Welcome to Uganda

Here is some important tourist information about Uganda!

Uganda,”the pearl of Africa,” is a landlocked country, found in East Africa. It is boarded by Kenya on the east, Sudan in the North, Tanzania in the South, Rwanda in South West and Democratic republic of Congo in the West.

The country is endowed with several inland Lakes including Lake Victoria, Lake Albert, Lake Kyoga, Lake George as well as Rivers such as the Popular River Nile and its source which is a tourist attraction as well. In addition, there are several swamps, channels and waterfalls throughout the country.

Geography

Uganda is located on the East African Plateau, lying between Latitudes  4° North and 2° South; and Longitudes 29 and 35° East. It averages about 1,100 Meters (3,609 ft) above sea Level.

Much of the South is poorly drained while the centre is dominated by Lake Kyoga. The lake serves as a Boundary between Bantu Speaking people in the South, Nilotic and Central Sudan language speaking people in the North.

Uganda lies mostly in the Nile Basin; the Victoria Nile drains from Lake Albert to the Congolese Boarder and runs Northwards to Sudan. A smaller are of the Eastern edge of Uganda is drained by Turkwel River, which is part of an internal drainage basin of Lake Turkana of Kenya.

Climate

Uganda generally has an Equatorial type of climate with little variation; with average temperatures between 19ºC and 31ºC all the year round. The country experiences two rainy seasons from March to June and October to December.

However, due to recent global climate change, rainy seasons are sometimes unreliable leading to long dry seasons.

Some tourism activities such as Nature walks/trekking get slow during heavy rains because the trails become more slippery especially in Mountainous destinations. Temperatures in these areas such as the Rwenzoris and kigezi highlands drop to10°C in certain months.

Generally, the climate is ideal for you to visit the country throughout the year. We recommend that you book your holiday /tour/safari package in advance as good facilities such as hotel rooms are sold out on a first come, first serve basis. The earlier you confirm your package, the better.

Country’s Name: Republic of Uganda Capital: Kampala Gained Independence from Britain: 9th/October/1962 Total Area: 236,580 square Kilometers. Population: 31,367,972(approximately); according to recent census reports. Population growth rate: 3.60 percent Currency: Uganda Shillings. Form of Government: Republic Head of Government: President Head of state: President Highest Court: Supreme Court Constitution: 8th/October/1995 Voting ability/age of consent:  18 years

Donations and Community Volunteer Tourism:

Upon request, we can arrange your visit to Charity, relief and Community Based Organisations. If you wish, you can donate to them directly anything of your choice or can render a free service. Please do inform us of the kind of organisation you would like to visit at the time of booking, so that we make arrangements for you early enough.

People and languages

The official language is English. However, Luganda and Kiswahili are widely spoken throughout the country. The country has several totally different Ethnic groups/tribes, each with distinctive characteristics, languages, staple foods, dressing codes, cultures. Thus natives regularly and currently speak over 40 languages in Uganda!

Religions

The country has freedom of Worship, thus there are a number of religions ranging from Roman catholic (41%), Anglican(40%), Traditional religion and those with  no religious affiliation  (4%),Muslim(5%),others(10%) include Born Again Christians, Evangelical and Pentecostal, among others.

Districts/Regions/Provinces

Uganda is divided into Districts, evenly spread across four (4) administrative regions; central (Buganda kingdom), Northern, Western and Eastern.

Uganda uses Decentalisation type of Administration in delivering Public service; where by every District has authority to attend to its administrative issues but at the same time, answerable to the Central Government.

Economy

Agriculture is the backbone of Uganda’s Economy; though other sectors such as Tourism have recently emerged.

Air transport

Entebbe International Airport is the major Air transport hub. This together with several Airfields and aerodromes are managed and operated by Uganda Civil Aviation Authority.

The Airport operates both arriving and departing International, Regional and Domestic; scheduled and chartered flights. There are a number of direct flights and  connecting flights to Entebbe international Airport.

A number of Airlines operate here including Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, KLM (Royal Dutch airlines), Ethiopian Airways, Brussels Airlines, Kenya Airways, Egypt Air, among others.

Security:

Uganda is a politically stable country both in towns and villages/rural areas. However, non-life threatening security issues such as riots by nationals may occur just like in any other developing country.

We maintain up-to-date information on all parts of the Country and its neighboring boundaries. So, we will advise our clients at the time of booking and from time to time; if any risks appear at any tourism destination or if it is rendered unsafe to visit at such a time.

