Preface Last Updated: 3/25/2004 5:18 AM
Uganda, roughly the size of Oregon, lies across the Equator and
is located in the center of the African Continent. The country is
divided into three principal geographic areas—a fertile plateau,
lowland swamps, and a semi-desert region. Lake Victoria forms part
of the southern border. The capital of the Republic of Uganda is
Uganda has an estimated population of 25 million. Africans of
four ethnic and linguistic groups—Bantu, Nilotic, NiloHamitic, and
Sudanic, constitute most of the populace. Christianity is the main
religion (British missionaries first arrived in 1877), and English
is the official language.
The National Resistance Movement (NRM) Government came to power
in 1986 after many years of political instability. Government and
private businesses, with foreign assistance, are making progress
rebuilding the industrial sector. Currently, agriculture represents
almost 100% of all exports.
Uganda’s tourist industry, once an important source of foreign
exchange earnings, is slowly rebuilding, and hotels and lodges are
being renovated. Uganda has seven national parks that are rich in
flora and fauna including the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National
Park, containing slightly more than half of the world’s gorilla
population. Uganda is an equatorial country of astonishing
contrasts, diversity of habitats and one of Africa’s richest birding
destinations. In fact, Queen Elizabeth National Park is thought to
have more than 500 different species of birds, more than in all of
The Host Country
Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 2/26/2004 6:13 AM
Uganda is located on a fertile plateau in the center of Africa at
an average altitude of 4,000 feet. The plateau is bordered on the
east by the Kenya Highlands and Mount Elgon (14,178 feet) and on the
west by the Rwenzori Mountains (16,791 feet). It is crossed
diagonally from southeast to northwest by the Nile River, which
begins its journey to the Mediterranean near the town of Jinja on
Lake Victoria, about 50 miles from the capital, Kampala. With an
area of 91,000 square miles, Uganda is roughly the size of Oregon or
about the size of Great Britain.
Kampala has over a million residents and lies near the shores of
Lake Victoria about 20 miles north of the Equator. Its altitude
ranges from 3,622 to 4,500 feet. Built on a number of low-lying
hills, the city is surrounded by green rolling countryside dotted
with small farms. These farms grow mostly matooke bananas, cassava,
and maize, the main staple foods of Uganda.
The average temperature in Kampala ranges from a high of 85
degrees F at noon to a low of 60 at night. The temperature changes
more during the course of each day than it does from season to
season. The hottest weather occurs from October through March.
Kampala has an annual rainfall of about 63 inches. During the
rainy seasons—March to April and September to October—the weather is
cooler. Frequent, heavy thunderstorms last from 30 minutes to 1
hour. It seldom rains an entire day, even during the so-called rainy
seasons. Wind gusts that accompany downpours are sometimes strong
enough to knock down tree limbs and even an occasional tree. Red
murram dust, which can be a particular problem during dry periods,
effects Kampala dwellers when venturing beyond the main asphalt
roads. Computer and other electronic equipment can suffer if not
protected from the dust and power fluctuations.
Population Last Updated: 3/25/2004 5:21 AM
Before Europeans arrived, much of Uganda was divided into four
kingdoms. Bunyoro Kingdom, in western Uganda, was ruled by the “Omukama.”
The son of the Omukama broke away and formed his own kingdom, which
was known as the Kingdom of Toro. Its ruler was also known as the
Omukama. The Omukama also rule the Ankole Kingdom, situated in the
southwest. When Europeans first came to Uganda in 1862, they found
the northern shores of Lake Victoria controlled by the Baganda, a
people who had developed a complex agricultural society ruled by an
absolute monarch called the “Kabaka.”
Responding to an appeal by the explorer Henry Stanley, who
visited Uganda in 1875, missionaries began working there in 1877.
Today, 80% of the population is Christian, including Protestants and
Catholics. The rest of the population is Moslem (15%) and animist
(5%). British hegemony was established in this area in 1893 through
a series of protective treaties with the Kabaka and other local
The decision by the early British administrators to govern the
country indirectly through African chiefs and rulers resulted in the
country's original development as an African territory. Land
ownership was reserved for African chiefs at an early date so that
almost no European or Asian rural settlements existed.
The population is estimated at 23 million. Africans of four
ethnic and linguistic groups—Bantu, Nilotic, NiloHamitic, and
Sudanic—constitute most of the populace. The Bantu, the most
numerous of the four groups, includes the more than 3.5 million
members of the Baganda, the largest single ethnic group. Ugandan
society includes more than 30 individual ethnic groups. Uganda's
population is predominantly rural, and its density is the highest in
the Southern regions. Until 1972, Asians constituted the largest
non-indigenous ethnic group. In that year, Idi Amin expelled over
50,000 Asians who had been engaged in trade, industry and various
professions. Since taking power, President Museveni has invited the
Asians back to Uganda. About 3,000 Arabs and a small number of
Asians now live in Kampala. Most Europeans also fled during Amin's
rule and after the Liberation War. Currently, the expatriate
community numbers in the thousands.
Almost the entire European community, most of the Asian
community, and all of the educated Africans in Kampala speak
English, the official language. The other major languages are
Luganda and Swahili, though the latter isn't spoken much east of
Kampala or in the capital. Most members of the Baganda tribe prefer
to speak their own language, Luganda, which at least 4 million
people speak or understand.
Public Institutions Last Updated: 2/2/2004 1:35 AM
The National Resistance Movement (NRM) Government came to power
on January 26, 1986, when troops of the National Resistance Army
(NRA) gained control of Kampala. The political organization of
Uganda having been a no-party democracy voted on a multi-party
system in 2000. Government ministries headed by ministers conduct
day-to-day government business. The NRM Government renamed the
movement and is now headed by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who
has appointed a broad-based cabinet.
The Constitution provides for an executive president, to be
elected every 5 years, but with significant requirements for
parliamentary approval of presidential actions. Uganda’s parliament
was established by the 1995 Constitution. Its members are directly
and special indirectly elected representatives, as are local
councils at the district, sub-district, parish, and village level.
Uganda's independent judiciary, like the whole legal system, is
based on the British model: magistrate courts, High Court, Court of
Appeals, and Supreme Court.
A number of philanthropic and non-governmental organizations
thrive here. The YMCA, YWCA, Salvation Army, Lions, and Rotary Clubs
are very active and play an important role in charity affairs. Other
active groups are the Human Rights Activists and the Uganda Red
Cross, which has ties to International Red Cross groups. Both the
National Council of Sports and the school system organize youth
programs. Other NGOs represented in Kampala are Action Aid, World
Vision International, Friedrich Ebert Foundation, InterAid
International, Quaker Service Norway, World Learning Inc., Lutheran
World Federation, Save the Children Fund, African Medical and
Research Foundation, OXFAM, Irish Aid, CARE, Konrad Adenauer
Foundation, Foundation for Human Rights Initiatives, Foundation for
African Development, SNV/NOVIB, Redd Barna, Red Barnet, Plan
International, Concern International, Global 2000, and Mission
Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 3/25/2004 6:56 AM
The National Theater is flourishing; drama groups from all over
Uganda come to Kampala to give performances in dance and music
throughout the year. Several popular music groups entertain
regularly. Although radio and TV have some technical problems, they
do a commendable job presenting news and interviews. BBC World
Service broadcasts on the FM band. Satellite and cable TV
subscription services are available in addition to the local news
channels. The Uganda Museum can provide some insight to the area's
history. The Nommo Gallery and several other small galleries display
a variety of art forms. There are many artists in the country.
There are a large number of public and secondary schools
throughout Uganda, but as many as half of all school-age children do
not attend school regularly. In an attempt to change this situation,
the government has initiated a primary education reform program with
the goal of universal primary education by 2004.
