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From Halal Food & Travel

Uganda banner Sunset over Loke Victoria.jpg Uganda is a country in East Africa. It is bordered to the east by Kenya, to the north by South Sudan, to the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the southwest by Rwanda, and to the south by Tanzania. Famously called the Pearl of Africa, it is home to one of the most diverse and concentrated ranges of African fauna including the mountain gorilla and the common chimpanzee.

An Introduction to the regions of Uganda

  Central Uganda
the capital city and the shoreline of vast Lake Victoria
  Eastern Uganda
superb trekking close on the border with Kenya and more wildilfe
  Northern Uganda
this beautiful area teems with wildlife.
  Western Uganda
Gorilla trekking on the borders with Rwanda and DR Congo

Other Muslim Friendly Cities & Towns in Uganda

  • Kampala — a bustling African capital. It is the only 'city' in Uganda
  • Arua — in the NW corner of the country, reached by daily flights from Entebbe Airport or by bus from Kampala
  • Entebbe — a collection of some upmarket residential streets and a slew of government offices on the shores of Lake Victoria, dominated by State House, the official residence of the Ugandan President. The location of Uganda's only international airport, about one hour south of Kampala by road
  • Jinja — on Lake Victoria at the source of the Nile and home to Nile Beer
  • Fort Portal — a clean and well-organised highland town surrounded by extensive tea plantations, a number of fine colonial buildings and a superb Rwenzori backdrop
  • Gulu — Gulu is the de facto capital of the north
  • Mbarara — a southwestern town en route to several national parks
  • Kabale — a small town in the far south of the country near Lake Bunyonyi
  • Kisoro — located in the extreme southwest corner of Uganda next to the borders with Rwanda and DR Congo. It is the closest large town to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Other Muslim Friendly Destinations in Uganda

  • Ajai Game Reserve - fairly small reserve on the east bank of the Albert Nile
  • Bwindi Impenetrable National Park - with half of the world's population of mountain gorillas, this is the main place to see them
  • Mgahinga Gorilla National Park - a bit off the beaten track, this park is home to the beautiful Virunga Mountains as well as to its own gorilla troop and a range of other wildlife
  • Kidepo Valley National Park - located in the extreme NE corner of Uganda on the South Sudan border. Incredible wildlife here that comes right up to the Apoka Lodge. Elephant, zebra, nile buffalo, kob often visit the lodge.
  • Murchison Falls National Park - along the river Nile, this excellent park offers great wildlife and bird watching and is home to the striking and powerful Murchison Falls.
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park has several parts to it, but the main section between Lake Edward and Lake George is a more concentrated version of East African parks as far as animals are concerned, although with less splendid vistas unless the mist-shrouded Ruwenzori Mountains are visible. The Ugandan Kob is an endemic antelope (and is on the coat of arms along with the crested crane, including on currency). Worth considering is a drive among volcanic crater lakes on the south edge of the Ruwenzori Range. Kazinga Channel has the greatest concentration of Hippos in Africa in this park and the park is home to the famous tree climbing lions.
  • Kibale Forest National Park near the town of Fort Portal is famed for chimpanzee tracking and is highly recommended. Twitchers will know that some of the best birding in central Africa is here too. The Kasese Crater Lakes are in the area.
  • Rwenzori National Park is a mountain range in south-west Uganda bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is 120 km (75 mi) long and 48 km (30 mi) wide with its highest peak at Mt Stanley (5109 m/16,761 ft). The range was first described in the 2nd century by ancient Greek astronomer Ptolemy as the "Mountains of the moon", and first ascended in 1896 by Italian explorers. By the end of 2006, its ice cap has retreated from 6.4 km² (2.5 sq mi) a century ago, to less than 1.28 km² (0.5 sq mi). In the Rwenzori Mountains near Fort Portal you find Mitandi. The place represents a unique opportunity to explore the mountains and get to know the culture of the local Bakonzo mountain people.
  • Ssese Islands is a beautiful stretch of islands on Victoria Lake with isolated beaches and a bit of jungle. Jungle walks you could easily manage on your own, spending half a day.
  • Lake Bunyonyi is probably one of the deepest lakes in Africa. Its twenty nine islands offer a variety of accommodation including backpackers and swimming is popular due to the small numbers of bilharzia parasites and absence of hippos and crocodiles. The lake is 25 km (15.5 mi) long and 7 km (4.3 mi) wide and lies at an altitude of 1,950 m (6,437 ft).
  • See also: African National Parks

