Superficie: 241.037 km2
Inhabitants: 44.269.594 inhabitants (2019)
Population density: 183,66 inhabitants por km2.
Languages: The official languages of Uganda are English, although the most widely spoken languages are Luganda, Kiswahili, Luo and Acholi. In any case, it is a country where we find many other local languages that are transmitted orally from generation to generation.
Currency: The official currency of the country is the Ugandan Shilling (UGX). At the exchange rate, 1 euro is 4,335 UGX. You can look at the current change in the following link.
Road driving: The main roads in Uganda are generally in good condition. You can go from Kampala to the main cities on paved roads without the need for a 4×4. In any case, there are some asphalt roads that are in very bad condition, such as the one that goes to Pakwach, which is full of holes, making driving very difficult; or the one that goes to Mutukula, the border point with Tanzania. In the north, to access the Kidepo NP, the roads turn into gravel and stone routes that will force you to slow down. In addition, if you travel in the rainy season you will find some routes full of mud, so you must adapt your driving to this type of terrain. The Murchison NP and Queen Elizabeth NP roads can be covered without the need for a 4×4; while in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, at least in the Ruhinga area, which is where we went, you will go much better by 4×4 because of the different steep slopes that you will find on the route. Uganda is a country where we find very little vehicle traffic, but you must especially watch out for trucks.
Internet / SIM card: In Uganda you will find a great diversity of landscapes. It is a country where there are also many mountains and in some of these areas you will not have much coverage. We recommend that you buy a SIM card from Airtel, one of the most popular telecom operators in the country. We bought a pack of 9GB and 125 minutes of calls for 37,000 UGX, about 9 euros in exchange. You can buy this card in some of the official shops that you will find in the main towns and cities of the country.
Visa: If you want to visit Uganda as a tourist, you will need a visa that you can process online at the following link. The cost of the visa is 50 USD for a duration of 30 days. Anyway, there is also a visa that you can process online and it is known as the East Africa Visa, which costs 100 USD and allows you to stay in the following countries for 90 days: Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. To get it, you will have to process it in the first country you enter. That is, if you want to visit Uganda after visiting Kenya, for example, you will need to process the East Visa at the Kenyan immigration department when you enter that country. We did it this way, and that way we didn’t have to go through any visa procedures when entering Uganda because it was already included in the East Africa Visa.
Budget: In total, we spent 21 days in Uganda and spent a total of 1,308.61 euros per person. It must be said, however, that the most expensive activity was the visit to the mountain gorillas which cost 700 USD. Uganda, along with DRC Congo and Rwanda is one of the few places where you can visit mountain gorillas today. Here is a breakdown of all the expenses in Uganda:
WHAT TO SEE IN UGANDA?
The Kapchorwa region is one of the most beautiful areas in Uganda. With a mountainous landscape that is located in the Rift Valley and at the foot of Mount Elgon, this area is home to different coffee and banana plantations, undulating roads in the middle of valleys, rivers of water that flow into impressive waterfalls and, also, Uganda’s leading long-distance athletes.
If you like nature, you cannot miss the Sipi waterfalls, which are 3 waterfalls that cross the entire town. If you like sports, don’t miss a visit with the Kapchorwa athletes, the world’s fastest sprinters over long distances. Sipi and Kapchorwa are a destination that you cannot miss to see some of Uganda’s treasures, such as its people, its coffee and its nature.
The Kidepo National Park is one of the unknown parks but it has a lot to offer to the visitor. Located in the extreme north of the country, bordering South Sudan, this park is one of the most remote, driest and hottest in Uganda, but it has a unique and spectacular landscape that makes it different from other parks. It is a jewel that is still preserved virgin, crossed by different rivers and with species of animals that you will not see in the rest of the country. Kidepo has been named one of the top 10 parks in Africa for its spectacular scenery and large herds of buffalo. CNN says that Kidepo is perhaps the most picturesque park in Africa and a hidden gem to discover.
The Murchison NP is one of the most visited parks in the country, for the amount of fauna that you can find and also for its iconic waterfalls with the White Nile River. It is located in the west of the country, next to the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has an area of 3,893 square km, making it the largest of the parks in Uganda. The White Nile River divides the park into two areas: the northern area (where most of the wildlife is) and the southern part (where you can visit the Murchison Falls). This park has long been on the list of the most beautiful parks in this country and also in all of East Africa for its fantastic landscapes and easy to see wildlife. Today, the survival of this park is in danger due to the construction of a road that crosses the park from north to south that will serve to transport oil that has been found in Lake Albert.
