Best Time To Visit

When to go

You can go to Uganda all year round, although the rains in April, May, October and November can make travel difficult in certain areas. Average daytime temperatures range from 21 to 35° C. High season is January - March and July - September.

When to go to Uganda - Climate Chart

Getting there

Emirates operates daily flights between London Heathrow (or selected other UK airports) and Entebbe via Dubai. Kenya Airlines operates a daily service between London and Entebbe via Nairobi. Other international carriers operating flights into Entebbe include KLM and Ethiopian Airlines. From Entebbe, there are daily flights to Kigali in Rwanda and to Arusha (Tanzania) and Zanzibar. 

Time Zone

GMT +3 hours


Uganda is a malarial area and precautions should be taken. A yellow fever certificate will be requested on entry. Always consult your doctor at least six weeks before travel, for details of recommended vaccinations for your destination.

Travel Guide


The official national language in Uganda is English. Other languages spoken include Ganda or Luganda, Nilo-Saharan languages, Swahili and Arabic.

Local Time

GMT + 3


240 volts British Standard - usually 3-pin square plugs. Some lodges and camps have power only at certain times of the day. Camera and video charging facilities are often centralised and you’ll need your own charger.


It is your responsibility to obtain visas. A single entry visa is issued for US$50. It is now a requirement to apply on line in order to receive visas upon arrival:

The procedure requires the upload of clear copies of your current passport, Yellow fever certificate and Passport photo. On completion of the online application you will receive a barcoded email notification. Print out this email and bring it with you to Uganda. If in the remote case that your application is refused or you receive some glitches (due to teething problems in the online application) then you must print out the response and take it to the point of entry in Uganda, i.e. Entebbe Airport or a Uganda Border Crossing and the visa will be issued for you.

If you are visiting Uganda in combination with Rwanda and/or Kenya, you will need to apply for an East Africa Tourist Visa, which costs US$100, and is valid for 90 Days. It is Multiple Entry. You will need to apply online through the consulate/embassy/high commission of the first country that you are entering.

Mobile phone coverage & Wi-Fi

Mobile phone coverage can be found all over Uganda. Networks that cover Uganda are MTN, UTL, and Orange. 

WIFI is not widely available outside bigger cities and towns. It is mostly only available at high end lodges. Within Kampala, a lot of coffee shops and bars offer WIFI, an it is available in some coffee shops and hotels/lodges in the following towns: Jinja Town, Entebbe Town, Masaka Town and Marabrara Town. 

Baggage Allowance

This varies from airline to airline on international flights so ask your travel consultant and check your travel documents.


A 35-70 mm zoom, or 50 mm fixed lens is usually sufficient to take photos of the gorillas. You may want to carry a longer lens, but bear in mind that you may well be working in low light conditions. Make sure you look around you and enjoy your brief time with these gentle animals rather than spending all your time looking for the ‘classic’ shot. Check with your guide about using flash. For general wildlife and bird photography, a longer lens is recommended – ideally 80-300mm.


If you’d like to video the gorillas with a personal camcorder you may incur an extra charge of up to US$ 20 for home videos. There is no charge for personal cameras.Vehicles are generally not equipped with sophisticated recharging equipment. Be prepared to charge directly from the battery – and bring the equipment with which to do it. Most lodges have solar power sufficient for charging batteries.


The local currency is the Ugandan shilling (UGX) although US collars cash is the preferred hard currency. Use Ugandan shillings for everyday purchases such as drinks, curios, postcards etc and small denomination US dollar notes or Ugandan shillings for tipping (see tipping guide below). When changing money you get a better rate if you exchange larger denomination notes, as there is usually a surcharge on changing smaller notes. Keep your exchange receipts so you can change any surplus Ugandan shillings back to US dollars when you leave. Note that only US dollar bills issued after 2009 are accepted at lodges and restaurants.

Traveller’s cheques

Avoid: traveller’s cheques are increasingly difficult to change, even in Kampala, and exchange rates are poor.

Credit cards

Most lodges in Uganda accept card payments - the widely accepted cards are VISA, Master Card & American Express. However, AMEX card holders need to notify their banks back home that they are travelling to Uganda in order to be able to process card transactions successfully.


Uganda is a malarial area and precautions such as anti-malaria tablets are imperative. Some strains of malaria are resistant to certain prophylactics and you are strongly advised to take additional precautions such as using insect repellent, wearing long trousers and so on. 

