Uganda Travel Tips
A visa is a clearance permitting an individual to proceed to visit another country. Ugandan visas are issued at the lcountry’s Missions/Embassies abroad and also at the Entry/Exit Points such as Entebbe airport, Busia, Malaba, Cyanika, Katuna, etc. Ugandan visas are required by the citizens of the European Union, the USA and Japan. They are not required by nationals of many African countries, Bahamas, Seychelles, Jamaica, Mauritius, Madagascar, Italy (only Diplomatic Passports), Cyprus. Other nationals should check.
A valid passport is mandatory in all cases. It must have enough leafs for visa stamping and monitoring. For a stay not exceeding 6 months, the single-entry visa fee is US$30, the multiple entry visa fee is about US$. 80. Others who need longer periods, as well as those who require Inland transit and student visa categories should check.
Uganda is near the Equator. As a result the climate does not change much and the country can be visited comfortably throughout the year. The rainy seasons tend to be from March to April and October to November, but this varies in different areas and it can rain at any time of year, especially in the forest and mountainous areas. Travel can be slower in the rainy season but the views are often better. Gorilla tracking can be muddier but it can certainly be done. In the mountainous areas it is much colder than on the plains and the rainfall is greater.
The temperatures on the plains tend to be between 21°C and 30°C and in the mountainous areas they can go down to 10°C in certain months. So our advice is to travel when it is most convenient and usually the rain, which is often for short periods, is part of a great experience. Clients may avoid tracking in the "official" rainy season only to find that it pours throughout their visit during another period! For this reason, camps and lodges are not closed during the rainy season as many do in savannah countries. It is important to be well equipped at all times and follow your guide’s advice.
We are best placed to arrange your transportation – whether you need self-drive or chauffer/guide-driven – we can arrange it for you. We charge a daily rate including fuel, mileage and government taxes. All clients purchasing a full safari or holiday from us need to have their own comprehensive travel insurance. We can also arrange chartered aircraft to the various airfields.
Departure tax is incorporated within the cost of air-tickets. The following duty free items may be imported into Uganda without incurring customs duty: 400 cigarettes or 500g of tobacco; one bottle of spirits and wine and 2.5 litres of beer (opened); 1oz bottle of perfume. Bona fide baggage, the property of and accompanying the passenger, may be imported into the country duty-free provided the goods are re-exported at the end of the stay. Duty-free allowances of consumables is as follows: Spirits, wines and liquors - In total, one litre; Perfume and eau de toillette - In total 500ml; Cigarettes, cigars, tobacco - In total 250gms.
Be alert when walking around and carrying anything of value. As in all countries petty theft, including pickpockets, occurs in some places. Do not walk around at night unescorted without seeking advice. If possible, never leave your vehicle unattended and never change money on the streets. This is less of a problem in the rural areas. Carry minimal amounts of cash and keep it hidden or in a money belt, if possible. Secure your belongings such as passport or airline tickets and other valuables and documents; use safe deposit boxes where available. For the most part Ugandans are very friendly and helpful. If in doubt seek local advice. For specific questions on current security conditions please contact us.
Always remember that while some animals have become accustomed to the presence of people they are still wild animals. Keep your distance. It is illegal to feed any animal, make excessive noise to attract their attention, to agitate and scare an animal or deviate from designated roads for that closer photograph. Never get out of your vehicle except at designated points. Close all windows and zippers when you leave your room or tent and spray it with insect repellant.
It is important to note that Tourism is a year-round activity, consequently, these holidays do not affect the operations of travel agencies / tour operators, national parks and other tourism-service providers.
The following are public holidays in Uganda on which offices, including banks and diplomatic missions, may not open:
- New Years Day (1st Jan)
- Good Friday (variable)
- Easter Monday (variable)
- NRM ruling Government Anniversary Day (26th January)
- International Women's Day (8th March)
- Labour Day (1st May)
- Uganda Martyr's Day (3rd June)
- National Heroes Day (9th June)
- Independence Day (9th October)
- Christmas Day (25th December)
- Boxing Day (26th December)
- Idd-el-Fitr (variable)
- Iddi Adhuha (variable)
Before taking pictures of people it polite to ask. Photographs should not be taken of people or religious ceremonies without their consent. Photography of the airport or strategic buildings, military installations and soldiers is NOT allowed. Bring sufficient films, including fast film for gorilla tracking and batteries although these can readily be bought in Kampala and Kigali. Only print film and processing is available in Kampala, not slide. Keep your cameras in a dust resistant, padded case and out of the midday sun. A 200mm (or longer) telephoto lens will prove very useful on safari. Commercial photographers should consult the Ministry of Information for a permit.
Clients are advised not to carry too much money around. Our safaris are all-inclusive and except for tipping, buying souvenirs and a few meals in towns, there may be nothing else in relation to your safari that you need to buy. It is best to budget for around US$30-50 a day as a reasonable minimum. Kampala is well serviced with banks. International Banks include Stanbic, Allied Bank, Barclays, Standard Chartered, and Tropical Africa Bank.
The unit of currency in Uganda is the Ugandan Shilling (Ush). There are coins in the following denominations: 50, 100, 200, 500; and notes in the following denominations: 1000, 5000, 10000, 20000, 50000 in circulation concurrently with British Pounds Sterling, US Dollars, German Marks, Swiss Franks, French Francs, Euro, Japanese Yen, SA Rand notes.
There are no restrictions on importation or exportation of currency into or out of Uganda although any monies over US$5000 have to be declared to customs officials. Licensed Forex Bureaus can be found in all major urban areas and are abundant in Kampala.
Most hotels, restaurants, banks, travel agencies and the bigger shops will take credit cards in Uganda. Most of the bigger banks and hotels will advance local currency against a credit card. The most commonly accepted credit cards are VISA, MASTER CARD, DINNER'S & AMERICAN EXPRESS.