Uganda

Useful info

Time
Uganda Standard Time is GMT (UTC) +3

Electricity
Uganda’s electricity supply: 240 V   AC  50 Hz

Money
The unit of currency is the Uganda shilling. The US dollar is traditionally the hard currency of preference, but Euro and Pound Sterling are also widely accepted. For credit-card cash advances, the only realistic option is Barclays Bank in Kampala, which offers advances in US dollars or Uganda shillings.
Bargaining is necessary in informal transactions such as those at markets and roadside stalls, but not in shops that display fixed prices.
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Tipping
Tipping is always appreciated. It is normal to tip 5-10% at tourist-oriented restaurants. Guides and drivers should always be tipped.

Weather
Uganda can be visited at any time of year. Most of Uganda enjoys the perfect tropical climate. Temperatures average about 26°C during the day and 16°C at night. The hottest months are from December to February. Uganda can be visited at any time, though mountain hikes, gorilla tracking and other forest walks are more challenging during the rains, which generally peak over mid-September to November and March to May.

What to Pack
A valid passport is mandatory, and visa requirements along with immunization requirements should be checked before you travel. The most practical items to pack for a trip to Uganda are:
*  blouses with long sleeves (even in summer, they will protect you from the
    sun and from mosquitoes)
*  T-shirts
*  shorts or a light skirt
*  jeans or safari trousers for evenings and cooler days
*  fleece or sweater and a warm jacket for game drives (if you are going to
    the western or eastern mountain ranges)
*  comfortable walking shoes/hiking boots/waterproof sandals
*  sun block, sunglasses, hat, insect repellent
*  binoculars and a camera are a must
*  tracksuit - good for sleeping, when in the mountains
*  light, compact raincoat is vital for Uganda's rainy climate
*  swimwear, as most hotels/lodges have swimming pools
*  towel, torch and sleeping bag for camping safaris

What to Wear
Daytime temperatures are generally warm to hot, so bring lots of light clothing. Evenings are cooler, especially at high altitudes, so carry a couple of light sweaters, too. Those, who intend to hike on the mountains, will be exposed to alpine temperatures and should pack accordingly. Solid walking shoes and sturdy clothing are ideal for forest walks. Don’t forget to bring a hat, sunglasses and a waterproof jacket.
 
Health

Medical facilities in Uganda, including Kampala, are limited and not equipped to handle most emergencies, especially those, requiring surgery. Outside Kampala, hospitals are scarce and offer only basic services. Equipment and medicines are often in short supply or unavailable. Travelers should carry their own supplies of prescription drugs and preventive medicines.
Although much of Uganda is generally safe, there are some risky areas. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required. All visitors should take malaria prophylactic drugs. It is advisable to drink bottled, rather than tap water.

Security & Safety
Traveling is better done during daylight hours, since most thieves operate during the night. Valuables should be left in the hotel’s safety boxes and safes. Most casual thieves operate in busy streets, markets, bus and taxi parks. Avoid having large amounts of money or valuables loose in your daypack or pocket. Keep a close watch on your possessions.
If you are venturing into the bush, stay away from wild animals.

Food and Drink
Ugandan cuisine consists of traditional cooking with English, Arab and Indian influences. It varies in complexity, from the most basic, starchy filler with a sauce of beans or meat, to several-course meals served in upper-class homes and high-end restaurants.
Main dishes are usually centered on a sauce or stew of groundnuts, beans or meat. The starch traditionally comes from ugali (maize or millet meal) or matoke (boiled and mashed green banana). Cassava, yam and African sweet potato are also popular. The more affluent include white potato and rice in their diets. Soybean was promoted as a healthy food staple in the 1970s and this is also used, especially for breakfast. Chapati, an Asian flatbread, is also part of Ugandan cuisine.

Chicken, fish (usually fresh, but there is also a dried variety), beef, goat and mutton are all commonly eaten, although among the rural poor there would have to be a good reason for slaughtering a large animal, such as a goat or a cow. Nyama (Swahili word for "meat"), would not be eaten every day.
Various leafy greens are grown in Uganda. These may be boiled in the stews, or served as side dishes in fancier homes. Fruits are plentiful and regularly eaten as snacks or dessert. Europeans introduced cake and this is also popular.

Both traditional and western beers are probably the most widely available alcoholic beverage across Uganda.
Pombe is the generic word for locally made fermented beer, usually from banana or millet.
Tonto is a traditional fermented drink made from bananas.
Waragi is the generic term for distilled spirits and these vary.
Tea (chai) and coffee (kawa) are popular beverages and important cash crops. These can be served English-style or spiced (chai masala).

Public Holidays
*  1 January  - New Year’s Day
*  10 January  - Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice)
*  26 January  - Liberation Day
*  8 March - International Women’s Day
*  14 April - Good Friday
*  17 April - Easter Monday
*  1 May - Labour Day
*  3 June - Martyrs’ Day
*  9 June - National Heroes’ Day
*  9 October - Independence Day
*  22-24 October - Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)
*  25 December - Christmas Day
*  26 December - Boxing Day
*  31 December - Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice)