Uganda shelters great many species of terrestrial and aquatic animals, birds, plants, and more that are unique to the region. Go on a primate trek in Bwindi and Mgahinga parks, and you will be immersed in a particularly rare experience: surrounded by the natural habitat of the mountain gorillas, watching for a precious hour as these giant primates feed, sleep, groom one another, or play with their young. Vacationers who have enjoyed this unique experience in the company of expert guides talk about the awe and fascination they felt, along with an overwhelming sense of how important it is to protect this very special species. It will interest you to know that the forests of Uganda also host thousands of chimpanzees, and the best park to see them is Kibale.
You can also visit places where they live, alongside over 20 other primate species, more than 1000 species of birds including the rare shoebill, and four of the Big Five of Africa living in the wild with the exception of rhinos, among various other large and small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and other creatures. Don’t miss the chance to see lionesses napping onthe branches of fig trees in the Ishasha sector, or crocodiles lazing on the sands, their mouths agape, beside the banks of Ntungwe River.
Kidepo Valley National Park was ranked third in the “Africa’s 10 Best Parks” list as declared by CNN Travel, while the African Bird Club voted Bwindi Impenetrable National Park as its top birding site. Uganda has also been featured on The New York Times travel section list for 52,places to Go. National Geographic mentioned Uganda as 50 Places Of A Lifetime to visit.
Accommodations such as Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, Kyambura Gorge Lodge, and Bwindi Lodge have won the World Travel AwardsTM while Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure magazines have listed them as best accommodations to stay in Uganda.
LOCATION OF UGANDA
Uganda is located in eastern Africa, west of Kenya, south of South Sudan, east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and north of Rwanda and Tanzania. It is in the heart of the Great Lakes region, and is surrounded by three of them, Lake Edward, Lake Albert, and LakeVictoria. While much of its border is lakeshore, Uganda is landlocked with no access to the sea.It has an area of 241,551 square kilometres (93,263 sq mi) of which 41,028 square kilometres(15,841 sq mi) is water.
WEATHER AND CLIMATE
Uganda has a warm tropical climate with temperatures falling in the 25–29°C (77–84°F) range on an average. The months from December to February are the hottest, but even during this season the evenings can be chilly with temperatures in the 17–18°C (63–64°F) range.Uganda receives an annual rainfall of 1,000mm to 1,500mm. The rainy seasons are from March to May and from September to November. During these months, heavy rains can make roads and terrains hard to traverse. The period from January to February and again from June to August are dry.
Uganda has about 50 languages from the tribes but English is official language which Uganda inherited from the British colonialists and can be widely spoken. In 2005 Kiswahili was also added as an official language since it is also spoken by most of the East African Community countries.
Bank of Uganda is responsible for the bulk distribution of banknotes and coin and to meet the public demand. It makes virtually no difference from the Bank’s broad monetary policy perspective whether the public holds cash, demand deposits at banks. The potential supply of banknotes and coins to the public however, is limited by banksto the extent that the public is only permitted to withdraw cash held as deposits or draw cash against pre-arranged credit facilities. The branches of the Bank, the UgandanPolice Services and the commercial banks all work together in combating the counterfeiting of banknotes and coins. The currency structure of Uganda consists ofbanknotes and coins and is denoted in Uganda Shilling (UGX). The following denominations are currently in circulation; Banknotes: UGX 1,000 UGX 2,000 UGX 5,000 UGX10, 000 UGX 20,000 and UGX 50,000. Coins: UGX;50,100,200,500 and 1000.
It is important for the public to be aware of the security features incorporated in genuine banknotes and to distinguish between genuine Ugandan banknotes and counterfeit notes.
HOSPITALITY & CULTURE
Ugandans are known for their hospitality and friendliness towards each other and visitors alike. However, it is advisable to be cautious when dealing with strangers. Police officers are very helpful and are easily identified by their uniforms. Like everywhere in the world valuables should always be safeguarded or left in the hotel safe box. If you do not know where to obtain a certain service or you are not sure always contact the Hotel Information Desk.
Uganda has a very strong cultural heritage. Many regions in Uganda have kingdoms including Buganda, Busoga, Bunyoro and Toro. Ugandans are remarkably hospital and hail from a diversity of rich cultures and lifestyles. Culture and traditions are also expressed through a wide range of arts and crafts.
PASSPORTS AND VISAS
The Uganda tourist visa is easily obtained at points of entry such as Entebbe International Airport or any of the border points. The visa is USD 50 for a single entry and USD 100 for a multiple entry (6-12 months). As visa requirements change frequently, please check with the Ugandan Embassy in your country before departurefor updates.
The East African Tourist Visa is now available, and you can visit Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda on a single USD 100, 90-day visa. Nationals from the East Africa Community(EAC) and COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) are exempt from visa required into Uganda. countries are Angola, Burundi, Comoros, Eritrea,Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania,
Zambia and Zimbabwe. Other Countries exempt from Visa requires to Uganda are:Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Jamaica, Lesotho, Malta,Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Tonga,Vanuatu, Italy (only Diplomatic Passports) and Cyprus.
Most travelers book through tour/safari companies however there are different car rental services that can offer vehicles for self-drive. Also, there are bus services that operate to different upcountry districts. While in the capital Kampala, one can use special hire/taxis like Uber, Motorcycles (Boda boda) are the easiest to navigate through the city heavy traffic and now with innovations like Safe boda, Uber, Jack boda, Taxify it is
easy since they use apps.
GETTING TO UGANDA
The main entry point for flights into Uganda is Entebbe International Airport (EBB) located near the town Entebbe, about 46km/29mi from the capital, Kampala. Uganda is a relatively compact country and further transportation within the country is usually done by vehicle. In most cases your local tour operator will collect you from the airport or hotel and will arrange further transportation as part of your safari-package.