Uganda Travel Guide & Tips When Traveling in Uganda
What do I need to know before traveling to Uganda? With great experience in arranging Uganda safaris, we have brought to you a detailed Uganda travel guide & tips when traveling in Uganda to follow on your vacation in Uganda- the Pearl of Africa according to Winston Churchill.
These tips when visiting Uganda- the best destination for gorilla tours in Africa will help you yield remarkable safari memories when followed!
This easy-to-read travel blog about travel tips for Uganda has answered several questions asked usually by first-time travelers to Uganda. For instance, how to get to Uganda, travel requirements in Uganda, best time to visit Uganda, major places to visit as well as the key Uganda safari activities to undertake.
To mention but a few, this travel guide Uganda blog has brought you all the safari security precautions, and health tips to follow during your vacation.
For more basic tips when visiting Uganda, this is the right blog for you.
EMAIL NOW OUR RESPONSIVE TEAM WITH ANY INQUIRIES ABOUT YOUR UGANDA SAFARI TOUR!
Below is the detail of the travel guide to Uganda– Uganda travel information (travel advice):
A. Traveling to Uganda Travel Guide- How to Travel to Uganda?
Situated in the Eastern region of Africa, the Pearl of Africa can be accessed can be accessed by both air and road means. However, most travelers coming for Uganda tours arrive by air.
a. Traveling to Uganda by Air
This is the most common and convenient means used by travelers visiting Uganda. All flights arrive at Entebbe International Airport (EBB), situated near Entebbe Town- 46km from Kampala.
From Entebbe International Airport, you’ll get picked up by our friendly safari driver guide to your next destination.
Some of the common airlines that fly to Uganda:
- Qatar Airways
- Ethiopian Airlines
- Kenya Airways
- Uganda Airlines
b. Getting to Uganda by Road
Although most travelers visit Uganda by air, it’s also possible to visit Uganda via its border points. This is especially true while coming from its neighboring countries prominently Rwanda.
When coming from Rwanda, here are the border points to use:
- Katuna border in Kabale
- Kyanika border in Kisoro
c. Traveling in Uganda Travel Tips – How to Get Around in Uganda?
There are different ways to travel in Uganda. However, upon arrival, most of the tourists are transported by their responsible tour operator in a safari vehicle to all destinations.
How to Best Travel Across the Country?
Public transportation means in Uganda include buses, shared taxis, boda bodas, and special hires. But note that most of the public transport means mostly buses and the shared taxes don’t set off on time, they might delay you.
Therefore, we recommend you travel through a tour operator.
If interested in using domestic flights, it’s also possible however, you must book in advance. Aerolink and Bar Aviation are the common domestic flight operators in Uganda.
They connect to areas around national parks like Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi Park, Murchison Falls Park, and Kidepo Valley National Park. Then, from the airstrip, you’ll be picked up by your tour guide in a safari vehicle.
B. Uganda Entry Requirements – What Do I Need to Travel to Uganda?
As it is in all countries, there are also travel requirements to Uganda. These act as travel restrictions to Uganda, and they are a must-have!
Here are the travel to Uganda requirements:
Your passport must be valid for 6 months from the date of entry. Also, it must have at least one blank space where the visa will be stamped.
Citizens from the East African Community don’t need a passport to enter Uganda. An admissible temporary document & their National ID can work as a passport.
b. Uganda Visa
All travelers coming for Uganda safari tours must have a Uganda visa except nationals from Uganda visa-exempted countries.
Visitors can no longer get a visa on arrival in Uganda! Uganda visa is obtained online via the Uganda e-visa portal at $50 per person. For further information, visit; https://visas.immigration.go.ug/.
- Most visitors apply for the Single Tourist Visa for Uganda ($50). It’s limited to a 90-day duration and it’s only restricted to touring and visiting friends as well as family.
- The East Africa Single Tourist Visa ($100)- is ideal for travelers wishing to visit Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the same visa, and it’s valid for 90 days. It excludes Tanzania! Its intention is to promote international trade.
VISA EXEMPTED COUNTRIES TO UGANDA
These are nationals who don’t need to apply for a visa while traveling to Uganda. Check here for further information; https://immigration.go.ug/services/visa-exempt-countries and see whether you also qualify!
