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Nitarudi Africa Safaris
Nitarudi Africa Safaris
Nitarudi Africa Safaris
Nitarudi Africa Safaris

About Uganda

Where is Uganda?

Uganda is located in eastern Africa and is mostly a larger fertile plateau rimmed with mountains. Uganda has large natural resources helping to build an agrarian economy with a strong mining sector. Famously called the Pearl of Africa by Winston Churchill, it has a diverse and concentration range of African fauna & flora ranges including the endangered mountain gorilla and chimpanzee. Kampala is the Capital City located on several hills overlooking Lake Victoria, and is quickly developing into a top destination for the country.

Capital City: Kampala
Time Zone: UTC+3
Population: approximately 33,398,682 (July 2010 est.)
Electricity: 220-245 volts at 59Hz. British-style plugs with three chisel pins are used
Currency: Uganda Shillings (UGX)
Languages: English is the official language, Kiswahili and Luganda aer widely spoken, plus over 40 local dialects from four main linguistic groupings - Bantu, Luo, Hamites and Nilo-Hamites
Calling code: +256
Area: Total 236,040km2, land 199,710km2, water 36,330 km2

The cilimate of Uganda

Climate: Uganda has a tropical climate and is generally rainy with two main dry seasons, from December to February, and from June to August, with semi-arid conditions in the northeast. Temperatures are highest in December and February when they reach about 30 ºC. The altitude of any place modifies the climate.

People and Culture in Uganda

Local Culture: Whether in the market or on the street, in the office or on the phone, exchanging greetings is key to successful interaction with Ugandans. A hello, handshake, nod or smile will seal the deal. Nudity or the wearing of bikinis in public places is frowned upon. Ugandans appreciate decent dressing and visitors are advised to show respect to the local people, their culture and traditions.

Food in Uganda

The Food: In addition to local cuisine, there is a wide range of international cuisine on offer, including Chinese, Lebanese, Indian, Ethiopian, French, Continental, Thai, Belgian and Irish, as well as popular fast food outlets like Nandos and Steers. Local restaurants serve Ugandan dishes which are typically plantain or posho (cooked corn floor) eaten with stew – usually meat or fish, with an array of fruits and vegetables.

Tipping

Tipping: Tipping has not been standardized, but generally a 10% tip for good service is acceptable

Visas: A valid passport and visa are required for entry. Visitors from certain countries, though, are exempt from visas. Check with the Ugandan mission in your country before you travel. For more information, visit the foreign affairs website at www.mofa.go.ug or www.immigration.go.ug. Visas are issued at Ugandan missions abroad and at entry/exit points as well.

Flights & Transport:

Direct flights are only available from three cities in Europe – London on British
Airways, Brussels on SN Brussels and Amsterdam on KLM. These cities are well connected with the rest of the world and hence offer connections worldwide. Emirates Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways are the major link to the East through Dubai, Istanbul and Doha. Entebbe Airport also has direct connections to Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Johannesburg, Juba, Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro, amongst many other African cities.

Charter flights can be arranged on request to all national parks. All East African cities and towns are well connected by road. Buses run from Kampala to Nairobi (Kenya), Bukoba (Tanzania), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Kigali (Rwanda), Bujumbura (Burundi) and Juba (Sudan). The recommended ones include Regional, Akamba Bus and Scandinavian Express. We also organize road transport in 4-wheel drive vehicles to national parks and other places of interest. Surface roads link the capital city to the major towns of Jinja, Mbale, Kabale, Kasese and Fort Portal from where well maintained roads lead to the game reserves and national parks. There is a regular inland ferry connecting Nakiwogo in Entebbe and the Ssese Islands on Lake Victoria and one between Bukakata pier and Masaka town.

Health and Immunization

Health/Immunization: You are advised to carry sunscreen and/or insect repellant as well as some anti-
malarial medication as a precaution. Good medical facilities are available in the country. However, it is recommended that you take out medical insurance before arrival. You are advised to visit your GP for a check-up at least a month before travelling. Prophylactics against malaria are strongly advised as is mosquito repellent. Bilharzia is prevalent in some lakes. For this reason therefore, swimming outside designated areas is not recommended. Drink only bottled or boiled water.

Money and Currency

Money: Currency unit is the Uganda Shilling in denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000,
5,000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000. While all major currencies are accepted in all large towns, the US Dollar is traditionally the more common hard currency. Exchanging money is easy, with choices between the banks and exchange bureaus in all large towns, although the rates are more favourable in the capital city. Larger denominations fetch better rates. Forex bureaux also tend to offer better rates than the banks and stay open longer. Note that most financial institutions do not accept notes older than 5 years. There is no limit on the amount of cash you can bring into the country. Credit cards and traveler’s checks have a wide acceptance, although it can depend on brand.

Credi Cards

Credit Cards: Although only the major hotels accept credit card payments, Barclays and Standard Chartered banks have ATMs that accept Visa and Euro cards. The ATMs can be found at Entebbe Airport, in Kampala and in a few big towns.

When to Visit:

You may visit any time of the year, although mountain hikes, gorilla treks and forest walks may be more challenging during the rainy months of March to May and September to November.

What type of clothes to wear

What to Wear: Light clothing is recommended for daytime. The evenings are considerably
cooler, especially at high altitudes, so carry a couple of light sweaters. Those intending to climb the mountains will be exposed to alpine temperatures, so pack accordingly. Strong walking shoes are required for treks. You may also need a hat, sunglasses and a waterproof jacket. Casual to conservative clothing is acceptable, depending on the region, with heavier clothes for the higher altitudes and cooler nights, and lighter clothes for the lower altitudes and days. Ask permission before photographing people.

Where To Stay:

The most luxurious hotels, used mostly by business travelers and up market tourists, set their rates in dollars. There is, however, also plenty of budget accommodation.

Shopping:

Handicrafts can be found at the outdoor crafts village on Buganda Road in Kampala, the National Theatre crafts village, also in Kampala and the Uganda Community Tourism Association in Kansanga, a suburb of Kampala. There are modern indoor/outdoor malls in Kampala, where you can find all manner of essentials. The supermarkets/malls in Kampala include Garden City, Game Stores, Shoprite, Capital Shoppers, Embassy Supermarket, Uchumi and Payless. For fresh tropical fruits, be sure to visit Nakasero Market, in the heart of Kampala city.

Entertainment and Nightlife

Entertainment / Nightlife: It varies from the slow-paced to the vibrant. In Kampala and larger towns, discos are where the action is. Popular Kampala nightclubs include Ange Mystique, Silk Lounge, Club Obligatto, Kampala Casino, Irish Pub, Steak Out and the Rouge. Don't miss the jam sessions at the National Theatre on Monday evenings. There are cinemas with blockbuster movies such Cineplex at Garden City.

Destinations

Destinations: National Parks – Bwindi impenetrable, Mgahinga Gorilla, Kidepo Valley, Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth, Kibale Forest, Rwenzori and the islands on Lake Victoria like Ssese Islands

Sports Facilities

Sports Facilities: In the major towns there are facilities for golf, football, cricket, tennis and rugby, Join the famous hash harriers running group for a healthy way to tour the city or bond with the die-hard soccer fans who are extremely loyal to international football.

Telecommunication

Telecommunication: Public Pay phones are available in major towns/ cities, with mobile phone coverage countrywide. Internet cafes operate in most urban areas. Emails can be sent from most hotels, as can faxes and telexes.

 

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