Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Uganda Hints and Tips

Some advice for travelling across Uganda:

Visa - $50 available at land border. Single entry, valid for 3 months. Part of the East African Community Visa Agreement.

Minibus from Busia to Tororo - 2000Ush
Minibus from Tororo to Mbale - 3000Ush
Dbl room at Mt Elgon View Hotel, Mbale - 20,000USh
Good Indian meal at Nuralis cafe, Mbale - 20,000Ush (inc beer)
Shared taxi from Mbale to Sipi Falls and v.v. - 5000Ush p.p.
Camping at Twalight Lodge, Sipi Falls - 5000Ush p.p
Meals at Twalight Lodge, Sipi Falls - 5000Ush
Beer at Twalight Lodge, Sipi Falls - 2000Ush
Views from Twalight Lodge, Sipi Falls - Priceless. Very nice place.
Meal at cheap cafe in Sipi village - under 1000Ush! (Cup of tea - 200Ush!)
Bus from Mbale to Jinja - 8000Ush
Camping at Explorers Backpackers, Jinja - 11,000Ush. Overpriced, the showers were dirty and dangerously erratic and the staff were incompetent. They do offer free, albeit slow, internet however.
Average meal at Explorers, Jinja - 4000Ush
Beer at Explorers, Jinja - 2000Ush
Boda-boda around Jinja - 1-2000Ush
Minibus from Jinja to Kampala - 5000Ush
Camping at Red Chilli Hideaway, Kampala - 7000Ush p.p. Well run, with swimming pool and free internet.
Meal at Red Chilli Hideaway - from 6000Ush. Beer - 2500Ush. Sunday BBQ - 8000Ush
Snack outside Red Chilli (egg roll, kebab etc) - 500-1000Ush
Minibus between Red Chilli Hideaway and central Kampala - 500Ush
Masala Dosai at Masala Chaat House, Kampala - 8000Ush. But well worth it, the best dosai this side of Chennai!
Internet in Kampala - 1500-3500Ush per hour.
Jam session outside National Theatre in Kampala on Monday nights - FREE. Starting around 7pm, beers and snacks available.
Bus from Kampala to Fort Portal - 12,000Ush, around 5 hours
Shared taxi from Fort Portal to Lake Nkuruba Community Camp - 4000Ush p.p.
Camping at Lake Nkuruba Community Camp - 6000Ush p.p. Great place, well run and very friendly. Amazing location.
Meal at Lake Nkuruba Community Camp - around 5000Ush
Organised forest walk - 10,000Ush p.p, 3-4 hours.
'Special' hire taxi from Fort Portal to Ruboni Community Campsite (in the Rwenzori mountains) - 60,000Ush. We paid the driver 70,000Ush because the road was terrible and he was very nice.
Camping at Ruboni Community Camp - 3000Ush p.p Even better than LAke Nkuruba, stunning views over the mountains and a peaceful, secluded location on the hillside.
Meals at Ruboni Community Camp - between 4000-7000Ush
Beer at Ruboni Community Camp - only 1800Ush!
Guided hill climb from Ruboni CC (staying just outside the NP boundaries) - 15,000Ush p.p. A steep, quite tough climb with more great views. In comparison, a full trek inside the park costs around $560. So good value.
Boda-boda from Ruboni CC to main road junction - 7000Ush p.p.
Shared taxi from junction to Kasese - 2000Ush.
'Special' from Kasese to Kalinzu Forest - 20,000Ush. However Kalinzu Forest Reserve office was deserted so it was a wasted trip, find out beforehand.
Minibus from Butare to Mbarara - 5000Ush p.p.
Minibus from Mbarara to Masaka - 8000Ush.
Dbl room w/bath at Vienna Hotel, Masaka - 21,000Ush.
Fish n Chips at Vienna Hotel - 5000Ush
Boda-boda from Masaka to Nyendo (the biggest shithole in Uganda!) - 1000Ush. v.v.
Minibus to Kalangala, Ssese islands - 10,000Ush inc ferry crossing. (They wanted 15,000Ush and were very rude and uncivilised about it, for a more relaxed trip go straight to Ssese from Entebbe!)
Camping at Hornbill Camp, Ssese islands - 7000Ush p.p.
Buffet dinner at Hornbill Camp - 8000Ush
Other meals overpriced and coffee and tea were too weak to make them worthwhile. Cheap supplies available at the port close by.
Beer at Hornbill Camp - 2500Ush, including free bizarre conversations with Diker and Daniel!
Shared taxi from Masaka to Mutukulu (the border crossing into Tanzania) - 8000Ush

Average daily budget - 40,000Ush per person (approx $18).
But we did not visit any national parks and did not partake in rhino, chimp or gorilla tracking. This would increase this budget exponentially. The reason we did not do these activities was because we had just come from safaris in Kenya and Tanzania, if not we would probably have done a safari at Murchison Falls at least.

Exchange rate - $1=2200USH, GBP1=3600Ush

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