Uganda Travel Guide
- Everything you need to know for your trip to Uganda-
Uganda, officially the Republic of Uganda, is a diverse country in east-central Africa. The country offers excellent wildlife, breathtaking scenery, eye-catching landscapes, and many other elements that made Uganda a fantastic destination for travelers who enjoy visiting animals, nature, mountains, etc. Make sure to put this beautiful country on your bucket list!
Why Visiting Uganda?
Uganda is known as “the pearl of Africa,” and it makes sense! There are so many reasons for Africa’s visitors to spend a few days in Uganda and enjoy its countless attractions. Let’s take a look at the main reasons for visiting Uganda.
Uganda is the home of mountain gorillas. You can find this, unfortunately, highly endangered species of animals in some national parks like Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. The best time for visiting these animals is between June to September.
Besides gorillas, wildlife in Uganda, like many other African countries, is fantastic. In Uganda, there are 10 national parks, housing different species of animals like elephants, hippos, zebras, lions, leopards, etc., as well as over 1000 species of birds. Queen Elizabeth National Park in the southwest of the country is a fantastic spot for visiting the diverse and beautiful wildlife in this African country.
Uganda is not limited to animals, and there are many natural and eye-catching attractions, such as the glacier-capped Rwenzori mountain range in the west known as ‘Mountains of the Moon.’ Lake Victoria, the second largest freshwater lake globally, is the main reservoir of the Nile River. Uganda also has exceptional forests and amazing wetlands.
Locals in Uganda are amicable and helpful. You will see beautiful smiles on the face of Ugandans everywhere. They love the visitors of their country, and if you face any trouble, they will always be available for you to help!
Uganda Top Destinations
Best Time to Visit Uganda
There are only two main seasons in Uganda, the rainy season and the dry season. In fact, rain comes all over the year, but in dry seasons, it’s much less than the rainy ones.
Temperature: 16°C – 28°C (61°F – 82°F)
There are two rainy seasons in Uganda, from April to May and from September to November. In the first rainy season, most precipitations occur. The temperature in the gorilla mountains is lower and warmer in the north. The second rainy season will not experience precipitation as much as the first one, and the rain will usually be at night and early morning.
Temperature: 16°C – 28°C (61°F – 82°F)
There are also two dry seasons in Uganda, from June to August and from December to February. The first dry season offers the driest times during the year, but precipitation is not still impossible. In the second dry season, you will also see some rains, more than the first one.
Best Uganda Tours
Things to Do in Uganda
When planning to travel to Uganda, there are certain things to see and activities to do. Most of these activities include traveling in the natural environment of the country like most other African countries. Although there are similarities, there are also huge differences in the wildlife and the species of the animals. Additionally, there are also exciting activities and fun things to do all over the country, attracting numerous people, seeking adrenalin in nature. While exploring and having fun, make sure to try the local cuisine as well.
Participate in a Mountain Gorilla Trekking
One of the top attractions of Uganda is the Mountain Gorillas of this part of Africa. These lovely creatures alone make Mountain Gorilla Trekking a trendy thing to do in Uganda. Due to the high demand for Mountain Gorilla Trekking, some things are required, like permits that enable you to do this activity. It is a pricy thing to do, but something very much worthwhile, as is evident from the number of its participants each year. Put Mountain Gorilla Trekking on your bucket list, and make sure to have a permit from long before your trip. The best of Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Uganda can be with a tour and other people and an experienced guide to show you around.
The experience of Mountain Gorilla Trekking is gaining popularity each year as a top activity. Therefore, with the increase in the number of travelers, it is necessary to mind the environment to ensure their safety as well as your own. Enjoy this traveling experience with whichever company you prefer, and discover the beauties of nature.
Go on Safari in Murchison Falls National Park or Have Fun in its Nature
With an area of nearly 1500 square miles, Murchison Falls National Park is the largest national park of Uganda and a place to see most of the country’s wildlife and nature. Exploring the Murchison Falls is a top thing to do as it is a place to see numerous species of animals, nearly 500 species of birds, and stunning land. The popularity of Murchison Falls is mostly because of the waterfall itself and its picturesque environment. The rest of Murchison Falls’s fame comes from having the Big Five and other rare creatures like the Rothschild’s giraffe.
