Important things to note before booking a safari to Uganda
Like any country immigration policies are not stable in Uganda as they may change in accordance to the prevailing situation in the world or in the country. Travelers must always comprehend the details of their visa or pass i.e. validity in particular and area of operation. At the immigration centre point that is at the airport or border a six and above valid passport is required to acquire a Ugandan visa. The visas can also be got from Ugandan embassy of traveler’s respective country. Although visas can be obtained at the airport, it is commendable for a traveler’s to acquire it before travelling. If not one should always notify one’s airline whether one can board a plane without a visa. The traveler is permitted entrance in Uganda if he/she has an Eastafrican tourist visa that operates in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.
The current visa fees of Uganda are US$50 per person for 1 day-3 months stay and for 6-12 month multiple entry visas is at US$100. Note that the fees are non-refundable once paid. The nature of the visa does not determine the length of one’s traveler. The immigration officer determines the length of stay which is indicated in your visa. A tourist is normally given a period of one to three months of stay in Uganda. In case of overstay without prior notice, one is fined USD$30 per day of overstay. There is a provision of extension of the traveler’s stay that is done at the immigration office at the ministry of inter affairs on Jinja road Kampala city.
The national money currency of Uganda is called the Uganda shillings, it has denomination of 50, 100, 200 and 500 that are in a coin form and then 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 20000 and 50000 are in the paper form. Note that the 1000 denomination can also be found in a coin form.
Foreign currencies can easily be exchanged at main banks and forex bureaus. The major foreign currencies that are commonly exchanged in Uganda are the US Dollars, Pound Sterling, Euros, Swiss franc, Japanese Yen, Kenya shillings, Tanzania shilling, Rwanda francs and UAE Dirham. However, the US Dollar stands out most as this can also be used to pay some bills in Uganda for instance hotel bookings, tourist site entrances and car rental services. Electronic cards like visa and credit cards are not widely accepted in Uganda but these can be accepted in major hotels, restaurants, hypermarkets, tour and travel offices and tourist sites.
Driving in Uganda
A person must have a valid driving license in Uganda. For a foreign driver, he/she can drive using his/her foreign driving license for up to three months. The face technology in Kyambogo under the Uganda revenue authority is responsible for issuing out Uganda driving license. The driving license is valid for three years in Uganda.
Uganda follows the left route driving system commonly known as the British way of driving. The speed limit in Uganda is normally 50km/hr in areas with settlements, 80km/hr on highways and in national parks 40km/hr. Offensive driving in Uganda leads to premium fines and at times being imprisoned, it is better for one to read the driving and road safety rules in Uganda. When driving in Uganda be aware of people, animals and boda bodas crossing.
It is always best for a traveler to take health safety measures while going to a foreign country. Uganda is a country that lies in the tropical region and thus meaning it is liable to diseases like malaria, influenza and cold, STIs, yellow fever and typhoid.
Yellow Fever Immunization
It is a travel law in Uganda that no one is allowed to enter Uganda without having a yellow fever immunization card or certificate. These cards are normally valid for ten years. Uganda is a country that is occupied by mosquitoes which cause yellow fever a disease so fatal on human beings that can sometimes lead to death if not treated well. Prevention is better than cure it is better for one to immunize against this disease.
It is recommended to take prescription medicine for malaria. Malaria is the most common fever in Uganda which is caused by mosquitoes. If you are to travel to Uganda, visit the doctor to prescribe to you malaria prevention medicine. There are also pharmacies and clinics in Uganda that sell malaria tablets. It is also advisable to visit the doctor for malaria check up after your visit to Uganda. While at the hotel/lodge always sleep under treated mosquito nets. It is also good to wear clothes that cover your whole body at night.
STIs are universal. Every traveler should be aware of sexually transmitted infections as we all know these infections are one of the deadliest diseases in the world and some of them are not curable HIV in particular. It is best for a traveler to abstain from sexual intercourses while in Uganda if he/she cannot control it always use a condom. Condoms can be gotten in clinics and pharmacies around the country.
It is recommended for a traveler to drink bottled water commonly known as mineral water while in Uganda. Flowing water i.e. tap water is not well treated.
In addition to the above, always wash your hands with water and soap before eating anything. You should also wash fruits like mangoes, apples, pineapples and sugarcanes with water before eating them.
Communication and Internet
Uganda communication commission is the regulatory body for the communication sector in Uganda. There are very many telecommunication companies in Uganda and are differentiated by the initial codes. These have different call rates and internet packages as a way to attract and offer the best services to its customers. The major telecom operators in Uganda are MTN Uganda, Airtel Uganda, Africell Uganda, Uganda Telecom Limited and Vodafone Uganda. A traveler can also use his/her home telecom sim card in Uganda provided it has roaming services.
Due to the emergency of smart phones, Uganda has improved its internet services to make them fast and accessible to its citizens. Now in Uganda, one can access 4G internet but 3G internet is the most common one. Internet connection can either be by modem, wifi and mifi routers, direct to mobile handsets. There are very many internet providers in Uganda i.e. the telecom operators offers the services and also other companies like Infocom, Smile communication, Tangerine, Smart telecom, Africa online and FSAT communication Uganda Ltd.
Note: It is mandatory for everyone in Uganda to register his/her sim card under his/her identification particulars of either a National ID, passport or refugee card. A sim card can never operate if not register. For registration visit your telecom sim card operator offices and nearby outlets with a photocopy of your identification document and a passport photo.