14 DAYS BEST OF UGANDA SAFARI DETAILED ITINERARY
Quotation: Rates start from $3,350 including the Chimpanzee permit but excluding the gorilla permit
Inquire: To inquire more about this trip, to book or to receive a personalized rate, please fill in the inquiry form and we will get back to you asap or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: We also run the same trip to the Northern sector of Bwindi (Buhoma).
Please note the gorilla tracking in this itinerary can be done in Rwanda as well or the southern sector of Bwindi if permits/accommodation can’t be got in Buhoma at the time of your booking.
Gorilla tracking is dependent on the permits availability at the time of your booking. Gorilla permits in all parks are on a very high demand and we advise that you book them as early as possible
Arriving at the airport you will be warmly welcomed by a Churchill Safaris representative, and transferred to your hotel in Kampala or in Entebbe depending on your flight arrival time. If you arrive very late in the night, we recommend you overnight in Entebbe as opposed to kampala.
1. City Tour: Depending on your time of your arrival explore the vibrant and chaotic city of Kampala. Discover historical and political sites including the ancient tombs of the Kabakas, where the Buganda tribe laid their kings to rest or the Bahai Temple, etc.
2.Eat Out: Kampala is a town full of culinary wonders. Stray out from your hotel to taste some of the eclectic cuisine of the region including Kampala’s delicious Indian food!
Accommodation: Mystil hotel.
Meal plan: Bed and breakfast.
Travel time: 300km Approx 6 hours
Activities for the day: Transfer Kampala – Murchison falls, lunch and visiting the Top of the falls.
After breakfast, you will depart kampala or Entebbe for Murchison Falls National Park, with an option of stopping at Ziwa Rhino sanctuary and en route for lunch and arriving in the evening.
In the evening, you will visit the incredible Top of the falls and later proceed to your lodge in the evening for the overnight.
Accommodation: Paraa safari lodge
Meal plan: Lunch and dinner
Activities for the day: Morning game drive and afternoon boat trip to the bottom of the falls.
This morning you will depart for an early morning game drive across the rolling plains of Uganda’s largest National Park returning later to the lodge for breakfast. The 3,893 sq km park is home to a range of animals, and you will have a chance of viewing some of the Park’s residents including lions, giraffes, hartebeest, buffalo, and elephants. For the birders amongst you, these areas support the secretary bird and the black chested snake eagle, to name a few.
In the afternoon, go for a boat trip to the base of Murchison Falls, where the Nile thunders through a small 7 meter gap plunging 43 meters into the Nile on the way to Lake Albert. The banks of the Nile are densely populated with crocodiles, hippopotamus, and a range of other wildlife that come to the river to drink. There is also the option of getting off the boat and hiking up the side of the falls to the top.
Accommodation: Overnight at Paraa safari lodge
Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Travel Time: approx... 3-4 hours
Activities of the day: Visit the top of the falls, then transfer to Hoima passing via Butiaba, lunch and overnight in Hoima.
This morning you will visit the top of the falls and later proceed to Hoima to cut down the long drive to kibale passing Butiaba to view the beautiful landscape of Lake Albert, visit the Kibiro hot springs if desired arriving in the afternoon. While being entertained by one of the cultural groups, you will have dinner and overnight at Hoima Cultural Lodge.
Surrounded by beautiful vast gardens, Hoima Cultural Lodge is a perfect break from the 9-10 hours drive on the dirt road between Murchison falls and Kibale which helps clients rejuvenate for the rest of their journey.
The lodge offers spacious en-suite grass thatched cottages ideal for couples and families with each room brightly colored and furnished with African Art pieces which give clients an African feel.
While at the lodge, we offer clients cultural activities like visiting the palace, participating in making pottery, the Mparo Tombs, giving clients a chance of participating in cooking the local African cuisine if desired, engaging in activities such as Cultural dancing, interacting with the local community and talking to them about the Bunyoro culture. Clients may choose to take pleasure in relaxing in the beautiful gardens thereafter proceeding to their next destination.
Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Travel time: Approx: 5 hours
Activities of the day: Breakfast, transfer to Kibale, packed lunch enroute and afternoon optional crater valley walk.
