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26 Things to Know Before You Travel To Uganda In 2024

1. Do you need a visa to travel to Uganda?

Almost all countries will need a visa when traveling to Uganda. E-visas can be purchased online through the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration. This is the only authentic Visa Application Portal for Uganda visas and it costs $50, exclusive service fee. Avoid other (fraudulent) portals where you’ll pay much more for your Uganda visa. There is still the opportunity to get a visa on arrival for Uganda, but only at the land borders and kind of unofficially. When flying to Uganda, an e-visa is mandatory. The Uganda e-visa is quick and easy, but also a little work as they require a passport-copy, recent passport-size photograph and your yellow fever vaccination certificate.

2. Do I need vaccinations to travel to Uganda?

3. Is there Malaria in Uganda?

There is a risk of Malaria throughout the country and therefore all Uganda travel guides will recommended you to take Malaria medication. In general the most important is to protect yourself against mosquito bites and it can be as simple as wearing long pants and sleeves just before sunset. If you want a plant based medicinal protection against malaria, have a look into using Artemisia.

4. Is it safe to travel to Uganda?

Uganda is generally considered to be a safe country with low crime rates. Just avoid travel by road outside major towns at night. It’s also adviced to gather the latest travel information when traveling to the South Sudan border region and Karamoja in the very north. There have some problems reported regarding the so called Kenyan Warriors, but not against tourists. However, visiting Kidepo Valley National Park, which lies close to the border with South Sudan is totally fine. Simply use common sense at all times, take care of your belongings and be aware of your surroundings and one should be totally fine traveling in Uganda.

5. Is it safe to drink tap water in Uganda?

Well let me first advice you to just not drink the tap water in Uganda. most of the tap water in Uganda is not made for drinking. You just don't want to ruin you Uganda trip by being brave and trying to drink the tap water. It is not worth it. However, it is totally fine to use it to brush your teeth, wash your face and mouth, etc. Don't panic when you coincidentally swallow a little bit of the tap water in Uganda. You will be fine, no worries. Our advice is to buy bottled drinking water, that way you are also supporting local businesses.

6. What is the best time to travel to Uganda?

You can travel to Uganda all year round. The best time for Uganda safaris is during the dry season from June to August and from December to February. In dryer conditions wildlife is easier to spot. The high season is from June to September, but it will never really get crowded. There is no real peak season for traveling to Uganda. The most challenging months to visit Uganda are March, April and May. Because of the wet season traveling around can get a little more complicated. Roads and nature trails can be in poor conditions. The gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest can be done year round. Keep in mind that places like Lake Bunyonyi, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Queens National Park, etc can get cold at night even in summer due to their high altitudes.

7. What is the famous Quote about Uganda?

The kingdom of Uganda is a fairy-tale. You climb up… and at the end there is a wonderful new world. The scenery is different, the vegetation is different, the climate is different, and, most of all, the people are different from anything elsewhere to be seen in the whole range of Africa ... I say: ‘Concentrate on Uganda’. For magnificence, for variety of form and colour, for profusion of brilliant life - bird, insect, reptile, beast - for vast scale -- Uganda is truly the pearl of Africa. (Winston Churchill).

8. What is the currency in Uganda?

The local currency in Uganda is the Shilling. Uganda is still a cash country and card payments are not common. However most bigger hotels and lodges and even at the Uganda National Parks you can pay with either credit cards as well as USD, Euros and GBP these days. So when paying for example the $700 National Park fee for mountain gorilla trekking in Bwindi there is no need to bring stacks of Uganda cash. Makes sure you always have Uganda Shillings (UGX) on you during your Uganda trip. Small bills like 1,000 UGX are the equivalent of just 25 dollar cents, but they are worth big smiles if you give them to locals as a tip. Try to buy local to support local people in Uganda.

9. Can I exchange money in Uganda?

You will get the best value for money when you exchange US dollar into Ugandan Shilling at a Forex office in one of the towns. You can also change money at the Entebbe Airport, but the rates are significantly lower. There are exchange offices all around the bigger towns and the Uganda tourist attractions. Be aware of the US Dollar-UGX exchange rate. Some Ugandans are very ‘creative’ with converting their currency in for example US Dollars or Euros. As per March 2023 the official exchange rate is around: $1 USD = 3,710 UGX.

