Horseback riding in Uganda

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Equestrian tours in Uganda

 Uganda Mini Guide
    Source: World Travel Guide


Overview

Winston Churchill called Uganda 'the pearl of Africa', presumably basing his opinion on the country's great natural beauty. From the moment the visitor lands at Entebbe's international airport, with its breathtaking equatorial location on the forested shore of island-strewn Lake Victoria, it is clear that Uganda is no ordinary safari destination.

Dominated by a century-old botanical garden alive with the chatter of acrobatic monkeys and colourful tropical birds, Entebbe itself is the least obviously urban of all comparably sized African towns. Just 40km (25 miles) distant, sprawled across seven hills, there is the capital Kampala. The bright modern feel of this bustling, cosmopolitan city reflects the ongoing economic growth and political stability that has characterised Uganda since 1986. Since the late 1980s, the nation has managed to move on from the abyss of civil war and the economic catastrophe of the Idi Amin days.

Uganda is where the East African savannah meets the West African jungle. In this lush country, one can observe lions prowling the open plains, track chimpanzees through the rainforest undergrowth, then navigate tropical channels teeming with hippos and crocs before setting off into the misty mountains to stare deep into the eyes of a mountain gorilla.

 

Passport/Visa

Passport Required?

British

Yes

Australian

Yes

Canadian

Yes

USA

Yes

Other EU

Yes

Visa Required?

British

Yes

Australian

Yes

Canadian

Yes

USA

Yes

Other EU

Yes

Return Ticket Required?

British

Yes

Australian

Yes

Canadian

Yes

USA

Yes

Other EU

Yes

 

Passports

Passport valid for at least six months from date of entry to Uganda required by all nationals referred to in the chart above.

Passport Note

Entry may be refused to passengers not holding sufficient funds, return or onward tickets, and other necessary travel documents.

Visas

Required by all nationals referred to in the chart. You can obtain visas either on arrival at Entebbe airport or in advance.

Travelers who are also visiting Rwanda and Kenya may find it more useful to apply for an East African cross-border joint visa which allows entry into all three countries on a single visa.

Visa Note

Although transit passengers do require a visa, it is possible to obtain one on entry provided you are continuing to a third country by the same or first connecting flight within 24 hours, hold confirmed tickets and travel documents and do not leave the airport. 

Nationals not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the high commission/embassy to check visa requirements (see Contact Addresses).

Types of Visa and Cost

Single-entry visa: £65 in advance or US$100 on entry (three months); multiple-entry visa: £100 (six months). You can apply for 12-, 24- and 36-month multiple-entry visas at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Kampala.

East African tourist visa: £70. 

Single-entry visas on arrival for nationals of Cyprus, Ireland and Malta are issued free of charge.

Validity

Transit visa: 24 hours; single-entry visa: three months from the date of issue; multiple-entry visa: six, 12, 24 or 36 months.

East African tourist visa: three months.

Applications to:

Consulate (or consular section at high commission or embassy); see Contact Addresses. Transit visas are issued at the airport.

Working Days Required

Allow five working days for visa processing at the consulate/high commission.

 

Money

Currency

Uganda Shilling (UGX). Notes are in denominations of UGX50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5,000 and 1,000. Coins are in denominations of UGX500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1.

Currency Exchange

Foreign currency may be exchanged at the Central Bank, commercial banks and foreign exchange bureaux.

Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs

American Express, Diners, MasterCard and Visa are accepted but not widely used. Some large hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and shops in urban areas accept credit cards. ATMs are available in the larger cities.

Traveller's Cheques

Traveller's cheques are not widely accepted outside Kampala. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling. It is advised that travellers bring sufficient US dollars in cash in case of emergencies.

Currency Restrictions

Restrictions apply.

Banking Hours

Generally Mon-Fri 0830-1400, Sat 0900-1200. Forex bureaux are open until 1700 and able to do electronic transfers to and from overseas.

