Uganda is Africa condensed, with the best of everything the continent has to offer packed into one small but stunning destination. Uganda is home to the highest mountain range in Africa, the Mountains of the Moon in the Rwenzori National Park. It is the source of the mighty Nile, and around Jinja offers the best white-water rafting in the world. It has the highest concentration of primates on earth, including the majestic mountain gorilla, one of the rarest animals on the planet. Head to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for a chance to get close to these great apes.
On top of all this, the scenery is so striking that it looks like an oil painting, the beautiful national parks see far fewer visitors than in neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania, and the capital, Kampala, is safer and friendlier than most in Africa. In 1907 pioneering tourist Winston Churchill called it the ‘Pearl of Africa’. He was right.
Mention Uganda to most people today and the first thing they’ll think of is the brutality of Idi Amin. Their naivety is their loss as, thankfully for Uganda, the big man died in exile in 2003. The reality is vastly different. Stability has returned to most parts of the country and tourists are welcomed with open arms. Despite the trials and tribulations of the past, Ugandans have weathered the storm remarkably well. The people offer heart-warming hospitality up and down the country, their ever-present smile accompanied by ‘Hello Mzungu!’. They are truly some of the finest folk on the continent.
Take the plunge now, before the world wakes up to this magical microcosm of Africa.
Getting there & away
As a guest, you need to know before you go to any destination no matter what you’re back ground or your country of origin. This information is to make your time here so enjoyable and remember to laugh, keep your sense of humor and put away your schedule. The pearl of Africa will be a great experience, no matter if you are coming as a business traveler, short term volunteer or going for a safari in Uganda. About preparing for your trip to Uganda; visiting Uganda takes some preparation, planning and its best to use the services of a tour company that will help you in making your time in Uganda a pleasure. Get to read about Uganda and the information will be helpful, read the local news and the face book updates.
Packing for your safari
Always pack the essentials starting with the reason you are coming to Uganda for. This can need the size of pack that you will need. How much you pack is determined by which region of the world you are flying from since different regions have got different allowances for the suitcases. Packing wisely is also the key and in case you are coming for a safari, you need to pay; you need to pack a jacket, camera, long sleeved shirts and trousers, and many more. Don’t forget that some adventures such as gorilla safari requirement specialized clothes and equipment.
Africa is very different from anywhere else in the world and it takes practical common sense to get the most out of your time in Uganda. Nothing is more predictable but also the wonders of Africa. The ways of doing things is different from Africa and the western countries. So it’s advisable that before you get upset, take a deep breath and the realize that in many ways we may do things differently.
About flying to Uganda
Entebbe Airport is the gate way to Uganda for the visitors from abroad. Accessing the country has become easier and more and more airlines have added Entebbe international Airport to their African destinations. Many visitors are arriving in Uganda and come for many reasons, business, volunteers, leisure travelers with a tour on their mind to view the mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, birds, wildlife, white water rafting as well as scenic wonders. Flying to Uganda tends to be higher than other places like Europe and North America most especially between countries and connecting with Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya and other places. Flying to the country has become easier due to many airlines coming up.
About the Tourist Visa in Uganda
The most convenient way for the tourists to obtain the visas is on arrival at the airport in Entebbe. And by land, you can obtain the visa at any entry point into the country. The Ugandan Visa can be got through applying online but the process in our opinion is cumbersome as compared to the Visa on arrival, there are also uploads of itineraries, photos, as well as the credit card fee. The Visas for Rwanda can be obtained at the point of Entry. There is also the East African Visa that allows you to move freely in between Kenya, Uganda as well as Rwanda.
About the money advice and tips in Uganda
Uganda is cash based society where the US Dollar is the currency of choice, where the use of credit cards is limited since traveler cheques are not accepted everywhere and its unwieldy process to get them exchanged into cash. When the credit cards are used, there is a 5% fee charged. The ATM machines are found in major towns, always have a visa card. The Master card can be used at limited banks, and also forget use of the American Express Cards with the ATM machines.
Money: While credit cards are accepted at most major hotels in Kampala, most businesses in Uganda operate on a cash-only basis, and only in the local currency. It is extremely difficult to obtain a cash advance through a credit card, and ATMs that accept international credit cards are hard to find (look for them at a Shell gas station).
You will need to exchange your US dollars for Uganda shillings at a forex bureau or bank. Note: it can be difficult to exchange US currency issued prior to 2000 (series 2000), and you will get a poorer exchange rate if you can persuade someone to accept them at all. Check your currency prior to leaving the US. Higher denomination bills such as $50 and $100 get a higher rate of exchange. Travelers checks are rarely accepted outside of Kampala.
About picking the right Ugandan Hotels and lodges for your safari
It’s good to book the hotel through someone in Uganda like our tour company since we mostly understand then Ugandan market and know your expectations. These choices range from budget to Luxury accommodations. Self booking is advisable to the tourists.
About the food in the Restaurants
There are basic precautions that one must use in order to stay healthy. Always avoid food that is not hot as well as buffets where candles are used for the sauces. Avoid fruits salads, green salads, ice cubes, juices and unbilled water. Enjoying a good cup of coffee while visiting Uganda; it’s easy since this is where coffee is grown and most of the good restaurants in town have got great coffee.
Tipping: Uganda is also not a tipping culture country but your tip will be gladly accepted by a waiter, waitress, driver guide, and lodge or hotel staff during your time in Uganda. It’s also good to tip the driver guide, as well as the rangers that take you for the gorilla trekking and chimpanzee trekking. The tip shouldn’t be so large, give what you afford for the services offered.
There are also the safety and security advice as well as the tips for Uganda. Always be sensible and so practical, this is because the country I so safe and enjoyable. Security and safety is also one of the things on the minds of travelers as they slant journeys to Uganda. Uganda is also one of the safest countries in Africa and Kampala. Always be aware of a few thing that will protect your valuables
And when it comes to health, many tourists don’t get sick while in Uganda but only the intestinal discomfort, none of our clients have ever come done with malaria. There are also precautions to be taken before you arrive here and some things to do after you get here. Many of the visitors to Uganda will get some immunization prior to coming here and get the malarial regiment.
About the cell phones, you can carry unblocked international quad cell phone with you and then buy a Ugandan sim card from either MTN, UTL, Africel or Airtel.the international phone call in Uganda are at 20 cents a minute to places like Europe, Asia as well as North America. You can also buy the local phone with the sim cards for about $8. The phones can also be used to send or receive money both in Uganda and internationally.
In Uganda, you can access at one of the many internet café’s that you will find in Kampala and many larger Ugandan cities. Many of the guest houses and hotels also give free internet access. WiFi is also becoming more common and there are many hot spots in Kampala and some of the restaurants like coffee shops also offer WiFi for their customers.