Travelling to Uganda can be daunting but we can make sure you start your trip fully informed & on the right track. Below we answer some of the usual questions that we receive, but we are always on hand to answer anything else that comes up as you pack your bags.
- Capital City: Kampala
- Name and Location of the Airport: Entebbe International Airport which is located 45km south of Kampala on Lake Victoria
- Language: English is an official language in Uganda. It is a pleasure traveling around the country as most people speak English and are always so eager and willing to assist
- Currency: Ugandan Shillings are the official currency however all hotels & lodges accept US dollar notes older than 2009
- Visas: Visas are required for most nationalities and you are now required to obtain them online prior to travelling. Please use the following link https://visas.immigration.go.ug/ to register. Visas cost USD50 which is payable on arrival at Entebbe. Please specifically check for your nationality or feel free to ask us to check for you – you don’t want surprises when arriving. When entering the country at one of the many road crossings, it is also highly recommended to have a pre-arranged visa.
Uganda is a small country situated on the equator with its capital, Kampala set at 3900m above sea level. There are many misconceptions about the weather based on Uganda being located on the equator (that it is scorching hot) however, the altitude really brings the temperatures down.
There are 2 seasons in Uganda, namely wet and dry seasons. The temperatures during both season are generally the same ranging between 20 and 28 degrees Celcius. The wet season is less reliable than it once was although usually takes place from March to May, and October and November – the rainiest month of the year is April.
Uganda is a cash country meaning that there are only a few places where you are able to pay with a debit or credit card – you will need to pay with cash. There are ATMs where you can withdraw Ugandan Shillings in the major centres: Entebbe, Kampala, Masindi, Fort Portal, Kabale, Mbarara, Gulu, Jinja. The further you move away from a centre, the less likely you are to find a functioning ATM. Accordingly, make sure that you have enough cash to cover hotel, national park, food and drink etc – this obviously depends on what type of package you are doing and the degree of DIY.
Euros and Pounds are accepted at certain lodges and at national park gates however, the exchange rates are not always favourable.
Electricity and Charging
Plug style: British (3 square sockets)
The electricity grid does not extend to the majority of the places that you will want to visit as a tourist meaning that lodges will use a generator or solar to meet the electricity needs of guests.
If you are a photographer or rely heavily on your phone, it is recommended to travel with a battery bank and make sure all your electronics are charged before leaving a major centre.
There are a couple of options for getting around while you are in Uganda and it all comes down to your budget and the extent of your DIY savviness. We can organise high end flying safaris to budget group bookings. Either way you will be looked after by a knowledgeable guide for the extent of your time in Uganda. Alternatively, you can use public transport in the form of buses or Matatus (minivan taxis) or hire a car for self-drive.
Something to keep in mind is that Uganda is the only country where you can drive through national parks on motorbikes so if you are a biker, this is a cool option for you.
While in Kampala and Entebbe, the most convenient mode of transport used by locals is the Boda Boda which is a motor cycle taxi. You will not be given a helmet and the driver will drive in imaginative and dangerous ways (by western standards) ways but it is a truly Ugandan experience.
Gorilla trekking is one of the major attractions for tourists to visit Uganda every year.
On the day make sure to wear…
- Light clothing (it is hot and humid in the forest)
- Comfortable walking shoes with good tread (its really muddy)
- A comfortable small backpack for excess clothing, cameras, your packed lunch, water, etc.
- A walking stick ( the guides will offer one so take it – you wont regret it)
You will only have 1 hour with the gorillas so make sure that you make the most of it – don’t hide behind your lens for the full time. Take the time to sit quietly and experience these incredible animals, eye to eye.