The 9th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties


"Wetlands and water: supporting life, sustaining livelihoods"
9th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties
to the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)
Kampala, Uganda, 8-15 November 2005

Delegates Handbook

Prepared by the Government of Uganda's COP9 National Organizing Committee

The COP9 Logo

The COP9 Logo, appearing on all pages of this handbook, depicts a person harvesting in a wetland. The ripples depict sustainability, blue depicts water, while yellow depicts the sun and warmth of Africa. The blue stripes represent the global nature of the event.


Welcome Statements...................................2
COP9 Information………………………..5
General Information for Visitors……….15
Kampala in Brief…………………………24
Wetlands of Uganda...................................29

A warm welcome to Uganda and COP9

The Government of Uganda feels privileged to be hosting the 9th Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention (COP9). This is a great honor for Uganda since this is the first time the Ramsar Conference is meeting in Africa.

On behalf of the Government and the people of Uganda, I would like to extend my warm welcome to all the delegates and conference staff from around the world and I hope everyone will enjoy their stay here.

Besides the important agenda of the Conference, I would take this opportunity to invite all of you to experience the other side of Uganda. Take time off to discover our beautiful landscapes, diverse culture and the traditional hospitality of the Ugandan people.

On Sunday, 13 November 2005, all conference delegates and participants can choose between one of the five mid-conference excursions which have been organised for this. This should provide you with the opportunity to appreciate the varied wetlands and natural resources as well as Uganda's cultural heritage and hospitality. This will bring you face to face with the theme of the Conference "Wetlands and Water- supporting life, sustaining livelihoods".

I also welcome all of you to visit our protected areas, which have a lot to offer, from the thick evergreen tropical forests to magnificent waterfalls and ice-capped mountains astride the equator. Here reside some of the ancient forms of life and landforms as well as some rare species of fauna and flora. I hope the experience will be worth your time.

As a country, we hope that the 9th Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention will end successfully with a plan for actions that bind the global community towards protecting wetlands and their important functions to life and sustainable livelihoods.

Thank you.

Hon Kahinda Otafire
Major General

A message to delegates

On behalf of the Ministry of Water, Lands and Environment and National Organising Committee, I welcome you all to Kampala and to the 9th Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

We hope that the next eight days will remain a memorable experience for you as participants, and a historical platform for the wetland conservation movement.

With more than 1000 delegates from the wetland fraternity and the broader sustainable development community, COP9 will be the most significant conservation networking event in the history of our country.

During the course of the Conference, we will be privileged to listen to and interact with some of the world's leading luminaries presenting new thinking on the challenges facing our planet and its people, and the solutions to deal with them.

This Conference is being held at a time when the Ministry has embarked on several initiatives aimed at promoting the conservation and wise use of wetlands. It is a bonus therefore, that this Conference will put the spotlight on wetland issues, which should give added momentum to our awareness campaigns.

I thank you all for giving us the privilege to host this historic conference.

Our Ministry, through the Wetlands Inspection Division and other stakeholders, protects, maintains, and develops Ugandan wetlands and associated natural resources. To meet these challenges we have adhered to a strict code of conservation management and upheld close relations with local communities as well as national and global partners so as to ensure optimum support for wetlands and natural resources under our care. We strive to achieve biological sustainability while offering ever expanding options for use of these resources.

An enormous amount of dedicated work has gone into organising this Conference and I would like to express our appreciation to all those who have been working day and night to make this event a success. I would like to express our deep gratitude to the Secretary General and staff of the Ramsar Convention Secretariat with whom we have worked so closely over the last three years when the decision was taken to hold COP9 in Uganda.

I trust you will enjoy the experiences that await you during and outside the main Conference event.

I encourage all of you to make your stay in Kampala both enjoyable and memorable and wish you the most fruitful deliberations.

Engineer B. K. Kabanda, Chair of National Organising Committee
Permanent Secretary
Ministry of Water, Lands and Environment

Welcome to the city in the sun

It is a great pleasure and honor for me to welcome you to the city of Kampala, which celebrates its 115th birthday this year.

As you must have already noticed on the drive into and around the city, a significant portion of Kampala is made up of wetlands and if only for that reason, I find it propitious that we should be hosting the 9th meeting of Conference of Parties to the Ramsar Convention on its first journey to the African continent.

Questions of sustainable use of wetlands have engaged the minds of Kampala's administrators since its founding in 1890 but have recently gained a sense of urgency because of population pressures. I hope that this meeting, while reinforcing the importance of wetlands conservation, will also come out with workable guidelines on their sustainable use.

As I wish you fruitful deliberations, I also invite you to take time off to enjoy the warmth of the city on "seven hills".

John Sebana Kizito


Special thanks and appreciation go to all Ramsar Contracting Parties; Ramsar Secretariat, National Organising Committee of COP9, Service providers and Exhibitors.


