Travel Guide

Planning to travel to Uganda? At the Uganda Tourism Hub, we bring to you the most important travel tips and advice to help you get started with planning a safari in Uganda.

Traveling in Uganda can be amazing if you are in the know of the essential information and guidelines to help you get around with ease. To visit your own country is to discover ancient cultures, beautiful landscapes, some of the world’s best tropical rain forests, growing African cities and friendly people. It’s something everyone should do.

Communication

Not unlike other developing countries, telecommunication is still a developing sector in Uganda but tourists normally do not face too many communication problems. Over 70% of the country is covered by mobile phone networks although the mountainous regions do present a few problems. You can buy SIM cards anywhere in the country and even get yourself a starter pack after entering the country. International calls can be made from all the large cities and phone booths can be easily spotted in the towns and cities.

Internet communication is not all pervasive and the rural areas seldom offer any Internet facilities. If staying connected over the Internet is essential for you, make sure that your hotel is sufficiently equipped. Jinja and Kampala have a number of Internet cafés. Almost all towns with a population of over 20,000 have Internet cafés operating off mobile phones or VSATS. Tourists who are used to high speed Internet connections are likely to find the speeds here frustratingly slow.

Currency/Money

The Ugandan shilling (code: UGX or UgSh) is the national currency of Uganda. Shilling notes are available in denominations of 1000, 5000, 10000, 20000 and 50000, while coins are available in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200. The 10-shilling coin is however no longer in use.

Foreign currencies that are generally accepted are the Euro (EUR), the British pound (GBP) or US dollars (USD) that have been issued after 2000. Old USD may be refused even at banks while new notes can be used directly at reasonable exchange rates, although you will be given only shillings in change. It is wiser however to exchange USD for shillings in advance. Under current exchange rates, it is over 2000 shillings to the USD and over 3200 shillings to the GBP. Traveller’s cheques are not easy to cash and notes can be exchanged for UGX more easily in the larger towns.

A Visa ATM/debit card can be used to withdraw money in only a few places such as the ATM in the City Garden Mall in Kampala. The acceptance of MasterCard ATM/debit cards is wider and they are accepted at any Stanbic bank, of which there are several all across Kampala – you will find one at Gayaza Road, Ntinda Road, City Garden Mall and the popular Wandegaya, to name a few. Stanbic banks can be spotted all over Uganda, from Gulu to Mbarare. Step into any bank branch for all currency related information.

Follow the link to view the latest Uganda exchange rate from OANDA.com.

Electricity

240V 50HZ (UK Plug Type)

Embassy Locations

To view a list of Ugandan embassies around the world, as well as foreign embassies within Uganda, check out EmbassyWorld.com.

General Information

Population: 32,369,558 (July 2009 estimate)
Total Area: 241,038 sq km
Capital: Kampala
Time Zone: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Follow the link to view the current time in Kampala, Uganda.

Health

Like most developing nations, healthcare in Uganda is still lagging behind. According to recent statistics, life expectancy at birth is around 49 years. Out of every 1,000 births, about 140 children lose their lives before the age of five. In 2002, Uganda spent an amount equivalent to about 7.4% of its GDP on healthcare.

Uganda was one of the worst hit nations when the HIV/AIDS epidemic broke out in East Africa in the early 1990s. The government tackled the epidemic on a war footing and the incidence of the condition declined from 13% in the 1990s to 4.1% by the end of 2003. It was one of the most effective responses by any African nation.

2003 saw an outbreak of cholera in the Bundibugyo district with the areas around the Lamia and Semliki rivers reporting the highest number of cases.

The Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) is considered as one of the best research facilities of its kind in East Africa.

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