Take a supply of wet wipes and using them after handling currency to reduce the risk of stomach upsets. Always drink bottled water which is available almost everywhere. It’s also advisable to avoid local ice cream and yoghurt, and always peel fruit before eating it.

The strong African sun can cause severe burns and sunstroke in a few hours, so always take sensible precautions such as wearing light clothing, sun hat, sunglasses and sun block.

AIDS is widespread in Uganda.

Yellow fever vaccinations are a requirement for all visitors. Arrange to have this vaccination at least 10 days before you travel to Uganda . Tetanus is generally recommended, as is cholera, and Hepatitis inoculations are discretionary. Zika virus has been identified in Uganda so pregnant women should avoid travelling to the country. Your doctor is always the best source of up to date and accurate information about health requirements, so always be guided by his/her advice.

If you are gorilla tracking in Rwanda and then re-entering Uganda, a multiple entry visa is required. This must be arranged in your country of origin, before you travel. Alternatively, you may purchase a transit visa at the border if your stay, when you re-enter Uganda, is less than seven days in duration.

If you are re-entering Uganda for more than seven days you will need to buy a completely new visa at the border.

In towns and cities and at more upmarket lodges, smart casual is the norm for the evenings, while in the bush or on safari the style/ dress code is very relaxed. You may experience a variety of weather conditions in Uganda so pack some warmer items such a sweater or fleece for the mountainous areas where temperatures can drop dramatically in the evenings, (Bwindi, Rwenzori, Virunga Volcano chain, Kigezi highlands), as well as light trousers and t-shirts for time on safari.

For gorilla and chimp tracking, forest and nature walks, you’ll need a comfortable pair of walking shoes or boots and durable clothes. Bright colours should be avoided and army camouflage patterns mustn’t be worn. Greens, khaki and similar neutral colours are recommended.  Conditions can be muddy and slippery when gorilla tracking so we suggest wearing a long-sleeve cotton shirt and lightweight trousers, and take a pair of cheap gardening gloves as these will protect your hands from stinging nettles. Take lightweight rain gear as rainfall is high in the mountainous areas of both Uganda and Rwanda. Anyone going gorilla or chimp tracking should take a mask, as you will be required to wear it from the point where you get close enough to the great apes.  


Tipping is discretionary and these per passenger suggestions should only be seen as a guide. Lodges tend to have a tipping box from which tips are distributed equitably to all employees.

Airport representatives: US$5 per couple per briefing

Transfer driver in Entebbe: US$5 per couple per transfer

Hotel staff (porters): US$1 per traveller

Waiters: US$1 per meal, irrespective of the number of travellers

Lodges: US$20 – 40 per traveller for the total stay, depending on the quality of the service. Most lodges will have a staff tip box.

Transfer driver to Bwindi: US$10 per transfer (irrespective of the number of travellers), unless you are staying at Gorilla Forest Camp, where tips are left in the lodge staff tip box

Driver-guides: US$ 5 per couple per day

Gorilla tracking
Porters don’t earn a salary so the minimum recommended tip per person per tracking excursion is US$10.

Guides (one per group), trackers (2 – 3 per group) and security personnel (2 – 4 per group) do earn salaries. The recommended tip is US$20 per tracking day per traveller, and this can be left in the tip box for your gorilla group, located at the national park HQ.

Other park guides: US$ 3 – 5

Buying local crafts as gifts to take home is a good way to supporting local communities and you’ll be able to stop at craft shops, stalls and markets during longer road journeys. Visitors doing the Buhoma Cultural Village Walk at Bwindi should take extra cash in Ugandan Shillings (UGX) or US$ (the former is preferable) as the Batwa community makes and sells a variety of unique artefacts.

Always request permission before photographing local people, and don’t photograph government buildings, police or military posts.

Things To Do

  • Track gorillas and enjoy birding in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
  • Go on safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park or Kidepo National Park
  • Look for chimps in Kibale Forest National Park
  • Try exhilarating white-water rafting on the Victoria Nile near Jinja
  • Spot the prehistoric looking Shoebill in the Mabamba Wetlands Sanctuary


Craig Kaufman - who lived in Uganda for 4 years and managed ecolodges there - has travelled extensively in Uganda and rates it highly for its mix of flora and fauna, and here he answer questions about travel in this less well-known African country. Our FAQ sections are intended to help you decide if a particular destination is right for you. Craig is always delighted to answer questions personally - you can ring him on 020 7666 1250 or email your questions.

