flag Uganda Uganda: Travelling

In this page: Entry Requirements | Organising Your Trip | Visiting | Living Conditions | Eating | Paying | Speaking | Useful Resources

 

Entry Requirements

Passport and Visa Service
Uganda Electronic Visa/Permit Application System
For Further Information
List of diplomatic missions in Uganda
 
Check IATA Travel Website for visa requirements and health advices.
 

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Organising Your Trip

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Recommendation
Most cars in Uganda are right hand drive cars with manual transmissions, while the law requires to drive on the left side of the road. Roads can be really clogged, especially in Kampala and Entebbe. Matatus, privately owned minibuses loaded with people and goods (including livestock), can often have a reckless driving style. Take always care of pedestrians and cyclists that may be crossing the roads.
Speed limits are 50 kph in built-up areas, 80 kph in non built-up areas, 100 kph on highways.
Maps of Urban Networks
On The World Map
Maplandia

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Transportation From Airport to City Centre:


Airport

Distance

Taxi

Bus

Train

Car Rental
Entebbe International Airport (EBB) 40.5 km/25 miles Taxi UGX 110,000 50-60 min Bus UGX 1,500 - 60-75 min not available available

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

Recommendation
Uganda has no railway network, thus buses are the most common way to travel around the country. There are two classes of buses: the "matatus" - minibuses or commuter vans - and the standard buses that cover bigger distances. Bus fares are relatively cheap; however the schedules are not really reliable and there are often delays.

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Airlines

Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
List of airline companies active in Uganda

You Can Consult The EU Air Safety List. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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Travelling By Yourself

Recommendation
When travelling by car, consider that most of the main roads are paved, whereas secondary roads can be in bad conditions (especially during the rainy season). The presence of buses and trucks can make the roads more dangerous, same as pedestrians, livestock, cyclists, animals and the police roadblocks.
A foreign driving license can be used to drive in Uganda for three months if the license is in English. After that period, a Ugandan driving license is needed. If a driver license is not in English, then a driver should have an approved notarized translation of his driver license. International driving licenses are also accepted.
Road Maps
Uganda's road map
Find an Itinerary
Via Michelin

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Visiting

Different Forms of Tourism

Historical
The Kasubi Tombs - the burial place of the Buganda kingdom's kings and royal family - are included in the Unesco World Heritage list.
The Namugongo Martyrs Shrine, built in honour of 32 young men who were burnt to death in 1886 for refusing to renounce Christianity, has become a famous touristic destination and every year is visited by millions of people (especially on the 3rd of June, day in which the martyrs are commemorated).
The Nyero Rock Paintings are dated back to before 1250 AD and are located in eastern Uganda in Kumi District.
The Bahá’í Temple in Kampala, with its characteristic architecture, is the only temple that remains in Africa for the Bahá’í faith.
Cultural
Some of the main museums of the country include the Uganda National Museum in Kampala, the Butambala Heritage Centre of Civilization in Mpigi District, the Ankole Culture and Dramactors Museum in Kabingo and the Cultural Research Centre Museum in Jinja.
Nature
Game viewing is the most popular tourist activity in Uganda. Wild animals like lions, buffaloes, giraffes, antelopes, elephants are common in Uganda’s ten national parks. Mountain gorillas are Uganda's prime tourist attraction. The vast majority of these are in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, with a few others in Mgahinga National Park.
Religious
Religious points of interest include: the Namugongo shrines, where catholic martyrs were buried; the Kibuli mosque, the oldest mosque in the country with a panoramic view on Kampala; the Rubaga cathedral and the Bahá'í temple on the Kikaya hill.
Thermal
The Sempaya hot springs, located in Semiliki National Park, have a water temperature of over 100°C, twice as hot as most hot springs in the world. These hot springs also have a geyser.
The Kitagata Hot Springs, in the Western part of Uganda comprise two hot springs adjacent to each other.
Beach
Though being a landlocked country, Uganda, thanks to Lake Victoria,has many beaches. Entebbe is renowned for its popular beach clubs on the shores of Lake Victoria.
The main beaches include Lido beach, Imperial beach, Munyonyo beach and One Love beach.
However, it is not safe to swim in many lakes of Uganda, due to the presence of Bilharzia, hyppos and crocodiles.
Winter Sports
Being a temperate tropical country, Uganda does not offer winter sports activities. However, the Rwenzori Mountains at the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, include the snowcapped Margherita Peak, the highest mountain range in Africa and also one of the highest peaks, with its 5109 metres of altitude.
Outdoor Activities
Located in the African Great Lakes region, Uganda has a variety of lakes that are suitable for sport activities. In Jinja, near the source of the Nile, it is possible to do water rafting and kayaking. Boating tours are also popular on Lake Victoria, Lake Mburo, Lake Bunyonyi, Kazinga Channel, and River Nile, where it is common to spot buffaloes, hippos, crocodiles and a wide array of bird species. Uganda has many locations for mountain climbing, hiking and nature walks.
Shopping

Common souvenirs from Uganda include local musical instruments, wooden carvings, batiks and ceramics, local tea and coffee. Markets are common around the country, while stalls can often be found on the side of main roads. In Kampala, the main craft market is the one next to Daisy’s Arcade. Uganda Craft 2000 is a non-profit fair-trade shop also located in Kampala. Some of the main shopping malls include the Acacia Mall in Kampala and the Victoria Mall in Entebbe.

