Uganda Travel Guide: Everything Uganda Tourists Need to Know

uganda travel guide

Uganda is one of the most beloved tourist destinations in Africa. It’s endowed with natural beauty and great weather all year round. It is also the perfect location to go for wildlife trekking adventures. Before traveling to Uganda, though, it’s helpful to know what to expect when it comes to languages, local laws, and culture. 

Here, we’ll share what we know to be true about Uganda and hopefully convince you that you should visit soon.

The Basics of What to Expect in Uganda  

First things first, get travel advice from trusted sources (hi, here at Explorer Chick!). Here are some basics of what to expect in Uganda.

  • Language: The dominating languages spoken in Uganda are English and Swahili. A vast majority of the population can speak eloquent English. These two languages are the leading ones spoken among 40 other native languages.  The main group of people there is Nilotic, Sudanese, Bantus, and Central Sudanese.
  • Currency:  The primary currency used in Uganda is the Ugandan Shilling. You get about 3500 – 700 Ugandan Shilling to one US dollar at the exchange point. Some places in the major towns also accept Euros and British Pounds.
  • Credit Cards vs. Cash:  While in Uganda, it would be wise always to have ready cash at all times.  If you want to get the best exchange deals, avoid exchanging currency at the airport. Exchange only the amount you need and make your withdrawals at the ATM. You can get the exemption to use cash in hotels and restaurants to use Credit cards. 
  • Plugs:  Get your G plug type ready when traveling to Uganda. It is similar to the pins found in the UK, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Singapore.
  • Covid-19 Situation. You can get information and the latest Covid-19 updates about Uganda on TravelHealthPro and local media. Get to understand the measure locals in Uganda are taking to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
  • Weather: Uganda lies on the warm tropical belt. Expect to experience temperatures ranging between 25 degrees Celsius and 29 degrees Celsius. The mountainous region around Mt Elgon is cooler.  It’s the hottest in December to February, with chilly evenings. Also, it’s worth noting that the heavy rain season is between March and between September and November. 
  • Visa Information: It’s a requirement to have a visa to visit Uganda. You can get the East African Community (EAC) tourist visa to access neighboring Uganda for 90 days. Alternatively, you can get a visa online from the government of Uganda.

Why Should You Visit Uganda?

A visit to Uganda will change your soul as you get to experience the best treats from the Pearl of Africa. You can explore nature’s bearings and the rich cultural aspects of the region. There are tons of things to do in Uganda.

Nicki, the founder of Explorer Chick, specifically created a trip to Uganda because of the impact it has had on her since her first visit. From the wildlife and conservation efforts to the jaw-dropping landscapes to the highest shelf accommodations (um, have you SEEN the hot tub situation??)Uganda is one of the most remarkable locations on Earth.

And that’s exactly what we’re focusing on in this list of reasons why you should visit Uganda.

Wildlife and Gorilla Trekking

gorilla trekking

One of the most must-do things while in Uganda is interacting with wildlife and going on Gorilla trekking adventure. Going gorilla trekking is a humbling experience as you get to observe the majestic animals in what is arguably one of the most beautiful places in all of Africa. 

Bwindi National Park is the primary home to Gorillas. It’s a 2.5-hour trek through the Bwindi forest, where you will likely come across the Mubare gorilla family. Consider trekking in the morning since the gorillas sleep in the evenings. Besides trekking, you can also jump into a Land cruiser and track movements of predators courtesy of the Uganda Carnivore Program.

More interactions with wildlife await you at Kyambura Gorge, where you can’t ignore the calls of chimpanzees. Make a point of organizing a boat ride at the Kazinga channel to enjoy different other types of wildlife from hippos, exotic birds, Nile crocodiles, and elephants.

This park is especially close to Nicki’s, the OG Explorer Chick’s, heart. 

Why?

“Tourism has kept Mountain Gorillas on the planet. With community profit sharing and job creation, locals are incentivized to conserve the species and their habitat.” Nicki’s vision is that Explorer Chick can help introduce people to the species that inhabit the natural world and, by doing so, support the local conservation efforts.

