Capital Kampala
Currency Ugandan Shilling (UGX)
Population 33,398,682 (July 2010 est.)
Electricity 240V 50HZ (UK plug type)
Country code 256
Time zone UTC +3

Uganda is a country in East Africa. It is bordered to the east by Kenya, to the north by South Sudan, to the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the southwest by Rwanda, and to the south by Tanzania. Famously called the Pearl of Africa by Winston Churchill, it is home to one of the most diverse and concentrated ranges of African fauna including the highly endangered mountain gorilla and the endangered common chimpanzee.


Map of Uganda with regions colour-coded
Central Uganda
the Capital City and the shoreline of vast Lake Victoria
Eastern Uganda
superb trekking close on the border with Kenya and more wildilfe
Northern Uganda
this beautiful area teems with wildlife.
Western Uganda
Gorilla trekking on the borders with Rwanda and DR Congo

Cities and towns

Other destinations

Fishermen at Port Belle on Lake Victoria
Lake Bunyonyi


During Uganda's era of British colonialism, settlement by Europeans was not allowed, and today there are few Caucasians in Uganda. The term for whites (or other foreigners) is muzungu (plural wazungu), and visitors should get used to hearing it shouted out by children in every corner of the country. It is not a derogatory term as such (it means something on the lines of "one who is searching"), so smile and wave in reply - if you can, do this over and over again. Otherwise, ignore.

Uganda is accessible and affordable, but not up to the high tourism standards of more mature destinations such as Kenya or Tanzania, much less South Africa. This gives it more edge, more authenticity and less predictability. This does not mean danger (but see Stay Safe section below), rather greater opportunities for delight—and frustration. This is real Africa, the dirty urban bustle of Kampala bursting at the seams then giving way to lush subsistence farming and small villages. Roads are rough, people are friendly, everything seems to have a smell all its own, and not everything moves according to schedule or to plan.

Most travellers come to track the critically endangered mountain gorilla, but other major draws are other primates such as chimpanzees, birding, visiting Murchison Falls, trekking the Rwenzoris and white water rafting near the source of the River Nile.


The people of Uganda were hunter-gatherers until 1,700 to 2,300 years ago. Bantu-speaking populations, who were probably from central and western Africa, migrated to the southern parts of the country. The Empire of Kitara in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries represents the earliest forms of formal organization, followed by the kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara, and in later centuries, Buganda and Ankole.

Arab traders moved inland from the Indian Ocean coast of East Africa in the 1830s. They were followed in the 1860s by British explorers searching for the source of the Nile. Protestant missionaries entered the country in 1877, followed by Catholic missionaries in 1879. The United Kingdom placed the area under the charter of the British East Africa Company in 1888, and ruled it as a protectorate from 1894. As several other territories and chiefdoms were integrated, the final protectorate called Uganda took shape in 1914. From 1900 to 1920, a sleeping sickness epidemic killed more than 250,000 people.

Uganda won independence from Britain in 1962, and the first elections were held on 1 March 1961. Benedicto Kiwanuka of the Democratic Party became the first Chief Minister. Uganda became a republic the following year, maintaining its Commonwealth membership. In succeeding years, supporters of a centralized state vied with those in favour of a loose federation and a strong role for tribally-based local kingdoms. Political manoeuvring climaxed in February 1966, when Prime Minister Milton Obote suspended the constitution and assumed all government powers, removing the positions of president and vice president. In September 1967, a new constitution proclaimed Uganda a republic, gave the president even greater powers, and abolished the traditional kingdoms.

On 25 January 1971, Obote's government was ousted in a military coup led by the commander of the armed forces, Idi Amin Dada. Amin declared himself 'president,' dissolved the parliament, and amended the constitution to give himself absolute power. Idi Amin's eight-year rule produced economic decline, social disintegration, and massive human rights violations. The Acholi and Langi ethnic groups were particular objects of Amin's political persecution because they had supported Obote and made up a large part of the army. In 1978, the International Commission of Jurists estimated that more than 100,000 Ugandans had been murdered during Amin's reign of terror; some authorities place the figure as high as 300,000.