Basic safety measures should be taken by every client, as in all countries. It is not advised to leave your valuables unattended; money lying around, display expensive jewellery and electronic gadgets or leave your luggage unattended to. Most hotels and lodges have safe deposit boxes. Please inquire from Management at the time of check-in.

Banking:

A number of international, Banks operate in Uganda, including; Citi Bank, Standard Chartered, Barclays. In addition, there are several regional and local including , Stanbic, Eco-bank, Bank of Baroda, Cairo Bank, Tropical Africa Bank among others. Forex Bureaus and international money transfer services such a Western Union and Moneygram are available throughout the country.

Banking halls are open: 8.30 am to 4.00 pm; Monday to Friday.  Some institutions are open for longer hours. On Saturdays, they are open, half day (900am to 1:00pm). There are no legal restrictions on foreign exchange transactions and currency is easily convertible.

Shopping

A number of well-stocked hyper and supermarkets, shopping malls, local fruit markets, duty free shops among others, are readily available within the city and some parts outside town. There are a number of souvenir/gift shops with collections of unique African art crafts and pieces located at accommodation facilities, cultural shopping village, tourism destinations and shopping malls at the Airport.

National Parks – Uganda, East Africa

Attractions Africa Tours and Travel arranges a variety of Tailormade/customised Safari Packages to Top 10 National Parks. The packages include: Gorilla Tracking, Experiential tourism, Research(student& non student), Commercial Filming, Filming of Gorillas and chimpanzees; Still photography for commercial use, Flying safaris/sightseeing, Wildlife safaris, Beach holidays, Golden Monkey Tracking, Chimpanzee trekking and habituation experience; Volcano climbing and Mountain Hiking, Safari/game drives(day & night), Cultural/village tours, Birdwatching; Guided Forest walks (day and night Nature);
day and night Game drives, Community volunteer Tourism, Bungy jumping, Boat cruises, Primate viewing, Sightseeing, Honeymoon packages, Angling/Sport fishing, Adventure safaris and so much more……!

 

Enjoy Uganda’s Top 10 National parks

 

Bwindi Impenetrable National park

Bwindi impenetrable national Park lies in South Western Uganda at the edge of the Western Rift valley. The Park is covered by 331 square Kilometres of both Montane and lowland Forets, with hillsides covered by mist. The park is a UNESCO-designated world heritage site that provides habitat to the rare Mountain Gorillas and chimpanzees; both of which are listed in the IUCN Red Data book as endangered animals.the park is also home to 8 bird species known to occur only in the Impenetrable Forest and not anywhere in East Africa. With 7 Bird species listed in the IUCN Red Data book, including; the Shelley’s crimson-wing, Forest Ground Thrush, Chapin’s flycatcher, Dwarf Honeyguide, Kivu Ground Thrush, African Green Broadbill and Grauer’s Rush Warbler.

Species Diversity
Bwindi Impenetrable National park has 346 Bird species, 23 of which are Albertine Rift endemics; 202 species of butterflies, 163 tree species,120 species of Mammals including baboons and chimpanzees; 120 species of Ferns,27 frog species, Chameleons,reptiles and many small mammals.

Tourist Activities
Gorilla Tracking is the major activity here, 9 groups of Gorilla families have been habituated for tourism purposes. Other activities include; Chimpanzee trekking, Butterfly viewing Birdwatching; guided Forest walks lead to Rivers, swamps, waterfalls, unique vegetation types and to high level of wildlife concentration like monkeys.

How to get there
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park can be reached by road from Kampala via Mbarara(7-8 hours);from kabala-Buhoma-Ruhija(1-2hours), or from Queen Elizabeth National park in the South (2-3hours).Only one road cuts through one section of the park; most areas of the Forest are only accessible by foot.

 

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in the South western corner of Uganda.Its hillsides covered with dense forests, stretch high in the clouds at an altitude of 2,227-4,127 meters. The Park was gazetted to protect the endangered Mountain Gorillas and the Golden monkeys.
The Park is characterised by unique conical extinct volcanoes which are part of the spectacular Virunga range that lies along the boarder region of Uganda,Rwanda and Democratic republic of congo (DRC).The Virunga Conservation Area covers an areaof 434 square kilometres which includes three adjacent parks: Mgahinga national Park in Uganda, Virunga National Park in DRC and Volcanoes national park in Rwanda.