We are available to guide you while applying for your visa to Uganda.
A Yellow fever vaccination certificate is a precondition to enter Uganda!
Some organizations advise their visitors to also get the following vaccinations:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B and,
C. Best Places to Visit in Uganda Travel Guide
There are several safari destinations in Uganda/Uganda attractions/things to do in Uganda all holding unique and amazing attractions worth exploring on your Uganda safari trip. With a great knowledge of arranging safari holiday tours in Uganda, we have brought you the best destinations to visit.
Here are the most beautiful places in Uganda to visit:
1. Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is among Uganda’s most visited national parks. It holds a rich biodiversity of wildlife including 4 of the Big Five (Lion, Leopards, Elephants, Buffalos, except Rhinos) among others.
On your Uganda wildlife safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park, you’ll enjoy game drives, Kazinga channel boat cruise, chimpanzee trekking, bird watching, etc.
Tree-climbing Lions are spotted in the Ishasha sector. Usually, tree climbing Lions are spotted in the hot hours of the day!
2. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Found in southwestern Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the best place to track the endangered Mountain gorillas in Africa. This beautiful impenetrable forest is also a paradise for Uganda birding tours.
3. Murchison Falls National Park
Just like Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park (in western Uganda) is also a must-visit destination for Uganda wildlife safari tours. Murchison Falls National Park is home to the Big Five, Giraffes, Hartebeests, Hippos, giant Nile Crocodiles, Oribis, Waterbucks, Bushbucks, Warthogs, and many other birds.
In Africa, Murchison Falls National Park is the best place to spot the Shoebill- an amazing prehistoric-looking bird. It’s spotted on a boat cruise to the Lake Albert Nile Delta Area.
4. Kibale Forest National Park
Popularly, Kibale National Park is known for Uganda chimpanzee trekking safaris as well as birding expeditions. This tropical rainforest park near Fort Portal Town holds the highest concentration and diversity of primates in the world.
Other Amazing Safari Destinations in Uganda Worth Visiting
- Kidepo Valley National Park on the border of South Sudan in northeastern Uganda
- Lake Mburo National Park– one of the best Uganda national parks for game walking
- Semuliki National Park– great site for Uganda birding tours
- The source of the Nile River in Jinja town- The adventure capital of Africa is usually visited on Uganda safari tours to Eastern Uganda.
- Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
- Lake Bunyonyi- in southwestern Uganda
- Rwenzori Mountains Park. Is a popular tourist destination for travelers interested in hiking the Rwenzori Mountains
- Lake Victoria- This vast lake (Lake Victoria) is also a great site for boat cruise safaris in Uganda.
D. Top Uganda Safari Activities, Best Things to Do in Uganda- What to Do in Uganda?
There are several wonderful Uganda safari activities ideal for all kinds of travelers intending to undertake African safari tours. This makes Uganda an amazing safari destination in eastern Africa!
These are the best safari activities in Uganda:
1. Mountain Gorilla Trekking
Gorilla trekking is a rare African safari adventure allowing you to visit Mountain gorillas (amazing gentle giants of the forest) in their beautiful natural habitat. Uganda gorilla trekking safaris famously take place in Bwindi National Park.
Park fees for Uganda gorilla trekking permit:
- Non-Foreign Nationals: $700
- Foreign Nationals: $600
- East African citizens: 250,000 UGX
A Uganda gorilla permit features park fees for entrance.
2. Game Viewing
A Uganda African safari is not complete without game-viewing expeditions! Uganda game viewing tours offer you a golden chance to spot most of the game animals in Uganda such as Lions, Elephants, Cape Buffalos, Leopards, Zebras, Antelopes, and several bird species.
Game drives offer the best wildlife safaris in Uganda. This adventure is best done in national parks like Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, and Kidepo Valley National Park.
Among Uganda national parks, tree climbing Lions can only be spotted in Queen Elizabeth Park. There are no tree climbing Lions in Murchison Falls Park.
3. Chimpanzee Trekking
Chimpanzee trekking is a remarkable encounter with Chimpanzees in the wild- the most intelligent apes in the world, sharing about 98-99% of DNA similar to that of man.