“When tourism collapses in conservation areas, our protected species come under threat for their short-term monetary value,” she explains. 

Her recommendation: “If you want to read more about this process, the Gorillas, and Uganda, I strongly recommend reading “The Impenetrable Forest: My Gorilla Years in Uganda” by Thor Hanson. I only cried twice.”

The Impenetrable Forest: My Gorilla Years in Uganda by Thor Hanson
The Impenetrable Forest book. Read 27 reviews from the world’s largest community for readers. Features the local customs in Uganda, mores and bureaucracy…
www.goodreads.com

Gorgeous National Parks

uganda national parks

While in Uganda, ensure that you arrange flights to various wildlife reserves starting with Kidepo Valley National Park. Its location on the northernmost part of the county leaves it untouched to ensure you have an authentic African savanna experience. Your visits to these wildlife reserves will show you why animals do not belong in the zoo as you get to see elephants, giraffes, and ostriches in their natural habitats.

safari in uganda
jaguars on safari in uganda
giraffes on safari in uganda
elephants on safari in uganda

Another show-stopping location you must visit is the Rwenzori Mountains National Park. Your tours will lead you up the Munyambuli River at first into the most beautiful forest. A stop at the Queen Elizabeth National Park will allow you to prepare for a 7.8 miles hike into the untouched wilderness.

Touring the national parks should bring you no trouble since chartered flights and tour operators accompany you in the wild. Exploring the gorgeous wild in Uganda is an experience that forever remains stamped in your memories.

Show-Stopping Accommodation 

uganda accommodations

You never have to worry about getting accommodation in Uganda. There are luxurious hotels all around Uganda. For instance, you can find accommodation at a luxury safari lodge in Kidepo Valley National Park and hire cottages. Entebbe City also has numerous alternatives for housing with all the essential facilities you will need to create an awesome experience for you.

Is Uganda Safe for Tourists?

uganda group tour

Uganda is one of the safest tourist destinations in Africa. However, there are a few vices such as drive-by theft in cities like Kampala, like any other country. It’s essential to stay alert and spot potential instances of petty crime. There have been isolated cases of serious crimes like recent terrorist activities and violent political demonstrations.  

Since it’s your first time visiting the country, it’s a good idea to make personal security arrangements, especially when going in public. Security is also necessary when gorilla trekking since the country is close to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Travel insurance is also an essential tool to get for your safety.

Where to get more information:

While there are certainly instances of heightened caution when traveling to Uganda, the reality is that most foreign travelers pass through the country peacefully. This is especially the case when traveling in guided groups, like our trekking and safari trip.

The Best Time to Visit Uganda

best time to visit uganda

Consider visiting Uganda during the dry season between January and February and June and August. Those are the hottest months featuring hot days and chilly evenings. Also, it would be best to schedule your trip following Uganda’s rainfall pattern. Expect heavy rainfall during the rainy seasons between March and May and between September and November.

Heavy rainfall may make road travel difficult BUT you are also likely to spot various types of game in those months (that’s why our trip is scheduled in November).

Travel to Uganda with Explorer Chick!

Looking for the most engaging group of like-minded individuals to go on an adventure with? Explorer Chick can help you organize a trip to Uganda. Let us know if you would like to join our eleven people -ten-day expedition to Uganda. Take advantage of the coming warm months and us for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make lasting memories.

join us in uganda

Meet the Writer

emily mumbi

Emily Mumbi

Emily is an explorer and freelance writer born and raised in Kenya. She’s been on various adventurers in Kenya, such as trekking in Hell’s Gate and hiking on Ngong Hills.

When not on her own adventure, you’ll find her reading about exotic places to visit around the world and stories of others’ adventures. She enjoys watching movies and spending time with her 2-year-old nephew.

Favorite Outdoor Adventure: Exploring beaches on the Kenyan coastline

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