In October 1978, Tanzanian armed forces repulsed an incursion of Amin's troops into Tanzanian territory. The Tanzanian army, backed by Ugandan exiles waged a war against Amin's troops and the Libyan soldiers sent to help him. On 11 April 1979, Kampala was captured, and Amin fled with his remaining forces. This led to the return of Obote, who was deposed once more in 1985 by General Tito Okello. Okello ruled for six months until he was deposed after the so-called "bush war" by the National Resistance Army (NRA) operating under the leadership of the current president, Yoweri Museveni, and various rebel groups, including the Federal Democratic Movement of Andrew Kayiira, and another belonging to John Nkwanga.

Museveni has been in power since 1986. In the mid to late 1990s, he was lauded by the West as part of a new generation of African leaders.

Recently, Uganda has been in the news for its controversial law that makes gay sex punishable by life in prison and also makes it a criminal offence not to report an offender.


Although generally equatorial, the climate is not uniform as the altitude modifies the climate. Southern Uganda is wetter with rain generally spread throughout the year. At Entebbe on the northern shore of Lake Victoria, most rain falls from March to June and the November/December period. Further to the north a dry season gradually emerges; at Gulu about 120km from the South Sudanese border, November to February is much drier than the rest of the year.

The northeastern region has the driest climate and is prone to droughts in some years. Rwenzori in the southwest on the border with DR Congo receives heavy rain all year round. The south of the country is heavily influenced by one of the world's biggest lakes, Lake Victoria, which contains many islands. It prevents temperatures from varying significantly and increases cloudiness and rainfall.


Uganda is home to many different ethnic groups including the Baganda, the largest ethnic group.

Get in

Ugandan visas are issued at embassies and High Commissions and also at all entry points. The Uganda Visa Policy uses the principle of reciprocity, that is all countries that require visas for Ugandans are visa prone in Uganda.

Visa Fees: from the 1st of July 2015. Single Entry good for 90 days USD100. Inland Transit USD100. East Africa Multiple entry tourist visa good for 90 days USD100.

Since multiple entry visas are both expensive and must be obtained from Uganda's diplomatic missions abroad, bona fide tourists may want to consider the East Africa Tourist Visa announced in Jan 2014 and first issued in Mar 2014 that allows travel between Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda with multiple entries in a 90 day period for USD100 and without "restrictions on country of origin". You can buy this visa on arrival at Entebbe airport (or Kenya or Rwanda if that is your first port). However, since some finicky airlines may refuse to board you without the assurance of a visa, Rwanda has made the smart move of setting up an webpage on-line website to issue these, which means that some tourists may want to first land at Rwanda's capital airport of Kigali rather than Entebbe or Nairobi since this visa must be issued by the country that you first plan to visit (similar principle to Schengen visas in the EU).

Countries exempted from visas: Angola, Antigua, Bahamas, Botswana, Barbados, Belize, Comoros, Cyprus, Eritrea, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Malta, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Vanuatu, Zambia and Zimbabwe .

Visa extension

You can get a free one-month visa extension at immigration offices in Kampala, Fort Portal, Jinja and Mbarara. However, you can not get a visa extension on a 90-day East African tourist visa, but only on a 90-day single entry Uganda visa.

By plane

Entebbe Airport is the hub for Ugandan air travel. Many flights to cities in Africa take place from here.

By train

There is only one railway: Uganda Railways also known as "The Lunatic Express".

By car

In theory, travellers with their own vehicles should be able to enter Uganda at any of the border crossings which lie on a main road, such as the roads from Kenya through Busia and Malaba. A carnet du passage is required for private vehicles, including motorcycles, while single entry tourist visa should be easily obtained for (USD100).

By International bus

Uganda is well served by a number of reputable international bus companies. Several bus companies offer direct routes from Nairobi, Mombasa, Kigali, Bujumbura, Goma, Bukavu Juba, Kisumu, Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Lusaka, Harare to Kampala. All of these buses will, in theory, allow travellers to alight at main towns along the route, e.g. in Jinja if coming from the Kenyan border to Kampala. A typical journey between Kampala and Nairobi lasts approximately 12 hours, including the border crossing. the bus ride from Kampala to Kisumu takes 7 hours and cost Ugx 43,000 on Easy Coach.