The Lincoln International School is accredited in both the U.S.
and Europe. Over 340 students are enrolled in pre-kindergarten
through grade 10 and come from 43 countries. Kabira International
School, a British-oriented school, offers an alternative curriculum
and was accredited by the Council of International Schools in 2004.
There are a number of good neighborhood preschools available.
Makerere University, once the premier institution of higher
learning in East Africa, is on the rise again but faces many
difficulties due to lack of sufficient funding. The senior faculty
is at half-strength, and shortages range from lack of residence
housing for faculty and students to insufficient textbooks,
scientific journals, and laboratory equipment. Despite these
problems, Makerere University continues to strive to educate a
student body of over 15,000 in various disciplines. A number of
organizations have begun to assist the university, including the
U.S. Government, private American universities, and other NGOs.
Other institutions of higher learning in the country are the
Mbarara University of Science and Technology, the Institute of
Teacher Education, Kyambogo (ITEK), the Uganda Polytechnic
Institute, Uganda Martyrs University, Makerere University Business
School, and Uganda Management House.
Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 3/25/2004 8:58 AM
Uganda’s economy has great potential. Endowed with significant
natural resources, including ample fertile land, regular rainfall,
and mineral deposits, it appeared poised for rapid development at
independence. Unfortunately chronic political instability and
erratic economic management produced a record of persistent economic
decline that left Uganda among the world's poorest and
least-developed countries under the Amin and Obote regimes. This has
turned around however, and the small landlocked country has
sustained a 6% economic growth rate through 2002, a success story
unmatched in most of sub-Saharan Africa.
Agricultural products supply nearly all of Uganda’s foreign
exchange earnings, with coffee alone (of which Uganda is Africa's
leading producer) accounting for about 65% of the country's exports.
Exports of hides, skins, vegetables, spices, cut flowers, and fish
are growing, and cotton, tea, and coffee continue to be mainstays.
Domestic manufacturing industries, based on the processing of
agricultural raw materials, include refined sugar, soap, textiles,
processed foods, beer and soft drinks. The industrial sector is
being rehabilitated to resume production of buildings and
construction materials, such as cement, reinforcing rods, corrugated
roofing sheets, and paint. Civil strife and lack of foreign exchange
over the last 20 years seriously disrupted commerce and industry.
Government and private businesses, with foreign assistance, are
making progress rebuilding the industrial sector.
The tourist industry, an important source of foreign exchange
earnings in the 1960s, is slowly being rejuvenated. Hotels, lodges
and access roads are being built, new facilities are opening and
game parks show a variety of returning wildlife.
Automobiles Last Updated: 3/25/2004 9:00 AM
Ship or purchase locally a privately owned vehicle, as there is
no acceptable public transportation in Kampala, and while the
Embassy provides shuttle service to and from work, it does not
provide transportation for personal use. Rental cars are available
from reputable local dealers, but at a price similar to those in the
Kampala is a widely spread out city, with as much as six miles
between some residences. The Chancery, GSO (General Services
Office), USAID, and Peace Corps buildings are all in different
locations. Getting to work, visiting, and shopping require
dependable private transport. Although road conditions have improved
substantially within and outside of Kampala, many streets and roads
remain full of potholes. Post recommends shipment or purchase of a
four-wheel-drive or high clearance vehicle for use both in and out
There is still no unleaded gasoline available in Uganda; all
stations have leaded and diesel. The Embassy has negotiated an
agreement with several gas stations to provide duty-free gasoline.
Local reputable dealers sell new vehicles duty free. In addition,
many dealers sell lightly used cars exported from Japan in excellent
condition. Both these options are more expensive than buying a new
or used car duty free and shipping it into Kampala; for example a
four-year-old 4x4 just in from Japan ranges from $15,000-$20,000.
Buying a used vehicle within the diplomatic community is usually
possible, as is buying a used vehicle on the local market. Although
traffic moves on the left in Uganda, many people drive
left-hand-drive vehicles. Most people are comfortable with either
model and the law permits both, but the Embassy recommends
right-hand-drive vehicles for your own safety and protection.
It is a good idea to have your automobile equipped with a
reliable car alarm or ignition lock. Of late, vehicle thefts are on
the rise, with new and expensive models being the main targets.
It is difficult to find firms in Kampala that can repair American
cars. Repair facilities exist for the following makes: Toyota,
Nissan, Fiat, Mazda, Mercedes, Peugeot, Mitsubishi, VW, Landrover,
and European-make Fords. Be aware that vehicle parts made for the
American market are often unique to that market. Spare parts cannot
be found in East Africa for a Toyota made for the American market.
Bring U.S. spares if possible. In general, original quality spare
parts are hard to find.
Local Transportation Last Updated: 2/26/2004 6:17 AM
Public transportation consists of 10 to 15 passenger minibus
taxis called “matatus” that are cheap, filled beyond capacity,
rather unreliable and driven at unsafe speeds. They are usually
poorly maintained and do not travel through the main diplomatic
residential area. Special hire taxis can be found in the main
locations around town, particularly from bigger hotels and shopping
malls. Most fares can be negotiated and agreed before the journey.
The local population uses “boda boda’s” (motorcycle taxis) or
bicycle taxis, to get around.
Mission personnel are strongly discouraged from using public
transportation in Uganda for safety reasons. The Embassy provides
home to office and orientation transportation to personnel awaiting
delivery of a personal vehicle, as long as the agency has signed up
for ICASS Motorpool service. Personnel will be directly billed for
this service at the Uganda standard rate, currently 54 cents per
Regional Transportation Last Updated: 3/25/2004 8:59 AM
Kenya Airways has daily flights between Entebbe and Nairobi.
Several weekly flights serving Uganda are available on SN Brussels
and British Airways. Many people take the daily KLM
Nairobi-Amsterdam flight. Weekly flights are available on Air
Tanzania to Dar Es Salaam, Ethiopian Air to Addis Ababa and Dubai,
South African Air to Johannesburg, Egypt Air to Cairo. Africa One,
formally DAS Airfreight, flies to Dar es Salaam and Dubai weekly.
Buses travel to the Kenya border where bus connections are made to
Kisumu and Nairobi.
Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 3/25/2004 9:00 AM
Local cell phone service is provided by three companies in Uganda
and coverage and reception are excellent. All Embassy officers are
given an official cellular phone upon arrival and also have a
landline in their residences. Rates are high (approximately
$1/minute to the U.S.). Outages on landlines do occur periodically,
but the Embassy has been able to get repairs made within several
days. Reception is generally good due to a satellite station in
Kenya, but there is no AT&T, MCI, or Sprint connection. Overseas
telegraph and FAX facilities are available and are usually reliable.
Several internet companies exist that provide fairly reliable, if
Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 2/26/2004 6:17 AM
APO facilities are not available in Kampala. Air pouches arrive
by plane via London twice a week and are immediately dispatched.
Transit time between the U.S. and Uganda for pouch mail is
approximately 2 weeks.
Because of security precautions for the Department’s main pouch
facility at Dulles Airport, it is imperative that the pouch address
below not mention the Department of State or any government office.
The pouch address for personal mail is as follows:
(Name) 2190 Kampala Place Dulles, Virginia 20189-2190
For sending packages through the pouch use the above address with
ZIP Code. Packages should be no larger than 17 x 18 x 30 inches.
Maximum weight is 50 pounds.
International airmail from the U.S. should be addressed as
(Name) American Embassy P. O. Box 7007 Kampala, Uganda
International airmail to and from the U.S. takes 10-15 days, and
delivery is reliable for letters. Do not send checks. Mission
personnel do not generally send or receive packages through the
local post office. Express Mail should be addressed as follows:
American Ambassador c/o (Name) American Embassy Ggaba Road
The Embassy receives a large amount of express mail and considers
the international service very reliable.