Conference Registration
Distribution of Documents
Annotated Agenda & Programme
Presidency of the COP & the Secretariat
MKI: Hotels, Travel & Per Diems
Information & Messages
Side Events
Kampala Hotels
Transportation from Kampala
Health & Medical


Ramsar COP9 is being held at the Speke Resort Munyonyo on the shores of Lake Victoria.

Speke Resort Munyonyo is one of Kampala's most recent developments and as a result, may not appear on some tourist maps.

The venue lies approximately 9 kilometers south of downtown Kampala. The main meeting and all side events will take place at the resort, which has been fully reserved for COP9.

The situation map overleaf gives Munyonyo's position relative to Kampala's Central Business District.

TEL: (from outside Uganda) +256 31/ 41 227111; FAX: +256 31/41 227110
TEL: (from within Uganda) 031/041 227111; FAX: 031/041 227110

Conference Registration

Registration of delegates will take place at the Registration Desk at the Conference Centre from Sunday 6th from 08:30 to 18:00 each day, with the exception of Sunday 13th (delegates' excursion day).

Please Note: Delegates will only be registered on presentation of a valid piece of identification that must include a photo e.g. a passport.

Distribution of Documents

Official documents have been made available to delegates on the Convention's Web Site and on CD-ROM. One printed set of official documents will be available to each Contracting Party and Observer State on arrival but additional copies will NOT be available to delegates.

There will be one pigeon hole mailbox for each Contracting Party and Observer State, and one copy of new and revised official documents will be placed here as they become available. Copies of these documents will be made available to all participants (self service) at the Documentation Desk.

There will be tables available near the Documentation Desk for other documents that participants wish to distribute.

Annotated Agenda and Programme

The most recent version of the Programme was distributed in October 2005 as Ramsar document COP9 DOC.1 Rev. 2. A final version will be distributed at the time of registration. This document will be discussed and adopted at the start of the COP.

Presidency of the COP and Secretariat

The office of the President and Secretariat of the COP are located in the cottages at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

The offices of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin and the International Organization Partners to Ramsar are located in the studios next to the cottages. Details of telephone contacts in case of emergency will be provided in a separate document at the time of registration.

The following is the list of Secretariat staff of the COP and their functions.

Secretary General: Peter Bridgewater
Deputy Secretary General: Nick Davidson
Communications and relations with the press: The Secretary General is the spokesperson for the Convention, assisted by Sebastià Semene
Registration Desk: Montse Riera and Valerie Higgins
Production and translation of documents: Dwight Peck, Sandra Hails and the translation teams
Preparation of the Conference Report: Tim Jones
Documentation Desk: Montse Riera
Credentials Desk: Ursula Hiltbrunner
Press and Side events: Sebastià Semene
Assistance to the Parties in Africa: Abou Bamba and Lucia Scodanibbio
Assistance to Parties in Asia: Lei Guangchun and Shahzia Khan
Assistance to the Parties in Europe: Tobias Salathé and Dorothea August
Assistance to the Parties in the Neotropics and North America: Margarita Astrálaga and Adrián Ruiz-Carvajal
Assistance to the Parties in Oceania: Vainuupo Jungblut
Questions concerning draft resolutions: Nick Davidson
Questions related to the Ramsar budget (including payment of dues): Peter Bridgewater
Questions related to the financing of projects and programmes: Paulette Kennedy
Relations with NGOs and other groups of civil society: Peter Bridgewater
Logistics: Marsel Kuzyakov
Payment of per diem and travel arrangements of the delegates financed through Ramsar: Paulette Kennedy and MKI
Earth Negotiations Bulletin: Xenya Cherny


The person designated by the Secretary General to serve the Credentials Committee is Ursula Hiltbrunner. Original copies of the credentials must be submitted to the Registration Desk at the time of registration.

MKI: Hotels, travel and per diems

MKI, the travel agency responsible for reserving hotels and flights of the delegates financed through Ramsar, have their offices located in Swift Cottage.

MKI will begin to pay per diems to delegates entitled to them from 09:00 on Sunday 6th November onwards. The office hours for MKI will be announced at its counter.


The Press Office, located in the Emerald Room, is equipped with computers with access to internet, and all press announcements will be posted here. Press Conferences will be held in the Royal Room.

Press questions relating to the Government of Uganda are to be referred to the Department of Information of the Government of Uganda. The contact person regarding COP press issues is Sebastià Semene.

The Ramsar Secretariat has prepared a press file with basic information about the Convention and key topics at COP9 which will be available in the Press Office.

Information and messages

A Local Information Desk will be available on the ground floor of the Conference Centre. The Programme for each day will appear regularly in the three working languages on a notice board at this location.

To leave messages for other participants, we recommend the following possibilities:

(i) leave a message on the pinboard at the Local Information Desk;
(ii) inquire at the Registration Desk about the hotel where the person sought is staying and send the message to the hotel;
(iii) leave a message in an envelope on the table in the plenary meeting room where the delegation of the person sought sits.


Exhibits from Contracting Parties, official bodies and civil society groups are located in the big tent in the Green Area next to the Registration Desk.