By boat

There are ferries going to Ssese Islands in lake Victoria. Uganda has some brilliant island resorts.

Get around

By boda-boda

In Kampala and some other towns, the boda-boda is a good way to get from place to place. These are small mopeds, motorcycles, bicycles or scooters with cushions on the back and are cheap transport as used by locals. If using a boda-boda, be extremely careful as they are frequently involved in accidents; however, in spite of this, they are a fun and fast way to get around. Note that if you advise the driver that you want him to drive slower and safer, he may actually listen to you.

Make sure you agree on the price before you get on the bike. They will try and charge more claiming it was further than thought.Some may get aggressive, say you will call the police and they will calm down. Always be polite and non aggressive.

Note: Make sure you tell them to drive slowly. Many foreigners and locals are injured and killed on Boda Bodas in Uganda.

Great Rift Valley

By bus

Uganda has a decent bus system. There are two classes of buses. The "taxis" (also called "matatus") are actually minibuses or commuter vans, which run fixed routes (see below).

There are also real buses which run less frequently, usually leaving Kampala early in the morning. There are many companies which almost all leave from the same general area. For example, Postbus has safe, comfortable and reliable buses going to most towns in Uganda. They depart Kampala General post office from 7am/8am. The buses fill up, so if you get on mid-trip, you'll be spending some time standing or sitting in the aisle before somebody gets off and you can get a seat.

Both buses and taxis run along most roads between cities, paved (sealed) or dirt.

Domestic bus travel is reasonable and cheap between major centres, and is a good choice for backpackers with time, but may not run reliably on schedule. A trip from Kampala to Masindi takes about 4 hours and costs approximately 12,000 Uganda shillings.

Note that both buses and "taxis" do not run on fixed schedules; rather, they leave their terminal stop when they are completely full. On heavily-travelled routes, they fill up within minutes and this is not a problem, but on less-travelled routes (or if getting on a large bus), be prepared to wait a while before departure.

By taxi

The best way to get around Kampala and the neighbouring towns is by using minibus-type taxis called "taxi". This is the most efficient and cost-effective method of transportation in urban areas, but try not to get ripped off by the conductors as they sometimes try to overcharge tourists. They usually take 14 passengers plus a conductor, though in smaller country towns overcrowding still occurs. Minibus taxis are relatively cheap, frequent (in Kampala), and may make lots of stops along the way.

They run along fixed routes, picking up and dropping off people anywhere along the route. If you want to get on, stand at the side of the road and wave your arm. To get off, say "stage" and the driver will pull over and let you off at the next boda boda waiting area. You can also just say "Driver, please pull over at X". They're not marked with destinations unless you are at the central taxi parks, so you'll have to listen to the destinations that the drivers are yelling out the window. If you're not sure where to catch a taxi going to your destination (especially at Kampala's two taxi parks, which are huge!), just ask a nearby driver or conductor, and they'll probably be able to point you in the right direction.

Private taxis - those which you can hire for yourself only, are called special hire taxis, and are available in most every decent sized town. Fares are negotiable over long distances as there are no meters.

By car

The roads in Uganda are comparable to many in sub-Saharan Africa. Most of the main roads are tarmaced, although the condition of them can deteriorate in patches. Some become extremely pot holed. Many of the minor roads and side roads are made of hard packed earth (murum) and, when graded, are quite quick and reasonable. However, they will deteriorate in heavy rains and wash boarding frequently occurs. The best way to deal with the wash boarding is not to slow down, but to find a speed sympathetic to the road surface and effectively skip from ridge to ridge. Untarred roads, if wet, may be impassable in the mountainous regions of the south-west. Commercial drivers of buses and trucks compound the danger, as do pedestrians, livestock, cyclists, dogs and the odd police roadblock. Plan on 60 km/h as a typical rate of travel, although the speed will vary. The best advice is drive cautiously and stay totally alert.

When planning a journey, it is best not to ask how far it is but to ask how long it will take. Local drivers normally have a good idea of how long journeys will take.

Expect to pay a lot to hire a vehicle. A sensible choice is to hire a 4x4 with a driver given that you will need local language assistance and expertise should something happen on the roads. Most places have accommodation and meals for drivers as this is common among travellers. This will cost upwards of USD100 per day (not including fuel) with the cheapest vehicles typically having no windows, a canvas roof, an assembly date in the 1970s and so on. You get what you pay for. A cheap option is likely to leave you stranded somewhere remote and that can mean days of your itinerary lost. Unless you are comfortable paying cash in advance without a signed contract and no network to help you get out of a breakdown, go to one of the major agencies.

It can be difficult to hire a self-drive vehicle without a driver and his subsistence being included in the tariff. One company offering the service is:


English is widely spoken as the lingua franca, though to varying degrees of fluency. British English is used by the most educated, but Ugandan English often takes on a life of its own. Dozens of African languages are spoken in Uganda, the most common being Luganda, which is almost universally understood in Kampala. Swahili may come in handy in places, especially the North and East. Although many Ugandans do not speak Swahili at all, it is a common African trade language.

A few words or stock phrases in the various dialects are very easy to learn and most locals will be delighted to help you learn the highly ritualised greeting, and, in turn, every person that you greet in this way will be delighted to meet you.

You will hear lots of ecstatic children waving, jumping, hopping and singing "jambo mzungu" as you roll past.


Tree climbing lions can be seen in Queen Victoria National Park
Murchison Falls

Still one the poorest countries in the world, and still recovering from some very dark years, Uganda is not the place to go for great architecture or an abundance of urban sights. Instead, its riches lie in its amazing variety of wildlife and landscapes. With half of the remaining mountain gorillas and all of the Big Five living in the countries stunning national parks, wildlife watching is by far the main attraction.

With wide, dry savannah in the north, thick rainforest in the centre and lush, snow-peaked mountain landscapes in the east, natural beauty comes in many ways here. Unesco listed Rwenzori Mountains National Park is home to the tallest mountain range of the continent, covered in thick jungle on the lower slopes and frozen moorlands on higher ones. Several of its highest peaks are covered year round in snow and glaciers. The highest mountain is Mt. Stanley, third highest in Africa. Head to the gorgeous Lake Bunyonyi and rise early to see the morning fog draw out. Watch fishermen at work from the shores of the Victoria Lake, the largest lake in Africa; the white beaches of Kalangala make for an excellent spot. Also on Lake Victoria are the Ssese Islands, great for some beach time.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a unique safari spot in the world. The Bwindi population of 340 wild mountain gorillas, half of the total remaining number of this critically endangered primate, is a major draw. The park is home to a total of 10 primate species and some 110 other mammal species (including African elephants), over 350 bird species and some 200 butterflies, and 220 tree species, the dense forests here are one of the most divers eco-systems in Africa. The most accessible and therefore also most popular safari spot is Queen Elizabeth National Park, with dozens of large animals commonly seen. Of particular interest is the population of tree climbing lions living here, lion behaviour seen only here and in Tanzania. Your best chance of seeing the wide variety of wildlife in this area comes with an early morning visit to the plains around the Kazinga channel, which attracts animals of all kinds year round.

Uganda's diversity of bird life is spectacular. While good birding options can be found in most of the national parks, Kibale Forest National Park is an especially good pick and also famous for its chimpanzee tracking. Impressive waterfalls can be found in Murchison Falls National Park

Uganda's urban life has a limited number of attractions to offer, but the twin cities of Kampala and Entebbe do make for an interesting stop. Just some 35 km apart, these two towns are remarkably different in character. The only true city in Uganda, Kampala is safer and less chaotic than most of its African counterparts, and the Kasubi Tombs (while damaged) and National Museum are worthwhile sights. Much smaller and prettier is the former capital, Entebbe. Its lovely location on the shores of Lake Victoria and the lush National Botanical Gardens make this a pleasant place to stay if you're flying in or out.




The national currency is the Ugandan shilling, UGX (sometimes written as Ush or Shs. You'll also see this notation 5,000/-). There are UGX50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5000, 2000 and 1000 bank notes and 500, 200, 100, and 50 shilling coins (10, 5, and 1 shilling coins exist but are rarely used).