Another amazing aspect of Murchison Falls and its things to do are the possible sports for adrenalin seekers. Take a boat ride or do anything else you find exciting in one of the prettiest places in the country.
Witness Tree-Lions and Other Exotic Animals in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park must be included on any bucket list of Uganda since it has some of the most unique forms of life inside it. The top things to do in the Queen Elizabeth National Park include seeing elephants, tree-lions, and going on a boat ride. There are other possibilities, but these three attract so many people, making them the most popular parts of the Queen Elizabeth National Park. The only thing to plan for is finding a tracker or a guide to show you around. The necessity of having a guide in Queen Elizabeth National Park is because there are not many of these amazing beasts all over the area. There is the possibility that you may walk into a dangerous area.
Taking a boat ride or seeing the animals, or just exploring, Queen Elizabeth National Park is a great place for all of these things. Just make sure to have someone to show you around as seeing the tree-lions can become almost impossible if you do not know when and where to seek them. Beware of the crocodiles, too, as they sometimes threaten the lives of unaware travelers in the Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Visit Endangered Rhinos at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Another good place to visit in Uganda is the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, where you can see another species of rare animals where they are protected. There are not many of these lovely beasts left on the planet, so make sure to visit the Ziwa to see these great beasts. The sanctuary is doing its best to preserve the Rhinos and bring their population back, which is another thing to witness. Visiting the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is another popular activity of the country both to see rare creatures and chill right next to them in a calm afternoon.
If you follow this list, you have already made plans to see the top places and do the top things to do in Uganda, but there is always more. When making plans to visit places like the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, be sure to also check the map as they are usually near other highlights.
Try the Unique Hiking Experience of Rwenzori Mountains
The Rwenzori Mountains are the third tallest mountains of Africa, right after Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya. Hiking in the different parts of the Rwenzori Mountains is another top thing to do in Uganda that is known as the Hikers Paradise and the “Mountains of the Moon.” This is a unique experience of the country as it can be a short and simple one-day trip or a professional multi-day hike to the top. The popularity of the Rwenzori Mountains comes from two main things; the beautiful scenery of the nearby areas as well as the trails of the mountains. Suitable for all types of travelers and all ages, Rwenzori Mountains is a must-see attraction with a good variety of things to do all over its area.
The more time you spend in the Rwenzori Mountains, the more of the African wildlife and environment you see. By conquering any of the summits, you will get to the snowy areas and find great views, which are perfect if you are up to the challenge.
Track Chimpanzees and See How They Live
Get close to the marvelous Chimpanzees of Uganda in another trip to the natural environment of Africa. Just like the Gorillas, the Chimpanzees bring interested travelers on tracking tours as a memorable experience. The Chimpanzees are very friendly, and watching them live and play in their societies is quite fun. This top recommendation is best when there is a guide to teach you how to approach these lovely creatures and show you where they live. Put the tracking of Chimpanzees in Uganda on your list of top things to do. There are two reasons for this; because they are beautiful animals and because they live in the beautiful Kibale Forest National park.
Feel the Adrenalin When Adventuring in Jinja
The best place to have fun and go on adventures in Uganda is Jinja, where you can go Bungy Jumping, Quad Biking, Kayaking, and have fun in any way you like. The options of having fun in the Jinja are somewhat limitless since the area has anything you can find to have fun in nature. Besides feeling the rush of adrenalin, what makes Jinja amazing is the town, the village, and the Nile. Make the Jinja a priority visit since you can enjoy it in many ways, relaxing or exciting alike.
Take Pictures at the Equator
One of the popular things to do in Uganda is going to the Equator Landmark of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Although exploring the national park is recommended earlier, making sure to take pictures and hanging out near the Equator is something you should go for. It may seem like a simple activity, but it is a very popular and exciting one as it includes exploring the area and finding the Equator. It is less challenging than the other activities, and it is an opportunity to go from one half of the planet to the other. Crossing the Equator is not something you can do every day, so do it while you have the chance!
Have Fun Near the Nile
Having fun on the Nile is included in the visit to the town of Jinja, but it deserves more attention as it is a unique experience altogether. The best spot to start adventuring on the Nile is probably the town of Jinja, but the adventure is not limited to just that one spot. The Nile is just a few kilometers away from the town, and it can be an ideal spot for camping, cruising on the water, or kayaking. If you feel extra adventurous, join countless others who seek to find the source of the Nile.
