ENTERING THE COUNTRY Non-residents of Uganda will be required to purchase a visa when they arrive in Uganda. 90day Tourist Visas can be obtained at the airport upon arrival at a cost of $50 US Dollars. Uganda also requires that all visitors are vaccinated against Yellow Fever. While they may not always check, we strongly recommend that you bring proof of this vaccination with you when arriving in the country.
WEATHER Uganda is sunny most of the year, with temperatures rarely rising above 29 degrees Celcius / 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The heavy rainy season is March-May, light rainy season November-December, though there will always be a few hours of sunshine. June is usually dry, but showers can still be expected.
LANGUAGE The official language in Uganda is English. Luganda and Swahili are also widely spoken.
ELECTRICITY 230/245 volts. British-style plugs with three pins are used.
FOOD AND DRINK Uganda, with its agricultural resource, combined with the conducive climate, produces a wide range of food products. Bananas, millet, maize, sorghum, rice, wheat, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes and cassava grow in abundance. Fruits and other vegetables are also plentiful – watermelon, passion fruits, pineapples, mangoes, tomatoes, tangerine, green peppers. You will probably eat better here than you do at home!
Tea and coffee is readily available almost everywhere with coffee houses and cafés conveniently located. Soda (coke, fanta, sprite, bitter lemon, etc) are sold by the (glass) bottle, which are returnable and recycled. Local beer (lagers only) are as good as any international beer and there are many to choose from including – Bell, Club, ESB, Pilsner, Nile Special, Eagle, Castle, Guinness. All are brewed in Uganda, but it is important to remember that these are considerably stronger than what you may be used to.
CURRENCY The official currency for Uganda is the Uganda Shilling. Ugandan shilling coins (100, 200, 500 and limited edition of 1,000). Currency paper notes range from 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000.
Banks and Changing Money There is a wide array of banks and forex bureau’s to choose from, with several international banks represented (Barclays, Standard Chartered, Stanbic). The US dollar and the pound sterling are the strongest currencies used in Uganda and are the easiest to exchange. Dollar notes smaller than US$50 attract a far lower exchange rate. We suggest you bring cash and/or credit cards. For convenience you may change money at the airport upon arrival however, the airport exchange is not as competitive as forex bureaus in Kampala. We suggest you change only as much as you need to get you through the first day or so (recommend US$50-100 only). Credit Cards Despite what some guidebooks claim, credit cards are not widely accepted and where they can be used, These ATMs can be found at the airport and Kampala, but please note that they only accept Mastercard and Visa cards.
HEALTH ISSUES Malaria Risk and Prophylaxis Malaria risk is high. Again, please consult and discuss prevention and treatment options with your physician prior to your visit to East Africa. There are many health centres that can be contacted in case of any health related challenges such as National referral Hospital, Mulago, Nakasero Hospital, IHK among others.
MOBILE COMMUNICATION; If you are planning to bring your own mobile phone, the network is very good in Entebbe and Kampala and most parts of the country. There are several mobile providers including MTN, Airtel and Uganda Telecom, Africell. If you are not using a roaming account, you can purchase a SIM card for relatively low cost (Ushs 3000 / US$1.00). Airtime is available through mobile wallets of these communication companies or can be purchased from vendors across town.
RECREATION AND SHOPPING IN KAMPALA: Kampala has a great downtown for trade shopping and an uptown impressive shopping malls. These include, the acacia mall, garden city, forest mall. There are impressive casinos such as Simba Casino, Pyramids,
THINGS TO DO IN KAMPALA – Chauffeurs on Travel SUGGESTIONS -Makerere University – East Africa’s oldest institute of higher learning – Bahai Temple – the only one in all of Africa – National Theatre – see the bulletin board for plays and events – Kasubi Tombs – most impressive royal tombs of the ancient Buganda Kingdom – National Museum, Gadhafi Mosque, Lubaga Cathedral (Catholic Cathedral).
Restaurants Kampala offers an amazing variety of international cuisine, including Italian (Mambo Point), Chinese (Fang Fang), Thai (Krua Thai), Greek (Andy the Greeks), Indian (Nawaab), Ugandan (Baguma Restaurant, African Hot Pot), Ethiopian (Fasika), European (Sam’s) and Pizza (Piza Hut), Turkish (Efendy’s – Hotel Africana), coffee/fresh juice (Ban Café), Café Pap and Rwenzori Coffee House (Lugogo Mall), bakery (Vasili and Sons) and fast food (Café Javas/ Food Hub/Garden City)… to name a few!
Entertainment There are several bars in Kampala: FAME, Wave, Gabz Lounge, On the Steak Out, Obligato. Nightclubs: Club Silk, Guvnor and Illusion. The National Theatre and Theatre La Bonita features plays, dance and music – see their bulletin board for what’s on.
Crafts There are craft shops throughout the city. A great place for textiles (sarongs, bedspreads, table cloths) is the Textile Centre at UGMA Showgrounds. Try the local crafts market behind the National Theatre for a variety of handmade items where you can bargain. Banana Boat in Kisementi (near Just Kicking) offers exclusive crafts from Kenya and Uganda, they also have shops in Garden City and Lugogo Mall. A little pricey but definitely worth a look, especially for something a little more special. Cassava Republic, under Wagadugu’s, and their sister shop just around the corner, “Jungle Junk”, has wonderful hand painted cloth with wrought iron spears to hang them from, plus other local crafts.
Post Office: The Post Office is centrally located on Kampala Road near Barclays Bank, open Monday to Friday, 9.00 am – 5.00 pm and Saturdays 10.00 am – 2.00 pm. Closed Sundays.
Produce: The central fresh produce market is on Nakasero Road and is known as Nakasero Market. This market has a colorful and vibrant atmosphere and provides the true African market experience.
Medical: International Medical Centre, Pentecostal Church Building, Bombo Road (opposite Hotel Equatoria), (Dr Ian Clarke) – phone 0414 341 291 The Surgery, 2 Acacia Avenue, Kampala (Dr Richard Stockley) – phone 0414 256 003
Bank: Barclays Bank on Kampala Road, open Monday to Friday, 9.00 am – 3.00 pm, closed Saturdays and Sundays. Barklays is the only bank in Uganda that does credit card cash advances for the very small fee of Ushs3,000. There are many forex bureaus’ in town offering good exchange rates