On the Road resources > Travel Notes by Country > Uganda









Uganda Schilling (1700 Uganda Schillings to 1 US$)


Favorite Food

Fresh grill chicken and potato chips


Cost of Goods and Services

Uganda Pilsner and Nile Lager – 1 US$ per large bottle in restaurant

Fresh grill chicken and chips – 2.50US$

Fresh African coffee and heated milk - .90$

Elevated tree top bungalow at Kibale National Park for 4 people: 24US$

Double room with attached bath and breakfast in Kabale – 16US$


Uganda Reflections

The Ugandan handshake, saying Jambo and seeing the smiles; seeing the start of the rainy season; Johnny, the best immigration officer we have met; concern over being in Uganda during the presidential elections; the waitress in Mbale telling us we should "get out of town before the elections", because this is an area where violence breaks out. She had us on a bus within the hour; the screaming and banging of the chimpanzees at Kibale; the rainforest during our trek to see the chimpanzees; the terraced landscape surrounding beautiful Lake Bunyoni; the tropical, rolling hill landscape with the red clay soil around Fort Portal; watching Barcelona vs. Chelsea futbol in the champions league; the 5 hour bus ride that turned into a 12 hour bus ride between Fort Portal and Kabale; the outrageous food at the Town Centre guesthouse in Kabale and the Lake Bunyoni overland resort; my long walk around Lake Bunyoni and seeing possible one of the most beautiful lakes I have ever seen; Pastor Edward and the entire gang at Victory Community Gardens; the praying and singing at the Pentecostal Sunday service with Pastor Edward; performing land use, volunteer and public relations workshops for the community; planting the community garden.

Travel Notes

Our itinerary in Uganda was cut short by the Presidential elections. We were advised to skip our time in the west, Sipi Falls, and head to the southwestern area of the country. Based on this, we went straight through Kampala from Mbale to Fort Portal to visit Kibale National Park – home of the chimpanzees. We took local bus transportation throughout Uganda with only one incident – a broken down bus resulting in a 12 hour bus ride. However, to save time, we did ride on a Scandanvia Executive bus from Kampala all the way through to Arusha, Tanzania via a 1 hour stop in Nairobi. This was about 24 hours and very comfortable. We also did not go on a Gorilla trek, which is why most people go to Uganda in the first place. With a US$375 per person cost and an age limit of 15 years old, we bypassed this expensive activity. However, almost every person we talked to stated this was one of the highlights of their trip to East Africa. Several people preferred Rwanda’s Parc National de Volcans to Bwindi National Park in Uganda for the gorilla experience. In addition, we spent a week in Kabale, Uganda volunteering at the Victory Community Gardens project (see below). In Kabale, we may have found one of the best valued hotel of our entire trip. The Town Centre Guesthouse about .5km from the main town area was excellent. There was great food which needed to be ordered 2 hours before hand (good cuisine takes time!) and was very reasonable – grilled chicken with chips US$3. The rooms were spotless and cleaned everyday along with the generous common area, which had plenty of seats and a central table. The staff was what we really appreciated. They had answers to all our questions and we never saw them without a smile. All this for US$16 for a double and includes breakfast.

Fort Portal/ Kibale National Park

I wish we had more time to stay in Fort Portal. The town is very laid back and there are many things to do in this area dominated by lush green ,rolling hills. At least a week could be devoted to this area. We drove from Fort Portal about 2 hours to the entrance of Kibale National Park. We decided to stay in the park to get an early jump on the chimp and forest trekking. We stayed in the elevated bungalow about 500 meters from the main office. Yes, it is a little rustic, but this is a great way to be alone in nature and hear the sounds of the jungle. We did not, but many people have seen forest elephants from this hut. On the first day we went on the forest hike and I was disappointed in this hike and did not feel it was worth the 10.00US per person. The hike did not go through old growth rainforest. We did see several troops of monkeys at a distance. The next day we trekked to see the chimps. The forest was incredible and encountering the monkeys was truly an experience. The chimps are loud, rambunctious, rowdy and fast. Taking pictures was very difficult because of the speed of the animals and the lighting conditions. Yes the 50US$per person fee was very steep, but worth every dollar. I would research cheaper alternatives to seeing the chimps.

Lake Bunyoni

Is the perfect place to kick up your feet and relax in a very peaceful and beautiful setting. The Lake Bunyoni Overland Resort with great food and restful atmosphere and fantastic staff facilitates the relaxation. Lake Bunyoni is about 8 km outside Kabale in the southwestern corner of Uganda. Surrounding the lake is a terraced landscape from the hundreds of small scale farming operations. This landscape and the islands within the lake become surreal in the morning and evening hours and just begs to be photographed. Make sure to take along walk down the lake to see the numerous islands, bays and grass huts lining the banks. Also, climb up the crater wall for an even more dramatic view.

Kabale, Uganda

The project is located in the foothills of Kabale, Uganda. Kabale is in the far southwest corner of the Uganda surrounded by steep, heavily terraced and cultivated hills. Victory Community Gardens is a project spearheaded by Pastor Edward in Kabale, Uganda. The purpose of this project is to provide vegetables to the poorest people of the area who do not have any type of access to arable land. A year round community volunteer effort of cultivation and harvesting on small-scale agricultural land, either donated or leased, is the focal point of this project. In most cases, the maintenance and care of the garden is managed by the volunteer recipients of the vegetables. Through this project, Victory Community Gardens also hopes to promote an increase in community participation and spirituality. Our six person volunteer project team was invited to Kabale, Uganda to perform a series of workshops that would focus on land use planning, volunteer management, pubic relations and gardening techniques. In addition, our team would help terrace and plant the one acre lot and work with volunteers to develop new gardening techniques. Also, based on five days of work, I prepared a basic land use plan designed to help increase vegetable yield for the plot. If you desire any information regarding this project, please contact me at steve@picadocurtis.net