How to Prepare For A Safari in Uganda Weeks Before You Leave Home
So you’ve booked your first safari in Uganda, the Pearl of Africa, and you’re hoping to spend that once-in-a-lifetime chance with the endangered mountain gorillas? We know that the excitement of looking into the eyes of a giant silverback in his natural domain is hard to contain. It is said to be one of the most life-changing experiences in the African bush. There’s something so enchanting and heavenly hiking in Uganda’s impenetrable rainforests expecting to bump into a primate five times your size. Waking up every day in the remotest parts of Africa, and feeling like anything is possible. When you arrive in Uganda, you’ll be hit by a fresh wave of excitement like a summer wind. Our tips in this post will help you manage yourself when preparing for a booked trip.
Here’s how to prepare for a safari in Uganda a few weeks before your trip date. We will give you helpful information to know before you leave home.
Shaping Your Expectations
Before you arrive at a destination, it’s helpful to understand what you should expect on the safari, which will help you control your expectations and make you more appreciative of everything that unfolds during your trip.
If you’re a first-time visitor to Uganda, expect to find very welcoming and happy hosts almost everywhere you go; Ugandans are very warm people with a very welcoming spirit. You’ll be driving long hours between destinations, so expect to sit in the back of a 4×4 for more than 4 hours and up to 10 hours to reach the gorilla parks. Some roads, especially around most national parks, are unpaved, road drives in the parks will frequently be bumpy.
Finding gorillas in the mountain rainforest is not a walk in the park. Expect to spend undetermined hours hiking through steep, misty, muddy, and thick jungle at high altitudes to find the gorillas. Therefore, prepare your physical fitness to ensure you can withstand hiking for hours at high altitudes.
Animals in Uganda’s national parks or any park in Africa are not spread all over the place, and you’ll not spend most of your time encountering animals. You’ll be on daily game drives in the morning hours and evenings when animals are more active, and you may encounter a few different animals each time with the help of an expert guide-driver. You may spend hours in the back of the 4×4 safari car searching for the big game, and the peak excitement is when you finally find the lion, leopard, or buffalo after hours in the bush.
Prepare to start each morning on your Uganda safari very early and sometimes end late in the evenings. You may want to see and experience everything possible and forget that you’re on holiday and need some time to rest, relax and maybe take a nap. Therefore, ask your safari planner to prepare some time each day where you can relax and unwind.
By all means, you must have already dived into reading online reviews after booking your safari. Online reviews are there to help you decide to book. Now that you’ve booked your trip avoid them because they’ll only destroy your expectations. Prepare your Uganda safari with a fresh mind to gather unforgettable experiences of your own because we all can’t have the same subjective experiences.
Each traveller shapes their own experience with the vast, myriad incredible beauty that Uganda illuminates and everyone describes a different tale at the end of the day. There are many dynamic variables like seasons, cultures, and prices to determine each person’s experience. The best advice is to stay in communication with your safari manager to give you up-to-date information about Uganda.
Process Your Visa & Vaccines
Prepare to process a Uganda tourist visa online at visas.immigration.go.ug at least four weeks before your trip. Before you start the process, prepare to have the following digital items:
- A passport copy with a clear scan of the information page of your six months valid signed passport,
- A passport-type photograph, with a white background, taken within the last six months.
- A copy of the International Certificate of Vaccination (ICV) for yellow fever
- A completed daily travel plan with destinations to be visited at specified times.
- A reservation of the flight itinerary under the traveller’s name. Must show flights entering and exiting Uganda.
To protect your health during your trip to Uganda, the CDC recommends the following vaccinations: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia, and influenza. Please prepare to visit your doctor for advice on your vaccines a few weeks before your trip.
Check Your Health & Fitness
COVID-19 is still the biggest threat to travelling internationally, and Uganda is no different. With continued public health measures, vaccination and testing, it is possible to travel to Uganda. You will need to plan your travel to Uganda carefully, knowing that there are risks. Please note that COVID-19-related entry requirements to Uganda may change without warning. Contact us to update you with the latest updates while you prepare for your Uganda safari.
However, the general health requirements may include a negative PCR test certificate with samples taken 72 hours before you arrive or exit Uganda. You will also be subject to a PCR test on arrival for $30 at Entebbe International Airport regardless of vaccination status. You’ll be required to protect yourself and others by wearing a mask, sanitising your hands, and allowing temperature checks at all access points across the country.
If your Uganda safari involves gorilla trekking or hiking, you’ll have to prepare your physical fitness for these activities before you leave your country. Visitors can access gorillas only on foot; no vehicles can drive inside the gorilla national parks. Gorillas live in the mountains at altitudes of about 1,160m – 2,607m in tropical rainforests that require moderate physical fitness to navigate.
Although almost all trekkers make it to the gorillas, we do not advise our travellers to test their physical fitness on D-day. Visit your hometown gym a couple of weeks before your trip to prepare your muscles for trekking many hours in uneven terrains.
Plan What To Pack
Preparing your packing list is one of the most demanding tasks in the tips on how to prepare for a safari in Uganda. Uganda is quite different from most destinations, offering various activities, each with unique requirements in your luggage. If your trip involves tracking primates, visiting the locals, adventuring on the savannah plains looking for animals, climbing mountains, and attending dinners, your packing list will be challenging to prepare.
Generally, in the southwestern regions, where you’ll spend most of your time on safari, it gets chilly in the mornings and evenings. The gorilla parks are even worse, with unexpected downpours during the rainy seasons. So prepare to pack some items to keep you warm and dry, like a light rain jacket, sweater, and clothes to cover your limbs.
For gorilla trekking, prepare to pack a pair of light waterproof hiking shoes, waterproof backpack, bug repellent, light trousers, and a long-sleeved shirt to keep thorny plants from pricking your skin. Make sure that these a light because you’ll be physically engaged, and you want to avoid losing your breath while trekking under the forest canopy.
Safaris in Uganda are primarily spent in the back of a 4×4 safari truck, watching animals from the window or roof opening. Sometimes you’ll take a boat safari to get closer to the animals. Prepare to pack light for these activities, for example, shorts, dull-coloured shirts, light shoes, sunscreen, a hut, a pair of binoculars, and a backpack to carry your snacks and camera. Remember that your suitcase usually stays at the camp when on game drives, so pack things you’ll only need during long-hour game drives.
Read: Important Items To Pack
Stay Updated With Your Local Safari Planner
It’s essential that you get the latest local travel information from your safari managers that read from internet news bloggers. You may stumble of a decade-old written article or fake news that may crash all your excitement for a trip you’ve spent a year planning.
Your local safari planner will know the travel hurdles, unexpected travel restrictions, and changes in the political environments and will help you reschedule or prepare your safari visit accordingly. A safari manager is like your local insurance for the trip.
It will help prepare you with knowledge about Uganda if you read positive literature about entertainment, cultures, food, people, and the natural history of Uganda. Such information will improve your experience when you are chatting with locals or your safari guide.
Start Preparing Your Uganda Safari
Our help desk is ready to help you through the process of preparing for your booked Uganda safari. We will give you all the information you need to educate yourself about your trip, help you prepare your packing list, documents and keep you up-to-date with local news.
If you book with us, we’ll help you have the information on all the properties you’ll be visiting, keep tabs on your permit processing, and be your local insurance in case of any unexpected eventualities like travel restrictions and change of health.
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk to our consultants.