All you need to Know before travelling to Uganda
All you need to know before travelling to Uganda – General information (important)
Nationals of the countries listed below are exempted from visa requirements for travel to Uganda. They do, however, need to have a current passport issued by their respective countries.
Members of COMESA: Angola, Uganda, Burundi, Comoros, Eritrea, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Others exempted are: Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Jamaica, Lesotho, Malta, Sierra Leone, Singapore Solomon Islands St Vincent & the Grenadines, Tonga, Vanuatu, Italy (Only diplomatic passport holders) and Cyprus.
IMMIGRATION INFORMATION FOR INTENDING VISITORS TO UGANDA
1. Uganda visas may be obtained at Uganda missions abroad or on arrival at the country’s exit /entry stations.
2. Entry should be made only through the country’s controlled point of entry/exit.
3. Every visitor will be required to carry a passport with validity beyond six months.
4. All arriving visitors will be required to fill in arrival declaration cards on arrival. The cards are available at the arrival lounge.
5. No arriving visitor should carry or convey substances or goods prohibited by customs. (Contact Uganda Revenue Authority website: www.ura.go.ug for details on prohibited substances under the “Customs Tax Guides” tab).
6. Visitors should not overstay their visa validity otherwise they will be subjected to a fine of U$ 30 per day and other appropriate legal action.
7. Where visitors seek to stay longer than the period granted on arrival, extension of the period should be sought from the Immigration Headquarters in Kampala before expiry of the initial visitor’s pass.
8. All visitors must comply with immigration legislation and other national laws of the country during their stay in Uganda.
For further information on immigration go to: www.mia.go.ug
Uganda’s climate is tropical. This means it is generally rainy (particularly during the months of March to May, September to November), while the remaining months (December to February, June to August) comprise Uganda’s two dry seasons.
Uganda, landlocked in eastern Africa, has a climate heavily shaped by its own topography and that of surrounding regions. High mountains along some of its margins, an elevated plateau and plentiful lakes — including Lake Victoria, the biggest in Africa — all exert a real influence. Travelers here can go from a steamy lowland of truly tropical feel to the snowpack of lofty crags.
Although generally equatorial, the climate is not uniform as the altitude modifies the climate. Southern Uganda is wetter with rain generally spread throughout the year. At Entebbe on the northern shore of Lake Victoria, most rain falls from March to June and the November/December period. Further to the north a dry season gradually emerges; at Gulu about 120 km from the Sudanese border, November to February is much drier than the rest of the year.
The northeastern Karamoja region has the driest climate and is prone to droughts in some years. Rwenzori in the southwest on the border with Congo (DRC) receives heavy rain all year round. The south of the country is heavily influenced by one of the world’s biggest lakes, Lake Victoria, which contains many islands. It prevents temperatures from varying significantly and increases cloudiness and rainfall. Most important cities are located in the south, near Lake Victoria, including the capital Kampala and the nearby city of Entebbe.
When travelling to Uganda, you should study up on Uganda’s weather and climate ahead of your trip so you can pack accordingly. Rain should be expected in the Lake Victoria vicinity, upper highlands and during the wet seasons of other regions. Hikers and mountaineers in the Ugandan high country need warm clothing to contend with sometimes-frigid night temperatures and storms.
Health and insurance
Vaccination and medication
Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures.
Make sure your Yellow Fever vaccination is up to date before arriving in Africa
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.
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 sterilized. Milk is unpasteurized and should be boiled. Powdered or tinned milk is available and is advised. Avoid dairy products which are likely to have been made from uncooked milk. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled. Be sure to wash fresh produce well before eating and avoid raw foods in restaurants. Do not eat food prepared by unlicensed vendors or where you have concerns about kitchen hygiene. Only use boiled or bottled water, and avoid ice in drinks. Carry hand sanitizer to use before meals.
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.
Ebola and Marburg hemorrhagic fevers have been endemic within certain regions of the country. The vectors of these viruses are unknown, but have been thought to be linked with bats. Therefore, travelers should avoid (or be extremely cautious when) entering any caves. If you are bitten by an animal, assume that the animal was infected by a disease and seek prompt medical attention.
Remember, that many of the lakes have Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia). Check with the locals and do not paddle on the lake shore if you’re not sure. However, if you do get infected, about which you won’t know until 1-2 months after contact with water, visit your family doctor or hospital.
Diarrhea disease and intestinal worms are also a concern and travelers should be careful what they eat or drink.
Travel health insurance
Medical facilities in Uganda are limited. Medical help at the scene of an accident is likely to be limited. In the case of serious accident or illness, evacuation by air ambulance may be required. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.