Uganda’s equatorial climate is tempered by its elevated altitude. In most parts of the country, the daily maximum is between 20o C and 27o C and the minimum is between 12o C and 180 C. The highest temperatures in Uganda occur on the plains immediately east of Lake Alert, while the lowest have been recorded on the glacial peaks of the Rwenzori. Except in the dry north, where in some areas the average annual rainfall is as low as 1,000mm and 2,000mm. There is wide regional variation in rainfall patterns. In western Uganda and the Lake Victoria region it can rain at almost any time of the year. As a rough guide, however, the wet seasons are from mid September to November and From March to May. In general the weather conditions of Uganda are unpredictable as you can get showers even in the dry season. Therefore you need to check with the weather forecast almost every 5 hours.
Buses operate on long distance routes and are a safer and cheaper way to travel. Usually Bus companies adhere strictly to listed departure times from the bus park, so avoid being late. Matatus only depart from the terminus when full. Mini buses are fine for short journeys. Public transport in Uganda is better these days because of the provision of seat belts and speed governors. Matatus can be boarded from the Old taxi Park and New Taxi Park in Kampala or along the road.
Taxis are essential if you have a lot of luggage or missed the last Matatu. You can always agree on the fare before departure. In small towns, taxis, moped and bicycles are common. These can be useful for travel where public transport is scarce. The tour agent can arrange car hire. Most transport fares are in Uganda shilling. Carry coins for public transport within Kampala.
It is always advisable to hand in your passport, traveler’s cheque, excess money and any other valuables at hotel reception desks for placing in their safe security. Alternatively, where available, arrange to hire a safety deposit box. It is a sensible precaution not to walk alone in isolated streets or beach areas. Ask for advice from your hotel manager or tour representative if you are with a package holiday company. Call 999(toll free) if in serious danger to alert the police.
Language and people:
English is the official and administrative language spoken in Uganda although Luganda and Swahili are commonly spoken throught the country. You need some basic in Luganda like how to Thank, Greet, and ask for something. Uganda is a country made up of over 50 tribes of which the largest group is the Baganda, followed by Basoga and then the others follow. The people are very welcoming and this hospitality is attributed to the respect that people have for the other tribes. Making Uganda the Africa’s Friendliest country.
When to Visit
Uganda can be visited at any time, though mountain hikes, gorilla tracking and other forest walks are more challenging during the rains, which generally peak over mid-September to November and March to May.
What to wear
Day time temperatures are generally warm to hot, Uganda Safari Holidays so bring lots of light clothing. Evenings are cooler, especially at high altitudes, so carry a couple of light sweaters too. Those who intend to hike on the mountains will be exposed to alpine temperatures and should pack accordingly. Solid walking shoes and sturdy clothing are ideal for forest walks. Don’t forget to bring a hat, sunglasses and a water proof jacket.
What to bring
A valid passport is mandatory, and visa requirements should be checked before you travel. To make the most of the game reserves and national parks, carry binoculars and field guides. Photographers will need a zoom lens for wildlife (70-300 or similar). Print film and developing is available in Kampala. Toiletries and other essentials can be bought in the cities.
Driving is on the left side. Visitors without experienced of African roads are advised to organise a vehicle with a driver rather than self-drive.
Tipping is not standard practice at local hotels and restaurants, but it will always be appreciated. It is normal to tip 5-10% at tourist-oriented restaurants. Guides and drivers should always be tipped.
Food and Drink
Tourist-oriented hotels and restaurants serve good Western-style meals, while a wider range available in the capital and some larger towns. Local restaurants serve Ugandan dishes, typically ugali (a stiff maize porridge) or matooke (cooked banana) eaten with a stew.
The official language is English though Swahili and Luganda are commonly spoken throughout in Uganda. Teach your self some basic Luganda and Swahili words which on our website.
With the above information we hope that you find your trip to Uganda interesting and also the country a place to stay.
Dickson Richards is a freelance Writer in Africa. For adventures,visit Kenya Safari Maasai [http://www.best-kenya-safaris.com], and Gorilla