GETTING THERE: You can fly from Dulles to Entebbe most directly via London or Amsterdam. British Airways is quoting a round-trip, advance-purchase fare of $1,282 from Washington to Entebbe for travel in early February. But for the best fares, check with travel agencies that specialize in African trips, such as Around the World Travel (202-463-6863) or International Journeys (202-289-4140).

TOURS: Tour operators offering trips to Uganda include Access Uganda Tours (www.accessugandatours.com) in Kampala and Uganda Trail 2002 (www.ugandatrail.com) in the U.K. For other options, check the well-run tour operator Let's Go Travel (P.O. Box 22851, Kampala, telephone 011-256-41- 346-667, www.letsgosafari.com).

WHEN TO GO: January-February is the driest season, with good hiking weather. June to September is also fairly dry.

WHERE TO STAY: In downtown Kampala, try the Speke Hotel (Nile Avenue, telephone 011-256-41-259-221) for atmosphere, with doubles from $65 to $75 a night. Hotel City Square (42 Kampala Rd., 011-256-41-256-257) offers decent accommodations for about $30, including breakfast.

In Queen Elizabeth National Park, Mweya Safari Lodge (011-256-41-255-992) has nice views and a lock on lodging: $85 per person per night, meals included. Ndali Lodge (P.O. Box 70, Fort Portal, Uganda, 011-256-77-221-309) offers a base for hikes in the Crater Lakes region and visits to the nearby Kibale National Forest; a bungalow, meals included, runs $110 per person a night.

In the southwest, Bushara Island Camp (011-256-48-622-447) is a furnished tent-lodge experience with fine bird-watching, good hiking and canoeing; $35 per person per night, with profits going to local projects. At Sipi Falls, the Crow's Nest (011-256-77-800-705 or 77-687-924) has dorm-style accommodations and private huts, or bandas.

WHERE TO EAT: Kampala has a surprising variety of good restaurants. International fare runs the gamut from Indian, Thai and Chinese to Italian, French and Belgian. Ekitobero (21 Yusuf Lule Rd.) offers good Ugandan dishes, including matoke (mashed plantains) and posho (maize meal). For Indian food, Pavement Tandoori (Kisementi shopping center, Sturrock Road, Kololo) gives competition to the older Haandi. Krua Thai (62 Lumumba Ave., Kampala) has good Thai food. In Jinja, an hour east, the Hotel Triangle Annexe (515 Nile Crescent) serves delicious tilapia on a terrace overlooking lazy palms at the Nile's source.

INFORMATION:

* Ugandan Embassy, 202-726-7100, www.ugandaembassy.com.

* Uganda Tourist Board, www.visituganda.com.

* Kibale Forest National Park, www.visituganda.com/nationalparks/kibale.htm.

-- David A. Taylor