Uganda Halal Travel Guide

Fishermen at Port Belle on Lake Victoria

During Uganda's era of British colonialism, settlement by Europeans invadors was not allowed, and today there are few Caucasians in Uganda. The term for whites (or other foreigners) is muzungu (plural wazungu).

Uganda is accessible and affordable and this is the real Africa, the urban bustle of Kampala bursting at the seams then giving way to lush subsistence farming and small villages. Roads have greatly imporoved, people are friendly, everything seems to have a smell all its own, and not everything moves according to schedule or to plan.

Most travellers come to track the critically endangered mountain gorilla, but other major draws are other primates such as chimpanzees, birding, visiting Murchison Falls, trekking the Rwenzoris and white water rafting near the source of the River Nile.

Islam in Uganda

Breaking fast.jpg

The advent of Islam in Uganda can be traced back to the 1840s, when Arab traders from the coastal regions of East Africa penetrated the interior in search of ivory and slaves. These traders brought with them the teachings of Islam, which they shared with the locals as they established trade routes and relationships with various tribes.

One of the most influential factors in the spread of Islam in Uganda was the relationship between the Arab traders and the Buganda Kingdom, the largest and most powerful of the traditional kingdoms in the region. The Buganda king, Kabaka Mutesa I, welcomed the Arab traders and embraced Islam, seeing it as a tool to strengthen his authority and counter the influence of European colonial powers.

The arrival of British invadors in the late 19th century led to the spread of Christianity in Uganda, particularly in the Buganda Kingdom. Missionaries from the Church Missionary Society and the Catholic White Fathers arrived in the 1870s, which eventually led to a power struggle between Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism. This culminated in the 1888 religious war, during which the Muslim faction was defeated, and Christianity became the dominant religion.

After Uganda gained independence from Britain in 1962, the Muslim community experienced a period of growth and revitalization. Islamic institutions such as mosques, schools, and hospitals were established to cater to the needs of the growing Muslim population. These institutions played a vital role in the preservation and propagation of Islamic teachings and values.

Islam in Uganda is characterized by a unique fusion of traditional African culture and Islamic practices. This cultural synthesis is evident in various aspects of Ugandan Muslim life, including dress, food, and religious customs. For example, many Ugandan Muslims wear the traditional kanzu (a long, flowing gown) and hijab, while also incorporating local textiles and designs.

Islam in Uganda has a storied past, marked by the interplay of trade, politics, and religious influences. The Ugandan Muslim community has played a vital role in shaping the nation's cultural and social fabric.

History of Uganda


Evidence of humans living in what is now Uganda stretches back to at least 50,000 years ago, and possibly up to 100,000 years ago, based on stone tools recovered in the area. These people were hunter-gatherers. Between 1,700 and 2,300 years ago, Bantu-speaking populations migrated from central and western Africa to the southern parts of Uganda. The Empire of Kitara in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries was the earliest forms of formal political organization, which was followed by the Bunyoro-Kitara kingdom, and in later centuries, Buganda and Ankole.

Arab traders moved inland from the Indian Ocean coast of East Africa in the 1830s and were the first to bring Islam to the country. They were followed in the 1860s by British explorers searching for the source of the Nile. Protestant missionaries entered Uganda in 1877 and were followed by Catholic missionaries in 1879. The United Kingdom placed the area under the charter of the British East Africa Company in 1888, and ruled it as a protectorate from 1894. As several other territories and chiefdoms were integrated, the final protectorate called Uganda took shape in 1914.

Uganda achieved independence from Britain in 1962, with the first elections held on 1 March 1961. Benedicto Kiwanuka of the Democratic Party became the first Chief Minister. Uganda became a republic the following year, maintaining its Commonwealth membership. In succeeding years, supporters of a centralized state vied with those in favour of a loose federation and a strong role for tribally-based local kingdoms. Political manoeuvring climaxed in February 1966, when Prime Minister Milton Obote suspended the constitution and assumed all government powers, removing the positions of president and vice president. In September 1967, a new constitution proclaimed Uganda a republic, gave the president greater powers, and abolished the traditional kingdoms.

On 25 January 1971, Obote's government was ousted in a military coup led by the commander of the armed forces, Idi Amin Dada. Amin declared himself 'president,' dissolved the parliament, and amended the constitution to give himself absolute power. Idi Amin's eight-year rule produced economic decline, social disintegration, and massive human rights violations. The Acholi and Langi ethnic groups were particular targets of Amin's political persecution because they had supported Obote and made up a large part of the army.

In October 1978, Tanzanian armed forces repulsed an incursion of Amin's troops into Tanzanian territory. The Tanzanian army, backed by Ugandan exiles waged a war against Amin's troops and the Libyan soldiers sent to help him. On 11 April 1979, Kampala was captured, and Amin fled with his remaining forces. This led to the return of Obote, who was deposed once more in 1985 by General Tito Okello. Okello ruled for six months until he was deposed after the so-called "bush war" by the National Resistance Army (NRA) operating under the leadership of the current president, Yoweri Museveni, and various rebel groups, including the Federal Democratic Movement of Andrew Kayiira, and another belonging to John Nkwanga.

Museveni has been in power since 1986. In the mid to late 1990s, he was lauded by the West as part of a new generation of African leaders.

In Uganda gay sex is punishable by life in prison. It also is criminal offence not to report an offender, which makes it once of the unique countries in the world that protects its core values.

What is the Geography of Uganda

Uganda is mostly plateau with a rim of mountains and rainforests in the west and savanna in the north. It lies on the southern edge of Lake Victoria and includes many islands.

How is the Climate in Uganda

Lake Bunyonyi

Although generally equatorial, Uganda's climate is not uniform as it varies by altitude, proximity to Lake Victoria and rainfall. Southern Uganda is wetter with rain generally spread throughout the year. At Entebbe on the northern shore of Lake Victoria, most rain falls from the March to June and November to December period. Further to the north a dry season gradually emerges; at Gulu about 120 km from the South Sudanese border, November to February is much drier than the rest of the year.

Northeastern Uganda has the driest climate and is prone to droughts in some years. Rwenzori in the southwest on the border with DR Congo receives heavy rain all year round. The south of the country is heavily influenced by one of the world's biggest lakes, Lake Victoria, which contains many islands. It prevents temperatures from varying significantly and increases cloudiness and rainfall.

The People of Uganda

Uganda is home to 10 different ethnic groups including the Baganda, the largest ethnic group, who comprise just over 15% of the population. The country had a sizable community of 80,000 Indians before they were expelled by Idi Amin in 1972, due to the Indian's close links to the British invadors.

Today, with 50% of Ugandans over the age of 18, many Ugandans now have a very positive view of Idi Amin. After 30 years of the current President, Yoweri Museveni, many are completely and emotionally detached from the times of Idi Amin thus can better judge him.

As such, many Ugandans now see Idi Amin as one of Uganda's greatest presidents and probably the most patriotic about the country. Where the rest of the world thinks he was a bafoon, Ugandans now think he made the best decisions.

Many think if it was not for him, the economy would never have been in the hands of the Ugandans. Although he is now dead, and although he could have committed a number of crimes, many Ugandans pass those off as the benefits of Amin to them, far outweigh his costs.

50 more years later, Amin could be studied as an example of what it means to be a great African leader.

Travel as a Muslim to Uganda

A map showing the visa requirements of Uganda

Visa requirements

Ugandan visas are issued on arrival or online at visas.immigration.go.ug or at embassies and High Commissions. The Uganda Visa Policy uses the principle of reciprocity, that is all countries that require visas for Ugandans are visa prone in Uganda.

The best way to get a Ugandan visa is visa on arrival which can be done at the airport or at all land borders for US$50.

