- Passport and visa requirements
It is very important to check the validity of your passport before you plan to travel, this will help you to know if it is up to date. It should at least be remaining with six months from the departure time to expire. Apply for a visa in advance, currently a 3 months visa to Uganda is obtained upon arrival at Entebbe Airport is $50.00.
There is also an East African visa which enables you to travel with in Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Kenya valid for a period of 90 days at a fee of $100. Countries that belong to the East African Community (Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Burundi) just need to have valid travel documents. They do not need visas to enter Uganda,
It is advice able to clients/tourists to take up health Insurance policy.Many foreign medical facilities and providers require cash payment up front. Make sure the insurance you purchase covers any special medical needs or risks you anticipate on your trip because we do not provide this insurance to our clients.
- Vaccinations and malaria
When planning any travel to East Africa make sure you are up to date with all your childhood immunizations. If you are unsure if whether you are fully up to date or not, you’re Travel Vaccination Clinic Doctor can arrange any required booster shots. Apart from childhood immunizations, travel to East Africa requires the mandatory Yellow Fever Vaccination. Other recommendations may include: Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Cholera, Rabies, Meningitis, and Influenza. Malaria is also present in East Africa, and travelers who become ill upon returning home should seek immediate medical treatment. You can minimize your exposure to infected mosquitoes using a number of different methods including mosquito repellents and ointments, treated mosquito nets, appropriate clothing, mosquito coils and by using appropriate insecticides at night time.
- Currency and tipping
The Ugandan Shillings is the Uganda local currency, Kenya Shillings (KSH) for Kenya, Rwandan Francs for Rwanda (RWD), Tanzania shillings (TZS) for Tanzania and Burundian Francs (BIF). Most tourist hotels accept USD. There are quite a number of ATMs around the country where 24hours withdraw is done. The local currencies freely convertible to any foreign currency and vice versa because the country’s economic policies for current and capital accounts are fully liberalized.
The USD exchange rate usually ranges between 1USD equivalents to 3,600UGX, 930 RWD. 2,030 TZS, 1,870 BIF, however the exchange rate highly fluctuates. There is a wide spread of forex bureaus in major cities avoid exchanging on the street.
Tipping is never compulsory, however it is received with enthusiasm as wages are very low by Western standards. It should, of course, be done on merit, for good service, and nobody should feel obliged at any point to hand out cash for poor service. The size of a given tip is up to the individual and always free to tip in the service industry. The choice of how much to tip is all yours to the local guides, drivers, waitresses, waiters, bartender, concierge attendant, receptionist, housekeepers….
Most lodges and camps now have a communal tip Jar which is usually placed in an open area in the restaurant or bar. Kindly ask the receptionist about their tipping policy, in case they have this jar you can place your tip there. The tip that is put in the communal tip jar is shared between both the staff you see and those ensuring that your stay is comfortable, behind the scenes like the chefs, gardeners. You can choose to be tipping every day or put your collective tip on departure day.
However, tips for tour guides should be given separately.
Gifts as tips are also welcome these are usually given by returning visitors who have established a bond with the service provider’s staff. However, even if you’re a first-time visitor, small gifts are received gratefully. Pens, footballs and pumps, clothes and magazines are just some of the most desired items.
Note: While tipping, the local currency is preferred. Exchanging foreign currency may not be easy for some people working with smaller amounts, such as porters. However, for tour guides USD or local currency are both completely acceptable .If using USD, please ensure that they were printed post-2008, and are not old or torn, as these may not be accepted.
Gorilla tracking/Safari packaging list
- First-Aid Kit – simple First Aid Kit that is light but has some anti-bacterial cream, band aids and other items include some eye drops dust just might need flushing out, diarrhea medicine, aspirin or ibuprofen
- A couple of packets of antiseptic hand wipes and hand sanitizer
- Sunglasses and binoculars
- Camera and battery charger remember that a UK plug is used here. You wouldn’t want to miss capturing some of these moments while on safari for future memories, particularly fast film for the gorillas. A drone, and travel adapter
- Flashlight – and battery powered reading light.
- Guide book to Africa or Uganda in particular
- Hiking pants, comfortable short, loose pants, sports bra and swim suit, sarongs for the ladies which are comfortable on the beach,
- Pack comfortable hiking shoes because of the steep muddy slopes when hiking and sandals which you will put on while relaxing at the accommodation facility.
- Pack rain gear, long sleeved shirt, sun screen lotion, a hat (as the weather is unpredictable) and insect repellent.
- Underwear (moisture wicking for gorilla tracking) ,Lightweight wool socks
- Gloves: gardening or similar (for tracking)
- Alarm clock and ear plugs to prevent noise from the jungle
- Wash cloth and sleep wear