Side Events and other Meetings

Side events have been programmed during the Conference. The programme of side events will be distributed in a separate document. The updated programme of side events will appear each day on screens located on the ground floor of the Conference Centre. The programme for each room will also be placed at the entrance to that room. Availability of rooms for meetings other than side events and pre-arranged events is limited. Enquiries about side events and requests for rooms about other meetings should be addressed to Sebastià Semene.

Kampala Hotels

Sheraton Kampala Hotel,
Ternan Avenue
Phone 256-41-344590 Alt.
Fax 256-41-256696
Web site:
Namirembe Guest House
Plot 1085, Will's Rd
P.O. Box 14127, Kampala
Phone +256-41-273-778
Alt. Phone +256-41-273-981
Web site:
Grand Imperial Hotel
Plot 6/6A,Nile Avenue
Phone:256 41 250681/8
Alt. Phone:256-41-250681/2
Fax 256 41 250606
Web site:
Tourist Hotel
Market Street, Nakasero
Phone 256-41-251471
Alt. Phone 256-41-251472
Hotel Africana Ltd,
Plot 2-4 Wampewo Ave.Kololo
Phone 256-41-348080
Alt. Phone 256-41-348086
Fax 256-41-348090/1
Web site:
Shanghai Hotel Ltd
Plot8/10Ternan Rd
Phone 256-41-250366
Alt. Phone 256-41-250366
Fax 256-41-236212
Fairway Hotel,
Plot 1/2 Kafu Rd
Phone 256-41-257571/4
Alt. Phone 256-41-234160
Fax 256-41-234160
Kampala Regency Hotel
Plot 78/79, Namirembe Rd Bakuli
Phone 256-41-272337
Alt. Phone256-41-272338
Fax 256-41-230490
Fang Fang Hotel,
Plot 9 Ssezibwa Rd, Nakasero
Phone 256-41-235828
Alt. Phone 256-41-250681/2
Fax 256 41 250606
Hotel International
Tank Hill Muyenga
Phone 256-41-266924
Alt. Phone 256-41-266967
Fax 256-41-269616
Speke Apartments
Plot 7/9 Wampewo Ave.
Phone 256-41-346174
Alt. Phone 256-41-346175
Fax 256-41-235345
Hotel Equatoria
Plot 37/39, William Street
Phone 256-41-250783
Alt. Phone 256-41-250780
Fax 256-41-250146
Web site:
Mosa Court Apartments
Plot 12 Shimoni Rd
Phone 256-41-230321
Alt. Phone 256-41-230292
Fax 2256-41-230310
The Hotel Diplomate
William Kalema Drive, Muyenga
Phone 256-41-267625
Alt. Phone 256-41-267255
Fax 256-41-267655
Golf Course Apartments
Plot 5, Makindu Close
Phone 256-41-342745
Alt. Phone256-41-342769
Fax 256-41-235674

Transportation from Kampala

Transport to and from the venue from Kampala will be available at all the hotels hosting delegates. For information on traveling outside Conference hours and for travel within Kampala, see the section on Kampala.

Health and Medical


The emergency toll free numbers in Uganda are either 999 (fixed line) or 112 (mobile).

A 24-hour First Aid team will be stationed at the main conference venue in Munyonyo, while a parallel team will be available for the 12 hours overnight at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel.

The teams will have a standby ambulance to evacuate delegates to the major hospitals should the need arise.

In emergency please call any of the following contacts:

Dr. Ezaki 077 501 727
Dr. Mabwejano 077 516 240
Sr.Bileti 077 623 398

Chairman First Aid Committee:
Mr. Robert Semwogerere Tel: 077 497 106

For more details please refer to the separate handbook on First Aid that will be distributed during registration. Those carrying medical insurance should confirm if local providers International Air Ambulance (IAA) and African Air Rescue (AAR) have reciprocal arrangements with their insurers and will extend cover during their stay in Uganda.

Mulago Hospital Casualty Ward 041 497 106


The International dialing code for Uganda is +256. There are three main telecom service providers in the country:

CELTEL Code 075 [mobile]
MTN Codes 077/078 [mobile] 031/039 [fixed]
UTL Code 041[fixed] 071 [mobile]

All three service providers have roaming agreements and delegates should be able to use their home numbers without difficulty.

However, if you are not roaming, you can get instant access by buying a Sim-pack from any of the local service providers at around US $8 a pack.

Tariffs vary but Uganda has one of the lowest call rates in Africa. A minute to an international destination from a local mobile typically costs $0.5-0.6.

Public pay phones are also available throughout the city. As part of poverty eradication efforts, some of these may be available as manned stalls where you pay a vendor to place your call.

Postal services are fairly well organised in Uganda and you should have no problem sending or receiving letters. International call facilities as well as fax facilities exist at the main Post Office along Kampala Road. Otherwise phone cards can be bought and used in public pay phones.

Access to internet and email

In order to meet their communications needs, participants may use a Webmail link on Internet from which any mail account can be opened. Users that have a Webmail account with any internet access provider can use that link without restrictions.

