While I am not a "Ugandan Travel Expert", I have been several times & just wanted to share some of the things I've learned along the way. Below are links to hotels, restaurants, things to do, churches to visit, etc. for traveling to Entebbe, Kampala, Jinja, & Lira, Uganda. Also listed at the end are a few travel tips. For those that have been before, feel free to add your suggestions to my list in the comments below! .....


* Entebbe is fairly close to Kampala – maybe an hour away depending on traffic. 

* Places to Stay: (You can usually arrange for the driver from the guest house to pick you up at the airport as a complimentary service.) 

* Places to Eat

 Several places to eat including Café Javas (one of our faves). There’s even a KFC!



Moses Ketti (Jinja and surrounding areas)
 Cell: 0777888985 

Places to Stay:

 This is also the location of Arise Africa church

  We stayed here while adopting our daughter, Mercy, and I highly recommend it. Rate includes breakfast & laundry but lunch & dinner can be added at an affordable rate. 

 We stayed here when I visited with my friends in June of 2015. It's very nice & the food is amazing. You can also take a tour of the Sole Hope Shoe Factory & they have a small store where you can purchase t-shirts & gear.

*Places to Eat:

I hope this place stays open! They have AMAZING Italian food & gelato!

Java House
This is a new cafe that has a playground for kids!

Yummy ice cream & close to the Sole Hope Guest House

AMAZING food & run by Mary who also cooks for the Sole Hope Guest House
One of our faves!

One of our faves!

One of our faves!

 * Organizations to Visit/Serve With:

They also run The Source Cafe

Places to Shop:

Very large and busy market with amazing produce

Lots of booths to shop on Main Street!

 They also have a bakery! This is a ministry of Providence Guest House and sells only fair trade products. 

 * Churches to Visit:

 This is where most of the muzungus & missionaries attend in Jinja

 Probably our favorite; small and we like the preaching and worship

(I think they are updating their website)

Things to Do/Places to Visit:

Boat ride on the Nile! Definitely a must! My driver friend, Paul Nkenge, can set that up for you -

Hike the Mabira Forest

Ninja Community Yoga

Jinja Nile Resort
This was our favorite place to swim & eat pizza for not a lot of $! It’s SOOO beautiful at the resort with lots of monkeys. (Be careful or they’ll steal your food!) The resort sits a little outside the main part of Jinja so if you take a boda, be ready for it to be about a 15 minute ride & cost a little more, maybe 6,000 shillings p/boda one way.)

Nile Village Hotel
Great place to swim!


* Driver

 UG Cell #’s: +256 772325148 or +256 701 325148 

* Places to Stay:

Herb & Ellen’s (aka Alirikos B&B)
Contact person: Harriet Ssanyu at
Affordable rates that include meals & laundry
It’s also walking distance to a pool, called Noah's Ark, & a little French restaurant that has amazing desserts!

Apricot B&B
Rate includes breakfast. Café Roma is also walking distance.

Jaca Residence

Red Chilli Hideaway

 * Places to Eat:

1000 Cups of Coffee
 1000 Cups is close to Banana Boat & Exposure Africa craft markets. There is also a store close by that sells Bibles. We bought a Luganda Bible for our son, Asher, there once that I think he will appreciate when he’s older.

Café Javas
Lots of locations around Entebbe & Kampala

Café Roma
Amazing pizza & close to Herb & Ellen’s Guest House

The Little Donkey
Great Mexican food!


Jumia Food
This is a great food delivery service! They will deliver food from most local restaurants for only a few dollars. This is a great option if you don’t feel like getting out & can save you $ so you don’t have to pay a driver. ;-)

KFC & Pizza Hut – If you want a little taste of home. I haven’t been brave enough to try it yet but I hear it tastes very similar to what you get in the States ;-)

Le Chateau
Walking distance from Herb & Ellen’s Guest House
Their bakery has amazing treats!

* Churches to Visit:

Calvary Chapel

Gaba Community Church

Kampala International Church

Light of the World Church

Muyenga Baptist Church

One Life Church

Watoto Church
 Must go here at least once!

Worship Harvest

 * Entertainment:

Shopping Malls – There are lots of shopping malls where you can go for fun or most importantly to buy bottled water. The one we used the most was Nakumatt. Acacia Mall is nice & newer.

Markets – We have several favorites…
Friday Market – They by far have the best prices around
National Theater/Uganda Arts & Crafts
Exposure Africa

N’Dere Dance Troupe - A little on the pricey side but so worth going to if you can wing it!

Noah’s Ark – swimming pool walking distance from Herb & Ellen’s Guest House


* Places to Stay:

(This is where we typically stay)

* Places to Eat:


Murchison Falls National Park – If you can afford it, I highly recommend doing the safari, boat ride, & hike. Most people stay at Paraa Lodge but it’s very pricey. There are other more affordable options if you take the time to look. (Francis or Moses would be great drivers to hire for a safari.)

Masindi Hotel - If you go to Murchison Falls, be sure to stop & eat at Masindi Hotel & check out the history behind the hotel, too!


$ - Here is an online currency converter I like but there are apps you can use that you can download if you don’t have wifi. Their currency is shillings so to do an approximate estimate in your head of how much something is I would divide the shillings by 3 so if something is 10,000 shillings, that is the same as about $2.75. 100,000 shillings is about $27. 1,000,000 is about $270. 

Air Conditioning - There is no air-conditioning so be prepared to be hot, especially in closed-up buildings such as churches. Many don’t have walls and are open but some of the larger churches meet in buildings that can get pretty stuffy. 

