It is typical for homes to have electricity but no running water or western toilet. In either situation, you are advised to bring a flashlight since power cuts are frequent in Uganda. Toilets are generally pit latrines (outdoors) and water for bathing comes from a well or rain water collection tank. As windows in Uganda are typically without screens, you may wish to bring a mosquito net.
Our homes will have Western toilets and showers. Showers will use temperate-cold running water
Ambassadors are provided with 3 meals each day. If you wish to eat or drink outside of meal times, that will be at your own cost.
Vegetarians can eat well in Uganda, but the variety of dishes will be limited and you may get bored of the "same old, same old". Your main sources of protein would be the beans at lunch/dinner and the eggs at breakfast.
If you like, you can also bring snacks (ie. protein bars, nuts, packaged snacks) with you to supplement your meals.
We will accommodate to any dietary preferences.
All transportation is provided while you are in Uganda. Pick up and drop off from the airport will be by private car or bus and you will be escorted by a member of the GYAP team.
During the week, all transportation will be by private hire.
Health and Safety
Nearly all travelers to lesser-developed countries become ill as a reaction to food or water. As a group, we will always drink bottled water and eat well cooked and safely prepared food. However, there is still a chance you will get sick.
Most of the time though, if you get sick, it will be because of something simple like not washing your hands before eating, drinking untreated water or eating contaminated food. As a result, you may have diarrhea for a day or two, take some medication for it, and then go back to doing what you came to do.
If you do become sick tell someone, we have first-aid kits with medicines to treat common illnesses.
As many visitors to Uganda can be unfamiliar to the constant high temperatures heat exhaustion is another common illness experienced by volunteers. If you experience extreme weakness or fatigue, dizziness, confusion, nausea, clammy moist skin, or slightly elevated body temperature then you may be suffering from heat exhaustion. To prevent this keep fluid high, particularly water, and find some shade to rest.
Basic Safety Rules for Travelers:
- Make a copy of your passport and any credit/debit cards and keep it in your luggage.
- Don't carry too much cash with you at one time. It is best to carry what you need for one day.
- If you are carrying expensive items, such as camera equipment, then keep it covered at all times.
what to wear
Ugandan people are very smart dressers and will frown on untidy clothing. We suggest you wear clothing that looks respectable and feels comfortable. This is important so as not to offend the local people and/or attract unwanted attention. Loose cotton clothing is recommended for purposes of protection against sun and mosquitoes. Revealing and/or skimpy clothing is not acceptable in public. Neither is camouflage patterning on clothing. Volunteers are encouraged to wear comfortable but tidy attire and the following can be used as a general guideline.
Bring one outfit that you could do manual labour in. This is not always required, but it's useful to have just in case. It's also a good idea to have at least one nicer outfit as nice clothing definitely shows more respect (many Ugandan men wear ties every day!). Bring one sturdy pair of shoes and one pair that is comfortable. Many volunteers bring sport sandals (but beware of mosquitoes as they love ankles!).
When out in the community: Loose fitting trousers are fine, but skirts are always better. Skirts should be ankle or mid calf length. Loose 3/4 pants are also ok. Tank tops (spaghetti straps included) are fine, breasts are desexualized in Uganda while legs and thighs are considered sexually appealing.
For leisure activities: knee length skirts are ok, but you will attract more attention than you already do. (otherwise as above)
Phones and electronics
If you'd like to bring a cellphone, we will instruct you how to get Ugandan sim-card to use for your phone in Uganda. Many Ambassadors use Ugandan sim-cards to receive international calls or send text messages, but keep in mind we will not have WiFi during most of the trip. You trip leaders will also have a Ugandan phone you may use to contact home.
It is your choice whether to bring larger electronics. You are welcome to bring cameras, but we do not recommend bringing laptops. You will not need them during your week. If you do bring more expensive electronic devices, make sure they are covered in your travel insurance.
In terms of electricity, the most commonly found socket is a two-round prong socket, or the two flat prong socket. The picture above can be used for reference.
Since the elimination of the black market and the introduction of foreign exchange (forex) bureaus, Uganda is one of the most expensive countries in East Africa.
The Ugandan shilling is a stable, fully convertible currency, fluctuating very little from day to day. For maximum flexibility take most of your money in cash, preferably US dollars, British pounds or South African rand and credit cards are accepted only at larger hotels and restaurants. Bring an ATM card as a backup.
A visa card is the best type of credit card to use in Uganda. When exchanging foreign currency you may find that the larger notes ($100) provide you with a better exchange rate.
Please get new bills from your bank before traveling to Uganda. Cash bills older than 2000 or 2001 are not always accepted.
USD $1 = UGX $3,000