Some bigger hotels and restaurants accept US dollars as payment, and safaris and rafting activities (e.g. Red Chillis in Kampala) are often priced in USD. These activities can be paid in UGX, but a poor exchange rate is often offered. Also, there is often an extra fee (typically around 5%) on the use of credit cards. This means that it can be useful to bring USD to cover these activities. The obvious trade-off is that one must carry a large amount of USD around.

ATMs accept debit and credit cards throughout the country. Master card and Visa card branded cards are accepted by most ATMs. Stanbic Bank, Ecobank, Equity bank, Kenya commercial bank, GT Bank and I&M Bank ATMs are the best ones to use. Different ATMs allow for different maximum withdrawals of UGX400,000-2,000,000, though the usual amount is UGX1000,000. Many ATMs are located at Entebbe Airport; given that it is impossible to buy Ugandan shillings outside of Uganda and in countries bordering Uganda, withdrawing shillings from the airport ATMs is the easiest option. only Standard Chartered bank ATMs in Kampala take Master cards and Union pay cards. the three Standard Chartered ATMs outside of Kampala only take visa card.

Barclays Bank has a high fee at all its ATMs for Overseas bank cards. but Stanbic bank and Equity bank has no fee at all at its ATMs for Overseas banks cards

ATMs may close due to lack of money or system problems. you can now use both Visa cards and Master cards to get money from Atms all over Uganda.. In Kampala, watch out for pickpockets who follow tourists from one bank's ATM to another when cards are not accepted.

Credit cards are accepted at businesses, usually the larger hotels, airlines, supermarkets and shops in big Shopping malls.

As for your American Express, Union Pay, JCB, Diners Club, Maestro, Discover cards they can be used to get cash at any Equity bank ATMs. of which there are many all over Uganda.

Cashing travellers cheques can be very difficult, so don't bother bringing them into Uganda.


Food and goods are cheap. On a shoestring you can get by on UGX55,000 a day, excluding park visits and other expensive activities.

Make sure you bargain for everything you buy around town except in the bigger stores and malls. Never pay face value when buying from the local vendors around town. Hotels can be costly, so if you are a student it would be a good idea to look for a hostel in Kampala.

Most people have to buy a visa when they arrive at the airport; in July 2015 this cost USD100 (single-entry 3 month). Bills must be newer than 2003!. most people get the 90 day East African visa $100 which is good for Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda.

Tipping is not part of Ugandan culture and not expected, but that doesn't mean it will not be appreciated.


Food from Uganda is a sensation.

You can sample the luwombo, which is meat or groundnut sauce steamed in banana leaves. It has a tantalising aroma, and is always served with "food", which in Ugandan parlance indicates any carbohydrate. The staple "food" varies from region to region, with the plantain matooke in the south, millet in the north, and potatoes in the west. Cassava, posho (made from ground maize), sweet potatoes and rice are other common "foods". The whole fried fish is succulent, though mostly available at the beach, and usually served with chips/French fries. Other common options around Kampala include the traditional matooke, binyebwa (groundnut sauce), chapati, and meat stew. For the less adventurous, toasted sandwiches or omelets can be found in many places.

If this does not appeal, it is best (and far more interesting) to stop at roadside stands or markets to purchase fresh produce—fruits and vegetables abound and are very affordable, to say nothing of the roasted chicken or goat on a stick. There are also a number of fast-food places, such as Nando’s, Steers, Domino’s Pizza, and Hungry Lion, all in the city centre.

A basic local dish starts at around UGX1,500, and goes up to UGX5,600.A slice of pineapple from a street vendor can cost as little as 300 shillings.

See the Fang Fang Hotel below for good Chinese food in Kampala. Other Chinese restaurants with good food include Fang Fang Restaurant (different and more expensive from the hotel), and Golden China restaurant, all located in the city centre, and Nanjing Hotel in Kololo Hill.

In Entebbe, try the Boma Guesthouse on Gowers Rd. (see below under Sleep). Local food in Entebbe can be found at the Golf Course Restaurant and at the Airport Motel among other places.

In Jinja, the Ling Ling offers some great Chinese food. On Main Street the Source Café has a great variety of food, and you can surf the web while you eat.


