Country guides Africa
Electrical current is 220-240 volts, 50Hz. Three-pin, rectangular blade plugs are in use.
English and Swahili are the official national languages in Uganda. Luganda is also widely spoken and is the most common of the numerous indigenous languages.
The official currency is the Ugandan Shilling (UGX), which is divided into 100 cents. Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks and bureaux de change; the best currencies to change are US Dollars, Euros, or Pounds Sterling, but only exchange at official establishments. ATMs are available in major towns and cities. Credit cards are only accepted at major hotels, shops, and restaurants, usually only in the cities.
At local hotels and restaurants in Uganda, tipping is not common, but tips of 5 to 10 percent are expected at tourist-orientated establishments. It is customary to tip guides and drivers.
Travellers' diarrhoea is the most common complaint for visitors to Uganda. Recommended vaccinations include hepatitis A and typhoid. In recent years a Hepatitis E outbreak in northern Uganda killed dozens of people and infected thousands more so it is advised that visitors take precautions if visiting the area. All visitors require vaccination against yellow fever. Cholera outbreaks occur occasionally, but most travellers are at low risk for infection; bottled water is widely available. Malaria and HIV/AIDS are widespread. Outbreaks of the plague and meningitis occur and visitors should insure that vaccinations are up to date. Uganda has also seen an outbreak of Ebola in the past and although not an issue any longer, it is advised visitors be aware. Incidents of sleeping sickness are on the rise, carried by tsetse flies. Limited health facilities are available outside of Kampala. Comprehensive medical insurance is advised.
Most national parks are safe to visit and a holiday to Uganda is generally trouble-free. Kampala, the capital, is a relatively safe city, although visitors should take sensible precautions against opportunistic crime and at night. Theft of EU passports has been on the increase.
Due to the risk of banditry and attacks by other rebel groups, and tribal clashes, most foreign governments advise against travel to the northeast of Uganda. Travellers in the northwest near the border with Sudan and the DRC are also at risk of banditry, and travel outside of the main towns is to be avoided after dark.
Areas bordering Sudan in the north, the region known as West Nile in the north west (except Arua town, which can be visited by air), and the Karamoja region of north eastern Uganda are insecure and can pose a serious risk to travellers. Kidepo Valley National Park should be visited by air only. Gorilla trekking excursions that cross over into the DRC should be avoided.
Despite publicity in recent years, there has been no activity by the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda since 2006.
Visitors to Uganda are advised not to take photographs of military or official sites, including Owen Falls Dam. Homosexual practices are frowned upon and public displays of affection should be avoided.
Uganda has one of the fastest-growing economies and is one of the most liberal countries in Africa. Agriculture is the largest sector of the economy, with coffee being the chief export. Uganda is most welcoming for foreign investment and business is steadily on the increase. Appointments should always be made prior to business meetings. Formal dress attire is to be observed, and the shaking of hands is expected on introduction. Business is usually conducted in English. Business hours are generally 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday with an hour taken over lunch.
Travellers to Uganda over 18 years of age do not have to pay duty on 250g of tobacco products; one litre of spirits or two litres of wine; and 500ml of perfume or eau de toilette, of which up to 250ml may be perfume.
The international dialling code for Uganda is +256. There is extensive mobile phone network coverage over most of the country, and internet cafes are available in most large towns.
Passport & Visa
All visitors require a passport that is valid for at least six months on entry. Visitors must hold return or onward tickets, proof of reason for visit, an address and contact number in Uganda, and sufficient funds. Visas can be obtained on arrival at the country's ports of entry or online or the Ugandan High Commission. Authorisation is granted via email which should be printed and given to immigration officials on arrival in Uganda, along with the required fee in cash. A valid 'East African Tourist Visa' issued by Kenya or Rwanda is accepted, provided having first entered the country that issued the visa.
US nationals require a passport valid for six months from date of arrival and a visa.
UK nationals require a passport valid for six months from arrival date and a visa.
Canadians require a passport valid for six months beyond arrival date and a visa.
Australians require a passport valid for six months beyond arrival date and a visa.
South Africans require a passport valid for six months beyond arrival date and a visa.
Irish nationals require a passport valid for six months beyond arrival date and a visa.
New Zealand nationals require a passport valid for six months beyond arrival date and a visa.
Uganda Tourist Board, Kampala: +256 (0)41 342 196 or www.visituganda.com999 or 112 (General)
Embassies / consulates in other countries
Uganda Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 726 7100.
Uganda High Commission, London, United Kingdom (also responsible for Ireland): +44 (0)20 7839 5783.
Uganda High Commission, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 789 7797.
Uganda High Commission, ACT, Australia (also responsible for New Zealand): +61 (0)2 6286 1234.
Uganda High Commission, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 342 6031.
Embassies / consulates in Uganda
United States Embassy, Kampala: +256 (0)41 259 791.
British High Commission, Kampala: +256 (0)31 231 2000.
Canadian High Commission, Nairobi, Kenya (also responsible for Uganda): +254 (0)20 366 3000.
Australian High Commission, Nairobi, Kenya (also responsible for Uganda): +254 (20) 4277 100.
South African High Commission, Kampala: +256 (0)41 770 2100.
Ireland Embassy, Kampala: +256 (0)41 771 3000.