Uganda is one of the most naturally stunning locations in Africa, if not the world. Nicknamed the Pearl of Africa by Winston Churchill, this country is home to a large fragment of Lake Victoria, as well as many exotic animals. Most importantly Uganda counts amongst its residents endangered mountain gorillas, as well as an array of chimpanzees and monkeys. However, the animals are not the only inhabitants. Uganda is home to many different tribes and kingdoms, with a total of around thirty local languages being spoken. Not only is Uganda entirely different from every other country in the world, each individual section differs greatly from the next.
English is the official language and therefore visitors from Great Britain should have no concerns regarding communication. However, in certain areas Swahili may be useful. Another widely spoken language is Luganda, which is more widespread than English in certain locations. Although visitors will have no difficulty making themselves understood, it will come in useful to know a few basic phrases.
The national currency is the Ugandan shilling, although the US dollar, the Pound and the Euro are often accepted. One dollar is equal to 1860 shillings, one pound is approximately 3472 shillings and one Euro amounts to 2384 shillings.
Uganda is largely sunny and warm, although some rain should be expected during the periods from September to November and March to May. Visitors should come prepared for high temperatures during the day, but slightly cooler conditions at night.
Many visitors come to explore the many impressive National Parks in the hope of catching a glimpse of the animals within them. Murchison Falls National Park provides visitors with the opportunity to take a boat trip, as well as safari. The area boasts an awe inspiring waterfall, in addition to animals such as crocodiles, giraffes, elephants and lions. Queen Elizabeth National Park is also a beautiful spot with several volcanic crater lakes. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park can often provide a glimpse of a troop of gorillas, although the prime spotting location is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Kibale National Park is home to more than one thousand chimpanzees. However, animals are not the only sight worth seeing. Located within Uganda is the source of the Nile, which inspired many epic adventures in the Victorian age as explorers searched for it. Today the location is much more accessible and all will enjoy visiting this legendary spot.
Victoria Lake is a beatiful and tranquil spot. The Ssese Islands are located amidst this expanse of water and are perfect for a peaceful day trip. The jungles are stunning although it can take up to eight hours to travel to the islands. Those hoping to experience something more action packed will not be disappointed. White-water rafting and mountain biking are fantastic and brave visitors can experience a bungee jump above the Nile. Mountaineers will love Uganda; Rwenzori poses a difficult but beautiful challenge for experienced climbers.
Kampala is the capital city of Uganda and a charming, busy location. Constructed on seven hills, the surrounding area is beautiful. Entebbe is another substantial city, found nearby Lake Victoria. Here, The Botanical Gardens are a testament to the country’s natural splendour and bird watchers will enjoy visiting the many feathered residents, in particular two giant Eagle Owls. Jinja is home to more than just the source of the Nile. Bujagali Falls provide the perfect location for white water rafting and the Mabira Forest Reserve is full of beautiful scenery to admire. A tour of the Nile Brewery is a popular attraction, allowing visitors to learn about the practice of brewing beer whilst they enjoy a free drink.
Kampala is the best location for shopping. Nakasero Market allows holidaymakers to sample locally produced food and purchase special items for the home. Here visitors can buy some fantastic coffee; a local speciality, the delicious aromas will tempt all. The city’s Crafts Village is home to a vast multitude of stores selling unique souvenirs and special trinkets. Owino Market is a bargain hunter’s paradise. Here second hand designer clothes can be purchased for a reasonable price. Overall, most things in Uganda are cheap although visitors should ensure that they bargain as often prices will be dropped. Uchumi is a recent development in Kampala. Here a multitude of shops sell everything each visitor could possibly desire and most stores are open 24 hours a day.
Kampala is the perfect destination in Uganda for those hoping to experience exciting and vibrant nightlife. Kampala is home to many bars and discos which are certain to keep all visitors happy and entertained. The capital is also home to several casinos which will be appreciated by those hoping to gamble. All should check upon arrival as to whether there will be any beach parties taking place during their stay, as these events are particularly fun. Friends will be met easily and all will be made to feel welcome.
Driving in Uganda is on the left side of the road. Conditions are favourable in comparison to many other African countries, although far from perfect. Drivers should watch out for pot holes and be particularly careful when it has rained, for water can vastly affect the state of the road. All should be cautious and remain on the look out for animals.
Food and Drink
The locally produced dishes in Uganda are incredible. Traditional favourites include chapatti, meat stew and luwombo, a piece of meat which is cooked in green leaves. Natural produce is delicious and extremely cheap; fruit and vegetables are exotic and filling. Fish is also a favourite and binyebwa, a nut sauce, is a delicious compliment to many meals. Coffee is delicious and there are many varieties of tea for those missing PG Tips. A popular variety is Chai tea, which is available across the country. Both African wine and beer are delicious and readily available.