This morning you will have breakfast and then proceed to Kibale forest for two nights. Kibale is home to an extraordinary thirteen species of primates, including chimpanzees, red colobus, and L’Hoest monkeys. Kibale National Forest has also recorded over 355 bird species, and a range of other mammals including the elusive forest elephant.
Later in the evening you will have the opportunity to visit Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, which is rich in bird species, vegetation, and wildlife. This is also a great opportunity to support local tourism initiatives which benefit social and economic development in the area.
Accommodation: Primate lodge or Papaya Lake lodge
Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Activities of the day: Morning chimpanzee tracking and afternoon Bigodi swamp walk
This morning you will go for Chimpanzee tracking along the network of forest trails. Seeing habituated chimps squabbling and swinging from the trees is an exhilarating experience. Spend the morning in the forest returning to the lodge in time for lunch before you proceed to Queen.
Later in the afternoon you will have the opportunity to visit Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, which is rich in bird species, vegetation, and wildlife. This is also a great opportunity to support local tourism initiatives which benefit social and economic development in the area.
Overnight at Primate lodge or Papaya Lake lodgeMeal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Travel time: Approx: 3 hours drive
Activities of the day: Have breakfast and then drive to Queen Elizabeth passing via the Rwenzori Art Centre in kasese and evening game drive.
After breakfast, you will drive to Queen Elizabeth passing via Rwenzori Art Centre which offers an opportunity for you to experience a unique example of Ugandan enterprise during your wildlife safari. You will be able to see sculptures by Ugandan and other artists, inspired by African culture and wildlife, cast in bronze. These are displayed in the award-winning gallery and there is sometimes also a chance to see how the sculptures are cast in the foundry.
Later proceed to Queen Elizabeth National park for two nights in Queen Elizabeth National Park, which boasts one of the highest biodiversity ratings of any game park or reserve in the world. Uganda’s second largest National Park, the 1,978 sq km has everything from open savannah to rain forest. Queen Elizabeth has over 100 mammal species, and an astounding 606 bird species, making it a premier safari destination. Arrive in the evening and overnight at your lodge.
Accommodation: Mweya safari lodge
Meal Plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Activities of the day: Morning game drive and afternoon boat trip on kazinga channel.
In morning, you will have a game drive to the Kisenyi area to look for lion prides and other wildlife like the Uganda Kob, before returning to the Lodge for breakfast. In the afternoon take a cruise along the Kazinga Channel, home to one of the largest concentrations of hippopotamus, as well as herds of elephants, buffalo, and other wildlife that come to drink from the river. The Kazinga also attracts a tremendous variety of bird species including the African Eagle, Open-Billed Stork, and Pied Kingfishers.
Balloon safari: This can be arranged while in the park with the help of your guide at a cost of $380 per person.
After an early wake up coffee or tea with some cakes or cookies at 5:00am, your guide will drive you to kasenyi gate where you may take off from. The takeoff locations are selected according to where the animals are few and will not be interrupted. After a safety demonstration and testing of the balloon, you will be ready to take off with your crew. The flight takes off at approximately 6:10 am and it takes approximately 1 hour to 1:15 minutes.
While in the air, guests get a chance of taking wonderful photos, great panoramic views, wildlife and the whole park at large. The balloon flies at an altitude of about 760 metres and lands back at an identified safe site at approximately 7:30am.
After that, your driver would drive you back to your lodge for a heartily breakfast.
Queen’s Pavilion: Just 800 metres from the equator monument, and overlooking a thrilling landscape of crater lakes is the Queen´s Pavilion, a community-run internet café. This is the perfect spot to revive yourself after an early morning safari with a cup of Ugandan tea or coffee. Listen to the elephants trumpeting on the dry plains below and enjoy the savannah views.
Katwe Salt Walk: This tour offers a unique insight into the fascinating process of salt mining, as well as providing an alternative income for Katwe. During the tour you will see community members at work, cross the mud walkways and enter one of the traditional grass huts used to shelter and store tools. The nearby bird sanctuary lake offers a chance to see flamingos from October to May.
