Frequently Asked Questions

Uganda is generally a peaceful country for travelers . Ugandans are considered among the friendliest and most welcoming people on African Continent. Feel free to meet and talk to Ugandans and Acquire Ugandan Name as one sign of Love. Does one need a visa to enter Uganda? Beginning 1st July 2016, travelers to Uganda have been able to obtain the US $50 Ugandan Tourist Visa online from the privacy of their home wherever in the world with an online Application.

Tourist visas can also be bought in advance via the embassy or consulate in your country or simply purchased upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport or at any overland border. Photos are not required and a single entry visa is valid for up to 90 days stay in Uganda.

If you are planning to combine Uganda with a visit to Rwanda, it is recommendable to request for the East African Tourist Visa instead of a single entry visa. This special visa costs US$100 per person and allows 90-days multiple entry to Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. Regrettably, Tanzania is not (yet) a member of the East African community and therefore not part of this special visa arrangement. Go to https://visas.immigration.go.ug How can I be sure that Discover African Nature really exists and is a reliable tour company? Discover African nature is a Ugandan-owned tour company that has been offering tours in East Africa for over 4 years. Guidebooks have written wonderful reviews about the company. We are also members of the tour operator networks and proud sponsors of the . Many happy customers have written their feedback on our active Facebook page. How Are Automated Teller Machine ATM card or credit card in Uganda and Kigali?”]Uganda and Rwanda are both cash based societies. The Ugandan currency is called shillings, while in Rwanda they use Francs as well as the US dollar. There are a many ATMS available throughout the capitals which accept Visa, although they become scarcer as you enter the rural areas.

Most banks will accept ATM cards or Visa credit cards for money withdrawal in Uganda. While you can withdraw a limited amount of cash per day from ATM machines in Kampala, there are very few opportunities to withdraw cash once you are on safari in Uganda.

Payment by credit card in Uganda attracts additional charges of between 5–10% and occasionally more. Please check with lodges and restaurants in advance, if you plan to pay by credit card.

It is advisable that you bring cash and have money changed upon arrival in Kampala. US dollars, British pounds and Euros are easy to change. However, for some expenses, like the payment of a tourist visa at the airport/border, it is advisable to have dollars available. It is often possible to pay for tourist activities with US dollars.

Please note: US dollars bills issued before 2006 are NOT accepted in Uganda. Exchanging low denomination dollar bills (less than a USD100 bill) attracts a lower exchange rate. Exchange rate for cash US$ in large denomination (100 & 50) attracts better rate than the smaller notes.Are travellers cheques accepted in Uganda? “]Traveler cheques are no longer accepted in Uganda How easy is it to access medical facilities in Uganda? It is important to note that modern medical facilities and prescription drugs are not common in Uganda; apart from a few recommended hospitals of international standards like Nairobi hospital and International Hospital Kampala. Therefore one should be in reasonably good health to consider any of our tours. Although food hygiene and quality is excellent and we rarely experience any serious stomach problems, you may want to bring the remedy you prefer or are prescribed for an upset stomach changes in recommendations for malaria prophylaxis. Can I safely swim in Lake Victoria or other lakes in Uganda?”]

Most lakes in Uganda as well as the River Nile contain Bilharzia and are not considered safe for swimming. The flukes (microscopic worms) reproduce in snails which inhabit warm stagnant water on the edges of rivers and lakes. If you choose to swim here anyway or if you go rafting on the Nile, we advise that do a check-up at least two months (standard incubation period for the flukes) after you have been swimming. The health impacts vary from slight discomfort to serious organ damage if the Bilharzia goes untreated.

The two lakes in Uganda that are 100% Bilharzia-free and safe to swim in are Lake Bunyonyi and Lake Mutanda and Swiming pools Around Hotels of Residence

What is the best time to travel in Uganda?”]Officially, Uganda’s dry seasons are from December/January through to mid-March and from June through to mid-September. These dry months are the most popular with tourists, with July and August and Christmas and New Year being the peak seasons.