Radio and TV Last Updated: 3/25/2004 9:03 AM
Television is not a large factor in the 90% of Uganda outside the
electrical grid, but almost everyone owns a radio. There are more
than 70 commercial radio stations in the country. Literally all of
them are FM stations, apart from Radio Uganda (State owned) which
has medium as well as short-wave operations and covers almost all of
the country by satellite relays. Major radio stations are based in
Kampala and broadcast in English and a host of over 40 different
local languages. Most of these stations hook up to BBC, VOA and
Deutsche Welle at specific times for international news. Voice of
Toro and Radio Sanyu are VOA affiliates and are therefore free to
relay programs like “Daybreak Africa” and VOA broadcasts.
There are five television stations, Uganda Television (UTV), WBS
TV, Top TV, Lighthouse Television and Channel TV. Uganda Television
is government owned and can be viewed in almost 70 % of Uganda. UTV
broadcasts a mixture of foreign and locally produced programs. Most
programming is in English, except for several vernacular news
programs early in the evening. Lighthouse TV and Top TV are
Evangelical Christian undertakings that broadcast mainly religious
programs. Lighthouse and WBS TV also occasionally switch to CNN for
international news, while UTV uses Deutsche Welle as its
international news link. WBS, which is a VOA affiliate, carries a
varied mix of soap operas, sitcoms, cartoons and sports. Most
programming is in English. Every week it replays popular VOA
programs like "Straight Talk Africa" and "Africa Journal."
DSTV, a South Africa-based subscription satellite television
service, has over 35 channels, including six movie channels, five
sports channels, four news channels as well as channels in Hindi,
Spanish and French. Those interested in accessing this service need
to buy a dish and decoder (approx. $500) and pay a monthly
subscription fee (approx. $70/month).
The residences of all direct hire American personnel are now
supplied with AFN decoders, with which they receive American
programmming, sports and news.
Post recommends bringing a multi-system TV and VCR to post. TV
sets in the PAL system or multi system can be purchased in Kampala.
There are a number of video and DVD rental shops in Kampala with
stock for use on the PAL and NTSC (American) systems. The Video Club
at the American Recreation Association (ARA) has a growing
collection of commercial video tapes with the VHS format on the NTSC
system, and has started stocking DVDs.
Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated:
3/25/2004 9:04 AM
Uganda has a free press that has given rise to several daily and
weekly newspapers in both English and Luganda. For the most part,
these newspapers concentrate on locally important political issues
with some international news items. The New Vision, Monitor and the
Luganda daily, Bukedde are some of the major editions. An average of
10 newspapers are circulated in any given week, including the local
Sidewalk vendors sell two major Kenyan dailies — The Nation and
East African Standard. International editions of Time, Newsweek and
The Economist together with European editions of the Herald Tribune,
USA Today, and some British newspapers are circulated by Monitor
Publications Limited and are readily available at major stores
around Kampala. Subscriptions to U.S. newspapers received through
the pouch are a good choice; expect them to arrive 2-3 weeks late.
One can also order Stars and Stripes or the international edition of
USA Today and have them sent through the international mail to the
box number at the Embassy. They usually arrive within 10 days. The
weekly edition of the Washington Post is quite useful in lieu of
Bookstores carry a fair selection of academic books and fiction.
Although most of the books are written in English, a number are
written in Luganda. Currently there is one major booksotre in
Uganda. Aristoc Booklex has an impressive range of major academic
and literary titles. However, it is advisable that you bring a
supply of your favorite types of books or develop an ongoing source
in the U.S. There are no public lending libraries in Uganda.
Public Diplomacy maintains a small library that is open to the
public. It includes over 2,500 volumes of reference works, over 70
periodicals, and it receives the International Herald Tribune on a
daily basis. It also maintains a collection of guides to higher
education in the U.S. including many college catalogs. PAS receives
the ABC Weekly News Highlights and screens it for the public. The
Community Liaison Office (CLO) maintains a lending (mostly
paperback) library through numerous donations.
Most book clubs (Book of the Month, Literary Guild, Doubleday,
Mystery Guild, etc.) have an “on-order” system if requested by
someone living overseas. This means they will not send books unless
you specifically order them. This has proven to be quite
satisfactory for those who wish to join book clubs. Columbia Video
Club also offers this option, calling it “preferred member.” Many
clubs also offer on-line ordering so you don't need to wait for the
Health and Medicine
Medical Facilities Last Updated: 2/2/2004 5:28 AM
The U.S. Embassy in Kampala maintains a Health Unit staffed with
an FS Medical Provider (a nurse practitioner or physician
assistant), a U.S./U.K. or equivalent licensed registered nurse, a
laboratory technician and a secretary. Office hours are scheduled
Monday through Friday with a medical duty officer on call after
hours and during weekends. A regional medical officer from Nairobi
visits post between two to four times a year. The Health Unit is an
outpatient primary care facility with a sophisticated laboratory.
The Health Unit maintains a walking blood bank for Mission personnel
and their families.
U.S. Mission employees whose agencies have agreements with the
U.S. Department of State regarding health care may use this facility
for themselves and their eligible family members. Other groups and
individuals may have access to the Health Unit with Chief of Mission
authorization and by specific contract with the U.S. Government.
The Embassy Health Unit has a small pharmacy for treatment of
common acute illness or conditions. If you take chronic medication,
bring enough to cover your tour or arrange with a pharmacy in the
U.S. to provide refills via the pouch. This includes birth control
pills, vitamins, blood pressure medication and thyroid or estrogen
hormones. Local pharmacies carry a range of products of variable
quality, availability and cost.
Local medical facilities are very limited. Elective
hospitalization is not recommended in Kampala. Anyone with a medical
condition requiring hospitalization is evacuated to the nearest city
with the required resources. Nairobi and Pretoria are the general
medical evacuation sites for Kampala but other sites may be
authorized depending on the medical condition or services needed.
(i.e. London or the U.S.). The Health Unit recommends that babies be
delivered in the U.S.
Dental care, such as cleaning and repairs of dental cavities, can
be done in Kampala. However, all personnel and their eligible family
members should attend to their dental needs prior to arrival at
post. Although medical travel can be authorized for management of
serious dental problems, the limitation of per diem payments and the
fact that follow-up trips cannot be authorized can make dental care
There are ophthalmologists and optometrists in Kampala and lens
work is available but the quality varies. It is recommended that you
bring an extra pair of glasses with you.
Community Health Last Updated: 2/2/2004 5:29 AM
Community sanitation and public health programs are inadequate
throughout Uganda and subject to frequent breakdown. Almost all of
the maladies of the developing world are represented here. Residents
are subject to water and food-borne illnesses such as typhoid,
hepatitis, cholera, worms, amoebiasis, giardia and bacterial
dysentery. Malaria is epidemic in Kampala and throughout Uganda.
Malaria prophylaxis is strongly recommended for all U.S. Mission
personnel and their family members. All Mission houses are screened
and bed nets are available from GSO.
Preventive Measures Last Updated: 2/26/2004 6:25 AM
Everyone covered under the Department of State's medical program
must have an updated medical clearance prior to assignment to
Uganda. Individuals with limited medical clearance for medical
conditions requiring medical follow up should have post approval
from MED prior to assignment to Kampala.
Recommended immunizations for children include all the standard
pediatric immunizations of diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio,
measles, mumps, rubella, hemophilus B, hepatitis B, pneumococcal as
well as hepatitis A, typhoid and preexposure rabies for toddlers and
above. Adults should be current on all the recommended
immunizations. Malaria prophylaxis is recommended.
Additionally, clothes that cover the body and insect repellant
for older children and adults are important to decrease exposure to
the malaria carrying mosquitoes.
The Embassy provides and maintains water distillers in each home.
Bottled water is provided in offices. Factory bottled soft drinks
and juices are generally safe. Milk is sold in sealed containers and
is generally safe. Standard recommendations for preparing fresh
fruits, vegetables, and meats apply here. Washing, soaking and
peeling and/or thoroughly cooking are mandatory to minimize
bacterial and parasitic contamination. Meat and fish bought from
recommended vendors are considered safe.
Car accidents are the primary causes of severe injury to
foreigners living in Uganda. Defensive driving and use of seatbelts
are strongly encouraged. Use of motorcycles is strongly discouraged.
Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 2/2/2004 5:32
Employment on the local economy is not practical, but spouses can
sometimes find jobs teaching at Makerere University or other
educational institutions such as the Lincoln International School
and Kabira International School. Although finding employment with
private organizations is difficult, the increasing number of
development assistance projects, international NGOs, and research
projects, have resulted in some jobs for people with skills in
nursing, social work, project management, and evaluation. The
Embassy has quite a few jobs for EFMs. In addition, all FSN jobs are
now open to EFMs under PSA Plus. Request information on specific
employment opportunities before arriving at post.
Artists will find a good market for business here though one must
bring all necessary supplies and materials.
American Embassy - Kampala
Post City Last Updated: 2/2/2004 5:32 AM
Kampala, a city built on seven hills, began as a settlement near
the Kabaka's palace at Mengo. In the 20th century, it has developed
into the largest city in Uganda, dominating the country's political
and economic life. The current population in the capital is around a
million inhabitants. Kampala was granted the status of a city during
Uganda's independence celebrations in October 1962. Before that the
capital was Entebbe.
Except for the city center itself, the seven hills on which
Kampala lies are covered with shady trees and subsistence crops,
giving it the appearance of an extended village. One of Kampala's
attractive features is its tropical lushness. Kampala has everything
a busy capital could offer — congested streets, heaps of shops,
immense Hindu temples, churches, mosques, embassies, street markets
and stalls, the high court and government buildings — and modern and
old style are chaotically mixed together.
The American Embassy building is located a few miles away from
the city center, in the Nsambya district.
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 2/2/2004 5:34 AM
The Mission is spread over six different buildings, the Chancery,
USAID Mission, USAID Executive Office/Warehouse, GSO/Warehouse,
Peace Corps and CDC. The American Embassy is located on 1577 Ggaba
Road (tel.: 256-41-259791, FAX 256-41-259794). The Chancery is a new
building, officially opened in 2001. In the Chancery are DAO and
State Executive, Political, Economic, IPC, Admin, Human Resources,
Budget, CLO, Health Unit, Mailroom, Public Diplomacy, Consular, and
RSO Sections. Travel agency and bank representatives also provide
services within the Chancery. The Ambassador is the Chief of
GSO and USAID executive offices are immediately adjacent to each
other in the Industrial Area. The GSO/Warehouse is located at 63/67
Spring Road. The warehouse and offices were renovated in 2002. The
USAID Executive Section/Warehouse is located at 6 Spring Road and
features a suite of newly constructed offices and two warehouse
The USAID Mission is located at 42 Nakasero Road, (tel: 235879/
241521/ 242896; FAX 233417). The USAID Administrative Unit is
located at 6 Spring Road (tel.: 243317/ 242402; FAX 233308). The
Mission Director is the head of USAID.
The Peace Corps offices are located at Plot 6 McKinnon Road,
Nakasero (tel.: 256-41-348-506). The Country Director is the head of
CDC is located at Plot 53-59, Nakiwogo Rd.,Uganda Virus Research
Institute, Entebbe (tel.: 256-41-320776). The Country Director is
the head of CDC Uganda.
The Embassy and USAID follow a 4 and a half-day work week,
working 7:30-4:45 Monday-Thursday with a half-hour lunch and
7:30-12:30 on Friday. CDC and Peace Corps follow the traditional
Most Americans enter Uganda by air, connecting through Europe
and/or Nairobi. Entebbe Airport is 22 miles southwest of Kampala
over a good asphalt road. Limited public or private transportation
is available from the airport to Kampala. Due to the distance, it is
important that all personnel notify the Embassy of their exact
travel plans so that they may be met and assisted at the airport.
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 2/2/2004 5:35 AM
Employees usually move directly into their quarters upon arrival.
If housing is not ready, new employees are assigned temporary
housing. GSO issues a Welcome Kit that provides basic needs such as
towels, bedding, tableware, cooking items, and supplies to meet
immediate cleaning needs until household effects (HHE) arrive.
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 3/25/2004 9:05 AM
Housing is pre-assigned to incoming employees by the Interagency
Housing Board. Employees may not find or choose their own housing,
though they may appeal their assignment after arrival at post.
Housing appeals will be considered by the Housing Board using
criteria listed in the Post Housing Handbook.
All employees are provided with fully furnished houses, including
lawns and gardens. Given Kampala’s climate, gardens grow all year.
The Embassy supplies basic lawn and garden tools, but employees must
maintain their lawn, garden, and shrubbery. For the gardening
enthusiast, this is one of the best opportunities in the Foreign
Service to have a beautiful garden. Houses approach American
standards; most have a living room, dining room, kitchen, sufficient
bedrooms and baths, storage space, garage, and servants' quarters.
Many also have patios and porches. Houses are currently provided
24-hour guard service.
The Ambassador’s home and DCM’s residence have swimming pools
that are open to the official Embassy community. There are tennis
courts and a community pool at the American Recreation Association.
Furnishings Last Updated: 2/2/2004 5:36 AM
Houses are furnished with carpeting and draperies in addition to
the regular complement of sofas, tables, chairs, etc. Master
bedrooms have queen-size beds, and all other bedrooms are furnished
with twin beds. The Embassy provides some garden furniture.
Employees must supply their own table linens, bedding, cooking
utensils, small kitchen appliances, towels and other bathroom items,
tableware, wall decorations, and lightweight bed linens.
Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 2/2/2004 5:37 AM
The Embassy supplies every house with an American-model
refrigerator, freezer, electric stove, washer, dryer, vacuum
cleaner, microwave, water distiller, water heaters, and some
stepdown transformers. Air-conditioners are provided in all master
bedrooms. The Embassy is presently expanding the number of air
conditioning units it places in each home. Many of the bedrooms have
ceiling fans. Every house has a generator capable of powering the
entire property. Each house is provided a telephone. Most houses
have both bathtubs and showers.
The electrical current in Kampala is officially 240v, 50 cycles.
The voltage can fluctuate wildly, from 100v to 400v for prolonged
periods. Most homes are equipped with large voltage stabilizers,
which boost electricity when the power is low, and provide limited
protection against power surges. However, many surges and blackouts
are beyond the capacity of the stabilizers and can burn out
Stereo systems must be capable of adapting to 50 cycles. Parts
and services in Kampala are expensive so any modification should be
undertaken prior to shipment. It would be wise to invest in
protective voltage regulators or cutout switches for any valuable
electrical items such as stereo components and computers. These can
be bought locally. Because of impurities in the water, water-use
equipment has a short lifespan.
Food Last Updated: 2/26/2004 6:28 AM
Fresh fruits and vegetables abound in the markets in and around
Kampala. Fresh vegetables such as green beans, peppers, cabbage,
lettuce, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, and cucumbers are
always in stock. White button mushrooms are imported from South
Africa and can usually be found, as can locally grown oyster
mushrooms. Most tropical fruits (passion fruit, pineapple, bananas,
papaya, and mangoes) are also plentiful, as are avocados. Lemons,
limes, and juice oranges are available. Grapes and apples are
available in selected shops. Pears, peaches, kiwi, and other exotic
fruits are sometimes available in Shoprite, a large supermarket near
the Embassy. Fresh beef, pork, poultry, mutton, goat, and eggs are
plentiful. Good quality freshwater fish (tilapia and Nile perch) is
available. Lamb, pork- sausages, bacon, ham, and frozen and smoked
fish can usually be found in butcher shops. Seafood (shrimp,
lobster, calamari) is expensive and available frozen only.