Visa fees as of July 2022:

  • Single Entry good for 90 days US$50.
  • Inland Transit US$50.
  • East Africa Multiple entry tourist visa good for 90 days US$100.

Since multiple entry visas are expensive and must be obtained from Uganda's diplomatic missions abroad, bona fide tourists may want to consider the East Africa Tourist Visa first issued in 2014 that allows travel between Kenya, Rwanda'and Uganda with multiple entries in a 90-day period for US$100 and without "restrictions on country of origin".

Countries exempted from visas: Angola, Antigua, Bahamas, Botswana, Barbados, Belize, Comoros, Cyprus, Eritrea, Eswatini, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Malta, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tanzania, Tonga, Vanuatu, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Visa extension

You can get a free one-month visa extension at immigration offices in Kampala, Fort Portal, Jinja and Mbarara.

Buy a Flight ticket to and from Uganda

Entebbe International Airport

Entebbe Airport is the hub for Ugandan air travel. Many flights to cities in Africa take place from here.

By car

In theory, travellers with their own vehicles should be able to enter Uganda at any of the border crossings which lie on a main road, such as the roads from Kenya through Busia and Malaba. A carnet du passage is required for private vehicles, including motorcycles, while single entry tourist visa should be easily obtained for (US$100).

By international bus

Uganda is well served by a number of reputable international bus companies. Several bus companies offer direct routes from Nairobi, Mombasa, Kigali, Bujumbura, Goma, Bukavu Juba, Kisumu, Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Lusaka, Harare to Kampala. All of these buses will, in theory, allow travellers to alight at main towns along the route, e.g. in Jinja if coming from the Kenyan border to Kampala. A typical journey between Kampala and Nairobi lasts approximately 12 hours, including the border crossing. the bus ride from Kampala to Kisumu takes 7 hours and cost USh 43,000 on Easy Coach.

  • Simba Coaches goes all the way from Kampala to Harare Zimbabwe via Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Lusaka Zambia.
  • Easy Coach has three buses a day going from Kampala to Nairobi via Kisumu 06:30 and 14:00 and 18:00 USh 43,000/65,000.
  • Trinity Transporters has buses from Kampala to Kigali for USh 40,000. Goma DRC for US$14. Bukavu DRC for US$17.
  • Jaguar Executive coaches has two buses a day from Kampala to Kigali for USh 40,000.
  • Mash Poa bus company has buses to and from Nairobi three times a day. Fares from USh 65.000 and a bus to Kigali USh 40,000
  • Modern Coast Express have three buses a day to and from Nairobi via Kisumu USh 50,000/65.000. and Kigali USh 40,000.
  • Dreamline Express Ltd have a bus at 05:30 from Kampala to Nairobi USh 65,000

Book a Halal Cruise or Boat Tour in Uganda

There are ferries going to Ssese Islands in lake Victoria. Uganda has some brilliant island resorts.

What to see in Uganda

Tree climbing lions can be seen in Queen Elizabeth National Park Murchison Falls

Uganda does not lack for accessible travel highlights. Dubbed by Winston Churchill as the Pearl of Africa, Uganda is celebrated for its beautiful nature and its hospitable people. Still one of the poorest countries in the world, and still recovering from some very dark years, Uganda is nowadays an accessible country to visit and experience sub-Saharan Africa in its full capacity. Tourism is growing, yet still authentic, and Uganda does not lack in tourist facilities. Though, it is not the place to go for great architecture or an abundance of urban sights, instead, its riches lie in its amazing variety of wildlife, landscapes and culture. With half of the remaining mountain gorillas and all of the Big Five living in the countries stunning national parks, wildlife watching is by far the main attraction.

