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+256776298722 info@mandelasafariholidays.com

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TRAVEL TIPS

Planning a safari to Uganda? We are here to give you a clue of what it feels like to be on a Uganda tour be it a gorilla trekking safari or wildlife safari. From questions that have been frequently asked by our clients, we have compiled some information which we think will guide you through planning a safari to Uganda.

TOURIST VISA.

Before entering Uganda, one is required to buy a tourist visa. This can be purchased online (http://visas.immigration.go.ug) or at the Embassy of Uganda in your home country or even on your arrival at Entebbe International Airport or at an overland boarder when travelling to Uganda. This tourist visa currently costs US Dollars 50 and lasts for 90 days.

However, if you wish to travel to Rwanda and Kenya as well, it is more economical to purchase an East African Tourist visa. It costs US dollars 100   and allows you multiple entry to Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda. Unfortunately, Tanzania is not yet part of this visa arrangement.

MODES OF PAYMENT.

The most accepted mode of payment in Uganda/East Africa is by cash. Very few allow credit cards and visa cards and if allowed, a fee of between 5% and 10% may be charged.

Traveller’s cheques are also rarely used.

WHAT CURRENCY TO CARRY?

In Uganda/ East Africa, the US dollar is widely accepted by hotels, tour companies, National parks and so on. Make sure that your US dollar note was printed 2006 or later and well handled, not written on or torn.

Small notes always attract a bad exchange rate at the forex markets unlike the 100 or 50 note.

Other currencies accepted are the British Pound and the Euro.

Most forex markets are in Kampala and Entebbe. You can also find them in other towns such as Mbarara, Kasese, FortPortal, Kabale, Kisoro, Mbale, Gulu but of course at an un friendly rate. Banks will also always give you an unfriendly exchange rate. So its always better to exchange your money in Kampala or Entebbe for better rates.

HOW MUCH MONEY TO CARRY ON SAFARI?

The load of money to carry on safari depends on one’s money behavior and interests.  Most of our tours are full board and therefore we wouldn’t advise our clients to carry huge sums of cash. There are certain spots where you may incur personal expenses for example at the craft markets, tipping but these should not cost you much.

WHAT IS THE MINIMUM NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN YOUR SAFARIS?

We handle any number of people who are willing to travel with us. However, solo traveler trips tend to be more expensive because there is no sharing of costs. Trips of two or more people tend to have better prices. Every client gets a window seat in our custom built safari cars. This means we don’t over crowd passengers in our safari vehicles.

WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE IN UGANDA?

Uganda lies with in the Tropics and is crossed by the equator, so it has a friendly weather. It can rain and shine at any time of the day or year though rain is most common in the morning and at night. For this reason, we advise you to bring both warm and light clothes, hats, sandals and shoes. Warm clothes should not be as heavy as ones you use for winter because it’s not the case in Uganda/East Africa. You can only bring them if you will summit the high mountains (Mountain Rwenzori,Kilimanjaro,Elgon and mountain Kenya).

For women, light clothes should not show much fresh because Uganda is a bit conservative country therefore this is un common unless when you are in big towns. Rain is more common in the months of; September to November, and March to May.

WHAT SHOULD I PACK FOR MY UGANDA SAFARI?

For a Uganda/East African Safari, you do not need to pack everything. Pack only what you will need while on safari in Uganda. However, there are some items that should not miss on your pack list.

Passport

Yellow fever vaccination card

Hat

Sunglasses

Warm and light clothes

Rain jacket

Mosquito repellent

Headlamps

Camera

Binocular

Long sleeved clothes

Hiking boots (for hiking activities)

Chargers for your gadgets. They should be able to use the local voltage (UK plug). You may need to buy a converter if yours is not this type.

IS IT SAFE TO SWIM IN UGANDA’S WATER?

We strongly advise you to not swim in most Uganda’s water bodies. Most rivers and lakes here contain bilharzia and other infections. Only two lakes (lake Bunyonyi and lake Mutanda) have been proven bilharzia free and are safe to swim in. While in Kampala or other towns, its better to use swimming pools at hotels.

WHAT COUNTRY SHOULD I BOOK FOR GORILLA TRACKING, UGANDA OR RWANDA?

Uganda and Rwanda Mountain gorillas are the same. The difference is in the hiking process.

Trekking gorillas in Rwanda is done in a more open environment than in Uganda. Bwindi forest is thick and therefore tracking gorillas in Uganda is more adventurous and challenging than in Rwanda. Rwanda gorilla permits cost US dollars 1500 each permit per day.  The cost of gorilla trekking is in Uganda is cheaper with the normal gorilla permits going for USD 700 each and the discounted  gorilla trekking permit going for USD 400 each for foreign non residents from  1st December 2020 to 31st March 2021.

Given the facts above, it is up to you to decide where to do your gorilla trek or both, good enough we operate in both countries.

QUEEN ELIZABETH OR MURCHISON FALLS FOR WILDLIFE VIEWING?

Murchison falls is Uganda’s oldest and largest conservation area.

It is comprised of the Murchison falls National park (3893 sq km),Karuma Wildlife Refuge, Bugungu Wildlife Refuge, Budongo forest reserve where you can track chimpanzee and other primates. This park is home to 76 mammal species and 45 bird species. While there expect to see elephants, Nile crocodiles, aquatic birds, buffaloes, giraffes, and many more. Hiking to the top of the falls lets you witness how the Victoria Nile plunges over 45 meters over the remnant rift valley wall forming the Murchison falls with a thunderous roar. The Murchison falls is said to be the greatest thing to ever happen to the River Nile.

Queen Elizabeth is Uganda’s most popular tourist destination. It is home to four of the African big five excluding the rhino. It is also home to over 600 bird species and 10 primate species including the chimpanzee which can be found in its Kyambura Gorge and Imaramagambo forest. The park has numerous craters including the Katwe explosion craters which mark its highest point at 1350 meters above sea level and the lowest being at lake Edward at 910 meters above sea level. If weather allows, you may be able to spot the rare tree climbing lions in its Isasha sector.

A boat trip on the Kazinga channel has always been among the highlights of a visit to Queen Elizabeth National Park. This is the water stream that joins lakes Edward and George and is also referred to as the “Center of Ecology” due to the many animals and birds recorded at its banks.

The choice is yours to visit either visit Murchison Falls or Queen Elizabeth or both. We are here to make your dream safari memorable.

If you have any travel question, we shall be glad if you forward it to us.  Or are you in need of travel advice about Uganda/East Africa? We promise to get back to you in not more than 48 hours.