Uganda is one of the most beautiful and safe countries to visit on the African continent. To make your trip as truly spectacular and memorable as possible, we’ll make sure you are well informed and prepared before your arrival.
The below summarises some of the key information required in getting to, and travelling around Uganda. Regulations and circumstances can change, so if you have any further questions or would like to clarify any of the below information, please get in touch with us.
Uganda’s only International Airport, Entebbe (EBB), has several direct flights from Europe, The Middle East and within Africa, flights arriving regularly throughout the day and night.
From Europe there are direct connections from Amsterdam (KLM), Brussels (SN Brussels) and Paris (Rwandair) – these flights also make a quick stop in nearby Kigali in Rwanda.
From the US and Canada, you can fly Delta or United Airlines, whom connect with KLM and SN Brussels respectively.
You can also connect through, or fly directly from: Dubai (Emirates, Fly Dubai, Air Arabia), Doha (Qatar Airlines), Istanbul (Turkish Airlines), Addis Ababa (Ethiopian Airlines) and Nairobi (Kenyan Airways).
Uganda also has its own national carrier, Ugandan Airlines that currently flies to Dubai and Johannesburg with more international routes scheduled soon.
You can also connect from Entebbe to regional hubs such as Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar, The Masai Mara, Serengeti National Park, Nairobi or Kigali on: Ugandan Airlines, Kenyan Airways, Precision Air, Auric Air, Air Kenya and Air Tanzania (certain locations are specific to certain carriers).
It is mandatory for all travelers to Uganda to apply for, and pre-pay, a visa on-line in advance of arrival*. There are some sites who offer a booking service for a fee, but we recommend using the official Uganda Immigration site.
The process is relatively straight-forward, you need to be prepared with certain documents to up-load including: Passport Photo, Passport Bio Page, Yellow Fever Card and your return air tickets. Note that the online process is for your visa approval, your physical visa will be issued into your passport on arrival into Entebbe Airport.
There are a couple of tricks involved such as reducing the file sizes on the uploads – please contact us for our “cheat sheet” on applying for a Ugandan Tourist Visa.
* Nationals of some nations are exempt from a tourist visa in Uganda, many African nations as well as Ireland, Malaysia and Singapore. See the full list here
A Yellow Fever vaccination card is a mandatory requirement when visiting Uganda and necessary to apply for a visa. Note that under new regulations, Yellow Fever vaccinations are now considered valid “for life”, if you have one, it is valid regardless of when it was administered. For people who can not have the vaccination, it is possible to have an exemption letter from a registered doctor.
Most parts of Uganda contain a malaria risk and a preventative medication is considered mandatory for travelers. Consult your doctor or travel clinic as to the best medication for you as well as what other necessary vaccinations you may require to visit Uganda.
The official currency of Uganda is the Ugandan Shilling, notes of which come in denominations of 1,000 through to 50,000. As a rough guide US$1 = 3,700 and £1 = 4,700. All tourist lodges will accept $US notes, however if you wish to purchase anything locally (souvenirs, snacks etc..) you will need Ugandan Shillings.
If you wish to change money, the best idea is to do so in Entebbe – notes of $50 and $100 attract a better exchange rate. Visa and MasterCard Credit Cards are becoming more widely accepted, we can advise you on which lodges do or do not accept them.
Keep in mind, due to local regulations, you will only be able to pay / exchange $USD notes that are 2009 issue or newer. They also need to be “clean”; free of any marks, stains and tears.
Straddling the equator, Uganda has a tropical climate with somewhat unpredictable dry and wet seasons, though temperatures vary little throughout the year.
Travel is possible and enjoyable all year round, rain does not usually hinder travel and can produce clear, dramatic vistas and a welcome coolness in hotter areas.
Although rain showers can occur at any time during the year, the seasons generally fall as follows:
Dryer: December to February & June to September.
Wetter: March to May & October, November.
Ugandan cuisine is a blend of flavours and textures consisting of starchy staples along with grilled meats in delicious sauces. Tender “matooke” (plantain), creamy “posho” (maize meal) and crispy cassava are local favorite, usually served with vegetables and meats such as fish, chicken, beef and goat.
Almost all lodges serve excellent western cuisine, incorporating local ingredients which are either grown on site or sourced locally. Lodges cater to most, if not all, dietary requirements and will have already been informed of your preferences before you reach your lodge.
Drinking water is widely and inexpensively available, we do not recommend drinking tap or river water in Uganda. Lodges are increasingly offering free water refill points to help reduce the use of plastics in Uganda.
Sodas and beers are widely available and safe to drink. The best value wine is imported from South Africa and most lodges offer a relatively wide range of wines and spirits, including the famous locally-made Waragi gin.
Although giving a tip for services provided is not mandatory nor expected in Uganda, tips received often form a significant portion of workers’ income and tips help bolster the financial security of service industry and workers and their families.
Please do not feel obliged to tip but tipping great service is an excellent way to show your appreciation for the incredibly hard workers in the field.
Most roads in Uganda, connecting the main cities and National Parks, are well maintained tarmac. You will of course be driving through some more rural areas and on park roads, these are “marum” dirt which can be rather bumpy as well as muddy in the wetter seasons.
All our drivers and guides are considerate, safe and expert drivers, and will ensure your comfort in all conditions. Our vehicles are regularly maintained to the highest standards and all have air conditioning to make your journeys equally as rewarding as your visits.
Uganda also has an established internal flight network, most operators use 12-seater Cessna Caravans to fly from Entebbe to most National Parks, as well as between most points. Taking a one-hour flight is a good substitute for a full day in the car and can even be more cost-effective for certain routes. We generally utilise both airplanes and vehicles on our itineraries to maximise your time enjoying Uganda.