Most rain falls in October-November and April-May. However, this doesn’t mean that it rains all day, nor does it mean it will rain every day. Usually there’s a tropical shower at night or a shorter shower during the day, but in Uganda you can trust that after rain comes sunshine!

The weather is no reason to avoid travelling in the wet season – you might even consider it because of the easy availability of gorilla permits.

As in the rest of the world, the East African climate is changing, making it more difficult for us to predict the weather during your safari. However, in Uganda the temperature is very stable and pleasant, with sunshine almost 365 days a year. During the day, the temperature averages between 23 and 27°C, although in some places it can be quite cool at night.

One remarkable aspect about Uganda safaris is: whether you travel in the dry, dusty months or in the wet season, you will never find the crowded tourism like in Kenya or Tanzania. If you spot a lion or leopard, it is very likely that you will be the only one to see it – even in peak season!

.Does the trip cost include tips? Is tipping mandatory in Uganda?”]No, all our trip quotations do not include tips. Tipping in Uganda is not mandatory, but it’s a recent culture that has been widely spread and most service providers are always expectant especially from foreigners. . Those of you who are able to give cash, any amount starting from US$5 will be highly appreciated especially by the local community service providers and hotel staff.How is the weather in Uganda? Are there any variations in the weather at different destinations?”]Discover African nature Limited normally provides detailed itineraries with relevant travel information that includes the weather situation during the trip period. Always try to follow the guidelines indicated in your itinerary. Otherwise due to the typically equatorial kind of climate in Uganda, there are variations in weather which changes suddenly. Generally Uganda‘s climate from September – December and April – May is wet and cool. The dry spell is experienced between Jan – Early March and June – Mid August and the days are generally warm or hot and sunny. Mean annual temperatures range from about 16° C in the southwestern highlands to 25° C in the northwest; but in the northeast, temperatures exceed 30° C about 254 days per year Daytime temperatures average about eight to ten degrees warmer than nighttime temperatures in the Lake Victoria region, and temperatures are generally about fourteen degrees lower in the southwest. However, overcast conditions are frequent, particularly in the forest and mountain areas, and around the lake Victoria basin. Nights can be mild to warm, cooler at higher altitudes. Please visit http://www.worldweather.org for more general weather information What vaccinations required for my Uganda safari?”]A number of different vaccinations are recommended and/or required before entering Uganda. A certificate proving you have had the Yellow Fever vaccination is mandatory for entry into both Uganda and Rwanda. Immunizations against DTP (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio) and Hepatitis A are recommended as well.

Besides bringing mosquito repellent, we also advise you to take malaria ‘prophylactics’ (prevention medication).

For the latest Uganda travel health advice, please check one of the travel health web sites or contact us at Africa Sceneries. We’re always happy to give free Uganda travel advice! Will I get sick when I’m in Uganda?”]You are unlikely to fall sick while you are in Uganda but do take all recommended preventive measures. If you take any regular medication, please bring it with you.

Take your Malaria medication as directed – before, during and possibly after – your visit to Uganda (depending on the Malaria prophylactic you take).

Although HIV/AIDS infection rates are lower than many countries in Africa, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS infection is reported by health authorities to be higher than in most Western countries. Some tourists and visitors to Uganda seldom engage in risky behaviour. We recommend that you take your sexual health seriously!I can’t open some links or pages on the Discover African Nature Tours websites?”]This could be a result of temporary glitches on your computer or web browser or mismatched settings. You could try the following options:

  • Try copying the URL given and paste it directly into your web browser
  • Retype the URL given into the browser yourself

If the above do not work, please contact us; otherwise we can confirm that all the website links in our site are correct, however, your computer could be simply having a problem.Which area should I pick to go gorilla tracking?”]

There are an estimated 800 mountain gorillas in the forested highland area shared by Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Habituated families can be visited in Uganda and Rwanda and Discover African nature offers a variety of trip options to both.

