Many travel to Uganda to catch sight of the mystical, mountain gorillas living in the dense forests. Yet Uganda’s attractions don’t stop there. The hippo-filled rivers, abundant birdlife, serene lakes and villages filled with enthusiastic locals consistently capture the attention, imagination and hearts of travellers worldwide.
Uganda Tours & Travel
All our Uganda trips
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Articles on Uganda
8 African snacks you must try
Posted on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 by Jacqueline Donaldson
In Africa, most action takes place on the streets and roadsides – people hawking their wares, kids running to and from school, friends hanging out just chatting. There’s always movement [...]Read more
At a glance
- Trips Available:
- Capital city:
- Kampala (population 773,463)
- 34.6 million
- Swahili, English, Ganda
- Time zone:
- (GMT+03:00) Nairobi
- Type G (Irish/British 3-pin)
- Dialing code:
Best time to visit Uganda
For sunshine and hot weather, visit Uganda from late December to late February as this is the dry season. June to September is also a good time to travel as you can expect warm temperatures and little rain. The wet seasons run from March to May and October to November – during this time downpours are frequent and often create less accessibility on roads and within some national parks.
Culture and customs
Food or drink is often extended to visitors, even though many Ugandans have very little, and it is viewed as impolite to decline an offer of food or hospitality. Accept willingly and graciously eat or drink what has been offered to you. Generally, most of Uganda’s population lives in rural or regional centres, although urban areas are rapidly expanding and modern influences are infiltrating Ugandan society at a fast rate. With this modernisation, some of the old ways are dying out as younger Ugandans become more adept at using technology, although many still live tribal lives based on hunting and agriculture.
Eating and drinking
Intrepid believes that one of the best ways to experience a country is by eating! Whether you're sampling street food, savouring a cheap eat or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world.
Things to try in Uganda
This local dish of mashed plantains, often cooked in a nut sauce and served with meat or fish, is a favourite with locals and can be found pretty much everywhere in Uganda
2. Chai Tea
While coffee is grown widely in Uganda, most is shipped out for international sale so locals drink tea instead. Chai tea is popular, which you’ll find at markets, kiosks, cafes and restaurants.
3. Fresh Fruit
Mango, pineapple, avocado, banana, plantain, passionfruit and jackfruit are all plentiful in Uganda. Buy from a market or roadside stall as a refreshing, cheap snack.
Geography and environment
History and government
Inhabited by hunter-gatherer tribes for centuries, it's thought that the Hamitic people from neighbouring countries arrived sometime before 1000 AD, bringing with them knowledge of animal husbandry and agriculture. Migration from neighbouring countries continued, with tribespeople from Kenya and Tanzania flowing into Uganda well into the 16th century, as well as Arab traders moving inland from the coast and Christian missionaries arriving during the 1800s.
Uganda came under colonial rule during the late 1800s, and was known as the Kingdom of Uganda under British rule. Colonial rule continued for many years until independence was granted in 1962. From 1971 to 1979, Uganda came under the rule of Idi Amin, hallmarked by a time of economic decline and human rights violations. By the time Amin had fled to Libya, many Ugandans were suffering from extreme economic hardship and social difficulties. Conflicts with neighbouring countries in the 80s and 90s created more turmoil and upheaval, although more recently, Ugandans have enjoyed a time of relative peace with an improved economy largely due to an increase in tourist numbers and agricultural export.
Top 10 Amazing Animals of Uganda
1. Mountain Gorilla
Be transfixed by the wonder and majesty of Uganda’s highly endangered mountain gorillas. The challenging trek through the steamy jungle of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is all worth it once you’re beholding these beautiful beings.
2. African Elephant
Population numbers of the mighty African Elephant continue to grow in Uganda’s nature reserves and national parks. Catching sight of one of these brilliant beasts while on a game drive is a truly breathtaking experience.
3. Black and White Colobus Monkey
These curious creatures are fond of grunting, roaring and croaking – so they aren’t hard to find. Look for their white faces in the treetops while walking in Uganda’s national parks.
4. Black Rhinoceros
Although critically endangered, it’s still possible to see black rhinos in the Ugandan wild. Conservation projects have gone a long way in seeing the population numbers improve so with luck, you’ll spot a couple while on a game viewing safari.
These stealthy predators are relatively difficult to spot as they are masters of staying silent and blending in with the scenery. Watching a leopard stalk prey is a tense, exciting and riveting experience.
There is simply nothing more thrilling than casting your eye on a pride of regal lions. Whether they are lying in the sun or going in for the kill, lions are captivating creatures to watch.
Hippos are synonymous with the African bush. Spot them lurking underwater and basking on the riverbanks along the rivers and channels of Uganda.
