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From UTB Website

President Museveni
AGOA and Uganda
Foreign Investment
Uganda and UN

Uganda's President Museveni, Chairman of the Common Market for East and Southern African States (COMESA) has emerged as one of the most significant leaders in the developing world. Under his helm, Uganda has distinguished itself as a model post-conflict reformer - leading the world in tackling HIV/AIDS, poverty, and illiteracy. Uganda, the fastest growing economy in Africa, has maintained an average growth rate of 6.5 percent over the past ten years; reduced poverty from 56 percent to under 27 percent; decreased the rate of HIV/AIDS infection from 30 percent to six percent in 10 years; increased primary-level education from 40 percent to 99 percent in twelve years and leads the developing world in empowering women.

Excerpts from Africa Travel Magazine's ATA 8th Symposium Edition, (2004)


Prepared by Sylvia Kalembe, Uganda Tourist Board

Uganda is a land-locked country which lies across the Equator and borders Sudan on the north, Kenya to the east, Tanzania, Rwanda on the south, and Democratic Republic of Congo to the west. It's an astonishingly beautiful country, full of vibrant colours, confident, courteous and indomitable people. Perched on the northern shore of Lake Victoria, Uganda is marketing itself as the ultimate eco-destination. Mountain gorillas represent perhaps the most powerful eco-image of all. Uganda has a fantastic climate, an ever-changing landscape, and people who are honest, polite and genuinely pleased to help the visitor. Above all, they are very hospitable. Apart from a few areas, Uganda is safe and almost hassle free. Just relax; go Mountain Gorilla or Chimp tracking, climb Mt. Rwenzori or Mt. Elgon, or visit Ssesse Island, a tropical isle in a fresh water lake. Speed down to the River Nile in a helter of white water, or just sit and enjoy the stunning landscapes.

Uganda's equatorial climate is tempered by cooling breezes from the mountains. In general terms, the lowland area and lakeshores enjoy a warm climate, while it is somewhat cooler in the highlands. Uganda's skies are sunny most of the year, with temperatures rising to 29ºC. The rainy season includes March, April, May, November and December.

Kampala, Uganda's Capital of the Seven Hills

Uganda's capital offers a vibrant night life. It's built on seven gloriously fertile hills. which provide a beautiful backdrop to the city and its living history. For definition the hills furnish unique points of orientation and identity. There are religious hills; Lubaga Hill is Catholic, Namirembe Hill features the British Church Missionary Society (Protestant), while Kibuli Hill is Muslim. Nakasero hill and Kololo hill is home to administrative offices and diplomatic residential areas. Today from the hills, visitors can view the city with its red tiled villas, green, iron-roofed bungalows and taller buildings, plus the surrounding countryside and Lake Victoria. Among the top sights are the Kasubi Tombs, the traditional Royal tombs of the Kabaka of Buganda. There's also the Uganda Museum, with a display of Uganda's Cultural heritage.

Population and Ethnic Groups

Uganda's population is over 22 million and its density tends to correlate strongly with rainfall distribution; a phenomena that highlights the predominance of agriculture as a major land-use activity. The main settled areas are: (1) An arrow shaped belt centered on Mbale and south westward along the shore of Lake Victoria (2) North west wards to Lira district, (3) The fertile valleys of Kabale, Rukungiri and Bushenyi districts (4) West Nile plateau and urban centres. Uganda has cultural variety ranging from, Luo, Bantu, Nile-Hamites, Luo Nilotics, Madi-Muro - - over 33 ethnic tribes, some with a similar dialect.

The official Language is English, however; Swahili and Luganda are widely spoken.

Cultural Attractions and Events

Uganda's a rich cultural heritage is created by the union of many peoples, with their own traditional lands, customs and ways of life. These varying cultures are kept alive by many colourful ceremonies marking specific historical events or celebrating the seasons of the year.

Shopping and Souvenirs

Wonderful handicrafts can be found in places like Crafts Africa, African Village National Theatre, Exposure Africa, Uganda Crafts and others. We also have modern indoor/outdoor malls. In every village, the people are skilled in creating colourful arts and crafts; colourful mats in traditional patterns, drums from the Buganda, basket-ware from Toro,clay pots, mats and cushions made from the bark of the omutuba tree; Musical instruments from Teso -- and much more.


All Creatures Great and Small

Uganda has large herds of giraffes in the Murchison Falls National Park, one of the country's most popular national parks and recently named 7th best in the whole of Africa. The elegant, graceful animals can be sighted in any part of the park, but especially in the northern part where they roam freely across the savannah grasslands. They usually move in families of 6 to 10 animals, and are very useful to the smaller shorter animals -mostly of the antelope family - which depend on them for security. Giraffes can also be found in Kidepo Valley National Park. Numbers here are small, but more will soon be imported. Bwindi Communities benefit in a big way from Gorilla Tourism When gorilla tourism was introduced in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest ten years ago, there were many sad faces among the communities neighboring the newly created national park. They had just said goodbye to lots of free honey, wood, and even gold, which they used to dig manually. But the sadness lasted for a very short time because the communities soon discovered the immense benefits that could be derived from gorilla tourism. Moreover, the Uganda Wildlife Authority was implementing programs aimed at enhancing benefits to the community.

Some of such programs include:

- the revenue sharing program under which communities get 20 percent of park entry fees. Moreover Bwindi communities gain a lot more from this program than their counterparts who neighbor other national parks because tourists pay a lot more money to see the gorillas. - establishment of a community-owned and managed camp that would offer accommodation and meals to tourists, as well as construction of souvenir shops where communities would sell their crafts.



