Uganda Travel Tips
Getting to Uganda
Most tourists get to Uganda through the Entebbe International Airport. There are about 11 airlines that fly to Uganda through Entebbe International airport. (Verify with www.skyscanner.com). Uganda can also be reached by road from Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania.
Uganda Visa Requirements
On arrival, a Uganda visa for those who require one can be purchased on the spot at the Airport or at any overland border on applied for online (https://visas.immigration.go.ug/) for USD$50.00. Entry requirements can change, so please contact your local Uganda embassy to verify the information below is current.
- A passport is required for all foreign visitors and has to be valid for at least six months.
- Entry may be refused to one not holding sufficient funds, return or onward tickets, and other necessary travel documents
- Passports must have a clean and full visa page for endorsement.
When arriving from a yellow-fever-infected country in Africa or the Americas, a yellow fever vaccination and document is required.
- Citizens of most countries require a visa, which can be obtained at arrival or in advance. A list of countries that don’t need a visa is available.
- Nationals of Canada, Germany, Sweden, the UK, the USA, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sweden, Mauritius, South Africa and Hong Kong for stays up to three months do not require visas to enter Rwanda. Other Nationals can obtain a Visa to Rwanda at only US$35.
- Citizens of Commonwealth countries are not required to obtain visas to enter Tanzania unless they are citizens of the United Kingdom, Canada, Nigeria, or India.
Domestic airlines & flights in Uganda
The are about 3 domestic carriers running scheduled flights, Eagle Air, Aerolink. Most of the scheduled flights are to destinations of no interest to tourists. Many of the major parks have airstrips and your tour operator can organize charter flights at a very high price. The only destinations in Uganda which is often reached by air is Kidepo Valley National Park and Kisoro Airtrip next to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest since the drive up to kidepo from Kampala takes two days, the road is considered unsafe and Bwindi roadtrip takes more than 10 hours.
Uganda is a relatively compact country and further transportation within the country is usually done by vehicle. In most cases your Saso ‘Gorilla Trips’ Uganda Safaris will collect you from the airport or hotel and will arrange further transportation as part of your safari-package. If you are traveling with a different safari operator, we do have Safari Car Hire and Rentals Services at very affordable rates. Contact our office on firstname.lastname@example.org or call the numbers on the header.
Foreign exchange and ATM facilities are available at the airport which is also serviced by several shops and restaurants. Most midrange to up-market hotels in Kampala and Entebbe arrange airport transfers to the Capital, 35 Km from the Airport. Local time is GMT +3.
Driving is on the left side. Visitors without experience of African roads are advised to organize a vehicle with a driver rather than self drive.
Educated Ugandans are generally fluent in English which is the official language of 50 plus different indigenous languages. Luganda serves as something of a lingua franca. Swahili is spoken most at the borders of the country
A certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required. All visitors should take malaria prophylactic drugs. Against popular talk, Uganda is very safe from the Deadly Ebola virus and the Cholera bacteria (Read latest report by WHO). It is advisable to drink bottled rather than tap water.
The unit of currency is the Uganda shilling (Ush). The US dollar is traditionally the hard currency of preference, but Euro and Pound Sterling are also widely accepted. Foreign currency can be changed for local currency at banks and private bureau de change in all large towns, but Travelers cheques are not widely accepted outside Kampala. Local currency can be drawn against Visa and other major credit cards at selected ATMs in Kampala, at Entebbe International Airport, and in a few other large towns.
When to Visit
Uganda can be visited at any time, though mountain hikes, gorilla tracking and other forest walks are more challenging during the rains which generally peak over mid September to November and March to May.
The best game viewing months in Uganda are during the dry seasons from June to August and December to February. Primate walks in the forest are a big part of any safari in Uganda. The habitat of rainforests is, by default, very wet and one can’t avoid rain completely. However, after heavy rain, the skies often open up to bright sunshine.
June to August and December to February – Dry Season
- This is the best time for gorilla tracking, because these are the drier months.
- In the savannah reserves, vegetation is less and animals gather around water sources, making wildlife easier to spot.
- Even during the high season (June to September) the parks don’t feel crowded.
- The skies are clear, there is less rain and more sunshine.
- Gorilla permits need to be booked very far in advance.
March to May and September to November – Wet Season
- The scenery of the savannah reserves is greener and it’s low season, resulting in lower rates.
- Although wildlife in the savannah reserves is easier to spot in the dry season, you’ll still see plenty, including newborn animals.
- Some of the roads get very bad and cars often get stuck. Forest trails can become slippery and challenging.
- You won’t be able to change your expensive gorilla permit if it pours with rain. Departures go as scheduled.
What to wear
Daytime temperatures are generally warm to hot, so bring lots of light clothing. Evenings are cooler especially at high altitudes so carry a couple of light sweaters too. Those who intend to hike on the mountains will be exposed to alpine temperatures and should pack accordingly. Solid walking shoes and sturdy clothing are ideal for forest walks. Don’t forget to bring a hat, sunglasses and a water proof jacket.
What to bring
A valid passport is mandatory, and visa requirements should be checked before you travel. To make the most of the game reserves and national parks carry binoculars and field guides. Photographers will need a zoom lens for wildlife (70-300 or similar). Print film and developing is available in Kampala. Toiletries and other essentials can be bought locally in most places.
Tipping is not standard practice at local hotels and restaurants, but it will always be appreciated. It is normal to tip 5-10% at tourist oriented restaurants. Guides and drivers should always be tipped.
Food & drink
Tourist oriented hotels and restaurants serve good western style meals while a wider range of cuisines are available in the capital and some larger towns. Local restaurants serve Ugandan dishes typically posho (a stiff maize porridge) or matooke (cooked banana) eaten with a stew.
What to buy
A wide selection of local handicrafts is available as souvenirs. These include musical instruments, such as the hide drums as well as excellent local basketwork, paintings, batiks and pottery.
For more information on traveling to Uganda, please contact us.