Visitors Guide to Uganda - Go Camping at the BP Training Centre at Jinja
The UNITE Project gave a unique opportunity to understand the problems of life in Uganda and by example other third world countries. Scouts in all Sections in the UK were able to learn about Scouting in Uganda and its UNITE Project of Health Education, Aids Prevention and Immunisation as well as its work in education and training.
First named the UNITE Network the aim was to support the continuing work of Unite in Uganda. Since its first inception the Network has changed its name and purpose from Unite into the UK Uganda Network, a partnership of friendship working together in Uganda and the UK to support Scouting in each country.
These pages aims to give all possible guidance on visits to the country, how to set up a partnership with Ugandan Scouting and on finding out more about Uganda. There are sections dealing with planning a visit as well as hosting a group here in the United Kingdom.
Uganda is a country which covers a relatively small area in Eastern Central Africa. It is about the size of England and Wales together. It has no access to the sea, its main supply route being through Kenya. The country is of a size that you can travel to almost any part of the country during 12 hours. Don't be fooled by looking at distances on the map and using UK travel times as a guide. The quality of the roads, except for the major communication roads, is poor and few are tarmac surfaced.
Please note that guidance which is given here can only be general, more help, guidance and information is available from the sources given in the Resources and Useful Addresses Section given at the end of this booklet.
If you and your group decide to visit Uganda for an expedition, a joint camp or project or even an exchange you will find the experience exhausting, exciting and enjoyable! The welcome you will receive in Uganda is especially warm and few Scouts who have been there fail to have their lives changed in some way.
You have decided to download this Travel Guide so you have probably already made up your mind that this is the place for you and your Scouts to go but read on as you should really know why you want to go before you take the plunge.
There will be many reasons for considering an expedition to Uganda, ranging from a feeling of altruism toward a third world country to "that's somewhere we haven't been and neither have the Group next door!" Whatever the reason, the proposed expedition should have a two way benefit, to the country to be visited and also to the Scout Group initiating the trip. All Sections of the Group from Beaver Scouts through to the Fellowship can be involved in some way during the preparation period even though many will not have the opportunity of joining the actual expedition. Involvement at all stages can be used towards the International Friendship Award and there is an opportunity to include much other Scout Training in the preparations for the visit. The lack of reliable communications within Uganda and the isolation of some of the areas had meant that it was not considered suitable for the Explorer Belt though in 2000 10 Venture Scouts undertook such an expedition along with Ugandan Scouts.
You will now want to make some progress. You must start early, up to two years in advance and here are some suggestions for what you should do:
Contact your Assistant County/Area Commissioner (International) or County/Area International Adviser. She or he will be pleased to advise generally and may be able to put you in touch with others with experience of Uganda . Don't forget that (as mentioned later) you will need to complete the PC (Abroad) form for visits to Uganda in the same way as you do for any other country.
Speak to someone who has already been to Uganda, especially if they have had contact with Scouts there. Quite a large number of people have significant contacts with Uganda and usually they are only too pleased to help. There is a Network of those who are working in the follow up to the UNITE Project. They hold regular meetings and publish a newsletter, details for which are to be found at the end of this guide. Your Assistant County/Area Commissioner (International) can usually tell you about this. Failing that, the International Department at Gilwell can advise you.
Arrange for a special meeting of your group to talk about what you want to do (and why) and to agree the details. Someone from the Network who has already been to Uganda could well give a short talk or slide show at this meeting. Remember to talk to parents and other supporters so that they understand what is planned and can see why it is worthwhile.
Make contact with Uganda through the International Department at Gilwell or the Network. You will put in touch with a contact in the Uganda Scout Association. This will set the ball rolling. Face to face contact is helpful though as Uganda is quite a long distance from the UK such contact is expensive and not always necessary or possible.
Find out about the history of Uganda and its economic and political developments. Find out also about its climate and what there is to do and see in the country. Watch TV programmes and listen to the radio about Uganda.