Uganda chimpanzee safaris in Kibale National Park offer the best experience in eastern Africa.
Kibale park fees for chimpanzee trekking:
- Non-Foreign Nationals: $200
- Foreign Nationals: $150
- East African citizens: 150,000 UGX
The Uganda chimpanzee tracking permit includes your park fees for entrance.
4. Undertaking the Source of the Nile River Tour
The source of the Nile River tour in Uganda is not all intended to explore the source of the legendary Nile River however, it also allows you to undertake memorable water adventure activities. Among these include white water rafting, tubing, kayaking, and jet boating on River Nile – the world’s longest river.
Bungee jumping into the River Nile is also possible, etc.
5. Mountain Hiking Tours
In East Africa, Uganda is a great destination for mountain hiking safaris. It holds numerous mountains ideal for hiking safaris and among these are the snowcapped Rwenzori Mountains in Rwenzori Mountains Park.
Other Lovely Things to Do in Uganda
- Birding in Uganda during Uganda birding tours is mostly done in national parks like Murchison Falls Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and Semuliki National Park
- Boat cruise on Kazinga channel
- Game walking
- Relaxation on Lake Bunyonyi. Usually done after tracking the endangered Mountain gorillas in Bwindi Park
- Cultural encounters, visiting local communities.
- Relaxation on the beautiful sandy beaches of Lake Victoria
E. Best Time to Visit Uganda – When to Visit Uganda?
There are 2 seasons in Uganda: the dry season and the wet season. We recommend our clients to visit Uganda during dry months- June to early September and December-February.
During the dry season (peak season), there are minimal rainfall inconveniences in most regions of Uganda including national parks. Note that, in the peak season, the price of tourism components rises higher.
In the rainy season- March to May and late September to November, there is much rainfall in most areas of Uganda. Some roads might flood and become challenging to navigate. During the rainy season, some lodges usually give out discounts to guests.
Please note that Uganda safaris are possible all year round! This time is also ideal to visit other African countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.
F. Packing List for Uganda Safari, Uganda Packing List
Just like it might be when you are traveling in any country on your African safari, there are some travel essentials that you’ll need on your Uganda holiday trip as well.
This is the packing list for a Uganda safari:
- A camera
- Rain jacket/Rain poncho
- Garden gloves- ideal as you track Mountain gorillas.
- Hiking boots
- Long-sleeved shirts & trousers
- Casual clothes for evenings
- UK electricity plug adapter.
- Camera charger
- Extra batteries
- Bush hat
- Malaria pills
- Simple first aid kit
- Light day backpack
- Lightweight wool socks
- Touch with a good battery
- Small notebook & pen
- Personal toiletries e.g. a towel
- Money belt
- Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate
- Sandals for evening wear e.g. Teva
- A sweater
- Aqium Hand Gel
The above Uganda safari packing list is also appropriate while visiting other African countries like Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
G. Safari Uganda Clothing Guide
While visiting Uganda, consider putting on comfortable descent clothes. Your Uganda safari wear is determined by the activity you are going to undertake.
He is the Uganda travel guide/ travel advice on how to wear:
1. Long-sleeved shirts and trousers
This kind of clothing is ideal while tracking the endangered Mountain gorillas for instance, in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. It will protect your body from insect bits and cuts while in the jungle.
On game drives, you can put on shoots and light shirts.
2. Sunhat and sunglasses
During your vacation in Uganda, a sunhat protects your skin from direct sunlight. The sunglasses will also protect your eyes from strong light rays usually in dry months as you explore savannah national parks like Murchison Falls Park.
3. Warm jumper/sweater
Can be ideal during chilly evenings.
4. Environmentally friendly clothes
We recommend grey, brown, and khaki attires. Black absorbs heat during dry months and white clothes usually pick up dust easily in dry months.
Blue colors should be avoided as they attract Tsetse flies.
- During cultural tours, consider putting on knee-covering clothes to respect African culture!
