The Ugandan Shilling (Ush) is the official currency of Uganda. The Ugandan Shilling comes in notes of Ush1,000, Ush2,000, Ush5,000, Ush10,000, Ush20,000 and Ush50,000. Coins are issued in Ush50, Ush100, Ush200, Ush500 and Ush1,000.
US$ will be the currency quoted by many lodges, excursions companies, for gorilla and other wildlife permits etc. We recommend that you travel with US$ cash, in new (absolutely no older than 2003 and in good condition with no writing or tears).
Generally if you are travelling with us, all aspects of your tour are pre-paid, so you will only need money for local expenses like curios, drinks, and tips for guides or rangers. For the most part you will be able to do all of these with US$. However, if there is an option to pay by Shillings and you choose to pay by US$ you will certainly lose on the exchange rate doing this.
For smaller purchases we recommend changing some money into Ugandan Shillings. The best place to do this is either Banks or larger Bureau de Change. The best exchange rate is likely to be with a VISA debit card through one of the more established ATMs.
Many of the lodges and hotels (and some high end shops and restaurants) will accept payment by credit or debit card, however, many levy a fee from 5% up! VISA is the most widely accepted, Mastercard less so, and do not bother with American Express or Diners.
ATM/cash point machines are available in most towns, and main airports. We recommend listening to your guide’s advice on which ones to use.