Winston Churchill called Uganda 'the pearl of Africa', presumably basing his opinion on the country's great natural beauty. From the moment the visitor lands it is clear that Uganda is no ordinary safari destination.
Dominated by a century old botanical garden alive with the chatter of acrobatic monkeys and colourful tropical birds, Entebbe itself is the least obviously urban of all comparably sized African towns.
Just 40 kilometres away, sprawled across seven hills, there is the capital Kampala. The bright modern feel of this bustling, cosmopolitan city reflects the ongoing economic growth and political stability that has characterised Uganda since 1986. Since the late 1980s, the nation has managed to move on from the abyss of civil war and the economic catastrophe of the Idi Amin days.
Uganda is where the East African savannah meets the West African jungle. In this lush country, one can observe lions prowling the open plains, track chimpanzees through the rainforest undergrowth, then navigate tropical channels teeming with hippos and crocs before setting off into the misty mountains to stare deep into the eyes of a mountain gorilla.
Full Country Name: Republic of Uganda
Area: 241,038 sq km
Population: 34.51 million (UN 2011)
Borders: Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC, formally Zaire), Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan and Tanzania.
Religion: Most common is Christianity followed by animist and Muslim
Time Zone: Standard time is three hours in advance of Greenwich Mean Time
Languages: English is the official language, with Swahili, Luganda and other Bantu languages also spoken
Country Dialling Code: +256
Uganda has a typically tropical climate with little variation in temperatures 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.
CURRENCY & BANKS
The unit of currency is the Ugandan Shilling. However when changing money, US Dollars cash is the preferred currency. Any dollar bills taken must not be tattered or torn, and should not have been issued prior to 2001. It is difficult to change money outside Kampala.
Credit cards are not widely accepted and not all lodges will take them. Small local purchases such as souvenirs and drinks will definitely have to be paid for in local currency.
In Uganda the general voltage is 240 and the frequency is 50 Hz. The British three rectangular blade plugs are common. Electricity in most camps is provided by generators. Batteries may be recharged in the camp during the day but it is wise to double check with the camp manager.
As the sockets can vary a ‘Travellers Adaptor Set’ is recommended. Voltage sometimes fluctuates and whilst power cuts are rare, they are not unknown. It is useful to carry a torch.
Health requirements vary from country to country. We recommend you speak to your local Travel Doctor for up-to-date information and advice. The following information is to be used as a guide only.
Malaria: It is recommended that precautions against malaria are taken for travel to most regions in Africa. We suggest you contact your doctor for advice on which prophylactic is recommended.
Yellow Fever: A Yellow Fever vaccination is required. All travellers must carry proof that the Yellow Fever vaccine has been administered at least 10 days prior to travel.
Please note that road surfaces vary from tarmac, gravel, sand and occasionally vehicles may travel "off road". Additionally, if visiting remote areas or National Parks and Reserves, the roads may well be rough, bumpy and in a poor condition and may be affected by adverse weather conditions.
VISA INFORMATION At the time of writing, a visa for Uganda is required for Australian Passport Holders. The visa can be obtained on arrival at the airport.
Single Entry Visa: USD $50 per person on an Foreign Passport (subject to change).
We hope that you will find this country Information on Uganda useful for reference when preparing for your holiday. All the information above was correct at the time of writing and is to be used as a guide only. Health, visa and other specific details should be double checked by your travel agent at the time of booking.
Sprawling across both sides of the equator, a network of 10 national parks and several other protected areas offers wildlife enthusiasts a thrilling opportunity to experience Uganda’s biodiversity: not only the mesmerising tracts of thorn-bush savannah teeming with antelope, buffalo and elephant one tends to associate with equatorial East Africa, but also lush expanses of tropical rainforest, shimmering lakes and rivers heaving with aquatic life, and the glacial peaks of Africa’s tallest mountain range.
Set majestically in the shadow of the Rwenzori, flanking Lakes Edward and George, the lush savannah of Queen Elizabeth National Park offers prime grazing to buffalo, elephant and various antelope. A checklist of 600-plus bird species testifies to the extraordinary ecological diversity of this park. Mammalian specialities include the (elsewhere elusive) giant forest hog, and the legendary tree-climbing lions of the Ishasha Sector.
Of Uganda’s forested reserves, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is best known for its superb gorilla tracking, but it also provides refuge to elephant, chimpanzee, monkeys and various small antelope, as well as 23 bird species restricted to the Albertine Rift.
Kibale National Park is a primatologist’s dream. It hosts a population of more than 1,000 chimpanzees, of which one 80-strong community has been habituated to tourist visits, as well as half-a-dozen readily observed monkey species, including the acrobatic red colobus and black-and-white colobus, and the handsome L’Hoest’s monkey.
The closest savannah reserve to Kampala, Lake Mburo National Park is centred on a series of swamp-fringed lakes known for their rich birdlife, notably the secretive African finfoot. The green acacia woodland surrounding the lake harbours dense populations of zebra, warthog, buffalo, impala and various other grazers, including the last surviving Ugandan population of eland, the largest of African antelope.