Milk and milk products are readily available in Uganda. Many are
imported and many are processed in Uganda. Among these are:
pasteurized milk (fresh, long life, evaporated or dried), ice cream,
cheese (cheddar, yellow/ jack, mozzarella, cream), butter (fresh,
canned), margarine (canned), and baby formula. Shoprite imports good
quality South African ice cream, cheese, and yogurt at reasonable
prices. Uchumi, a large Kenyan chain near the residential area of
Kololo, carries low cost, good quality local and Kenyan dairy
Good quality Ugandan and Kenyan coffee and tea are in plentiful
supply. Also available are flour, salt, sugar, cooking oil, spices,
pasta, rice and a variety of Asian foods and condiments. In fact,
almost all foods are now available in local shops — from pitted
olives to rice wine vinegar to Heinz ketchup. Good quality South
African wines are readily available, as is local and imported beer.
Some specialty markets and delicatessens import fruits (grapes,
nectarines), cheeses (Brie, blue, Parmesan, ricotta), and cold cuts
(salami, paté, pancetta) that are not regularly available in
Kampala. The prices are usually a bit high but quality is good.
Several bakeries bake bread but quality is low in all but one shop (Vasili’s
in downtown Kampala). Brown bread is available but not usually whole
grain or any specialty breads. A bread machine and bread mixes
should be brought if anyone in the family has a fondness for
specialty bread. Imported cereals are available but choice is
limited. Many at post purchase food from Netgrocer and other on-line
vendors, but mainly go for specifically American products such as
chocolate chips, brownie mix, frosting, and favorite snack foods.
Consumable shipments could include gourmet items such as artichoke
hearts, Mexican foods, American canned soups, pancake and maple
syrup, American peanut butter, artificial sweeteners, pet food and
diet sodas (diet soda is very expensive in Uganda).
Frozen foods — pizza, fish, french fries and frozen vegetables -
can be found at both Shoprite and Uchumi, as well as at other
A small commissary at the American Recreation Association
currently stocks spirits, wines, snack food, and a small selection
of frozen, packaged and canned goods. The selection is limited as so
much is now available on the local market.
The Embassy has a full-service cafeteria in the Chancery serving
breakfast, lunch and snacks. It is available to all Mission
Personnel. USAID operates a canteen at both buildings.
Clothing Last Updated: 2/26/2004 6:30 AM
Lightweight summer apparel is suitable dress for Kampala.
Clothing and shoes for the entire family sometimes can be bought in
local shops, but the selection and size range are spotty. Bring a
complete wardrobe. Local shops carry an assortment of cloth such as
Kitenge designs and beautiful cotton prints. Local markets carry an
abundance of second hand American and European clothes. A sewing
machine with accessories and patterns would be a good item to bring.
Some women have had success with local seamstresses.
Weather in Nairobi and South Africa is much cooler than in
Kampala, especially during the winter when it can get quite cold.
Most Embassy staff make a few trips to Nairobi or South Africa, so
bring warm clothing if you are planning a side trip during that
Men Last Updated: 2/26/2004 6:30 AM
Men usually wear suits and ties to work and to semi-formal
occasions. Most evening activities require only smart casual dress.
A light jacket is suitable for evening wear. Bring comfortable
natural fiber clothing for general wear.
Women Last Updated: 2/26/2004 6:31 AM
In general, women wear suits or other business appropriate attire
to work. Most events in Kampala require nice casual clothes. Bring
slacks, jeans, cotton skirts, and blouses for day wear; cocktail
dresses and a few dresses for evening wear; and raincoats and
umbrellas for rainy days. A sweater, shawl, or light jacket is
sometimes needed for cool evenings and rainy days. Shorts are
usually not worn in the city, although they are becoming more common
in the neighborhoods where expats live. Local culture also
appreciates the wearing of a skirt or dress in outlying villages.
Children Last Updated: 2/26/2004 6:31 AM
Children at schools dress casually (with exception of Kabira,
which requires a school uniform). Both boys and girls wear T-shirts
and shorts; teenagers prefer jeans and slacks. It is useful to bring
light jackets for rainy days and a good supply of sports shoes and
socks in increasing sizes. Swimsuits tend to get a lot of wear.
Darker colored clothing might be more practical for active children
as the red soil is difficult to wash out. Bring hats to protect
children from sunburn. Plan to bring all necessary baby items
(clothing, shoes, hats, diapers, etc.).
Supplies and Services
Supplies Last Updated: 2/26/2004 6:34 AM
Ship a large supply of toilet articles to post. All medicines and
toiletries are available, but specific brands or makeup colors may
be impossible to find. Bring an ample supply of whatever
over-the-counter medicines you may need, such as antihistamines,
nose drops, or contact lens solutions, or arrange for a pharmacist
to send them to you through the pouch. Remember that it is not
possible to ship glass or liquid through the pouch so it is best to
ship these types of items in your consumables shipment. Locally
produced cleaning supplies are available but many find these less
desirable than American-made items. Good quality laundry detergent
is not available, nor is Woolite. Local diapers are expensive and
not as high quality as in the U.S., and the cost of local babywipes
is astronomical. The local toilet paper is rough and single-ply.
Bring toys for children, computer games, books, greeting cards,
playing cards, and ample supplies for entertaining such as party
favors, paper napkins and towels, and paper plates. It is possible
to buy party supplies in local shops but they are more expensive
than in the U.S. Local wrapping supplies (cling wrap, waxed paper)
are not high quality. Sporting equipment is difficult to find and
expensive. Bring or plan to order golf and tennis balls, gloves,
etc. Binoculars are extremely useful when going on safaris or simply
birdwatching in the neighborhood.
Basic Services Last Updated: 3/26/2004 5:38 AM
Public drycleaning services are open at the Uchumi supermarket
and at the Sheraton Hotel. Several others are located downtown.
Prices are similar to drycleaning in the U.S. Quality has been
fairly good, though some mishaps have been reported. A few reputable
hair salons in Kampala serve both men and women.
Special order through a U.S. electronics dealer a repair manual
(or schematic diagram) for your video equipment. These run about $35
to $40 each. A number of technicians can repair TVs and VCRs but
they are not familiar with American equipment or replacement parts.
Repair is better, and replacement parts are easier to order if you
can provide a schematic diagram with parts numbers.
Many nurseries in town sell seedlings and young trees. Among the
many tropical plants available are bougainvillea, frangipani,
dahlias, gardenias, canna lilies, and garden flowers, such as
marigolds, geraniums, and impatiens. However, for an enthusiastic
gardener, the selection is limited. For a better selection of seeds
for garden flowers or vegetables make a trip to a local nursery in
the U.S. or just pack a large selection from your local Walmart. The
pouch authorities often stop orders from the seed catalogs as it is
an agricultural product so it is best to ship seeds with your HHE.
Most bulbs also grow well in Uganda. Do not attempt asparagus as the
weather is not cold enough, but most vegetables and herbs grow
Computers and other electronic equipment are often damaged due to
power surges. To prevent a complete loss of equipment it is wise to
use a voltage stabilizer and uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for
each item. Sometimes several items can be put on one power strip,
depending on the voltage requirements of the equipment and output of
the stabilizer and UPS. American and Ugandan electrical cycles
differ so be careful not to purchase a UPS that is sensitive to
cycle changes. Several computer repair and supply facilities service
IBM, Apple, and others. Most facilities have a limited stock of
diskettes and ink cartridges. Other supplies and repair parts can be
ordered from Nairobi, Dubai, or the U.S.