H. Traveling in Uganda Safety Precautions – Is Uganda Safe? | Is It Safe to Travel to Uganda Currently?
Is it safe to travel to Uganda right now? Without a doubt, it’s safe to visit Uganda however, for a successful holiday safari, you must follow some security guidelines. This helps to keep your life as well as properties safe!
Below are the key security travel advisories to Uganda:
1. Avoid moving at night in lonely areas
Among our Uganda travel safety tips (travel advice), this is very crucial! On your vacation, you should avoid as much as possible to move at night by yourself, especially in lonely places like villages and city suburbs. Nights are prone to crimes.
Likewise, you should avoid driving at night. It’s better to be at your lodge by 7 pm. 6:30 a.m. is fine to start your Uganda safari.
2. Don’t walk with expensive gadgets
During city walks, for example, Kampala city tour we advise you to avoid moving flashing expensive gadgets like a phone. This can attract the attention of wrongdoers.
3. Carry your backpack in front not at the back
Especially during city tours on busy streets, it’s wise to carry your back in front to avoid pick pocketers. Just like in any country while in a crowded place, pickpocketing happens, therefore, be vigilant of your belongings!
4. Avoid flashing money in public places
This also attracts the attention of criminals. Don’t move with large sums of money, only move with little change.
5. Only move with duplicates of important travel documents
Among the travel guides to Uganda, this is also key to note. It’s ideal to duplicate a driving permit, passport, vaccination certificate, and bank card.
6. Purchase travel and health insurance
This is very crucial as well! Purchasing travel insurance helps to cover you in case of loss of your luggage and other mishaps as you travel.
Medical insurance will cover all your medical expenses (medical treatment) that might happen during your trip. It helps in medical evacuation.
7. Avoid wild animal souvenirs
I repeat, avoid animal souvenirs however stunning they might look! In this country, it’s an offense to trade in such items, and once caught, you’ll be charged heavily. Only buy art crafts, weavings, and other traditional jewelry while in national parks like Murchison Falls Park.
8. Follow local laws and guidelines of local authorities
Failure to follow the guidelines of local authorities of the Ugandan government can lead to imprisonment!
9. Avoid taking photos of government buildings
For security purposes, it’s illegal to take photos of government buildings, diplomatic sites as well as army structures. Always inquire from your tour guide.
10. Try to avoid political rallies
In most cases, political events in Uganda are violent demonstrations and normally cause loss of life and injuries.
11. Be vigilant always
Since Uganda has ever been attacked by terrorists, always be alert while in crowded public areas as further attacks can happen. However, note that ever since the attacks, the Ugandan government has continued tirelessly to work to reduce further attacks.
12. Avoid illegal drugs and trafficking
The penalties for drug trafficking are severe and may lead to the death penalty.
I. Uganda Currency, Currency of Uganda-What is the Currency in Uganda?
The official currency of Uganda (official Ugandan currency) is the Uganda shillings (Ugx). However, apart from Uganda Shillings, there are also other foreign currencies in Uganda (US dollars, Euros, Pound sterling, etc.) though limited for transactions in some areas.
In Uganda, US dollars and Euros can be accepted in some modern hotels, shops, and supermarkets.
Exchanging Money in Uganda- How to Change Money in Uganda?
It’s possible to exchange money (foreign currency) into Uganda shillings. This is possible at various commercial banks, and forex bureaus mostly found in big towns, they are not there in villages.
Forex bureaus in major cities like Kampala, Jinja, Mbarara, and Fort Portal have more favorable exchange rates than those in small towns.
The exchange rate of the US dollar to UGX is usually: $1= 3500-3800UGX.
Money Safety in Uganda Travel Tips- How to Keep Your Money Safe in Uganda?
Even though Uganda is considered one of the safest countries in Africa, you must know that cases of pickpocketing as well as fraud happen just like it is in other countries. Therefore, you should be cautious!
Here is a Uganda travel guide (travel advice) on how to keep your money safe:
- Move always with small changes to buy souvenirs and tipping. Large amounts attract unnecessary attention.
- Avoid flashing money while in public areas.
- Always lock your bag with a simple clip. It becomes challenging for someone to unzip it.
- If possible, wear a money belt.
- It’s not wise to disclose your money cards.
- When using an ATM, don’t allow someone to help you. Normally, these people are local con artists.