Kikorongo African Art Workshop: Traditional crafts hold a special significance in Ugandan villages. Small baskets of groundnuts as a sign of friendship; a calabash on top of a house to ward off evil spirits or a traditional healer´s woven purse filled with natural remedies. Kikorongo Women Community invites you to learn their traditional skills during this fascinating workshop.
Uganda community Carnivore Program:
Leopard Village" – Here you will get to meet the carnivores and the local community of Queen Elizabeth National park. This is a Community based program found in a village called MUhokya on the way from Kasese before entering Queen Elizabeth National park.
This community-run socio-economic development initiative supports cultural and wildlife conservation through ecotourism. The goal is that this initiative will assist in the conservation of the area's wildlife and support the villagers as they regain their traditional custodianship of the local wildlife and other natural resources. Villagers will gain some economic benefit which will help offset the costs associated with living with carnivores, which prey on livestock, and herbivores such as elephants which destroy crops. It will also educate tourists about Uganda’s conservation challenges and rich cultural traditions.
It can be done as short visit or a long visit as they have a number of activities that take place on site.
We charge $100 per person as a donation to the community and also to help cater for the costs involved or $50 for half a day. Overnight at Mweya safari lodge
Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Travel Time: 120 km, 2 hours
Activities of the day: Morning game drive then proceed to the southern part of the park & evening game drive.
Today you proceed to Ishasha, home to the famed tree climbing lions. The lions are located in the Southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, and are best seen in early hours of the morning. Have a game drive before stopping for lunch, and another game drive in the afternoon before dinner.
Accommodation: Ishasha jungle lodge
This is located along the Ntungwe River and is a perfect location for photographic safaris in the southern part of Queen Elizabeth. It’s a small eco-friendly lodge, entirely made with local materials and African art, with raised wooden deck cottages. www.ugandajunglelodges.com
but offers good services.
Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Travel Time: Aprrox.3-4 hours
Activities of the day: Morning game drive in search of tree climbing lions, later transfer to Bwindi.
Today you will continue to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for two nights. Home to over half of the world’s mountain gorilla population. Interacting with these gentle giants is one of the most moving experiences that Africa has to offer and should not be missed! The ancient rainforest of Bwindi spans 321 sq km and boasts 90 mammal species, a range of primates, as well as 23 Albertine Rift endemic bird species, including the African Green Broadbill, the Bar Tailed Trogon and many others.
Relax in the evening and get ready for the following day’s gorilla tracking.
Accommodation: Mahogany Springs lodge (Northern sector)
Mahogany Springs is a luxurious lodge which offers privacy and serenity blended with optimal comfort in a spectacular setting. All the rooms at Mahogany Springs are suites. The Superior Suites can be Twin, Double or Triple. These suites are spacious with large double doors and beautiful windows. Each Suite has its own private exquisitely designed terrace with panoramic views of the surrounding area. All suites have large en-suite bathrooms with a gorgeously designed open terracotta shower. www.mahoganysprings.com
Lake Mulehe Cultural lodge (Southern sector)
Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Activities of the day: Gorilla tracking for the day and possible optional activities in the evening.
This morning you will set off for gorilla trekking. Hiking through the thick, verdant, rainforest to eventually come across the gorillas in their natural habitat, is an amazing and unforgettable experience. Actual trek times can vary; these are wild animals after all. If time permits there are a diverse range of activities which are unique to Bwindi which you can participate in during the afternoon.
Batwa Trail: During this moving tour, the Batwa demonstrate hunting techniques; gather honey; point out medicinal plants and demonstrate how to make bamboo cups.
Guests are then invited to the sacred Ngarama Cave, once home to the Batwa King to be entertained by traditional music and dance.
Village Walk: Overlooking the imposing hillsides of Bwindi Impenetrable forest, with the mist swirling over the summits, this is one of the most dramatic settings for your cultural tour! Among others, meet a traditional healer, who not only treats the sick, but uses his knowledge to conserve and educate about the various medicinal plants.
Bwindi Community Hospital: Started by a Canadian doctor BCH revolutionized health care for the Batwa and the Bwindi community. This free hospital tour provides insight into the region and issues that the local community member’s face.
Waterfall Walk: Walk along the Congolese border and Bwindi to see the magnificent waterfalls and the incredible scenery.