A business centre is available at the main conference venue and is open from 08:30 to 21:00 local time. There will be some computers available to participants with free access to internet and the possibility of printing documents. Participants are advised to bring lap-tops with wi-fi capability, as the Conference centre is equipped with wi-fi facilities to which all participants have free access.

Participants should note that email and Internet access services are available in most parts of Kampala. Most major hotels also have a business centre with Internet access but Internet Cafes are available all over Kampala and the suburbs. Simply lookout for the sign "Internet Café" or ask for directions to the nearest café. Here are a few of the many that are available:

Click Café
Uganda House,Kampala Road
Open 08:30 to 22:00h.
Lotus Internet Café
Kabalagala Trading centre just before the junction
Open 08:30 to 21:00h
Web-city Café
Neeta Cinema Building.
Kimathi Avenue
Open 08:30 to 22:00h


Pre-Conference tours (4-6 November), Mid-Conference excursions (13 November), Post-Conference tours (from 16 November onwards), as well as daily tours, special excursions for accompanying persons, and early morning bird walks, have been organised by the Ugandan National Organising Committee in collaboration with a Ugandan travel agency. Information on these excursions and registration forms will be available on the Ramsar and Ugandan Government Web Sites, and at the Excursion Registration Desk on the ground floor of the Conference Centre.

Programme for Accompanying Persons

Kampala City Tour and Shopping

Visit the city crafts villages and shops.

A range of Indian, Chinese, Lebanese, Italian, Belgian, Mongolian, Kenyan, Ethiopian, Thai restaurants are available. For the day's lunch you will have an opportunity to sample the Ugandan traditional dishes/cuisine.

A visit to Namirembe hill, Kasubi Tombs, and Uganda Museum.

Cost - US$ 60 per person (inclusive of transport, lunch and entrance fees).

Visit the Chimpanzee sanctuary on Ngamba Island

After breakfast, travel to the Entebbe Pier on Lake Victoria to catch a Speedboat to Ngamba Island. In approximately 45 minutes we will be able to see the gorgeous orphaned Chimpanzees on a 100 acre forested island.

The great show of Chimpanzees feeding will avail you a chance to get close to these primates and take photographs.

Snacks and drinks will be served before departure for the Entebbe Pier.

Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC)

After lunch, pick up from Hotels and drive to UWEC. Exciting place to see animals, see over 200 birds, the endangered Rhinos, medicinal herbs and many more thrilling things in this 100m walk.

Cost: US$20.00 per person (inclusive of transport, entrance fees and guided tour).

Evening: Join the conference dinner, fashion show and cultural dances.

Jinja Source of the Nile/Bujagali

Pick up from the hotels and travel to Jinja, Uganda's second largest town. It takes 2 hours to get there. En route, stop at the Namugongo Martyrs Shrine for 30 minutes and thereafter drive through the tropical Mabira forest and the sprawling tea and sugarcane plantations before crossing the mighty River Nile at the entrance of Jinja Town.

Arrive at the famous Source of the Nile. Take a boat ride to the actual spot (Source). Then take a ride through Jinja town. Break for lunch.

Lunch at the Nile Resort Hotel
After lunch leave for the magnificent Bujagali Falls. Then depart for Kampala.

Cost US$ 60 per person (inclusive of transport, entrance fees and lunch).



Time: Uganda is GMT+2

Immigration and Visas

Ugandan visas are issued at our Missions/Embassies abroad and also at the Entry/Exit Points e.g. Entebbe, Busia, Malaba etc..

Underlying the Uganda Visa Policy is the principle of reciprocity. In effect all countries that require visas for Ugandans are also visa prone in Uganda. Please see the Visa Check list below.

Visa Fees

Student Visa US$20
Single Entry US$30
Multiple Entry 6 months US$80
Multiple Entry 1 year US160
Inland Transit US$15

Countries Exempted from Visa requirements to Uganda:

COMESA Countries Others
Angola Antigua
Comoros Bahamas
Eritrea Barbados
Kenya Belize
Malawi Cyprus
Mauritius Fiji
Madagascar Gambia
Rwanda Grenada
Seychelles Jamaica
Swaziland Lesotho
Tanzania Malta
Tonga Sierra Leone
Zambia Singapore
Zimbabwe Solomon Islands
Italy (only Diplomatic Passports) St. Vincent

Visa Check List

In order to qualify for a visa application, all intending travelers to Uganda must comply with the following requirements:

You must be in possession of a valid passport issued by your government.
Your passport must be valid past the date of your expected departure from Uganda.

You must have:
An International Vaccination Certificate against Cholera (recommended, not required).
An International Inoculation Certificate against Yellow Fever (for visitors from or passing through a yellow fever area).

You must obtain a Uganda Government VISA before entry into Uganda.

