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Uganda Travel Information

The Basics

Time

GMT +3

Electricity

Electrical current in Uganda is 220 volts, 50Hz. Three-pin, rectangular blade plugs are in use.

Language

English is the official national language in Uganda. Luganda is also widely spoken and is the most common of the numerous indigenous languages.

Travel Health

Travellers' diarrhoea is the most common complaint for visitors to Uganda. Recommended vaccinations include hepatitis A and typhoid; a Hepatitis E outbreak in northern Uganda has killed over 60 people so far and infected thousands more, and visitors are advised to take precautions if visiting the area. All visitors require vaccination against yellow fever. Cholera outbreaks occur occasionally, but most travellers are at low risk for infection; bottled water is widely available. Malaria and HIV/AIDS are widespread. Outbreaks of the plague and meningitis occur and visitors should insure that vaccinations are up to date. A recent outbreak of Ebola has killed 37 people in western Uganda; it is spread through direct contact with blood or secretions of an infected person. Incidents of sleeping sickness are on the rise, carried by tsetse flies. Limited health facilities are available outside of Kampala. Comprehensive medical insurance is advised.

Tipping

At local hotels and restaurants in Uganda, tipping is not common, but tips of 5-10% are expected at tourist-orientated establishments. It is customary to tip guides and drivers.

Safety Information

Most national parks are safe to visit and a holiday to Uganda is generally trouble-free. Kampala, the capital, is a relatively safe city, although visitors should take sensible precautions against opportunistic crime and at night. Theft of EU passports has been on the increase. There has been an increase of political demonstrations and protests in and around Kampala, which can become violent. Travellers are advised to avoid all large public gatherings.

Due to the risk of banditry and attacks by other rebel groups, and tribal clashes, most foreign governments advise against all travel to Karamoja (Kotido, Moroto, Nakapiripirit, Katakwi Kaabong, Abim, Kapchorwa and Bukwa Districts) in the northeast. Travellers in the northwest near the border with Sudan and the DRC are also at risk of banditry, and travel outside of the main towns is to be avoided after dark.

Areas bordering Sudan in the north, the region known as West Nile in the north west (except Arua town, which can be visited by air), and the Karamoja region of north eastern Uganda are insecure and pose a serious risk to travellers. Kidepo Valley National Park should be visited by air only. Gorilla trekking excursions that cross over into the DRC should be avoided.

Despite recent publicity, there has been no activity by the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda since 2006.

Local Customs

Visitors to Uganda are advised not to take photographs of military or official sites, including Owen Falls Dam. Homosexual practices are frowned upon and public displays of affection should be avoided.

Business

Uganda has one of the fastest-growing economies and is one of the most liberal countries in Africa. Agriculture is the largest sector of the economy and coffee the chief export. Uganda is most welcoming for foreign investment and business is steadily on the increase. Appointments should always be made prior to business meetings. Formal dress attire is to be observed, and the shaking of hands is expected on introduction. Business is usually conducted in English. Business hours are generally 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday with an hour taken over lunch.

Communications

The international dialling code for Uganda is +256. The outgoing code is 000 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 00027 for South Africa). City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)41 for Kampala. There is extensive cellular telephone network coverage over most of the country with GSM 900, and internet facilities are available in most large towns.

Duty Free

Travellers to Uganda over 17 years of age do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes or 227g tobacco, or a combination of 227g tobacco products; 1 bottle of wine or spirits; and 500ml of perfume or eau de toilette.

Become our Uganda Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our Uganda travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Uganda or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.

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Intrepid Travel, one of the world's leading suppliers of small group adventures focused on getting off the beaten track, interacting with the locals and having real life experiences throughout Uganda.

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