Coffee is one of the best products from Uganda, but the British hooked the locals on tea, so finding a decent cup of native joe is nearly impossible, especially outside of Kampala. In Kampala, try the coffee house 1000 Cups on Buganda Road. The Source Cafe in Jinja sells Ugandan coffee at the airport, Banana Boat stores, and many hotels. The coffee is marketed under the name Kiira Kawa (River Coffee). Good African Coffee and Cafe Pap are good restaurants for food or coffee in the Kampala area. In Jinja, stop by the Source Cafe for an incredible cappuccino—they had the sweetest espresso machine! or when you are in the west at Hotel Mountains of the Moon in Fort Portal

Chai tea is available widely, and is best in the rural areas near the tea plantations. You will see signs posted on shops and kiosks where it can be purchased.

Lower-end South African wine can be had in some restaurants, but stick with the beer. Any of the four major brands are acceptable, though the Pilsner brand is the only one made without added corn sugar for those who care about such things.

Be advised to drink Bottled water, usually called mineral water in local restaurants. Water flowing from taps is not treated.


Forest in the Ruwenzori mountains

There are many hotels in Uganda. If you go on the higher end you will pay high prices, over $100 per night. Standard traveller Guest houses, Lodges and Inns will have simple rooms with shared bathrooms for around 15,000 to 30,000 shillings.

for the real budget traveler There are various Backpackers hostels in Kampala, Entebbe, Jinja, Masaka, Fort Portal, Kabale. to choose from and to base yourself at, including Kampala Backpackers, Entebbe backpackers, Masaka backpackers, Yes hostel Fort portal, Jinja backpackers, Kabale backpackers. Some are better than others, and may suit different preferences, so it's best to explore the reviews on Trip Advisor to assess what would be best for you. A stay in one of these will cost from UGX9,000/18,000 a night, depending on whether you camp or stay in a dorm. They also offer private rooms or safari tents, and some have self-catering cottages which are great for long stay/groups. These are most frequently used by Truck tours which are popular with the less independent traveler.

there is also Bed & Breakfast establishments to make you have a homely feel away from home at the lowest rates.

National Parks

The accommodations provided in the national parks by UWA are generally basic but inexpensive compared to alternatives. They vary in amenities and price, and the cheapest can be as little as USD5.00 or less per person per night.

Few moderately priced options are available, and the high end, while expensive, are substandard compared to the high end options of Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa and other mature tourist destinations in Africa. Unfortunately, few alternatives are available. There are some notable exceptions, but best to go either highest end or stay in the UWA budget accommodations and spend more on a better vehicle!

Stay safe

Uganda has been home to some of the more gruesome atrocities in modern African history since its independence in 1962, particularly under the heinous dictator Idi Amin, but in the years since 1987 things have consistently improved. Today the state is relatively stable after 25 years of stereotypically 'strong man' rule by Yoweri Museveni. Kampala has changed into a major centre of East African trade.

Travel north to Murchison Falls National Park and Ajai Game Reserve is perfectly safe. Note that overlanders from Tanzania and Kenya regularly make the trip routing through Jinja.

As in any urban area, Kampala can be dodgy. One is well advised to remain in tourist areas, but sensibly garbed visitors not dangling the latest cameras, flashy jewellery or bulging bags are not likely to draw unwanted attention to themselves. Some jihadist groups have threatened the country due to its counter-jihad activities in Amisom (the UN force in Somalia).

However, any any non-blacks walking in the street stand out and are likely to be stared at openly, which may cause discomfort to those unaccustomed to travelling in Africa. Asian individuals will be assumed to be Chinese, and often will be subjected to "ni hao" and/or imitations of Asian languages (e.g. "Ching chong"). While potentially offensive to Asian Americans (or Asians raised in similar cultures), it is not necessarily intended to be rude and is almost never a sign of anti-Asian hostility. What little begging exists is some of the most polite and inoffensive to be found in African cities, nowhere worse than in the West. Small children are sadly becoming a nuisance in some rural spots frequented by tourists doling out sweets and coins but nowhere near the swarming throng one can attract in many cities around the world.

In the gorilla tracking region of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park near the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there was one incident in the late 1990s in which bandits attacked a group of tourists and killed several people. Since then, there have been no incidents and all groups now go out with armed guards (which was not the case before). There is a visible security presence in the region, but this is a preventative measure rather than a response to anything specific.

