Before you Visit Uganda, Here is Everything you need to know before you take that flight or Road Trip! Including Basic Language Translations Recording!
ESSENTIAL Update on Visa Applications below!
Have you ever dreamt of visiting Africa? Specifically, Uganda? Before you visit Uganda, there are a few things we advise you know for a fun, safe and stress free trip. And we can tell you when you do visit Uganda, your life will be changed forever…
Uganda is a beautiful pearl in East Africa, with so much to offer both local and international visitors.
Uganda is a beautiful pearl in East AfricaClick To Tweet
But before you take off for Uganda, you need to know what to do, where to stay, Visa requirements, where to go, and how to avoid any tourist scams for a safe trip.
Not forgetting necessary health requirements and your First Aid Kit, like any new destination you may be visiting.
We intend in this post to kit you out with all the basics you need to know before you visit Uganda!
When to Visit Uganda:
Okay, here is the deal, you are going to a Africa not the end of the world and any time is Uganda time.
Yet for many, a visit to Uganda could be for any number of reasons. Could be work related, or may be a DreamTrip. Might it be a city escape in Kampala, a safari in Mweya, a trek to the peak of the Mountains of the Moon or a combination of all of the above!
The seasons are not that much of a hustle to be honest unless you are allergic to Warm…Okay, okay; Dreamy HOT weather.
Uganda has two seasons the dry season and rainy season…They won’t change your fun trip unless you want them to!
Unless you intend to visit in the rain season for research purposes, in which case do your research in advance to ensure you have the kind of trip you intended!
Quick Tip: You won’t need your winter fleece 😉
For Your Adventure or Game Safaris: The best time for this is the weaning aka baby season which is also the dry season. Unless you love muddy splats and boots! We dont want you ruining those cool brogues.
So, target January-March. Or wait for June – September for the cooler back end of the rain season.
If you are visiting family like we usually do, anytime is Uganda time! 😊
Mountains of The Moon and Gorilla Treks: Seriously there is no best time, you can go mountain climbing all year round. However, the Gorilla’s in Mgahinga Forrest may need a more specific time. The wet, rainy season around Easter time; March – May is the very best. It’s also a lil cooler so you won’t be fainting from heat!
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Birdwatching: September though to April is totally cool for the Bird watcher. You will love catching sight of the now less visible Crested Crane. Uganda’s National Flag mascot.
September through to April is totally cool for the Bird watcher.Click To Tweet
And frankly you can visit the Capital Kampala all year round. It’s crazy, it can be dusty like most African Cities. Kampala grows on you and soaks into your soul. We guarantee you that!
Watch out for those Boda-Boda drivers…If you have been to India, they are similar to Tuk-Tuk drivers. Crazy #Bornofthesamemama 😊
Before You Visit Uganda – Where to Go:
We imagine that like most travellers to Uganda, you will first arrive in Entebbe, then you might go on to Kampala.
If thats not your destinaton, you could allow for a couple of days in the capital, yes? Take in the vibrant, jolly, friendly, night life in Kampala, before you head off to that safari or whatever the reason for your visit.
Head on to Ange Noir or Silk Club in the industrial area, to get your dance swag on!
For our adventure and thrill seekers definitely go read our post on Adventure Safari in Uganda. We got you covered with details of where to stay, what to do, where to eat, activities etc.!
You will get your game drive/safari on in Uganda. You could either make your way to Sipi falls or Mweya Safari lodge. Any number of National Parks and game reserves.
Maybe you want to visit the Mabira Forests and see them cheeky monkeys. Maybe your dream is to see the source of the Nile river…Whatever your plan, Uganda has you covered. Go read that post.
Whatever your plan, Uganda has you covered.Click To Tweet
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Visas, Currency, Health & Language:
Before You Travel: Be sure to check that you have at least 6 months left before the expiry of your Visa for whichever country you currently reside. For instance, make sure your student visa to UK is still valid 6 months from date of your return.
Make sure your passport is still valid of course.
Get your Jabs and Immunisations: Refill your prescriptions, injections/medication, and routine vaccinations. Be sure to get that Yellow fever jab and take that vaccination yellow booklet with you. You can also get the Typhoid, Cholera and Hepatitis A & B top ups.
