Uganda, or the ‘Pearl of Africa’, as it was famously dubbed by Winston Churchill, is characterised by relatively dry and flat savanna in the north, with verdant mountains in the West, and vast dense and remarkably lush forests in the central region. The nation is home to an astonishingly diverse range of African wildlife including the highly endangered mountain gorilla which can be found in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. A popular spot for wildlife watching is Queen Elizabeth National Park, which hosts four of the Big Five, a flock of flamboyant flamingos and the rare tree-climbing lions of Ishasha. Outdoor enthusiasts can get their adrenaline fix with plenty of whitewater rafting, kayaking, hiking, quad biking and horse riding facilities on offer. Add to this some friendly locals, a burgeoning cultural scene, and a capital city full of lively bars, clubs and restaurants, and it is easy to see why Uganda has gained itself a reputation as 'Africa's friendliest country'.

Entry Requirements

All visitors to Uganda require a visa and every visitor’s passport must be valid for at least six months from their departure date. Visas for Uganda can be obtained online if you want everything settled prior to arrival. There is also the East African Visa that allows you to move freely in between Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda.
Visa Fees:

Single entry visa US$ 50
Multiple entry visa (6-12 months) US$ 100
Uganda Visa Requirements:
Passports : You need a valid passport, one that is expiring at least 6 months from the date you enter Uganda
Sufficient Funds: No amount is currently specified by the immigration but having a Credit Card and a return ticket are good evidence to convince the immigration officer that you have enough money with you.
Return / Onward Tickets: This is your evidence to prove that you have enough money on you, however, if you posses a one-way ticket, be ready to do some explaining to the immigration officer who might think you do not have enough funds to buy a flight out the country.
You will therefore need to present a visitor's pass for your next destination outside Uganda to avoid messing up your trip. You may actually have to buy a return ticket to your country before being allowed entry into Uganda, therefore, if you plan to leave the country overland, then organize your trip with an airline where a refund can be given for the unused ticket and at such dates and in search countries where you will be able to access the refund.
International Health Certificate: You will be requested to present this document to show that have received a yellow fever vaccine shot.

Banking and Currency

Uganda’s unit of currency is the Uganda Shilling and you’d be advised to get some on arrival as it is far easier to buy drinks, curios and meals in the local currency when travelling between destinations. You can exchange currency at any of the many forex bureaus OR banks in the country. US Dollars are widely accepted throughout the country though note that cash is best: traveler’s cheques and credit cards can be used at most lodges and in Kampala but attract hefty transaction fees. Euros, British Pounds, US Dollars, South African Rand and other major currencies can be exchanged locally or in advance of departure. Additionally, exchange facilities are available at various bureaus de change and banks in major towns have ATMs. It's advisable to request bank notes in smaller denominations, as it can sometimes be hard to get change from large notes and smaller notes are handy for smaller purchases and gratuities.

Travel, Transport and Getting Around

Fly Uganda (, Eagle Air ( and Aerolink ( offer scheduled and charter internal flights.

Domestic bus travel is cheap, but departures aren’t always on schedule. There are two classes of bus travel – matatu (minibus) or kigati (van) which travel fixed routes, and larger coaches or buses.

Self-drive and hiring a private car with a driver are other options. International hire companies are based near Entebbe International Airport and in the centre of Kampala. A four-wheel drive is recommended for rural areas. The speed limit is 80kph (50mph) or 100kph (62mph) on highways. Most car hire companies include breakdown cover. The Automobile Association of Uganda ( can provide information and assistance.mAn International Driving Permit and adequate third-party insurance is required. UK driving licences are accepted. Drivers must carry their vehicle log books and must pay for a temporary road licence.

Whist some major roads are paved, the majority of minor and side roads are unpaved and can be bumpy and pot-holed, so drive with caution, especially in the rainy season.The roads are of variable quality and radiate from Kampala, although the network is sparse in the north. Whist some major roads are paved, the majority of minor and side roads are unpaved and can be bumpy and pot-holed, so drive with caution, especially in the rainy season.  Note that there are still some army and police checkpoints on roads. Always keep vehicle doors locked and valuables out of sight.

Private taxis are identifiable by their black and white stripes. Boda-bodas (motorbike taxis) are often a cheaper option and, whilst fun, are not for the faint-hearted. Don’t be afraid to ask your driver to slow down if necessary as accidents are common.

Cycling in Uganda requires nerves of steel; many roads are dusty or under construction and motor vehicles rarely allow cyclists room. Always wear a helmet and use rear-view mirrors. Avoid cycling at night.

Uganda’s coach and bus services connect all major towns. The Post Office’s Post Bus Service ( offers relatively comfortable buses and is more safety-aware than some other bus companies.

Most major routes are also covered by smaller white mini-buses. These are faster than coaches, but drivers wait until they are full before leaving and departure times are not fixed.

A passenger ferry links Nakiwogo Dock, south of Entebbe to Lutoboka on Buggala in the Ssese Islands on Lake Victoria. There is also a free vehicle ferry which runs from Bukakata, 40km (25 miles) east of Masaka, to Buggala. Lake taxis also link some of the other islands.

Passenger boats can be overloaded in Uganda and there have been several accidents, usually during the rainy season which can bring storms and high winds. Always makes sure boats have life jackets before you set off.

Health and Medical Information

You should seek medical advice from your local health practitioner before travelling to Uganda and ensure that you receive all of the appropriate vaccinations. As a guide Polio, Diphtheria, Hepatitis A & B and Tetanus are strongly recommended. Rabies and Meningitis are also recommended. There is a risk of malaria in Uganda so it is very important to check with your doctor before you go, to see whether malarial medication is required for the areas you are visiting. Generally, it is good practice to avoid mosquito bites by wearing long sleeved, light colored clothes and wearing a mosquito repellent that contains at least 50% DEET. It is strongly recommended that prophylactics (i.e., oral tablets) be taken as a preventative precaution. Following an outbreak of yellow fever in April 2016, the Ugandan Ministry of Health now requires all travelers provide proof of yellow fever vaccination.

Safety Notices

In general petty theft is common in Africa’s major cities and towns. Visitors should take the same care as they would normally take in any other destination worldwide. Keep a close watch on handbags, wallets, and cameras when walking in crowded places. Avoid walking at night and place your valuables in safe deposit boxes at hotels where they exist.  Whereas at safari lodges and tented camps you are typically far from human settlement and crime is virtually nonexistent. We still advise that valuables be locked away in a room safe or kept under the supervision of the camp or lodge manager while on safari.

Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice

All water should be regarded as being a potential health risk. Water used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice should be boiled or otherwise sterilised. Milk is unpasteurised and should be boiled. Powdered or tinned milk is available and is advised. Avoid dairy products which are likely to have been made from unboiled milk. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit should be peeled.

Ugandan cuisine draws on English, Arab and Asian – especially Indian – influences and uses home-grown local produce including plantains, sweet potatoes, corn, beans and cassava. It’s easy to eat cheaply almost anywhere in the country. International restaurants can be found in larger towns, with Indian, Chinese and Italian being the most popular.

Traditional foods include ugali (solidified maize meal porridge) served with a stew of groundnuts (peanuts), beans, chicken or meat such as beef, goat or mutton. Game can be found on menus in some restaurants and at safari lodges. Fish including the tiger fish, mukini, mputa and tilapia are popular.

Vegetarians may struggle outside of major towns, but Uganda’s Indian and Chinese restaurants generally offer a selection of vegetarian dishes. Traditional desserts include mandazi, a doughnut often served with cinnamon or sugar.

Although always appreciated, tipping is not standard practice. It is normal to tip 5 to 10% at tourist-orientated restaurants.

Climate and Weather

Uganda has a tropical climate, with temperatures ranging from 21-25°C (70- 77°F), apart from in the mountainous areas, which are much cooler; the top of Mount Elgon is often covered with snow. The hottest months are December to February. Evenings can feel chilly after the heat of the day with temperatures around 12- 16ºC (54-61°F).

Most regions of Uganda, apart from the dry area in the north, have an annual rainfall of between 1,000mm and 2,000mm. There is heavy rain between March and May and between October and November, when road travel can become difficult in parts of the country. The best time for trekking is during the dry seasons, between January and February and June to September. Wildlife viewing is best at the end of the dry seasons, when game is more concentrated around water sources.

