unofficial CurrencyMost Convenient – Use your ATM Visa Card:

Besides the Forex Bureau Option, there is a convenient use of an ATM.  Do remember that there are fees that will be deducted from your account. However, most find the convenience outweighs the cost of the charges.

Visa is the preferred card of Choice in Uganda. Using other cards such as MC or AMEX is, in most cases, not possible.

You must notify your bank that you will be using the card in Uganda. Otherwise, you might find that you are blocked from attempting to use the card at an ATM in Uganda.

Using an ATM is the most convenient option, with the added security benefit being that you do not have to carry a lot of cash on you. Normally there are fees involved. ABSA Bank charges a rather steep fee. Stanbic, Standard Chartered Banks are more reasonable.

The banking fees normally are similar to fees charged by a Forex Bureau. The convenience outweighs the fees.

You can use an ATM in the arrivals area of Entebbe International Airport.


Where and How not to exchange your Money Visiting Uganda:What Currency do I use in Uganda? The official and unofficial Currency

Money Changers: Avoid Money Changers. They are often found near Forex Bureaus, Border Crossings, and around the airport. In Uganda, they have become rare. Con-Artists in Uganda offer to change your dollars into Shillings. However, they often use fake money.

Hotels-Lodges:  Do not exchange your money at the front desk of a hotel. There you will get the lowest exchange rate.  Hotels, Lodges offer the service but charge obscene fees that, in this case, far outweigh any convenience.

Some Hotels have Forex Bureaus and ATMs on-premises, which makes it convenient for you.

If there is no Forex Bureau, use a Bank, or Forex Bureaus are most often found. It is best to use a Forex Bureau outside of the airport for a better exchange rate.


What Currency do I use in Uganda? The official and unofficial Currency

What Currency do I use in Uganda?

Wise Money Choices will save you, but there are some things you do not want to skimp on, and that is lodging.  For a better Safari experience in Uganda, we recommend that you use midrange or upmarket lodges.  The reason is simple “a better Experience.”

Use the Ugandan Shilling wherever possible, including when tipping for excellent services that you have received.

Our advice is to always have a limited amount of cash on you for security reasons.  Though Uganda is Safe and Secure – Petty Thefts occur in hotel or lodge rooms on rare occasions, and one needs to stress rare occasions.

For Money Tips and Advice for Travelers to and in Uganda – here is the right information for you.

We suggest that you read our Money tips, they will help you to know before you go to Uganda

Enjoy Uganda and benefit from the favorable