View Full Version : Ever been to Uganda?

bar fly
4th May 2012, 10:56
I have an upcoming business trip to Kampala. I've never flown into Entebbe, or even been to Uganda, so any tips or advice would be gratefully received.

Regards, bar fly

4th May 2012, 12:24
Arrived in Entebbe late one hot humid night after a long haul, was clearing customs when the rather large customs official found my artificial fag and associated capsules. Try as I might I couldn't get him to understand what they were.

I eventually seemed to be granted the Fools Pardon and was sent on my way. Not fun while it lasted, he seemed to be convinced they were narcotics of some sort... :ooh:

4th May 2012, 12:29
Worked there off & on for 3 years.
Have plenty of cigs and small bottles of booze to smooth the way at the usual checkpoints when necessary

Don't forget to take your anti-malarial pills. The mosquitos are huge there!

Used to be a good hotel on top of tank hill owned by a former pilot. Pretty safe place to stay.

Don't go out at night alone for walkies!

4th May 2012, 12:32
My grandmother was chased up a tree by a rhino in Uganda many decades ago.
You probably won't need to worry about that happening during your visit. That would be because of the predilections of a certain species of rhino abuser, as opposed to an animal species, although the point of argument is a moot one, to compensate for their sexual disfunction by consuming powdered rhino horn.
I commend for your further reading a work by ZHOU Lei and DUONG Bich Hanh, entitled Sex Work in the Sino-Vietnamese Borderlands. It's very interesting and here, to save you considerable trouble, is the link.

4th May 2012, 17:51
not been to Uganda, but to some of the next door countries.

drink only bottled water. go for a prference in food that is well cooked (salads and fruit unless you peel it can weak havoc on your intestinal tract) this goes for 'top' hotels too.

also, i used to have my own medical kit with me, with bandages, syringes, cannualas, latex/nitrile gloves (and my own saline drips) it's worth considering...

also have a plastic bag to keep local currency in, many locals tend to stuff their paper money in their socks for safe keeping, so it gets a tad 'stinky' and it takes months of washing of your clothes to get rid of the aroma.

aside from that, and the malarial advice sit back, enjoy the ride and you'll get to understand the expression WTA (Welcome to Africa).

4th May 2012, 19:10
No visit is complete without a bottle of Waragi. It's like gin, only made from bananas. Gold seal only, the most expensive, but at least they distil the taste of the bananas out. Bring some back, if you remember who you are.
There's an old airfield on the slopes of Kololo hill, for sightseeing. They had Independence there, in 1962. And the Pope, later.
Don't go near the water because of bilharzia, no matter what they say, or how much the beach lido on Lake Vic cost them.
The swimming pool at the Apollo Hotel (Sheraton?) is actually 2nd hand, came from Gib. (yes I know, but that's what I was told). Maybe they meant the island, you can get to it via an underwater passageway thru a door alongside the bar. The pool used to be one of Idi's hangouts.
Mumble mumble.
I need my nurse.

4th May 2012, 19:52
Used to be a good hotel on top of tank hill owned by a former pilot. Pretty safe place to stay.

"Tank Hill" as in large water or main battle?

4th May 2012, 20:00
the hill was chosen to house the water storage tanks.
Because of the water tanks, Muyenga is also known as Tank Hill.
Muyenga - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muyenga#Overview)

4th May 2012, 20:18
Yes, just after Idi. Co-pilot had been raised there, and asked if he could go 'up Country' to visit his old homestead. I had visions of being the first 707 Captain to fly solo next day, but agreed. ( F/ Eng excepted )

He came back visibly shaken, just about recognised his old family coffee plantation now totally overgrown and derelict and was greeted with joy by all his fathers' old staff, who begged him to come back and start the farm again. (thinks ? why didn't they do it by themselves - but I won't go there )

4th May 2012, 21:33
Don't what it is like these days but the frequent machine guns going off during the night certainly keeps you alert.

Don't clean your teeth with the tap water. I always used a Tusker (beer) and never got sick!

Don't eat fruit or salad

It's safe to eat anything barbecued to death.

Take plenty of cans of food if you are in for an extended stay. Yes you can live on beans and beer! (been there done that)

Oh, the bird sanctuary at the end of the runway of Entebbe makes for about one bird strike a month! The birds ain't sparrows either!

The last time I was at Entebbe the airport was as it was as after the raid on Entebbe. I kid you not!

