Uganda: General Information and Travel Considerations

Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa with Kampala as its capital city and Entebbe as the international airport. It has a population of about 41 million, covers an area of about 241,000 and enjoys an equatorial climate all year round.

English is the official language spoken here, however there are many other local languages most significant of which are Luganda and Swahili. Not very many people speak English comfortably but they will understand basic requests like, take me to the nearest hospital.

The majority of the population lives in towns and urban areas. 85% of this population is Christian (distributed among Anglicans, Catholics and Evangelicals) therefore you may find some of their views slightly conservative except for the urban youth who may be slightly liberal.

The unit of currency used in Uganda is the Uganda shilling (UGX) which trades with the US dollar (USD) at 3,830.40 (USD/UGX, September 2018). There are Visa enabled ATMs within the capital city but these become rarer farther out. You can also find card payment facilities at some hotels and lodges across the country.

The most common form of transportation in the city is a boda boda (motorcycle taxis) but we advise against it unless you must, and if you’re wearing a helmet. Transportation apps like Uber and Taxify work within the capital (it would be nice to have a local number so your cabbie can reach you). There is a relatively new known as Safe Boda (for those who insist on using motorcycles).

The following are some of the things we would like you to consider carrying on your next visit, primarily for your comfort and in case of an emergency:

  • Prescribed medication like inhalers and allergy treatments (check for legality status of your medication with the Embassy of Uganda)
  • Emergency contacts in the event someone needs to call for help
  • Laxatives and antacids in the event you cannot adjust to the food
  • Anti-malaria drugs (as prescribed by your doctor)
  • Insect repellent to ward off mosquitoes and flies
  • Sunscreen especially for the dry months (December – February, June – September)
  • A mixture of warm and light clothing, closed and open shoes and a hat.
  • Sanitizer and other antiseptics
  • Camera, power bank and binoculars
  • Flashlight, Swiss knife and water filter/treatment especially for the campers