Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

What's The Weather Like?
What Should I Bring?
Should I Bring Any Specialist Equipment?
Do I Need A Visa To Enter Uganda?
What is the Currency?
How do I Exchange Cash?
Can I use Credit or Debit Cards?
Can I Bargain When Shopping?
What Vaccinations Do I Need?
Should I Bring Any Other Medications?
What Other Health Risks Are There?
How Safe Is Uganda For Tourists?
Do I Need A Plug Adaptor?
Is There Electricity In The Whole Country?
What Language Is Spoken In Uganda?
Can I Make Phone Calls In Uganda?
Where Can I Use The Internet?

 


What's The Weather Like?

  • Uganda enjoys a tropical climate, though the heat is tempered by the altitude, as most of the country is above 1000m.
  • Rainy seasons are from March to May, and September to November
  • Dry seasons are from December to February and mid June to mid August
  • Average temperatures range from about 16°C (61°F) in the southwestern highlands to 25°C (77°F) in the northwest; but in the northeast, temperatures exceed 30°C (86F).

What Should I Bring?

General
  • Daypack.
  • High SPF sunscreen (Uganda is on the equator!).
  • Flashlight.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Spare or rechargeable batteries (these are difficult to find once you are in the Parks).
  • Waterproof bags to protect equipment.
  • Electric plug adaptors for 240 volts AC 50 Hz. UK-style square-pin plugs are used.
  • Some people find contact lenses uncomfortable in Uganda because of the dust – you may find it more comfortable to wear glasses while on the road.
  • Antiseptic handwash.
  • An International Driving License if you are thinking of hiring a vehicle.

Clothing
  • Good walking boots/shoes.
  • Sandals or other light shoes.
  • Waterproof jacket or rain poncho.
  • Lighter clothing for Kampala and the savannah, with layers for the cooler evenings.
  • Warm clothing for mountainous regions, including thermal layers and a fleece.
  • Sun hat/cap.
  • Uganda is a conservative country, and visitors should dress respectfully. Avoid short skirts and short shorts.
  • In mosques, women will be expected to cover their shoulders and sometimes their hair, and should wear loose clothing around their legs.

Should I Bring Any Specialist Equipment?

This depends on your interests – for photography, birding and wildlife enthusiasts we recommend the following:
  • Binoculars: The better ones start at about $250: you get what you pay for! Waterproof binoculars are great in Uganda as they are also dustproof. For most travelers stick with 8 or 10 magnification and 32 objective. These will be lighter than the 42 objectives which are heavy to carry all day.
  • Cameras: Choose something which you know you can handle – a heavy camera with many settings will be off-putting for some people to use. For good wildlife shots, get at least 8x optical zoom. Six to eight megapixels is fine unless you want poster-size photos. Bring a lens cloth to remove dust, several changes of batteries (even if you use rechargeables – not all sites have power points) and take several 1GB memory cards instead of one large one, to avoid losing all your photos if something goes wrong.

Do I Need A Visa To Enter Uganda?

  • For most nationalities, including the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and Ireland, 90-day tourist visas can be purchased on arrival at Entebbe airport for $50, or at the Ugandan Embassy in your home country prior to departure.
  • Your passport must be valid for at least six months following the date of entry.
  • As visa regulations change frequently, please check with the Ugandan Embassy in your country before departure.

What is the Currency?

  • The Ugandan Shilling. This cannot be purchased outside the country.

How do I Exchange Cash?

  • US dollars, UK pounds and Euros are accepted by UWA for gorilla/chimp tracking permits and park entry fees. Many larger hotels will also accept US dollars and Euros – though you should check in advance.
  • Note: All US dollars must be printed post-2003, and should not be damaged in any way. Higher exchange rates are given on larger value notes
  • Banks and Forex bureaus will exchange cash, alternatively you can use ATM machines – common in the major towns. They should accept Visa Debit and Credit cards.

Can I use Credit or Debit Cards?

  • Visa is more likely to be accepted in city hotels and stores, followed by Mastercard. Other credit cards are unlikely to work.
  • Alert your bank before using your card abroad to avoid it being blocked.

Can I Bargain When Shopping?

  • Prices are fixed in shops, but food and craft markets will be more flexible. You stand a better chance of getting a reduced price if you purchase several items from the same seller.
  • Prices are generally very low – so do consider if what you are asking for is fair.
  • Agree on charges for minibuses (matatus) or motorbike taxis (boda-bodas) with your driver beforehand.

What Vaccinations Do I Need?

  • A yellow fever vaccine is essential – bring your certificate with you
  • Hepatitis A and B, meningitis, polio, tetanus and typhoid vaccinations are also recommended
  • A rabies vaccination is recommended for anyone who expects to be in close contact with animals, or in a very remote area
  • Be aware that some of these require a course of injections, and others take several days to take effect, so you should visit your doctor or travel clinic as soon as possible before you travel.

Should I Bring Any Other Medications?

  • Anti-malarial tablets are recommended throughout Uganda - visit your local travel clinic to determine which type is best for you. Note: Chloroquine does NOT protect against malaria in Uganda.
  • Bring all prescription medications with you – they may not be readily available in Uganda.
  • Be sure to purchase travel insurance before you begin your trip, including medical evacuation if possible.

What Other Health Risks Are There?

  • Even if you are taking anti-malarials, you should still wear insect repellent, long-sleeved shirts, long trousers and closed shoes. This will also help protect you from other diseases carried by mosquitoes, and other insects such as tsetse flies.
  • All accommodation in high-risk areas will have mosquito nets – be sure to use them.
  • Avoid swimming in Uganda's lakes – all except Lake Bunyonyi carry a risk of bilharzia
  • Tap water is not suitable for drinking, though bottled water is readily available throughout the country.

How Safe Is Uganda For Tourists?

  • Uganda is generally considered to be a safe, stable country with low crime rates.
  • The Sudan border regions and the Karamoja in the north should be avoided.
  • Use common sense in the cities – do not carry large amounts of cash or valuables, and keep money and credit cards in an inside pocket.
  • For the most up-to-date information on Uganda, visit the FCO website.

Do I Need A Plug Adaptor?

Is There Electricity In The Whole Country?

  • Few areas outside the towns and cities have electricity.
  • Lodges in rural areas will usually have solar panels or generators. This may mean that there is only power at certain times of day, or that plug sockets are limited.
  • Throughout the country, there are regular "load shedding" blackouts to keep up with the demand for electricity. These may occur several times a day, and vary in duration. These will not affect the lodges with solar panels or generators.

What Language Is Spoken In Uganda?

  • English is widely spoken, especially in Kampala and by those working in tourism.
  • Of over 50 local languages, Luganda is most common. Swahili is also spoken by many people as a second language.

Can I Make Phone Calls In Uganda?

  • If your cell phone is compatible, you may be able to purchase an inexpensive SIM card, widely available throughout the country.
  • The international dialing code for Uganda is +256

Where Can I Use The Internet?

  • Internet cafes are common in Kampala and all major towns, though the connection is likely to be very slow.
  • Some hotels will also offer wifi.

Contact us for more information about Pearls of Uganda

Email: info@pearlsofuganda.org