Overnight at your choosen accommodation option.
Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.
Lake Bunyonyi: Travel Time: 80 km, 2 hours
Activities of the day: Breakfast, transfer Bwindi – Lake Bunyonyi, lunch & afternoon optional activities.
Lake Bunyonyi (“Place of many little birds”) is the perfect place to stop for a break. The serene lake is rumored to be the deepest in Africa, reaching depths of 900 meters. The lake stretches around 25 km in length and 7 meteres wide, with 29 islands scattered throughout. Although it can be very tempting to just sit by the water and soak up the sun, there are many different activities available, including a boat ride to the different islands, bird watching, and bike riding that you can do in the afternoon.
Accommodation: Birds Nest is located on the shores of Lake Bunyonyi, offering stunning views of the Lake and of the surroundings. The rooms are modern and comfortable; it is by far the best accommodation available in the area. http://birdnestatbunyonyi.com/
Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Travel Time: 271 km, 4 hours
Activities of the day: Breakfast, transfer Lake Bunyonyi – Lake Mburo and optional game drive in the afternoon or other activities available.
The adventure continues as you spend one night at Lake Mburo National Park.
The 371 sq km park is an extension of the Tanzanian Plains and has distinctly different fauna compared to other Ugandan parks. It is the best place in the country to see Eland Antelope, Zebra, Topi, Impala, and Acacia. The five lakes within the park attract hippos, crocodiles, and a variety of water birds, while fringing swamps hide black and yellow papyrus gonalek. Arriving in the park for lunch you can rest before exploring the park on game drive for the rest of the afternoon.
Accommodation: Mihingo Lodge is a peaceful and exclusive retreat adjacent to Lake Mburo National Park. It features ten rooms which are built on wooden platforms with stilts, covered by a thatched roof. Suspended under the thatched roof is a spacious and comfortable tent equipped with en-suite bathrooms with stunning views, including hot and cold running water, showers, and flush loos. www.mihingolodge.com
Travel Time: Travel Time: 298 km, 4.5 hours
This morning you will have breakfast and then proceed to Entebbe having lunch enroute. You will stop at the Equator-where you will be able to stand in both hemispheres simultaneously arriving in Entebbe in the afternoon and later catch your evening flight back home.
Quick information to note for your Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tour
A relatively small country, Uganda is 241 136 sq. km. in extent, of which 44 000 sq. km. is fresh water. Situated astride the Equator, average day time temperatures usually range between 24-28 deg C. An annual rainfall of 125 mm over two periods – April /May and November to early December. But with the sun still shining during the rainy season, and the rain still falling during the dry months, it provides the country with a suitable all year round climate for visitors.
The main language is English, and the basic infrastructure is sound and rapidly becoming better. The ecology varies from savanna to forest to snow capped mountains, a great diversity which shows in its recorded bird list of over 1000 species.
Official Language: English
Currency: Uganda Shilling Approximately Uganda Shilling 3,750 = 1 US Dollar (November 2018)
We can organise the Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tour via Kigali, the shortest route, so you need some Rwanda information too.
Rwanda is a small, land locked country in eastern / central Africa of approximately 26,340 sq km. It has five prominent volcanoes and 23 lakes as well as several rivers. A large part of the country has an elevation of between 1,500 and 2,500 meters AMSL.
In prehistoric times as much as one third of Rwanda was covered with montane rainforest. Today the only large tract of forest left in Rwanda is Nyungwe in the southwestern part of the country; it covers almost 1000 square kilometers. Some areas of forest are also found in the Volcanoes National Park in the northeast, but most of the natural vegetation here is bamboo forest and open moorland.
The highlands in large parts of the country are now dominated by the terraced agriculture that gives the Rwandan countryside its beautiful and pleasant character. The eastern part of Rwanda has entirely different vegetation, the typical African bush, a mix of savannah and grassland dominated by acacia trees. Average temperatures are between 24 – 27 degrees with the hottest months from August – September.
Official languages; Kinyarwanda, French, English & Kiswahili
Local Currency; Rwanda Franc Approximately RWF 833 = 1US Dollar (November 2018)
Of course you also need a visa to get into Uganda or Rwanda as part of the Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tour trip.
