Volunteer in Uganda & Uganda Volunteer FAQ

Your Uganda Volunteer FAQ

Common questions from volunteers in Uganda are answered below.

You will be supported throughout the duration of your placement in Uganda and you will also be offered a personal and customisable placement service.

We work directly with the projects where we send you and where your volunteer contribution will make a real and meaningful difference in Uganda.

  • Some information about Uganda?
  • How is the climate in Uganda?
  • What vaccinations/immunizations are required?
  • Which city/airport do I need to arrive at?
  • What about Malaria in Uganda?
  • What about HIV/Aids in Uganda?
  • How is Ugandan food?
  • Is it safe to drink tap water in Uganda?
  • Is it safe to volunteer in Uganda?
  • What other safety issues should I be aware of?
  • What clothing is appropriate? Any cultural restrictions?
  • What do I need to pack?
  • What about the electricity supply for laptops, hairdryers etc?
  • Do I need visa to enter Uganda?
  • What is the Uganda currency?
  • Are credit cards accepted in Uganda?

    Some information about Uganda?

    Uganda is in East Africa and neighbours Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Kampala is the capital city of Uganda and it is on the shores of Lake Victoria.

    The main airport is Entebbe International Airport (EBB). It is located 25 miles (40km) southwest of Kampala. Local time is GMT +3.

    The official language of Uganda is English. Other languages widely spoken are Luganda and Swahili. Over 30 tribes live in Uganda and each has its own language and traditions. 60 % of the population is Christian and the remainder comprises of indigenous religions and Muslim.

    How is the climate in Uganda?

    Uganda has a tropical climate. The temperature in Uganda usually range from 21 to 25°C (70 to 77°F). It is cool in some parts of the country due to the country’s high altitude. The hottest months are December to February and the temperature can reach 29°C during that period.

    The rainy season starts from March to April and October to November. April is the wettest month. The driest times are June to July.

    What vaccinations/immunizations are required?

    We suggest you get vaccinated against the following:

  • Yellow fever
  • Hepatitis A & B
  • Typhoid
  • Rabies
  • Tuberculosis
  • Malaria

    The yellow fever vaccination should be taken at least 10 days before travelling.

    Which city/airport do I need to arrive at?

    You will need to fly to Entebbe International Airport (EBB). It is the main international airport in Uganda and is located near Entebbe town. Kampala, the capital city of Uganda is 35 km (21 miles) from Entebbe.

    What about Malaria in Uganda?

    Malaria is common in Uganda. You should visit your doctor 4-6 weeks before travelling for any necessary vaccinations and a prescription for an anti-malarial medication.

    Protect yourself from mosquito and other insect bites by using insect repellent on exposed skin. Long sleeved shirts and trousers should be worn in the evenings and insect repellent can be used in areas with mosquitoes.

    What about HIV/Aids in Uganda?

    Uganda used to have one of the highest HIV/Aids infections in Africa. It has had however had an effective national response to the HIV/Aids problem. The Ugandan government created and implemented comprehensive policies that dramatically slowed the rate of new infections. However, the HIV/Aids problem seems to be on the upsurge again.

    How is Ugandan food?

    Ugandan food is varied and healthy. The breakfast usually consist of tea/coffee/cocoa/oats/porridge, bread and eggs. The main dish is Matooke (made from steamed green plantains).

    Other dishes include cassava, sweet potatoes, millet bread, rice or yams served with beef or chicken stew or sometimes soup.

    Special arrangements can be made for people with special dietary requirements. Make arrangements for this well in advance.

    Is it safe to drink tap water in Uganda?

    It is recommended that you drink bottled water during your volunteer stay in Uganda. You can buy bottled water from any supermarket and most shops in Uganda. The most common water-borne diseases in Uganda are cholera and typhoid.

    Is it safe to volunteer in Uganda?

    You will be well looked after during your volunteer program. We ensure you are placed in a safe environment while volunteering. Ugandan people are friendly and very hospitable.

    However, it is essential to take simple precautions.

  • Do not carry your valuables around.
  • Take a copy of your passport and visas to carry with you.
  • Leave your passport, credit cards, debit cards and other valuables such as cameras and laptops at home.

    What other safety issues should I be aware of?

    There is poverty in Uganda and you are likely to be viewed as very rich. As in any developing country, pick-pocketing is a problem and you will probably attract souvenir hawkers as well as street children and beggars in smaller towns.