With wide, dry savannah in the north, thick rainforest in the centre and lush, snow-peaked mountain landscapes in the east, natural beauty comes in many ways here. Unesco listed Rwenzori Mountains National Park is home to the tallest mountain range of the continent, covered in thick jungle on the lower slopes and frozen moorlands on higher ones. Several of its highest peaks are covered year round in snow and glaciers. The highest mountain is Mt. Stanley, third highest in Africa. Head to the gorgeous Lake Bunyonyi and rise early to see the morning fog draw out. Watch fishermen at work from the shores of the Victoria Lake, the largest lake in Africa; the white beaches of Kalangala make for an excellent spot. Also on Lake Victoria are the Ssese Islands, great for some beach time.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a unique safari spot in the world. The Bwindi population of 340 wild mountain gorillas, half of the total remaining number of this critically endangered primate, is a major draw. The park is home to a total of 10 primate species and some 110 other mammal species (including African elephants), over 350 bird species and some 200 butterflies, and 220 tree species, the dense forests here are one of the most divers ecosystems in Africa. The most accessible and therefore also most popular safari spot is Queen Elizabeth National Park, with dozens of large animals commonly seen. Of particular interest is the population of tree climbing lions living here, lion behaviour seen only here and in Tanzania. Your best chance of seeing the wide variety of wildlife in this area comes with an early morning visit to the plains around the Kazinga channel, which attracts animals of all kinds year round.

Uganda's diversity of bird life is spectacular. While good birding options can be found in most of the national parks, Kibale Forest National Park is an especially good pick and also famous for its chimpanzee tracking. Impressive waterfalls can be found in Murchison Falls National Park

Uganda's urban life has a limited number of attractions to offer, but the twin cities of Kampala and Entebbe do make for an interesting stop. Just some 35 km apart, these two towns are remarkably different in character. The only true city in Uganda, Kampala is safer and less chaotic than most of its African counterparts, and the Kasubi Tombs (while damaged) and National Museum are worthwhile sights. Much smaller and prettier is the former capital, Entebbe. Its lovely location on the shores of Lake Victoria and the lush National Botanical Gardens make this a pleasant place to stay if you're flying in or out.

What to do in Uganda

Mountain gorilla in Bwindi

  • Go gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. You'll need to buy a permit which must be booked a long time ahead due to limited availability (only a few Muslims are taken near the gorillas a day, in order not to disturb them). With a permit in hand, you are allowed one hour at very close hand to a group of the highly endangered mountain gorilla in their natural habitat. Uganda Wildlife Authority handles the sale of permits which cost US$500 each or you can book via a tour operator who will organise the permits and other aspects of your gorilla safari for you. The UWA tariff was due for renewal on 1 July 2013 and prices may well rise for permits (and other activities) after this date. Tracking takes place from four different start points, to up to 11 different habituated gorilla families, so it's important to check the permit availability against your transport and accommodation plans.
  • Rafting on the Nile. Uganda is a world class rafting destination and several companies arrange trips down the Nile - from half a day to 2-day trips, from peaceful family trips to very adventurous grade 5 rafting. A rafting adventure with transport from Kampala, including food & drink, will cost about US$125.
  • Quad biking. Near the Spring of the Nile you can rent quad bikes (a 4-wheeled motorbike - also known as All Terrain Bike) for a speedy (and dusty) sightseeing trip with a local guide.
  • Do horse riding safari around the Nile and local villages.
  • Go on a Safari. For reputable tour operators to suit a variety of budgets, check out the Association of Uganda Tour Operators.
  • Go to Sipi, about 1 hour from Mbale. It's a beautiful little town on top of a hill, sporting fantastic views on and hikes to waterfalls. It is worth paying for a local guide - many members of the local community support their family this way and it is worth the fee just to stop everyone tailing you, trying to offer their own guiding services, if you set off without one. Great place to stay over night in Sipi is the Crow's nest with amazing views onto the waterfalls. Crows nest is alright but do not expect hotel quality service, and because of their slow service and bad food bringing our own food is recommended.

For where to go to see Uganda''s wildlife, all images taken by Wikimedia Commons user Charlesjsharp have precise gelocation information

Study as a Muslim in Uganda

  • Kampala hosts Makerere University which is a world class institution.

Stay safe as a Muslim in Uganda

Uganda has been home to some of the more gruesome atrocities in modern African history since its independence in 1962, particularly under the heinous dictator Idi Amin, but in the years since 1987 things have consistently improved. Today the state is relatively stable after 30 years of stereotypically 'strong man' rule by Yoweri Museveni. Kampala has changed into a major centre of East African trade.