Uganda – Most nationalities require entry visas when travelling to Uganda. Visas can be purchased on arrival at the airport for USD 50, or can be issued by Ugandan High Commissions in countries where they are represented or applied for online in the comfort of your sits (this part may be strenuous though) . The fees for visas issued at Ugandan high commissions abroad are generally more. USD notes have to be dated 2006 or newer and be in good condition with no tears or marks.
Rwanda – AUSTRALIA, GERMANY, ISRAEL, NEW ZEALAND, SOUTH AFRICA, SWEDEN, UK AND USA are issued with a Rwandan entry visa upon arrival without prior application. The entry visa fee is $30 and is valid for a period of 30 days.
Nationals of SINGAPORE, HONG KONG, MAURITIUS AND PHILIPPINES are exempt from entry/tourism view for a stay up to 90 days.
EAC nationals will be issued with a 6 months visitors pass (renewable) at entry points with no fee.
All other nationalities will be required to purchase visas with the cost varying, depending on the nationality, up to USD60 for a single entry. These countries should apply for a visa BEFORE travelling and pay the presubscribed fee.
IMPORTANT: The visa documentation / permission MUST BE DONE in advance of your arrival irrespective whether you fly or drive there – through their closest Rwandan High Commission abroad
All visitors / tourists (by road and air) who are not eligible for the free 90 day entry into Rwanda or able to get their visa upon arrival without prior application are required to complete an “entry facility application” on the Rwandan immigration authority’s website – www.migration.gov.rw – under the topic “Public service” click on “entry facility” and on the form that appears clients fill in the basic details like name, passport number, arrival date and port of arrival – and submit it over the web. It is advisable for clients to process this application as soon as possible to allow plenty of time for the application to be approved. It’s good for clients to print out a copy of their submission in case their copy is not at the visa counter when they arrive.
Upon re-entry in to Uganda, e.g. from Rwanda by road, a transit visa for USD15 MAY be possible, depending upon your itinerary and where you are going in Uganda & for how long BUT if not then a full new single entry visa at USD50 will be charged.
It is YOUR responsibility to ensure that your passport is valid for a minimum of six months and has several clear pages for visas prior to departure. If you are travelling on a British Passport new regulations require that your passport is valid for 12 months for entry into Uganda. It is suggested that you check your status as regards visas prior to travel with your agent or Wild Frontiers – they change on a regular basis, and some of these states embassies will INSIST you get one prior to travel, whereas they may be freely available on arrival – embassies make money out of this.
These are important notes for your Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tour, so you need to take them seriously.
Mountain gorillas and Chimpanzees are highly susceptible to human diseases including flu and colds. If you are participating in a gorilla / chimp trek then you need to be free of any visibly contagious diseases and this is checked at the start of the trek by the Park Authorities. If they are in any doubt of your condition, they reserve the right to prevent you from continuing on the trek. Our advice is that if you feel you are worried about this aspect, you please inform your safari guide as soon as possible, and he will seek advice as to the best way to manage the situation.
If you are participating on a NGAMBA ISLAND SANCTUARY CHIMPANZEE INTERACTION (NOT the day visits – the actual INTERGRATION WITH THE CHIMPS or CAREGIVER PROGRAMMES where you overnight on the island) please refer to the documentation provided on booking regarding which SPECIAL, ADDITIONAL vaccines and health certificates are required to be presented to ensure participation.
While travelling through Uganda/Rwanda, you will be mostly on tarred roads and they are in reasonably good condition by African standards. There may be some VERY LONG days in the vehicle, but the interesting and diverse scenery generally makes up for it! There are however, some really bad sections of dirt road, especially in the more mountainous areas. In these areas travel will be slower, quite bumpy and there could be a lot of dust experienced en route. There are options for scheduled or charter flights for the longer routes – please enquire for prices and feasibility of this.
The Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tour vehicles you will be traveling in are customized 4×4 vehicles which have been converted for local conditions – they have good leg room and seat between 4-7 persons, depending on the seating configuration, and have opening roof hatches for optimal game viewing. They are a little slower on the road than a saloon vehicle or a smaller ‘family’ 4×4 and do have air conditioning.