Canoe Around Lake Bunyonyi or Relax in its Tranquil Environment
Another place for adventurers or adrenalin seekers is the nearby areas of Lake Bunyonyi. But what is even more recommendable in this vast area of green hills and small islands of Lake Bunyonyi is relaxing. It is the perfect spot to find tranquility in nature and canoe around the calm waters of Lake Bunyonyi. Of course, the same formula of having fun applies in Lake Bunyonyi with numerous possibilities of Quad Biking or visiting the wildlife, but try to relax here and enjoy the environment.
Transportation in Uganda
Air travel is also available in Uganda for those who prefer to move fast rather than paying a small amount of money.
There is no train network in Uganda, and the only railway connects the country to the Kenyan coast. Therefore, for getting around the country, you need to choose another way.
Coaches are available all over the country, helping you to reach almost any destinations around the country. Recently, new and modern buses have replaced the old coaches.
Boats can be found for the route between Entebbe and the Ssese Islands on Lake Victoria. You can also take a cruise along the Nile River as well as taking a guided tour in any of Uganda’s Great African Lakes.
Air travel is also available in Uganda for those who prefer to move fast rather than paying a small amount of money.
There are also private taxis in Uganda, known as special hires. You should negotiate before jumping in for the costs. Yellow Cab Taxi Number is +256-71-313-3331, and TAPS Taxi is +256-312-514-800
Flight Deals to Uganda
Uganda Travel Costs
|Budget||$15 – $30|
|Mid-Range||$36 – $71|
|High-End||$77 – $154|
|Average Daily Costs|
Best Hotels in Uganda
Find the best hotels in Uganda using our best price search engine, or go with one of our All-inclusive tours with 4 Star hotels included. You can book our guaranteed hotels for your extra accommodation; before or after your tour days.
Uganda Travel Tips
English and Swahili are the official languages in Uganda. If you contract with educated people in Uganda, you will have no problem regarding the English Language.
Uganda is considered safe, generally! However, you always need to take precautions, especially in African countries.
The risk of malaria in Uganda is notable, and it’s crucial to visit your doctor before the trip to see if you need to have anti-malaria medications during your accommodation in Uganda or not. Also, make sure to wear long-sleeved clothes.
Make sure to have your dish in a famous and high-end restaurant, since the street food, and even some restaurants, don’t provide high-quality meat for the food.
Uganda is considered safe for solo woman travelers. However, female visitors attract a lot of attention in Uganda, and this attention usually comes from locals’ kindness. However, it’s very uncommon for women to walk around in Africa. Make sure to have a fake wedding ring or a photo of a man in your bag!
Tap water is not safe in Uganda, and you need to have bottled water all the time during your trip. Bottled water is available everywhere.
LGBT travelers should know that homosexuality in Uganda is illegal. It’s better to avoid any flirting or sexual activity during your trip.
In restaurants, hotels, and cafes usually have Wi-Fi connections in Kampala, but the connection is not satisfactory in rural areas.
Plugs in Uganda are type G, and the country operates on a 240V supply voltage and 50Hz.
|UPF Headquarters||0414233814/ 0414250613|
|UPF Press Office||0414289791/ 0414289790/ 0800199899/ 0414288864|
|Counter-Terrorism Unit||0800199699/ 0800199139/ 0800122291|
|Professional Standards Unit (Toll Free Lines)||0800199199/ 0800199299/ 0800200019|
|Fire Brigade||0421222 / 0714667752|
Currency & Money Tips
Uganda Shilling (USh) is the official currency in Uganda, with denominations of USh1000, USh5000, USh10,000, USh20,000 and USh50,000, as well as coins in USh50, USh100, USh200 and USh500. Tour operators and major hotels quote in USD and some in euros. Generally, the US dollar is the most useful currency, especially in small towns. However, the euro and pound are also acceptable.
Major banks, including Barclays, Stanbic, Centenary, Crane, Orient, and Standard Chartered, have ATMs accepting international cards. Interestingly, even remote towns have at least one of these banks.
