Uganda - Abbey Travel, Ireland



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Welcome to Uganda


A small, landlocked country straddling the equator between Kenya and the DRC in Eastern Africa, Uganda is one of the continent's most beautiful countries, boasting a wide variety of scenery, culture and wildlife despite its modest size.

Its reputation as 'Africa's friendliest country' is not only accredited to its likeable people, but also to its redevelopment as an eco-friendly environment, with the enlightened management of 10 national parks, and its introduction of eco-tourism projects, adventure sports and unique gorilla-trekking opportunities that have put the country back on the tourist circuit.

Not only is Uganda progressive in its development as an environment-friendly destination, but its approach towards HIV/AIDS has been hailed as the most effective in sub-Saharan Africa. After years of misrule, hardship and war under Idi Amin, Uganda is once again receiving positive global interest due to its forward-thinking policies and wealth of tourist attractions. The hardship and war have not been forgotten by the people, but they are memories confined to the past.

Uganda's variety of landscapes is as astounding as its biodiversity. Forested crater lakes on the floor of the Rift Valley give way to typical East African savannah as well as tropical rainforest. The glacial peaks of the highest mountain range in Africa, the 'Mountains of the Moon' or Rwenzori Mountains that mark the country's western border, as well as a number of extinct volcanoes make for world-class hiking and mountaineering. There are several large bodies of water, including the massive Lake Victoria, which it shares with Tanzania and Kenya, and the myriad islands dotting Lake Victoria and Lake Bunyoni are ideal birdwatching destinations. Lake Victoria is also the source of the Nile, the longest river in the world, which passes through the impressive Murchison Falls and creates some of the most exciting white water rafting on earth.

What also makes Uganda a unique safari destination is its remarkable concentration of primates, which is the highest on earth, and people are drawn from around the world to track chimpanzees and to experience the face to face encounter of a lifetime: the massive mountain gorilla.

Information & Facts


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 and coffee 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.


Uganda has a typically tropical climate with little variation in temperature throughout the year. Distinctive wet and dry seasons characterise the climate of most of the country, except in the semi-arid north east. The dry season, generally from December to February and mid-June to mid-August, is the best time to visit. The two rainy seasons are from March to May, and September to November. In the south the rainiest month is April. The mountainous areas in western and eastern Uganda can be cold at night.


The international dialling code for Uganda is +256. The outgoing code is 000 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 00027 for South Africa). City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)41 for Kampala. There is extensive cellular telephone network coverage over most of the country with GSM 900, and Internet facilities are available in most large towns.


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.

Duty Free

Travellers to Uganda over 17 years of age do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes or 227g tobacco, or a combination of 227g tobacco products; 1 bottle of wine or spirits; and 500ml of perfume or eau de toilette.

Electrical current in Uganda is 220 volts, 50Hz. Three-pin, rectangular blade plugs are in use.
Getting Around

Buses connect all major towns daily. Minibuses and shared taxis are a good way of getting around and are the most commonly used by Ugandans - they are frequent, have fixed fares and leave when full. A few airlines offer scheduled and charter flights within the country; some places can only safely be reached by air. Cars can be rented from Entebbe Airport, Kampala and other major towns.


Travellers' diarrhoea is the most common complaint for visitors to Uganda. Recommended vaccinations include hepatitis A and typhoid; a Hepatitis E outbreak in northern Uganda since the end of 2007 has killed over 60 people so far and infected thousands more, and visitors are advised to 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. A recent outbreak of Ebola has killed 37 people in western Uganda; it is spread through direct contact with blood or secretions of an infected person. 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.

English is the official national language 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, like US dollars, Euros or Pounds Sterling, can be exchanged at banks and bureaux de change. Travellers cheques are not widely accepted outside of Kampala. ATMs are available in Kampala. Credit cards are only accepted at major hotels, shops and restaurants, usually only in the cities.

Passport Visa

All visitors require a passport that is valid for at least six months on entry. Visitors must hold return or onward tickets, and sufficient funds. All nationals can obtain a visa on arrival at a cost of US$50 (single entry) or US$100 for a six month visa (multiple entry) and US$200 for a one year visa (multiple entry).


Due to the risk of serious attacks and the killing of foreign aid workers by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), as well as the risk of banditry and attacks by other rebel groups, and tribal clashes; most foreign governments advise against travel to northern Uganda. The Government and the LRA signed a new 'Cessation of Hostilities' agreement in April 2007, but the situation remains unstable. 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 pose a serious risk to travellers. Kidepo Valley National Park should be visited by air only. In November 2005 there was an attack on a vehicle in Murchison Falls National Park (in the north west) and visitors are advised to avoid the park due to the risk of rebel groups in the area. Security has been heightened in both Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks in the far south west, bordering the DRC and Rwanda, following the murder of six tourists in 1999 in Bwindi by Rwandan rebels. 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. Demonstrations and political rallies should be avoided in Kampala and the main towns.

Local time in Uganda is GMT +3.

At local hotels and restaurants in Uganda, tipping is not common, but tips of 5-10% are expected at tourist-orientated establishments. It is customary to tip guides and drivers.

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