You MUST TAKE your anti malaria tablets. Trust us when we say Malaria is a bloody pain in the arse…Excuse the french! Not fun.
You could be quarantined when you get back to your country of residence, for months if you take it back as a memento of your trip. Check with your GP for all the above details.
Dont forget your First Aid Kit!
Visa requirements: ESSENTIAL UPDATE
Visa applications to Uganda are now required to be submitted online.
The Uganda High Commission scrapped paper applications and the issuance of visas on arrival at Entebbe. Here is the Portal for application purposes.
Yellow Fever Certificates are now a mandatory requirement and must be uploaded alongside the visa application (by British or Ugandan passport holders). A yellow fever certificate costs from anywhere around £50. Learn more here, information Courtesy of Lillian Nalumansi!
Prior to the above conditions, If you are a national of United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Europe and Australia, an entry visa could be obtained at port of entry at $50 USD. Not any more.
If you will be visiting another East African Country, and are a US national you could obtain a multiple-entries visa online. Not sure if you can do this at port of entry at $100 USD anymore.
Please don’t take our word for it, be sure to check with your embassy or consulate for the most up to date immigration or tourist requirements and information.
Currency: Uganda Shilling (UGX). You can buy some at various Forex Bureaus in Kampala or Entebbe airport before you head off to your jaunts! The top end hotels and establishments accept USD and Visa payments.
Ugandas are quite laid back, friendly and welcoming to international travellers. Yet like any destination, if you are well armed with a few of the local etiquettes, your trip will be so much richer.
Avoid touching others of the opposite sex in public as this may offend some locals, particularly in busy cities. Or attract the wrong attention.
Avoid taking taxis or “Special Hire” without a meter. Our advice is you must insist on an agreed price in Ugandan Currency before embarking on your journey.
Women should dress modestly – especially in the city centre, and lower Kampala areas. Or you may attract unwanted attention and people may not mind the “free show.”
Avoid drinking unbottled water or any juices that aren’t made with bottled water. BUT How would you know? So avoid fresh juices from open markets period. Neither should you use ice-cubes from places you don’t trust!
English is not only the official langiage, it is also widely spoken. Yet one may be easily confused when in Kampala to think that: Luganda a local dialect may be the national languange! As it is definitely spoken by almost everyone.
I speak 4 Languages myself.
Uganda has over 50 languages, you see. Plus in many places Swahili is also spoken. And most vendors speak it, albeit broken. Because swahili is considered more of the “Soldiers Lingo” explanation in short audio below.
The thing is, Swahili is actually spoken all over East Africa that is; Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. It is the national language of Tanzania and Kenya! It is less spoken in Burundi and Rwanda.
Below are some phrases that could make your stay in Uganda an interesting experience. I just did the job for you, you don’t need Google translate!
It would be more fun to watch the locals faces go wow when you communicate as below:
Some Basic Swahili:
Yes – Ndio
Hello – Habari (Ha-BAH-ri)
I am Fine – Muzuri
No – Hapana
Thank You – Asante
You are welcome – Karibu or Karibuni
Food – Chakula
Drink – Maji
How Much does it cost – Pesa Ngapi
Some Basic Luganda:
Yes – Yee or Kale
Hello – Olyotya
I am Fine – Gyendi
No – Nedda
Thank You – Weebale
You are welcome – Kale
Food – Mmere
Drink – Mazzi
How Much does it cost – Sente Mmeka
The above Phrases or words have been recorded for you to learn the right pronouncement below. 🙂 Enjoy xoxo
RECOMMENDED RESOURCES BEFORE YOU VISIT UGANDA:
YOUR SMART TRAVEL GUIDE. Its one thing to want a vacation, its another to HAVE AN ENJOYABLE ONE. This Guide will walk you thru the steps to help you do just that, and enjoy more getaways than ever. – LEARN MORE.
ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO TRAVELING WITH KIDS. Never stress again with what to take, how to keep them occupied. How to maintain their routine etc. This is our definitive guide from years of traveling with our children who are now both teenagers. – LEARN HOW.
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See, Do, and Be more!
Dr. Paul Kalungi