safari planning info

When traveling to uganda, a tourist/visitor needs to have a clue about some information about tourism in uganda and its associated services. This information below gives a traveler an insight of uganda travel:

Uganda Visa Requirements

Before we talk about the visa’s all travels to Uganda and Rwanda, you are expected to have a passport valid for a minimum of 6 months issued and recognised by your government. If you are travelling on a British Passport new regulations require that your passport is valid for 12 months for entry into Uganda.
American nationals, British, European nationals and other most nationalities require entry visa into Uganda. Visas can be purchased on arrival at Entebbe International airport for USD50, or can be issued by the Ugandan high commission in a country where you reside but the fee is usually more.
Nationals of Mauritius, Hong Kong, Singapore and Philippines are exempted from entry/tourism visa for a stay of up to 90days.

Rwanda visa Requirements

USA, Germany, Canada, Tanzania, DRC, Uganda, South Africa, Great Britain, Mauritius, Kenya, Sweden, Hong Kong and Burundi passport holders are issued free 90 day entry into Rwanda. Other visitors/tourists who are not from the above listed countries will be required to purchase visa’s only from the Rwandan immigration authority website – www.migration.gov.rw under the topic ‘’public service’’ click on the entry facility and follow the visa purchase procedure. It’s advisable to apply for the visa as soon as possible to allow plenty of time for the application to be processed. It’s also advisable for a client to print out a copy of the submission and travel with it.

Health Travel Requirements

Yellow fever inoculation is required should you travel between East Africa countries and should you be flying into South Africa after visiting East Africa. This must be done no later than prior to your departure. If you have a history of liver disorders (hepatitis etc.) you are required first to consult your physician.
Typhoid vaccine may be requested by the authorities’ when crossing into Rwanda, although it is unusual for it to be requested. This can be done by your local GP or through a travel clinic.
Tetanus is also recommended, as is cholera, but not compulsory.
Hepatitis inoculation is at the discretion of the traveller.
Malaria prophylactics, are a must can be purchased from your local pharmacy. Please consult your pharmacists/doctor. It is also a good idea to bring some insect repellent with you to spray on yourself in the evenings and early morning when mosquitos tend to be very active.
Diarrhoea/Giardia etc. Good personal hygiene and control over the quality of your drinking water should avoid this, bottled water is readily available throughout the country, but take along some medicine just in case. With all the medical requirements, your doctor or travel clinic will provide the most up to date information the above information we give is only a guide.

Weather

Uganda is relatively a small country with 241,136sq. Km in extent of which 4400sq. Km is fresh water. Situated astride the equator, average day time temperature usually range between 25-35 degrees. An annual rainfall of 125mm over two periods, April/May and November to early December. But with the sun still shinning during the rainy season and the rain still falling during the dry months. It provides the country with a suitable all your round climate for the visitors.
Rwanda Is a small land locked country in eastern central Africa of approximately 26,340sq Km. It has five prominent volcanoes and 23 lakes as well as several rivers. A large part of the country has an elevation of 1,500 and 2,500 meters AMSL. Average temperatures are between 24-27 degrees with the hottest months from August – September. Rwanda’s highlands are dominated by the terraced agriculture that gives the Rwanda countryside its beautiful and pleasant character. The eastern part of Rwanda has entirely different vegetation, the typical bush, a mix of savannah and grassland dominated by acacia trees.

Money, pay close attention to this.

US Dollars in cash is the preferred option to bring when traveling to Uganda/Rwanda. Once in Uganda/Rwanda we advise guests to change some dollars into local currency for use while on safari depending on the duration of your safari. We suggest a combination of small denomination notes (USD 1, 5, 10, 50) as well as USD 100 bills – make sure they are POST 2006 as generally only post 2006 series are accepted in Uganda and have the ”large heads” on (the older notes depict the various senators with ”smaller heads” – You should compare the notes to get the clear picture of what we mean.)
Note that whilst more convenient in terms of changing currency and not having to carry around huge amounts of local money there is normally a surcharge on the smaller notes when changing them. Keep your slips, you can you are able to change the surplus local money back to cash if you have proof of purchase when leaving the country.
Travellers Cheques, are difficult to change and bad exchange rates apply and often are VERY difficult to cash even in large towns and especially over weekend and afterhours. Throughout the rest of the country changing TC’s is almost impossible.

Credit cards, there are only a few banks in Kampala that are authorised to give cash advances on credit card. Visa cards are generally fine BUT Master cards are NOT guaranteed and will only be cashed IF they clear certain internal security checks. There is a limit on amounts that may be drawn and only during bank hours. Exchange rates will be poor and they may also charge a hefty service fee.

ATM Machines, they are often not working although there are now some in Entebbe and Kampala and also some in larger up country towns. They pay LOCAL MONEY only and the client needs an international use PIN CODE to withdraw money and it can only be done with certain cards. Maximum Ushs 2 million per day (USD XXXX equivalent to) but also depends on the clients own individual bank set up so may be less. Contact us for more information.

Safety.

