Banking

ATMs are liberally scattered all over Uganda, starting at the airport, and most of them have that friendly Visa logo. The most well-ATMed banks are Stanbic, Standard Chartered Bank and Barclays.

Banking hours are 8.30 a.m. – 6 p.m. on week days and 8.30 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Some bank branches however, operate 24 hours.

Hospitals

  • The Surgery is a 24 hour international travel/medical clinic specialising in Tropical Medicine, with ER Services and General Practice. They are located on 42 Naguru Drive, Naguru
  • AAR Ugandahas a number of health clinics around the city. They mostly cater to corporate insurance carriers. However they also take walk-ins from the uninsured. They offer all general practitioner services in their clinics.
  • International Hospital Kampalais located in the Kisugu-Namuwongo area of Kampala. They handle a number of issues that can range from everyday pediatrics to emergency care. They have extensive labs within their system, and because of this can test and care for a number of different conditions. With specialists in dermatology, radiology, internal medicine, oncology and cancer surgery, and cardiology, they can address a multitude of illnesses. They are also equipped ith ambulances and trauma rooms that can take care of surgeries and intensive care issues.
  • Nakasero Hospital is located on Nakasero Hill. It has numerous services including outpatient and inpatient clinics. They are open 24 hours for walk-ins and trauma.

Language

English is the official language. Of the 30-plus different languages, ‘Luganda’ is widely spoken in Kampala.

Lifestyle

  • Code of Conduct: Shaking hands is the normal form of greeting. Uganda is generally warm so there is no need for warm clothing during most months. Some nights are cold though and humidity is high. It is thus advisable to dress in light cotton fabrics. Business attire is common for most offices and a requirement for official functions.
  • Shopping: Plenty of modern and ‘western’ style shops exist in purpose built complexes that are designed with richer Ugandans and foreign visitors in mind. They have the feel and atmosphere of typical western shopping malls, with a mix of supermarkets, luxury goods and fast food outlets. They are: Acacia Mall; Garden City Complex; Oasis Shopping Mall; Bugolobi Village Mall; Shoprite Lugogo Mall.
    Wide selections of local handicraft are available as souvenirs, these include musical instruments, such as the hide drums as well as excellent local basket work, paintings, batiks and pottery at all tourist centers.
  • Restaurants:  There is hardly a country that isn’t represented in Kampala.

Money

The unit of currency is the Uganda shilling. The US dollar is traditionally the hard currency of preference, but the Euro, pound sterling and South African Rand are also widely accepted. Hard currency cash can be changed for local currency at banks and private forex bureaus in all large towns, but travelers’ cheques are not widely accepted outside Kampala. Local currency can be drawn against Visa credit cards at selected ATMs in Kampala, at Entebbe International Airport, and in a few other large towns.  Please note Pre 2006 USD cash notes are accepted at a lower rate. Most forex bureaus and banks give lower exchange rates for smaller denomination dollar bills (below $50).

Transportation

The most common methods of public transportation are by minivan taxi (matatu), motorcycle taxi (boda boda), Uber and special hire cabs. Special hire taxis can be hired to take you to a specific destination.

Driving: Driving in Uganda is on the left. All drivers are required to carry a photocopy of a valid driving permit. The law however allows 24 hours within which a permit must be produced. Third party insurance is compulsory. Speed limit within high population areas ranges from 30 kph – 50 kph. Open roads is 80 kph. Drinking and driving is an offence.