Facts to assist you when travelling to Uganda
- The Ugandan Population currently stands at 48.5 million (2023).
Capital and Largest City
- The capital city of Uganda is Kampala, with a population of 3.8 million (2023).
- The most spoken languages in Uganda is Luganda, English, and Swahili.
- The official currency of Uganda is the Ugandan shilling.
- Uganda adheres to the International Labour Organisation, and thereby allow their employees to work for a maximum of 48 hours per week.
- Uganda enjoys their weekends on Saturdays and Sundays.
- UTC+3. East African Time.
- Although it is not mandatory to tip, you most certainly should tip. It is advisable to tip between 5000 and 10 000 Ugandan shilling, which is less than $5- $10.
- Uganda houses a vast number of embassies, Diplomatic Missions, High Commissions, and Consulates.
- The Presidential Republic is the ruling government of Uganda.
- Uganda’s climate is pleasantly warm. Uganda lies across the Equator and most of the country is occupied by a plateau, therefore, there is not much range in its temperature and it is fairly warm throughout the year. Warmer periods of the year typically last from December to March, while the cooler period of the year lasts from June to September.
- Uganda has an extensive network of paved and unpaved roads. Uganda has 47 airports, of which only 5 has paved roads. These 5 include Entebbe Airport, Gulu Airport, Soroti Airport, Nakasongola Airport and Jinja Airport.
- The economy of Uganda has extraordinary potential and seems to be praised for its rapid growth and development. Uganda’s economy is sustained by its abundance of natural resources, mineral deposits, and fertile land.
- It is customary to shake the hand of the person you are meeting in Uganda. To show deference, you may also lightly grip the person’s forearm with the opposite hand. Ugnada’s are not comfortable with displaying emotions publicly, so even if you are coupled up avoid hugging or any sort of public display of affection.
- Ugandans consider greetings and good manners to be the epitome of politeness, and use rather grand gestures when greetings one another. Most locals use the Swahili greeting “Jambo” or Luganda “Oli otya” and deliver it with an enthusiastic smile and a nod of the head.
- The Ugandan shilling (UGS) replaced the East African shilling as the country’s official currency in 1966. The Ugandan shilling is typically fairly stable and is the currency with which most financial transactions in Uganda occurs. The United States dollar is also widely accepted. The Sterling, and increasingly the Euro, are also used.
- Ugandans drive on the left-hand side of the road. Main roads in and around the cities of Uganda are typically in a decent condition. However, in and around the main cities is also where most of the traffic occurs. Drivers are also advised to be vigilant of potholes, roundabouts, and drunk drivers.
- Unfortunately, Uganda is not the safest country in Africa due to elements of crime and terrorism. However, the country is moderately safe for tourists, and foreigners are advised to be protect their valuables and be aware of their surroundings. The main cities Uganda such as Kampala and Entebbe may experience violent crimes of armed robbery and home invasion.
- Uganda is home to a diverse range of ethnic groups. Lake Kyoga forms the northern boundary for the Bantu-speaking people, who dominate much of Eastern, Central, and Southern Africa. The Baganda are the largest single ethnic group in Uganda, while other tribes include the Lango, Acholi, Iteso, Karamojong, and the Gishu tribe. Each of these ethnic identities dominate a different region in the country.
- While Uganda has one of the strongest economies in sub-Saharan Africa, and has been steadily developing, it still might not be as developed as some Western countries. However, the country does have numerous urban malls and shopping centres, that sport both local and international brands and stores. Running errands or shopping for fun will therefore pose no trouble, especially in the regions closer to the main cities.
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Written by Saudika Hendricks
Edited by Eloise Williams