Travel tips and advice for those travelling to Uganda in Africa to undertake voluntary work at Uganda Lodge. If you have other questions please contact us here.
Complete an initial application form here
Arrange suitable travel insurance
Ask your GP or travel clinic about the sort of inoculations that you might need
Pay for your stay at Uganda lodge in full
Consider fundraising for one of our community projects
Your International flight arrives at Entebbe International Airport. If you make it clear that you are volunteering you should be eligible for special Charity Flights through Ian Allan (01932 255605), Diversity Travel (0161 235 5400) or Key Travel (0207 843 9600). Their flights are FLEXIBLE so it’s easy to change your return and stay longer. They generally offer our volunteers a discount, and if you are flying with BA you can take three bags of luggage for free. This means we can take out many more uniforms books and toys etc for our children. BA is the airline of choice being the only non-stop flight from the UK to Entebbe. It is not always the cheapest, even with the charity discounts, but we are getting many delays, missed connections and lost luggage with some other airlines such as Ethiopian, Oman, Gulf, Turkish & Egypt Air. This can be really frustrating especially if you are only on a 2 or 3 week trip. Other Airlines flying to Entebbe are Emirates, Brussels, KLM and Kenya Airways.
Note: If you miss your flight or your flight is delayed please contact Denis Aheirwe in Uganda on +256 752536197 or +256 774768090 (or, Ann on +44 7867513588)
It is essential that you have comprehensive insurance. We suggest that at the very least you take out a policy to cover medical expenses and repatriation should you become ill.
www.moneysavingexpert.com is a good place to look. Make sure you have the emergency number for your insurance company; in a real emergency, we know the Nairobi Flying Doctor service can land their aeroplane within an hour’s travel by ambulance from the Lodge.
You will need a tourist visa to enter Uganda. This can be obtained in advance at the Uganda High Commission in London; for further information please visit their website.
Alternatively if you have a return air ticket, a 3 month tourist visa can generally be obtained at Entebbe Airport for most nationalities. The current fee is either £30 or $50 depending on current exchange rates; it’s a good idea to have the exact money (in notes) as they can rarely find change! (Please check the rate before travel.)
We suggest you that you carry a few $1 dollar notes for emergency such as delays in foreign airports en-route!! Take as much cash sterling as you are comfortable carrying in clean newish £20 notes (or Dollars or Euros if not from UK). It is NOT NECESSARY to change sterling into dollars. You cannot get Ugandan Shillings outside of the country. There is an ATM and money exchange bureau in the airport terminal after you have collected your baggage however your pick-up driver will stop at a 24 hour Money Exchange Bureaux in Kampala on request. Please note that you will get a better rate for cash in Kampala than waiting till you get to the Ruhanga and try bargaining on the listed exchange rate – it sometimes works! Its fluctuates and currently its about 4,000 ugx to £1 and 2,500ush to one USD. Please note that outside major urban areas there is normally no option to make payments for purchases by credit or debit card.
Paying for your stay at Uganda lodge
Payment for your airport pick-up, food and accommodation should be made prior to arrival, direct to our Ruhanga Resource Centre Barclays Bank Account if you have not already paid through OV. You should also transfer money for gorilla permits, safaris, and donations to this same account. PLEASE BE SURE TO ADD YOUR NAME & WHAT IT’S FOR AS A REFERENCE (if you are sponsoring a child or making a donation we have an alternative account – please ask.)
Barclays Bank High Street Shepperton
Account Name: Ruhanga Resource Centre
Account Number 13075346 Sort Code 20-90-56
(IBAN GB64 BARC 2090 5613 75346)
When you get to Uganda
We strongly recommend that all our visitors who are flying into Entebbe pay our flat rate pick-up charge of £55 (or £78 if two travelling together) As well as our own driver meeting you outside the terminal building with your name held up on a card, this fee covers your journey into Kampala from Entebbe (1-1.5 hours), the driver will stop to help you change money if requested and then see you safely on the correct bus and pay your bus fare. He also passes on the bus drivers phone number to the Lodge staff so they can monitor your progress.
Depending on your flight arrival time, our driver will take you to spend a couple of hours or a full night at our own private Guest House in Gabba Road, Kampala at no extra cost. We prefer to have our guests on the Post Bus which always leaves Kampala at a set time around 7.30am as other buses later in the day do not leave until they are full and this means that if you arrive at the airport at around say 10am and go straight to the bus park you can be sitting 2 or 3 hours before leaving Kampala., and that you may not reach Ruhanga before it gets dark.
If you wish you can pre-book an escort on the bus for an extra £28, or alternatively hire a private car and driver from the Guest House to Ruhanga at a cost of £160. We need a couple of days’ notice to make these arrangements. In Kampala your pick-up driver will make sure the bus driver knows exactly where to drop you off. You will be allocated a seat and your main luggage will probably be locked underneath the bus.
Some buses are modern but others can be quite old; however all can get a puncture or break down quite regularly! Girls may prefer to wear a longish skirt as some loo stops (a “short call”) are just at the side of the road. Snacks and drinks can be bought through the bus window during the journey. DO NOT ACCEPT SWEETS, DRINKS or FOOD from other passengers, however friendly. Look after your hand luggage carefully; keep valuables such as cash, passport & cards in a hidden waistbag. Transport by private car all the way to the Lodge from the airport coats about £200 including fuel, depending on size of car and number of passengers.
If you are flying from Heathrow and are not using your full luggage allowance (generally most airlines give two bags and three bags with BA charity flights) we would be grateful if you are willing to take out one of the 23kg bags full of uniforms, toys, books, shoes and so on that we have stored in the UK waiting to go. They are all things that have been donated.
Making own way
If you prefer to find your own way from the airport (not recommended) or maybe you are coming off a bus from Nairobi please be aware that Ugandan buses do not have numbers and leave from several different places in Kampala; you need to find one going in direction of Rukingiri or Kabale via Ntungamo and you are advised to get the help of a local taxi driver or call Denis for advice. When you get to the large town of Mbarara – about 4/5 hours out of Kampala, then Uganda Lodge is another 50kms or about an hour further on.
You need to tell the bus driver to stop at Uganda Lodge; we are on left hand side of the road about 3-4 kms after ITOJO hospital & trading post & just BEFORE Ruhanga Adventist School. Our large white gates have a yellow AFRICA map and Ruhanga Resource Centre painted on them. Once you have cleared Kampala city you can phone Denis (+256 774768090) or someone at the Lodge (+256 752507555), to tell them the company/colour of your bus and confirm you have left Kampala. They can then look out for you about 4/5 hours later and meet you at the gate.
You should organise your return journey to Kampala and Entebbe airport with Denis or the local co-ordinator once you have arrived at the Lodge; the cost for this is not included in the pick-up price, allow about £50.
Runyankole is the local language spoken in Ruhanga and the surrounding area, although other similar languages are spoken. Below are a few often used Runyankole words and expressions. For a free PDF of more of the language click the download button below.
|How are you? (good
|I’m good. Good news.||nimarungi or nimarunj
or ni gye
|See you tomorrow||Turebane nyenkyakare||turay ba nay nyen
|See you later||Turebane bwanyima|
|What is your name?||eiziina ryawe oryoha?||izeena ryowee
|Have a safe journey||Ogyendegye|
|Thank you||Webare||way-ba ree|
|You’re welcome||Webare kusiima|
|How much does it cost?||Noguza ota?||no-guz-ota|
|I want – I would like…||Ninyenda|
|I want to pay||Ninyenda kushashura|
|What class are you in?||Noshoma ekyakangahi|
|I am in Primary 1: