Frequently Asked Questions
Uganda travel advice – tourist visas, tipping, credit cards and money, weather
Modes of payment accepted
We can accept 30% deposit for the first 3 months and 70% after. We do this in order to make your travel experience better and effecient for the company to make bookings and plans for the safari earlier.
BANK ACCOUNT INFORMATION
Into Africa Safaris Ltd
Standard Chartered Bank
5 Speke Road
P.O. BOX. 7411
ACCOUNT NUMBER: 8702013138600
SWIFT CODE: SCBLUGKA
Do I need a visa to enter Uganda?
You are required to purchase a tourist visa before you enter Uganda. Tourist visas can 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 tourist visa costs US$ 100 per person for up to 90 days stay in Uganda.
If you are planning to combine Uganda with a visit to Rwanda or Kenya 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 a 90-days multiple entry to Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. Regretfully, Tanzania is not (yet) a member of the East African community and therefore not part of this special visa arrangement.
Can I use my ATM card or credit card in Uganda?
Only a few banks 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 can attract additional charges of between 5–10%, occasionally more. Do check with lodges and restaurants in advance, if you plan to pay by credit card.
We therefore advise you to 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 easier to have dollars available. It is often possible to pay for tourist activities with US dollars.
Please note: US dollars bills issued before 1999 are NOT accepted in Uganda. Exchanging low denomination dollar bills (anything less than a USD100 bill) attracts a lower exchange rate.
Are travelers cheques accepted in Uganda?
Traveler’s cheques are no longer accepted in Uganda.
Is MasterCard accepted in Uganda?
Very few places in Uganda accept MasterCard. In addition to cash, we suggest you bring a Visa debit card.
What should I tip in Uganda?
How much to tip in Uganda depends entirely on your level of satisfaction of course, but even a small tip to show your gratitude will be highly appreciated. You might consider USD10 per day if you are happy with the service of your safari guide and 5-10% tip in upmarket hotels, Uganda lodges and restaurants.
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!
Gorilla Permit booking Information
You need gorilla permit handled by each of the national parks to trek mountain gorillas. Usually you have to obtain a gorilla permit several months in advance. We always advise at least 5 months in advance or prior to your visit. While booking a gorilla tour, always pay your gorilla permit fee in advance to enable us acquire it for you. Gorilla trekking is guaranteed when you acquire a permit. They are very competitive and scarce most especially during peak seasons. Sometimes gorilla tracking permits get sold out four months in advance. Kindly follow our gorilla permit booking information for details
A gorilla permit is a document issued by ORTPN in Rwanda or Uganda Wildlife Authority in Uganda to enable you trek mountain gorillas. A permit allows you to view gorillas for only one hour but the trekking itself can take a minimum of 30 minutes or up to nine hours looking for gorillas in the forest. Our Gorilla Permit Booking Information is aimed at providing you details to prepare well for your gorilla safari
In Uganda it costs USD 600 per day per person for a gorilla permit. You can get the permits in Kampala (the capital of Uganda) at the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) headquarters. We do organize and book gorilla permits for our clients at no extra costs provided you book a full safari with us
In Rwanda you can get permits through the Rwanda Tourism Board offices (ORTPN) in Kigali or Ruhengeri (near the PNV) after paying $750
You need to mind about the gorilla permit you will be holding as it will determine the Region in which you will trek gorillas and the lodge/accommodation. Bwindi Impenetrable forest National Park has several sections and thus each section/region has its own gorilla families and accommodation properties. Please follow our Gorilla Permit Booking Information before confirming any accommodation property
Please contact us with date/month and year when you want to trek gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda, we will check availability of gorilla permits and inform you. Once you have transferred you funds on to our account, we will pre purchase your permits and send you scanned copies. To help us do this, you need to send us your passport details which are needed by Uganda Wildlife Authority in order to print and issue your gorilla permits.