Your personal safety and well – being is our prime concern. Please take care of all your personal possessions at all times –do not attempt petty theft, pick pockets etc. with displaying large amounts of money, especially when near markets or in the centre of Kampala/Entebbe/Kigali. Valuables especially cash, travellers cheques and credit cards should be kept on you at all times. A ‘’moon bag’’ or ‘’body belt’’ is a useful item for storing cash and other valuable small items. When leaving the vehicle in towns please insure that all the windows are shut and that you take all your valuables and cameras with you for safe keeping. When at the lodges/hotels we recommend you either keep your money and other valuables with you or in the safe keeping facilities provided at the various accommodation establishments. Please also make sure to check your room and ensure you have everything packed before moving to a new place.

Packing list.

Here we give you a guideline /suggestion over what you can/have to pack for your safari depending on your itinerary.
Clothing.

On a trip through Uganda/Rwanda you can experience all four seasons it will also be necessary to take some wet weather gear as it does rain in the mountainous areas of Uganda and Rwanda regular basis. We suggest light weight rain gear for the hike to view gorillas. During your safari and depending on the type of trip chosen, dress code may vary slightly. Women are advised to cover knees and shoulders when in rural village or market. None of the lodges/hotels insists on any formal type of dress code – ties, jackets etc. – so the norm would be casual or smart casual depending upon the level. In town and cities and certain of the more up market lodges/hotels then long pants and shirt/golf shirt would be more appropriate ( esp. in the evenings), or ladies may wear a skirt of course!
Bush gear i.e. hard wearing clothes, no bright colours e.g. greens, Khaki and similar neutral shorts or light weight trousers, t-shirt’s, hat sunblock etc. are recommended as it is generally fairly warm (25 – 35 degrees C average). Avoid wearing blue colours in areas where you may find tsetse flies as they often attracted to these colours. Check with your guide in his regard.
Shoes.

While gorilla and chimp tracking you will need wearing a comfortable pair of hard walking shoes or boots. Conditions are generally very muddy and slippery. There are uphill sections which may be quite steep and strenuous. It’s also advisable to wear long trousers to protect yourself from under growth, stinging battles and biting ants. Gloves are highly recommended – just cheap gardening gloves will do, this will prevent your hands being scratched when holding onto vegetation for support, through dense parts of the forest.
Suggested items to pack.
Insect Repellent
Touch/flashlight –and spare batteries.
Wet wipes
Water bottle
Camera lenses
Comfortable walking/hiking boots & socks
Gardening gloves for gorilla tracking
Sandals / Strops / walking shoes
Hat & Sunscreen
Rain Jacket
Sweater / Fleece
Swimwear
Binoculars
Note: Leave your jewellery behind and if you wear a watch preferably use a hand – wearing type.

Gorilla Information.

Timings
Gorilla tracking timings and conditions very tremendously as the gorillas move cautiously through the rainforest. It is good to be prepared and remember the weather can change with very little warning. The terrain is often steep and through areas where there are no marked paths. It can be very strenuous, it may be just a couple of hours but it can also be full day of up to 8hours or more of hiking in hot, high altitude conditions –Please be prepared for this by being as fit as possible!
Chimpanzee tracking is generally not as difficult compared to gorilla tracking but still can be a hard hike and requires a good level of fitness -especially if you need to follow the chimps which can move swiftly through the forest.

Tracking

You will be guided through the forest on your gorilla/chimp tracking by the park ranger guide whom you will meet at the departure point in the morning of your trek. You guide can help you book a porter (or two!) so that you can track without having to carry the few essential items listed below in a day pack which you should bring with you. The porters are from local community and very used to the local conditions and can assist in pushing, pulling and supporting you during your trek to the gorillas. They are usually an additional fee over and above your safari cost and you should budget on approximately USD 15 per day per porter as a fee with additional tipping being optional. Porters will stop a short distance from the point you will be viewing the mountain Gorillas. Please remember to take whatever you may need from your bag to view the gorillas.

Viewing

You will be allowed up to 1hour for viewing of the gorilla/chimps from when they are sighted by your group. This is ti ensure that the wild animals are not exposed to human presence. Whilst in their presence you will also be required to keep minimum distance from them generally between 5 – 7 meters and your guide will ensure this is enforced.
Packing list for the day; for gorilla and chimp tracking.
-Plenty of water 1 – 2 litters per person.
-High energy snacks in addition to your packed lunch provided by the lodge/camp.
-Spare film & batteries for Videos & Cameras.
-Gloves (gardening type are good).
-Waterproof bag to protect photographic equipment.
-A hat, sunscreen, mosquito repellent and band aids might be useful.
-A light weight waterproof jacket.
-Walking sticks are made available at most lodges or at the start of the trek for some steeper and more slippery tracks ad may prove to be very handy.
Gorilla Tracking Age Limit.
The age limit for gorilla tracking and Golden monkey’s is 15years (NOTE) and the authorities are very strict on this, kindly make sure if travelling with children they are 15bor older in order to avoid any sad incidents like kids being refused to track!. For gorilla tracking permit availability and booking information please do contact us so that we can provide you with updated information.