To obtain a Uganda Government VISA the following are required:
Fill out both sides of Visa Application Form "J".
Submit your passport and two (2) passport-size photographs

Contacts of Diplomatic Missions to Uganda

ALGERIA: P.O. Box 4025, Kampala Tel. No. 232-918/232-689, Fax. No. 341-015
APOSTOLIC NUNCIATURE (VATICAN EMBASSY): Tel. 505619 Fax: 221-774, ob: 077-221167
AUSTRIA:Tel. 235-103/235-179 Fax. 235-160
BELGIUM: Tel. 00256-41-349559/569/570; Fax. 00256-41-347212
CHINA: Tel. 231095/259881/234058 Fax: 235087/341463;
CONGO; Tel. 250-099/232-021/230610 Fax:041- 340140
Embassy of the REPUBLIC OF CUBA; Tel. 233-742, Fax. 233-320/236438
DENMARK: Tel. 256-78 325-687/ 250-926/250-938/ 348095/6/7 348126, Fax.041 254-979
EGYPT: Tel. 256-41-254525/345152 Fax. 256-41-232103
ETHIOPIA: Tel. No.+256-41-348340 /+256-41-341881 Fax. No. +256-41-341885
FRANCE: Tel. +256-41-342120, 342176, 342344/5 , Fax: +256-41-341252 Emergency tel: 256-77-777717
GERMANY: Tel. +256-41-501111 Fax. +256-41-501115, Emergency no. 256-77-763 000
INDIA: Tel. 256-41-259398/344631/342994, Fax. 256-41-254943
IRAN: Tel. 221-689/221-646 Mobile: 075-765-742, Fax.041- 223-590
ITALY: Tel. 256-41-250442/250450/341786 Fax: 256-41-250448/349526, Emergency; 256-75-750448
JAPAN: Tel. Nos. 256-41-349542/3/4/5 Fax. No. 256-41-349547
KENYA: P.O. Box 5220, Kampala Tel. 256-41-258232/5/6; Fax. 256-41-258239
KOREA: DPR Tel. 254-6033 & 343-424 Telex: 61144 DPRK UG
LIBYA: Tel. +256-41-344924/5/6 Fax. 344969, 258674
NETHERLANDS: Tel. 256-41-346000 Fax. 256-41-231861, Mob: 075-731859 (after working hours)
NORWAY: Tel. +256-41-343621/346733/340848 Fax. +256-41-343936, Emergency +256-75-703107
NIGERIA: Tel. 256-41-233691/2 Fax. 256-41-232543
RUSSIAN FEDERATION: Telex 61518 SOVPOS UG, Fax 345-798
RWANDA: Tel. 344-045/333-541, Fax.041 258-547
SAUDI ARABIA: Tel. 340614/340616Fax 254017
SUDAN: Tel: 256-41-230001/256-41-346583/256-31-261358/256-31-261082, Fax: 256-41-346573
SOUTH AFRICA: Tel. 343543/44/46//60 or 031-220006/9 Fax. 438216
SWEDEN: Tel. No. +256-41-340970 Fax. +256-41-340979 Emergency Tel. No. 256-77-740970
TANZANIA: Tel: 256-41-256272 257357 Fax: 256-41-343973
UNITED KINGDOM AND NOTHERN IRELAND: Tel: +256-31-312000 Fax: +256-41-257304
U.S.A.: Tel. +256-41-259791/5, 234142, 233231 Fax: +256-41-259794
EU: Tel: 256-41-233303/4, & 256-41-250049, 343516 Emergency Tel: 256-41-257907Fax: 256-41-233-708


English is the official language. All media and business is in English and most Ugandans speak it fairly well. Swahili is the next most commonly understood language, followed by Luganda.


Uganda has a wide range of standards when it comes to places to stay - from five star hotels and first class luxury lodges, to rustic bush camps, guesthouses and campsites. Foreigners must pay in hard currency except for the smaller guesthouses. Not all of the small town hotels are equipped to take travelers cheques or credit cards. Be aware of the 'extras' that may be added onto your bill - service charge and 18% VAT.

Arrival by Air

Uganda's main international gateway is the Entebbe International Airport. It is located some 40km south of Kampala, in the lakeside town of Entebbe. Its setting makes a spectacular entry to the country with an approach over Lake Victoria. A number of International carriers operate regular flights to and from Entebbe.

Taxis are available at the airport, although if you have provided details to the registration team you will be transported by shuttle bus to your hotel. A taxi ride from Entebbe to Kampala costs Ushs 45,000 or US $ 25 on average. Airport taxis are clearly marked with the "Entebbe Airport Taxi" or EACT logo's. Be sure to agree the fare in advance and ensure that the driver has receipt before setting off.

