UGANDA - THE PEARL OF AFRICA
Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa, also known as the Pearl of Africa whose diverse landscape encompasses the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains and immense Lake Victoria. Its abundant wildlife includes chimpanzees as well as rare birds.
Remote Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a renowned mountain gorilla sanctuary. Murchison Falls National Park in the northwest is known for its 43m-tall waterfall and wildlife such as hippos. Uganda also lies within the Nile basin, and has a varied but generally a modified equatorial climate.
Uganda is known for its dense misty green forests, snow-peaked mountains, glassy lakes and vast savannas along with its colourful cultures. Its friendly people and astounding landscapes attained the title 'pearl of Africa'. Uganda has a lot to see although mountain gorillas a attract many visitors; there's an astonishing range of attractions for every traveller.
Uganda lies across the Equator at an average altitude of 1,100 meters above sea- level. The total area is 236,580sq/km. Its borders with South Sudan to the North, Kenya to the East, Democratic Republic of Congo to the West, Tanzania and Rwanda to the South.
Murchison Falls National Park, Bugungu and Karuma Falls Wildlife Reserves. This is where the Nile explodes through a narrow gorge and cascades down to become a placid river whose banks are thronged with hippos and crocodiles, waterbucks and buffaloes. The vegetation is characterised by savannah, riverine forest and woodland. Wildlife includes lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, hartebeests, oribis, Uganda kobs, chimpanzees, and many bird species
Uganda' has over 13 national parks buzzing with a wide range of wild which make it a perfect destination for your safari experience. Murchison Falls is Uganda's largest park this is where the Nile explodes through a narrow gorge and cascades down to become a placid river whose banks are thronged with hippos and crocodiles, waterbucks and buffaloes. The vegetation is characterised by savannah, riverine forest and woodland. Wildlife includes lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, hartebeests, oribis, Uganda kobs, chimpanzees, and many bird species
Queen Elizabeth National Park is fairly Uganda’s most popular tourist destination. The park’s diverse ecosystems, which include sprawling savannah, shady, humid forests, sparkling lakes and fertile wetlands, make it the ideal habitat for classic big game, ten primate species including chimpanzees and over 600 species of birds. Set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori Mountains, the park’s magnificent vistas include dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffalo and elephants, and the endless Ishasha plains, whose fig trees hide lions ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting Uganda kob.
As well as its outstanding wildlife attractions, Queen Elizabeth National Park has a fascinating cultural history. There are many opportunities for visitors to meet the local communities and enjoy storytelling, dance, music and more. The gazetting of the park has ensured the conservation of its ecosystems, which in turn benefits the surrounding communities.
Having stepped out of the shadows of a deep dark past under Idi Amin and the Lord's Resistance Army, Uganda is no longer a country to be feared. It has since be widely regarded as one of Africa's safest destinations. Whether its wildlife safaris trekking, volcanoes, white-water rafting or just kicking back on the beach, Uganda has the best of Africa covered. Interested in Uganda click here for packages
UGANDA USEFUL INFORMATION
Getting To Uganda
Entebbe International Airport, its 40km from the capital Kampala, is serviced by a number of international airlines, including SN Brussels, British Airways, Etihad, Emirates, Quatar, KLM Royal Airline, South African Airways, Kenya Airways, Air Tanzania, Rwandair Express, Egypt Air and Ethiopian Airlines. Uganda can also be reached overland from Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania.
On Arrival in Uganda
Customs and immigration officials are polite and efficient. A visa - for those who require one - can be purchased on the spot at Entebbe International Airport or at any overland border. Foreign exchange and ATM facilities are available at the airport, which is also serviced by several shops and restaurants.
A certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required although may not be asked to show. All visitors should take malaria prophylactic drugs. It is advisable to drink bottled rather than tap water.
The unit of currency is the Uganda shilling. The US dollar is traditionally the hard currency of preference, but Euro and Pound Sterling are also widely accepted. Hard currency cash can be changed for local currency at banks and private bureaux de change in all large towns, but travellers' cheques are not widely accepted outside Kampala. Local currency can be drawn against Visa and other major credit cards at selected ATMs in Kampala, at Entebbe International Airport, and in a few other large towns.