By booking your Uganda or Rwanda tour well in advance, you will have a higher chance of securing a permit for the specific gorilla group you wish to visit. The permits often sell out well in advance, so it might be that Discover African nature will have to choose from the few remaining permits for your dates.

What is the best luggage pack that you recommend?”]We strongly advise you not to carry your luggage in a suitcase as it can be bulky and difficult to carry. We highly recommend a backpack or a soft bag. This does not imply that you will be required to carry your bags for any great distance; a small backpack can be used to carry daily trip essentials like snacks, toiletries, notebooks etc. During treks, like Gorilla tracking and mountaineering, porters are always available to carry your luggage for you.How safe are the streets of the capital, Kampala for tourists?Kampala is one of the safest capital cities in East Africa and central Africa – although, as anywhere, petty thieves may try and take advantage of people who leave phones and portable valuables unattended. Your driver/ guide will give you all the information you need to make sure your trip is safe and incident-free. Feel free to ask questions!What chance do I have of actually seeing the gorillas?”]

Chances of seeing the gorilla are over 95%. If you are in the very unlikely situation not to have seen them, you will be given the choice of either a 50% refund of the cost of your gorilla permit or another chance to spot them the next day (when permits are available). Please note that it is the national wildlife authority that issues the refund. Your driver/guide will be happy to assist you in the procedure, but Discover African nature Limited cannot return the funds directly.

How tough is it physically to do gorilla tracking?”]

The ease of seeing the gorillas depends on the movements of the gorilla family on that particular day. For Uganda, some say that the Rushegura group in Buhoma is easy to spot, but we cannot guarantee this. In general you can expect the tracking to be quite tough, so we advise you to train for the gorilla tracking. Altitude averages 2000 meters, the muddy hills of Bwindi are steep. The time it takes to find the gorillas can be anywhere from 45 minutes to 8 hours.

If you have a low level of fitness which limits you from walking long distances in rugged terrain, we advise that you consider tracking in Rwanda where the rangers will assign you to an easier or more difficult tracking according to your fitness level. The gorilla permits in Rwanda, however, are more expensive.

What should I wear during the gorilla tracking?”]

We advise you to wear long pants and long-sleeved shirt made of light-weight material. You’ll want to tuck the cuffs of your pants into tall socks to prevent safari ants from entering. It is also wise to wear a hat to prevent ticks from getting in your hair. Bring a rain jacket and rain pants in your daypack, as well as an extra t-shirt and a sweater for when the tracking gets long and the forest gets cooler. Make sure you have good hiking shoes and don’t worry about the weight of your backpack: porters are available for a US$ 20 fee which helps families from the communities around the park.

Can I leave my excess luggage at the starting point hotel in case of a circular trip?”]Yes, you can store excess luggage at starting point hotels, but however this is done at your own risk. Some hotels may charge a nominal fee for the service. This is an advantage for those who may have trip extensions options and part of the luggage is not required for one part of the tour.Do I need to carry my own camping gear?”]Unless it is indicated in your tour details that you will be provided with camping equipment, trips that involve camping and eco-home stays do require you to carry your own sleeping bag, sleeping mat and, if need b, a tent. A head lamp is equally important especially at night.What kind of meals should I expect on a camping tour especially in remote areas in Uganda?” Discover african nature  has Collaborates with Already Established International Food Supply unit Centres that prepares all kinds of meals equivalent to what you may expect to find in a Ugandan up-market hotel or safari lodge. Both continental and local cuisines are served. In case you are interested in wines and spirits, be sure to find some

Ugandans are very welcoming and among the friendliest people in Africa. They are very interested in meeting you and giving you Uganda names to make it cool for you. Do not be afraid and be open to a small conversation. As a greeting, make sure you always shake hands, but do not hug women. If you wish to ask someone a question, make sure you start by: “how are you?” If you would just walk up to someone and ask “where can I find the supermarket”? it will be very likely that he will answer with” I am fine…”!