Clothing and Dress Recommendations

During the day, temperatures in Uganda are generally warm so pack plenty of lightweight clothing. If you are going gorilla trekking, pack long trousers and long-sleeved tops, long socks to wear over your trousers as protection against ants, a pair of light gloves to protect against nettles, a hat and a raincoat.
A pair of sturdy, comfortable hiking boots is most important – try to break these in before your trip rather than wearing them brand new as you’re likely to get blisters. The mountains tend to be cold and damp so pack according to the altitude - a change of clothes and a warm fleece in your day pack, along with sunscreen and insect repellent are advised

Important: Gorilla trekking can be strenuous. Physical fitness is required

Gorilla trekking packing list:

  1. • - Sturdy walking boots or shoes (boots are better because they have better grip and support your ankles on hilly terrain)
  2. • - Breathable waterproof jacket and trousers. Even if it doesn’t rain, the ground and vegetation are generally wet. Wearing waterproof trousers means you can kneel to get gorilla photos or slide down slippery slopes.
  3. • - Long-sleeved shirt (to protect yourself from tree branches, the sun and insects)
  4. • - Gaiters (or long socks) to tuck long trousers into (to correct legs from scratches and keep insects out)
  5. • - A fleece or light wool sweater 
  6. • - Sunglasses, sunscreen and sunhat 
  7. • - Gloves to grip the vegetation (dime store or ‘pound shop’ gardening gloves are perfect!)
  8. • - Camera equipment (Extra batteries, Lenses, extra film, etc 
  9. • - A walking pole. Will be provided. This is a big help for climbing up and easing yourself back down steep or muddy hills
  10. • - Plenty of water. Hydration is very important. Your lodge will provide you with a packed lunch and drinking water. (Don’t be afraid to ask for more than one bottle!)
  11. • - Tips (at your discretion) for your rangers and porter 
  12. • - Lastly and most importantly: don’t forget to take your gorilla trekking permit and your passport (or the identification you used when reserving your permit). You will need to show your ID at the pre-trekking briefing.



*Pack all of this in a small backpack. 

• NOTE: Mornings in the mountains can be cool and nights can be cold. You will probably experience mist and quite possibly rain while you are trekking the gorillas. It can also get quite hot, from the sun and/ or the hiking uphill. Layered clothing is recommended, ideally the ‘wick-away’ moisture type. 



Feel free to choose / add what you need;

• 1 – 2 pairs of light weight trousers / slacks – that can dry quickly if wearing on treks

• 1 Pair of shorts 

• 1 – 2 long sleeved shirts – preferably quick drying 

• 2 – 3 short sleeved shirts – preferably moisture wicking 

Casual clothes for evenings:

• 1 – 2 pairs of light weight trousers / slacks 

• 1 – 3 sports / long sleeved shirts and / or blouse 

• 1 dress / skirt for ladies 

*Exterior clothing:

• 1 Lightweight waterproof / windproof / breathable jacket, e.g. Gortex / Event type fabrics

• 1 Fleece, sweater or sweatshirt 

• Sturdy / lightweight waterproof walking boots – trousers / pants should be tucked into socks and boots while trekking (heavy soled rain boots or gaiters also work well)

• 1 Pair of shoes for evening wear 

• 1 Pair of sports sandals will be useful, e.g. TEVA 

• Swimsuit (and a plastic bag for packing in) 

• Bush hat with a brim for sun protection 

• Underwear 

• Lightweight wool socks 

• Gloves – gardening or similar (for gorilla tracking only) 


• Towel – many lodges provide these, but if needed we suggest taking trek towels. These are lightweight, pack to a small size and dry quickly. Best to get a large or extra-large.

• Gaiters.

• Sunscreen and moisturizing cream 

• Sunglasses with neck strap 

• Insect repellent with DEET, please note that DEET can effect man-made fibers and plastics.

