Good to know before traveling to Karamoja
In Uganda, there are three official languages: English, Luganda and Kiswahili, and in Karamoja, the most spoken language is Karamojong but there are more language spoken by the different tribes. Here are a few words for you to get by during your stay in Karamojaland:
- Ejoka (Hello, how are you?) > Ejock ( I’m fine) / ejock noii (I’m great)
- Ebalai? (How is it going?) > Emam Ngache (Everything is fine)
- Alakara (Thank you) > Alakara noii (Thank you very much)
- Ru?: How are you?
- Nade: I’m fine / It’s okay
- Nade kolong: I’m very fine / It’s okay
- Nacham: Confirmed
- Poghsio (poy-shhuh): Hello
- Poghsio nyoman (poy-shhuh nya-man): Hello (in response)
- Karam nyoman: Hello (friendly, in response)
- Lenteneana: How are you?
- Karibu: You are welcome
- Mzuri: Good
- Karam: Very good
- Coming soon
- Habari gani?: How are you?
- Mzuri: I’m fine > Mzuri sana: I’m very fine
- Asante (Thank you) > Asante sana (Thank you very much)
- Karibu: You are welcome
- Pole pole: Slowly, slowly
- Hakuna matata: No problem
Before travelling to Uganda, we advise you to see a general practitioner or a specialised doctor at the travel advice centre a long time before your departure for your general health status, and to have time to do necessary and required vaccinations and for eventual boosters.
The yellow fever vaccine is required. Then, malaria is a parasitic disease potentially serious, transmitted by mosquito bites. There exist two complementary kinds of prevention against malaria: protection against mosquitos (highly recommended by night by using repellents) and drug therapy. For the drug therapy, we advise you to see a GP. During your stay, in case of fever, rapidly go to a medical care centre or hospital to start an eventual treatment as soon as possible. Uganda is a country classified zone 3 and the risk of being bitten is constant. To avoid it, wear covering and light clothes, protect your accommodation with mosquito nets (provided in all hotels) and avoid water places.
Moreover, we recommend you to constitute your personal pharmacy and to bring medicines enough. Never consume medicines bought in the streets.
Also, it is necessary to take out an insurance covering medical expenses (surgeries, hospitalisation) and medical repatriation.
- Regularly wash your hands, especially before and after meals, and after going to the toilets
- Take care of the food quality and especially of the cooking
- Avoid the consumption of raw or little cooked food products.
- Peel vegetables and fruits and carefully wash them with clean water
- Only drink safe water and soda bought in bottles, or drinking water after being filtered or boiled. Only drink pasteurised or boiled milk
- Avoid contact with ill people, with dead animals, stray animals and do not pet them
- Avoid having a bath in stagnant waters (risk of parasitic infection) and do not walk barefoot on sand and humid soil
Human rights, child exploitation, women.
In Uganda, despite new laws, there are still many cases of human rights violation and child sexual exploitation. It is important to get to know about this issue to be able to understand better the country’s reality and the situations you will encounter.
For example, a large number of children in Uganda engage in the worst forms of child labour in commercial sexual exploitation, and also perform dangerous tasks in gold mining. Moreover, children from Karamoja region are trafficked and willingly migrate to Kampala and other urban centres where they engage in begging, street vending, domestic work, and commercial sexual exploitation. The majority of these child victims of trafficking are deceived by false promises of job opportunities while the use of abduction and kidnapping appears to be rare. Reasons behind trafficking include poverty and economic hardships within the households as well as orphan hood and famine that push children to run away. Plus, most female victims of trafficking end up in prostitution prone environments while boys enter hazardous work like fishing on lakes, agriculture, markets, metal scrap or stone quarries. The prostitution of children is most prevalent in urban centres, tourist areas, and along major transportation routes and may take place in various locations, including slums, rented rooms, streets, bars, drinking places, lodges and hostels. The majority of children enter prostitution after losing one or both parents and/or dropping out of school. Some are said to face domestic violence, parental neglect, molestation/harassment, or to be enticed by their friends with the promise to get easy and quick money. Finally, early marriage continues to be rampant throughout the country, especially in rural areas. Where poverty is severe, young girls have become an asset from which families can gain property and livestock from bride wealth exchanges.
Uganda has a list of hazardous occupations prohibited to children under 18, however children in Uganda are required to attend school only up to age 13. This standard makes children ages 13 to 15 vulnerable to child labour because they are not required to attend school but are not legally permitted to work.
Early marriage, child work and sexual exploitation and human rights violation and are still very big issues of Uganda and of Karamoja.
Purchases, imports and exports.
Here are information regarding what you are allowed to bring from your country to Uganda, and what you are allowed to take from Uganda to your country.
The Government of Uganda allows passengers 18 years of age and over to import the following items without customs duties:
- 250 grams of tobacco products
- 1 litre of spirits (including liquors) and 1 litre of wine
- 1 pint of perfume and eau de toilette, of which not more than one quarter of a pint may be perfume
- personal effects up to a value of max $500
Note: Uganda requires meat and poultry importers to obtain a “Sanitary Import Permit” from the Director of Veterinary Services before declaring these items at customs.
Cats and dogs must be accompanied by a veterinarian good health certificate issued at the point of origin not earlier than six days before arrival in Uganda.
Foreign currencies: there is no limit on the amount of foreign currency a traveller can bring into Uganda, provided he/she declares the currency upon arrival. Domestic currencies: travellers are prohibited from importing Ugandan shillings upon arrival.
Free export of a reasonable quantity of tobacco and/or tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, and perfume is allowed. A special permit for game trophies is required.
Foreign currencies: travellers are free to export foreign currency up to the amount imported and declared on arrival. Domestic currencies: travellers are prohibited from exporting Ugandan shillings upon departure.