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Uganda

UGANDA TRAVEL GUIDE

The spectacular landscape of Uganda is gradually replacing the memories of an unsavoury and bloody past. Visitors are drawn to the safari parks, where families of chimps have been trained to interact with humans. Gorilla tracking is another big draw in this country blessed with diverse wildlife, throbbing forests, snow-capped mountain peaks and sparkling lakes. Relatively unknown is the treasure trove of birds in Uganda, an absolute must for bird enthusiasts!

 

Uganda is accessible and affordable, but not up to the high tourism standards of more mature destinations such as Kenya or Tanzania or South Africa. This gives it more edge, more authenticity and less predictability. Most travellers come for the gorilla safari, but other major draws are the chimpanzees, ornithology, trekking the Rwenzoris and visiting the source of The Nile river.

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UGANDA QUICK FACTS

  • Capital: Kampala
  • Currency: Ugandan Shilling (UGX)
  • Area: 236,040 km2
  • Population: 42,72 million (2018)
  • Language: English (official language), Luganda, Swahili
  • Religion:Roman Catholic 33%, Protestant 33%, Muslim 16%, indigenous beliefs 18%
  • Electricity: 240V 50HZ (UK plug type)

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UGANDA PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

  • 26 January, NRM Liberation Day
  • 8 March, International Women’s Day
  • 1 May, Labour Day
  • 3 June, Martyrs’ Day
  • 9 October, Independence Day

Also, Good Friday through Easter Sunday and the Islamic festivals of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

FESTIVALS IN UGANDA

Uganda

BEST TIME TO VISIT UGANDA

Uganda has two main seasons: the dry season and the rainy season.

  • The dry season typically runs from June to August and December to February. These months see the least amount of rainfall and are considered the best time for general travel and wildlife viewing. The temperatures are also relatively mild during these months.
  • The rainy season typically runs from March to May and September to November. These months see the most rainfall and can make travel more difficult due to muddy roads and poor visibility. However, the rainy season is also when the gorillas' habitats are lush and the trails are not as crowded, making it a great time for gorilla trekking.

Keep in mind that Uganda's weather can be unpredictable and can vary based on the region you are visiting. It is always a good idea to check the forecast and plan accordingly.

 

The best time to visit Uganda varies depending on the specific activities or sights you plan to see. For general travel and wildlife viewing, the dry seasons of June to August and December to February are considered the best times to visit. These months have the least amount of rainfall and offer the best conditions for game viewing. However, if you're interested in gorilla trekking, the best time to visit is during the rainy seasons of March to May and September to November when the gorillas' habitats are lush and the trails are not as crowded.

UGANDA WEATHER SYNOPSIS

Uganda’s climate is three-quarters tropical with two rainy seasons (bimodal) annually, namely March-June and October-December. Only the northern part has a mainly single rainy season from March to mid-October. The Northeast tends toward semi-arid, especially during the dry season. The rainfall level received ranges from 400 to 2,200 mm per year while temperature ranges between 16 to 31ºC.

Uganda

UGANDA TOURIST SEASONS

Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists. 

Read more...

Peak Season

Shoulder Season

Off Peak Season

JANUARY

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FEBRUARY

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MAY

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JUNE

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JULY

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AUGUST

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SEPTEMBER

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OCTOBER

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SPORT & ACTIVITIES

SNOW SPORT IN UGANDA

HIKING & CYCLING IN UGANDA

You can enjoy outdoor activities all year round in Uganda, but the best time for gorilla trekking is during the dry seasons of January and February or from June to September.

BEACH OPTIONS IN UGANDA

If you're looking for a beach in the land locked country of Uganda, head over to the shores of Lake Victoria!

SURFING IN UGANDA

KITESURF IN UGANDA

Kitesurfing spot details and weather

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TRAVEL SAFETY IN UGANDA

Always consider the current safety risk of each destination and do not travel without travel / medical insurance

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HEALTH RISKS IN UGANDA

Be aware of possible health risks in 

Uganda

Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.

Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.

Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.

Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.