Major Airlines Serving Uganda

Air Tanzania, Suite14 Ground floor, Workers house, 1 Pilkington Road Tel 041 345772 041 255501 077 767805
British Airways,Centre Court, 4 Ternan Avenue Tel: 041 257 414; 041 257 416
Egypt Air, Shop11 Grand Imperial Hotel Shopping Arcade Tel: 041 233960; 041 341276
Emirates, FNC Building, Kimathi Avenue Tel: 041 349941/2
Ethiopian Airlines, United Assurance Building, 1 Kimathi Avenue Tel: 345118; 041 254795/7
Kenya Airways/KLM Royal Dutch Airlines: Jubilee Center, 11 Parliament avenue Tel : 041 233068 / Fax 041 259472
South African Airways: Suite14 Ground floor, Workers house, 1 Pilkington Road Tel 041 255501 039 767801
SN Brussels, Ground Floor Rwenzori House 1 Lumumba Avenue Tel: 041 234200/2

Arrival by Road

The main road border crossings are open at Malaba, Busia, Mutukula, Kisoro, Arua and Lwakhakha. Drivers require a valid international driving license, and must carry their vehicle logbooks. Drivers will be expected to show adequate third party insurance, and pay for a temporary road license.


The unit of currency in Uganda is the Ugandan Shilling (Ush). There are coins in denominations: 1, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 in circulation. Bank notes are in denominations of 1000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000.

There are no restrictions on importation or exportation of currency into or out of Uganda although any monies over US$5000 have to be declared to customs officials.

Banking and Foreign Exchange

Kampala is well serviced with banks and banking hours are 08:30 to 16:00 Monday to Friday, and 09:00 to 12:00 Saturdays. Licensed Forex Bureaus can be found in all major urban areas and are abundant in Kampala.

Major hotels also offer a currency exchange service.

Forex bureaus are normally open till 17:00 and are able to do electronic transfers to and from Overseas. The current average dollar rate is Ushs 1840. Crane Forex Bureau at Speke Hotel operates between 08:30 and 20:30h.

ATM services/ Visa Electron

Barclays Bank and Standard Bank ATMs are programmed to recognise Visa Electron and related credit cards. Money in either US $ or Uganda shillings may be drawn directly at these banks' ATMs located at Kampala Road, Speke Road and Game Stores shopping mall at Lugogo.

Credit Cards

Most hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and the bigger shops will take credit cards. Most of the bigger banks will advance local currency against a credit card. The most commonly accepted credit cards are VISA, MASTER CARD, DINERS & AMERICAN EXPRESS.

Business Hours

Government offices are open from 08:00 to 17:00h, Monday to Friday. Closed from 13:00 to 14:00h. Shops are generally open from 08:00 to 17:00h, Monday to Friday and 08:00 to 14:00h on Saturdays.

Car Hire

There are many car hire companies offering a small range of vehicles. Some offer a flat weekly rate, but most charge a daily rate plus mileage, insurance and petrol. Most cars come with a chauffeur but arrangements for self-drive cars are picking up especially with destination management companies.


Uganda enjoys moderate weather conditions, ranging from the warmth of the lowland areas and lakeshores to the coolness of the highlands. Temperatures for Kampala are expected to remain stable in the 22C to 26C range with high humidity because the conference is taking place on the shoulder of the second rainfall peak. Visitors should be prepared for sudden downpours in the mornings and late afternoons.


Travellers should carry an adequate supply of medicines and first aid accessories with them as supplies of some specialised medicines are limited in Uganda. Most chemists in the major towns are open from 08:30 to 12:30h and 14:00 to 17:00h Monday to Friday and 08:00 to 13:00h on Saturdays.


While Ugandans are all well aware of the norm in other countries, they tend to be conservative at home. A handshake greeting is normal, and unsuitable clothing such as very short skirts and dresses with a high hemline is not acceptable in towns and villages. Shoes are taken off before entering sacred places [mosques and traditional shrines].


Uganda has a tropical climate and summer days can get quite hot. Lightweight casual clothes can be worn all year round, with a jacket or jersey for early winter mornings and evenings. On safari keep clothes to a minimum and mostly of neutral colouring - khakis, browns and greens.

A sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen and insect repellent are essential.

Customs Regulations

Bona fide baggage may be imported into the country duty-free provided the goods are re-exported at the end of the stay.

Duty-free allowances of consumables are:

Spirits, wines and liquors - In total, one (1) litre
Perfume and toilet water - In total 500ml
Cigarettes, cigars, tobacco - In total 250g

The importation and exportation of game trophies is prohibited by law and offenders will be prosecuted.

Temporary Importation of Filming Equipment

In order to bring in equipment, you will require a TEMPORARY IMPORT valid for 3 months. This can be extended/renewed for another 3 months should you wish. The 3 months period has to be secured by a SECURITY BOND.

The Clearing Agents based at the Entebbe International Airport have BOND facilities and will be happy to help you for a fee.

In order to avoid delays on arrival, you are advised to fax or e-mail your details, equipment and value to your CONTACT in Uganda, 7 days prior to your actual arrival date. Remember there is no duty charged by the Uganda Revenue Authority. There is merely a fee due to the Clearing Agent which is negotiable depending on the equipment value.

Where in doubt, please contact the Uganda Tourist Board for assistance., Tel 256 41 342196/7).

Departure Tax

Departure tax is incorporated within the cost of your air ticket.