Tourism Organisations
Uganda Tourism Board

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Living Conditions

Health and Safety

Health Precautions
Besides normal vaccines (measles-mumps-rubella, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella, polio), it is advisable to get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, malaria, yellow fever and thypoid. Vaccine against cholera is advised for individuals at highest risk (i.e. humanitarian aid workers or those working in refugee camps or slums; those caring for people with cholera or after a natural disaster, etc.).
For Further Information on Sanitary Conditions
Fit to Travel website
For Further Information on Safety Conditions
Gov.uk guide to Uganda
 

Emergency Numbers

Police 112/999
Fire Brigade 0421222
 

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Time Difference and Climate

Time and Time Difference
It is %T:%M %A In Kampala (GMT +3)
Summer Time Period

Straddling the equator, there is little year-round fluctuation in temperature and no real winter or summer. The hottest months are January and February, with the average daytime range between 24-33°C, with peaks of up to 40°C in the far north.

 

Map of the Time Zone

Time zone

Type of Climate
Uganda crossed by the Equator, and its climate is mitigated by altitude. Much of the country is occupied by a plateau, at an altitude of 1,000-1,400 metres (3,300/4,600 feet), with average temperatures ranging between 20° and 25° C. Temperature are stable throughout the year are little, however, there is a warmer period from December to March and a cooler one from June to September. Rains often occur in the form of downpour or thunderstorm in the afternoon or evening. The driest areas are the south-west and the north-east (the area near the border with Kenya is subject to drought). The shore of Lake Victoria near Entebbe is one of the wettest regions (around 1,500 mm per year).
For Further Information
Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA)
 

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall

Climate

 

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Eating

Food Specialties
The Ugandan diet is mainly composed of plantain, starchy roots (cassava, sweet potatoes) and cereals (maize, millet, sorghum), with pulses, nuts and vegetables complementing the diet.
Typical dishes include: matoke (steamed and smashed green banana), luwombo (stew with meat, fish or vegetables steamed in banana leaves), posho (a sort of polenta made from whit cornflour), simsim (a side dish made of roasted sesame paste mixed with beans or vegetables), grasshoppers (fried insects) and rolex (omelette mixed with Indian-style chapati bread).
Drinks
Coffee is one of the main products from Uganda. Chai tea is available across the country, it is common to spot signs on shops and kiosks where local tea and coffee can be purchased.
Wine is not produced locally (it is mainly imported from South Africa), hence can be more expensive and often of not so good quality. For beers the selection is wider and it includes foreign brands.
Tap water is not drinkable, so always opt for bottled water (usually called mineral water in local restaurants).
Dietary Restrictions
Historically, some Ugandan tribes used to have several food taboos. For example, for females and female children over 6 years it was forbidden to consume eggs, poultry, mutton, pork and certain kind of fish. These taboos contributed to create problems of malnutrition, but have been slowly abandoned in most tribes.
Around 12% of the population is Muslim (mainly Sunni), hence normally do not eat pork meat (unless it is “halal”, which means it is permissible or lawful in traditional Islamic law) nor drink alcohol.

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Paying

Domestic Currency
Uganda Shilling
ISO Code
UGX
To Obtain Domestic Currency
It is impossible to buy UGX outside of Uganda and in countries bordering Uganda. ATMs accept debit and credit cards throughout the country.
Foreign exchange bureaus can be found at the airport and in bigger cities, though often exchange rates are higher there than the standards.
Possible Means of Payment
Cash is the most common payment method. Bigger establishments may accept credit cards, often with additional fees (of around 4%). Many transactions are done in USD.

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Speaking

Official Language
English and Swahili are official languages.
Other Languages Spoken
Uganda is a multilingual country. Around forty indigenous languages are spoken in the country; the three main families are Bantu, Nilotic and Central Sudanic.
Business Language
English
Getting Some Knowledge
Swahili phrasebook
Omniglot phrasebook in Luganda (Bantu)
Free Translation Tools
Bab.la : English-Swahili dictionary

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Useful Resources

To Find an Apartment
Jumia
OLX Uganda

To Find a Job
Brighter Monday
Jumia
Glassdoor

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Latest Update: November 2022