Visa: 50 USD for visa on arrival at the airport. You can stay up to 90 days.
Mobil phone: Good roaming in the cities and the main roads.
Recommended language: English.
Infrastructure: Good in Entebbe and most areas in Kampala, else very poor.
Friendliness by the people: Curious people, but some rude desires to tourists.
Attention by Police/military: A lot of security guards, police and soldiers in the streets after the terror bombs in June 2010. They are checking your bags in the streets. Some suspiciousness and anxiety among them, but they are friendly towards tourists.
Crime: No bad experience.
Rainy period: March and April.
Price level: A little bit cheaper than Kenya.
Airport departure tax: Nothing.
Visa on arrival to Uganda can be obtained on arrival for stay up to 90 days. The procedure is very simple. Just fill an application and deliver it together with your passport and 50 USD. You must write a name or an address of where you shall stay during your holiday in Uganda. If you don't have a hotel, just write a hotel name. No question is asked by the officer, and you will get a small stamp in your passport (see picture).
Multiple-entry visa: USD 100 (6 months), USD 200 (12 months), Transit-visa: USD 15.
Hotels can be arranged at a hotel desk counter inside the terminal, but they are more expensive. Make it easy and read my hotel tips before you enter Uganda.
Uganda is located in the tropical equator line of Africa, and the weather change quickly here.
I experienced a heavy rain weather a day I was at Muyenga club. I had just arrived the swimmingpool area when dark clouds came from Lake Victoria. It rained for 40 minutes, and then the clouds disappeard as quick as they came. June 2010.
Fondest memory: It's cheap to buy an Ugandian SIM card in one of the many phone shops in Kampala. After buying a SIM card, you can refill it with "credits" on a plast card. Just scratch the card to reveal the pin number, send SMS with the number and recieve a confirmation. You can see your credits at any time when sending a sms to the network. You can also recieve calls without credits. Foreign SIM cards are expensive to use in Uganda. The country code is +256.
Fondest memory: Currency exchange or forex burea are found many places in the city. You will get a slighly less rate at the airport than in Kampala. One dollar was 2100 Ugandian Shilling at the airport and 2200 Ugandian Shilling in Kabalagala area in Kampala (June 2010). (See picture)
Fondest memory: Kampala is the capital and the largest city in Uganda with 1,5 mill inhabitants. The city is built on many hills with the average altitude of 1200 metres above sea level. The city is very lush and green, and was earlier a swampy hunting area. Downtown has some few high buildings, suburbs and other parts of the city have small houses and lower buildings.
Favorite thing: When traveling with USD to exchange into local currency in-country, note that the exchange rate given for U.S. Dollar bills in demoninations less than $100 receive a lower exchange rate, than $100 bills do. The difference in rate can be quite signifigant -- approximately 15% less. Plan accordingly!
Not that much to see at The Parliament of Uganda but it’s bang in the middle of town so would be rude not to pop by and have a look.
The current incumbent is President Yoweri Museveni who came to power in 1986 after Tito Okello surrendered to the National resistence Army led by Museveni.
Even though Uganda was basically a one party state up until 2005 there was presidential elections in 1996 when Museveni won 74% of the vote. At the next election in 2001 Museveni beat Dr Kizza Besigye with 70% of the vote.
In 2004 Museveni scrapped the presidential limit on 2 terms going back on an earlier promise, clearing the way for him to run in the first multi party elections for years in 2006. A few months before the election Dr Kizza Besigye returned form exile in South Africa only to be shortly after his arrival to be banged up, fortunately he was released on bail a month before the 2006 election.
Favorite thing: This was a great day out. I wanted to go to the Chimpanzee Sanctuary and had to get to Entebbe, 45 kilometres away. My trusted motorcycle driver, victor, said he would take me. What a blast! We rode with the morning traffic and at one light it looked like a whacky race with cars, motorcycles and bicycles all making a mad dash as soon as the lights turned green. Along the way I saw a variety of Ugandan life in the morning. Farmers working in the fields, families fetching water, shops getting deliveries of bananas and a bit of wildlife along the way. The whole time I was bouncing along on the back of the motorcycle enjoying every windy minute of it.
On my travels In Africa I always used to take a short wave radio with me and listen to the BBC World Service to keep in touch with really important things such as finding out the Wrexham result.
In recent years the BBC has been broadcasting in various places throughout the globe on FM, Kampala is one of the places to benefit from the BBC spreading its “interference free” wings.
As well as the Beeb there are some really good home grown radio stations (Capital FM and KFM appear to be the most popular) in various languages; French, English, Swahili, Luganda and Asian language stations can be picked up in the city. A lot of the stations focus on music and not all of it local, Congolese, Hip-Hop, Reggae and western music are all regularly heard. There are also a lot of talk radio stations some of who broadcast in English. What I find most bizarre are the commentaries of the English premiership football matches broadcast in Luganda and they seem to be on more than a couple of stations. On the final day of last season’s premiership I was buying some miraa in Owino market in Kampala when a huge cheer went up, obviously “Man U” had just scored and the majority of the market’s stall holders that were tuning in were voicing their approval.
If you arrive in Kampala without a radio and you want to buy a cheap and nasty FM radio, there a couple of stalls selling these near the main entrance to Owino market.
The BBC can be picked up on 101.3 FM in Kampala.
Favorite thing: What do you do usualy when first time visiting a new destination? Well I have to admit, my first step is to locate the main city square from where I start my explorings. Kampala is, however, the first town I have visited so far without main square, actually there are no squares at all. It is a town on seven hills (like Rome) and therefore not so easy to explore. The key point is Market place which looks chaotic in some way and the Matatu station from where you can get to any part of Kampala and its suburbs.
It is very easy to stay in telephone contact. You will find yellow kiosks everywhere. By yellow kiosks, I mean a yellow wooden box with a phone on it. Here, you can make local and international phone calls and/or buy credits for the SIM cards used in your GSM phone. All phone calls within Uganda are local calls and will cost around USh 300 per minute.
The SIM card can be purchased on arrival at Entebbe Airport. It will cost you around USD 4 for the card. There are usually some good deals when you fill it up with credits. For example, if you buy USh 20,000 worth of credits, you may get a few more for free. Talk to the person at the counter, and he will be glad to assist you.
You can refill the credit on your SIM card at the road-side kiosks. Just walk up and tell them how many credits worth of refill you want. There are some standard amounts, and you can choose accordingly. So, if you choose a USh 5000 worth refill, then he will open up the plastic covering, scratch the card to reveal the pin number, SMS it to the network, and recieve confirmation within 30 seconds that the recharge is complete. At any time, you can monitor the number the credits in your SIM card.
If you are travelling through East Africa, then I strongly recommend CelTel because you can use the same SIM card in all three countries (Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya). The coverage is pretty good. You can make phone calls in the Serengeti if you want to.
NOTE: Don't bother getting your CDMA phone to Uganda.
Favorite thing: At least walk around the area of the Parliment building in downtown Kampala. There are numerous embassies and places to purchase souveniers.