The Real Uganda Official Fact Sheet
1. Local currency is the Uganda Shilling (UGX). The exchange rate of USD:UGX is approximately 1:3,500.
2. You can change money at forex bureaux in Mukono Town. Both are near the clock tower.
3. Internet data packages are cheap and easy to set up. Ensure your smart phone is unlocked before arrival. The Real Uganda will help sort you on arrival.
4. The Adrift and Nile River Explorers (NRE) camps are great weekend getaways in Jinja. Here are some other ideas for easy weekend leisure in Uganda.
5. If you are a foreigner, you are a “mzungu”.
6. Children are considered orphans if they have lost one or both parents.
7. Mass transit is a white mini-van called a “taxi”. A private car for hire is called a “special hire”.
8. There is no day light savings. In summer the time zone is GMT+2. In winter it is GMT+3.
9. The capital city is Kampala.
10.Local beer costs less than $2 and comes in half litre bottles.
11.The Real Uganda’s volunteer guesthouse security gate is locked by 10:30pm.
12. Don’t drink the water.
13. An hour of internet in a public cafe costs less than $1 (UGX1,800) and is a bit slow.
14. Anopheles (malaria carrying) mosquitoes are active from midnight to 5am & they don’t make a sound.
15. The 2 major English language newspapers are “The New Vision” and “The Daily Monitor”.
16. The most common ailment suffered by The Real Uganda volunteers is dehydration, bring electrolytes or oral re-hydration salts. Don’t forget this stuff either.
18. A permit to see the gorillas is $600. See Uganda Wildlife Authority for details.
19. Never say “hi”, always say “how are you”.
20. There’s a gym, pool, shower, and good food at the Colline Hotel in Mukono.
21. Lunch time is 1pm or later. Supper might be served after 9pm.
22. If you have to pee, it’s called “making a short call”.
23. You must apply for your Uganda tourist visa online before arrival. Here are the full instructions on how to do so.
24. Constantly collect small bills and coins for village purchases.
25. Potatoes are called “irish”.
26. If someone says “you’ve grown fat”, it’s a compliment.
27. Go with Adrift if you want to go white water rafting AND bungee jumping, they give you a deal on price.
28. Don’t swim in the lake, you’ll get bilharzia.
29. If you’re in the mood for a night out, Kampala has amazing night life!
30. To greet someone in Luganda, the local language in Mukono, say “Olyotya”. To learn more, check out our Luganda phrase book.
31. A “rolex” is an omelette wrapped in a chapatti, you’ll have many.
32. There is no airport departure tax at Entebbe International Airport.
33. Esther is The Real Uganda’s guesthouse manager. She is an awesome cook.
34. There’s good internet in Mukono at Go Net Café, below Satellite Beach. But if your smart phone is unlocked, an internet data package is easy as pie to set up.
35. The best pizza in Jinja is at Two Friends Restaurant.
36. Christians and Muslims live together in harmony in Uganda.
37. Peanuts are called “g-nuts”.
38. Ugandans don’t like confrontation. Never shout at a Ugandan.
39. Barclay’s Bank and Standard Chartered Bank take Visa related ATM cards.
40. When Ugandans speak English, they often replace “l” with “r”, play becomes pray.
41. Get great sandwiches, pizza, or salad and amazing chocolate milkshakes at Café Javas in Kampala.
42. If you are open and relaxed Ugandans will love and welcome you.
43. If you don’t have an unlocked smartphone, a local phone is cheap and easy to connect.
44. Baganda women and girls kneel when greeting.
45. There’s a pool, hot shower, and good food at the Ridar Hotel in Seeta.
46. Try the fresh passion fruit juice. There’s nothing like it.
47. Meet other volunteers at our guesthouse on weekends, it’s your second home.
48. MTN and Airtel are major mobile phone companies in Uganda.
49. Bring earplugs if you can’t sleep in a noisy environment. Don’t forget anything when you follow our essentials packing guide.
50. As a pedestrian, you do not have the right of way, get off the road!
51. Researching travel insurance for your trip? The Real Uganda LOVES World Nomads!
52. The Red Chilli Hideaway is a good weekend getaway in Kampala.
53. The electricity can go out at any time for 4 to 24 hours. We call it load shedding.
54. The Real Uganda will collect you from the airport on any flight – book the flight that works best for you. Try to arrive on or around the 1st or 15th of the month. Here’s our handy guide to flying into Entebbe, Uganda.
55. Red Chili has a great budget safari to Murchison Falls
56. The population of Uganda is 38,000,000, it’s about the same size as the state of Oregon.
57. Motorcycles and scooters are called “bodabodas”. They’re cheap transport.
58. Jose Chameleone, Sheebah Karungi, Radio and Weasel, and Eddy Kenzo are huge Ugandan pop stars.
59. Do not bring ATM cards related to Maestro or Mastercard – they don’t work here.
60. A taxi from Mukono to Kampala is UGX2,000.
61. If you want to go to northern, eastern, and western Uganda, ask us for options and ideas before going.
62. Don’t bring basic school supplies, buy them here – they’re cheap, appropriate and support our economy. Don’t bring these things either.
63. Feeling homesick? Head to Acacia Mall or Village Mall in Kampala. Restaurants, coffee shops, supermarkets, wireless internet.
64. Matooke is the main staple food, it’s made from un-ripened mashed bananas.
65. While volunteering in Uganda can be challenging, it’s enormously rewarding when you’re well prepared.