Unfortunately, Kampala does not have a huge range of shops
selling crafts and other items of interest, but nevertheless, it can
offer some wonderful finds. There are a few art galleries that
occasionally sell excellent local artist's painting and sculptures.
Artwork can also be bought from the artists directly or at the
openings of exhibitions. Craft items are mostly brought from Kenya
and sold at the craft market at the National Theatre. You can
purchase batiks, baskets, carvings, folk art and jewelry. A lot of
African "antiques" can be bought right in the driveway of your
residence as the Congolose traders bring their wares to the house.
They sell a variety of high-quality and fairly expensive items such
as wooden dance masks, various ceremonial carvings of wood and hippo
bone, and textiles from Congo and West Africa. In addition, the
schools and ARA host bazaars where many local vendors sell their
Parking at post is convenient and at no charge. Around town,
parking on the street is available for a small charge. All
restaurants have protected and free parking.
Domestic Help Last Updated: 2/26/2004 6:41 AM
Household help is readily available and cheap by U.S. standards.
Most households employ staff as dust accumulates quickly and food
preparation is time consuming. Most Embassy personnel pick up
domestic staff from other officers leaving post. Finding suitable
help is generally not a problem as these jobs are highly sought
after. Mission employees seem to pay their employees more than the
minimum wage prescribed by the Ugandan Government. Individual
allowances concerning transportation fees, housing, health benefits,
etc., are open to negotiation.
Domestic help should be supervised to ensure work meets
standards. Some elementary instruction and oftentimes repeated
detailed explanations may be necessary, even to supposedly
experienced staff. Some china and glassware breakage is to be
expected, and food may disappear. Punctuality tends to be poor. Both
male and female Ugandans will cook and clean house. Although cooking
abilities are very basic, most household staff are eager to learn
and willing to improve their skills. A few housemaids have been
trained to be real cooks and are able to prepare a variety of
western and eastern dishes. Gardeners are also readily available for
general lawn and yard maintenance.
Ugandans are generally polite and tolerant; speaking softly is a
sign of respect. Most have elementary level education and
complicated tasks — for example, the proper handling of electrical
appliances - have to be explained calmly in great detail.
The average household employs a combination cook-housekeeper, a
gardener, and a nanny if small children are present. As the local
flora overgrows in a matter of a week, employing a gardener is a
necessity. Most household help live in semi-detached or detached
"servants’ quarters." The Embassy provides day- and night-guards for
Religious Activities Last Updated: 2/2/2004 5:55 AM
Many religions are represented in Kampala: Baha’i, Islam, Hindu,
Christian, and animist. The Christian churches include Anglican,
Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Baptist, Seventh-Day Adventist, the
Church of God, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
(Mormons), and International Christian Fellowship. English services
are scheduled at specific times during the days of worship.
At Post Last Updated: 2/26/2004 6:46 AM The Lincoln International
School of Uganda (LISU), a private co-educational institution
assisted by the Department of State's Overseas Schools Program,
provides a good academic program for children. The schoolyear runs
from mid-August to mid-June. It is accredited from kindergarten
through grade 12 and is open both to Ugandan and expatriate
children. The school's instruction is similar to that of U.S. public
schools, but also provides instruction toward an International
Baccalaureate degree. All basic subjects are taught following an
international curriculum. In addition, physical education, French,
art, computers, and local music and culture are offered. A total of
28 full-time qualified teachers serve the needs of the almost 300
children. The school is in a lovely new compound about 15 minutes
outside of Kampala on Entebbe Road, with a well-stocked library,
science laboratories, an Olympic-sized pool, indoor football field
and outdoor track. There are a number of after-school activities
available, as well as leagues for baseball and soccer. Parents are
expected to participate in coaching if their child is on a team. The
school provides a school bus service and a late bus service for
students with after-school activities. Lincoln is able to provide
services for students with mild learning disabilities. It also
offers English as a Second Language.
The Kabira International School opened in August 1993 and follows
a British curriculum. Kabira currently offers classes from
pre-kindergarten through grade 8, and was accredited by the Council
of International Schools in 2004. The facilities at school include a
library, swimming pool, grassed and shaded playing areas, a school
farm and a computer lab. An extensive range of after-school
activities is offered, such as swimming, drama, cricket, football,
horseback riding, batik and other crafts.
The Acorns School is an English day care facility for children
aged 12 months to 6 years. Kissifur Pre-Kindergarten has places for
children from 1 to 6 years. Ambrosoli International School (also
known as the Italian School) takes children from 2 to 13 years. All
of the above-mentioned schools are located in the main diplomatic
residential areas and are primarily used for preschool-aged
children. Some schools have summer play camps, usually in July and
August. There is also a French School, run by the French Embassy.
Several Mission children attend a Christian school called Heritage,
not far from the downtown area. Parents have been pleased with the
Although outside of school there are not too many activities
available, most children enjoy spending the majority of their time
playing outside or going to friends' houses, most of whom have
spacious yards. Kampala Kids League is open for children aged 5-14
interested in soccer, baseball and basketball. The International Boy
Scouts has weekly meetings for boys between 7 and 10, and offers
frequent excursions and camping. An expatriate tutor offers ballet
lessons. Horseback riding and sailing lessons are also popular
hobbies among kids. Some children enjoy art and drawing lessons
given by local artists.
Away From Post Last Updated: 5/31/2003 6:00 PM Parents are
generally happy about the education and activities at post for
grades K-8. Many have been equally satisfied with the education and
activities for older children, but some parents have chosen to send
their children to boarding schools in the U.S., Europe and Kenya for
both scholastic and social reasons.
Recreation and Social Life
Sports Last Updated: 2/26/2004 6:48 AM
Uganda is a good post for a sports lover and an outdoors person.
Several sports clubs welcome Americans as members. The American
Recreation Association has gym, sauna, tennis and swimming
facilities as well as squash and darts. A small commissary, video
library, restaurant with catering capabilities and weekend manicure
and pedicure services are conveniently located at the ARA. The ARA
sponsors several tennis tournaments each year as well as bridge
tourneys and monthly special functions. Joining fees for Embassy
officers are $1 and annual dues are $100. The Kabira Club, next to
Kabira School, is close to the residential neighborhood of Kololo.
It has a large and modern gym, pool, tennis courts, and a
restaurant. Annual fees range from $800-$1,250.
Golf is popular in Uganda. The Uganda Golf Club has an 18-hole
golf course and dart facilities with an outdoor snack bar. Collared
shirts, socks, trousers or regulation length shorts are required.
The process of joining may seem daunting but in reality has been
successfully negotiated by families in the Embassy. Many Mission
staff play golf at an 18-hole course in Entebbe. Rules are not as
strict there, the pace is relaxed for novice players and there are
only infrequent competitions which often preclude social golf at the
Uganda Golf Club. Memberships in sports clubs in Kampala are
relatively inexpensive. Bring golf clubs, rackets, balls, swimming
gear, and other sports equipment needed.
The Embassy has a 21-foot fiberglass powerboat moored on Lake
Victoria. All Mission personnel are welcome to use this boat on the
basis of availability by submitting a request to GSO. Users pay the
boat captain's overtime (he is a motorpool driver) and gasoline
expenses. Employees may also go fishing on Lake Victoria in Gaba and
Jinja, approximately 8 and 50 miles respectively, from Kampala. Two
sailing clubs, whose members are primarily British, offer sailing
and boating activities on Lake Victoria. Entebbe Sailing Club is a
private members club with recreational sailing, racing, fishing and
swimming pool. Victoria Nyanza Sailing Club, located in a
picturesquely secluded part of the lakeside, offers recreational
sailing, racing and instructional courses several times a year. The
club has lasers and dinghies for hire. Camping is also available
there. Sailboats are sometimes offered for sale at the two sailing
clubs. A recent popular attraction, clay pigeon shooting, is
available at a range not far from Kampala.
