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Uganda Information

 

Uganda is generally a very comfortable country to travel in. People are quite friendly and hospitable, with levels of crime in Kampala lower than those in other African Capitals. However, every country has its quirks and irregularities, so a successful trip often depends on being aware of these.

Cash/Money: There are numerous foreign exchange (forex) bureaus in Kampala where you can exchange all of the major currencies into Uganda Shillings. Be advised, however, that US Dollar notes dated older than 2004 are not accepted. Banks oversees are generally unaware of this, so if you do plan to come to Uganda with US Dollars, double check their dates. Furthermore, denominations less than $50 will receive a much lower exchange rate. Paying a bill using small denominations is not a problem it is in dollars, but make sure to use $50 and $100 bills should you intend to exchange at a forex bureau.

Credit/Debit cards: Visa and Mastercard are accepted at Stanbic bank ATMs. Daily limit for withdrawing ranges between UGX 250,000 to UGX 700,000 ($90-$260, €70-€200). Maestro Debit Cards are also accepted. The majority of hotels, restaurants and shops, however, do not accept credit cards so always make sure to have enough cash with you.

Photography: Taking photos of military installations, bridges, dams, government buildings and embassies is prohibited and may even lead to arrest. Taking photos of Ugandans is only ok if they consent.

Mobile Phones: Mobile phone coverage is generally very good in and around town and patchy in the national parks. Major carriers are MTN, Airtel, Orange and Warid. Sim cards are easily obtainable and we suggest that you acquire one when arriving in Uganda, as rates for calling overseas are generally cheaper using a Ugandan carrier than roaming.

Internet: Although an increasing number of hotels and lodges offer free wireless internet to guests, the majority still does not. Don’t be surprised if you are unable to check your emails or update your facebook status for days at a time.

Electricity: Voltage is 220-240 and plugs are the UK 3-Pin type.

Temperature: Average temperature is around 26°C during the day and 20° at night. The further west and south you go, the colder it gets. Days and especially nights around Bwindi and Fort Portal can get pretty cold (around 10°C). At least 1 pair of trousers and a warm sweater are advisable.

Sun protection: Uganda straddles the equator, which means that the sun can be very brutal. Even on a cloudy day, make sure that you are always protected from the sun by sunscreen, a hat and/or long sleeves.

Malaria: Uganda is a malaria area. Some parts are more high risk than others, but in general it is advisable that you use prophylaxis. Current options include Malarone, Doxycycline and Lariam. Please seek your doctor’s advice on which one of these is best suited for you, especially in case of pregnancy.

Drinking Water: Do not drink tap water. Bottled water is widely available and many lodges also offer filtered water, which is safe to drink as well.

Visas: As nationals of most countries need a Visa to enter Uganda, please make sure you consider this in time before your trip. Passports have to be valid for 6 months after your planned departure from Uganda. Visas can be obtained from a Ugandan Embassy abroad or at any point of entry into the country (international airport and border crossings). A single entry tourist visa costs US$50.

Tipping: It is customary yet not obligatory to leave a tip in most places in Uganda. If you are happy with the service provided, tipping is a good way to express this. As salaries are generally fairly low in Uganda, any amount of tip will be received with gratitude. Here is a general guideline:

Restaurants: 5-10%

Porters: $10

Hotels: $5-$10 per room per night

Rangers & Guides: $10 per Group

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