Uganda is located to the north and northwest of Lake Victoria, in East Africa. It is a landlocked country bordered by Sudan to the North, Kenya to the east, Tanzania to the South, Rwanda to the southwest and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the northwest. Basically, Uganda is a plateau with an elevation of 4,000 ft. above sea level. The Western border is defined by the Rwenzori Mountains (16,000 ft), and the Eastern border by Mount Elgon (14,178 ft). This is contrasted by the Western Rift Valley, running north to south through the western half of the country. The floor of Lakes Edward and George sit at 3,000 ft. and the Nile River as it leaves Lake Albert sits at 2,000 ft. The source of the White Nile is located at the town of Jinja, on Lake Victoria, a popular spot for whitewater rafting and bungee jumping..
Uganda received independence from the British in 1962; maintaining its membership in the Commonwealth of Nations. This was followed by a military coup, and a brutal military dictatorship, which ended in 1979. In 1980 there was a disputed election, and a 5 year war, that brought current President Yoweri Museveni to power in 1986. Museveni has remained President since, recently winning another disputed election in 2016. The country in the meantime had to contend with a 24 year insurgency in the North, led by the Lord’s Resistance Army; tens of thousands of people were killed and over a million displaced. Uganda has won international praise for its vigorous campaign against the HIV/AIDS epidemic; recently, it has attracted international attention for its hardened stance against the Lesbian/Gay community. Today there is relative stability in Uganda.
Although Uganda is located on the equator, its climate is warm rather than hot, and temperatures vary little throughout the year. Most of the country receives an annual rainfall of at least 30 inches. In the Lake Victoria region an annual rainfall of 59 inches is distributed throughout the year and the average annual temperature is 21.6°C (71°F) with a daily range of 8°C (15°F). Further north rainfall averages about 35 inches, with a pronounced dry season in June and July. The mean annual temperature in this region is 15.5°C (60°F) with a daily range of 12°C (21°F).
VISAS & IMMIGRATION
Visas are required by all except nationals from Angola,. Antigua, Barbados, Bahamas, Belize, Burundi, Comoros, Cypress, Eritrea, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Malta, Mauritius, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Singapore, Swaziland, Tonga, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
It is possible to get issued a visa on arrival at Entebbe Airport as long as one satisfies the entry requirements. However, visas can be obtained from Ugandan High Commission offices internationally. Ugandan tourist visas are $100 US. Also, a new East African Visa, also $100 is available at entry points in Uganda; these allow multiple entry to Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda for a 3 month period.
On arrival in the country, you may be asked to show you have sufficient funds to support your stay and that you have an onward ticket.
Official Currency: Uganda Shilling
Current Exchange Rate: Approximately 3,000 shillings to the US $.
Banks and forex bureaus are available at the airport, and in all towns. Visitors may bring in as much foreign currency as they wish. Credit cards arc accepted in the main hotels, but not in outlying areas. Visa is the most commonly accepted credit card. Traveller cheques are best taken in US Dollars, Euros, Pounds Sterling or Rands
BANKING & BUSINESS HOURS
In Kampala, Jinja and Entebbe, many banks are open 6 days a week (in the smaller towns, Monday to Friday0. Hours 8:30 to 4:00 generally ATMs are widely available throughout the country.
Uganda is three hours ahead of GMT
Electric Power is 240V running at 50Hz. The Plug type used is:
Rectangular blade plug.
If you need medical care whilst in Uganda, it is best to be aware that medical providers may not accept payment through your insurance company. In these circumstances you will have to pay in full after your treatment and file a claim with your insurance company for reimbursement. Therefore you should have access to cash, either from a credit card or by wire transfer. If you need assistance contact the country’s local embassy or representative.
To be compensated you must be treated by licensed medical personnel and provide your insurance company with proper documentation and receipts.
It is advisable to always ensure you have a comprehensive travel insurance policy which covers you for repatriation to your home country.