Uganda is a central–east African country where the East African savannah meets the West African jungle. With its capital, Kampala, Uganda lies on the equator and offers a charming exhibition of what nature has to offer from forests, the ‘Big 5’, rare bird and primate life and an array of activities that are loaded with excitement. The terrain is largely a plateau which is framed by a range of mountains one of which is Mt. Stanley towering at 5,110 metres above sea level.
Uganda was voted the best travel destination by Lonely Planet in 2012 and has been recognised by the National Geographic to be one of the world’s 20 “must see” destinations for 2013. More than just a destination for trekking one of the world’s most endangered species of primates, the silver back gorillas, Uganda’s attractions range from plains game safaris to more specialised type bird watching, primate and horse safaris. Uganda also boasts Jinja the Adventure Capital of East Africa, where you can try, bungee jumping, kayaking, quad biking, horse riding, jet boating and white water rafting.
Uganda’s climate is tropical with temperatures of 26°C during the day and about 15°C in the evenings on average (with the hottest months December to February) which makes Uganda an ideal destination to visit any time of the year.
As one of the world’s most diverse settings, Uganda’s wildlife is no less exciting than that of any other East African destination. With more than 360 different mammal species and home to the endangered eastern gorilla there is a staggering 1,000 + bird species with more than 5 endemic including the rare shoebill. There are more than 50 amphibian and 165 reptile species.
When in Uganda keep your eyes peeled for the endangered chimpanzee, African wild dogs, the endemic montane shaggy rats and the Ruwenzori otter shrew.
There are approximately 40 different languages in Uganda, but the most widely spoken language is English and Luganda (spoken by the Ganda people) most of whom are living in Kampala, the capital city. Swahili is the second official language.
Uganda is a yellow fever zone so it is highly recommended you acquire your yellow fever vaccination card before you plan your trip. Further recommendations on vaccines include mumps, hepatitis A and B, typhoid, meningitis and measles amongst others.
Precautionary measures from disease and infection are not limited to vaccinations. Further precautionary measures should be taken against malaria by taking prophylactics as prescribed by your doctor and remember to wear long–sleeved shirts/ t–shirts and long trousers/ skirts particularly around sunrise and in the evenings. Apply an ample amount of mosquito repellent to prevent any mosquito bites and make use of the mosquito netting that is provided in hotels and resorts.
Note: Chloroquine is not a suitable malaria treatment for Uganda. Also remember that most mosquito repellents can only prevent bites for no more than 6 hours, so make sure you re–apply particularly around your neck, ears, hands, feet and any of the exposed areas.
Travel with some over–the–counter medication as a quick–fix from heartburn, headaches, diarrhoea. Also pack anti–hestamines, bandages, hand sanitizers and your prescribed prophylactic drugs.
Visa fees for all passport holders who require visa for entry into Uganda is US $50. US, Australian, New Zealand, most Commonwealth passport holders and most EU citizens are not required to acquire visa clearance prior to their arrival into Uganda and are able to purchase their visa upon entry. Passport holders of other countries are required to arrange for visa clearance before they arrive into Uganda and other passport holders of the COMESA regional group will not require a visa for entry. Remember to contact your travel agent or a Ugandan diplomatic representative in your country when planning your trip and note that the above information is only a guideline and is subject to change.
Also, ensure that your passport has at least 2 pages (if your only destination is Uganda) or 6 pages with multiple stops and a minimum of 6 months before expiration after you have returned from your trip(s). Chameleon will NOT be responsible for any discrepancies with your passport or visa. Make sure that you have a photocopy of your passport in the event your original gets lost.
The currency used in Uganda is the Ugandan Shilling Ugsh/=. With about 2,000/= you can purchase a bottle of mineral water or some fruit. To find out the exchange rates for different currencies, check out our currency converter.
There is a wide network of ATM in Kampala, Jinja, Mbale and Mbarare and many places will accept credit cards but only for Visa card holders. Mastercard and other credit cards are not accepted in Uganda unless you visit a large Barclays Bank branch which will accept your Mastercard but at a substantial service fee. Payments in travellers cheques are widely accepted.
Agriculture is the most significant sector in Uganda’s economy where it employs up to 80% of the workforce. With fertile soils, regular rainfall and the abundance of lakes and rivers Uganda is known for the numerous agricultural products that are harvested, particularly coffee, tobacco, cotton, fish and fish products and flowers all of which are for export.
In the mining sector, Uganda produces copper, gold and other minerals along with the recent discovery of oil.
Ugandan power outlets are UK 3–pin plugs.