Your safari vehicle is generally used through out the safari for travelling between destinations as well as for game drives and other activities at the lodges and within the National Parks.
Depending on the class or style of your Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tour, your accommodation may range from luxurious to moderate or budget. There are many different styles of accommodation in Uganda/Rwanda varying from large hotels to smaller more intimate lodges and tented camps. Please consult your personalized itinerary for full details of each place you will be staying on your safari.
Should you stay in the more modest local hotels/guest houses you will have the use of showers and toilets, hot water cannot always be guaranteed. The hotels/guest houses themselves are very basic and generally clean, the staff are friendly and helpful. These hotels/guest houses are mainly utilised by local businessmen as not many tourists pass through these areas. They can be fairly noisy, especially on weekends but the atmosphere is friendly and accepting. Food is generally good, hearty African fare, sometimes there are European/Western items available.
Due to space limitations in the vehicles it is imperative that luggage be kept to a minimum. We suggest a barrel or soft bag (15 kg maximum) for your main gear, plus a camera bag or smaller ‘day pack ‘ for inside the vehicle. Samsonite / hard bags / suitcases, etc. are not suitable as it makes packing very difficult. If you are travelling internationally with one we suggest you repack Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tour items into your soft bag, before the safari, and then leave your hard suitcase at your return point eg Entebbe Hotel to collect later.
Charters luggage allowance – If you are traveling on a light aircraft within Uganda, then the luggage restriction is dependent on combined client and luggage weights and varies from plane to plane and routing but usually only up to 10kg per person in soft bags and this is strictly adhered to for safety reasons. Please check your personal allowance on confirmation of itinerary and aircraft.
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 on a regular basis. We suggest lightweight rain gear for the hike to view the gorillas.
During your safari, depending on the style of trip chosen, dress code may vary slightly. Women are advised to cover knees and shoulders when in a rural village or market. None of the lodges/hotels insist on any formal type of dress – ties, jackets etc – so the norm would be casual or smart casual depending upon the level. In towns and cities, and at certain of the more up-market lodges and hotels then long pants and shirt / golf shirt would be more appropriate (especially in the evenings), or ladies may wear a skirt of course!
Bush gear ie hard wearing clothes, no bright colours, eg greens, khaki and similar neutral clothes are recommended. In the day time on safari, generally shorts or lightweight trousers, t-shirts, 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 are often attracted to these colours, (this would be in small parts of Murchison Falls for example, check with your guide).
We suggest you take something warm eg tracksuit, fleece or sweater for the mountainous areas i.e. Bwindi or Virungas. It is at a higher altitude and will therefore be cooler in the evenings. – a rain jacket/anorak is also suggested as it rains, regularly in the in the rain forest areas, even in the drier months. Long trousers and long sleeved shirts are also recommended for general evening use to assist in the prevention of mosquito bites and also as it’s generally cooler than during the day.
While gorilla and chimp tracking you will need a comfortable, hard wearing, pair of walking shoes or boots. Conditions are generally very muddy/slippery. There are uphill sections which may be quite steep and strenuous. It is also advisable to wear a long sleeve cotton shirt and lightweight long trousers to protect yourself from the undergrowth, stinging nettles and biting ants. (Tracksuit pants often get caught on bushes, thorns, etc and jeans can get very heavy when wet). Gloves are also highly recommended by Gorilla tracking Uganda– 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. Tuck your long pants into your socks/boots to avoid biting insects. Your clothes will in all likelihood get very muddy and may not recover to their original state – therefore take old clothing for the gorilla trekking.
There is no charge for personal filming of gorillas during the Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tour and other scenes with personal video cameras, eg digital, slr etc in Uganda or Rwanda.
Professional photographers, film makers or media should advise us at the time of booking as special procedures are required as well as costs to be incurred for photographing and filming.
Most lodges operate on solar power and so have limited facilities for charging batteries and some none at all, so come prepared with extra, just in case and charge up where ever it is possible en route on your safari – do not wait until down to your last battery!