Why would I choose a Uganda safari over other wildlife destinations?

Known as the Pearl of Africa, Uganda is one of the continent’s most beautiful countries and for most of the year the equatorial climate is enjoyable. With over 1000 recorded bird species the country’s species list is one of Africa’s largest. Among its impressive wildlife is a substantial portion of the world’s remaining Mountain gorillas. There are also well habituated chimpanzees and a variety of other primates, as well as mammals not easily seen elsewhere such as Uganda kob and Giant forest hog. So it’s a real wildlife bonanza!

How do we get there?

Most airlines can be used to get to Entebbe, whether via Nairobi, Dubai, Addis Ababa, Amsterdam or Doha. 

How do we travel around the country?

All our clients travel in four-wheel drive safari vehicles, some of which have pop tops which allow you to stand up and get a better few of the incredible scenery.

If there was one thing I shouldn’t miss, what would you recommend?

Gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. It's the best known attraction and a really memorable, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Is Uganda safe?

Yes, but we avoid the far northern border area with South Sudan. There is always petty crime in big cities and we advise people to be careful in the same ways as they would be at home.

Can I drink the tap water?

Tap water is not safe to drink. As with many African countries, make sure that all water has been boiled before you drink it or it is treated with iodine or a water purification tablet before hand. We all recommend adding  vitamin C tablets to hide the taste - it really works. Bottled water is widely available and you should make sure the bottles are sealed when you purchase it.

Is English widely spoken?

Yes, it is. The official languages in Uganda are English and Swahilli.

Should I expect very basic facilities in all Ugandan hotels and lodges?

Not at all – there are good quality hotels, permanent tented camps and lodges in most of Uganda’s wilderness areas.

What is the local food like?

Very good – there is a strong English, Arab and Asian influence apparent in the food. You will notice a difference in the traditional meals served depending on the kind of restaurants you visit from ugali or matoke based meals to dishes served with rice and potatoes.

How much of a culture shock is travelling to Uganda?

For the most part Uganda is not a culture shock, although some recently implemented legislation that discriminates against same sex relationships is shocking and offensive to Westerners. The treatment of certain marginalised, ostracised and displaced minorities such as the Batwa, does also upset visitors.

How can I contribute to the local economy and conservation programmes?

We can introduce you to local charities that can be visited during your trip if you would like this. Some clients like to support schools, while others want to help conserve gorilla habitats and support the people who live around the edges of the conservation areas.  The Forest Peoples’ Programme, a UK-based charity which has done excellent work in Uganda to assist the Batwa – among other groups of people in Uganda – is well worth supporting. Ask us for assistance if this is something that interests you.

Do I need to get any vaccinations ahead of travel and/or malaria tablets?

A yellow fever immunization certificate is a requirement and the country is malarial.

I am pregnant, can I travel to Uganda ?

Due to the presence of malaria and zika virus in Uganda, we do not advise on travel during pregnancy. Always check with your doctor before travelling. 

What does a Gorilla permit cost in Uganda?

Currently a Uganda gorilla permit costs US$700 but this is set to increase from July 2024:

Important notification (January 2024): 

The following increases will take effect for travel from 01 July 2024:

Gorilla Tracking permits will increase from US$700 to US$800

Gorilla Habituation Permit remain the same at US$1,500

Chimpanzee Tracking permits in Kibale increase from US$200 to US$250

Chimpanzee Habituation in Kibale increase from US$250 to US$300


Next Steps

Email Craig if you'd like to start planning a trip.

Craig Kaufman

Travel Specialist

I'm here to tailor-make your perfect holiday. Give me a call and I'll use my expertise to create your personalised experience.

Why Choose Us?

Passionate travel experts

  • We've been leading wildlife travel since our first South Africa tours over 25 years ago
  • Our Travel Specialists have lived in their specialist area for years
  • We work with local guides to immerse you deeper in our diverse range of experiences

Personal & tailor-made

  • You'll speak to your own expert who'll share their first-hand knowledge
  • We'll make your itinerary seamless with 24/7 emergency contact available
  • Your Travel Specialist will listen to ensure you have the best chance of seeing the wildlife you love

Responsible by nature

  • We take care to actively contribute to the conservation of environments we visit
  • For select countries, we make a charitable donation on your behalf when you make your booking
  • We've partnered with conservation experts and NGOs to curate responsible tours
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