Credit cards are accepted in major hotels and restaurants as well as other major areas in larger cities. However, you always need to have some cash as well. The surcharge would be 5% to 8%. Visa and MasterCard are the most used credit cards in Uganda.
Food & Drink (Ugandan Food)
The cuisine of Uganda is rooted in its history and culture. Some of their cuisines are similar to other African countries, and some are inspired by others. All of these inspirations or reasons behind their way of eating aside, their food has certain interesting elements. First of all, they have their unique way of sitting on the table or the ground when they eat. More than that, it is their way of having their meals with their hands. Above all else, it is the flavors and their ways of using their local ingredients to prepare their food. All of this means this delicious experience is a must, and it can be quite educational.
Luwombo (or Oluwombo)
Luwombo or Oluwombo is a truly classical cuisine of Uganda, as it uses the traditional ways of cooking to prepare meat fit for a king. It is originally believed to be invented in the 19th century and for the royalty in Uganda. More specifically, Luwombo is believed to be the invention of a royal chef in the court of King Kabaka Mwanga. It is not that old, but since the method of making Luwombo is a classical one, the dish is considered traditional. For making Luwombo, fish, chicken, or beef are steamed with vegetables as they are wrapped in banana leaves. When these ingredients are slow-cooked and ready, a special peanut sauce is then added, making the Luwombo the number one choice of food you have to try in this country.
Matoke is a staple part of the cuisine in Uganda, with having plantains as the primary ingredient. It can be regarded as a national dish because of its popularity, but it is rather traditional and rooted in their culture. There are various ways for making Matoke, steaming them whole, slicing them and steaming them while still unpeeled, or peeling them and then mashing them. There may be more regional or family recipes for making the Matoke. Some even add several other things like chicken or pork, vegetables, and spices to add to the flavor. Matoke is a great and new dish to try in Uganda, and it is found all over the country. Be sure to give it a try more than once and discover the creativity that people put into their own recipes.
Chapati is not a food, but rather a bread that can make any food in Uganda much more delightful. It is thick and fried in oil, and despite being very simple, it is quite unique with a special texture and taste. It is the best item to put beside your dish or have with your breakfast or eaten alone as most people do. Chapati is a staple part of the cuisine in Uganda and perhaps other places in Africa. But as important as it is, Chapati is said to have originated in India or has an Indian style. In any case, this bread must be had in any shape or with whatever food you can. The most recommended way of having the bread is with breakfast and wrapping for meat and vegetable dishes.
Posho is something famous and loved all over Africa with different names. Some people know it as Ugali, but in Uganda, it is called Posho, and it is a staple part of their cuisine. Posho is just cornflour and boiling water. When the water reaches boiling point, cornflour is added and heated until the water evaporated and a hard yet smooth Posho remains. You can try Posho with nothing else if you want to eat cheap, but there are numerous things you can add to the mix. Alternatively, you can serve it as a side dish to literally anything you want to eat. Posho goes great with different types of sauces, meats, and vegetables as a cheap and easy addition to make anything tastier.
Binyebwa (Groundnut Sauce)
Binyebwa, Groundnut Sauce, or g-nut sauce is made with sweet red peanuts that should not be mistaken with peanut butter. Binyebwa is a special sauce of Uganda and a great addition to many dishes. The texture and body of a Binyebwa are creamy and can make anything taste much better. Be sure to try the Binyebwa with whatever you can and eat like the locals.
Muchomo (Roasted meat)
Muchomo is a traditional food of the Swahili people that uses different types of meat and roasts them together. If you are not worried about street-side vendors, Muchomo is a great kind of street food. If you want to be safe and money is not an issue, try the restaurant version of Muchomo as a classy dish with various side dishes. To make Muchomo, these portions of meat are roasted on sticks together and taste as amazing as they look.
Rolex (Rolled Eggs)
Rolex in Uganda is not the name of a watch, but a combination of eggs, vegetables, and chapati bread that is served in the form of rolls. The Rolex Rolled Eggs is a cheap and quick street-food made with eggs, tomatoes, onions, cabbages, and sometimes minced meat. Once the Rolex omelet is ready and cooked, it is wrapped in Chapati and served. It can be a good alternative for breakfast, but Uganda’s people do not consider it just for breakfast. Rolex Rolled Eggs are the perfect snack for any time of the day, in the street or in sit-in restaurants alike.
