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
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.
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.
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
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.