Country InformationUganda is an equatorial country in Eastern Afrika with a population of 45 million. Uganda has a smaller southern neighbour, Rwanda, and the larger neighbours Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Most of the country is above 1,000m altitude, so temperatures are pleasant all year round. The country offers snow-capped mountain ranges (5'110m), volcanoes, many lakes (Lake Victoria, Lake Albert, Lake Edward and many smaller ones) and rivers (for example the Nile), the typical East African savannahs, but also tropical rainforests, where the famous mountain gorillas are at home.
A defining element of the country is the Central African Rift Valley, which crosses the country from north to south and extends via Lake Albert and Lake Edward to Rwanda (Lake Kivu) and finally to Tanzania (Lake Tanganyika). The border with Congo and Rwanda is defined by high mountain ranges (Rwenzori Mountains) and volcanoes (Virungas), that form an imposing backdrop for safaris in Queen Elizabeth National Park and gorilla trekking in Bwindi Forest and Mgahinga National Park in the south.
What does a journey in Uganda cost?Uganda has two distinct travel periods, which are also reflected in the rates. The best time to travel and therefore the maximum prices have to be paid from June to September and Jan to Feb. In addition, there fees for gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking for visiting the national parks, as well as for the private vehicle / guide. Airfare in Uganda is moderate as long as routes to the far north are avoided.
Climate and best times to visitUganda has a tropical climate in the south and center of the country. A bit of rain is always possible in Uganda. Usually, the period from June to mid-September and December to February is referred to as the drier season for the center and south of the country. The north of the country, Murchison and Kidepo, deviate from the climate in the south with only one dry season, December to February. Maybe the least favourable months for a travel to Uganda are April/May and October/November due to the rain. The rest of the year is just fine.
Temperatures vary between 25 and 30°C during the day and it cools down a bit at night. Most areas of interest to tourists are above 1,000m altitude, so extreme temperature are not to be expected. The mountains of Bwindi are of course much cooler than Queen Elizabeth NP or even the north of the country. The north of the country, Murchison and Kidepo, can experience rather high temperatures, especially in the hottest months of January and February, peaks of up to 40 degrees Celsius are possible.
Immigration rules and regulationsBoth Swiss and EU citizens require a passport which is valid at least 6 months beyond the date of your departure from Uganda, and must contain at least two blank pages. Visas are required and can be purchased online or on arrival. Exact details must be clarified before arriving.
FlightsThere is no direct flight from Switzerland to Uganda. Good options are KLM via Amsterdam, Qatar via Doha or Brussels Airlines via Brussels to Entebbe. Depending on the time of arrival an overnight stay in Entebbe is required.
Health and insuranceMalaria prophylaxis is recommended for travel to Uganda. Please seek advice from your doctor. A yellow fever vaccination is required for Uganda. Please carry your yellow fever certificate.
Please make sure that you are adequately insured, particularly for a medical evacuation from a remote area and repatriation. All necessary medication must be brought from home. Do not rely on getting the required medication in Uganda. All medication must be kept in your hand luggage.
Currency and methods of paymentThe currency is the Ugandan Shilling. Major credit cards are accepted, but please make sure that your PIN code works, as transactions via the automated teller machines (ATM) are faster and much more reliable. Most lodges accept credit cards. Tips to guides and camp staff can be given in cash in US Dollars. The local staff can't change any other currency into local currency due to bank restrictions. Please note that your dollar bills should not be older than 2010 as the local banks do not accept older dollar bills.
Dress CodeIt is best to bring casual wear that works well for safaris and gorilla trekking. Remember to bring sweaters and raincoats for the early morning and evening hous and the occasional rainy days. As for footwear, we recommend comfortable, open sandals and a pair of sturdy shoes. Hiking boots are needed for the gorilla trekking. Please remember that you can have your clothes washed in many of our lodges.
CommunicationOfficial languages are English and Swahili. Mobile connection is usually good, unless you are far away from urban centres. However, most camps provide Internet / Wifi access nowadays.
Food and drinkFood at the lodges is of very good quality. We recommend you to drink only bottled drinking water. Only bottled mineral water and filtered ice are available at the lodges.
ElectricityThe power supply is 220 - 230 volts. Adapters for all countries are present at all good lodges. Computers, cameras and iPods can then be recharged. The power supply is available 24 hrs a day at most lodges. The plugs have three large rectangular prongs (UK style).
LaundryClothes can be washed at almost all lodges. Do not take too many clothes, instead make use of the laundry service wherever possible.
TrafficTraffic in Uganda drives on the left-hand side.
Time differenceEuropean Winter Time: + 2 hours.
European Summer Time: + 1 hour