Team Sseko US recently had a chance to visit Uganda for the first time! Our colleagues, who’d spent a lot of time in Uganda, shared so many travel tips and guidance with us before we embarked on our adventure—so the trip went by very smoothly! For anyone looking to go to Uganda, we thought we’d help you out by putting together a list of our top tips for traveling there. From must-see locations to food you HAVE to try to what you want to make sure to avoid, here are some Uganda Travel Tips we picked up along the way!
1. Go on Safari
This is at the top of our list because you CANNOT go to Uganda without going on a safari! We suggest checking out Murchison Falls National Park. The best time to go is at sunrise, since that’s when most of the animals are out! You can expect to see everything from giraffes to lions to elephants to hyenas! We hired a driver with an open vehicle to take us into the park, and then you pick up a safari guide when you enter the park. (Also, if you’re looking for a place to stay, we recommend getting a Banda at Red Chili!
2. Take a Boda-Boda
Not going to lie, we were SUPER nervous about taking these for-hire motorcycles around the crazy-busy city of Kampala. But once we felt the breeze flowing in our hair and realized how much quicker travel is on one of these, we were sold. We suggest calling Safe Boda (which give you your own helmet).
3. Have dinner at a Ugandan’s home
(If you can get an invite, of course!) But the best meal we had on the trip was when Auntie Jenifer invited us into her home for a Uganda feast. Her daughter Maureen cooked all day in preparation, and we enjoyed all of the best Uganda food: chapati, “Irish” potatoes, cabbage slaw, cilantro & tomato stew, and BBQ chicken. It was also a nice opportunity to connect with Auntie on a more personal level—she opened up about her past, and we learned just how strong of a woman she is.
4. As a guest, Always bring food
On that note, if you are invited to someone’s house for dinner or tea (Ugandans love tea—black tea with lots of sugar), we were told never to show up empty-handed. Always bring food—fresh fruit, chapati or crackers are easy ideas.
5. Chairman = Boyfriend
And Ugandan women love to make jokes about their chairmen! The women on our team were some of the most spirited, bold and hilarious women I’ve met. They love to laugh and joke around, and most of the talk is around dating, husbands, their babies—and food!
6. Dress Conservatively, and Wear Layers
Uganda is SO warm. (It is on the Equator after all!) But as much as you’ll be tempted to put on a small dress like you might here, it’s important to keep your legs covered. It’s disrespectful to show your knees (and you’ll get a lot of stares if you do!) so we suggest long, loose trousers and skirts or dresses instead. Jeans were honestly fine, too! If you’re going in rainy season, like we did (March-May, Oct-Nov), you’ll want to make sure you have layers, including a rain coat and maybe even a pair of galoshes. It would downpour each night while we were sleeping, and some days stay rainy throughout the day as well. We learned quickly to be ready for anything!
7. Eat a Rolex!
AKA HEAVEN ON EARTH. Short for “rolled eggs”, a Rolex is essentially fried eggs, rolled up in chapati, and sometimes has tomato, onion or pepper thrown in as well. It’s greasy, but oh-so-good. You can find it in the mornings at roadside stands…but sweet Josephine was kind enough to pick up some for us one day! (PS: If you want to try making your own, we have an awesome recipe on the blog, here: ROLEX RECIPE.
8. White Water Raft on the Nile (But Be Warned!)
Go to Jinja. And go white water rafting. It’s a couple hour trip from Kampala, and you can do a full day of rafting ON THE NILE! In one day, we tackled 10 Class 5 rapids! We recommend going through Nile River Explorers, because they also equip you with a delicious Rolex and have the most hilarious guides. (One of them fell in love with our very own Bri. (We don’t blame him.)
9. It’s you. You’re the Mzungu.
If you’re wondering why everyone in the market is yelling ‘mzungu’, it’s because they’re talking about you. ‘Mzungu’ means foreigner, and you’ll hear it a lot on your trip. No one is harassing about it though, it generally felt like more of a joke!
10. Stop by the Travel Clinic beforehand
On a more practical level, you’re going to need to make sure you’ve got health covered while you’re there! Ugandan entry requires that you have the Yellow Fever Vaccine (and specifically, the yellow card that proves it). We got checked for it on the way in! You’ll also want to make sure you take malaria pills, get some Cipro to be safe, and get several other vaccinations for good measure.
PLUS: Visit Sseko in Kampala!
At Sseko Uganda, we have an open door policy. We love visitors! So feel free to swing on by if you’re in Uganda sometime soon, we would love to show you around and have you meet the team. For us the highlight of the trip by far was actually SEEING how the sandals & accessories are made! Even though we’d worked at Sseko for years and had seen countless photos, there is something incredible in watching the craftsmanship involved in the process, and the pride that our team takes in their work. (If you’re interested in visiting, shoot a note to [email protected] for info.)