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Uganda

Uganda – Community, Gorillas & Chimps

Uganda

The green heart of Africa is home to not only home to the second largest lake in the world, but is also one of three countries where the mountain gorilla can still be observed in the wild. In addition, the former British colony hosts a variety of different and rare to very rare primates (including Wild Chimpanzees & Golden Monkeys). Uganda is also a prime destination for safari travelers (though largely unknown in local travel agencies), as the country has a colorful variety of flora and fauna, with its two relatively large-scale main parks (Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park). So far in the parks 4 the Big 5 (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, water buffalo) can be observed in the wild. Rhinos are currently only to be observed in the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary however in the foreseeable future rhinos shall also be reintroduced into the Safariparks. Uganda has a much unspoilt nature and is therefore ideal for travelers who want to be close to nature and get away from the city.

The inhabitants of Uganda (about 37 million) are a colorful mix of different Bantu as well as other East as well as South African tribes (main part Baganda). The majority of the population is Roman Catholic and Protestant. With English you can get along almost anywhere in the country. The people of Uganda are very open and friendly and have a very positive attitude towards foreigners (especially due to the fact that they contributed the large part of the development aid). Main sectors are agriculture and oil production and the main products exported are coffee, tea, tobacco, cotton, corn, fish and gold. 

Good to Know

Surface area
241,038 km²
Population
Approx. 42 million
Capital
Kampala
Independence
1962
Currency used
UGX - 1 USD about 3,600 Ugandan Shilling (UGX)
Religion
Predominantly Christianity (with majority being Roman Catholic)
Main income
Sugar, tobacco, cotton textiles, cement, steel production
Agriculture
Maize, sugar cane, tobacco, coffee, bananas
Power
240V - Type G (as in Dubai), adapter favorable to purchase on site
Important telephone numbers
Police +256414233814, Fire Brigade +256421222 and +256714667752, First Aid and Ambulance 999/112
Travel period
December to March and June to October is optimal, as it does not rain too much. Rainy season: March to May and October to November
Vaccinations
Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Cholera, Yellow Fever, Rabies, Meningitis and Influenza

Prepare Your Trip

 

Safety:
The country is said to be the safest amongst the countries in East Africa. From our personal experience we can assure that criminality in the country is fairly low. Apart from the usual touts and pick pockets one would expect in a country where the average monthly income lies between $50-$100 and the “Muzungu” price white foreigners will be asked for you don’t have to expect any risk. Uganda is a very safe country on a continental scale and has been conflict-free except for a few minor conflicts in the 1970s and 1980s. The probability of an unpleasant experience even during self-drives is quite small. Ugandans are very friendly especially to tourists. Should you e.g. be pick pocketed and others get aware of this people will immediately help you and try to get you your stuff back. Even during the night it is safe to walk alone and explore the country – regardless whether you’re in a city or village.

 
Vaccinations/Health:
One is advised to get vaccinations for Diphteria, Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Yellow Fever. Other vaccines to consider: Cholera, Hepatitis B, Meningococcal Meningitis, Rabies. You are advised to get Malaria tablets for your trip. We recommend Malaron or a similar Generika for trips < 4 weeks. Those tablets you start taking 1 day before you enter the country and continue taking them for 7 days after your arrival back home. Please consult your GP to get details and ensure that you get the right tablets and you are using them as prescribed by a health professional.

Visa:
As we recommend you to reach us via Kigali (Rwanda) we advise to get the East African visa (Class T12 East Africa Tourist Visa) which will allow you for 90 days to simultaneously visit the countries of Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. If one considers travelling the countries before or after a tour with us this visa will be the optimal choice. The visa costs $100 for people from Europe (including most Eastern European countries, Switzerland and UK) or US. Should you decide to get a country specific visa you will at the moment have to pay $50 for the Uganda visa. The Eastern African visa should nevertheless be organized upfront whereas country specific visas are easy and fast to obtain (if you have $ or UGX) on arrival (therefore please have the corresponding $US or UGX amount at hand). If you need help organizing your visa don’t hesitate to reach out to us – we will gladly assist.

Flight:
If you want to safe money we recommend skyscanner.netkayak.com or travelocity.com. The best price you will usually get 3-1 months before departure and when you book on unusual days (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) and during unusual times (very early in the morning respectively very late in the night). However you can always use your own booking agent. We will also gladly book your flights upon request. Please notify us about your needs in your booking email as this will result in additional costs of $50 per person.

Money:
ATMs are widely available. Expect to pay conversion fees. We recommend Diamond Trust Bank as they charge no fees. Depending on your credit institute you will have to pay home country fees. Once in Uganda you can pay everything in Ugandan Shilling. Check the exchange rate before you come. Also expect to be overcharged occasionally. Observe what Ugandans pay or friendly ask them
what is the price. Sometimes you will have to accept to be still charged more than the locals. Don’t consider this a rip off – it’s somehow justifiable if you look at how little the average income in Uganda is.

Travel Insurance:
Make sure you get a travel insurance before you start your trip as we only accept tourists with a valid travel insurance. Find a list of the best insurances here. Furthermore we advise you to look into these insurance offers specialised in the East African region. Please let us know if you need our help booking a package.