As you have made a decision to come to the Pearl of Africa, Uganda has plenty to offer all its visitors and international travellers. These among others include the majestic mountains Gorillas, native wildlife in its unique national parks and world-famous second biggest fresh water lake and world’s longest river Nile. This to-do list for traveling to Uganda will help you in your preparation.
Plan Your Entry
You must hold passports valid for at least six months beyond their date of entry into Uganda. Visas may be obtained from the Ugandan embassy in your country or applied for online at https://visas.immigration.go.ug/ at a cost of USD$50. Ugandan visas are valid for three months. Though it is Landlocked, Uganda is best reached by air from various parts of the world at its Entebbe international Airport aboard airlines that serve the Entebbe route such as KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Brussels Airline, Turkish Airline, Fly emirates, among other international carriers serving Uganda.
Routine vaccinations for influenza, chickenpox, measles and tetanus are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention worldwide before travel, it is essential to be vaccinated for the diseases that world health organisation recommends and Yellow fever is one of them and it must not have been received before 10 years to the time of travel that means only Yellow fever vaccines received within 10 years of the date of entry are considered current. Malaria and Polio vaccinations or booster shots also are recommended is also present in the country, and travelers who become ill upon returning home should seek immediate medical treatment.
While travellers’ checks are accepted at many businesses in the capital of Kampala, they are much harder to cash in other communities. The U.S Dollar currency is accepted at most hotels and at popular tourist destinations. Conversion of other monetary units into Ugandan shillings can be completed at licenced banks and foreign exchange bureaus within the major towns of Uganda.
Most of the banks have visa services where you can access your currency as long as you have your visa card. In some hotels and lodges American Express cards can also be allowed.
It is our concern that all our visitors are safe and secure throughout their entire time with us. We do make reservations in our partners suppliers and take security as key in all our operations. From the cars for the safari to the accommodation we pay attention to the detail and security comes first. The government has put security in all the national parks and tourist attraction centres so do not be afraid when you find armed security personnel in these areas they are for your security and safety. Uganda’s capital city Kampala was ranked as the safest cities on the continent.
What to know when going for a gorilla experience
To see gorillas in Uganda comfortably,
- Come with a few things that are useful for you to attain your lifetime ultimate experience that involves trekking/hiking the rugged surfaces in the jungles of Bwindi and Mgahinga.
- Have a small backpack as it is useful to carry your water, packed lunch, camera and binoculars and your insect repellents.
- You need light weight hiking boots for this activity/strong waterproof walking boots due to nature and altitude of the forest. Recommended are the ones that come above the ankle bone and will allow you to tack in your pants
- Carry a light/ jacket as weather changes cannot be predicted and it can rain any time or shine heavily. In both ways you should be safe.
- Lightweight long wool socks which are comfortable for a mountain tropical forest as well accommodate the pants when you tack them in.
- To protect your arms, long-sleeved shirts/trousers will ensure that you avoid insects such as safari ants entering your trousers.
- Please carry a hat to protect you from the strong sun rays if it is hot, sunglasses with neck strap, sun cream, bush hat with a brim for sun protection.
- Photography is an important component of your safari and make sure that you have your camera ready, charge your batteries very well and if necessary, carry extra batteries as you will need to take many photographs in the one hour you will have with the gorillas.
- Since you will be prone to scratches by the harsh branches, a pair of garden gloves can come in handy.
- Don’t forget that you are on safari and you want to have clear views of everything so during your trek in search for the rare mountain gorillas, you will have a chance to spot some other wildlife species like birds, primates and large mammals you will need a pair of Binoculars.
- In case you will need assistance on the trek, hiring Porters for your gorilla safari is a top tip -You will need a porter to give you a push on the way to the gorillas as trekking/hiking can take some time. You will pay some fee to a porter but it is worth it.
The general rules when tracking the Gorillas:
In order to minimize behavioural disturbance to the gorilla and the risk of exposure to human-borne disease some rules must followed:
- Keep your voice low or be quiet. You will see and hear more if you do.
- Do not point or waive your arms – this can be seen as an attack. Move slowly and if approached by a gorilla move slowly backwards to keep a 7-meter separation.
- Do not use a flash when taking pictures. This can frighten the gorillas and cause an attack on visitors.
- DO NOT leave rubbish in the park. Whatever you bring into the forest should be carried back out with you.
- Always wash your hands before you head out to the gorillas.
- Keep a minimum of 7 meters (21 feet) from the gorillas. This is to protect them from human disease transmission.
- You must stay in tight group when you are near the gorillas.
- Keep your voices down at all times. However, it is OK to ask the guide questions.
- Do not eat or drink while you are near the gorillas to reduce the risk of disease transmission.
- Sometimes the gorillas charge. Follow the guides example-crouch down slowly, do not look the gorillas directly in the eyes wait for the animals to pass. Do not try and take pictures and do not attempt to run away. Running away will increase the risk of attack.
- Do not touch the gorillas. They are wild animals.
- The maximum time you can spend with the gorillas is one hour. However, if the gorillas become agitated or nervous, the guide will end the visit early.
- After the visit keep your voices down until you are 200 metres away from the gorillas.