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Moving to Uganda

Since the late 1980s, Uganda has rebounded from civil war and economic catastrophe to become what is now a relatively peaceful, stable and prosperous country. Most expats living in Uganda are journalists, diplomats or aid workers employed by NGOs. However, since the discovery of oil, Uganda’s economic prospects have improved and its expat population is steadily on the rise.

Expats living in Uganda usually settle in the capital, Kampala. While the cost of living in Uganda is relatively cheap in comparison to the USA and Europe, certain things are more expensive than one would expect of a developing country. For instance, renting property in a safe expat neighbourhood in Kampala will cost two or three times as much as elsewhere in the city. However, most expats choose not to compromise on safety and security.

Despite terrorist threats, there have been no major attacks since 2010. Most crimes committed against expats in Uganda are opportunistic and common crimes are burglary, muggings and credit card fraud. It is best to exercise caution and avoid walking city streets at night.

British influence is evident throughout the country and English is the country’s official language. While there are a lot of local languages spoken in Uganda, expats will find that there isn’t much of a communication barrier here. Furthermore, the Ugandan people are famous for their brilliant hospitality and welcoming nature.

Expats will need to invest in a comprehensive health insurance policy before moving to Uganda as treatment in private hospitals can be expensive. Malaria is an issue in certain parts of Uganda and expats planning on living or working in rural areas are advised to take preventative measures.

There are a number of international schools in Uganda's capital, but fees are high; expats should therefore try to negotiate an allowance for this within their contract of employment.

Moving to Uganda is not for the faint-hearted and expats are likely to miss certain home comforts. However, those who do take the opportunity to relocate to Uganda will be treated to an unforgettable experience and a chance to interact with friendly locals while enjoying spectacular landscapes, a mosaic of cultures and exciting wildlife.

Essential Info for Uganda

Population: Over 45 million

Capital city: Kampala

Neighbouring countries: Uganda is a landlocked country surrounded by Kenya to the east, South Sudan to the north, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, Rwanda to the southwest and Tanzania to the south.

Geography: Uganda lies in the Nile basin and a substantial portion of Lake Victoria lies in the south of the country. Uganda has a varied but generally moderate equatorial climate.

Political system: Uganda is a semi-presidential republic

Major religion: Catholicism, Christianity, Islam

Main languages: English, Swahili

Money: The Ugandan Shilling (UGX) is the country's official currency. Some ATMs may be available in major urban centres, but expats in more rural areas will struggle to find these.

Tipping: It's customary to tip a guide, driver, porter or cook depending on the level of service.

Time: GMT+3

Electricity: 240 volts, 50 Hz 

Internet domain: .ug

International dialing code: +256

Emergency contacts: 999 or 112

Transport and driving: Ugandans drive on the left side of the road. Public transport is rudimentary in the form of minibus taxis.

Public Holidays in Uganda




New Year's Day

1 January

1 January

Liberation Day

26 January

26 January

Remembrance of Archbishop Janani Luwum

16 February

16 February

International Women’s Day

8 March

8 March

Good Friday

10 April

2 April

Easter Monday

13 April

5 April

Labour Day

1 May

1 May

Martyrs' Day

3 June

3 June

Eid al-Fitr

24 May

13 May

National Heroes Day

9 June

9 June

Eid al-Adha

31 July

20 July

Independence Day

9 October

9 October

Christmas Day

25 December

25 December

Boxing Day

26 December

26 December

*Islamic holidays are subject to the sighting of the moon, and dates can change on the Gregorian calendar.