Ugandan shilling has notes in 50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2,000 and 1,000, coins in 1,000, 500, 200, 100 and 50. When you exchange money for Uganda shillings, please ask for some small denominations for shopping in a local market or local town where they might not have change.
In Uganda, you need to exchange money for Uganda currency because foreign currencies are only accepted in high class hotels, travel agencies and a few souvenir shops. You can exchange US dollars, British pounds, Euros, Japanese yen and some other currencies at the exchange booths in the airport, banks or foreign exchange bureaus in Kampala. Traveler’s checks are accepted at some of the exchange places.
When you exchange US dollars, you will get a fair rate for 100-dollar and 50-dollar bills but less than 20-dollar bills are exchanged at a lower rate. Please note that dollar bills issued before 2009 are not accepted anywhere.
You might not find any place to exchange foreign currencies outside Kampala. We advise you to complete your forex transactions before you leave the city. You can exchange left over Uganda shillings back to foreign currency at the end of the trip.
You can pay with a credit card in many hotels, travel agencies, restaurants and high class souvenir shops. However, you may be charged for using a credit card.
There are few places where payment can be made with travelers' checks. Some exchange traders can exchange for Uganda Shilling, but the rate is lower than cash, and procedures are complicated, such as copying passport or presenting a receipt upon purchase at the time of exchange.
Previously, Uganda did not have the tipping culture; however, in high class restaurants or hotels, clients will often tip servers if the service charge is not included on the bill. Feel free to tip anyone who serves you well.
GSM network is used in Uganda. Prepaid SIM cards are available for sale at the airport or anywhere in town as well as cheap phones for about 30 dollars only. You can use your cell phone by roaming but it might be cheaper to buy a phone and local sim card.
In Uganda, the internet is commonly used with a modem with a SIM card inserted (connected by USB connected). If you have a SIM-Free mobile phone, you can buy a new SIM in Uganda then access to the internet wherever there is the network coverage. Some hotels offer internet service, but it is usually slow and unreliable.
The first languages for most of Ugandans are their ethnic languages then English, the official language. It is easy to find English speakers in the capital, in hotels, souvenir shops and as tour guides. There are fewer English speakers upcountry.
Occasional power cuts may be experienced in Uganda. It is advisable to charge flashlight batteries when there is power and keep the flashlight close by at night. In case of water shortage, a request for water can be made at the hotel front desk.
As the population is growing, there is an increased crime rate in the cities. Please pay attention to the following tips:
* Please ask your driver about the security of the places you will be visiting. There are pickpockets in big markets and bus parks.
* Pack your things in one bag and hold it close all the time. To avoid being targeted, do not carry mobile phones or camera in full view.
* It is advisable to move as a group even during the day. Walking alone at night is very risky. Make sure you use a taxi and do not to travel long distances at night.
* Avoid putting on your gold and silver accessories when visiting public areas.
* Although motorbike taxis are convenient in traffic jams, they are prone to accidents and should be avoided.
If you love Uganda, whether you've been here or not, you'll love the collection of themed paintings. From abstract art depicting African wildlife and romanticized scenery to artwork of famous politicians and Ugandan women at work, these pieces will add a unique style to your home. This collection of art is perfect for waiting rooms, travel agencies and home offices, offering brightly colored images that draw the eye and that provoke thought and wonder. Many tourists purchase this as a souvenir.
Makonde Carving: This carving is one of the best African handicrafts. Each carving is made of a whole ebony tree by Makonde people in southern Tanzania. The motif is their spirits or intertwined people and animals.