4.- FORT PORTAL and KASENDA LAKES
There are parts of Uganda that are surprising for not being more touristy than they are. And the lakes in the Ndali-Kasenda area fulfill this fact. These idyllic lakes due to their green landscape and each one with different shades of water, are of volcanic origin and are said to have been formed about 10,000 years ago. There are about 50 lakes in the area so you sure won’t get bored. The lakes of Kasenda are located in the southern part of the city of Fort Portal, city of the Toro kingdom. The city now serves as a base to discover that southwestern part of the country (an area unknown to many Ugandans and many tourists); and to visit one of its tea plantations.
5.- QUEEN ELIZABETH NP and ISHASHA SECTOR
Queen Elizabeth NP is the second largest park in Uganda after Murchison Falls NP. It is located in the western Rift Valley and covers an area of 1,978 square km. The park is located in a volcanic area where it is easy to see water lakes that were previously volcano craters and overlooking the Rwenzori Mountains, popularly known as the Mountains of the Moon. It conserves a wide variety of wildlife and is one of the best locations to see herds of buffalo and the Ugandan kob. The park is very large and has different sectors. One of the most famous is the Ishasha sector, where you can see if you are lucky the tree-climbing lions. Seeing these fantastic animals climb to the top of a tree and rest on a branch is a unique event around the world.
Lake Bunyonyi may not have the fame of other better known African lakes such as Lake Tanganyika or Lake Malawi, but it has a special beauty that makes it one of the best lakes we have visited so far and one of the most beautiful . The name Bunyonyi means “place of small birds” and it is that in the lake you will see a great diversity of birds. Volcanic in nature, this lake originated about 8,000 years ago, as it is located on a fault in the African Rift. The waters basically come from the Kabirita River from Rwanda. It is located in the southwest of the country and has 29 islands in its interior, forming a unique, very photographic landscape. It is the second deepest lake in Africa at 900 meters deep.
7.- BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST
The impenetrable forest of Bwindi is known to be one of the few places in the world where the mountain gorilla can be seen. This primate, the biggest of all, inhabits the high mountains of this area of Uganda along with the Virunga Mountains divided into three national parks in three different countries: the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Mgahinga National Park Gorilla in Uganda and the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda (PNV). Seeing them for an hour a few meters away is an unforgettable experience that you will surely remember for a lifetime.
In this forest there are about 400 specimens of the 1,000 that exist throughout the world. But, apart from housing the last families of this endangered animal and being the most important park in Uganda, it is also a world heritage site for its biodiversity, which deserves to be added to your itinerary through the country, although the 700 dollars that the trekking costs is unaffordable for you.
This town located a few kilometers from Kampala has been famous in the history of the world of explorers because it is the point where it is considered that the waters of the White Nile River are born, which meets in Khartoum with the Blue Nile River that rises in the mountains from Ethiopia. In Jinja, you can enjoy different activities that revolve around the river such as bicycle routes, kayaking, rafting, boat cruises; among other. In that area, you will also find one of the most important beer factories in the country: Nile Special.
9.- LAKE VICTORIA and SSESE ISLANDS
Lake Victoria is the second largest freshwater lake in the world. It is situated in the middle of 3 countries: Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. In Uganda, the best known part is the visit to the Ssese Islands, which are located an hour from Entebbe, and which are an archipelago of 84 islands with white sand beaches and a local population whose life revolves around the lake. In any case, it is advisable not to swim due to the presence of hippos, crocodiles and bilharzia (a disease caused by a parasite that lives in water).
10.- ZIWA RHINO SANCTUARY
This sanctuary located between Kampala and Gulu has a very interesting rhino reintroduction project in Uganda. It is the only place in the country where you can see rhinos that are guarded to prevent them from being killed by poachers. Currently, there are 32 southern white rhinos, and different activities can be carried out, among which Rhino Tracking stands out, which consists of walking with a guide to see the rhinos up close while he explains the curiosities of this animal.
11.- MGAHINGA NATIONAL PARK
This park is located in the Virunga Mountains, bordering Rwanda and DRC Congo. There you can visit the mountain gorillas; although also one of the most famous excursions is the route of the 3 volcanoes: Mount Sabinyo (3,669 meters), Mount Gahinga (3,474 meters) and Mount Muhavura (4,127 meters). You can go up with one-day routes to one of these volcanoes accompanied by rangers where if you arrive, for example, at the top of Mount Sabinyo you can say that you are in 3 different countries. From this park, you will have spectacular views of the Rwenzori Mountains, Lake Mutanda and the entire southern part of Uganda.