Plan your flight
many months in advance to get the best value as flight tickets
shoot up in price around peak periods. Also don't assume charity
flights will be cheaper; they may offer you more luggage and
flexible dates but can cost £100s more than other airlines.
Ensure you have
proper insurance to cover medical expense (including
sufficient cover to repatriate you if required) and also cover
missed flights due to breakdown of transport links to the airport
both on outward and inwards journeys.
Most nationals are
now required to purchase a visa online before entering Uganda. You
can apply for a visa here:
https://visas.immigration.go.ug/. At time of writing the entry visa fee is $50 and this is
paid on arrival when you present your visa. The visa process will
only be confirmed on arrival at the border.
Prepare to spend
more money than you have budgeted for! You are sure to make
friends whilst in Western Uganda and, because there is so much to
see and do you are likely to be
invited on trips you had not planned. None are expensive but the
cost can add up!
Remember to pack
sun cream and some deet to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes.
Whilst your room will probably have mosquito nets,
its also a good idea to take a plug in repellent or, even better,
a battery operated one, as often the power is down as well as
spray for use during the day. This will
offer you greater protection. Also remember to get your mosquito
tablets before you leave and take as prescribed.
lightweight rainproof kagoule or similar to carry around with you
is always a good idea because although Uganda is generally hot,
when it rains we're not talking drizzle but a torrential
downpour and it comes from seemingly no where. One moment blazing
sun, the next the wind picks up, all goes quiet then the local
look up and state "the rain is coming." Don't get caught short
especially when out walking in the mountains.
There are mixed
views on eating locally prepared roadside foods. In Kampala
recently there has been a typhoid outbreak after pots, pans and
food was found to be washed in water contaminated with urine and
faeces. Our general advice is not to purchase and consume foods
from the roadside or any food outlets where hygiene standards
Whilst boiled water
is normally safe we recommend buying bottled water to drink ~ its only
around 25-30p a litre and will help prevent any stomach upsets.
Calling abroad from
a mobile/cell phone can be expensive so invest in a local SIM card
which can easily be picked up for less than a pound, but take your
passport with you when buying as all SIMs have to be
registered in Uganda. The process takes around ten minutes.
Check out our Uganda culture section here and
remember that whilst on the surface there appear to be many
similarities, Ugandans, particularly those in rural areas, have
established ideas and ways of doing things which are not always a
comfortable fit with outsiders (particularly the role of women in
the family and wider society) ~ so remember, you are the outsider
and just as you may not welcome a visitor to your country who is
staying for a few weeks trying to overturn your culture's
established ways the same applies to Uganda. Its okay to explain
differences, just try not to lecture or become a cultural
One other point on
culture, rural Uganda in particular is very conservative and
inappropriate (short cut skirts, shorts etc) can cause upset and
distress particularly to the older generation. If you want to make
statement about "western values" then please consider visiting a
country where those values are accepted instead! Seriously.
still a rarity in this part of the world and probably everything
you do will be repeated throughout the village and wider community
where you will be staying so please bear that in mind when
drinking and displaying excessive behaviour.
children are very friendly, although unfortunately because of well
meaning outsiders (normally volunteers who feel the need to give
freely), some have started begging and will demand shoes and money
and other gifts because others have received them from
volunteers in the past or maybe from the group you are currently
staying with. Please don't give