Uganda “The Pearl of Africa”
For a relatively small country, there’s a lot that’s big about the place. It is home to the tallest mountain range in Africa, the source that feeds the world’s longest river and the continent’s largest lake. And with half the remaining mountain gorillas residing here, as well as the Big Five to be ticked off, wildlife watching is huge.
Uganda remains one of the safest destinations in Africa. Other than watching out for the odd hippo at your campsite, there’s no more to worry about here than in most other countries.
Kampala, Uganda’s capital city is one of the fastest growing cities in East Africa. In addition to its historic buildings, enchanting typography and blend of cultures, there are so many interesting places to explore for those people visiting Kampala for leisure.
The weather in August and September is mainly warm with chances of light rain therefore carry a warm Jacket and an umbrella.
The general city area is safe and secure to walk through however just like anywhere in the word do mind your personal belongings. In evenings/night time we recommend you make use of ‘special hires’ or use the Uber app to get around. Boda-bodas (motor cycles) are a convenient but not always the safest way to get around. A helmet is advisable, or use the “Safe Boda” app to order a boda ride.
Kampala, city of art opportunity
Kampala is Uganda’s capital city and economic centre. It is also the largest urban centre in Uganda, with a population of 4 million people. Endowed with a diversity of ethnic groups, a blossoming economy, and its warm and friendly people, Kampala offers a wonderful introduction to Uganda.
Kampala was originally built on seven hills (or the seven hills of Kampala), however, over the last decades, the city has expanded to cover more and more hills than originally were. Today, Kampala enjoys the status of being one of East Africa’s most lively cities and the safest place to walk on the streets night and day.
In the last decade, Kampala’s art scene has seen the establishment of several art organisations (32°East, Bayimba Festival, Maisha Garden), events (Laba Arts Festival, KLA ART, Kampala Biennale), commercial galleries (Afriart Gallery, AKA Gallery, Nommo Gallery), art spaces (Makerere Art Gallery, Weaverbird foundation), programmes (Atwork, Art at Work), critical contemporary local artists and an emerging art-aware middle class.
Plan your trip
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 student 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 East African visa costs US$100, is valid for 90 days and is multiple entries – 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.
There are a large number of hotels to choose from, ranging from backpacker style to high market.
Some suggestions for hotels in the near vicinity of the venues are:
- Serena Kampala
- Sheraton Kampala
- Protea Hotel
- Hotel Africana
- Arcadia Suites
- Bushpig Backpackers (budget)
We issue VIP and Press passes for selected organisations and media houses. Visit the accreditation page for more information and to apply/ register online.