For the latest travel health notices and recommended precautions click

UGANDA TRAVEL COSTS

The cost of traveling to Uganda can vary depending on a number of factors such as the time of year, the length of your stay, and your travel style. However, some general estimates can be provided.

  • Airfare: Round-trip flights to Uganda from major cities in the US or Europe typically range from $800 to $1,200, depending on the departure city and time of year.
  • Accommodation: Accommodation in Uganda can range from budget-friendly options like hostels and guesthouses to luxury resorts. Average prices per night for budget options are around $20-30 and $100-200 for mid-range hotels, while luxury resorts can cost $300 or more per night.
  • Food: Basic meals in local restaurants and street food stalls cost around $3-5, while more upscale restaurants will charge $10-20 per meal.
  • Transportation: Uganda has a good public transport system, and it is possible to travel around the country by bus or minibus for a few dollars. Taxis and private cars can be hired for a higher cost - a private car or driver can cost around $50 per day.
  • Activities: Gorilla trekking permit cost $600 per person, chimpanzee tracking permits cost around $150 per person and a national park entry fee cost around $40-50 per person.

Overall, a budget trip to Uganda can cost around $50-80 per day, while a more comfortable trip could cost around $150-200 per day.

It is important to note that costs can vary depending on the time of year, location and personal preferences, this is a rough estimate.

 

UGANDA TRAVEL TIPS

Here are some travel tips for Uganda:

  • Plan ahead: Uganda is a popular destination, so it's important to book your flights, accommodation, and activities well in advance.
  • Get vaccinated: It's recommended to get vaccinated against yellow fever, typhoid, and hepatitis A before traveling to Uganda.
  • Pack for the weather: Uganda has a tropical climate, so pack light and breathable clothing, along with rain gear for the rainy season.
  • Respect the culture: Uganda is a conservative country, so be sure to dress modestly and respect local customs and traditions.
  • Be prepared for power outages: Power outages are common in Uganda, so bring a flashlight or headlamp and a power bank to charge your devices.
  • Get a local sim card: Uganda has good mobile network coverage, so it is a good idea to get a local sim card for your phone to stay connected.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: Uganda is generally safe, but it's important to be aware of your surroundings, especially when traveling alone or in remote areas.
  • Be flexible: Uganda is a destination where you can experience a range of activities, but it is worth to have a plan. However, be prepared to adjust it as you go.
  • Use a guide or a driver: Uganda can be a challenging place to navigate and a local guide or driver can help you get the most out of your trip, and also help you with safety and security.

SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF UGANDA

Uganda is divided into four main regions:

  • Central Region: The Central Region is the most developed part of Uganda and is home to the capital city, Kampala. The region is known for its historical sites, such as the Kasubi Tombs, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is the final resting place of four Buganda kings. The region is also home to the popular Uganda Museum, which showcases the country's history and culture.
  • Western Region: The Western Region is known for its beautiful landscapes and wildlife. The most famous attraction in the region is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is home to over 400 mountain gorillas. The region is also home to other national parks such as Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Mburo National Park, both of which offer great wildlife viewing opportunities.
  • Northern Region: The Northern Region is known for its rich culture and heritage. The region is home to the Karamojong people, a semi-nomadic pastoralist community that has its own unique customs and traditions. The region is also home to Kidepo Valley National Park, which is considered one of the best wildlife-viewing destinations in Africa.
  • Eastern Region: The Eastern Region is known for its beautiful landscapes and outdoor activities. The region is home to Mount Elgon National Park, which offers great hiking and mountain climbing opportunities. The region is also home to Sipi Falls, a series of waterfalls that are popular among hikers and adventure seekers.

It is important to note that Uganda is a destination with a lot to offer, and each region has its own unique highlights, and the information provided is just a general overview.

