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More Practical Information before and during your trip in Uganda.
Brief facts about Uganda
Official name: The Republic of Uganda
Capital city: Kampala
Area: Approximately 236,580 square kilometers
Population: About 33,000,000
Roman Catholics: 41 Percent
Anglican: 40 percent
Muslim: 5 Percent
Indigenous beliefs: 4 percent
Others: 10 percent
People of Uganda
Official language is English. Other widely spoken languages include Swahili and Luganda. Lake Kyoga area forms Northern boundary for the Bantu-speaking people who dominate much of the Eastern, Central and Southern Africa. Uganda’s cultural diversity include Baganda, Banyakole, Bafumbira, Bagisu and Basoga. In the Northern region, live the Langi near lake Kyoga. To the East, there are Itesots, Bagwere,Banyole,Samias and Adolas. In the North East Karamajong who are related to the Masaai are the Nilotic and the Pygmies who live in the forest of the west.When you in Uganda, it is very good to speak a few words in Luganda. Well, here are some of the words you can speak in Luganda.
Hello: ki kati
Good morning: Wasuze, otya
Good evening: Sula Bulungi
I am Sorry: Nsonyiwa
What is your name: Amanya go gwani?
Answer: My name is… Bampita….
How are you/: Oli Otya
I am fine!: Jyendi
Do you speak English? : Oyogera Oluzungu?
Make sure that you spend wisely.You can convert your dollars, pounds and Euros into Ugandan shillings.This will help you pay all small items including snacks, food, drinks, souvenirs and laundry.
Using an ATM Machine in Uganda
Well, if you have a visa debit card, it is easy to get the best rate from your country’s currency which can be converted into shillings. You will incur charges such as exchange rate and possible bank charges for overseas. Try to avoid money chargers more so on border crossings.
US dollars issued before 2001 are not acceptable in Uganda
When you exchange money, use bigger notes (50 or 100 dollars)The exchange rate of smaller notes is much lower.
These cheques are not very common and can only be accepted in a few banks. We do not advise you to exchange traveler cheque.
Do not use credit cards as your primary method of payment. In some big hotels, credit cards are accepted, but in a developing country, it is not a common method of payment.
Clients are advised to give very reasonable tips to local guides, cleaners and drivers if they receive a service that is in tandem with their expectations. Tipping should be given on a voluntary basis according to clients’ judgment.
The pearl of Africa is located around the Equator and her climate is Equatorial, which is moderated by an altitude. Rainfall is highest near Lake Victoria and rains usually come between March and May, September and November. The rains can make tour roads rough and your journey times included in your journey may extend. There are two dry seasons one from December to February then the other from June to August. The temperature variations are very minimal, with a maximum of about 30 degrees centigrade with a minimum of 21 degrees centigrade making the climate very pleasant throughout the year. “Due to climate changes, it’s very hard to predict when the rainy season will come”.If you are coming to participate in Gorilla tracking and chimp tracking activities, you are advised not to come during the rainy season.
Like any other developing country expect any security issues to arise while you are in the country. When you are faced with any form of insecurity, you can contact any security personnel who will be in place to solve the situation. Take care of your valuables and for this case you are advised not to leave your valuables behind including your bags, money, jewelry etc. You will find some deposit boxes where you are advised to keep your valuables.
We are not health experts. However we can avail you with professional advice in this regard. We strongly recommend that you contact a doctor of your choice to find weather you are in a healthy condition, at least eight (8) weeks prior to your departure. We also advise you to carry anti-Malaria drugs and while in the country, use mosquito nets. If you are coming to participate in more adventurous activities including Gorilla tracking, bungee jumping, Chimp tracking and white water rafting you advised to be in very fit conditions.
Yellow Fever: A yellow fever certificate is compulsory and a certificate might be requested on arrival at the airport.
Malaria: There are various types of medicine on the market today used for prevention and treatment of malaria. We recommend that you consult your doctor on the best medication.
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS): This is a condition commonly experienced at high altitude. In most cases, this can be avoided by following guidelines on hiking pace, eating, resting and fluid intake. We recommend that you familiarize yourself with the various affects that altitude can cause. (Please consult your doctor on use of Diamox – tablets used by some mountaineers to help them cope with the effects of altitude).