Even at this early stage, use the opportunity to get publicity for your group and involve your County/Area or District PRO to ensure good positive coverage of 'sharing' and working together' with Uganda Scouts. You will be surprised how ignorant the ordinary person in the street is of Uganda. The spreading of knowledge is part of any international experience. Remember, most local papers will be only too pleased with the opportunity to fill their pages with a local story.
To visit Uganda is the opportunity of a lifetime for older Scouts, Venture Scouts and Leaders. Where possible anyone from these groups with the interest, desire and enthusiasm to go should have the opportunity to join the team. The party leaders will be able to assess the qualities of potential travellers in relation to the activities and projects planned. Uganda is a developing country and it will be necessary to consider the advisability of taking anyone with medical problems or perhaps a Doctor could join the party. Living conditions and food will be a whole new experience and will require a flexible attitude and approach.
Uganda has been through years of trouble but today is probably the safest country in Africa providing some common sense precautions are followed. Although most of the country is peaceful the northern half is not considered safe for travel and should be avoided. Travel at night by road can be hazardous and not just because there is a risk of ambush in certain areas but because of the state of the roads. Look at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Web Site on http://www.fco.gov.uk
At the present time Scouts are advised only to visit the southern half of Uganda and to travel only during daylight which effectively means form 7am to 7pm.
Visitors staying for less than 6 months are requested to visit the British High Commission to complete a temporary Registration Form and if requested the British High Commission will place a stamp in the passport to confirm the registration. This can be useful if you are involved in an accident or the passport is lost. The Commission will also give up to date advice on which parts of the country to visit and which should be avoided. However, some officers, particularly those who have newly arrived, can err on the side of extreme caution. Whatever the BHC advise you should always add to their advice by taking local advice.
Uganda sits on the equator which would suggest a very hot climate, however, the country is high in the hills, and snow remains on the mountain tops, so the country has a kind warm temperature of between 15C and 25C all the year round with no dramatic seasonal differences. Everything grows and fruits in Uganda all the year round. The northern part of the country near the Sudan border turns to desert and can be some 10C hotter. In the south, April, May, October and November can be rainy in some Districts.
So somebody in your Troop or Unit has suggested Uganda as a possible location for a visit or maybe they have suggested an activity and it is becoming clear that Uganda would be a good place to carry it out. However you came to the decision, you now have to plan your programme. It is quite easy to go to a travel agent and book a flight and a coach tour staying in hotels and then come back to the United Kingdom having learnt a lot about Ugandan hotels, roads and wildlife. You might not even have seen or met a Ugandan Scout. To get real benefit, as with all visits abroad as Scouts, you need to meet up with the local people and find out about Uganda from the inside instead of being a mere onlooker. Ugandan Scouts are just waiting to make friends with other Scouts and will really enjoy your partnership in their activities and projects.
The cost of your visit can vary significantly depending on the activities you choose, where you stay and the time of year. In all your dealings, the watchword is to be flexible.
Home hospitality in Uganda can be difficult and it is unlikely that it will be offered. However, attitudes are changing and the experience of Uganda Scouts in coming to the UK and to international Jamborees is that HOHO is offered to them and they would like to return the facility to visitors to Uganda. However, there are also some health risks for western visitors which are real and precautions must be taken. Some Scouts in Uganda will live in modern, well furnished accommodation; the other extreme is sleeping on soil floors in Mud Huts. But, home hospitality on camp is an experience not to be missed.
Uganda feels British and everywhere you visit you will find the colonial past. Kampala is a bustling capital city with a cosmopolitan night life and whilst everything but the Casino used to close at 10pm the nightlife continues to the early hours of the morning in clubs and pubs.
But look elsewhere and there are tombs of African Kings nearby, Mount Elgon to climb and the several national parks. If you only go to one then the Queen Elizabeth II National Park and its Mwaya Lodge and Camping Site makes a wonderful end to an expedition. More recently Scouts have been travelling to the Murchison Falls National Park and their reports mean that it difficult to choose between the two for the African Experience.