Exchange Rate Indicators

Date

June 3

£1.00=

UGX 4,880.98

$1.00=

UGX 3,361.53

€1.00=

UGX 3,820.15

 

Health

Vaccinations

 

Special Precautions

Diphtheria

Yes

Hepatitis A

Yes

Malaria

Yes

Rabies

Sometimes

Tetanus

Yes

Typhoid

Yes

Yellow Fever

Yes*

Inoculation regulations can change at short notice. Please take medical advice in the case of doubt. Where 'Sometimes' appears in the table above, precautions may be required, depending on the season and region visited.
* Yellow fever outbreaks occur occasionally, and an international health certificate showing proof of vaccination is advised, especially if you are travelling to another country from Uganda.

 

Food and Drink

All water should be regarded as being a potential health risk. Water used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice should have first been boiled or otherwise sterilised. Milk is unpasteurised and should be boiled. Powdered or tinned milk is available and is advised. Avoid dairy products which are likely to have been made from unboiled milk. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled.

Other Risks

HIV/AIDS is widespread. Vaccinations against tuberculosis and hepatitis B are sometimes advised. After road accidents, malaria is the most serious health concern for travelers visiting Uganda. Seek up-to-date advice regarding malarial areas and the appropriate antimalarial medication prior to your trip, usually doxycycline, Malarone or mefloquine. Pregnant women are more vulnerable to malaria and are advised against travel to regions where malaria is present. Take a good insect repellant and try to avoid bites between dusk and dawn by always covering up.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK also reports regular outbreaks of a wide range of serious diseases in Uganda, including cholera, Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF), Marburg hemorrhagic fever (MHF) meningococcal disease (meningitis A and W) and hepatitis E.

Health Care

Visitors should bring personal supplies of medicines that are likely to be needed, but enquire first at the embassy or high commission whether such supplies may be freely imported. Comprehensive health insurance is essential and should include cover for emergency air repatriation in case of serious accident or illness. The Ugandan health service has still not recovered from the mass departure of foreign personnel in 1972 and there are medical facilities of a reasonable standard only in large towns and cities.

 

Getting There

Getting There by Air

Airlines serving Uganda include British Airways (website: www.britishairways.com), Emirates (website: www.emirates.com) and Kenya Airways (website: www.kenya-airways.com). There are no direct flights from London or New York.

Approximate Flight Times

From London to Kampala is 15 hours, from New York is 20 hours.

Main Airports

Entebbe (EBB) is 40km (22 miles) southwest of Kampala (journey time – 30 minutes). To/from the airport: There are bus services to Kampala. Most hotels in Kampala and Entebbe will arrange airport transfers. Taxis are also available. Facilities: Duty-free shops, restaurants, banks/bureaux de change, car hire and hotel reservations.

Departure Tax

US$40, usually included in the air fare.

Getting There by Water

Regular boat services on Lake Victoria link Kampala in Uganda with Mwanza in Tanzania.

Getting There by Rail

Uganda Railways does not operate passenger services at present. Kenyan Railways run frequent services between Kampala and Nairobi (journey time - 12-14 hours), often overnight.

Getting There by Road

There are connections with all neighbouring countries, although borders are not always open. However, travellers should take local advice before crossing the border with Rwanda, and should not attempt to cross the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Bus:
There is a daily bus service between Kampala and Nairobi, Arusha and Dar-es-Salaam.

 

Climate

The temperature, usually ranging from 21 to 25°C (70 to 77°F), can be quite cool in some parts of the country owing to the country’s high altitude, despite its position on the equator. The mountain areas become much cooler and the top of Mount Elgon is often covered with snow. Other parts of the country are much warmer. There is heavy rain between March and May and between October and November.

Required Clothing

Lightweights and rainwear, with warm cover-ups for the evenings advised.

Contacts

Uganda Tourist Board

42 Windsor Crescent, Kololo, P.O. Box 7211, Kampala, Uganda
Tel: (414) 342 197.
www.visituganda.com
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1700.

High Commission for the Republic of Uganda in the UK

Uganda House, 58-59 Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DX, UK
Tel: (020) 7839 8925.
Website: www.ugandahighcommission.co.uk
Opening times: Mon-Fri 0930-1600, 0930-1300 (visa section).

Embassy of the Republic of Uganda in the USA

5911 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20011, USA
Tel: (202) 726 7100.
Website: www.ugandaembassy.com
Opening times: Mon-Fri 0900-1700; 0930-1500 (visa section).

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