10. Can I buy a local sim card for Uganda?

Stay connected in Uganda and buys a local sim card. Prepaid Uganda sim cards are cheap and you get about 5 GB for $5 USD. I advice travelers to get a Airtel Uganda sim card based on my own experiences. A prepaid sim card is the best way to stay connected and save on high roaming costs.

11. Is Facebook is still blocked in Uganda in 2024?

As per the beginning of 2021 Facebook and Instagram were blocked in Uganda, because of a dispute between Facebook and the Ugandan Government. Luckily things got partially solved as Instagram is accessible again. Facebook is officially still blocked in 2023, but when using vpn it works. By law it is officially forbidden but the use of a VPN in Uganda is very common. As a tourist if you want to use Facebook and all other applications properly you will have to get a good working VPN. Whatsapp was also blocked, but when you would pay an extra social media tax (OTT) the app would be accessible. However, since July 2021 this is all from the past as the OTT is lifted by the government. You can use Whatsapp in Uganda without any problems as well as Instagram.

12. How is the WiFi in Uganda?

Let us call a spoon a spoon; the WiFi in Uganda is slow. Although most lodges offer free Wi-Fi in their main areas, it’s mostly not working or it is very slow. It is best to buy a Uganda prepaid sim card or NOT to rely on Wi-Fi.

13. What is the food like in Uganda?

Local food is a mix of matoke (cooked bananas), cassave, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, tomatos, cabbage and a sauce made of grounded peanuts. This is what a standard local meal looks like in Uganda and you should try it in a local restaurant. Locals love it if tourists come and try their local food. It shouldn't cost more than $2 normally. When traveling in Uganda you will also quickly find out that there is a huge Indian influence and that is why you can find Indian food everywhere. One more thing to mention about Ugandan food is that there are fresh fruits everywhere. You can find it on the streets and it is CHEAP. Are you staying in more upscale lodges, then often the meals are included. That means you will be served a 3 course meal every evening, which mostly is Western orientated dishes like pasta, steak, fish, etc.

14. What is a Ugandan Rolex?

Uganda’s favorite Fast-Food is Rolex– not the watch but a Chapati filled with scrambled eggs and anything else from vegetables to sausage. You can buy it almost everywhere along the street. A street food Rolex shouldn't cost more than 2000 UGX ($0.36)

15. Do you tip in Uganda?

Tipping is normal in Uganda. Most guides expect a small tip after for example about tour, game drive or a nature walk. Because locals have limited access to exchange tips in a foreign currency, the best thing to do is tipping them in Ugandan Shilling. Tipping someone a couple dollars will give you a lot of smiles throughout your trip to Uganda. Ugandan people are super friendly, especially the ones in the tourism business and those who speak English. I am sure you will see a lot of big smiles leaving a couple dollars behind as a tip.

16 How much is park entrance fees in Uganda?

The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has set fixed fees for visiting national parks in Uganda. Park entrance fees differ a little per National Park but most of the famous tourists spots in Uganda are around $40 for tourists. Some lesser known parks charge $35 and some small reserves only $10 for foreign non-residents (FNR). Be aware that National Park fees in Uganda are per 24 hours. That means you can be creative with the park fees when you schedule it right.

17. Is there transportation within Uganda?

Visitors typically pre-book a package prior to arriving in Uganda. This package includes the services of an English-speaking driver-guide and a 4X4 vehicle, which in turn will be their primary mode of transportation. For those short on time and who prefer less driving, there is also the option of flying from Entebbe to the national parks, on small aircraft to the local airstrips and returning. The most common forms of transportation are buses and minibuses, which get people between most major towns.

18. Is Uganda a family-friendly destination?

Family visitors can view wildlife on a safari or trekking experience, enjoy a boat cruise, or complete a cultural visit. There is truly something for everyone in the family in Uganda. Adventurous travel awaits people of all ages, although you should be aware that trekking requires a certain level of physical fitness.