Uganda drives on the left hand side of the road. The general speed limit on national highways is 80km/h and 50 km/h in urban areas, unless otherwise indicated. Visiting drivers must hold an International Drivers License. Licenses from other countries are not valid. There is a limit to how much alcohol you can drink before driving.

Energy / Electricity

Local voltage is 240v, 50-cycle AC Electricity plugs are based on the 3 square-pin style used in UK - please make sure you bring appropriate adapters for any electric equipment you may have.

Health Requirements

Visitors from or passing through a yellow fever zone (most of tropical Africa and South America) must be able to produce a valid International Certificate of Vaccination. Air travellers who only pass through the airports of such a zone are exempt from the requirement. It is also advised that all travellers be vaccinated against Meningitis, Typhoid and Hepatitis. As Uganda is in a malaria zone, visitors should also take prophylactics against malaria although the best way to avoid catching malaria is to avoid bites by using mosquito repellent and sleeping under a mosquito net.


Uganda is an extremely photogenic country, from panoramic scenery, wildlife and birds to people and vibrant ceremonies. Rich colour and good low lighting conditions abound. It is considered rude to take pictures of people without asking them first. Always bring plenty of film although film can readily be bought in Kampala.

NB: Photography is allowed in most places except military barracks and installations such as bridges. Please ask if in doubt.


The City of Seven hills and ancient Kings, Kampala is one of the few African capitals that were not founded by the colonialists. On one of the hills that characterize the city of today, the kings of the Baganda-people had long established their court. Captain Lugard, the representative of the British colonial company Imperial British East Africa -I.B.E.A., had his fort built on the opposite hill, and the various missionaries established themselves on other hilltops. With the development of cash-crop agriculture as from the beginning of the 20th century, Kampala became the trading centre for the continuously larger harvests of coffee, tea and cotton, and in 1931, when the famous Uganda-Railway finally reached Kampala, the city held a lot of promise.

The civil wars of the Seventies and early Eighties have however, had a devastating effect on the city. The bombed-out high-rise buildings of the city centre could only be rebuilt after 1986, but since then the city has been growing at an incredible pace and today vibrates with optimism and energy.

The centre of the million-people-city, situated at an altitude of between 1150m and 1320m, is marked by Kampala Road, which leads around Nakasero Hill in a wide circle. Uphill one finds the economically richer part of town, with the High Court, the prominent Sheraton Hotel, the bank- and business-towers and the government buildings. Downhill a number of busy streets lead to the two large markets (Owino and Nakivubo), to the central bus station, and to the soccer stadium.

Some of the most important sights are the two cathedrals, built at the beginning of the century, Namirembe (Anglican) and Rubaga (Catholic), the Kibuli Mosque, the huge grass-thatched tomb of the Baganda Kings, and the University of Makerere, for many years the leading university of East Africa. All these sights are located on top of 'their' similarly named hill. Also worth a visit is the Uganda Museum, where one can see ethnological and natural history exhibitions.


Public service 14-seat mini-vans, which are easily identifiable by the blue and white stripe running around the middle, are available.

There are no route numbers and it is important to remember the name of your destination and listen for callouts from the crew. At the transport hubs, ask for directions from the Uganda Taxi Operators Association - UTODA - stage guides or lookout for signboards indicating the boarding places to the different destinations.

Most of these taxi's stop at two major hubs in the city - the "Old" and "New" Taxi parks. The minimum fare if you are boarding from the parks is Ushs 500 while Ushs 800 is the maximum fare in a 12km radius.

You can also use the more private "Specials" which are identifiable by black and white stripes running around their middle and a large "S" emblazoned on the front door.

You can also call for the metred "Yellow Taxi" 24 hours a day on the following numbers: 078 384842; 071 547214; 075650858.

If you are the adventurous type, you can use the motorbikes, locally known as Boda-boda's for short hops. The minimum charge is Ushs 500 for journeys within a 1km radius. Please make allowances for delays as traffic jams are common.


Shopping is varied and wide in Kampala. The downtown shops offer a variety of imported goods and products while more upscale shopping is available in the shopping arcades at major hotels.

Garden City, Game stores, and Hill shopping arcades are the major shopping centres for the discerning traveller. Garden City is located along Yusuf Lule road, Game at Lugogo along the main road to Jinja, and Hill at Nsambya along Ggaba Road, which also leads to the conference venue.

Arts and Crafts

Ugandan arts and crafts as well as pieces from neighbouring countries are available at the arts villages, just behind the National Theatre, Buganda Road next to Daisy's arcade, Tulifanya Gallery along Hannington road, and Banana Boat, which has outlets at Garden City, Game Stores and Kisementi in Kamwokya.

Curios and antiques

Andreeda's Antiques shop on Colline House, Pilkington street sells collectors items such as stamps and several generations of East Africa and Ugandan currency notes.

Eating Out

Besides the restaurants in the major hotels, Kampala offers fine dining in choice restaurants.

