Electricity in Uganda
These days electricity in Uganda is a good deal more reliable than it used to be. The vast majority of travellers should experience little or no inconvenience due to interruptions to supplies.
Voltage and frequency .
Electricity across Africa is 240Vac
These days most electronic devices are designed to cope with this, but do check your equipment specifications if your voltage or frequency differs back home.
Power outlets .
Although many Uganda hotels and lodges provide plug converters for the use of guests, we strongly recommend that all travellers carry their own. These should be purchased in advance of travel as they are often not available in country and are often out of stock at airports.
The UK plug format of three large rectangular pins is most commonly encountered in Uganda.
On grid .
Most Uganda hotels and lodges in towns, cities and more developed rural areas are usually on mains or utility electricity supply and expect to offer 24 hour electricity. However in many areas mains power is not particularly reliable and back-up generators are widely used. This can cause temporary outages and, in some locations, considerable noise nuisance.
Electricity in Uganda can never quite be taken for granted anywhere, you should always be ready and prepared to accept power cuts and the inconvenience that they can bring about. For example when power is off, a hotel or lodge may switch to back-up power which may only be able to bring essential services such as lighting back on-line, whilst heavier current devices such as air-conditioners may be left without power. Some hotels may choose to only run their back-up systems for peak hours and switch them off at night, so without fans and air-con, which can be very uncomfortable. Generally speaking this type of inconvenience is more likely the further you go down the price spectrum
Off grid .
The majority of lodges and camps in safari and rural locations in Uganda do not have access to mains electricity and instead run power from generators or solar installations. The larger the lodge the more robust these electrical systems are likely to be
A smaller camp in Gulu is more likely to have a solar power installation which is only capable of powering low current devices such as lighting and electronics. Inverters in the solar plant convert the power to the usual 240Vac , so devices can be plugged in for charging in the usual way. Power outlets are less likely to be available in the rooms, more often there is a central charging station. Power is less likely to be 24hrs. High current devices such as air-conditioners and hair-dryers will most likely not be supported.
Charging electronics .
Assuming that you have equipped yourself with suitable plug converters, the next most important thing is to ensure that you have sufficient spare batteries for your electronic devices such as cameras.
You need to plan for the worst. Always carry enough battery capacity to last at least 48hrs, which allows for a night stop where there is no electricity for whatever reason. If you are on a multiple day trek then you may need to carry even more capacity. It is probably also worth factoring in the possibility that one battery set will become lost or broken.
You also need to consider the possibility that battery charging may only be available during daylight hours, when you may be out on safari. So you need to be able to leave a set of batteries back in camp on charge, whilst you are out with another in the camera and at least one other in reserve.
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