Tipping in Uganda Safari- Do You Tip in Uganda Restaurants?
It’s not a must to tip while on your Uganda tour! Normally, it’s done by international travelers as one way of appreciating the good service offered to them in a standard or local restaurant.
The choice of how much to tip is yours!
Normally, safari driver guides can be tipped $10-20 per day for each guest and porters $5-10. For the lodge staff, each guest can give out $5-10. Most of the lodges have a tip box where you leave money to be shared among the staff remembers.
Other people to tip on your Uganda trip are:
- Park guides for instance in national parks like Murchison Falls Park and Lake Mburo National Park
J. Health Uganda Travel Guide- What Should I Be Careful of in Uganda?
This health travel guide to Uganda is so important to every traveler undertaking a safari holiday in Uganda. Following, it will help you avoid safari problems that might happen due to reckless health.
Note that standard medical facilities (medical treatment) in Uganda are mostly found in major towns as well as major cities. There are relatively poor in rural areas including those areas around national parks.
Here are the health tips on your Uganda trip:
1. Come with insect repellents
This will protect you from insect bites mostly Mosquitoes. Insect repellents having DEET above 50% are ideal.
2. Avoid sex workers
Although they look attractive in their skimpy outfits, you must avoid them. Research proves that about 40% of these ladies have HIV and 50% have STDs. However, they need money.
Therefore, don’t be tempted to get one! If you fail to control it, avoid unprotected sex.
3. Don’t leave your eats unattended
It’s wrong to leave your food and drinks unattended while in public places anywhere in the world. Some people can use this moment to drug your eat.
4. Avoid Street food
This can cause stomach aches to travelers having sensitive stomachs.
5. Avoid tap water- Can you drink tap water in Uganda?
In Uganda tapped water is not safe for Western stomachs! However, it’s fine to use it while brushing your teeth. We advise you to only drink boiled or bottled water to avoid waterborne diseases such as Typhoid and Bilharzia.
K. Ugandan Food – What is the Food Like in Uganda?
Are you wondering what kind of food they eat in Uganda? This country offers various food options including vegetarian, Halal, and Kosher meals. On booking with us your trip, it’s always necessary to communicate in advance all special meals you might need.
Most lodges, restaurants, and hotels in Uganda can prepare English foods, Italian cookeries, French cuisine, and Indian food. Chinese cuisines are also possible in some hotels.
Some of the delicious local food in Uganda worth tasting include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Cassava and,
Usually, they’re served with stew from beef, chicken, beans, and peas to mention but a few. If you’re an adventurous traveler, you can try out some traditional foods such as Luwombo of Baganda and Ishabwe of Banyankole.
Never end your vacation without tasting the famous street food, the “Rolex”.
L. Accommodation in Uganda – Where to Stay in Uganda?
Accommodation in Uganda includes safari lodges, hotels, guest houses as well as camps. These are categorized from luxury, and midrange to budget facilities. The option to choose is yours based on your budget and interest.
Note that, several hotels in Uganda as well as lodges are found in towns such as Entebbe, Kampala, Jinja, Mbarara, Kabale, Fort Portal, and in areas around national parks.
Below, a table shows the average price of accommodation in Uganda:
Average Price- Full Board
More Commonly Questions on Uganda Safaris
1. Time Zone in Uganda- What Time Is It in Uganda?
The Pearl of Africa Uganda is 3 hours ahead of GMT.
2. Languages in Uganda – What Language Is Spoken in Uganda?
What language do they speak in Uganda? There are several languages in Uganda however, English is the official language of Uganda and it’s widely used.
Kiswahili is the 2nd official language in Uganda though rarely used in public. It’s used majorly among military personnel. Luganda is widely spoken in Uganda, especially in the central region.
Some common Luganda words worth knowing:
- Olyotya? (Ollie- oh-tia)- How are you?
- Webale (weber-lay)- Thank you
- Kale (car-lay)- Okay
3. Is Uganda Safe? | Is It Safe to Travel to Uganda? | Is It Safe to Visit Uganda?
Is it safe to travel to Uganda at the moment? It’s absolutely safe to visit Uganda! The Pearl of Africa is among the safest African countries to visit and usually, 99% of safaris in Uganda end successively.