Ekitoobero Restaurant
Yusuf Lule Road
Tel 346834
Menu: Traditional Ugandan fare

Kyoto Japanese Restaurant
Shimoni Road Nakasero
Tel 041 237078
Lunch 12.00 to 15.00
Dinner 19.00 to 23.00

The Haandi Indian Restaurant
Commercial Plaza, Kampala road
Specialises in North Indian Cuisine
Tel 041 346283/4
Lunch 12.00 to 15.00
Dinner19.00 to 23.00
Khana Khazana
Joseph Babiha [Acacia]Avenue
Specialises in South Indian Cuisine
Closed Mondays
Lunch 12.00 to 15.00
Dinner 19.00 to 22.00
Sam's Restaurant
Bombo Rd just after Hotel Equatoria
Tel 041 251694
Faze 2
Nakasero Rd just below UN village
Tel 039 700815/077 345808
Fang-Fang Chinese Restaurant
Communications House, Colville Street
Specialises in Chinese dining
Tel 041 344806/340067
Lunch 12.00 to 15.00
Dinner 19.00 to 23.00
China Plate
Cooper Rd Kisementi
Tel 041 233888
La Chateau
142 Ggaba Rd, Kabalagala
Tel 041 510404
Just Kicking
Pub Lunches and Dinners
Kisementi Kololo
Tel 041 235134/077 775775

Ugandan Specialties:

Uganda is rich in food and cultures. As you dine out at restaurants specialising in Ugandan cuisine, try the following Ugandan favourites.

Katogo: A Ugandan favourite at breakfast, Katogo is a dish of boiled green bananas with either meat or offal.

Kalo : Millet Bread goes down well with a variety of local sauces.

Luwombo: Is a traditional Kiganda recipe for cooking a number of sauces including beef, chicken and peanut sauce.

Whole Tilapia: Is normally served with French fries and vegetables in season.

Panorama Coffee Shop on the ninth Floor Workers House, Pilkington Rd, Panorama Coffee is an intimate experience with a bar and food service. Guests get an eyeful of Kampala's night-lights from this vantage point.

A note on Tips

Tipping for services is not mandatory although appreciated. Generally, change brought in coins or lower denomination notes [Ushs 1000] is accepted as a tip.

Night Life

Ange Noir and Club Silk. Located on First and Second Street Industrial Area, these are Uganda's premier dance clubs with a choice of three classes, priced in ascending order.

Ange Mystique and Silk Royale. These represent the crème de la crème at both clubs but tickets to either allow you to access the entire club including the lower end products.

The Basement. Located at Hotel Equatoria, The Basement is another dance club right in the middle of downtown Kampala.

Club Obligatto. Also located along Second Street Industrial Area, Club Obligatto is home to Afrigo Band, Uganda's oldest surviving live band. Afrigo is on stage Thursday to Saturday. A restaurant and bar services are available at the club.

Rock Gardens. Rock Gardens adjacent to Speke Hotel is the place for the young at heart, attracting a crowd throughout the week. An excellent bar service and restaurants within the same compound make an easy evening.

The Venue. Located atop Garden City shopping mall, The Venue is open from 10:00 to 01:00h. Besides an excellent bar service, revellers get a slice of Kampala's night view. Adjacent to it are a choice of restaurants and the Alleygators Bowling Alley.


Cinema buffs have three options in Kampala. Cineplex Wilson Road has two screens and is open between 14:00 and 20:00 hours daily. Another option is available at Garden City shopping mall for those who put a premium to comfort and class.

Cultural Evenings

Ndere Centre
Located along Kisasi Road Ntinda, eight kilometers east of Kampala, Ndere Centre is host to Uganda's number one cultural troupe - Ndere Troupe - that performs a kaleidoscope of dances from Uganda's varied cultural background.

National Theatre Jam Sessions
Besides stage plays that are regularly performed, Monday evenings are a must at the National Theatre's Jam Sessions where the Ugandan music fraternity perform for free around a subsidized bar.


Up to 13 percent of Uganda's land surface is made up of water and wetlands, making it one of the most humid countries in Africa.

Two of these wetlands - Lake Nabugabo, 130 kilometres south of Kampala by road and Lake George in southwestern Uganda - are already designated Ramsar Sites while another seven are proposed.

The Lake Nabugabo wetland comprises satellite lakes of Lake Victoria, a shallow fresh water lake 8.2 kilometres long and 5 kilometres wide with three other lakes, [Manywa, Kayugi and Kayanja], separated from Lake Victoria by a 2 kilometre-wide sand bar.

Permanent as well as seasonal fresh water swamps and marshes surround the lakes.

The Lake George Ramsar Site is located on the northern shores of Lake George. The site supports rich flora and fauna with notable mammals being the elephant, hippopotamus and the antelope. The area is also important for wintering Palaearctic water birds and more than 50 species of fish have been recorded.

For reasons of economy, this document is printed in a limited number, and will not be distributed at the meeting. Delegates are requested to bring their copies to the meeting and not to request additional copies.

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
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2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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