Practical information for traveling to Uganda

ugandaON GOING UPDATES TO THIS POST UNTIL END OF SEPTEMBER.

Vaccinations
– Yellow fever
– Typhoid
– MMR
– Hepatitis A
– Tetanus

Cost €200 including consultation.

I did the first four ones during the same visit. I had to to a second shot for the MMR after several days. Just one shot for all the others. Moreover the doctor suggested to do one more shot for the Hepatitis A next year so it will last 25 years instead of 1.

Malaria pills chosen is Malarone. More expensive, but less side effects than others like Larium.

Safety

Although much of Uganda is generally safe, there are some risky areas. North of Murchison Falls National Park, and around some towns, such as Lira and Gulu, the fruitcakes of the LRA continue to wreak havoc. It is also important to take care in the far northeast due to regular clashes between armed Karamajong people and anyone they don’t like. It is imperative to make inquiries with knowledgeable local authorities before setting off to these areas.

Tourist Visa

A Uganda tourist Visa is easily obtained at points of entry such as Entebbe International Airport. All you need is 2004 or newer 50 USD bill and the entrance form that you filled out on the airplane. The time it takes is relatively short, no passport pictures needed.

Money

I usually don’t travel with cash, but you need to have some there.  East Africa including Uganda is a cash based society.
The Ugandan shilling (USh) is a relatively stable currency. Cash can be changed easily at major banks and foreign exchange (forex) bureaus. The best banks are Standard Chartered and Barclays Banks. The forex bureaus offer slightly better exchange rates than the banks

Bring US dollars newer than 2004 otherwise they won’t be accepted. It’s better paying in dollars any activity like Gorilla trekking and white water rafting: it will be cheaper than paying in local currency or by credit card.

Credit cards are generally accepted to get cash at ATMs and in some banks, forget debit cards.

At both banks and forex bureaus, small US dollar bills attract a much lower exchange rate than do US$50 and US$100 notes, and the rate for travelers cheques is about 2% lower than they are for cash. Exchange rates in Kampala are up to 15% better than is the case elsewhere in the country, so stock up on shillings in the capital.

Bargaining is necessary in informal transactions such as those at markets and roadside stalls, but not in shops that display fixed prices.

Electricity

240 volts is the voltage in Uganda and you will need a UK plug.
On top of the universal travel adapter, bring with you an USB External Battery Charger Power Pack (and micro usb cables). You’ll be able to charge smartphone and tablet also if there is an electricity black-out. Power supply is iffy, in Uganda can have extended power outages that last up to 12 hours.

Transportation

The easiest thing of course is to have someone to pick you up at the airport. If not, you can easily rent a special hire taxi. No buses or so called taxi vans come to the airport and neither do boda-boda motorcycle taxis. The normal rate that will be asked is around 40 to 50 USD though some will ask for more, negotiate. Self Drive is not suggested, they say you may have a heart attack traversing the Ugandan roads. Coming from Napoli I doubt I will. :)

Taxis “matatus”: The matatus are 14-seater minibuses, often white with blue stripes. They usually drive along predetermined routes and only leave when they are full. They are fast, numerous and, outside Kampala, are often overloaded.

“Special Hire” vehicles: These are taxis according to the Western understanding. These can be hired to take customers to a specific destination.

Boda Boda cycles: These can be either bicycles or motorbikes although, in the larger towns, motorbikes are more common. The name originated from when persons traveling between the border posts of Uganda and Kenya would take a bicycle taxi. The owners of the bicycle would attract customers by shouting “boda boda” (border border). The boda boda drivers drop customers at their destinations. They, however, often do not wear helmets and don’t always follow traffic regulations.

Public buses: These vary from large international buses traveling between Kampala and Nairobi or Dar Es Salaam to seventy-seater buses traveling between the larger towns in Uganda and to and from Kampala. Although some of the services are safe and reliable, many of the buses drive at terrifyingly fast speeds.

Climate

Uganda can be visited at any time of year. Most of Uganda enjoys the perfect tropical climate. Temperatures average about 26°C during the day and 16°C at night. The hottest months are from December to February.

Wildlife

Uganda can’t compete with Kenya or Tanzania for sheer density of wildlife, but with 500 species of mammal it has amazing diversity; and with the opening of the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, the big five are all here again. Uganda is also home to more than half the world’s mountain gorillas, and viewing them in their natural environment is one of the main attractions for visitors. On top of this, Uganda has a good number of chimpanzees and there are several places where you can track them. With well over 1000 species recorded inside its small borders, Uganda is one of the best bird-watching destinations in the world.

Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/uganda/

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *