Travel Tips to Uganda – Guide and How to Book
Besides the political turmoil that Uganda is known for following the past rule of Iddi Amin Dada, Uganda is endowed with many interesting attractions including the fascinating mountain gorillas, climate, unique/interesting cultures and hospitable people. This explains why it was labeled the “Pearl of Africa” by Winston Churchill.
Before travelling to Uganda
Before a traveler embarks on a trip to Uganda for whatever purpose, he or she ought to plan and prepare in advance. The tourist needs to decide which airlines to use and the airlines which operate in Uganda include FZ, FN, SAA, WB, KL, EK, KQ, ET, MS among others.
Read more about the place in Uganda you are traveling to be able to know the culture of the people and the dos and don’ts of the area.
Have a passport valid for at least 6 months after entry into Uganda. This is applicable to US citizens, citizens from EU countries. Also you should have a visa except for countries that are exempt from visa requirement (EAC citizens, COMESA residents and other countries like Cyprus among others)
Also ensure to carry enough funds that can sustain you for all the time in Uganda and also have a return ticket out of the country. Also credit cards can be used in some hotels and shopping malls. But most shops and restaurants only accept cash.
The traveler is recommended to have an up to date inoculation certificate against chicken pox, cholera, yellow fever and immunization against Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Influenza etc
t is also recommended to have travel insurance.
Also know what to pack and not to pack because there are some personal items that can be taxed on arrival at the Entebbe International Airports. For more information on what items are taxed or not by accessing Civil Aviation Authority website for more information. What tom pack also depend on the activity you are coming to participate in, for mountain gorilla tracking there are some clothes a tourist needs to also carry.
Also choose the right clothing to come with to Uganda. This depends on which activity the tourist is going to participate in. But light clothes, hats are good for the hot seasons. For gorilla trackers, carry jackets, sweaters, long sleeve shirts and long trousers, gloves, strong hiking boots. Also for tourism activities based in rural areas, the female tourists may be advised to wear clothes that cover their knees but it is not a must. But it is important to respect the culture of the local community members.
While in Uganda
Convert your foreign currency to Ugandan shillings to allow easier spending since some shopping centers still receive money in local currency. Conversion can be done in Foreign exchange Bureaus and Banks.
On arrival at the Entebbe International Airport, the travelers can transfer to the various destinations using charter lanes like Aerolink, special hire taxis, boda-bodas that can transfer from outside Entebbe airport to any part of Entebbe town since boda-bodas were banned from the airport. Boda bodas don’t have a standard price and this depends on negotiation but most of them tend to exploit travelers who are new in the area and don’t know the prices. Also “matatus” are used from Entebbe town to other towns like Kampala city at UGX 2500
Also be security conscious and very careful with your personal valuables while in Uganda because there are many pickpocketers in Kampala, and vehicle doors should be locked to avoid the cunning thieves from stealing any valuables. But in case of assistance you can contact the Uganda police in the various police posts scattered all over the country.
For accommodation in Uganda, there are many choices to decide in all the districts of Uganda ranging from hotels (five star hotels like Sheraton and Serena in Kampala), four star hotels like protea, hotel Africana etc, three star hotels to unrated hotels. Also lodges exist in Entebbe town, guest houses, Inns, motels. These vary also in their prices and range of services offered. The traveler should not worry because there are many accommodation facilities to choose from. Reservation in these accommodation facilities can be done through hotel websites prior to arrival for some hotels and also on arrival at the facility.
Tipping is not mandatory in Uganda. However after receiving a good service, it is recommended to tip the service provider especially the waiters, waitresses, tour guides, porters, receptionists in hotels and this can be done in shillings or dollars.
For telephone communication, international calls can be made in Uganda using MTN, Airtel, Africel, UTL networks with costs varying across different networks. A traveler can purchase a phone from Uganda or use Unlocked International phones. Incase of internet, there are lodges and hotels which provide free Wi-Fi for their guests. Also in some hotspots in parts of Kampala and Entebbe, free Wi-Fi internet is offered from 6pm to 6am on weekdays while on weekends it is offered form 3pm to 6am.also internet cafes are a better option at affordable prices.
Tourists are advised to travel with first Aid kits with anti-malarial drugs and other medications. In case you are in need of medical assistance, there are many private hospitals and clinics all over the parts of Uganda especially the urban centers.
After a trip in Uganda, don’t also forget to support or give back to the community. This can be through buying souvenirs sold by the community groups, donating in community schools, health centers
In conclusion, planning a trip to a foreign country can be tiring and causes anxiety for some travelers, with the knowledge of the travel trips to Uganda it makes the trip to the country smooth creating a memorable experience for the traveler.