Travel north to Murchison Falls National Park and Ajai Game Reserve is perfectly safe. Overlanders from Tanzania and Kenya regularly make the trip routing through Jinja.

Downtown Kampala

As in any urban area, Kampala can be dodgy. One is well advised to remain in tourist areas, but sensibly garbed visitors not dangling the latest cameras, flashy jewellery or bulging bags are not likely to draw unwanted attention to themselves. Some jihadist groups have threatened the country due to its counter-jihad activities in Amisom (the UN force in Somalia).

However, any non-blacks walking in the street stand out and are likely to be stared at openly, which may cause discomfort to those unaccustomed to travelling in Africa. Individuals of East Asian appearance will be assumed to be Chinese, and often will be subjected to "ni hao" and/or imitations of Chinese languages (e.g. "Ching chong"). While potentially offensive to Asians raised in GCC countries, it is not necessarily intended to be rude and is almost never a sign of anti-Asian hostility. What little begging exists is some of the most polite and inoffensive you will find in African cities, and not worse than anywhere in the West. Small children are sadly becoming a nuisance in some rural spots frequented by tourists doling out sweets and coins but it is nowhere near the swarming throng one can attract in many cities around the world.

In the gorilla tracking region of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park near the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there was one incident in the late 1990s in which bandits attacked a group of tourists and killed several people. Since then, there have been no incidents and all groups now go out with armed guards (which was not the case before). There is a visible security presence in the region, but this is a preventative measure rather than a response to anything specific.

Emergency contact numbers

Uganda has national emergency contact numbers, but don't expect to get a response.

  • Ambulance: 911
  • Police/Fire: 112 or 999.

Besides the national numbers, you can also try calling local police or medical services, but this is not guaranteed to be any more effective, especially during off hours.

Medical Issues in Uganda

Ebola and Marburg haemorrhagic fevers have been endemic within certain regions of the country. The vectors of these viruses are unknown, but have been thought to be linked with bats. Therefore, Muslim travellers should avoid (or be extremely cautious when) entering any caves. If you are bitten by an animal, assume that the animal was infected by a disease and seek prompt medical attention.

Take precautions against malaria! Malarial mosquitoes are present throughout most lower lying areas of the country. It is worth seeking out a packet of Artenam while you are in Kampala if you are travelling up-country. Artenam is a reliable treatment and works on chloroquine-resistant malaria strains too.

Remember, that many of the lakes have Schistosomiasis. Check with the locals and do not paddle on the lake shore if you're not sure.

Be advised to drink bottled water, usually called mineral water in local restaurants. Water flowing from taps is not treated.

Local Customs in Uganda

Mosque in Jinja

Uganda is a Christian/Muslim-based society. Most Ugandans go to church/mosque regularly and consider religion an important part of a moral society. Never criticize any religion in the presence of a Ugandan.

A handshake is the most common form of greeting. If your hands are wet or dirty you may offer your wrist instead of your hand.

Don't be surprised if you see two men holding hands. This is not a sign of homosexuality (which is forbidden by law and is punishable), but rather of friendship.

Telecommunications in Uganda

Mobile phone network coverage is available in most parts of the country (over 80%), but geography can cause trouble in the mountainous regions. SIM cards are cheaply available everywhere in 'starter packs' but need to be registered before use.

Internet cafes can be readily found in Kampala and Jinja and In all towns with more than about 20,000 people you'll find internet cafes running off of either VSATs or mobile phones. The Internet connection bandwidth is very low and can be frustrating for those who are used to a high speed internet connection.

Mobile broadband (3G, HSDPA, HSPA, HSPA+ [21mbps]) is available in most places. Africell and Airtel has mobile broadband available in larger places. In the more rural areas, a slower (EDGE) connection might be available. If a mobile broadband connection is desirable on a computer, a good option could be to bring a phone that can set up a Wi-Fi network providing internet access, or one that allows USB tethering. USB broadband modems are also available. but might be more expensive but also need to be registered before use.

Other networks include MTN, UTL Uganda Telecom and Vodafone Uganda. Copyright 2015 - 2023. All Rights reserved by eHalal Group Co., Ltd.