All of Africa is rich in tradition and culture. The dancing and singing in traditional African dress will be on every camp you visit and all around you. There are theatres and museums to visit but ordinary Ugandans are the living culture of the country.
The main religions of the country are Anglican and Catholicism - the former associated closely with the Church of England - but Muslims, and other faiths exist in large numbers. The country is deeply religious.
The Uganda Scout Association with the Guide Association organises a Camporee most years at its National Camp Site and Training Ground at Kaazi near Kampala. There are also District Camps around the country. In 1994 a study visit spent several days at Kaazi with Scouts from three other nations and Uganda.
Apart from camping it is possible to stay in hotels. Avoid the local travellers hotels but instead use hotels attracting international visitors. They can easily be booked direct by FAX or telephone or the travel agent might be able to book them for you. Cheaper Hotels can be recommended in most parts of Uganda from experienced travellers in the Network. In In Kampala and other cities there are hostels which offer cheap, secure and cheerful accommodation.
There are many opportunities to undertake projects in Uganda. Most of them are well documented and are waiting for groups in the UK to offer help. They can take the form of a building project with Venture Scouts travelling from the UK to work with Ugandan Scouts on a planned project with materials on site or with Scouts in the UK having to build the project from the planning and fund raising stage upwards. Other projects involve work in hospitals, on camp sites, in schools or setting up play scheme and activity centres. UK Scouts should be careful not to embark upon a large expensive project for the sake of it but ensure it meets a real local need. The raising of capital for the project can be difficult and the supply of materials in Uganda irregular. You should ensure that your contacts in Uganda have a good working relationship with the local Council and that the scheme has the Chairman's approval with all the necessary permissions.
Possible points to consider / evaluate for any proposed project:
Is the project worthwhile for
Ugandan people / Scouts?
UK Scouts who will not be taking part in the visiting group?
UK Scouts who will visit Uganda?
Is the project
a peoples project or bricks and mortar?
accessible to all?
( the type of project should not preclude anyone who wants to be involved )
( attractive in a way which will arouse interest and encourage giving of funds )
( can the project be changed if fund raising and support is not achieved )
( no point in undertaking a project if the communications to the area will take you days in travelling )
Can the security of the visiting group be assured?
To assess the project a pre-visit is essential in most cases and to make contact with someone with whom you can communicate and trust.
Obviously the cost of any visit abroad depends on what you intend to do but a useful yardstick is to expect a two week trip to cost about twice the air fare. Planning teams will have to budget for the following elements:
travel from home to airport and the flight to Uganda and return, internal travel, food, passports, visas, insurance, accommodation (hotels, camp fees etc), medical costs including first aid items and immunisation prior to leaving, programme costs, gifts from your, group cost of a return visit, a planned preliminary visit etc.
In planning any programme, care must be taken to ensure that both British and Uganda Leaders understand the financial arrangements - who will pay for what - ensure that this is understood to the point of exchanging letters.
This is an area which often causes problems for groups because of the standards we expect. The postal system is reliable into Kampala and quite quick by air mail. Outside of Kampala it can be patchy but experience shows that most mail is delivered. Note that all post is delivered to box numbers and not to individual addresses. FAX is a reliable means of communication but few Uganda contacts have access to a FAX machine. Baden-Powell House in Kampala has recently been given a FAX machine by a Scout Group in the UK but the telephone lines remain unreliable. It is unreasonable to expect Uganda Scouts to use the telephone as we do. Few telephones have international access for outgoing calls and such calls are extremely expensive. Telex and Electronic Mail only exists in business and government circles.
The UK Uganda Network can usually get a message to most parts of Uganda quickly with the cooperation of local business people but these should be reserved for emergency use only. A number of previous expeditions have benefited from visiting their partners before the main expedition. This enables the finer details of the programme to be agreed on site and gives the opportunity for you to be prepared for what the Scouts are to experience.
