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Uganda Travel How To Plan A Trip To Uganda
I recently travelled to Uganda for a weekend trip that included a wedding celebration. I want to share tips on how to plan for your travel to this beautiful landlocked East African Country. Planning for your next trip to Uganda? Here are some tips you could use during your travel. While travelling is personal, I think I could share with you some travel to Uganda advice
Do your research
While there have been a lot of improvements in getting accommodation to new destination places such as Airbnb, I still believe that you need a local reference to give insight on places to go and sight see, where to find delicious food, where to shop etc. I didn’t have a lot of time to do sight-seeing as I had a 3-day trip. The itinerary had lots of activities to do. My friends and I had a great opportunity to have a woman ‘Nalu’ who is a local to give us pointers on where to stay and shop.
Prior to this, I had done lots of research online through the Airbnb site to see which accommodation options worked for us. First, we were also looking for cheap Uganda Hotels. Since we were travelling in a group of 4, we wanted a place where we could all stay together. It was challenging to get accommodation that housed 4 people. In addition, we did not want to cook our meals, we wanted a place where we could get breakfast ready.
Our friend gave us options for hotels we could spend our three nights in Kampala. We settled at the Namugongo Hotel. This was after a lot of back and forth between my friends and I and in addition to this lots of online research that involved checking out reviews about the hotel.
So before you travel to Kampala, do your research thoroughly, what I learnt during my research is that it is easier to get advice from someone who has travelled or travels to Kampala often and online reviews from travel advisor. In addition my friends advised that some of the accommodation photos on Airbnb is not what you get when you arrive.
Get The Yellow Fever Vaccine
I had no idea that I needed this vaccine. This is one of the most important travel to Uganda requirements. In Kenya, it now costs Ksh. 3,000 which is $30 to get the vaccine. You can receive the vaccine from City Council Offices in Nairobi’s CBD if you are in Kenya on transit to Kampala, this is the place to get the vaccine if you haven’t already received it in your home country.
Uganda Safaris -Transport Options
For this trip, we opted to do a road trip. It was within our budget cost as flight rates were too expensive for us. In fact, we had monitored these flights from January and they did not seem to go down. This is despite the fact that we had been researching for cheap flights since January.
On average the cost of going to Kampala by road from Nairobi is Ksh. 2800 ($28) while flight fares ranged from Ksh. 30,000 ( $300). We settled on Modern Coast and booked the night bus. Modern Coast has two stations in the CBD. One on River Road at the end near the Old Fire Station while another one is at Accra Road.
The Kampala bound bus leaves at 6pm. This bus leaves on time, and if you delay you could be left behind. I was about 5 minutes late and was lucky to find that they were still loading items into the boot of the bus. I was almost late, thankfully my friends were already at the station and were keeping tabs on me otherwise I would have missed the bus.
Exchange currency early
I did this at the last-minute. In hindsight, I should have planned to either get to town early or have done this a few days earlier. I was reliably informed that the rates at the border were not as good as those at the exchange bureaus in town. Well, this is not the case, because the exchange rates were similar and not much difference. So if you have a tight schedule and running out of time, you can always exchange your currency with border officials.
Travel Visa Uganda
Brace yourself for a very long queue at the border. It is interesting that on our trip back the cues were not as long as the cue we lined up for on our way to Kampala. I think one of the reasons the cue was long was that so many buses arrived at the same time.
Everyone crossing the border has to go through screening for Ebola and Yellow fever, in addition, the immigration officials ask reasons for travel and then have your passport stamped. The transport from Kampala border to the city is a single carriage road and there was a lot of traffic in between the border and Kampala city. It took us about 5 hours. We would stay for up to 20 minutes stationed in one place.
Data and Phone Charges
It would be advisable to subscribe to data charges. For Safaricom, there is a message that prompts you to buy a bundle specific to your budget. I would suggest you do this otherwise you will incur a lot of costs. Roaming charges are expensive.
Hotels In Uganda
We checked into the hotel at around noon. This was after we reached the bus station and we decided to book our return tickets to Nairobi first. After this, we started another hour of travel to the Namugongo Hotel. It was far from the bus station. About an hour’s drive. You can say you get what you pay for. This hotel has the basics in terms of amenities. One of the disappointments that I had was that it did not have an internet connection.
Sadly the hotel also did not have hot water showers, the staff had to prepare for you hot water which had used in a bucket. Some of my friends found it hard to take a shower in this way. To conserve electricity, the hotel uses solar power. However this power during our stay never got to our instant showers.
The hotel is in a serene neighborhood. Very quiet and secluded. This is a perfect place to just come and have a romantic getaway, far from the hustle and bustle of the city, internet distractions.
The beds were comfortable and the bedding were clean. The hotel was generally clean. We were on bed and breakfast package. The breakfast is the basic, English tea, black tea and coffee, with 2 slices of bread and boiled eggs.
Ugandan Food Experience
I loved this! Visit Uganda to get first-hand experience of organic food, traditional and cooked in a very unique way. The portions are very generous. I enjoyed the meals in Kampala. At every hotel, we would order local food to get to experience food and culture. Being a green fertile city translates the same on the plate.
Compared to Kenya, the wedding experience in Kampala was very elaborate and with a lot of cultural aspects. I loved the traditional dancers who entertained us. This aspect of the wedding program really stood out for me and I enjoyed it.
My short stay in Kampala was memorable. One last tip before I sign off: Watch out for the many motorcycles in this hilly city. The last time I was in Kampala was about 10 years ago for a week-long work trip. I spent the week at the Speke Hotel Munyonyo. Speke Hotel is a five-star hotel located along the shores of Lake Victoria and here you get the full beachfront experience. If you are looking for a beach holiday, the coastal beaches in Mombasa, you can get the same experience at the shores of Lake Victoria in Kampala.
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