16 Day Uganda Primate, game and cultural tour

USD $4350 pp

Minimum Group of 2 People
Rates are per person (pp) and based on 2 people sharing 1 room
Excluding international flights (from/to your home country)

Our 16 Day Uganda primate, game and cultural tour is designed for those who have enough time to spend in Uganda to explore and discover “The Pearl of Africa. Our 16 Day Uganda primate, game and cultural tour provides an opportunity of trekking chimps thrice in the different environments of Budogo Forest, Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park and Kibale Forest National Park. It also offers you a chance to visit three savannah National Parks for game drives and boat cruises. Enjoy two boat cruises in Murchison Falls National Park, one boat cruise on Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Canoe ride in Lake Bunyonyi as well as Lake Mburo National Park. These three savannah National parks included here offer the best of game drives with chances of spotting thousands of antelopes, hippos, elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards and so much more while on our 16 day primate, game and cultural tour. The highlight of this tour is definitely gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. To make sure that you also interact with the local communities around these national parks, we have several village and community walks that will take you to the nearby villages to learn more about people and their cultures.

Brief Itinerary of our 16 Day primate, game and cultural tour

Day 01: Drive to Budongo Forest via Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary for Rhino tracking: Overnight at Budongo Eco Lodge on Full Board

Day 02: Morning chimpanzee trekking, lunch and visit top of the falls: Overnight at Murchison River Lodge on Full Board

Day 03: Morning game drive in Paraa and afternoon boat cruise to the base of the falls. Overnight at Murchison River Lodge on Full Board Basis

Day 04: Morning game drive and afternoon boat cruise to the Albert Delta: Overnight at Murchison River Lodge on Full Board Basis

Day 05: Drive to Hoima Town for a cultural walk: Overnight at Kontik Hotel on Full Board

Day 06: Drive to Kibale Forest National Park: Overnight at Rwenzori View Guest House on Full Board

Day 07: Morning chimpanzee trekking and Bigodi Village wetland and community walk. Overnight at Rwenzori View Guest House on Full Board

Day 08: Drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park for an evening game drive in Mweya. Overnight at Bush Lodge or Buffalo resort on Full Board Basis

Day 09: Morning game drive and afternoon boat cruise on Kazinga Channel. Overnight at Bush Lodge or Buffalo Resort on Full Board basis

Day 10: Morning chimp trekking in Chambura or Karinzu Eco tourism site and afternoon visit to Katwe salt mining site: Overnight at Bush Lodge or Buffalo Resort.

Day 11: Drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Overnight at Broad Bill Forest Camp on Full Board

Day 12: Gorilla tracking and village walk. Overnight at Broad Bill Forest Camp on Full Board Basis

Day 13: Drive to Lake Bunyonyi for overnight at Crater Bay Cottages or Bird Nest Overseas Cottages on Full Board Basis

Day 14: Canoeing and birding around Lake Bunyonyi: Overnight at Crater Bay Cottages or Bird Nest Overseas Cottages on Full Board Basis

Day 15: Drive to Lake Mburo National Park via Igongo Cultural center arriving at the Park for an evening boat cruise on the Lake. Overnight at Lake Mburo Safari Lodge on Full Board

Day 16: Early morning game drive and then transfer to Entebbe Airport via the equator crossing.

End of service.

What you need to know about our 16 Day Uganda Primate, game and cultural tour

  • It can start any time on any date
  • The tour is all inclusive with all activities, meals, chimp and gorilla permits, park fees, lodges and as such no hidden costs involved.
  • Maximum number is six people and minimum is two people sharing.
  • Suitable for children aged 15 years and above.
  • Safari starts and ends in Uganda
  • You have an opportunity to trek chimpanzees in Budongo Forest, Kibale National Park and Kyambura Gorge
  • It visits three top National Parks for game drives. That Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Mburo National National Park.
  • Enjoy four boat cruises on this tour on the river at Murchison Falls National Park, on the lake at Bunyonyi and Mburo National Park and on the channel in queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Enjoy walking safaris to visit local communities and villages to learn more about the life styles of the local people in Uganda.
  • Zziwa Rhino sanctuary to visit the only remaining white rhinos in Uganda.

