Kampala is two hours behind Australian Eastern Standard Time, eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, 16 hours ahead of US Pacific Time and 13 hours ahead of US Eastern Standard Time. This means that, if it 12 noon in Kampala, it is 2pm in Sydney; 4am in London; and 11pm the previous day in New York. Kampala time is East African Time
Card phones are the cheapest way to phone for local and long distance calls and not all phone booths allow international calls. The country code for Uganda is 256; there is no city code needed while making local calls, just dial the eight digit number.
Local SIM cards are easily available and are offered as you arrive at Entebbe International Airport. You will be required to register with the telecom company for your safety.
Uganda Post Office
The postal system is efficient. Use envelopes of an approved size.
Located astride the equator Uganda enjoys tropical climate.Kampala is usually sunny most of the year, with temperatures rarely rising above 29oC. The heavy rainy season is March-May, light rainy season November-December; June is usually dry, but showers can still be expected. Kampala can generally be visited all year round
Kampala is generally a safe place. As in all world cities, beware of petty theft. It is always advisable to use the safe box in your hotel.
Do not drink water that has not been boiled. Use bottled water which is available
You won’t be expected to tip in Uganda. Bargaining is the normal when buying things from a market, street stall or craft shop, but giving a tip is recommended for good service in restaurants and hotels. Tour guides and taxi drivers will also happily accept tips
The official language in Uganda is English. Luganda and Swahili are also widely spoken in the city. Though many Ugandans do not speak Swahili at all, it is a common African trade language. Dozens of African languages are spoken in Kampala, the most common being Luganda
The voltage is 220/240 volts. British-style plugs with three pins are used
Government offices are open from 08:00hrs to 17:00hrs, Monday to Friday, closing for lunch from 13:00hrs to 14:00hrs.
Bank hours vary from bank to bank but most are open from 08:30hrs “ 14:30hrs Monday to Friday. Only some are open on Saturdays.
Shops are generally open from 08:00hrs to 19:00hrs, Monday to Friday and 08h00 to 13:00hrs on Saturdays.
Most hotels have Internet and Internet cafes are easily found, many coffee shops have wireless internet. Kampala is at saturation point in the number of internet cafes open to the public which has driven surfing rates cheap.
Food and drink
Uganda with its agricultural resources, combined with the conducive climate, produces a wide range of food products. Bananas, millet, maize, sorghum, rice, wheat, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes and cassava grow in abundance. Fruits and other vegetables are also plentiful watermelon, passion fruits, pineapples, mangoes, tomatoes, aubergine, green peppers. These can be bought from roadside stalls, Nakasero Market and the many shopping malls in the city.
Tea and coffee is readily available almost everywhere and the latest craze is coffee houses or cafes. Soda (Coke, Fanta, Sprite, bitter lemon, etc) are sold by the (glass) bottle, which are returnable and recycled. Local beer (lagers only) are as good as any international beer and there are many to choose from “ Bell, Club, ESB, Pilsner, Nile Special, Eagle, Castle, Guinness (all brewed in Uganda).
The New Vision, Daily monitor areprinted on a daily basis. They have more useful visitor information over the weekend.
Being in the heart of Africa, it is interesting that many of the festivals and holidays celebrated in Uganda are of Christian roots. Although the British have had a major impact on the country, certain celebrations have survived from pre-European times.
Holidays such as Christmas and Easter are celebrated throughout Uganda, and are considered public holidays. The end of December can be an interesting time to visit the country, as Christmas and New year’s carry a different flair in Uganda. Below are the official calendar holidays of the year.
|January||1st New year’s day- 26th NRM Day|
|March||8th International Women’s Day, 29th Good Friday, 31st Easter Sunday|
|April||1st Easter Monday|
|May||1st Labour Day|
|June||3rd Martyrs Day, 9th National Heroes Day|
|October||9th Independence Day|
|December||25th Christmas Day, 26th Boxing Day|