Species Diversity
Being the smallest park in Uganda; it is blessed with at least 127 Bird species and 76
species of mammals; including Civets, Duikers, Jackals, Porcupines, Giant Forest Hogs, Golden Monkeys, African Elephants and Buffaloes

Tourist Activities
The major tourist activities at this park are Gorilla tracking,only one Gorilla family has been habituated for Tourism purposes; Golden Monkey tracking ;a troop of golden monkeys has been habituated for Tourism. Other activities include; Birdwatching, scenic viewing, Butterfly viewing, the long Batwa Heritage Trail and the Volcano hiking of the three Mountains of the virunga Volcanoes including Muhabura(4,127m),Gahinga(3,474m) and Sabinyo(3,645m); provide yet a good challenge to Mountain climbers.

How to get there
Mgahinga national Park can be accessed both by air and road transport, 540 kilometers from Kampala to Kisoro Town, at the bottom of Muhavura. The drive takes about 8-9hours via Kabale,Kigezi highlands; The” Switzerland of Africa”.
By air, you board from kajansi airstrip(10kms from Kampala)or Entebbe international airport and land at Nyakabande Airstrip, near kisoro Town.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park is located along the Equator in south Western Uganda. The park is a World-Bio-sphere Reserve (UNESCO 1979), that includes a RAMSAR wetland site and is classified as an important Bird Area(IBA) by Birdlife international. It covers a total area of 1,978 square kilometres; gifted with the highest species diversity of all national parks.This is partly because it has diverse Ecosystems including Savannah grasslands with Acacia species being dorminant; crater lakes, the Gorge, thickets, shrubs and rain forests.

Species Diversity
The park is habitat for a wide range of species including 606 Bird species;98 Mammal species,10 Primate species such as Chimpanzees and various species of Fish, Reptiles, insects and Butterflies.Animals easily seen include Elephants, Hippos, Topis, Waterbucks, Mangoose, warthorgs, Nile Crocodiles, Hyenas, Chettahs, kobs, African Buffaloes, Lions, among others. The park boasts of Endemic Tree-climbing Lions at Ishasha sector.

Tourist Activities
A number of Tourist activities are offered here including Boat trips (launch cruise) along the Kazinga channel; Game drives, scenic viewing, Chimpanzee tracking at Kyambura Gorge; nature walks in Maramagambo forest.

How to get there
Queen Elizabeth National Park can be reached both by air and road transport. It is 433 square Kilometres from Kampala, by road via Mbarara and Bushenyi, reaching the park centre, the major Tourism hub; approaching the Park from the South. Alternatively, approaching from the North through Fort portal covers 410 square kilometres. The park headquarters are 34 square kilometres from Kasese, its closest town.

 

Kibaale National park

Kibale National park, “the primate Capital of the world,” is located in Western Uganda, a few hours’ drive to close parks including Rwenzori mountains, Semuliki, and Queen Elizabeth. The park is dominated by ever green Tropical Rain Forests; with patches of grasslands, swamps in the Northern and Central parts of the park on an elevated Plateau and Rivers; covering an area795square kilometres. The park is dominated by Primates whereby the Red Colobus monkey and Chimpanzee species have been recorded as by IUCN as “critically endangered.”

Species Diversity
The park is dominated by Primates, over 71species have been recorded including the Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Black and white Colobus monkey, Red Colobus monkey and Chimpanzees. There are at least 375 Bird species including Endemics such as the African Grey Parrot as well as African and Green-breasted Pittas, 350 species of trees and shrubs , 250 butterfly species, 27 species of frogs and toads;14 species of Snakes including the Rock Python.

Tourist Activities
Chimpanzee trekking, primate walk and Birdwatching are the major activities here.
Tourists spend long hours exploring several kilometres of the tropical rain forest; along well developed Nature Trails.

How to get there
Park headquarters at Kanyanchu are easily accessed from Fort portal, the nearest town, 36 square kilometres along a marram road. From Kampala to Kanyanchu via Fort portal, the distance is 358 square kilometres by road.

Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison falls National Park lies at the northern end of the Albertine Rift valley, where the Bunyoro Escarpment is dominated by Palm-dotted Savannah. First gazetted in 1926 as a Game Reserve, it is Uganda’s largest and oldest conservation area; gained national park status in 1952. Murchison Falls protected area comprises of the park its self, adjoining wildlife Reserves of karuma and Bugungu;all together covering a total number of 5,072 square kilometres. The park alone covers 3,840 square kilometres.