When you go to someone’s private house, to a church, a school or any official place, make sure you wear normal shoes, long pants (or dress) and a shirt/ blouse with long sleeves.

[/vc_toggle][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_toggle title=”Is it safe for homosexuals to visit Uganda?”]In spite of some recent reports to the contrary, Uganda is a safe country for gay and lesbian travellers. However, like most African countries, the Ugandan society is conservative. We recommend discretion especially with regard to public display of affection![/vc_toggle][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_toggle title=”How can I Book and Pay for Uganda and Rwanda Gorilla Safaris?”]If you are interested in a mountain gorilla safari in Uganda or Rwanda you are required to buy a gorilla permit well in advance of your trip. Only eight people are allowed to visit each gorilla group per day as the demand is high. Africa Sceneries are happy to book your gorilla trekking permits and organise your gorilla safari.

To buy your gorilla permit, you will need to provide us with your full names, nationality, passport number, preferred date of trekking and gorilla permit fee. The minimum age for visiting the gorillas is 15 years. Although a certain level of fitness is required for the gorilla tracking, those who cannot walk can enjoy this activity by use of a stretcher. You may however not be allowed gorilla trekking if you fall ill.[/vc_toggle][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_toggle title=”How can I pay for my safari?”]Once you have confirmed the final itinerary with us, you will be asked to pay a deposit of 30%. Gorilla permits must be paid for in full at the time of booking. Note that availability of accommodation and permits is not guaranteed until officially confirmed by Africa Sceneries. Accommodation, permit and activity reservations will be made as soon as payment has been received on our account.

For your convenience, the balance payment of 70% should be settled before the start of your safari. We accept payment by VISA credit card (please include 5% service charge) and bank transfer in either dollars or Euros to our bank account in Uganda. Please note that all bank charges are at the expense of the client..[/vc_toggle][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_toggle title=”How can I make my tour more ecologically/socially sustainable?”]

Tourism has a lot of positive influences in Uganda. It supports the economy, creates awareness and it helps to protect national parks and its wildlife. Without tourism, the gorillas and many other animal species would likely be extinct by now. However, tourism has negative influences, as well. As a tour operator we have the responsibility to limit the negative influences on socioeconomic and environmental aspects as much as possible. However, there are ways you, as a traveler can help us achieve these goals:

[/vc_toggle][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_toggle title=”What is the Safari accommodation like?”]Your accommodation while on our safari falls into three categories: budget, mid-range or luxury.

Budget accommodation may be simple and in basic rooms, bandas or tents, with double/twin beds and mosquito nets when necessary. Private bathrooms are not always available and you may have to share bathroom facilities.

3, 4 and 5-star accommodation offer comfortable rooms or luxury furnished safari tents with a private bathroom. Flush toilets and hot and cold running water are available. Mosquito nets will be provided where necessary.[/vc_toggle][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_toggle title=”What vehicles does Africa Sceneries use for safaris?”]Discover African nature provides open roofed 4WD (four wheel drive) safari vehicles for all our tours. Our comfortable Super Custom offer seats for four to six people. Vehicles all have a pop-up roof for game viewing. We also have several Saloon buses which can take a maximum of 4 people. To ensure that everybody has a window seat to enjoy the best views of Uganda, we usually limit the number of people to 3 in these 4WD safari Saloon Cars. Limiting the number of people per vehicle also means plenty of leg room and luggage storage.

[/vc_toggle][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_toggle title=”Would You wish To Donate To Some Groups of People ?”]Of course we understand that you wish to support or do something when you are in a developing country. However, we advise you not to bring any gifts to give directly to the local community. It’s often the same people that receive items each time and very often they are not the neediest people in Uganda. Moreover, it can create a begging culture.

Instead, we suggest that you consider supporting an NGO structurally. Maybe you can visit this particular NGO, while you are on your tour and maybe you can bring something from home that this NGO has expressed a specific need for.