Travellers should still avoid the North Eastern areas as Karimijong attacks have occurred that involved tourists. Some jihadists have engaged in retaliatory activities in protest at the counter-jihad policies of Museveni.

LGBT travellers

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda and attitudes towards LGBT people are extremely hostile. Though 2011's notorious "Anti-Homosexuality Bill", which proposed the death penalty for "repeat offenders", failed to pass, a revised version that imposes a life sentence also failed to pass. There is a small underground gay scene in Kampala, but violence is commonplace and gay travellers are advised to be extremely cautious. Various studies have shown that one of the worst places in the world to be homosexual is Uganda. Hence, if you are gay and choose to visit Uganda, it is advisable to keep your sexual orientation a secret. A recently enacted law has made it illegal for one to know that someone is homosexual and not report it to the authorities.

Stay healthy

The HIV/AIDS infection rate is very high (even though lower than neighbouring countries). Do not have unprotected sex.

Ebola and Marburg haemorrhagic fevers have been endemic within certain regions of the country. The vectors of these viruses are unknown, but have been thought to be linked with bats. Therefore, travellers should avoid (or be extremely cautious when) entering any caves. If you are bitten by an animal, assume that the animal was infected by a disease and seek prompt medical attention.

Take precautions against malaria! Malarial mosquitoes are present throughout most lower lying areas of the country. It is worth seeking out a packet of Artenam while you are in Kampala if you are travelling up-country. Artenam is a reliable treatment and works on chloroquine-resistant malaria strains too.

Diarrhoea and intestinal worms are also a concern and travellers should be careful what they eat or drink. Carry hand sanitizer to use before meals. Be sure to wash fresh produce well before eating and avoid raw foods in restaurants. As a precaution, travellers should secure ciprofloxacin before they exit their home country because it can be used as a cure.

Remember, that many of the lakes have Schistosomiasis. Check with the locals and do not paddle on the lake shore if you're not sure.


Uganda has a fairly conservative Christian/Muslim-based society. It is generally not considered acceptable for women to wear skimpy clothing or to overtly display their sexuality. The only exception is in certain night life situations in Kampala. Most Ugandans go to church/mosque regularly and consider religion an important part of a moral society. Never criticize religion in presence of a Ugandan!

You will not be taken seriously if you wear shorts outside the obvious tourist destinations and most Ugandan adults would never wear shorts except if playing sport. Use a pair of light trousers to blend in better. Most women wear skirts in rural areas, but trousers are acceptable in cities and larger towns.

In central Kampala women can dress pretty much like in any western big city. Women dressing smartly in tight sleeveless tops, tight jeans, or dresses or skirts that do not cover the knees is a very common sight there. As a foreigner you do not need to avoid dressing up - although for safety reasons it is wise to avoid wearing expensive jewellery or similar accessories.

A handshake is the most common form of greeting. If your hands are wet or dirty you may offer your wrist instead of your hand.

Don't be surprised if you see two men holding hands. This is not a sign of homosexuality (which is forbidden by law and is indeed punishable), but rather of friendship.


Mobile phone network coverage is available in most parts of the country (over 80%), but geography can cause trouble in the mountainous regions. SIM cards are cheaply available everywhere in 'starter packs' but need to be registered before use.

Internet cafes can be readily found in Kampala and Jinja and In all towns with more than about 20,000 people you'll find internet cafes running off of either VSATs or mobile phones. The Internet connection bandwidth is very low and can be frustrating for those who are used to a high speed internet connection.

Mobile broadband (3G, HSDPA, HSPA, HSPA+ [21mbps]) is available in several places. Airtel has mobile broadband available in larger places along Jinja Road. In the more rural areas, a slower (EDGE) connection might be available. If a mobile broadband connection is desirable on a computer, a good option could be to bring a phone that can set up a Wi-Fi network providing internet access, or one that allows USB tethering. USB broadband modems are also available. but might be more expensive but also need to be registered before use.

Other networks include MTN, Smart Telecom, Vodafone Uganda.

An example of price for mobile broadband on a phone through Airtel is UGX25,000 for 1GB traffic in one week.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, March 14, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.