Day one: To Budongo Forest

Start you 16 day primate, game and cultural tour by driving to Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary to track endangered white rhinos that are being restocked in this region of the country. Take some time searching for the Rhinos in the wild and after, drive to Budongo Forest located in Murchison Falls National Park Conservation area. You will overnight at Budongo Eco Lodge on Full Board

Drive time: Approximately 4-5 hours

Mealplan: Lunch and Dinner

Lodging: Murchison River Lodge or Pakuba Safari Lodge

Day two: Budongo Chimpanzee trekking and top of the falls visit

After breakfast, you will walk to the forest headquarters for briefing about chimpanzee trekking Dos and Don’ts and thereafter start your primate walk in Budongo Forest guides by well-trained ranger guides. Your walk will expose you to other primates, birds and different plant species in the forest and once you get into close proximity of once community/party of habituated chimpanzees, you will be allowed one hour of observations and photography before you return back to the Lodge. You may carry packed lunch or order for hot lunch and then drive to the top of Victoria Falls to observer how water squeezes itself in a narrow gorge exploding as it flows downstream. Proceed to Murchison River Lodge or Pakuba Safari Lodge for overnight.

Drive time: Approximately 2 hours

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Packed Lunch and Dinner

Lodging: Murchison River Lodge or Pakuba Safari Lodge

Day three: Morning game drives and boat cruise on the Nile

Your 16 day primate, game and cultural tour will be action packed as you will need to wake up early for a morning game drive where you will be transferred by ferry to the northern banks of River Nile commonly known as paraa. This side of the park provides an opportunity to spot several antelopes, hippos, buffaloes, giraffes, buffaloes, and if luck, big cats such as leopards and lions. Return to the lodge for lunch and then a boat cruise to the base of the falls. On your way from the jetty point to the bottom of the falls, you will spot several herds of buffaloes, crocodiles, hippos, water bird species and other wild animals as they flock River Nile to drink water. Continue upstream to the base of the falls to observe how water squeezes in a narrow gorge to later explode in what has been referred to the strongest and powerful falls on planet earth. Return to the Lodge for overnight.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Lodging: Murchison River Lodge/Pakuba Safari Lodge

Day Four: Morning game drive and late afternoon delta cruise

After an early breakfast will see you return to the northern bank of river to another game drive to search for wild that you can have missed out on your previous game drives. Return to the lodge and thereafter go a late afternoon boat cruise to Albert delta where there is a lot of action and activity. Depending on your luck, you may find elephants, buffaloes and hippos crossing, crocodiles every well as well as chances of spotting the rare shoebill stock. Return back to the lodge for overnight:

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Lodging: Murchison River Lodge or Pakuba Safari Lodge

Day Five: Hoima Town for a cultural walk

After breakfast, you will drive to Hoima town which is about 3 hour’s drive from Murchison Falls National Park. Depending on the nature of the road, you may pass via Lake Albert for a scenic drive to the escarpments and then to Hoima town. Check in and go for a cultural walk or enjoy cultural performances at the lodge to learn more about cultures of the local people in the area.

Drive time: 3 hours

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Lodging: Kontik Hotel/Hoima Cultural Lodge

Day Six: To Kibale National Park.

You will drive to Kibale National Park via Fort Portal town for Lunch before checking in at Rwenzori View Guest House. No major activity these day but if time allows, you may drive around Fort Portal town.

Drive time: Approximately 4 hours

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Lodging: Rwenzori View Guest House

Day Seven: Chimpanzee trekking and Bigodi Wetland Walk

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Kibale National Park headquarters at Kanyakyu to join other trekkers for briefing and eventual chimpanzee trekking. You will be led by a well-trained ranger/guide who will take you for a guided primate walk inside Kibale Forest National Park. This forest provides an opportunity to visit one of the habituated communities/part of chimpanzees and spend an hour with them observing and taking photographs. Kibale National Park is home to other 11 primate species coupled with forest birds. After your chimpanzee trek, you will drive to Bigodi Village for a wetland walk that was designed to benefit the local community living around Kibale Forest National Park. Return to the Lodge for overnight.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Packed Lunch and Dinner

Lodging: Rwenzori View Guest House

Day Eight: To Queen Elizabeth National Park

After breakfast, your will drive 3-4 hours from Kibale National Park to Queen Elizabeth National Park. You will have an opportunity of passing through small towns, seeing several foothills of Mountain Rwenzori, small rivers that originate from Rwennzori mountain ranges as well as crossing the equator at Kikorongo. Check in at Bush Lodge, relax as you prepare for a late afternoon game drive in Mweya. This section of Queen Elizabeth National Park is endowed with Antelopes, Buffaloes, Warthogs, elephants and many other wild animals including lions and leopards whose sight depends on your luck since this is nature. Return to the Lodge for overnight.