[/vc_toggle][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_toggle title=”Can I book a single person safari with Africa Sceneries?”]Oh yes! We organise safaris for single travellers. However, to minimise your costs we would recommend that you join a group. Although we can try and arrange this for you, we cannot guarantee we can find a group whose interests, budget and preferred route correspond to yours, especially during low season.

If you would like to stay in a single room please notify us well in advance and we will try to meet your request. Please bear in mind that single rooms are not common and it is more likely that you will be offered single occupancy of a double room. A single room supplement will apply.[/vc_toggle][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_toggle title=”How do I make sure I pick the type of accommodation that I like?”]It essentially only depends on availability. Discover African nature has selected accommodation all over Uganda and Rwanda for a range of budgets. Our selection criteria are based on the view, service, location, style and price of each lodge. We also select accommodation based on the feedback from previous clients.[/vc_toggle][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_toggle title=”What clothes and footwear should I take on a trip that involve treks or hikes?”]Recommended for the field is light-weight, neutral-colored clothing that can be easily rinsed out and quickly dries – cottons or cotton blends. Long-sleeved shirts and long pants will help protect you from insects, thorny plants, and sunburn. A sweater or jacket is useful for cooler nights and early mornings. You should also bring rain-gear, including a small umbrella. Strong-soled shoes or hiking boots are essential, as you spend a good amount of time on your feet. Laundry services are always available regularly during most of our tours “at own cost”, which should help you in deciding what to pack. Making use of laundry service means you won‘t need to bring as many items of clothing as you would otherwise. Alternatively, to lighten your load, you may consider bringing some clothes you have planned to discard. These can be worn on tour and left behind; they are always well received by local people you interact with on the tour.[/vc_toggle][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_toggle title=”Is it easy to exchange currency?”]You can change dollars, pounds and Euros at many Forex exchange bureaus around capital cities. In up-country cities, the exchange rate is less advantageous and it becomes difficult to exchange Pounds and Euros. Dollars are the most used currencies, but bear in mind that US dollars given out before 2006 is not accepted and denominations below 100 are exchanged at a lower rate.[/vc_toggle][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_toggle title=”Can you arrange my international flight?”]Yes, we can.[/vc_toggle][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_toggle title=”What is included in the price of my safari?”]Discover African nature prices are inclusive of:

  • Ground transport in a comfortable four wheel drive (4WD) safari vehicle.
  • A visit to all places detailed in the programme.
  • The service of an experienced English speaking driver/safari guide.
  • National Park entrance fees.
  • Park ranger fees.
  • Activities as detailed in the itinerary (except for those that are marked optional).
  • Overnight in the named accommodations, based on sharing a twin or double room.
  • Full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner) where applicable.
  • 2 litres of bottled mineral water per person per day while travelling in our vehicle.
  • Government taxes.

[/vc_toggle][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_toggle title=”What is excluded in the price of my safari?”]

Africa Sceneries prices do not include:

  • International flights.
  • Tourist visas (available at the airport).
  • Meals and snacks that are not highlighted in the itinerary.
  • Beverages (other than the bottled mineral water provided in the safari vehicle).
  • Tips and gratuities for safari guides and/or park rangers.
  • Laundry.
  • Gorilla trekking or chimp trekking permit.
  • Optional activities that are highlighted in the program.
  • Items of a personal nature (toiletries, camera batteries, souvenirs).
  • Travel insurance.
  • International payment transaction costs.

[/vc_toggle][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_toggle title=”What are the average prices for meals and drinks (when not included in the program)?”]

In general, these will be the average prices when eating at proper restaurant or lodges in Uganda and Tanzania:

Soda US$ 1
Beer US$ 2 – 3
Wine US$ 4 – 5
Spirits US$ 2 – 3
Breakfast US$ 3 – 4
Lunch US$ 6 – 10
Dinner US$ 8 – 15

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