Do not photograph any government buildings, police or military posts. Ask permission before photographing local tribesmen. For gorilla photography a 35 – 70 mm zoom, or 50 mm fixed is usually sufficient, but you may want to carry a longer lens but remember you may well be in low light conditions. Take fast film if using film (200-400 ASA plus), as you are not allowed to use a flash. Please check your camera beforehand to ensure you know how to turn it off manually.
Game & bird photography obviously longer lens would be recommended 80-300mm ideally.
Do not spend all your time with the gorillas trying for the classic photograph, look around you and observe and enjoy these gentle animals.
Laundry is possible at most establishments in Uganda at an additional cost. Mostly it is done by hand and dried naturally outside and so this requires at least 1-2 days for turn a round depending upon the location and weather. Please check the system upon arrival at each lodge to ensure you are not caught short with wet washing – especially in high rainfall areas like Bwindi.
But since the Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tour is a very short trip, you may not need laundry services after all.
Electricity spec Uganda: 240 volts British Standard, generally through 3 pin square plugs.
Rwanda: 240 volts but using the 2 pin European style plugs.
Some lodges and camps have power only at certain times of the day, and in some charging facilities are centralised. You will need your own charger.
In lodges/ camps utilising solar power systems, the amount of power available for charging often depends on how sunny the weather has been and how busy the lodge is with charging equipment, so whilst they will always try to assist, continuous charging cannot be guaranteed at all times to be available. During your Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tour, we’ll make sure you get a lodge with electricity to charge your phone depending on the budget of your trip.
Use of specialized breathing machines, hair dryers, curling tongs, shavers and other electrical equipment is possible at hotels in towns and at lodges with large generator power back up systems but generally not possible at solar powered lodges – please check your Gorilla tracking Uganda detailed itinerary to ensure you are aware of where you can utilise these items and advise your agent in advance if special arrangements need to be made eg for breathing machines.
The safari vehicles you travel in may also have inverter systems for charging items but this facility is not guaranteed.
US Dollars cash is the preferred option to bring when traveling to Uganda/Rwanda for the Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tour or other Safaris.
Once in Uganda/Rwanda, we advise guests to change some dollars into local currency for use as spending money on the road eg for drinks, curios. Gorilla tracking Uganda suggests 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’ – this may sound a bit cryptic, but when you compare the notes it will become clearer). Please ensure that all USD bills are in good condition, i.e. without rips, tears and any mark. 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 are able to change surplus local money back to cash if you have proof of purchase when leaving the country.
Travellers cheques are difficult to change and REALLY bad rates of exchange generally apply, and are often VERY difficult to cash, even in large towns and especially over weekends and after hours. Throughout the rest of the country, changing TC’s is almost impossible. Ask gorilla tracking Uganda for details
There are only a few banks in Kampala (to our knowledge) that are authorised to give cash advances on credit cards. Visa cards are generally fine BUT Mastercard 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 banking hours. Exchange rates will be poor, and they may also charge a hefty service fees.
Payment for services by credit card can only be done by VISA card or MASTER CARD in some places. Only large hotels generally accept this means of payment and they will also levy a fee of at least 5% on top of any bills. So the long and short is keep your credit card for EMERGENCIES ONLY. Gorilla Tracking Uganda accepts payment with Credit Cards
ATM Machines – they are often not working although there are now some in Entebbe, Kampala and also some in larger up country towns. They pay LOCAL MONEY only and the client needs an international use PIN code to draw money and it can only be done with certain cards. Maximum Ush2 million per day (about USD1200 equivalent) but also depends on the clients own individual bank set up so may well be less. Contact gorilla tracking Uganda for more details
Please also be aware that the traffic in & out of Kampala is terrible and so going to the bank can take up to one hour just standing in traffic in the city.
A suggestion from past Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tour guests is to mention that if people want to help the poorer Ugandans /Rwandans they could bring old clothes etc with them to give to appropriate organizations/places.
If you are interested in this option you should advise Churchill Safaris before travel as we can set up times/days on safari where you can visit an orphanage, or school, assist or give a donation for “something specific”. Or Gorilla tracking Uganda can refer you to various organizations that we work in conjunction with for various community assistance and uplift programmes we can monitor and ensure that the appropriate funds are received by the right people! Handouts of money (except as genuine tips) sweets, pens etc is to please be avoided. It creates a system of begging and invariably causes fights amongst the children when there is not enough to go around.