Please read a seperate page concerning communications
The currency of the country is Ugandan Shillings and in mid 2000 there were 2350 shillings to the pound sterling. Inflation is under control and experience suggests there will be no dramatic change in the exchange rate. You cannot purchase Uganda Shillings in the UK but the main banks in Uganda readily accept Sterling bank notes for exchange. There are also Forex Bureaux which sometimes give a better rate of exchange. Large hotels accept VISA and American Express though not for cash advances. Visa Cash advance can be obtained at Barclays on Entebbe Road, Kampala.
It is also possible to transfer money to a local bank for use in the country though this must be done in cash. Barclays and the Cooperative Bank have arrangements in Kampala. This can either be done by Bank Transfer direct into an account in Uganda or by raising an International Bankers Draft which is really just a cheque in local currency.
Travellers Cheques can be taken and encashment facilities are available at the major Kampala Banks and Forex Bureaux.
Some travellers have experienced difficulty in exchanging money outside Kampala whereas others have had no difficulty. It is best, therefore, to be prepared. Travellers Cheques are almost impossible to cash outside of Kampala at a reasonable rate of exchange.
Security of cash, cheques, cards and travellers cheques is vital. The precautions you would take for any visit to any country should be followed carefully remembering that in Uganda immediate replacement may not always be possible.
See the kit list used for Uganda 2000.
Normal camping equipment - lightweight and for summer use. Petrol stoves can be taken but only leaded petrol is available and fuel cannot be taken by air. You should expect to cook over open fires. Meths is available but purchase from a reliable source as it tends to get mixed with water. Parafin is also available.
Most personal items are available in Kampala including western foods (at a price) but outside Kampala western goods are hard to find. It is wise to take a good supply of film and batteries.
Overland travel is dangerous in many countries outside Europe en route to Uganda and should be considered only for the more adventurous expedition in which case it could be one which lasts several months. There is a ferry line operating from Venice to Greece and then on to Alexandria, Egypt. At one time there was a ferry line from Aden to Mombassa but it is not known if this still runs. Even if it does Yemen is not considered safe for UK visitors at the present time. Whilst the route suggested is mainly by sea a genuine overland route with a sea crossing from Marseilles to North Africa or through Eastern Europe and into Asia and the Gulf is not to be recommended because of troubles in the various countries en route, some of which are closed to foreign travellers.
If you are planning such an expedition you need to consider very carefully the consequences of your plans going wrong as they surely will and the need to be prepared for almost anything including hostage taking, imprisonment or death. The network cannot in all seriousness recommend that a Scout Expedition should contemplate such routes and it is not likely that in the foreseeable future conditions will improve to enable the PC(Abroad) form to be approved.
Travel by Air is the only sensible option with several of the major European and African Airlines offering a service. Long advance booking produces the best deals.
British Airways flying out of Heathrow offers a direct services to Entebbe whilst Sabena's successor believed to be called Brussels Airline travels via Brussels. KLM from Amsterdam, Gulf Air involves a 22 hour journey via the Gulf with similar flights with Ethiopian Airlines, Emirates, Egypt Air and Egypt Air
Each airline has its own buggage specification with Alliance believed to be the most generous at 30Kilo. A small amount of personal or hand buggage can be taken into the cabin. IATA specifies that the total of its length plus height plus depth should net exceed 115 cm whilst British Airways specifies the maximum for individual dimensions 55cm L, 40cm H, 20cm D. Total = 115cm.
The usual hand baggage weight allowance is 6kg in Standard Class - more in business and First Class.
Please check with the airline before travel.
From time to time airlines will give additional baggage allowance to allow charitable donations to be carried and if you are contemplating this you should ask weeks in advance. Even then carriage cannot be guaranteed on the day.
Within the country travel can no longer be made by train but which is restricted to cargo only.
Internal air flights by regular service to some towns or by charter to others is possible. The aircraft are usually well maintained and in good condition but tend to be single engine 4 seaters. If you are determined to visit a dangerous part of the country going by air might be the only option but remember you are not likely to get approval from the Scout Association unless you provide very special information and circumstances. Taking young people into dangerous areas is not going to get approval.