Uganda is a diverse and beautiful country with many things to see and do. Here are some of the best things to experience when visiting Uganda:

  • Gorilla trekking: Uganda is home to over half of the world's population of mountain gorillas, and trekking to see these magnificent animals is one of the most popular activities in the country. Gorilla trekking can be done in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
  • Chimpanzee tracking: Uganda is also home to a large population of chimpanzees, and tracking them in their natural habitat is another popular activity. Chimpanzee tracking can be done in Kibale Forest National Park and Budongo Forest Reserve.
  • Wildlife safari: Uganda has several national parks and game reserves that offer great wildlife viewing opportunities. Some of the most popular parks include Queen Elizabeth National Park, which is known for its large herds of elephants and lions, and Murchison Falls National Park, which is home to crocodiles and hippos.
  • White-water rafting: The Nile River offers some of the best white-water rafting in the world. The most popular spot for rafting is around Jinja, which is also known as the adventure capital of Uganda.
  • Cultural experiences: Uganda is a culturally diverse country, and there are many opportunities to experience the local way of life. Visitors can visit traditional villages, attend cultural festivals, and learn about the history and customs of different ethnic groups.
  • Hiking and Climbing: Uganda is a hiker's paradise with the highest mountain range of the Rwenzori Mountains, and Mount Elgon, both offering great hiking and climbing opportunities.
  • Bird Watching: Uganda is a birdwatcher paradise with over 1,000 bird species, some of the most spectacular bird species can be found in the wetlands, forests and savannahs of the country.
  • Waterfall and hot spring: Uganda is home to several beautiful waterfalls, such as Sipi falls, and hot springs like those found in the Sempaya Hot Springs in the Western Region and in the Eastern Region.

This list is not exhaustive but gives an idea of the variety of activities and experiences available in Uganda.

Uganda

WHAT TO EAT IN UGANDA

Uganda has a diverse cuisine influenced by its many ethnic groups, as well as its colonial history. Here are some traditional Ugandan dishes and drinks that you should try when visiting:

 

  • Matoke: A staple dish made from mashed plantains, typically steamed and often served with a peanut sauce.
  • Ugali: A staple dish made from cornmeal and water, often served with a variety of stews or sauces.
  • Rolex: A street food made by rolling a chapatti (Indian-style flatbread) around a filling of eggs and vegetables.
  • Samosas: Fried or baked pastry with a savory filling, such as spiced potatoes, onions, and peas.
  • Groundnuts sauce: A sauce made from ground peanuts, tomatoes, onions, and spices, often served with matoke or rice.
  • Lazybones: A traditional dish made from millet flour, mixed with various ingredients such as peanuts, beans or vegetables.
  • Nile perch: A freshwater fish that is caught in Lake Victoria and often grilled or fried.
  • Local fruits: Uganda is known for its tropical fruits such as pineapples, papayas, mangos, bananas, and avocados.
  • Sorghum beer: Traditional beer made from Sorghum, a cereal grain, popular in the rural areas of the country.
  • Waragi: A local gin made from bananas, it is a popular drink among locals.

 

It's important to keep in mind that the availability and preparation of these dishes may vary depending on the location, season and the preferences of the cook. Also, if you have any dietary restrictions or allergies, be sure to inform the cook or the waiter.

LGBTQ IN UGANDA

Uganda

WHERE TO STAY IN UGANDA

When visiting Uganda for the first time, it's important to choose a place to stay that meets your budget and travel style, and that is also well-located for the activities and sights you plan to see. Here are some options to consider:

  • Kampala: The capital city of Uganda is a good place to stay for your first time in the country, as it is well-connected to other parts of the country and offers a variety of accommodation options, from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxury hotels.
  • Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: If your main focus is gorilla trekking, it's worth staying in or near Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. There are a variety of accommodations available ranging from budget-friendly campsites to luxury lodges.
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park: If you want to experience a wildlife safari, Queen Elizabeth National Park is a great option. There are several accommodations available inside the park, such as budget-friendly campsites and mid-range lodges, as well as luxury tented camps.
  • Jinja: Jinja is a popular destination for adventure activities such as white-water rafting and kayaking, and there are several budget-friendly and mid-range accommodations available.
  • Entebbe: Entebbe is a city located on the shores of Lake Victoria, it offers a variety of accommodations, from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxury resorts, and it is well-located for those who want to explore the city or head to the nearby wildlife reserve.

It's worth noting that Uganda has a wide range of accommodations options, from budget-friendly to luxury, and it's a good idea to research what's available in each location, depending on your budget, preferences, and the purpose of the visit.

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