If you ever decided to eat something odd and exotic, be sure to try some Nsenene during the wet season. In the rainy seasons of Uganda, Nsenene, which is fried grasshoppers, becomes particularly popular. The grasshoppers for Nsenene are cleaned and fried in natural oils, making them healthy despite looking very unusual. If you have a bad or odd feeling about having some Nsenene, try them at a pub and, with some beer to make the experience more pleasant. If you can stomach Nsenene, it is a cultural and traditional thing to eat in Uganda.
After any of your meals in Uganda, it is a great idea to try a dessert like the Sim-Sim. For baking Sim-Sim, sesame seeds are mixed with honey or sugar in the form of a paste and then heated. After heating them for a while, the Sim-Sim is poured into a flat plate to cool down and dry. When the mix is dried, Sim-Sim takes the form of a cookie that is then sliced into smaller pieces. Sim-Sim can be served as a side dish or dessert that tastes sweet with a touch of tradition.
Mobile & Internet
There are six major SIM card providers in Uganda, including MTN Uganda, Airtel Uganda, UT Mobile by Uganda Telecom, Africell Uganda, Smart Telecom, and Lycamobile Uganda (Tangerine MVNO). There are only two operators offering 4G/LTE, which are Smile Uganda and Tangerine. However, they are mostly useful for those living in major areas of the country. Therefore, it’s not recommended for travelers. For tourists, MTN and Airtel are highly recommended. MTN has the best coverage around the country. Airtel also has great coverage with cheaper packages.
Where to buy & costs
You can buy MTN SIM cards from various vendors around the country and the official booth at Entebbe Airport. The tourist SIM card costs 2000 UGX ($0.55), with 500 UGX in credit.
|250 UGX||15 MB||dial *150*1*1*1*1#|
|500 UGX||40 MB.||dial *150*1*1*1*2#|
|1000 UGX||100 MB.||dial *150*1*1*1*3#|
|2000 UGX||300 MB.||dial *150*1*1*1*4#|
|5000 UGX||1 GB.||dial *150*1*1*1*5#|
|5000 UGX||500 MB.||dial *150*1*1*2*1#|
|10 000 UGX||1.5 GB.||dial *150*1*1*2*2#|
|20 000 UGX||5 GB.||dial *150*1*1*2*3#|
|20 000 UGX||2 GB.||dial *150*6*1*1#|
|50 000 UGX||10 GB.||dial *150*6*1*2#|
|100 000 UGX||30 GB.||dial *150*6*1*3#|
|30 000 UGX||2 GB.||dial *150*1*1*4*1#|
|75 000 UGX||10 GB.||dial *150*1*1*4*2#|
|150 000 UGX||30 GB.||dial *150*1*1*4*3#|
Holidays & Festivals
|Name||Date 2021||Date 2022|
|Remembrance of Archbishop Janani Luwum||16-Feb||16-Feb|
|International Women’s Day||8-Mar||8-Mar|
|National Heroes Day||9-Jun||9-Jun|
Shopping in Uganda
Jewelry is one of the main industries of Uganda as the locals love gold and silver. Different kinds of jewelry like necklaces, bracelets, rings, anklets, etc., are created with fantastic designs.
Wood carving is one of Uganda’s main arts and handicrafts, and you can buy them as a souvenir for your loved ones. The costs depend on the type of wood used for the carving
In traditional clothes in Uganda, different colors and elements have been used to make an exquisite design. Trousers, skirts, tops, blouses, and complete sets of traditional clothing help you bring Uganda back home!
Artisans around the country use leather to make different types of shoes, from boots to sandals, with eye-catching designs. The quality is notable, and you can buy them for your loved ones.
Basket weaving is one of the main handicrafts of people in Uganda. The materials used in this handicraft are straw, banana fiber, and raffia. These products can be found in different craft shops.
Music instrument is one of the best souvenirs to buy from African countries. Drum, Ugandan flute, a cow horn, or traditional violin can be found in Uganda at the best quality and reasonable price. Music is an essential element of Ugandan culture, and therefore, instruments are manufactured with the best materials.