Travel Tips to Uganda
Uganda Weather, climate and geography
Best time to visit Uganda
Throughout the country, the hottest months in Uganda are December to February. Uganda’s climate is tropical generally rainy. The lowlands in northern and some parts of western Uganda are hot but mainly dry, while the highlands are more temperate with two seasons dry that extends from December to February and June to September while the rainy season extends from March to May and October to November. Kampala has a very pleasant climate throughout the year due to its altitude. Near Lake Victoria in Uganda, the temperatures are much higher and rainfall can be heavy.
Lightweight clothes are advised for a perfect holiday in Uganda. Warmer clothing is needed during the rainy seasons of March-May/September-November and for the cooler evening, especially in western Uganda. Lightweight layers are needed for much of the year in the highlands. Rainwear is advisable between March and June, and September and November.
Uganda covers 236,040 sq km and sits astride the equator. It shares borders with South Sudan in the north, Democratic Republic of Congo in the west, Kenya in the east, Tanzania and Rwanda in the south. The country is divided into two regions: the savannah lands in the north and eastern Uganda and highlands in the west, where most national parks are situated.
West of Kampala runs the Rift Valley, dotted with lakes and containing the town of Kasese. Queen Elizabeth National Park is overlooked by Uganda’s highest peak-Mount Rwenzori national park and Africa’s third tallest mountain after Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya. In central, Uganda is dominated by Lake Victoria (formerly Lake Nalubale).
Doing business in Uganda
Western business practices exist in Uganda. A formal handshake using the right hand is the standard greeting between men. It is customary to lower your gaze when greeting someone who is older or of a higher professional rank than you.
Men should not shake hands with a woman unless she extends her hand first. Address Ugandans by their surname and title unless you are invited to use their first name.
Suits are the expected attire for business meetings, though a shirt and tie will suffice in less formal situations. Ugandans are quite conservative and advance appointments are required for meetings. Call ahead if you are likely to be late.
Most business-people in Uganda speak English and it is customary to exchange business cards. Small talk is normal and it may take some time to get to the point of a meeting. The eldest person in the room is often designated as chairperson.
When negotiating a price, some haggling is expected, but angry exchanges are to be avoided. If exchanging gifts, do not choose items with a high value as this may be seen as an attempted bribe.
Businesses and government offices in Uganda are open Monday to Friday from 0830-1730. Some offices also are open on Saturdays from 0900 to noon.
The Ugandan economy is largely agricultural and it’s biggest exports in this sector are tea, coffee and cotton. Uganda is also one of the few African countries with a significant dairy industry.
The manufacturing sector produces cement, paper, textiles, rubber and metal products amongst other goods. The economy has improved significantly and, by the end of 2019, GDP growth was 6.3%. Unemployment was estimated to be 1.79% in 2019. Tourism is big business in Uganda, bringing in roughly over US$1.6 billion annually. Visitor numbers reached a record high of 1.6 million in 2019 an indicator that it is thriving.
Coffee, fish and fish products, tea, cotton, flowers, horticultural products and gold.
Capital equipment, vehicles, petroleum, medical supplies and cereals.
Main trading partners
Africa (Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda and DRC), EU include UK and Netherlands, USA, UAE and China.
Keeping in Touch in Uganda
- Mobile phone
Roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies in Uganda. The main network providers are Airtel (www.africa.airtel.com) and MTN Uganda (www.mtn.co.ug). Local SIM cards and top-up cards are available to buy everywhere. Wide areas around Kampala, Jinja and Mbarara, as well as the whole Uganda, the popular national parks and the major roads have good network coverage. Outside of these areas coverage is limited.
There are internet cafes in all Uganda’s major towns. Even smaller towns have at least one venue, usually on the main street. Almost all post offices now offer at least one terminal for public access. Tourists can also access the internet in many hotels; the more upmarket and business orientated ones have in-room Wi-Fi. Accommodation in parks and reserves generally don’t have internet but others have.
Post is efficient and most towns have post offices run by the Postal Corporation of Uganda (www.ugapost.co.ug). Postboxes are red. Stamps can usually be bought at post offices, stationers, souvenir shops and hotels. The service is generally reliable. If you are sending parcels out of the country the contents must be inspected and the parcel wrapped (in brown paper and string) at the post office.
- Post office hours
Monday-Fri day0800-1700; Sat 0800-1300. Small branches close for an hour at lunchtime.
Uganda enjoys a more diverse media scene than many other African countries. The print media is dominated by two publishing houses, the New Vision Group and the daily monitor Group, which also have broadcasting interests. The main dailies (all published in English) include Daily monitor, new vision, the observer and the red paper. Newspapers from Kenya are also widely circulated in Uganda.
State-owned Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) has TV channels in English and Luganda; NBS and NTV Uganda are some of the Kampala-based stations and the most famous. Other private channels include Nairobi-based station Citizen TV. DSTV (www.dstvafrica.com) is a multi-channel international satellite TV found in most hotels. In Kampala, Entebbe and Jinja there is a comprehensive choice of international newspapers and magazines sold in bookshops, airports, hotels and at pavement kiosks.
This is one of Uganda’s major source of foreign exchange. The country attracts many tourists from different parts of the world due presence of a wide variety of wildlife conserved in over 15 different national parks and game reserves. Here we find the African Big 5 Animals as well as the mountain gorillas in the wild.
According to gorilla census report 2019, there are only 1063 mountain gorillas left in the whole world, and this population is only found in East and Central Africa’s Virunga mountain ranges and the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in southwestern Uganda. Out of 1063 gorillas, Uganda has about 520, which is half of the world’s population. Gorilla Tourism attracts many tourists interested in seeing gorillas in the wild misty jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National park.
On the other hand, Gorilla safaris in Rwanda are conducted in Volcanoes National Park, located a few miles from Bwindi National Park, meaning one can take a combined gorilla safari package in Rwanda and Uganda. This is suitable for adventurous hikers interested in seeing gorillas more than once. Many tour packages organised by tour operators in Uganda and Rwanda combining both countries. Gorillas in DR Congo’s Virunga National Park are so amazing, only that, gorilla tourism is still interfered by insecurity due to political unrest.