You will generally be expected to purchase your own drinks on Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tour. Most camps/lodges have a reasonable selection of wines and spirits – with the more upmarket ones generally offering more choice. Beer, cool drinks (sodas), bottled water, local gin, etc. are readily available everywhere. Prices vary depending upon where purchased. Please be aware that you should only drink bottled water, not from the taps for health safety reasons. Bottled water is available for purchase everywhere en route and some lodges also supply limited courtesy bottles in the rooms. Please bring your own supply of water purifying tablets, or your own water bottle if you prefer. Contact Gorilla tracking Uganda
It is a strong recommendation that you are covered by some type of medical insurance before you grab that flight to come and experience the Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tour. Talk to your travel consultant about this.
Should you require further information please do not hesitate to contact us. Minimum cover should be $50 000 for medical and related expenses.
The Entebbe airport has a reasonable duty free section – with an array of curios, t-shirts and books, maps etc – for last minute shopping. Certain of the more up-market lodges also have curio shops. There is also a limited choice at the curio markets around the country and in Kampala. Speak to your guide for advice if you are looking for something in particular. Duty free allowance is 2 bottles of wine/spirit, and 200 cigarettes.
Your personal safety and well-being is our prime concern. Please take care of all your personal possessions at all times – do not tempt petty theft, pickpockets, 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 your person 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 ensure all the windows are shut and that you take your valuables and cameras with you for safe keeping.
When at lodges / hotels we recommend you either keep your money and valuables with you or utilise the safe keeping facilities provided at the various establishments.
Please also be sure to check your room and ensure you have everything packed before moving on to a new place.
A thorny issue that often raises questions. It is at your discretion as the guest, customary in this part of the world, but not compulsory, and based upon service levels received. Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tour guidelines per passenger travelling are: Gorilla tracking Uganda will ensure that you get this information
Gorilla & Chimpanzee Guides: Tips should be placed in the central tip box if provided or given to the main guide who will distribute amongst all the trackers and game guards – region of USD20 for the main guide (per guest)
Porters: This is an optional extra and they are normally hired for around USD15 per porter per day and the tip will vary depending on the work load – between USD15-20 per guest for each porter.
Safari Driver/guides: USD 5 to 10 per day – per guest, averaging 4-6 guests in a vehicle. If you are traveling privately, ie just two of you, please tip at your discretion.
Lodges /camp staff: We suggest USD3-5 per guest per stay. Many of the smaller lodges have central tip boxes. At hotels and larger establishments it is generally given at your discretion to individuals who have performed well.
National Parks Guides (cruises / bird walks): For each guide USD 3.00 to 5.00 per guest in local currency.
Porters at hotels : Around USD1-2.00 in local currency
Waiters / Bar Staff : 10% of bill, or say Uganda Shillings 2000-3000 as a tip for service
Yellow Fever inoculation is required should you travel between East African countries, and should you be flying into SA after visiting East Africa. This must be done no later than 10 days prior to your departure. If you have a history of liver disorders (hepatitis etc) you must consult your physician first.
Typhoid may be requested from 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. There is also the tablet form available – only available from certain pharmacies.
Tetanus is also recommended, as is Cholera, but are not compulsory.
Hepatitis inoculation is at the discretion of the traveler.
Malaria prophylactics are a must and can be purchased from your local pharmacy. Please consult your pharmacist/doctor. It is also a good idea to bring some insect repellant with you to spray on your self in the evenings and early morning when mosquitos tend to be about.
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 in case, particularly if you are planning to spend some time traveling alone and not with a tour. We recommend that guests either buy bottled water, or take along water purification tablets and look after your own drinking water.
As with all medical requirements, your doctor or travel clinic will provide the most up to date information – the above is a guide only.
CHURCHILL HOUSE Churchill Safaris & Travel Ltd P.O. Box 28170 Plot 928, Sir Albertcook Road, Wakaliga. Kampala, Uganda
Inquiries/Reservations Call Us:
+256 414 341815
+256 704 671288
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