Travel by road is really the only sensible way to get around the country. Some of the major roads are tarmaced and in good condition. The country is investing in its infrastructure and each year road improvements are noticed. In the capital traffic lights are being installed to replace hazardous roundabouts. However, many roads are just dirt in various states of lack of maintenance.
Long haul journeys are made by Safe Journey coaches. Huge buses with large wheels that just float over the bumpy roads. They can travel at frightening speeds but this is only noticed when you are watching one hurl itself down the road. Travel by coach is cheap but don't expect a timetable - the bus will leave when it is full. Matatus leave Kampala when full for places in and outside the city. They are 12 seater mini buses into which 18 or so are usually crammed and that can include all sorts of luggage and livestock. Where the Matatu stops Boda Boda takes over for off road journeys. It is amazing what you can get on a bike but be ready for an uncomfortable ride on the back pannier and to walk up hills.
Vehicle hire, with or without a driver is available from AVIS, Phoenix Trading, City Cars and Vacational Tours. Uganda 2000 used Vacational Tours which was the only company able to provide for the large number of vehicles hired. If you are travelling up country a normal car or mini-bus will get to most places but if travelling deep into the Districts a 4 wheel drive vehicle is recommended. You should budget around 100 per day for a 12
ter land rover or Mini-Bus. If you are into off road driving or American Adventure Dodgem Car Driving then self drive is an experience not to be missed. However, the Network advises you to take an African Driver which usually comes at no extra cost. You will need an international driving permit available from the RAC and AA.
There are three main mountain ranges suitable for climbing. The Rwenzories in the West of the country on the border with The Congo are by far the most challenging and provide some stunning scenery with the Magarita often having snow on its peak. The summit of the Magarita is at 5110 metres. Unfortunately travel to the Rwenzori Mountain range is not recommended at the present time due to the insecurity in that area.
In the South West is the Mgahinga National Park with the highest summit ( in Uganda) being Muhavura at 4510m. Visits to this area are restricted because of the preservation of the Gorilla population and unaccompanied travel is inadvisable due to the insecurity in that area. The mountain range straddles the border with Rwanda and The Congo.
In the East on the border with Kenya is the Mount Elgon National Park, the highest peak being Wagagai at 4321m, and is easily walkable with the assistance of the Mount Elgon Guides who are based at Mbale. The area is safe and pleasant.
Before 2000 many Scouts have been up Mount Elgon dressed in normal summer walking gear with lightweight tents and sleeping bags. In 2000 some of the wettest and coldest weather was experienced and some complained of being cold. We would now recommend climbers to take warm clothing and waterproofs. Also some of the walkers came off the plane and after only one or two nights climbed Mount Elgon. We received complaints of altitude sickness. We would now recommend spending 5 or 6 nights in Uganda prior to attempting a climb of Mount Elgon or the other peaks of similar height unless previously well experienced in climbs of this height. Members of the party should be physically fit for the climb. Remember Kampala is at an altitude which is roughtly equivalent to some of the highest mountains in the UK.Web Links page Prior to 2000 most Scouts have taken lightweight tents and summer sleeping bags with low quality waterproofs. In 2000 we experienced some of the coldest and wettest weather and there were several comments that visitors on camp felt cold. We would now recommend upgrading the sleeping bag from summer quality (one season) to a three season bag. Visitors should also take warm clothing, jumper and fleece and good long trousers as an alternative to shorts, and a good standard of waterproof. For urban visits an umbrella is often useful.
A 10 year British Nationals passport valid for 6 months after the departure date is needed. A visa is now required for a UK Passport Holder and this can be obtained at the Uganda High Commission in London or on arrival though this latter arrangement was said to be temporary. There are few customs restrictions on entering the country though communication equipment to be connected to the Ugandan Telecom system requires special permits before clearance can be given. Sheath knives and other large bladed knives cannot be admitted. It is foolish to try to take them onto the aeroplane in the UK as they will be detected by the scanners at the airport and taken away. Packed in luggage to be placed in the hold is acceptable.
