Uganda

Quick Facts

Region: Africa

Population:
32,400,000

Religion:

Ugandan officials estimate that 80% of the population are Christian - almost equally divided among Protestants and Roman Catholics. This is largely a result of European missionary activity in the 19th century. Approximately 5% of Ugandans are Muslims. Roughly 15 percent of the people professed belief in local religions or denied any religious affiliation. The basic tenets of all religions (that a spiritual realm exists and that spiritual and physical beings can influence one another) permeated much of Ugandan society. World religions and local religions had coexisted for more than a century, and many people established a coherent set of beliefs about the nature of the universe by combining elements of the two. Except in a few teachings, world religions were seldom viewed as incompatible with local religions.

Language:

English is the official national language although Swahili is commonly spoken as a lingua franca. There are around 40 different languages currently in use in the country. The language with the largest number of native speakers is Luganda, spoken in the Buganda region which encompasses Kampala. Other Niger-Congo languages, Nilo-Saharan languages, and Arabic are also spoken. Uganda's literacy rate stands at just over 52%.

Area (sq. km):
236,040 square meters

Time:

GMT + 3 hours

When To Travel

Uganda has an equatorial climate moderated by altitude resulting in moderate temperatures throughout the year. The country is generally tropical in nature, although semiarid in the northeast, and the climate differs between parts of the country. Most areas of the country have distinct dry and wet seasons, though the Lake Victoria area receives rain throughout the year. The rainy seasons occur from March through Mayand then October through to November. Rainfall varies from more than 2100 millimetres around Lake Victoria to about 500 millimetres in northeast.

The best time to travel is during January and February and from June to September. These times of the year generally have dry conditions. Average day temperature is approx 26 degrees Celsius during the day (16 degrees Celsius at night). The hottest time of the year is from December through to February with temperatures averaging 27-29 degrees Celsius.

Useful Travel Facts

Airports:

Uganda's international airport is located just outside of Entebbe, south of Kampala. There are some smaller airlines offering scheduled domestic flights from Kampala but these are not usually used by tourists.

Telephone:

The international dialing code for Uganda is +250 Telephone calls, especially international ones, can be expensive when made from a hotel. We suggest you check the price first. If you have a mobile phone it should be a relatively simple procedure to arrange ‘global roaming’ with your service provider; however, charges are generally very high so be sure to check this option thoroughly. You should also check with your service provider to see if your mobile phone is compatible with the networks used in Africa. Alternatively local sim cards and pay-as-you-go credits are easily obtainable. Phone calls made from public telephone offices are generally your cheapest option.

Electricity:

Uganda's electricity is a 240V / 50Hz system with a type G 3 pin rectangular blade plug. This plug is also used in Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, United Kingdom, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Food:

Uganda offers the traveller good cheap meals. Local food is much the same as every where else in the region. The staple food is made from Maize or cassava. Indian food is quite common as well as other international cuisines. Western food is a bit more expensive and is found in most up market hotels. Most of the local dishes are meat based, so this makes life a little hard for the vegetarians.

Shopping:

Uganda generally lacks the craft opportunities of other East African countries with the exception of drums, wooden masks and woven baskets and crafts.

Visa: Australians, Americans, Canadians, British and New Zealanders currently require a visa for Uganda. For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa requirements with your travel agent.
Ugandan visas may be obtained at the border or prior to departure from your home country. In some cases you will be entering twice, so please ensure it allows a double entry. A single entry visa can by purchased for US$50 for most nationalities.
PLEASE NOTE: All British passports are required to have at least 1 year of validity remaining from the date of entry into Uganda.

Useful Words & Phrases

Further Reading

Lonely Planet East Africa

Bradt travel guide to Uganda - Philip Bradt

Spectrum Guide to Uganda

The Last King Of Scotland - Giles Foden

Abyssinian Chronilces - Moses Isegawa

The Impenetrable Forest - Thor Hanson

Sowing the Mustard Seed - Yoweri Museveni