Uganda also known as “the Pearl of Africa” is is one of Africa’s top tourist destinations due to its political stability and a wide range of unique attractions ranging from relief, wildlife, drainage and its rich cultural heritage. It is regarded as one of Africa’s safer destinations by most foreigners across the world and has claimed various awards from some of the top magazines and news agencies some of which include Lonely Planet and CNN. Some of the tourist attractions Uganda has include national parks, game reserves, natural tropical rain forests, traditional/ historical sites, mountainous relief features, numerous water bodies, hot springs, and so much more.
Are you planning to travel to Uganda for a vacation, below are some general travel tips with all the information to guide you on what to do & what not to do during your Uganda safari adventure for a successful experience in the Pearl of Africa;
- When to visit
Uganda is open to travelers/tourists at any time of the year. It has modified climate throughout the year which is favorable for the visitors. It has two climatic seasons throughout the year that is to say the dry and wet season. Some tourist activities such as hiking , forest/nature walks, gorilla and chimpanzee tracking are however a bit more challenging during the rainy seasons due to the slippery roads and heavy rains which are sometimes difficult to walk through. Generally the peak seasons for tourist arrivals in Uganda are from mid-September to November and from March to May.
- What to carry /bring
A valid passport is a mandate for your safari in Uganda and it is also advisable to check that you have your visa requirements with you before you travel. For proper bird watching, nature and game viewing carry a pair of binoculars, a good camera that has zoom lens for clear and visible pictures. Also make sure you have all your personal essentials with you and other necessities like toiletries and food staffs can be bought from here.
- What to wear
In Uganda, the temperatures during day time are usually hot or warm therefore you need to bring a lot of light clothings. The evenings though are cooler especially in high altitude areas so you also need to carry some some light sweaters with you. If you are an adventure traveler, do not forget to carry solid walking shoes and sturdy clothing, a hat, sunglasses and also a waterproof jacket/ rain coat.
- Getting there
Uganda can be reached by air through Entebbe International Airport which is located 40km from Kampala the largest capital city of Uganda. The airport is serviced by a number of international airlines some of which include British Airways, Kenya Airways, Rwandair Express, Ethiopian Airlines and others. You can also reach Uganda overland through Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. Not that the local time in Uganda is GMT +3.
- On arrival
Once you arrive at Entebbe International Airport in Uganda, you will witness that the customs and immigration officials are very kind, polite and efficient people. Note that a visa (for those who need one) can be purchased at any overland border or on spot at Entebbe International Airport. Foreign exchange and ATM facilities are also accessible at the airport plus restaurants in case you are need something to eat.
In Uganda, all visitors should have a certificate a of yellow fever vaccination and should also take malaria prophylactic or anti-malaria drugs. You are also advised to drink thoroughly boiled water or buy bottled drinking water in order to avoid exposure to typhoid since the tap water is not safe for drinking and also to be extra clean so as to avoid infections.
- Driving and traffic rules
Driving in Uganda is on the left side and one needs to read and observe all the traffic signs so as to avoid accidents or any inconveniences while on the road. In case you are not so sure about driving yourself, it is advisable to Rent a car with a driver so that he safely takes you around.
Uganda has various currency exchange facilities for example banks, and ATM machines are spread all over the country especially in the urban centers/towns and also at Entebbe International Airport. The unit f currency is the Ugandan shilling. It is advisable to always carry Ugandan shillings on you because foreign currencies such as US dollars, Euros, Pounds and cheques are not commonly used especially outside the urban centers.
In case you do not have arranged accommodation, Uganda has a number of accommodation facilities spread all over the country that is to say in the major towns for example in Entebbe, Kampala, Jinja and many others. These accommodation facilities range from budget to midrange up to the upmarket/luxury hotels and this which caters for all types of travelers. Some of these hotels especially the up-market hotels also arrange and cater for airport transfers on request.
English is the official language of Uganda and is spoken in all parts of the country and most Ugandans are educated and can speak it very fluently. Since English is internationally spoken, communication is easy and you will not find getting around difficult. Some Ugandans also speak Kiswahili and over 30 indigenous languages with Luganda language as the most widely spoken.
- What to wear
In Uganda, daytime temperatures are normally hot or warm and night temperatures are cooler especially at high altitudes. It is therefore advisable pack for your safari accordingly for example to carry a lot of light clothing to wear during day time and light sweaters for the night. For adventure travelers, do not forget to carry a hat, a pair of sunglasses plus a waterproof jacket or raincoat.
- What to eat
There are various restaurants and hotels spread all over the country with all types of dishes that is to say both the local cuisines and continental dishes. Feel free to try the local delicious cuisines of Uganda for example green bananas (matooke). In case of self-catering, you can obtain foodstaffs to cook from the various supermarkets that are spread countrywide and markets for example fruits and vegetables.
Uganda has a number of craft shops with a variety of handicrafts you can select from to take back home from your Uganda safari. Some of them include different African print clothing, hand-made musical instruments such as drums, woven materials, paintings, pottery, batiks plus so much more. Purchasing some of these commodities will enable you to keep beautiful memories of your visitation to Uganda after you have returned to your home country.
Tipping is not a mandate that is to say you do not have to do it if you are not interested although it is always highly appreciated if you do. Tips can be given to hotel and restaurant attendants plus guides and drivers. Tipping is done as a sign of appreciation.
- Read about Uganda
Read and get further information about Uganda with reference to guidebooks such as Lonely Planet and other wide range of books about Uganda safaris and travel . You can also visit various websites and read about tourism in Uganda for example the tourist attractions, where to stay and what to do or activities.
A visit to Uganda will reward you with precious memories that yo will cherish your whole life. Book your safari with us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +256-758540071 to speak with reservations team.