Anything can be solved with $ or booze or food!


4th May 2012, 21:39
I don't like Afica. It's so dangerous to go outside. Bang bang and you gone! ps its AfRica...

You get the keyboard spray award for May, whether it was a naive comment or irony I don't care... its bloody funny :ok:

Bar Fly, take your advice from those who have been there and done that over time, rather than the tourists, would be my advice. Africa is a wonderful place, Its Gods Continent...

Treat everyone as you would wish to be treated yourself and you won't go far wrong.

And... get linked into the ex-pat social scene and learn how to consume vast amounts of .... well you can guess the rest.

You'll make friends for life even if you're only their for a few weeks. :ok:

4th May 2012, 22:15
ps its AfRica...ps,it's 'there'............:ok:

Worrals in the wilds
4th May 2012, 22:47
I have to say, this is a really interesting thread. I've never been to Africa and the only things I know about Uganda are from childhood reading of Willard Price books :O so it's amazing to hear what far away places are really like.

Spirits made out of bananas and second hand swimming pools with underground passages; a true testiment to human ingenuity. :ok:
It's safe to eat anything barbecued to death.Probably applies the whole world over.:uhoh:

5th May 2012, 02:28
it's amazing to hear what far away places are really like.

Worrals - you ARE in a far away place! Ever since I got to this wonderful piece of WA nearly 20 years ago I've regarded every day as a holiday.

5th May 2012, 04:22
Never really been to Uganda but the local wildlife
can tamper with one's vehicle so I hear -


5th May 2012, 09:10
Maybe not Uganda, but it used to be said of Kenya ... " Are you married, or do you live in Kenya?"

Many bored Colonial Mesdames left behind in Nairobi whilst Bwana was Up Country dealing with some native uprising or other.

Lightning Mate
5th May 2012, 16:09
Take a Heckler & Koch MP7A1.

Heckler & Koch HK MP7A1 Semi/Fu

Availability: In stock.


5th May 2012, 19:01
Heckler & Koch HK MP7A1 Semi/Fu

Availability: In stock.


or swing by SA, a Kalashnikov can be had for about $250, for $1600 you could get an RPG-7, probably 'in date' too!

Solid Rust Twotter
6th May 2012, 07:07
Uganda is great. The people are generally friendly but be aware that there are always those around who would be pleased to relieve you of possessions and even life if you make a fuss. The beer is not bad (not great either), although I prefer Bell to the other stuff. Tilapia fillets for brekkie and Nile perch on the grill make for good eating. Red meat not so great but the butchery techniques are a bit primitive. One exception is a Belgian restaurant in Kampala attached to a butchery which turns out some good stuff. Try the garlic steak with a knob of garlic butter almost as big as your fist melting on top. Order it blue and scoff with slivers of butter and fresh rolls.

Waragi is evil stuff. Try not to drink too much of it and you'll be fine. The Lake Vic hotel in EBB is a nice old colonial place. Rumour has it the military staff were getting pissed on the terrace when the Israelis made their presence known. They immediately bombshelled to go hide in their bathrooms in case they were the targets of the Israeli's wrath.


Also, landing on 35 or departing off 17, you'll cross the Equator as you pass a small island about 1000m from the threshold.

bar fly
8th May 2012, 08:55
Thanks for the information everyone. Mine is a two day visit and I'm planning to stay in what appears to be on of the best hotels in Kampala - The Serena. Frankly, apart from daylight meetings, I think it's unlikely that I will leave there during my stay. Perhaps I'd feel more adventurous if I wasn't traveling alone. I've sorted out my Malerone and jabs, so I'm all set.

Thanks, bar fly

8th May 2012, 10:22
bar fly, a lot of needless scare mongering on this thread. Donīt take it seriously please.

As Rusty says, Uganda is a fine country with mainly very friendly and polite people.

Youīre staying at a good hotel, so you can eat anything they serve and that includes salads. There is really NO need at all to bring your own food.

A 2 day trip with meetings planned all the time; youīll hardly notice youīre in Africa, and moreīs the pity. Lots of nice things to do in Kampala. Traffic can be a nightmare, so the motorbike taxis are a great way to get about during daytime.

Rusty suggestion of the Belgium place is a good one; we eat there at least once every trip and itīs real nice. You can sit inside or out, depending on the weather. You might want to make a reservation if you really want to sit inside; 256414510465.
Place is called Le Chateau and itīs on Gaba road. Most taxi drivers will know it, and if not, tell them itīs next to the American embassy.