Species Diversity
Ecosystem types range from Savannah woodlands and grasslands, Tropical rain forests, Swamps and Rivers. In this wide range of habitat types are ;479 bird species,87 species of mammals, 14 Reptile species,several butterflies and reptiles.
The park is home to the largest number of Rothschild Giraffes in Uganda. The park also protects a 20-30 square kilometre stretch of River Nile as a breeding area for Fish, Nile crocodiles, Hippopotamus and Wetland Birds.

Tourist Activities
Game drives enable tourists to vie lots of wild life including Giraffes, Hartebeests, Oribi, Lions and Elephants .The Boat Trip enables tourists to enjoy Wildlife Viewing including the Nile Crocodile,Hippos,and wetland birds.
Scenic Viewing is yet another captivating activity here. Enjoy the spectacular views of Murchison falls bursting into the rocks.

How to get there
The park can be accessed by air and road transport. By air, using daily flights from Entebbe International Airport or chartered aircrafts from Kajjansi Airfield to Pakuba Airfield,13 square kilometres from Park headquarters and 19 square kilometres North West of Paraa and south of Bugungu wildlife reserve.
By road; 305 square kilometres from Uganda’s Capital, Kampala to Paraa. Masindi the closest town is 86 square kilometres from park headquarters.

 

Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Rwenzori Mountains National Park lies in the western part of Uganda; covering an area of 995 square kilometres and was gazetted in 1991. Rwenzori Mountain has with 6 mountain ranges including; Mountain Stanley (5,109 meters),Mountain Speke (4,890 meters),Mountain Baker(4,843 meters), Mountain Emin (4,798 meters),Mountain Gesi (4,715 meters), and Mountain Luigi di Savoia (4,627 meters). The mountain ranges are separated by sharp Gorges.
Mountain Stanley is the highest with Margherita Peak (5,109 meters).The highest points of Rwenzoris are permanently Snow-capped Mountains throughout the year.
The park is a World Heritage site whose vegetation types range from Tropical rain forest, Alpine, Meadows to Snow.

Species Diversity
The wide range of habitat types support endemic flora such as Giant Lobelia and Giant groundsel; 77 mammal species, 6 small mammals are Albertine-Rift-valley endemic including the Rwenzori Otter Shrew and the Rwenzori Red Duiker. There are 217 Bird species, 19 Bird species are endemic; the most popular being the Rwenzori Turaco and Blue-headed sunbird. Endemic Reptiles include ;the
Strange Horned Chameleon, inhabiting high altitudes and the Great Lakes Bush Viper.

Tourist Activities
Mountain climbing is the major tourist activity at the Rwenzoris. Other activities include, Trekking along the central Trail circuit, which takes up to 7 days and viewing of unique flora (plant life) as well as scenery.

How to get there
The park can be reached by road;398 kilometers from Kampala(Uganda’s capital) to Ibanda, the parks tourism hub via Fort Portal.
However, there are no roads within the park, different parts of the mountain are explored only on foot, along well established trails.

 

Mountain Elgon National Park

Mountain Elgon National Park was gazetted in 1992; it covers an area of 4,000 square kilometres. Mountain Elgon is the world’s largest Mountain Caldera. Located on the Kenya-Uganda boarder, it is also the oldest and largest Volcanic Mountain in East Africa.The park is gifted with unique sceneries including waterfalls, Calderas, caves, cliffs, Gorges, Mesas, hot springs, Mountain peaks as well as diverse Flora and Fauna.Its highest peak,Wagagai raises up to 4,321meters.
The higher slopes are protected by National park management authorities of Kenya and Uganda; thus creating a trans-boundary conservation area which has been declared a UNESCO Man and biosphere reserve.

Species Diversity
Elgon’s slopes support a rich variety of vegetation ranging from Montane forest to high open Moorland characterised by endemic flora such as Giant lobelia and Groundsel .312 Bird species including the verreaux’s Eagle; the endangered Lammergeier, Green Tinkerbird, Black-collared Apalis, and Jackson’s francolin . There are 42 species of mammals including elephants, Buffaloes, Bush pigs and
small antelopes. Primates include De Brazza’s Monkey and the Black and white Colobus Monkey.

Tourist Activities
Major activities include Mountain hiking, Primate viewing, Birdwatching, Cave exploration and camping photography. The vast caves are popular for the natural salt found on the cave walls, which attract Elephants, Buffaloes and Bush pigs to go there to lick it. They are ancient cave paintings near the trail head at Budadiri (tourism hub).Visiting and scenic viewing of Sipi falls at the foot of mountain Elgon and hot springs(48derees Celsius ) are also important activities here.