It’s fun to watch cheeky chimps swinging and playing in unadulterated bliss in the trees of Uganda’s forests.
9. Golden Cat
You’ll be lucky to catch a glimpse of this famously elusive feline. The African Golden Cat is a solitary creature, which favours living alone in the tropical and cloud forests of Africa. If you’re lucky enough to see one, count your blessings as they are simply remarkable.
These flightless feathered friends are commonly found in the savanna of Northern Uganda. Be amazed at their size and impressive plumage, as well as their remarkable ability to run at top speed.
Uganda has loads of interesting markets to visit, although many handicraft items are produced in neighbouring Kenya.
It's a good idea to check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to bring certain items back into your home country. Australia and New Zealand generally have strict quarantine laws.
Things to buy in Uganda
The practise of making traditional baskets is quite developed in Uganda. Choose from assorted shapes – from shallow dish-shaped basketry to deeper bowls and baskets. Materials range from raffia to millet and banana fibre.
2. Paper Beads
Throughout Uganda there are many workshops and organisations that sell beautiful and colourful beaded necklaces made from recycled paper. These creations not only cut down on waste by utilising recycled paper, they also usually provide employment for local women.
3. Bark Cloth
Tribes from South Uganda have been creating bark cloth for centuries, and it’s still available for sale. Nice finds include journals, notepads and photo albums made from a combination of bark cloth and recycled paper.
Festivals and Events in Uganda
For Ugandan Christians, Christmas Day is a time of holy reverence and family get-togethers. Most Ugandan’s dress up in their finest attire, go to church for a long service and spend the afternoon and evening eating beef. With many Ugandan’s living simple lives, eating beef is a rare pleasure reserved for Christmas.
FAQs on Uganda
Bottle of beer = 2,500 UGX
Street snack = 3,000-4,000 UGX
Meal at a cafe = 10,000-20,000 UGX
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 26 Liberation Day
Mar 8 International Women’s Day
Mar 29 Good Friday
Apr 1 Easter Monday
May 1 Labour Day
Jun 3 Martyrs’ Day
Jun 9 National Heroes’ Day
Aug 8 Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)
Oct 9 Independence Day
Oct 15 Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice)
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Dec 26 Boxing Day
Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/Uganda/public-holidays
Visas are required by most nationalities, including the EU, US and Australia. Visas are available at point of entry to most nationalities. Some nationalities are required to obtain visas in advance - you MUST check before departure. If you plan to purchase your visas on arrival, you will need new (post 2003), clean American dollars cash and the cost is around US$50. When on one of our gorilla itineraries visiting Rwanda, you may require a double entry visa to Uganda. This is dependent on the border guard of the day and can be easily purchased on re entry from Rwanda for nationalities which qualify for visa on arrival. Please allow US$50. UGANDA:
Die Angehörigen der meisten Staaten benötigen für eine Einreise nach Uganda ein Visum, darunter Angehörige der EU Länder, US Amerikaner und Australier. Visa sind für die meisten Staatsangehörigen bei Einreise erhältlich. Manche Staatsangehörigen müssen hingegen im Voraus ein solches Visum beantragen und erhalten. Welcher Fall auf Sie zutrifft, MÜSSEN Sie vor Beginn der Reise in Erfahrung bringen. Für die Visumbeantragung bei Einreise benötigen Sie neue (nach 2003 ausgestellte), saubere US Dollar in bar. Die Kosten für ein Visum belaufen sich auf ca. USD50. Sollten wir laut Reiseprogramm die Gorillas in Uganda besuchen, benötigen Sie ein Visum mit zweifacher Einreise für Uganda. Dies hängt vom Ermessen des Grenzbeamten ab. Staatsangehörige, die berechtigt sind bei Einreise ein Visum zu beantragen, können am Grenzübergang ein Visum für die erneute Einreise beantragen. Dieses Visum kostet ca. USD50.
Health and Safety
Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
From New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
The World Health Organisation
also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/
Uganda Travel Tips
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Top responsible travel tips for Uganda
1. Be considerate of Uganda’s customs, traditions, religions and culture.
2. Dress modestly and respectfully. Shoulders to knees should be covered, especially when entering places of worship.
3. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.
4. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
5. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!
6. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.
7. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
8. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
9. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
10. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.
|The Teeth May Smile but the Heart Does Not Forget||Andrew Rice|
|Girl Soldier||Faith McDonnell and Grace Akallo|
|The Impenetrable Forest: My Gorilla Years in Uganda||Thor Hanson|
|Abyssinian Chronicles||Moses Isegawa|
|The Last King of Scotland||Giles Foden|