    Be sure to take some precautions such as:

  • Leave your passport, credit cards and debit cards in the room provided by your home stay host.
  • Only carry a copy of your passport and little cash when going about your duties.
  • Limit the amount of worn jewellery.
  • Do not flash money or your wallet
  • Wear a money belt that fits under your clothes or carry money in different pockets and places.
  • Be aware of the exchange rate and cost of items
  • Avoid external money pouches, dangling backpacks and camera bags
  • Do not walk on your own at night in the major cities.
  • Always avoid alleys/back streets.
  • Avoid using your ipod except in your room, at the restaurants or at the project during your break. An ipod in the streets may attract undue attention.
  • You need to be aware of your surroundings at all times when walking, using public transport etc.
  • Avoid talking and walking with strangers.

    What clothing is appropriate? Any cultural restrictions?

    Bring along some comfortable, casual and semi-casual clothing: sweat shirts, shorts, jeans, skirts and any other clothing that you would ordinarily wear. Avoid flashy items.

    When out in the community, it is good to follow local etiquette. Female volunteers need to wear pants and/or long skirts. Please ask when you are not sure what is and is not appropriate.

    Footwear can be hiking boots, old sports shoes or open-toed sandals.

    What do I need to pack?

    Volunteers need to bring their own towels, face towels and other personal effects. Volunteers are responsible for their own laundry.

    It is safe to bring your laptop, cameras, video cameras, hair dryers, shavers, mobile phone (participants use unlocked mobile phones after changing sim cards) and other electrical products.

    Other suggested items:

  • Malaria tablets; consult your doctor for suggestions
  • Adapter plugs and converters for electrical appliances
  • Good walking shoes (running/tennis shoes are fine) and sandals
  • Moisturizing cream, suntan lotion/sun-block/sun-screen
  • Insect repellent (e.g. Tabard, Rid, Jungle Juice, OFF, etc.)
  • Basic medical kit (e.g. aspirins, plasters, immodium, antiseptic cream, and Anti-histamine cream, etc.)
  • Remember your visas, tickets, passports, money, etc.
  • Sunglasses and a hat
  • Sleeping bag

    What about the electricity supply for laptops, hairdryers etc? The electricity supply in Uganda is 240 volts AC /50Hz. Plug type G – the rectangular blade plug. Plug shapes, plug sizes and sockets are different in many countries and it is good to check before travelling.

    Most laptop battery chargers and AC adapters are dual voltage, so they can be used with only a plug adapter for the country you will be visiting.

    Do I need visa to enter Uganda?

    Most visitors to Uganda need to obtain a visa including Europeans, Americans and nationals from Commonwealth countries such as New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and the UK. Volunteers need to obtain a tourist visa to enter Uganda.

    Visas are valid for three months from the date of entry and can be purchased upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport in Kampala .

    You can also get a visa before you travel from Uganda diplomatic missions overseas. You should apply well in advance, especially if you are doing it by mail.

    A single-entry Uganda visa costs USD50 and a multiple entry visa USD100. Tourist visas can be extended for a further three month period.

    What is the Uganda currency?

    The currency in Uganda is in Uganda Shillings denoted by UGX. The shilling comprises 100 cents. Coins are in denominations of 50, 100, 200, 300 and 500 shillings. Bank notes are in denominations of 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 shillings.

    Importation of foreign currency is unlimited and does not have to be declared on arrival. The import and export of local currency is prohibited.

    The value of the shilling fluctuates. Check the value of the shilling with a currency converter just before you go. Do not change too much money at one time and use the banks not the money changers.

    Currency converter

    Are credit cards accepted in Uganda?

    Major credit cards such as MasterCard and Visa are accepted. American Express, Discover, Solo, Switch and Diners Club are often not accepted. ATMs will mostly accept MasterCard, Visa and Visa Electron cards.

    Major credit cards are accepted at supermarkets and expensive restaurants and hotels. However, it is advisable to carry some cash.

    Traveller’s cheques are not widely accepted outside Kampala. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller’s cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling.

    The Banking hours are Monday - Friday 0830 -1400pm and 0900 - 1200pm on Saturday. Forex bureaux are open until 1700 and able to do electronic transfers to and from overseas.

  • Volunteer in Uganda
  • Volunteer in Uganda Application
  • Volunteer Pictures
  • Volunteer Testimonials
  • Uganda Embassy Addresses

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