In some big hotels, credit cards are accepted, but it is still not very common in Uganda.
Charges are normally around 10%. Don’t use credit cards as your primary method of paying.
ATM machines & Banks
In all cities and big towns, you find ATM machines from Stanbic Bank and/ or Barclays Bank.
They accept most international bank cards and Visa. The amount you can
withdraw per day is limited to about $200,- in Ugandan Shillings. ATMs can be empty or not working due to power outages, in smaller towns, there are often only a few ATMs available.
Make sure you have enough cash with you to cover 3 – 4 days.
Traveller cheques are not common and only accepted in a few banks in Kampala. The
exchange rates are very unfavourable.
Tipping is very important and culturally accepted, however, it always remains voluntary. The tip is accepted in both local currency (UGX) and USD. However for smaller
denominations (below USD 20) UGX is more appropriate.
Tip Box: 10.000-30.000 UGX (3-8 USD) per person / lodge
Hotel Porters: 2.000-5.000 UGX (0,5-1,5 USD)
Restaurants: 5 – 10% of the total amount of the bill –
not necessary when dining at the lodge.
Game Drives: 10.000-30.000 UGX (3-8 USD) per person
Chimp Tracking: 25.000-50.000 UGX (7-15 USD) per person
Gorilla Tracking: 25.000-50.000 UGX (7-15 USD) per person*
Tracking Porter: 20.000-50.000 UGX (5-15 USD)- per person
on top of the standard payment which is 50.000 UGX (15 USD)
Smoking is prohibited in all public places. Be conscious when you want to smoke, especially within Kampala. Ask your guide where you can or cannot smoke when you’re not sure.
There is an anti-homosexuality law in Uganda and being homosexual is absolutely not accepted in the Ugandan culture. If you are homosexual, it is still safe to travel in Uganda, but make sure you don’t openly speak about it and surely not show it. When travelling as a couple, consider booking twin rooms to avoid any discussion or raise questions.
Charging electronic devices
You can charge your cameras, phones and other electric items in most accommodations. If you bring more than a couple of chargeable items you might consider bringing an extension with extra outlets since the amount of outlets is often limited. We advise bringing extra batteries for your camera since many lodges generate power with solar or generators and power cuts might occur. Solar-generated lodges will often only have power available in the rooms at certain hours of the day, but you can always use the charging ports in the main lodge area.
If you bring your own laptop you can buy a wireless internet stick from mobile network provider MTN. Using internet this way is relatively fast. The cost for this USB stick is about 40 US dollars per month for the use of 3GB (minimum 1 month). This stick can be bought in Entebbe, Jinja and Kampala. If your phone has the option to be used as a mobile hotspot, this will also work well.
To get access to the internet on your phone, you can buy internet bundles via a local SIM card by using pre-paid airtime. The procedure of getting the SIM card is as described above (“Phone Network Providers”), and your guide can assist you. Using the internet on your phone is relatively cheap and fast, with speed depending on your location.
In a lot of lodges, WIFI is provided, however, the speed will not be what you are used to at home and the lodges are often remote and do not get a reliable signal. If you don’t want to use this opportunity to complete disconnect, we advise that you get a local SIM with a data bundle or wireless internet stick as mentioned above.
Social Media Tax
In 2018 social media tax was introduced by the Ugandan Government. Social media tax needs to be paid to enable the use of all social media platforms, including WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. After obtaining a local SIM card as described above, you can load credit on your phone (Mobile Money), and pay the tax at 200 Ugandan Shillings ($0.05) per day.
Social media tax is not required when using public WIFI.