Would you like to travel to Uganda? We offer all the very basic travel information to introduce and prepare you for your
visit to Uganda.
In this section find information on planning a safari to Uganda, accessibility, traveling around Uganda, planning an adventure safari in Uganda, hotels and lodges (where to stay) as well as useful websites and guide books that will help you plan a successful trip to Uganda.
UGANDA SAFARI PLANNER
In Uganda, you can choose from a wide range of excellent hotels – from the upmarket, the middle market to the budget. Reservations for accommodation should preferably be made in advance (see Uganda Hotels Guide).
Climate / Weather
Uganda is sunny and green all year round with two distinct rainy seasons stretching from March to May and September to November. However rain can occur anytime. The temperatures average 21 – 29 C
Crime & Theft
Like many places, Uganda is not without crime, especially the urban centres. So leave valuables in the hotel safe. Be wary of pick-pockets in crowds, do not wear gold chains and other conspicuous jewellery. And don’t leave objects unattended in a parked car. Report any incident to your hotel and the nearest police station. It is wise to make photocopies of important documents such as passport, plane/bus tickets, etc – they may facilitate replacements if you lose your papers.
Uganda is generally warm so there is no need for warm clothing during most months. Some nights are cold though, and humidity is high. You are therefore advised to carry light cotton fabrics.
The following contacts are available 24-hours:
Police: 999 for landlines and 112 for mobile phones.
International Air Ambulance (IAA): 256-312-200508
AAR Health Services: 256-312-263071
A valid passport is mandatory for entry into Uganda and visa requirements sometimes change so check before travel. A single entry visa fee of $30 is payable at the entry point. Citizens of some countries (mostly Commonwealth countries those with reciprocal agreements with Uganda) are however exempted. Check with your travel bureau and or the nearest Uganda mission to know in which category you fall.
There are numerous internet cafes in the urban centres. Major hotels have internet facilities within while recently, internet ‘hotspots’ have been provided at various locations especially in coffee bars and restaurants in Kampala. All you need is to plug in your laptop and you are online.
English and Kiswahili (adopted recently) are the official languages. Luganda is, however, widely spoken in the central part of the country. Kiswahili is predominant in the east and north, and parts of the west.
A certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required before entry. Visitors should take malaria precautions. It is advisable to drink bottled water which is available throughout the country rather than tap water. Most first aid drugs are available off the counter in pharmacies and drug stores. Other drugs however require a doctor’s prescription note. Many clinics/health centres in urban areas operate 24-hours. Most, however, close at 5pm.
The Uganda shilling is the legal tender in Uganda. There are many bureaus from where one can exchange currency. There are no restrictions on money transfers I and out of Uganda. Banking hours are 8.30am to 4.00pm. A few banks operate up to 5pm.
Uganda is well served with a modern GSM mobile phone network operated by three companies; MTN-Uganda, Celtel, Uganda Telecom,Waird,Orange and Smile. Landlines exist in major towns as do public phone booths.
Uganda is within the East African time zone which is 3 hours ahead of GMT
General contact info:
Prior to and during your trip, you should check the embassy
website for postings of safety concerns, the US state department
travel.state.gov/travel_warnings.html, or the Lonely Planet thorn bush
www.thorntree.lonelyplanet.com. Each of you should check in with the US embassy: KampalaUSCitizen@state.gov or USA Embassy Uganda 041259791 upon your arrival as well as with a site contact in Uganda. Carry contact info with you and your cell phone to have at your easy disposal should you need it.
Make copies of your passport in case it is lost or stolen.
Medical evacuation insurance and/or travel insurance:
Check your health plans before departure as some have some international coverage. Otherwise it is wise to buy extra medical evacuation insurance prior to departure through such groups as SafeTrip 1-800-732-5309 or International SOS: www.internationalsos.com.
If you will be traveling with expensive electronics such as laptops or cameras, travel insurance in case of theft or damage is recommended.
Immunizations are required prior to travel. Malaria prophylaxis Larium or Malarone is also recommended. Required immunizations are typhoid, hepatitis, tetanus booster, yellow fever (only if traveling through an endemic country. Be sure to check with your doctor). Also required immunizations will be on the US State Department travel site.
Clinic is a walk- in clinic in the Embarcadero at 49 Drumm Street that you can conveniently get your immunizations and medications.
Should you get ill or injured while in Uganda, you should report to an
appropriate medical facility to get treatment and notify the UCSF and Ugandan contacts of your status. Most people in Uganda including the doctors you will work with at Mulago will use private services or clinics.
The most popular and well equipped is the International Hospital Kampala (IHK) 041340531. It is located: Plot 4686 Kisugu-Namuwongo. It is a new, modern hospital founded by an Irish physician, Ian Clarke. Most likely you will have to pay cash for the
services rendered. Carry your medical insurance or evacuation information with you at all times so that you or another person can expedite the process in an emergency.
- Needle sticks: You should not feel any pressure nor should you embark upon performing any procedures which you do are not comfortable doing. While we sincerely hope you won’t be stuck with a needle. If you will be doing any kind of clinical care in which you will be potentially in direct contact with patients, you should have an HIV post-exposure prophylaxis kit.
- Staying healthy: Remember the general rule, “If you can’t boil it, cook it, or peel it, don’t eat it.” Drink bottled water and watch out for ice cubes which may not be prepared from boiled water. Salads also have the potential for trouble. Take your malaria prophylaxis, use insect repellant (Avon Skin So Soft is a good repellent and sunscreen) and nets (most hotels will have mosquito nets or spray
the grounds), use sunscreen, and stay well hydrated in the heat.