Drive time: Approximately 3-4 hours

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Lodging: Bush Lodge or Buffalo Resort

Day Nine: Game drive and Boat Cruise

After an early morning cup of tea, you will drive back to Kasenyi plains for a game drive to catch up with what you could have missed out on your earlier game drive. Its this time of the morning that big cats are out hunting for their prey and as such chances of spotting lions and or leopards are slightly high. Never the less, you will be guaranteed to see buffaloes, hippos, several species of antelopes, and many others. You may return to the lodge for lunch or drive directly to Mweya jetty for an afternoon boat cruise on Kazinga Channel. This two hour boat cruise is one of the highlights in Queen Elizabeth National Park. It provides you an opportunity to view over 300 out of the 600 water bird species recorded here, antelopes, crocodiles, elephants, buffaloes and hippos. Return to the lodge for overnight.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Lodging: Bush Lodge or Buffalo Resort

Day Ten: Chambura Chimp trekking and Katwe salt mines

After breakfast, you will be driven to Chambura to join other trekkers for briefing and their after start you chimpanzee walk in the gorge. Your experienced ranger guide will help you identify several flora and fauna resident in this gorge and once you find a community of chimpanzees, you will be allowed to spend one hour with them for photography. Return back from the trek for lunch and short relaxation at the lodge before moving out again to visit Lake Katwe salt mines. Lake Katwe is an explosive crate which is gifted with salt and it’s the local community that mines/extracts salt from this lake. The local community guide will take you for a tour around salt mines explaining how salt extraction is done, challenges faced and opportunities available. Lake Katwe salt extraction project is one of the live examples supporting Queen Elizabeth as one of the conservation areas in the whole world where man is sustainably co-existing harmoniously with wildlife. Return to the Lodge for overnight.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Lodging: Bush Lodge or Buffalo Resort

Day Eleven: To Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

After breakfast, you will drive to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park located in south western Uganda and shared between three districts of Kabale, Kanungu and Kisoro. Your journey to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park will take you through rolling hills with tarracced gardens of irish potatoes and sometimes tea. You will arrive late afternoon for overnight at the Lodge. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to almost half of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas and the only National Park where wild chimpanzees co-exist with mountain gorillas.

Drive time: Approximately 5-6 hours

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Lodging: Broad Bill Forest Camp

Day Twelve: Gorilla tracking and Village walk

After breakfast, you will transfer to the park headquarters to join others for gorilla family allocation and full briefing about the dos and don’ts while with the gorillas. After that, you will be driven to the starting point of your allocated gorilla family to start your trek into the impenetrable Bwindi Forest. This trek may take from 30 minutes to three quarters of the day depending on where mountain gorillas will be. Thus gorilla trekking can be strenuous and as such a certain level of fitness is required. Once you find the gorillas, the experience will be worth it and you will be allowed one hour of observation and photography.  You will then return to the park headquarters where you will be awarded a certificate in recorgnition of your effort of helping to conserve the endangered mountain gorillas. Return to the lodge for relaxation followed by a village walk to learn more about the local people living around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Lodging: Broad Bill Forest Camp

Day Thirteen: To Lake Bunyonyi

Drive from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to Lake Bunyonyi in Kabale District. Lake Bunyonyi is one of the three Lava damned Lake which was formed when lava flowing from one of the volcanoes blocked a river channel and water was forced to flow back hence filling the space to create lake Bunyonyi. Bunyonyi locally means small birds due to the abundance of small birds in this area. Lake Bunyonyi is said to be the deepest lake in Uganda and second deepest in East Africa. A person visit Lake Bunyonyi for its beauty and is one of the best place to relax after your gorilla trek.

Drive time: Approximately 3-4 hours

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Lodging: Bird Nest Overseas Cottages or Crater Bay Cottages

Day Fourteen: Canoeing or Hiking

After breakfast, you are free to admire the beauty of the lake and its surrounding hills. You will have a choice of either taking a canoe ride on the lake to explore different island with exciting history. You will for example visit the Punishment Island where girls who would produce babies out of legitimate tradition marriage would be dumped and left to die. This is a whole day activity and you will surely enjoy it. Alternatively, you can hike one of the hills around lake Bunyonyi. Encounter Africa Safaris supports some projects so those who want to do something on their tour can go for volunteer work. Return to the Lodge for overnight.

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Lodging: Bird Nest Overseas Cottages or Crater Bay Cottages

Day Fifteen: To Lake Mburo National Park

After breakfast, drive to lake Mburo National Park via Great lakes museum or Igongo Cultural center to learn more about the cultures of ethnic groups in western Uganda. Lunch will be served en route arrive at Lake Mburo National Park for a boat cruise on the Lake followed by an evening game drive. Lake Mburo National Park is popular for animals such as impalas, Giraffes, Zebras and so much more. Return to the Lodge for overnight.