On departure from Entebbe there is an airport tax of $20 US or it can be paid in Ugandan Shillings.
A good tip is to take a photocopy of the main pages of the passport and visa together with spare photographs in case a replacement passport is necessary in the event of the original being lost.
It is easy to get paranoid over such matters in Uganda. The Medical System in Kampala is old and underfunded. There is a shortage of nurses, doctors, equipment and medicine. The standards at all but a few private hospitals appall most western people who are unprepared, so it is essential to take adequate precautions before travelling and whilst in Uganda. A simple medical check up before travelling is advised together with a visit to the dentist.
Early in your planning consult MASTA for the latest medical advice and organise vaccination as recommended. Remember you will not for the most part be staying in hotels, you will be in the bush near or with wild animals. You are advised to take up all the recommended injections in addition to the essential ones.
Malaria remains the highest cause of death in Uganda. Infection is caused by the mosquitoes bites, though only a relatively small percentage of mosquitoes are carriers. Compared with other countries at lower altitudes Uganda has fewer problems with mosquitos even near water. It is sensible to take tablets available over the counter at a cost of around 5 for each tablet and it is important to cover up at night and use sprays and creams on exposed parts.
Some people have reported side effects when taking Lariam and if you suffer from depression, higher than normal blood pressure and any other heart or breathing condition it is important that you discuss this matter with your Doctor before commencing a course of tablets. There is an alternative to Lariam which is a little less effective in its protection. However, it should be remembered that no medication is anywhere near a 100% protection against malaria.
There have been warnings about taking Lariam when pregnant or contracting malaria whilst pregnant. It would be sensible to discuss these issues with your Doctor prior to taking Lariam and before travelling to any malaria country.
Diarrhoea and stomach upsets can be a problem and sensible precautions should be taken particularly with personal cleanliness and washing hands. The usual cure is to take boiled water only, no food and to use oral re-hydration salts. If it persists see a doctor because Diarrhoea and the accompanying dehydration can kill - it is important to maintain a high level of fluid intake.
HIV is an infection leading to AIDS from which there is no known cure. The average infection in the country is at epidemic levels of around 40% of the population and whilst some villages have no infection, some are said to have a 90% infection level. All casual sexual activity with Ugandans is best avoided as is contact with blood products and the use of needles. All Scouts visiting the country need to be well briefed about AIDS - it is not an embarrassing subject to most Ugandans and is freely talked about as part of the Scout Programme. Ensure that AIDS is talked about as part of your Scout Programme before a visit! The sign at Entebbe Airport is worth noting - Faithfulness, Abstainence and Condoms.
Dehydration can be a killer, its dangers must not be under estimated and every opportunity should be taken to maintain a high level of liquid intake. Remember water should be boiled in all circumstances unless taking bottled water which should be purchased from reputable outlets. It is as well to check the seals as it is not unusual for refilled bottles of water to be sold. As a guide drink 2ltrs of water per day.
Take a good comprehensive first aid kit including disposable needles, treatment for de-hydration, emergency dental treatment and you might wish to also consider if you should include condoms. A Doctor is available adjacent to the British High Commission in Kampala who is happy to treat Scout visitors. Even so, medical treatment can be miles away and take a long time to reach if you do not have your own transport. For the more adventurous visits you might want to consider a satellite phone which can be rented in the UK. However, GSM cellular phones are available for towns in the southern part of the country. They are in common use. See the Telephone Guidance page.
Walking along roads can be extremely hazardous and although they drive on the left expect anything from anywhere at anytime. They will weave and dodge to avoid ruts and ditches and they might be courteous enough to hoot to tell you they are coming. If you see a bus give the driver plenty of room - it will not stop if you get in the way!
