Traveling to Uganda - Things to know

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Welcome to Uganda.
Welcome to the Pearl of Africa. Today I will be sharing with you information that you need to know before visiting the Pearl of Africa, Uganda.

Uganda is a landlocked country in central East Africa. It is found in the great lakes region of Africa. The southern part of the country includes a substantial part of lake Victoria which the country shares with Kenya and Tanzania. The country lies in within the Nile basin and has a generally modified equatorial climate.

Uganda derives its name from the Buganda kingdom. The official languages are English and Luganda. All international flights that land in Uganda, come in at the Entebbe International Airport which is about 44km from Kampala, the capital city.

Visa and travel doc
I received my visa for Uganda upon entry on my South African passport. The visa costs USD50 but you can also apply for it at the embassy for the same price. The officials are very friendly and ready to welcome you as long as you cooperate. The process is very smooth.
You will need your yellow fever certificate. You are advised to visit your travel doctor as well to and get that malaria prescription.

Water and food
I would advise you stick to bottled water.

As for food – EAT EVERYTHING!!!

Make sure to taste the Nile Special and the Club beer.


Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. Yes, Melanin does burn.
To save space from carrying too many things in your toiletry bag, rather mix citronella oil in your lotion than carrying mosquito repellent. You will smell like mosquito repellent can for the best part of the day but the best part is citronella wards off all insects that could find your body heat attractive.

Banking & Currency

The Ugandan shilling is the local currency.  Please check the rate of exchange before your travel days.
In East Africa carrying an international card will not give you headaches. The banks accept foreign cards and most upmarket establishments will allow you to swipe your card. You also have the option of getting into the country, get a local line and a mobile money account that you can use and never have to worry about cash.

The easiest banks to use are STANBIC and Barclays. They can be found almost everywhere in Uganda. Even in some remote villages.

MTN had great connection across the country. Their credit and data also being affordable. I loved how affordable it was for me to be able to phone back home and it almost cost me nothing to have long conversations.

Remember that there is a social media tax that you pay in Uganda. If you pay the tax and it expires, even if you still have data – you will be disconnected until you pay the tax again. The tax is paid separately and not included in your data costs.

Kampala and Entebbe have Uber and Taxify. There is also Taxify Boda, which allows you to hail a motorbike taxi. Boda-Bodas, as they are affectionately known in East Africa, are available everywhere. They are by far the best way to travel and avoid the traffic. The traffic in this country is mad intense.
Please note that if you are going to need a taxi at random hours, note that the drivers on the app do log off and you can find yourself without a ride. If you have a red-eye flight, I do suggest you organise with your hotel for airport transfer as that will save you.

I didn’t get time to fully experience the nightlife in Uganda besides at the Nyegenyege festival. I did try going to a club in Kampala which I was refused entry as it was overcrowded already. This was on a Sunday night. I have no doubt Ugandans know how to nyegenyege (shake their booty) because they did show us how to do it for 4 days at the festival.

The people
People are friendly and welcoming. You will have the time of your life meeting Ugandans.

***Always remember that as a traveller, you could literally be the only person that someone gets to meet your country through, be kind. People are curious and will ask questions that sometimes you may feel are not worth your time, that is your moment of sharing.

P.S. Make sure to follow the hashtag #AfricaThroughBeer, visit SAB World of Beer for a tour and stand a chance to win you own adventure in Uganda.


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