The Hash House Harriers run every Monday evening. Soccer, rugby
and cricket are played locally and welcome spectators and
participants. A Scottish country dance group meets weekly and
welcomes newcomers. Horseback riding at Speke Equestrian Center
(about 10 minutes from the Embassy) is also available. World class
whitewater rafting on the Nile with its legendary class 5 rapids is
a worthwhile and unforgettable experience even for a seasoned
rafter. Boogie boarding on the Nile is reserved for the bravest of
the brave. The rafting companies organize longer trips involving
camping by arrangement.
Major hotels offer gym and health club memberships either on a
daily or yearly basis. Though walking or jogging on Kampala streets
is not encouraged, there are tracks and parks that allow safer
Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 3/25/2004 9:07 AM
The Kenya Highlands to the east and the Mountains of the Moon in
southwestern Uganda provide a change from Kampala's weather. Cold
weather gear for an extended trek to the higher altitudes may be
useful. An 8 to 10 hour drive takes you to either place.
Accommodations in Uganda are basic but improving.
Uganda has seven national parks rich in flora and fauna. Members
of the Embassy community frequently organize visits to these parks.
All are accessible by high clearance 4x4 wheel drive vehicles.
Numerous tour companies in Kampala can also put trips together both
within Uganda and to neighboring countries.
Lake Mburo National Park is 3-1/2 hours south of Kampala on an
excellent tarmac road and offers views of impala, zebra, topi,
hippo, and buffalo. Further south is Queen Elizabeth National Park,
located on the western edge of the Great Rift Valley. It has large
mammals such as lion, elephant, hippo, buffalo, Uganda kob, topi,
and is also well known for its profusion of bird life. Accommodation
is excellent, if expensive, at a safari lodge in the park.
Northwest of the Queen Elizabeth Park, and sometimes visible on a
clear day, are the Rwenzori Mountains or, as they are better known
internationally, the Mountains of the Moon. The Rwenzori National
Park is one of the few places on the planet where glaciers can be
found on the equator. Trained guides and porters are available to
take hikers on 3- to 10-day climbs into the mountains.
Unfortunately, from time to time this area is prohibited to Embassy
staff due to insurgency movements.
The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park south of Queen
Elizabeth National Park is the richest forest in Uganda in terms of
plant, mammal, bird, and butterfly species. It has about 320
mountain gorillas or slightly more than half of the world's gorilla
population. Guides are trained to lead gorilla tour hikes.
Accommodations in the park is excellent.
Further south, on the Uganda/Zaire/Rwanda border is the Mgahinga
National Park. It comprises the northern slopes of three of the
Virunga volcanoes. It is quite scenic and is an important sanctuary
for the mountain gorilla and the golden monkey. To the northwest
lies Murchison Falls National Park, with its renowned waterfall. The
big game population there is returning, and elephant, hippo, lion,
giraffe, and water buck are seen in increasing numbers. Murchison
Falls NP boasts unique habitats and superb bird viewing (including
the elusive shoebill). Top quality accommodation facilities exist.
Kidepo National Park to the northeast can be reached by air and
features some of the most scenic views in Uganda. Unfortunately,
from time to time security in these lovely areas is unpredictable or
Of the 9,000 bird species in Africa 1,000 are found in Uganda,
making it a bird-watchers paradise. Even those not previously drawn
to this activity find themselves interested by the profusion of the
marvelous birds in all these locales, including your own backyard.
Mombasa and Malindi, on the Indian Ocean in Kenya, are 2 days
away by car or several hours by air. There are many pleasant beach
accommodations and tourist attractions. Kenya and Tanzania offer
many fine game parks, the closest being Masai Mara, approximately a
10-hour drive from Kampala. The islands of Madagascar, Lamu,
Zanzibar, Mauritius, and the Seychelles are also pleasant places to
visit. Frequent air service from Nairobi reaches the coastal
resorts, as well as most East African capitals and larger towns.
Trips to South Africa are a welcome change of environment for many
Mission employees, and an opportunity to shop and eat in world-class
restaurants. There are daily flights to Johannesburg from Entebbe.
The designated R&R point for Kampala is London, or any point in
the U.S. if you are to spend more than 50% of your leave in the U.S.
Entertainment Last Updated: 3/25/2004 9:09 AM
There are currently two cinemas in Kampala showing first-run
movies, one at the recently built Garden City mall and one downtown.
The Marines also show a recent movie once a week and the ARA also
shows films. The National Theater offers performances in drama,
dance, and songs in both English and the vernacular every weekend.
The Alliance Francaise shows French films with English subtitles on
Fridays, and the German Cultural Center sponsors events from time to
time. Public soccer games are held almost every day from January
through May at Nakivubo Stadium. Golf, tennis, fishing, and sailing
are common entertainments for American and European diplomatic
personnel as well as for many Ugandans. There is a bowling alley in
the Garden City mall which is very popular.
The Uganda Society has monthly lectures, and other social groups
also meet regularly, with interests varying from food and drink, to
architectural preservation, hiking, and wildlife. The Friends of the
National Museum is a group dedicated to partnership activities with
the museum and also has been offering a valuable orientation class
and other events throughout the year. KADS, the Kampala Amateur
Dramatic Society, puts on a Christmas Pantomime and various play
readings and smaller productions throughout the year. KADS is open
to anyone interested in acting, directing, or helping with
productions in other ways. Bridge as well as mahjongg are played by
various groups of expatriates. In addition to a growing number of
restaurants offering cuisine from almost anywhere you wish (Belgian,
Chinese, Ethiopian, Thai, Italian, Greek, and an assortment of
excellent Indian restaurants), there are a number of sports bars
which are frequented by the younger and single set. A few nightclubs
in Kampala provide a different kind of atmosphere and late-night
excitement. The local expatriate community is always dreaming up
events, from costume balls, goat races, Irish dancing, dog shows and
more. There is some type of event almost every weekend.
Social Activities Last Updated: 2/26/2004 7:07 AM
Professional and personal relationships with Ugandans as well as
the growing expatriate community offer many possibilities for social
contacts. Dinner parties, art exhibits (in homes and galleries),
cocktail parties as well as numerous opportunities to dine out are
all present. The ARA hosts occasional special events nights, such as
a Mexican night or a Murder Mystery Dinner. Social activities among
official Americans often take the form of buffet dinner parties or
barbecues at private homes, or dining out at various restaurants.
Because the temperature is so regularly pleasant in the evenings,
all functions and most restaurant seating tend to be outside.
In addition to the Marine Corps Ball and the July Fourth
celebrations, there are also opportunities to celebrate other
national events, with St. Andrew’s, St. George’s and St. Patrick’s
balls among them. Lincoln and Kabira Schools host May Balls for
parents and guests. One of the highlights of the social calendar is
the Royal Ascot Goat Races, held every June.
The International Womens’ Club now numbers about 150 women from
over 40 different nationalities and provides the opportunity to meet
both Ugandan and other expatriate women. The Club holds regular
monthly meetings, usually with a speaker, and other activities such
as craft group, mahjongg, cooking group, book club, a bazaar and
other fund-raising events. It is extremely active and a good place
to become involved in the community and charity work. Membership in
the Uganda Society and the International Wildlife Society also offer
a wide range of activities and international contacts. The Uganda
Society for the Protection of Animals has a strong and dedicated
membership. There are also other international service clubs
including Lions, Rotary, Freemasons, etc., offering additional
opportunities to associate with a variety of people.