Swimming should be avoided in Uganda no matter how tempting the water appears except in some of the Western Style Hotels. The shores of Lake Victoria and almost all other lakes in Uganda are infected with snails, fast flowing rivers are usually dangerous and some are infested with crocodiles.
Scout Association rules will not permit you to travel abroad on Scout activities without adequate insurance. Ensure that it covers all medical circumstances that you might expect to meet.Advice issued to Contingent Members in 2000 for their visit in August of that year.
It may be necessary for new skills to be acquired as part of the training programme for the expedition which will depend on the nature of the project that is planned. The training programme should be extended to the whole group wherever possible either in a learning or instructing capacity. In addition to any specific skills required, there will also be a need for a scribe to write letters, reports etc ( word processing skills), a caterer ( nutritional requirements), and a photographer / video camera operator to name but a few. Remember Publicity is an important part of the visit at all stages from the idea to getting home and presenting the slide show.
English is the official language which most people speak. The other languages are Luganda and Swahili. Remember they also drive on the left but the few road signs there are, are in English.
As a Commonwealth Country the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council will consider applications for exchange visits of groups of more than 8 persons involving young people between age 16 and 25.
The fund might be administered by the County Council in your area who might also have its own grant fund from which it might be persuaded to make a contribution.
The excitement is over, everyone is back home safe and sound ( hopefully), but that is not the end.
A report of the expedition needs to be produced - time to use those word processing skills acquired before departure. Copies should be sent to the International Department, the Uganda Network and to any sponsors. Thank you letters should go to contacts in Uganda as well as anyone who has supported you in other ways in the UK.
Publicity for the Scout group can be gained by notifying local newspapers, radio and TV stations of the expedition and its achievements. Slide shows can be arranged for local groups, not just within the Scout movement.
Health issues. If a member of the group is unwell following return to the UK, it is important to seek medical advice and to say which countries have been visited. Any suggestion that you have got a high temperature in the first year after return should prompt an immediate visit to the Doctor who will probably treat it as Malaria until he can prove it is not.
A short time after the return home the expedition party should meet together for a debriefing session to evaluate the visit, to assess the success or failure of the project and the reasons behind this and to begin to formulate plans to sustain the links and contacts in Uganda. In fact this could turn out to be the first planning meeting for the next expedition or hosting a group from Uganda.
Some people experience dramatic changes in their outlook on life as a result of the Uganda experience. Hopefully this is for the better but if you need help in handling the months after Uganda then please do contact a member of the Network. Remember, it might be your parents that need some support!
Having spent time in Uganda you might want to invite a group to the UK. You must consider the cost and the possibility that you will have to pay air fares and meet all costs in the UK. There are a small number of opportunities for sponsored visits but they are very few. Again the Network has experience because in Nottinghamshire and Kent there have been two very successful visits by young Scouts including two blind Scouts to CampDowne 2000.
It is unwise to throw out a "why don't you come and join us on a camp" type invitation until you have thought it through because the chances are that someone will take you up on the invitation and arrive.
In the past there have been difficult visits and these notes and the experience of the Network is available to help you to avoid the pitfalls which could mar the experience.
If you still wish to go ahead and issue an invitation there are some very real benefits for you, your Scouts and the Ugandan Scouts but you need to make most of the preparations for the Ugandan Scouts. They are in for a culture shock for which it is very difficult to prepare them. Hosts in this country need to be well prepared for the visitors over a wide range of issues - how to use a toilet, food, sleeping etc. However, experience tells us that the young people who do come are a delight, well mannered and easy to please. Try to host the visitors in pairs. It can be quite daunting for young Uganda Scouts to be on their own - probably for the first time in their lives. Treat a young Ugandan Scout as you would your own and he or she will return the love and warmth that you have shown to your visitor.
You need to issue a formal invitation to your visitors as early as possible and to persuade them to apply early for their VISAS and flights to the UK. The British High Commission requires between 1 and 6 weeks to process a VISA application (best to allow 6 in case of problems) and will need the copy of the invitation and flight details.