19. What language is spoken in Uganda?

In Uganda the most spoken language in the capital city is Luganda, followed by English (also the official language since 1962), as all schools in Uganda use it in their studies due to the introduction of English during the colonial period. English is also the language of business and judicial matters. Most spoken after Luganda and English is Swahili.

20. Is it safe to swim in Uganda?

Swimming in Uganda can be safe, but it depends on where you’re planning to enter the water. Lake Bunyonyi is widely advertised as the safest outdoor swimming spot in the country as its Bilharzia free and without being worried of predators like crocodiles and hippos. However its importance to check with a local guide before going swimming anywhere in Uganda.

21. What are the guidelines when tracking gorilla?

A maximum number of 8 visitors may visit a group of habituated mountain gorillas in a day. This minimizes behavioral disturbance to the gorillas and the risk of their exposure to human-borne diseases. - Always wash your hands before you head out to the gorillas. When you are with the gorilla a 7 meter (21 feet) distance should tried to be observed at all times from the gorillas. The further back you are, the more relaxed the group will be. You must stay in tight group whey you are near the gorillas. Keep your voices down at all times. However, it is okay to ask the guide questions. Do not smoke, drink or eat when you are near the gorillas. Eating or drinking inevitably will increase the risk of food/drink morsels/droplets falling, which could increase the risk of transmission of diseases. Sometimes the gorillas charge. Follow the guides example (crouch down slowly, do not look the gorillas directly in the eyes and wait for the animals to pass). Do not attempt to run away because that will increase the risk. Flash photography is not permitted. When taking pictures move slowly and carefully. Do not touch the gorillas. They are wild animals. The maximum time you can spend with the gorillas is one hour. However, if the gorillas become agitated or nervous, the guide will finish the visit early. After the visit keep your voices down until you are 200 meters away from the gorillas.

22. What are the general health rules when you are with mountain gorilla?

Remember that mountain gorillas are very susceptible to human diseases. The following rules are ways to minimize the risk your visit might poses to them: Respect the limits imposed on the number of visitors allowed with the gorillas each day. This minimizes the risk of disease transmission and stress to the group. If you are feeling ill, or you are carrying a contagious disease, volunteer to stay behind. An alternate visit will be arranged for you, or you will be refunded your money. If you feel the urge to cough or sneeze when you are near the gorillas, please turn your head away and cover your nose and mouth in order to minimize the spread of bacteria or viruses. Always stay 7 meters (21 feet) away from the gorillas. This is to protect them from catching human diseases. Do not leave any rubbish (eg. food wrappers) in the park; foreign items can harbor diseases or other contaminants. If you need to go to the toilet while in the forest, please ask the guide to dig you a hole with his panga. Make sure the hole is 30 cm deep and fill it in when you are finished.

23. What can I bring on my gorilla safari?

Bring comfortable hiking shoes suitable for steep muddy slopes. Put on ear plugs for those who feel uncomfortable with the jungle sounds. Carry a packed lunch and enough drinking water. Carry rain gear, sunscreen lotion, a hat (as the weather is unpredictable) and insect repellent. Bring a photo of film camera. Using flashlight is not permitted.

24. What can I wear during gorilla tracking?

Daytime temperatures are generally warm to hot, so bring lots of light clothing. Evenings are cooler, especially at high altitudes, so carry a couple of light sweaters too. Those who intend to hike on the mountains will be exposed to alpine temperatures and should pack accordingly .Solid walking shoes and sturdy clothing are ideal for forest walks .Don’t forget to bring a hat , sunglasses and a waterproof jacket.

25. What should I bring for My Uganda travel?

A valid passport is mandatory, and visa requirements should be checked before you travel. To make the most of the game reserves and national parks, carry binoculars and field guides. Photographers will need a zoom lens for wildlife (70 – 300 or similar).Print film and developing is available in Kampala .Toiletries and other essentials can be bought in the cities.

26. How welcoming is Uganda to LGBTQ travelers?

Uganda is still on the horns of a dilemma when it comes to LGBTQ rights. Still illegal, homosexuality is often denounced as a non-Ugandan culture, an import of the West. LGBTQ travelers should practice discretion while touring as conservative beliefs are widespread.