Language in Uganda
Educated Ugandans are generally fluent in English, which is the official language. Of 30-plus different indigenous languages, Luganda serves as something of a lingua franca.
When to Visit Uganda
Uganda can be visited at any time, though mountain hikes, gorilla tracking and other forest walks are more challenging during the rains, which generally October to November and April to May. The best time to visit Uganda is late December to late February, as the weather at this time of year is generally dry (though hot). A close second is the mid-June to mid-August period. However you can still get around outside of these dry tropical months.
What to wear
Daytime temperatures are generally warm to hot, so bring lots of light clothing. Evenings are cooler, especially at high altitudes, so carry a couple of light sweaters too. Those who intend to hike on the mountains will be exposed to alpine temperatures and should pack accordingly. Solid walking shoes and sturdy clothing are ideal for forest walks. Don't forget to bring a hat, sunglasses and a waterproof jacket.
What to Bring to Uganda
A valid passport is mandatory, and visa requirements should be checked before you travel. To make the most of the game reserves and national parks, carry binoculars and field guides. Photographers will need a zoom lens for wildlife (70-300 or similar). Print film and developing is available in Kampala. Toiletries and other essentials can be bought in the cities.
You won't be expected to tip in Uganda, though feel free to do so if you've received exceptional service. Bargain when buying things from a market, from a street stall or craft shop. Tipping is not standard practice at local hotels and restaurants, but it will always be appreciated. It is normal to tip 5-10% at tourist-oriented restaurants. Guides and drivers sometimes expect to be tipped.
Facts for the Traveller
Visas: Citizens of most countries do require visas.
Time: GMT/UTC plus three hours
Electricity: 220V, 50Hz
Weights & measures: Metric
Safety & Security in Uganda
Just like in any other urban city elsewhere, visitors to Kampala are advised not to make themselves obvious target and do not carry large sums of cash in the streets. Generally Uganda is a very safe country and there are no particular dangers
Events in Uganda
Uganda celebrates many Christian holidays, including Christmas, Easter and Good Friday. The Muslim population honours Islamic holidays, which follow the Muslim calendar. Hari Raya Puasa , the sighting of the new moon, signifies the first day of the Muslim calendar and the end of Ramadan , the fasting month. Women's Day takes place throughout the country in early March. There are also several holidays associated with independence and events during the civil wars: NRM Anniversary Day is 26 January; Martyrs' Day is 3 June; Heroes' Day is 9 June; and Independence Day is 9 October.
Travel Insurance While in Uganda
If you need medical care whilst in Uganda, it is best to be aware that medical providers may not accept payment through your insurance company. In these circumstances you will have to pay in full after your treatment and file a claim with your insurance company for reimbursement. Therefore you should have access to cash, either from a credit card or by wire transfer. If you need assistance contact the country's local embassy or representative. To be compensated you must be treated by licensed medical personnel and provide your insurance company with proper documentation and receipts. It is advisable to always ensure you have a comprehensive travel insurance policy which covers you for repatriation to your home country.
Climate in Uganda
Although Uganda is located on the equator, its climate is warm rather than hot, and temperatures vary little throughout the year. Most of the country receives an annual rainfall of at least 30 mm. In Lake Victoria region an annual rainfall of 59 mm is distributed throughout the year and the average annual temperature is 21.6°C (71°F) with a daily range of 7 - 9°C (13-16°F). Further north rainfall averages about 35mm, with a pronounced dry season in June and July. The mean annual temperature in this region is 15.5°C (60°F) with a daily range of 11-13°C (20-23°F)
VISAS & IMMIGRATION
Visas are required by all except nationals from Angola,. Antigua, Barbados, Bahamas, Belize, Comoros, Cyprus, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Italy, (only Diplomatic passports), Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Malta, Mauritius, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Singapore, Tonga, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe These can be obtained from Uganda's Diplomatic and Consular Missions abroad.
IMPORTANT NOTE: It is possible to get issued a visa on arrival at Entebbe Airport as long as one satisfies the entry requirements. However, it is advisable that you get your visas prior embarking on a trip to Uganda to avoid unnecessary paper work at point of entry. On arrival, you may be asked to show you have sufficient funds to support your stay and that you have return ticket. This is however not a common practice.