Airport & visa – When you are on the last plane to Entebbe, you fill fill out paperwork for your visa to enter Uganda. Once you get off the plane, you’ll go to their customs & visa line, turn in your applications, & give them a new $50 bill p/person. 

ATM’s - We opened a Bank of America account and got an ATM card that we could use in Uganda. They have lots of ATM’s but you have to plan accordingly because they usually limit how much $ you can withdraw at one time. Stanbic & Barclay’s are popular banks in Uganda and I heard that Barlay’s is a sister bank to Arvest. A friend of mine said she uses Barclay’s because you can withdraw the most from their machine at one time (2 million shillings). She also said if your ATM card has a chip in it, you can only use Stanbic & Barclay’s banks. 

Bartering - You can barter prices at the market & sellers pretty much expect it. If they say something costs 50,000 shillings (about $14), say, “I can do 35,000.” They will typically say okay or meet you in the middle. Just don’t offer too low of a price which could be insulting but know that they are probably giving you a high muzungu price to start off with. 

Bodas vs. Hiring a Driver – Taking a boda (motorcycle taxi) can save you a lot of $ if you are comfortable riding them. You can fit 2-3 people on one. I would not suggest riding a boda in Kampala just because there’s so much traffic & it’s hard to find a safe one. If you wanted to travel a close distance from your guest house on one, someone at the guest house could probably suggest a driver. We used them all the time in Jinja because it was about 3,000 shillings (less than $1) p/boda one way vs. paying a driver who usually charges by the day. I think in Jinja you might pay around 40,000 shillings (about $11). Kampala drivers charge more – maybe around 80,000 ($22) p/day. If we needed needed to hire a driver, we tried to save a lot of errands for that day – such as going to the grocery store, ATM, etc. After a boda drops you off somewhere, make sure you tell them when to return & get their phone # so you can call them if you need to. 

Cell & WIFI service – Depending on your carrier, you can have your smart phone unlocked before you travel to UG. Then once you arrive, your driver can help you get a sim card at MTN. They have locations all over Uganda & many within walking distance of where you’ll be staying. You will need to buy minutes & add them to your smart phone. I couldn’t do that because I have Sprint. I also did not do an international plan because it was too expensive. I did use my iphone for the internet when I had wifi. Many of the restaurants offer free wifi if you ask. You can also purchase a wireless router fairly inexpensively. You can buy minutes at Africell. We typically would buy a month bundle at a time. I think you could get cell airtime here, too. I’d ask your driver to help you with all of that. ;-) 

Church - Many church services run much longer than a typical American service and can last 2-4 hours. Also, many churches offer several church services. Make sure you attend one that will be in English. ;-) 

Drivers - When hiring a driver, be sure to get their rates up front. If you think it’s too high, you can try bargaining with them. If you have an important appointment, be sure they know it’s important & that you need to be on time. I never had any trouble with the 3 drivers I recommended up above. Moses knows Jinja very well & Francis knows Kampala like the back of his hand. They are both great guys who I would trust for sure. 

Food & Water – Of course only drink bottled water. And use bottled water to brush your teeth. Never rinse with sink water. Some guest houses will serve water. They typically boil & filter it but always ask to make sure. They say only eat cooked foods & drink pasteurized milk. Don’t eat fruits & vegetables that didn’t have an outer skin to peel – so be cautious about eating lettuce or tomatoes. Most guest houses & the nicer restaurants (like the ones I have suggested) are pretty safe to eat most of their foods at. For example, at the Deli in Jinja, I ate their sandwiches with lettuces & tomatoes & drank their smoothies even though they are made with non-pasteurized milk. Just be cautious ;-) 

Guest House food – We have loved the food at our guest houses. Most serve breakfast included in the price but some charge extra for lunch & dinner. Be sure to ask for the rates up front. If you plan on skipping a meal at your guest house, be sure to tell the cook ahead of time so she’ll know not to prepare food for you.

Hotels – You can typically make your reservations online before you leave for Uganda then pay when you get there. Many take American dollars &/or Ugandan shillings. We typically paid by the week. If the rate seems high, you might say, “Is that your best rate?” Some guest houses also offer a missionary rate if you ask for that. 

Mosquitoes – Take bug repellant with you. I always sprayed first thing in the morning if I woke up early & at dusk. It’s a good idea to sleep with your spray on & use your mosquito nets. Most rooms have fans. If yours doesn’t, be sure to ask for some & they’ll get them to you. They are great for keeping mosquitoes away and to help block noise. Of course, they only work when the electricity is working. We also took Malarone daily for our anti-malarial medicine. 

Power plugs & sockets -

- Restaurants - It’s not unusual to wait at least an hour for your food when you order at a restaurant so bring snacks or go when you’re not starving! ;-) 

- Safety - Find a place in your room at your guest house to hide your $ and never leave it out in the open. When you are out and about, don’t take a large purse. Keep your money in a money belt or small purse that you can keep close. When you are riding in a car, keep your phone & belongings close by because someone could reach in & run off with your things. And try to avoid being out at dark.

Sickness – If you get sick while in Uganda & need to see a doctor, ask your driver to take you to a muzungu clinic. A visit to the doctor is usually pretty inexpensive & so is medicine. You don’t even have to have a prescription to get medicine at a pharmacy.

- Street kids – You’ll probably see lots of street kids begging for $, especially in Kampala. It is suggested that you don’t give them $ because they usually have to hand it over to their caregiver who will use it for alcohol. It’s best just to roll up your window & wave then look away – as harsh as that may seem. 


- Toilet paper
- Your passport
- Snacks
- Bottled water
- Shillings
- Contact info of drivers, boda drivers, emergency contacts
- Hand sanitizer
- Small container of wet wipes
- Keys to your room
- Phone/Camera

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