Travel

First Timers’ Guide to Uganda

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Uganda is exceptionally one of the most sought-after destination by most travelers on safari in Africa. It is best described as the pearl of Africa for many reasons. It is largely credited for its unique wildlife, landscape, sceneries, water bodies, forests, cultures, monuments and many more. Undertaking a trip to this magical nation entirely requires adequate planning given that the resources that you may have won’t be all that enough to help you meet what you need to have while on safari. To have the most enjoyable and exciting Uganda safari, we have provided some information below and we believe that it will guide you while planning for your road trip in the pearl of Africa.

Best time to visit Uganda

Depending on what your travel interests are but Uganda is ideally open to visitors through out the year and it features hot and wet, day time temperatures generally range from 22 to 27 degrees Celsius. It cools down during night hours and you will need at least a sweater for this. It experiences the wet season two times per year and this include October to November which marks the short rains and Mid March to end of May. The wet season doesn’t mean that there are travelers coming to Uganda, still visitors come and they achieve their dreams at the end of day given that the rains can take about one hour or two and after it stops and the usual activities continue.

Given the nature of Uganda’s climate, intending visitors on safari may need to come along with hats, light clothing, sturdy shoes, long sleeved shirts, sweater, fleece for cold evenings, sun screen. For those of you, who are interested in mountain gorillas, never leave out rain jacket, long pants, long sleeved shirts, blouses, hiking boots that are light weight and offer support to your ankle, camera without flashlight. Note that rains can be experienced at any time of the day in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park or Mgahinga National Park.

Gorilla trekking is recommended for persons above 15 years and permits are sold at $600 per visitor.

Visas

Any visitor to Uganda must get a visa except those from the east African countries of Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania who have a visa free agreement with Uganda under the East African Community

Visas requisition is compulsory to every visitor entering Uganda and can be accessed before arrival and they can be accessed in various areas of entry at a cost of $50 for single entry per person. The Ugandan visa can be obtained at the Uganda embassy of different countries, border points, Entebbe airports and also online. Depending on your travel needs, visas come in varied types and each of them has different costs-the student visa, single entry, multiple entries for six months, multiple entry for one year and inland transit.

Health

Like most of East African states, Uganda is a tropical country thus making it vulnerable to tropical diseases like yellow fever and malaria.  Yellow fever vaccinations are mandatory for you to take and all the international visitors are advised to undertake this to avoid being inconvenienced. Others include anti malaria inoculations. However, some of the drugs can be purchased around Kampala and you are advised to undertake personal insurance. While in Uganda, you should also sleep under mosquito nets, wash your hands before eating and always drink bottled water. The fruits bought along the way should also be washed before eaten.

Official language

The official language in Uganda is English. English is the language that is most used in the formal and business sector of Uganda. Most of the documents in Uganda are written and printed in English. There are also other languages spoken in Uganda for instance Luganda from Buganda kingdom the dominant tribe is the commonest language or call it the street language. You can hardly take a footstep on every busy street of Uganda without finding someone speaking Luganda. Swahili is also trying to chip since the east African countries are trying to create a common language for themselves.

Airport

Uganda features Entebbe International Airport as the main hub and the only international airport for the country. Thousands and thousands of travelers use Entebbe airport as their gateway into and out of Uganda. In a year, Entebbe airport receives over 5 million travelers.  There are several international airlines that take direct flights to Entebbe and some of which include the British Airways, Kenya Airways, KLM, Emirates, SN Brussels, South Africa Airways, Egypt Air and Ethiopian Airways and many more. Most of these international air carriers have more than 5 flights in a week at Entebbe airport. For instance, Emirates operate daily and can help connect to different parts of the world. Besides, most of the protected areas and towns in Uganda have airfields and scheduled flights can be arranged for you to link up to these areas.

Currency

Like most African countries, Uganda is a dominated economy and a Uganda shilling is the local currency of Uganda. Uganda does a lot of business with other countries and henceforth various international currencies are recognized and these can be exchanged at the forex bureaus and banks. The most notable currencies are us dollars, euros, pound sterling, Chinese yen, Japanese yen, Kenya shillings. TZ shillings, Rwanda Francs and many more. The us dollars is the most popular foreign currency, it is used in hotel business, real estate and also import and export transactions. You will also find many forex bureaus and international banks within the city center and most big towns. Credit cards can be used in big hotels and restaurants and can be cashed to limited amount each day at the counters of international banks. The ATM machines are also widely available and cash is necessary to carry if you are heading to the countryside where you won’t find ATM. Mobile money transactions are also taking a center stage in the economy of Uganda. Most of the people in the informal sector prefer to any other financial system.

In conclusion, Uganda is one of the best safari destinations that you should consider visiting while on safari in Africa. With the above travel tips, we believe that they will guide well as you are planning to travel to Uganda and explore this magical destination in your next vacation.

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