Again, Uganda is a lovely place; no need at all to be anxious about going there. A good tip when interacting with the people is to not take yourself and your expectations too seriously. Humour and a pleasant, not too business like approach, smooths the way in Africa in general. And patience; things move at a different pace in Africa, be that hotel check in or anything else. Go with the flow and enjoy the peopleīs pleasant demeanour.

One thing to remember is to take plenty of time for your check in when you leave. 3 hours is advisable, and take a chill pill before arrival at the airport. Itīs hot, messy, noisy and chaotic so you need lots and lots of patience and goodwill.

Have fun & let us know how you got on. :ok:

8th May 2012, 10:42
ps its AfRica...

ps, it's "it's". :p

8th May 2012, 13:45
ps,it's 'there' ............http://images.ibsrv.net/ibsrv/res/src:www.pprune.org/get/images/smilies/thumbs.gif

ps, it's "it's". :p

That's learned me then... :p

Effluent Man
8th May 2012, 13:59
I have discussed Ugandan affairs.

8th May 2012, 14:39
Beat me to it, EM. :D I suspect the cousins may struggle.

8th May 2012, 14:59
Passed through Uganda several times, never stayed there more
than a night or two. Always had a fairly good impression of the
place, but never stayed long enough to really get to know it.
Kenya was generally where I spent a fair bit of time. And Zambia.

9th May 2012, 18:14
One practical thing I remember (from a couple of years ago) is I had great difficulty finding an ATM that would work on the Visa network. Shops were in cash. Only one set of bank machines (Crane bank I think) allowed Visa and they were pretty hard to find, although there was one machine at Entebbe (not that I found it). Might be a bit better now though (as it looks like Barclays, which seemed to be everywhere, now works with Visa).

Certainly try the fish - fresh and locally caught. Ground nut sauce is great and its worth trying some of the local staple foods like matoke just to say you have done it (mashed savoury bananas). As has been mentioned there is a big expat scene. Don't hire a car (being a passenger is a scary experience in itself) and traffic jams are common like most cities. Locals got me on boda bodas (back of a motorbike) and in local taxis (taxis are really busses - they go on specific routes).
Everyone was really helpful - I didn't need to grease any palms while I was there but I understand it is pretty common.

Its a great country (although has huge poverty) - enjoy - and do try and get out of your hotel!

meat bomb
9th May 2012, 19:03
If you have a day or two, get to Jinja and go rafting and bungee jumping - don't swallow the river water though...

9th May 2012, 19:40
If you have a day or two, get to Jinja and go rafting and bungee jumping - don't swallow the river water though...
:ok: +1
Not everyone can say they've white water rafted on The Nile - but I've done that, bought the DVD :eek:

Solid Rust Twotter
10th May 2012, 04:50
Couple of good hotels in Jinja now. When I went rafting there the first time it was nothing more than a village with a backpacker's lodge and a brewery. Had some good times at the lodge. A mad Danish doctor got totally ratted on waragi and spent the evening trying to poke her camera up my shorts to take pics of my willy. Should have just asked, as she was fairly tidy by that stage of the proceedings...:}

On a more sombre note, Jinja and Owen Falls dam is where Idi made sure the Ugandan crocs were the fattest in the world by personally pushing thousands of his countrymen off the dam wall into the river. Got to the point where the crocs got too fat and lazy to even look at bodies floating past.

bar fly
18th May 2012, 10:42
My trip was a success. Sadly, and as predicted, I didn't have time to get out much and see a lot, but the nature of my trip meant that I travelled by car between Kampala and Entebbe several times, so I did see both places from the road.

I found the people I met friendly, the food to be good, and the hotel security tighter than anything I've seen before - which was reassuring. Seeing the poverty there reminded me of how rich the UK is, and made some of the dodgy housing areas between MAN and the City Centre look palacial.

I was lucky enough to use the VIP facility at the airport and so even the EBB experience was calmer than I thought. I'll probably have to go back, and when I do, I'll plan to see more.

bar fly

19th May 2012, 20:27
Have read all this with interest as my daughter will be in Uganda teaching in a (fairly remote) school on a volunteer project. Particularly interested to hear of the difficulty using ATM. What is the best currency to take? US dollars?