Uganda: General Information
Uganda, situated in the heart of Africa and astride the equator is a lush and fertile country with spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife, thereby justifying its description as the “Pearl of Africa” referred by Winston Churchill.
The country offers top wildlife destinations, fantastic adventure holidays and the best bird life anywhere.
From the snow capped peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains, to the awe-inspiring spectacle of Murchison Falls, and from the Impenetrable Rain Forest of Bwindi to the endless horizons of the central plains, Uganda’s scenic diversity and richness of the landscape compares favourably with anywhere on the African continent. Uganda is also sanctuary to such rare and unusual species of wildlife such as Uganda Kob and the Shoebill Stork, together with the magnificent Mountain Gorilla as well as some of Africa’s largest concentrations of Crocodile and Hippo.
The Pearl of Africa is indeed a compelling destination and we are delighted to extend to you an invitation to follow in the foot steps of those early explorers like Speke, Grant and unlock the secrets of this priceless African gem.
Air Uganda offers a domestic service to some of the major towns. Air Charter is also available. Usually you will be required to pay for flights in hard currency.
There are services from Kampala to Kasese and Tororo but the service is slow, uncomfortable and erratic.
Lake Victoria has a ferry service which connects Port Bell and the Ssese Islands.
Bus services connect all the main towns but they can be slow, crowded and they make frequent stops. Minibuses and shared taxis are a good way of getting around. They have fixed rates and leave when full.
Best time to visit:
The climate is good in Uganda all year round, daytime temperatures generally hovering between 24-28 C. It cools down considerably at night, enough for a jersey but woollens are not necessary. The rains come twice a year, in October/November (short rains) and Mid-march to end of May. Rainy season is no reason to postpone travel however, as generally it rains for an hour and the rest of the day is clear and sunny.
Visas and Immigration:
Visas are required by all except nationals from Angola,. Antigua, Barbados, Bahamas, Belize, Comoros, Cypress, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Italy, (only Diplomatic passports), Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Malta, Mauritius, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Singapore, Tonga, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe. These can be obtained from Uganda’s Diplomatic and Consular Missions abroad.
It is possible to get issued a visa on arrival at Entebbe Airport as long as one satisfies the entry requirements. However, it is advisable that you get your visas before you embark on the trip to Uganda to avoid unnecessary paper work at point of entry.
Yellow Fever vaccinations are mandatory, and we recommend anti-malarial tablets, ask your doctor for more advise. Most prescription drugs can be bought affordably and with ease over the counter in Kampala. Personal travel insurance is essential.
English is official language. Luganda and Kiswahili and many local dialectsi are also widely spoken.
Currently there is one International Airport at Entebbe. A number of international airlines fly direct to Entebbe, among them South Africa Airways, British Airways, Sabena, Kenya airways, KLM, Emirates, Egypt Air, Ethopian Airways etc. Most major towns have an airstrip as do most National Parks and Game Reserves.
Ugandan Shilling. It is advisable to carry American dollars, Euros, UK pounds or any major hard currency. There are numerous Forex bureaux and Banks in the capital and the main towns. Credit cards are accepted in major hotels and restaurants, but generally it is best to carry cash upcountry.
Light clothing, hats, and sturdy shoes. Long sleeve shirts for evening. Sweatshirt or fleece for evenings upcountry. Uganda’s position on the equator suggests a need for suncream. Women in rural towns may feel more comfortable wearing clothing that covers their knees and shoulders, but this is not mandatory. It’s usually hot by midday, but evenings are always pleasant.
When tracking gorillas, we recommend studier clothing to protect against stinging nettles, a waterproof jacket as rain is so unpredictable and a solid walking shoes.
The minimum age for Gorilla tracking is 15 years, booking for all gorilla permits shall be done as early as possible as permit is sold on first come, first serve basis. Upon confirmation of your journey, gorilla permits can be secured by your travel operator, or can be purchased directly at Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) at their headquarters in Kampala.