» Asyanut Tour - 8 days, 7 nights- Uganda :Pearl Expedition. Web site



» Churchill 's Tour of Uganda


Stay at Uganda's Sunset Hotel on the banks of the River Nile, over looking Owen Falls Dam, and the source of the River Nile. Just 2 km from downtown Jinja. www.sunsethoteluganda.com.

Natural Beauty, Parks, Landscapes, Lakes and Wildlife

A variety of wildlife you simply will not see everywhere in Africa. View and photograph elephants, lions, zebras, water buffalo, leopards, hyenas, crocodiles and hippos, plus the world's most varied primate populations. Did you know that over half of the world's remaining Mountain Gorillas live in Uganda? You can also enjoy world class sports fishing, abundant forests, and over 1,000 exotic bird species - more than anywhere else in the world.

Uganda has 10 well established National Parks, enabling discerning visitors to fully enjoy the pristine wilderness environment. They include Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, home to half of the world population of Mountain Gorillas; Kibale Forest National Park, which provides the world's highest primate densities; Murchison Falls- largest in Uganda and one of Africa's most spectacular. Others are Kidepo Valley National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Semiliki Valley National Park (known as the Garden of Eden), Mount Elgon National Park - an extinct Volcano, Mountain Rwenzori National Park - legendary 'Mountains of the Moon', and Queen Elizabeth National Park. Sites of significant historical and cultural interest include Uganda Museums, Kasubi Tombs, Namugongo Martyrs Shrine, Sezibwa Falls Monuments, Nakayima Tree, Kitagata Hot Springs, to mention but a few.

Food and Dining in Uganda

Uganda's climate enhances the growing of bananas, rice, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, finger millet, maize, sorghum, wheat, cassava, Fresh fruits include melons, pineapples, jackfruits and passion fruits, plus a wide range of fresh vegetables and spices. Restaurants range from local Ugandan to International cuisine. Among them are Chinese, Lebanese, Indian, Italian, Ethiopian, French, Continental, Thai, Belgian and Irish. Fast food outlets include Nandos, Steers and others. Go Ugandan by tasting Luwombo (chicken, beef, goats' meat and mushrooms , steamed in banana leaves. This dish is from Buganda, Central Uganda. Other regions also have their specialities.

.Hotels , Inns, Lodges

The most luxurious hotels used by business travellers and upmarket tourists have prices set in dollars. There is also plenty of budget accommodation. For specifics contact the Uganda Tourist Board: utb@starcom.co.ug. A complete directory of hotels and lodges will be part of Africa Travel Magazine's Jubilee series of publications. It will debut on the ATA web site - www.africa-ata.org

Banks and Currency

The currency of Uganda is the Ugandan Shilling. While many major currencies are accepted, the US dollar is the most common. Cash or travellers cheques can be exchanged at banks such as Citi Bank, Barclays, Allied Bank, Cairo International Bank, Stanbic Bank, Standard Chartered and others. Money can also be exchanged in Forex bureaus in all larger towns, which offer better rates than banks and stay open for longer hours. Some are located in major hotels.

Entertainment and Nightlife

This varies from the sublime to the ridiculous. In Kampala and larger towns, discos are very much the order of the day, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Night clubs include Ange Noir Discotheque, Club Obligato, Viper Room and Club Silk. We also have cinema entertainments around Kampala such as Cine Afrique, Cineplex and others. Local theatre in places like Pride Theatre, Uganda National Theatre and Bat Valley.

What to wear

Informality is the norm for day time wear, sports shirts and slacks are recommended for men, and light cotton dresses, skirts and tops for women. In city hotels a little more formality may be required in the evenings. For visitors going into the mountains, a sweater and strong walking shoes will be needed. A hat for protection against the Sun, Sun glasses and swim wear should also be packed. Avoid bright colours when on safari. Wear brown, beige, dark green and khaki clothing .

Getting to Uganda

By Air: Direct flights are available from Brussels on SN Brussels Airline; London on British Airways and Dubai on Emirates Airline. There are no direct flights from North America yet, however the Civil Aviation Authority is considering future agreements. Direct flights between Uganda and other African countries include Ethiopian Airlines from Addis Ababa; Egypt Air from Cairo;Air Tanzania from Arusha and Dar es Salaam; Kenya Airways via Nairobi; East African Airlines to Johannesburg and South African Airways from Johannesburg. Charter services arranged on request. Regional services include Eagle Air, Challenge Air, West Nile Air, United Airlines, MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) for religious parties, KAFTC etc.

By Road: Buses operate between Nairobi, Mombasa and Kampala, crossing at Malaba and Busia borders (about 15 hours). There is a variety of standard services, as the same applies to buses between Kampala and Kigali. The best include Akamba Bus, Regional and Scandinavian Express. Others include Buscar, Gateway, Jaguar, Shift and Horizon. EMS Postal buses also operate within all Uganda towns.

When to visit

Any time, although mountain hikes, gorilla tracking and forest walks are more challenging during the rains, which peak over mid-September to November and March to May.

Entry Requirements

A valid passport and visa are required. Visas are issued at Ugandan missions abroad and at entry and exit points. Underlying the Uganda visa policy is the principle of reciprocity, that is, all countries that require visas for Ugandans are also prone to the same in Uganda. Visa fees: Student-US $20; Single entry - US $30; Multiple Entry 6 months - US $80.

Health/ Immunization:

Good medical facilities are available in the main Medical Insurance be taken before arrival. Vaccination for yellow fever, hepatitis and cholera are recommended if you have transited through a cholera infested area within six days prior to arrival in Uganda. Use of anti-malaria tablets is strongly advised plus a mosquito repellent. Bilharzia is present in some lakes and swimming is not recommended, except in designated areas. We also recommend that only boiled or bottled water be consumed. In hotels and lodges, flasks of drinking water will be available. Travel Insurance should be taken before departure.