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OTHERS

Weather
Uganda is sunny most of the year, with temperatures rarely rising above 29oC. The heavy rainy season is March-May, light rainy season November-December, though there will always be a few hours of sunshine. June is usually dry, but showers can still be expected.

Language
The official language in Uganda is English. Luganda and Swahili are also widely spoken.

Electricity
230/245 volts. British-style plugs with three pins are used.

Public Holidays
Both Muslim and Christian holidays are celebrated.
New Years Day- 1st Jan
Good Friday- variable
Easter Monday- variable
NRM Anniversary Day- 26th Jan
International Women's Day- 8th Mar
Labor Day- 1st May
Uganda Martyr's Day- 3rd Jun
National Hero's Day- 9th Jun
Independence Day- 9th Oct
Christmas Day- 25th Dec
Boxing Day- 26th Dec
Idd-el-Fitr- variable
Iddi Adhuha- variable

Business hours
Government offices are open from 08h00 to 16h30, Monday to Friday, closing for lunch from 13h00 to 14h00.

Bank hours vary from bank to bank but most are open from 08h30 - 14h30 Monday to Friday. Only some are open on Saturdays.

Shops are generally open from 08h00 to 17h00, Monday to Friday and 08h00 to 13h00 on Saturdays.

Food and drink
Uganda with its agricultural resources, combined with the conducive climate, produces a wide range of food products. Bananas, millet, maize, sorghum, rice, wheat, sweet potatoes, irish potatoes and cassava grow in abundance. Fruits and other vegetables are also plentiful - watermelon, passion fruits, pineapples, mangoes, tomatoes, aubergine, green peppers. You will probably eat better here than you do at home! Tea and coffee is readily available almost everywhere and the latest craze is coffee houses or cafes. Soda (coke, fanta, sprite, bitter lemon, etc) are sold by the (glass) bottle, which are returnable and recycled. Local beer (lagers only) are as good as any international beer and there are many to choose from – Bell, Club, ESB, Pilsner, Nile Special, Eagle, Castle, Guinness (all brewed in Uganda).

Currency
The official currency for Uganda is the Uganda Shilling. Ugandan shilling notes of shs 500 and smaller are no longer legal tender and have been replaced with coins (50, 100, 200 and 500). Larger notes are 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000.

As of October 2005, the exchange rate between the shilling to the major currencies is:

US$1.00 = Ushs 1,800/=
EURO 1.00 = Ushs 2,100/=
UK£1.00 = Ushs 3,170/=

Banks and Changing Money

There is a wide array of banks and forex bureau’s to choose from, with several international banks represented (Barclays, Standard Chartered, Stanbic).

The US dollar and the pound sterling are the strongest currencies used in Uganda and are the easiest to exchange. US dollar notes dated prior to 1997 are turned away, we recommend if you are using US$ to bring notes issued not earlier than 2000. Also, notes smaller than US$50 attract a far lower exchange rate. All the forex bureau’s take cash – look around for the best exchange rate. We suggest you bring cash and/or credit cards with you as opposed to traveller’s cheques, as the exchange rate (on traveller’s cheques) is much lower.

You can change money on your way in at the airport, because it is convenient, however, be aware that the airport is currently not as competitive as TAB or other forex bureau’s in Kampala. We suggest you change up as much as you will need to get you through the first day or so (recommend US$50-100 only). TransAfrica Bank, down from the Entebbe Police Station, offer a better rate than that offered at the airport, however, exchange rates will always be more favourable in Kampala.

Credit Cards
Despite what some guidebooks claim, credit cards are not widely accepted and where they can be used, mainly with the larger hotels and companies, hefty surcharges are common. Barclays Bank (open Mon-Fri, 9.00 am – 3.00 pm), however, offers cash advances against credit cards with a small surcharge.

ATM’s
At the time of writing, Standard Chartered Bank is the only bank who currently offer automated cash machines for (their own) cards, locally and internationally. These ATM’s can be found at the airport and also in Kampala. They only accept Visa, not mastercard.

Tipping
You won't be expected to tip in Uganda. Bargaining is the norm when buying things from a market, street stall or craft shop.

Health Issues - please visit the Health Regulations page on this site for information on health matters in Uganda

Telephone
The IDD code for Uganda is +256. MTN Uganda, Uganda Telecom (Mango) and Celltel operate cellular Networks on the 078, 077, 071 and 075 prefixes respectively.

Internet
Internet access is available in in some form or another in just about all of Uganda's major centres of population. Even the smallest of Internet cafes are able to boast a wireless connection or similar. Speeds are acceptable although costs can be as much as Ushs 200- per minute in some outlying areas. Kampala is at saturation point in the number of cafes open to the public which has driven surfing rates down to as little as Ushs 20- per minute.

Country highlights
Please visit the Places to Visit page for information on places to visit in Uganda