Welcome to Uganda, the Pearl of Africa! Uganda is a rich mosaic of tribes and cultures, well endowed with flora and fauna, a haven of rich natural color whose people embody the trademark of hospitality so characteristic to this nation.
Uganda is a landlocked country. It lies astride the Equator in Eastern Africa between longitudes 29 ½° East and 35° East and between latitudes 4 ½° North and ½° South, at an average altitude of 1,100 meters above sea- level. The total area is 236,040sq.Km.
We are bordered by the Republic of South Sudan to the North, the Republic of Kenya to the East, the Democratic Republic of Congo to the West, and the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Rwanda to the South.
Uganda’s climate is tropical. This means it is generally rainy (particularly during the months of March to May, September to November), while the remaining months (December to February, June to August) comprise Uganda’s two dry seasons.
Uganda’s fruit and food
Uganda boasts a variety of organic tropical fruit and vegetables. The markets are filled with fresh produce all year round. You are guaranteed great organic food on your visit here.
Preparing to travel (Guests from USA)
First, you need to get your passport. Most Post Offices will handle this. The current cost is $135 and the average time to receive it is 10 weeks. You need your birth certificate in order to apply for a passport.
You should check with your health care provider or a travel clinic regarding immunizations you may need. You will definitely need to bring anti-malaria medication. There are several on the market. Your health care provider will prescribe one for you. You will also want to bring a good mosquito repellant.
You will need a visa, but the best way to get this is at the airport when you arrive in Entebbe Uganda. It will cost $50.
Any money you bring with you should be in $50 or $100 bills. The bills should be in good condition– no rips or extreme wear and dated 2000 or later. The exchange rate on bills of lower denominations, older dates, or worn bills is significantly lower if the exchange will even agree to take them. You can exchange your US dollars into local currency in Kampala. You can also use your ATM card in Uganda and get local currency (Uganda shillings). Check with your bank regarding foreign currency transaction fees.
The airport you fly into is EBB (Entebbe).
What clothing should you pack? For guests to the ministry, we recommend that women wear skirts or dresses (unrevealing and of modest length). Men can wear jeans, shorts or trousers. A tie for men is not out of the question but is not required. For footwear you may want to bring flip-flops for wearing indoors, a pair of tennis shoes or comparable, a pair of sandals and anything that could suit your more formal wear. A light sweater or jacket is a good idea for cooler evenings.
Arrival in Uganda
What happens when you arrive? It is a long trip from anywhere in the US to Uganda and so you’ll be tired. Tucker, Irene, or their representatives will be at the Entebbe airport to pick you up. When your plane arrives, you will go through customs and get your visa. You then collect your baggage and leave the terminal. At the door to the outside you will be met by your hosts. They will bring you to CSI by car. It is about 45 minutes from the airport.
Where will I stay?
You will stay at Pastors Tucker and Irene’s home. It is a fairly large Western style home very close to the main compound of CSI. Yes, there is running water (only cold water though). Yes, there are flush toilets. Yes, there is a shower. For a warm water wash-up you can heat water in the hot pot there, so it’s not difficult to have most of your home comforts. There are beds and mosquito netting. Power outages in Uganda are still relatively common, so you may want to pack a flashlight or a candle or two.
Although the water supply is from the city of Kampala, it is not recommended that you drink it. There is a water cooler at the house with 20 liter bottles. It is recommended that you bring a water bottle for filling to take with you when you leave the house. You also want to use the bottled water for brushing your teeth. You will have no problem with any of the food you are served. There will be lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, rice and beans, meat (purchased from the Western style market for you) Your meals will be healthy, filling, and tasty.
Is Uganda safe?
You can read for yourself any current safety bulletins issued by the State Dept at www.travel.state.gov . We do not recommend that you travel unaccompanied. At CSI we accompany our guests wherever they want to go.
The weather in Uganda
Temperatures average in the mid-70’s to mid-80’s in the day, with evenings dropping into the low 60’s. Because Uganda is so close to the equator there is very little seasonal difference. The seasons are really two– rainy or dry. Global weather change has affected the timing of these though. When the rains do come, it will usually rain very hard for an hour or two, then the sun will come back out.
What will I do while I am there?
This is ultimately between you and the Holy Spirit. Keep yourself open to His leading. But every American has skills that are valuable. Our guests have held classes in the past as well as done one-on- one training and service. Examples of classes held for small groups include sewing, embroidery, knitting, business skills and customer service, baking and cake decorating, flower arranging, carpentry, small engine repair, first aid, animal husbandry, tractor operations. Guests have also done on-on-one training and work. These include rebuilding a transmission on one of the vehicles, advanced sewing skills, making a desk and table, writing business plans and similar projects. In addition there are Bible Studies and ministry training. But all work and no play is not ideal. You will want to spend a day or two doing some sight seeing. Your Uganda hosts will be happy escort you. I recommend seeing the source of the Nile or a visit to the equator. The Uganda Museum is also very interesting. Don’t be too busy “doing” that you miss “seeing”. Going into town to the market is an experience in itself. Visiting with people you meet will give you insights to the Uganda culture.
Inconveniences you may meet
Traffic jam- this is characteristic of traffic in and around Kampala city especially during the morning rush hour (about 7:00- 9:00 am) and the evening hours (4:00- 7:00 pm). You may get stuck in traffic during these periods of time for any amount of time ranging from a few minutes to an hour in extreme cases. You may consider scheduling your travel times in such a way as to beat the traffic.
Power outages- you may face power outages occasionally or for extended periods of time. You are requested to prepare yourself for these with a flashlight kept handy in the evenings.