Drive time: Approximately 6 hours

Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Lodging: Lake Mburo Safari Lodge

Day Sixteen: Drive to Entebbe International Airport

After breakfast, you will start your journey to Entebbe International Airport with a stop at the Equator crossing for photography and stretching.

Drive time: Approximately 5-6 hours

Meal Plan: Breakfast and Lunch

COST PER PERSON SHARING
Persons Date Price per person
1 Person Any date USD5470.00
2 Persons Any date USD4350.00
3 Persons Any date USD3980.00
4 Persons Any date USD3790.00
5 Persons Any date USD3685.00
6 Persons Any date USD3610.00

Single room Supplement is USD 215.00per person willing to stay alone in a single room

Included in the cost

  • Meet and greet services
  • All airport transfers
  • Budongo chimp permit at USD95.00 per person
  • Chambura Chimpanzee permit at USD50.00 per person
  • Bwindi Gorilla permit at USD600.00 (get a discount of USD150 off each permit if you travel in April, May and November)
  • Kibale Chimpanzee permit at USD150.00 (get a discount of USD50.00 off if you travel in Apri, May and November)
  • Transport in a 4×4 Safari vehicle
  • Services of an English speaking local guide
  • Fuel for this round trip
  • Drinking water in the vehicle
  • Boat cruises in Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth, Lake Bunyonyi and Lake Mburo National Parks
  • Game drives as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Community and village walks
  • Park entry fees

Cost Excludes

  • Visa Fees at USD50.00 for Uganda
  • All expenses of personal nature such as drinks and tips to guides and waiters.
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4x4 Safari Tour Van

Standard: 4x4 Safari Van

Our standard mode of transport is by road and we use 4×4 Safari Vans customized for game viewing and photography. Each safari van comes with a professionally trained driver guide and fuel for the whole safari. Our Safari vans have viewing hatches and each client is entitled to a window seat. Our Vans can take up to eight people. We also have 4×4 Super Customs very confortable and stable on the road. These carry up to 5 people with their luggage. We also have 4×4 RAV 4 for a group of two people

Encounter Safari Vans
4x4 Luxury Safari Land Cruisers

Upgrade: 4x4 Luxury Safari Landcruiser

We have luxury latest Land cruisers each driven by professionally trained driver guides and fuel. They have pop up roofs for proper game viewing and photography. They come with a small fridge for cooling your drinking water while on safari (which is always included while IN THE VEHICLE). They have inverters for charging small gadgets such as your smart phones and cameras. They can seat five to a maximum of seven people and each client is guaranteed of a window seat.

Encounter Africa Safaris Land Cruiser-gorilla safaris

ABOUT UGANDA

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 and currency: Uganda Shilling Approximately 2800 Uganda Shilling = 1US Dollar (as at January 2015)

ABOUT RWANDA

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 600 Rwandan Franc = 1US Dollar (as at January 2014)

VISA FOR UGANDA AND RWANDA

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. 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 – this is as below.

RWANDA VISA ENTRY FACILITY

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.

HEALTHY REQUIREMENTS

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.

GORILLA AND CHIMPANZEE TRACKING HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

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.

ROAD CONDITIONS/DISTANCES/VEHICLES

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 safari 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.

ACCOMMDATION FACILITIES

Depending on the class or style of your safari, 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.

LUGGAGE ADVICE

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 safari 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.

CLOTHING ON UGANDA/RWANDA SAFARI

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.

NON COMERCIAL VIDEO AND PHOTOGRAPY

There is no charge for personal filming of gorillas 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 IN UGANDA AND RWANDA

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.

ELECTRICITY IN UGANDA

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.

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 invertor systems for charging items but this facility is not guaranteed.

MONEY-PLEASE READ THIS CAREFULLY

US Dollars 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 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

CREDIT CARDS

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

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.

LOW IMPACT AND RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL

A suggestion from past 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 Gorilla tracking Uganda 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. Contact Gorilla tracking Uganda for details

DRINKS ON A UGANDA SAFARI

You will generally be expected to purchase your own drinks on safari. 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

TRAVEL INSURANCE

It is a strong recommendation that you are covered by some type of medical insurance. Should
you require further information please do not hesitate to contact us. Minimum cover should be
$50 000 for medical and related expenses.

AIRPORT DUTY FREE SHOPPING

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.

SAFETY OF OUR CLIENTS

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.

TIPPING GUIDELINES

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. Gorilla tracking Uganda 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 USD15 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.

 

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