• Daypack / small rucksack 

• Binoculars 

• Alarm clock – though our staff will wake you 

• Ear plugs 

• Spare / extra batteries 

• Camera and extra lenses 

• Camera charger / converter / adapter for 220 / 240 AC voltage, plus cigarette lighter adapter is useful

• Film – particularly fast film for the primates (400 – 1600ASA) 

• Personal toiletries /Prescription medicines and the prescription itself 

• Wet-wipes / tissues 

• Back-up glasses especially if you wear contact lenses 

• Wash cloth and plastic bag (if needed) 

• Ziplocks / dry bags and other plastic bags for keeping valuables dry or storing wet clothes

• Torch / flashlight – LED models are light weight and have a good battery life

• Sewing kit (needle, thread, safety pins) 

• Small notebook 

• First Aid Kit – including anti-diarrhea medicine, rehydration sachets, aspirin, cold medication, antiseptic cream, band-aids (plasters), motion sickness pills, lip balm, eye drops and personal medication

• Photocopies of your passport, visas, credit cards and airline tickets (it is advisable to have 2 sets to keep in separate places)


Internet Availability

There are internet cafés in most large towns. Access in smaller towns and rural areas is limited.

Electricity and Plug Standards

Electrical sockets (outlets) in Uganda are the "Type G " British BS-1363 type. If your appliance's plug doesn't match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. Travel plug adapters simply change the shape of your appliance's plug to match whatever type of socket you need to plug into.

Electrical sockets (outlets) in Uganda usually supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts AC. If you're plugging in an appliance that was built for 220-240 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need.

But travel plug adapters do not change the voltage, so the electricity coming through the adapter will still be the same 220-240 volts the socket is supplying. North American sockets supply electricity at between 110 and 120 volts, far lower than in most of the rest of the world. Consequently, North American appliances are generally built for 110-120 volts.

General Guidance

Uganda Time Zone: -
Uganda is 3 hours ahead of GMT and does not observe daylight savings.

People & Culture:

Uganda is a conservative country and visitors would do well to adhere to local rules of behavior. That said, visitors often remark on the friendliness and politeness of the locals: greetings are an elaborate affair and may include inquiries as to the health of your family - perfunctory greetings and a demand for immediate action are somewhat frowned upon!

Tipping in Uganda is highly appreciated. It's just recognition of a good service offered, and it's completely to your own discretion. Tipping wholly depends on your personal budget and decision. 
Tipping of around 10 - 15% is customary in Uganda for good service. Tips are usually given in Uganda Shillings or US Dollars. Safari guides should be tipped the equivalent of USD $10-15 per person per day and a few dollars should be put in a communal tip jar for the driver, cook and porters. If you eat in a restaurant then 10% on top of the bill is a suitable amount to leave.
If you are doing a gorilla trek, tipping is at your discretion - your porter (if you choose to take one) should usually receive the highest tip, with a second tip distributed between your guides, trackers and security personnel.

Traditional African handicrafts can be found throughout Uganda at very reasonable prices and make great souvenirs. Buying carved wooden masks and sculptures made by local artists is a good way to support the community and make sure you go home with something unique and authentic. There are plenty of other items on offer that will jazz up your home such as bowls, batik paintings and woven baskets.
Those looking to spice up their wardrobe needn’t look far whilst in Uganda. Bright fabrics with stunning African patterns can be easily purchased and either taken home as they are or turned into clothes by one of the local tailors. Once again, you will be providing valuable income for locals by getting your own custom-made clothes and you can be sure no-one will walk around wearing the same thing as you back home. 

Travelers over the age of 18 are permitted to bring the following into the country:
•    250g of tobacco products
•    1L of spirits or 2L of wine
•    500ml of perfume and eau de toilette, of which up to 250ml may be perfume
•    Goods up to the value of US$500 (for returning residents)
The following are banned from being imported into Uganda: narcotics, pornography, counterfeit items, cultural artefacts and explosives are not permitted. Some medication may also be restricted - check before you travel. You must obtain a permit to import hunting weapons, live animals, fruit, flowers, cuttings or seeds
You will be sure to find a WiFi connection in the majority of safari lodges & hotels. Note that you may have network difficulties outside the lodges / during safari activities
Tri - band and quad-band cell phones work in most major African cities and towns however you must check to ensure your service provider has an agreement with the local provider. Also check rates as these can be up to US $3 per minute. Cell phones work at some safari lodges and camps where there are cell phone towers. Satellite phones are a great option for travelers who must stay connected. Keep in mind most lodges and camps require guests to keep satellite phones turned off and use them only for outgoing calls so as not to disturb other guests. Also keep in the high per minute call rates.

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