Personal medical supplies (optional): As your tour leaders, we will carry a group medical kit. Some items that you might want to carry would include; aspirin, Imodium, laxatives, antibiotics, bandages, malaria tablets, gauze, adhesives, beta dine, throat lozenges, eye drops, sun block, lip balm, moleskin antihistamine tablets and cream.
There are a variety of different transport system including water transport, air transport, road transport and railway transport though it is not very much pronounced. There is one International Airport in the country which stands as the main entry point to the country. Within the country, the commonly used form of transport is road transport.
You can obtain Ugandan visas at all entry points to the country .The more pronounced area where you can get the VISA is Entebbe International Airport.We advise you to get your VISA on arrival because it is cheaper and easier,simple, easy and relatively quick and painless to obtain a visa from here.
We recommend you that you book with us for the best accommodation.The type of accommodation depends on your preference including luxury, mid-range and budget safari. The hotels and lodges you stay in while in Uganda will determine the quality of your time and stay in Uganda. In case you chose the wrong accommodation facility, you will not enjoy your stay in Uganda. Our clients are advised to check the hotels and lodges as per our itineraries and make sure they are the right accommodation facility for you.
Clothes and equipment
It is very essential that you prepare yourself with proper cloths before exploring some of the adventurous tourism destinations. Cold & wet conditions are normal on the mountain; and therefore you will need plenty of warm clothes for the nights. The paths are incredibly muddy after it rains and in some parts it becomes knee deep particularly around the Lake Bujuku, Bigo Bogs & on some parts of the trail between Kitandara and Guy Yeoman huts. You are advised to carry the following equipment; Gumboots, A water proof jacket and Water proof trousers. Before you climb, you need to waterproof your cloths & matches. Most of the hiking & climbing equipment you need could be hired from Ruwenzori Mountaineering Services including guides and maps.
Well, according to the Uganda Wildlife Authority, there is about 95 percent chance that you will come across gorillas on your trek. Very interesting, your journey will be an exciting one; cutting your way through the dense jungle, a thick bamboo, and a forested environment past the local homesteads. Gorilla tracking times vary from 30 minutes to 7 hours. Visitors are recommended to be in very sound physical status as they engage in this activity. You journey will be exciting when you interface with these superb giants. We do arrange permits on your behalf in Uganda and you are booking with us, we recommend that you book your permit in advance within 3-5 months.
Internet is the most powerful mode of communication worldwide. We appreciate the fact that you may need to communicate to your family, friends and relatives while on your safari. Internet cafes are in abundance throughout the country. In case you come with your lap top, you can use an orange, MTN or Airtel network because of their reliable speed you can buy a 3 GB wireless internet modem.
Food and Beverage
The pearl of Africa is blessed with fertile soils and favorable climate, which support the availability of various food stuff some of which include; bananas (Matooke) and fresh fruits. Well, we appreciate that you enjoy fabulous African dishes some of which you might never have tasted before. Drinks including Sodas, Beer, Tea and coffee are served in most hangouts.
There are many mobile phone service providers within the country including: MTN, Warid Telecom, Uganda Telecom, Airtel and Orange, You can purchase a SIM card for about 5 US dollars. We do recommend MTN for its wide coverage. Have a SIM-LOCK-FREE PHONE. Our country code is +256. You can make international calls as low as 20 cents a minute.
Charging Cameras and Phones
Well, you can charge your cameras; phones and other electronic in your hotel room.You could consider bringing or buying extension if you have many chargeable items.
Requirements before your trip:
- Check your flights and print a boarding pass with frequent flyer pass or bring a ticket.
- Check if your passport is still valid for 6 months or more
- Get your travel medical requirements (Malaria prophylaxis and injections)
- Get your travel-medical and cancellation insurances
- Bring your yellow vaccination book
- Come with your ATMS because we have international banks in major cities.
During the trip, your are advised to carry;
- Sun lotion
- Lip balm
- Oral Rehydration Salt
- Anti-car/boat/flight/height sickness tablets
- Pain killers
- Insect spray containing deet
- Personal medication id it is not illegal (Drugs like cocaine are not permissible)
- Tooth brush/toothpaste and ear picks
- Body lotion
- Phone and charger
- Video camera
- Alarm clock
- Hiking boots
- Swimming costume
- Warm sweater
- Short trousers
- Small day pack
- Water bottle
- Pen/pencil and paper
- Wallet or Money belt
- Personal stuff
- Glasses with the box
- Contact lenses
- Sun glasses