Despite the fact that Uganda is safe, travelers are cautioned to be watchful of their properties. You must follow all the safety Uganda travel tips (travel advice).
Go ahead to monitor local media or ask your tour operator about the political situation in Uganda!
4. Is Uganda Safe for American Tourists? | Can US Citizens Travel to Uganda? | Is Uganda Safe for White Tourists?
Uganda is safe for all travelers from all parts of the globe including American citizens. You only need to be vigilant of your life! You must be watchful while in crowded areas and also avoid walking at night in lonely areas.
5. Can Americans Enter Uganda? | What Does a US Citizen Need to Travel to Uganda?
Citizens from America can enter Uganda provided they have a yellow fever vaccination card, a valid passport, and a Ugandan visa. We advise you to book your safari in Uganda with reliable tour operators for a lovely experience.
6. Is Uganda Safe for Solo Female Travelers?
Generally, the destination of Uganda is safe for solo female travelers. They just have to exercise precautions discussed in this Uganda travel guide blog such as avoiding walking at night, and never carrying large sums of money with them.
Check fist the news on Uganda’s local media and see whether it is safe. Still, inquire from your tour operator for security guidelines.
7. Is Uganda Friendly to LGBT Travellers?
Participating in same-sex activities is an offense in Uganda and it’s heavily charged by the anti-homosexuality act. This is due to Uganda’s conservative society (Christianity) that doesn’t allow homosexuality.
Not believing in the same sex doesn’t mean that this country is unfriendly! Uganda is listed among the friendliest countries in Africa.
If you’re an LGBT community person traveling in Uganda, we urge you to act discreetly in public areas.
8. How Many Days Should I Spend on a Safari in Uganda?
There are no specific days set for a traveler to spend on a trip in Uganda however, one week can offer you the best experience.
Your tour operator is available to guide you for the duration of your vacation. He does this based on your budget and interest.
9. What to Expect on a Safari in Uganda?
All your Uganda safari expectations should be in line with the kind of trip you are coming for. For example, on a wildlife tour, expect to encounter most game animals in Uganda including the Big Five.
Can You Bargain in Uganda?
It’s allowed to bargain in Uganda. Mostly, it’s done in stalls and open markets, but modern shops have the price of their products tagged with a price.
When you’re bargaining, always be polite and respect the seller.
11. How Much Money Do I Need to Travel to Uganda?
The amount you come with on your trip depends on the duration of your trip and the activities you wish to undertake.
Daily, expect to spend about $150 and above. This can cover meals, accommodation, and transportation.
12. Uganda Safari Cost- How Much Does It Cost to Travel to Uganda? | How Expensive Is It to Travel in Uganda?
There is no fixed cost for safaris in Uganda as it’s influenced greatly by your travel style. The class of accommodation, transport means and activities you’ll undertake among others determine this rate.
On average, expect to spend about $150-200 daily per person.
What Is the Cheapest Way to Travel in Uganda?
Here is a Uganda travel guide (travel advice) for travelers interested in Uganda budget tours:
- Use more of budget lodges.
- Travel in a low season- rainy season
- Undertake group tours.
- Book your trip with local registered tour operators.
14. Is Wi-Fi Widely Available in Uganda?
Wi-Fi is limited in most areas in this country but, standard hotels and lodges in Uganda offer free Wi-Fi to their guests. Power shortages sometimes inconvenience.
On booking with us a trip, we shall give you free Wi-Fi in a safari vehicle.
15. Which Local SIM Card Should You Buy in Uganda?
There are several mobile networks in Uganda but, MTN and Airtel are prominently used. Getting a Ugandan local sim card keeps you connected with your people at home.
16. Why visit Uganda? | Why Must You Travel to Uganda?
Uganda is a gem every traveler planning to undertake safaris in Africa should visit! Among others, this country offers the best Mountain gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking, as well as birding tours in Africa. You’ll also enjoy scenic game-viewing tours in this country.
Hope this travel guide to Uganda has been of help to you. For more questions about your safari in Uganda endeavor to email us.