Official Functions Last Updated: 2/2/2004 6:09 AM
The Chief of Mission and the DCM are routinely invited to other
embassies for national day festivities. Officers of second secretary
rank and above are usually invited to various Embassy functions
primarily for social purposes.
Special Information Last Updated: 2/2/2004 6:09 AM
Post Orientation Program
The CLO coordinates the post orientation program for new
arrivals. Each person has a sponsor and receives a Welcome Packet
containing information about places of interest, restaurants,
churches, common health hazards, precautions to take while in
Uganda, a map of Kampala, and brief background notes about Uganda.
In addition, all new employees take a tour to learn about all the
agencies within the Mission. The CLO also sponsors orientation
shopping trips around town.
Notes For Travelers
Getting to the Post Last Updated: 2/2/2004 6:10 AM
SN Brussels Air (previously Sabena) operates three direct flights
each week from Brussels and has additional flights via Nairobi and
Bujumbura. British Airways has three direct flights a week from
London. Currently, no American carrier connects from Europe to
Entebbe. Daily flights to and from Nairobi are available on Kenya
UAB should be addressed per instructions in the TMTWO. HHE and
vehicles should be shipped via the European Logistical Support
Office (ELSO) Antwerp. HHE will be sent by airfreight to Entebbe;
expect some delay as airplanes fill up quickly and large shipments
get bumped. If transportation opts for a direct shipment to Kampala,
use air shipment for HHE. Vehicles will be shipped to Mombasa, Kenya
(in containers only), then trucked to Kampala. Expect vehicle
shipment to take 2 months minimum.
Customs, Duties, and Passage
Customs and Duties Last Updated: 2/2/2004 6:11 AM
All direct-hire employees assigned to the Embassy, or USAID
direct hires, are entitled to full, duty-free privileges before
arrival and for the duration of their tour. Since the duty-free
privileges do not extend to members of the family, all items must be
consigned to the employee.
Passage Last Updated: 2/26/2004 7:12 AM
Persons assigned to Kampala with diplomatic passports do not need
a visa. Those with official or personal passports can get an airport
visa for $40. Incoming travelers must possess valid yellow fever
immunization certificates on the World Health Organization's
standard form. If you pass through Nairobi and leave the airport,
you must also have a valid visa for Kenya. These may be purchased in
the Nairobi Airport. The Embassy will handle all necessary paperwork
upon arrival in Kampala.
All incoming employees will be met at Entebbe Airport if they
have cabled their itinerary to the Embassy. If you are not met at
the airport, contact the Embassy for transportation or get onto the
Instant Services airport shuttle and asked to be dropped at the
Embassy. This service is operated by the Embassy travel agency. A
Marine Security Guard is on duty 24 hours daily at the Embassy.
Pets Last Updated: 3/25/2004 9:11 AM
Housing assignments are not made to accommodate pets, although
most homes have sufficient space for them. Employees are reminded
that they are financially responsible for all pet damage and are
also responsible for ensuring that their animals do not become a
Dogs or cats brought to post require no quarantine if documents
are in order and presented upon arrival. Up-to-date rabies
vaccination certificates and a veterinary certificate of health
issued not more than 30 days before arrival are required at the port
of entry. Please notify GSO well in advance if pets will travel as
accompanied or unaccompanied baggage. At the moment there are
several veterinarians used by the community who can perform basic
check-ups, health maintenance and sterilization. Medicines are
generally available, but some supplies such as flea collars must be
brought from the U.S. Filaria is endemic to Uganda, so bring a
two-year supply of heartworm pills. These are obtainable only
through a veterinarian. They cannot be ordered from a pet-supply
store and are not available locally. A word of caution to owners of
elderly or sickly dogs — several dogs in the last several years have
found the local conditions too harsh.
Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 2/2/2004 6:12 AM
Post discourages the importation of any personally owned weapons.
However, any employee who wishes to import a firearm must submit a
written request to the Ambassador through the Regional Security
Office. This request must be submitted and approved before the
shipment of any firearms to post. Each request will be reviewed on
the basis of an employee's need for a firearm, training in handling
and safety with the firearm, and the employee’s ability to secure
the firearm while at post. Should you require further information
concerning the importation of personally owned firearms, please
contact the Regional Security Office.
Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated:
2/26/2004 7:15 AM
Uganda uses a decimal currency of shillings. The largest
denomination note is USH 50,000. Coins are used, the smallest being
10 USH. The current official rate is about $1=USH 1890. Foreign
Exchange (FOREX) rates are readily available at all banks and
exchange offices around town. Uganda uses the metric system of
weights and measures.
Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 3/25/2004
Uganda uses a value-added tax (VAT) which all personnel must pay
but can re-claim through the Uganda Revenue Authority. Post has
arranged duty-free gasoline purchase at selected gas stations. All
personal goods and consumables for both those on and not on the
diplomatic list may enter Uganda exempt from duties and taxes.
Employees may have two duty-free vehicles in Uganda.
All official disbursements for the Embassy, except petty cash,
are made by the U.S. disbursing officer at the Charleston Financial
Service Center (CFSC) in Charleston, South Carolina. Petty cash is
handled by the Embassy cashier. Checks for personal funds can be
cashed by a bank representative in the Embassy. Travelers checks may
be purchased at any of the local banks.
Personnel may sell personal property only during their last 90
days at post and only after the Management Officer approves an
application for the sale. The exchange accommodation of proceeds
from goods sold in Ugandan shillings and approved by the Management
Officer will be processed through FSC Charelston up to the maximum
limit established by post policy.
Recommended Reading Last Updated: 2/26/2004 7:17 AM
These titles are provided as a general indication of the material
published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse
Apter, David E. The Political Kingdom in Uganda. Princeton
University Press: Princeton, 1961.
Avrirgan, Tony and Martha Honey. War in Uganda. The Legacy of Idi
Amin. Lawrence Hill & Co. Inc. Westport, 1981.
Byrnes, Rita M. Ed., Uganda; A Country Study, 2nd Ed.,
Washington, D.C. Library of Congress, 1992.
Gersony, Robert. The Anguish of Northern Uganda, Kampala; USAID
H.B. Hansen and M. Twaddle, eds. Changing Uganda. Ohio University
Press: Athens, 1991.
Ingham, Kenneth. The Making of Modern Uganda. Allen and Unwin:
Ingham, Kenneth. Developing Uganda. Ohio U. Press; Athens, OH,
Jorgensen, Jan Jelmet. Uganda: A Modern History. St. Martin's
Press: New York, 1981.
Mazrui, Ali. Soldiers and Kinsmen in Uganda. Sage: Beverly Hills,
Moorehead, Alan. The White Nile. Harper & Row: New York, 1960.
Museveni, Yoweri. Sowing the Mustard Seed: The Struggle for
Freedom and Democracy in Uganda. London, MacMillan, 1997.
Ofcansky, Thomas P. Uganda, Tarnished Pearl of Africa. Boulder,
Westview Press, 1996.
Omara-Otunnu, Amii. Politics and the Military in
Uganda—1890-1985. New York, St. Martin's Press 1987.
World Bank, Uganda: The Challenge of Growth and Poverty
Reduction, Wash. D.C., World Bank, 1996.
Local Holidays Last Updated: 5/31/2003 6:00 PM
The following local holidays are observed:
New Year's Day Jan 1 Idd-el-Fitr Variable Liberation Day Jan 26
Idd-Adhuha Variable Good Friday Variable Easter Monday Variable
Labor Day May 1 Martyr's Day June 3* Independence Day Oct 9
Christmas Day Dec 25 Boxing Day Dec 26
*Subject to change/announcement.