How to get there
The park can be accessed by road from Kampala to Budadiri(tourism hub), a distance of 314 square kilometres . However, there are no roads within the park, al activities are carried out only on foot, along well established trails; there are no game drives!

 

Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo Valley national Park lies in the rugged, semi –arid valleys of Karamoja region; between Uganda’s boarders with Sudan and Kenya. Gazzeted as a National Park in 1962, Kidepo valley covers an area of 1,442square kilometres. It is Uganda’s most isolated national Park but it ranks among Africa’s finest Wilderness.
From Apoka, the park’s tourism hub, a savannah landscape extends beyond the protected areas towards the horizons outlined by distant mountain ranges. It should be noted that, during the extreme dry season, the only permanent water in the Park is found in its Wetlands and remnant pools in the vast Narus Valley, the Park’s prime game viewing location.

Species Diversity
The Park protects a wide range regional Endemic and globally threatened wildlife species including the Aardwolf, Stripped Hyena, Leopard; Lesser Kudu, Roan Antelope, Greater Kudu,
Bat-Eared Fox, Caracal and Cheetah and the unique carnivores species endemic to Karamoja region.80 species of mmals have been recorded, 28 not known to occur in any other Ugandan National Park and 486 Bird species including the Spotted Thick-knee and Ostrich.The seasonal Kidepo River is lined with a riverine forest of Barassus Palms and Acacia trees along a sand river bed which is home to the Dwarf crocodile.

Tourist Activities
Major activities include Game viewing at the vast Narus Valley and Birdwatching. Some of the Birds to be seen incude Kori Bustard, Karamoja Apalis, Verreaux’s Eagle, Ostrich, Egyptian Vulture and Pygmy Falcon.

How to get there
By road, from Kampala to Kidepo, Apoka tourism hub is 571 square kilometres.

 

Semuliki National Park

Semuliki National Park sprawls across the floor of Semliki Valley on the remote Western side of Rwenzori Mountain ranges; covering an area of 220 square kilometres. The park is dominated by the easternmost extension of the deciduous and low altitude, moist, evergreen and vast Ituri forest of the Congo basin.

Species Diversity
447 Bird species have been recorded, out of which, 216 are typical Forest Birds including the White-crested Hornbill and Sassi’s Olive Greenbul. 53 mammal species and nocturnal animals including the Zenker’s flying Mice, Beecroft’s flying squirrel and Water Chevrotain. Chimpanzees are some of the vulnerable primates here.

Tourist Activities
The Hot springs; about a kilometer away from the park provide an important stop-over point. The water here is as hot as 80 degrees centigrade. Catch a glimpse of people bathing in these natural spas (curative waters).It is believed that waters of the hot springs cure Arthritis and rheumatism as well as skin infections. Other activities include guided nature walks within the park, game viewing,Bird watching and Butterfly viewing such as the beautiful Blue mother-of-Pearl butterfly.

How to get there
The park is easily accessed from Fort Portal 64 square kilometres or from Kampala to Sempaya tourism hub, 387 square kilometres.

 

Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo national park covering an area of 260 square kilometres; is the second smallest in Uganda following Mgahinga national park. Its habitats range from dry savannas, open savannas, metamorphic rocks, forests, thickets and dry hillsides; while woodlands are the dominating vegetation type.
The park is strategically located close to the highway that connect Kampala to Parks of western Uganda including Queen Elizabeth, Kibale, Mgahinga, Bwindi impenetrable and Semliki National parks.

Species Diversity
325 species of Birds have been recorded including the Giant Kingfisher, Shoebill and African Finfoot; as well as 68 mammal species including the Silver Galago and the Klipspringer.

Tourist Activities
Boat Trips on Lake Mburo enables tourists to have a closer view of crocodiles, Hippos and wetland bird. A variety of Fauna can be seen during Game drives including Leopards, Elands, Impalas, Topis, and Oribi, Bush-bucks, African Buffaloes, Elephants, Klipspringer and Duikers.

How to get there
It is 253 square kilometres from Kampala to Rwunyo, park headquarters; by road about 3 to 4 hours drive. The park can be accessed through Sanga gate (13 kilometres from Sanga trading ) or Nshara gate (5 square Kilometres from the main road).