Located in the heart of East Africa lies Uganda, a captivating destination brimming with natural wonders, cultural diversity, and warm hospitality.

From the misty peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains to the teeming savannas of Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda beckons travellers seeking authentic experiences amidst untouched wilderness.

With its rich tapestry of landscapes and vibrant communities, Uganda stands as a testament to the continent’s enduring allure, earning its moniker as the “Pearl of Africa.”


Bordered by Kenya, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Tanzania, Uganda occupies a prime location in East Africa. Its central position on the continent provides easy access to a wealth of natural and cultural treasures, making it an ideal starting point for explorations across the region.

What type of traveller will enjoy Uganda

Image: Kate Webster

Uganda appeals to a diverse range of travellers, from adventure enthusiasts craving adrenaline-pumping activities like gorilla trekking and white-water rafting to nature lovers seeking tranquil moments amidst lush forests and serene lakeshores. Cultural aficionados will delight in Uganda’s vibrant traditions, while wildlife enthusiasts can marvel at the country’s diverse array of fauna, including the iconic Big Five.

Uganda’s approach to sustainability

Uganda places a strong emphasis on sustainability, with initiatives aimed at preserving its natural heritage and empowering local communities. From eco-friendly lodges nestled within national parks to community-based tourism projects that provide income opportunities for rural residents, Uganda’s commitment to responsible tourism ensures that visitors can experience the country’s beauty while contributing to its long-term conservation.

How to travel to and around Uganda

Entebbe Airport. Image – Kate Webster

Travelling to Uganda from Australia will require a few transits, with no direct flights to the country. There are various airlines connecting major cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane to Entebbe International Airport through their hub cities. These include Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Ethiopian Airlines, with connections involving one or two layovers.

Uganda’s only international airport is Entebbe (EBB), which is situated on the northern shores of Lake Victoria. Several International flights land at Entebbe, which lies near the capital city of Kampala.

Upon arrival in Uganda, travellers can explore the country’s diverse landscapes and attractions via private transfers, or guided tours. It is recommended to use these over public transport due to safety issues.

Top experiences to have in Uganda

Chimpanzee Trekking. Image – UTB

Uganda has a mix of wildlife, outdoor adventure and cultural experiences to offer all types of travellers. Here are some of the highlights you can’t miss when visiting Uganda.

Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest: Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to encounter endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

Queen Elizabeth National Park: Explore one of Uganda’s most biodiverse reserves, home to tree-climbing lions, elephants, and over 600 species of birds.

Murchison Falls National Park: Witness the awe-inspiring beauty of Murchison Falls as the Nile River thunders through a narrow gorge, surrounded by abundant wildlife.

Rwenzori Mountains: Trek through mist-shrouded peaks and alpine meadows in the “Mountains of the Moon,” a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its biodiversity.

Lake Victoria: Discover the source of the Nile River and enjoy water-based activities such as fishing, boat cruises, and island hopping.

Jinja and the Source of the Nile: Experience the adrenaline rush of white-water rafting on the Nile River or explore historic sites in the charming town of Jinja.

Kibale Forest National Park: Encounter chimpanzees and other primates in their natural habitat, surrounded by lush tropical rainforest.

Bwindi Cultural Village: Immerse yourself in the traditions of the Batwa people, learning about their rich cultural heritage and ancient way of life.

Sipi Falls: Marvel at the cascading beauty of Sipi Falls, a series of three waterfalls nestled amidst the scenic landscapes of Mount Elgon.

Uganda Martyrs Shrine, Namugongo: Pay homage to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for their faith at this revered pilgrimage site.

Banking and Currency

The official currency of Uganda is the Ugandan Shilling (UGX), and ATMs are available in major cities and tourist destinations. However, it’s advisable to carry a mix of cash and credit cards, as ATMs may not always be accessible in remote areas. You may find that tours and transport is payable in USD.

Tipping Guide

Tipping is not mandatory in Uganda but is appreciated for exceptional service. In restaurants, a tip of around 10% of the total bill is generally considered appropriate if the service is satisfactory. Safari guides, trackers, and lodge staff often rely on tips as part of their income. It is recommended to tip guides and trackers around USD 10-15 per person per day and lodge staff around USD 5-10 per person per day, depending on the level of service and personal satisfaction. However, please note that tipping is discretionary, and clients should feel free to adjust amounts based on their own experience and satisfaction.

Visa and Entry Requirements for Australian Passport Holders

Australian passport holders require a visa to enter Uganda, which can be obtained online here, or upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport. The tourist visa allows for stays of up to 90 days and must be obtained before travel. However, it is essential to check the latest visa requirements and regulations with the nearest Botswana embassy or consulate before departure, as entry requirements can change.

Electricity and Power Sockets

Uganda operates on a 240-volt electrical system, with power sockets accepting Type G plugs. It is advisable to carry a universal travel adapter to ensure compatibility with various socket types.

Medical Advice and Vaccinations

Vaccinations for yellow fever, hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and rabies are recommended for travellers to Uganda. It is crucial for travellers to consult with a healthcare professional or a specialized travel clinic well in advance of their trip to receive personalized medical advice and recommended vaccinations.

Language Spoken and Use of English

English is the official language of Uganda and is widely spoken and understood throughout the country, making communication easy for English-speaking travellers. However, it can also be beneficial to learn a few common local phrases in Luganda (a Bantu language), to enhance cultural interactions and show respect for the local customs.

Customs and Cultural Awareness

Some key customs to keep in mind include greeting others with a handshake, respecting elders, and dressing modestly in public places. Additionally, it is customary to ask for permission before taking photographs of local people or their homes. It is also essential to respect wildlife and adhere to responsible tourism practices, including maintaining a safe distance from animals and following the instructions of guides and rangers.

Top Tips for travelling in Uganda

Uganda. Image – Kate Webster
  • Pack Light and Practical: Opt for lightweight and breathable clothing suitable for Uganda’s tropical climate, and don’t forget essentials such as insect repellent and sunscreen.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of bottled water to stay hydrated, especially when exploring national parks and outdoor attractions.
  • Respect Wildlife: Follow park regulations and guidelines when encountering wildlife, maintaining a safe distance and refraining from feeding or touching animals.
  • Embrace Cultural Experiences: Immerse yourself in Uganda’s rich cultural heritage by participating in community-based activities and interacting with local residents.
  • Be Flexible and Patient: Embrace the laid-back pace of life in Uganda and remain flexible in your travel plans, as delays and unexpected changes may occur.

To discover more about Uganda, visit the Uganda Tourism Board website – utb.go.ug  

Editor Africa Beat

Africa Beat is the source of all your news and updates in the travel industry out of Africa. You will find also find reviews and features focused on Africa.

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