Money and Costs
The Ugandan shilling (USh) is a relatively stable currency that floats freely on international markets. Most tour operators and upscale hotels quote in US dollars (a few in euros) but you can always pay with shillings.
Notes in circulation are USh1000, USh5000, USh10,000, USh20,000 and USh50,000, and commonly used coins are USh50, USh100, USh200 and USh500.
Tipping isn’t expected in Uganda but, as wages are very low by Western standards, it will always be appreciated. The size of a given tip is up to the individual, but as a guideline USh1000 to USh1500 is enough in ordinary restaurants, while USh5000 to USh10,000 is reasonable for ranger-guides in national parks.
Traveling with Children
Although there are some risks and challenges when travelling Ugandawith kids, with some great national parks and lots of water-based activities, Uganda can be a lot of fun for children. On the city side of things, Kampala isn’t exactly bursting with activities for young people, but Entebbe and Jinja have plenty on offer.
Most non-African passport holders visiting Uganda require visas, including Americans, Australians, Canadians and almost all Europeans. Single-entry tourist visas valid for up to 90 days cost US$50. Be sure to ask for a 90-day visa, or you’ll probably be given 30 or 60 days. It’s easiest just to rock up at the airport or border and arrange one there; no photos needed. A yellow fever certificate is required if arriving from an affected area, but is rarely requested. Multiple-entry visas aren’t available on arrival, but it is possible for embassies abroad to issue them (US$100 for six months). Students should also enquire about student visas, which (if applicable) are US$20; bring your card.
Uganda is one of the countries covered by the new East Africa Tourist Visa, and for those also visiting Kenya and Rwanda on the same trip it is a cheaper alternative. The visa costs US$100, is valid for 90 days and is multiple entry – it is available upon arrival or from embassies abroad. If acquiring the visa before travel, your first port-of-call must be the country through which you applied for the visa.
Kampala is a good place for picking up visas to other countries as there are rarely queues at the various embassies.
In Kampala, the Immigration Office is just east of the centre. Regardless of how many days you were given on your original tourist visa, you can apply for a free two-month extension. Submit a letter explaining the reason for your request, stating where you’re staying and detailing when and how you’ll be leaving the country. Attach a copy of your passport and plane ticket, if you have one. It takes seven days to process, but extensions are much quicker at immigration offices outside the capital, and these exist in most large towns, including Jinja and Fort Portal.