Draw up a carefully worked out and costed programme with transport and drivers involving as many Sections and Leaders of the group and parents as you can. Gain publicity and the involvement of local authorities who might well wish to receive your visitors.
Consider a visit to London, perhaps with accommodation at Baden Powell House possibly combined with the journey to or from Heathrow. Include Scouting activities such as a camp and visits to groups. Try not to do too much; leave relaxation time and time with host families. Avoid where possible the splitting up of group activities by hosts taking their Ugandan Scouts "out for the day".
There is a wide range of hotels in Uganda ranging from local "travellers hotels" where soil floors are usually the norm, to the usual selection of international hotels including a "Sheritan". Unless you are really well travelled and feel "at home" in Africa the "travellers hotels" are best avoided. Some do not provide beds let alone mosquitto nets. The top hotels such as the Sheritan or hotels at Entebbe are very expensive but offer a good standard of accommodation and food. In between there are hotels in almost every major town where it is possible to stay in comfort and safety.
1 Publications and Information
Guide to Uganda - - ISBN 0-946-983-58-5
Social Studies Atlas of Uganda - - ISBN 0-333-43425-0
A series of publications collectively titled "Youth Exchange Kits" deal with general ideas, making contacts, programmes, fund raising and evaluation.
Youth Exchange Centre British Council, 10 Spring Gardens, London SW1A 2BN
The UNITE training and information books which are now available in the Activity Section on the Web Site. They are nolonger available in hard copy.
Northumberland Fun and Activity Books - produced by Northumberland to assist with the promotion of their project at Kaazi.
A 30 minute video of a visit to Uganda in 1995 by Leaders and Venture Scouts of the 1st Farnsfield Scout Group which looks at the work of UNITE in Uganda and various projects being undertaken, some in conjunction with Scouts in the UK. This can be obtained by email. The price is £5.00. There is also an audio tape at £3.00
A video of Uganda 2000 can be obtained from Julian Sore by email.
3 Uganda High Commission58 - 59 Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DX
Tel 0207 839 5783 .
4 British High CommissionConsular Section, 10/12 Parliament Avenue, PO Box 7070, Kampala
Tel + 256 78 312000
Fax: + 256 41 257304 General
+ 256 78 312267 Chancery
+ 256 78 312281 Consular/Visa
Further information on Uganda's British High Commisison
5 The Scout Association
Assistant County/Area Commissioner (International) or County/Area International Adviser- address available locally.
International Department, Gilwell Park, Bury Road, Chingford, LONDON
6 Travel Agents
Vacational Tours and Travel Ltd, PO Box 8883, Kampala, Uganda
Express Air Travels, 1007 Harrow Road, Wembley, Middlesex,
Leisuretime House, 165-169 New Kent Road, LONDON SE1 4AQ
Note: the cheapest tickets are usually achievable from travel agents though recently good deals have been found on the Internet. Do ensure that the travel agent you use is ABTA and IATA registered and that includes Web Sites.
See also the previous section - Travel Agents.
BRITISH AIRWAYS PLC
KENYA AIRWAYS , in Uganda Tel Kampala 233068
8 Car Hire Firms
Vacational Tours and Travel Ltd, PO Box 8883, Kampala, Uganda
Trading Company Ltd Kampala, Kintu Road, Kampala
Belex Tours and Travel Ltd, Sheraton Hotel, PO Box 10542, Kampala
AVIS, Nile Gardens Hotel, Kampala and consult the UK telephone directory
Medical Advisory Services for Travellers Abroad, Keppel Street, LONDON
WC1 E 7HY
10. Medical in Uganda
Hospitals and Pharmacies
Mulago Hospital (adequate eye, ENT and Orthopaedic facilities), Kampala 554001
11. Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council
7 Lion Yard, Tremadoc
Road, Clapham, London SW4 7NF
Shopping is wide and varied from garage style shops selling just a few products to the Uchumi Supermarket at Garden City in Kampala. A supermarket and shopping mall in a style of the UK