For details about Gorilla Permit Booking Information, do not hesitate to contact one of our Dedicated safari consultants
Uganda travel advice: health information for Travelers to Uganda
Are 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 Uganda. 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 Into Africa Safaris. 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 certainly higher than in most Western countries. Tourists and visitors to Uganda sometimes engage in risky behavior that they wouldn’t engage in back home. Play safe. Please take your sexual health seriously.
Uganda travel advice: safety information for travelers to Uganda
Is Uganda a safe country for tourists?
Uganda is a very safe country to visit.
Although Uganda has lived through a turbulent history, the country is safe, stable and welcoming. Ugandans’ hospitable nature is legendary! You will be warmly welcomed wherever you go by the country’s friendly residents.
The most popular National Parks are situated in the south (west) of Uganda and are safe to visit. The border area with Rwanda and DRC remains stable and all National Parks and wildlife reserves are well protected by the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s rangers. Tourism is hugely important for Uganda’s economy and a Tourism Police force has been created to protect visitors.
If you are unsure about the safety of travel to Uganda, contact us Into Africa Safaris.
Your travel insurance company or foreign office may offer information about travel to Uganda. However, in our experience, these bodies all err on the side of caution and do not necessarily know what is happening on the ground in Uganda at the time. For example, May 2013, some still advise against travel to Kidepo Valley National Park in Northern Uganda, although it is now safe to travel there by road, or by air.
Your safety is our absolute priority and you can rest assured that we will always give you the best Uganda travel advice.
Is Kampala a safe city for tourists?
Kampala is one of the safest capital cities in (East) Africa – although, as anywhere, petty thieves may try and take advantage of people who leave phones and 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!
How safe is it for homosexuals to visit Uganda?
Despite some negative press, Uganda is a safe country for gay and lesbian travelers. However, Uganda is a conservative country and we would recommend discretion.
Uganda travel advice: how to book and pay for your Uganda Safari
Can I do the gorilla tracking in Uganda?
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. As only eight people are allowed to visit each gorilla group per day, the demand is high. Great Lakes Safaris 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. A certain level of fitness is required for the gorilla tracking, and you may not be allowed gorilla trekking if you fall sick.
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 Great Lake Safaris. 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.
What is the Safari accommodation like?
Uganda Safari accommodation falls into three categories: budget, mid-range or luxury (Full Board).
Budget accommodation may be simple and 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-star, 4-star 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.
All Uganda lodges are carefully selected and frequently visited by Into Africa Safaris’ staff, to monitor quality and service levels. The majority of safari lodges and hotels are small-scale, offering a unique location and ambiance, and usually have a maximum of eight rooms.
What vehicles does Into Africa Safaris use for safaris?
Into Africa Safaris provide open roofed 4WD (four wheel drive) safari vehicles for all our tours. Our comfortable Land Cruisers offer seats for four to six people. Vehicles all have a pop-up roof for game viewing. We also own several 4WD minibuses which can take a maximum of 8 people. To ensure that everybody has a window seat to enjoy the best views of Uganda, we usually limit the number of people to seven in these 4WD safari minibuses. Limiting the number of people per vehicle also means plenty of legroom and luggage storage.
The challenging condition of the roads means that safari vehicles are serviced by GLS company mechanics after every trip.
I am travelling on my own. Can I book my safari with Into Africa Safaris?
Single travelers are very welcome! However, to minimize your costs we would suggest joining 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.
How many people are in your group safaris?
We offer tailor-made safaris for any number of participants. There is no minimum number for a group tour, although the bigger the group, the more attractive the price will be.
Our comfortable Land Cruisers offer seats for four to six people. We also own several 4WD minibuses which can take a maximum of 8 people. To ensure that everybody has a window seat, we usually limit the number of people to seven in the 4WD safari minibuses.
More Visa Related Information
General information (important)
Nationals of the countries listed below are exempted from visa requirements for travel to Uganda. They do, however, need to have a current passport issued by their respective countries.
Members of COMESA: Angola, Burundi, Comoros, Eritrea, Kenya, Malawi Mauritius, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Others exempted are: Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Jamaica, Lesotho, Malta, Sierra Leone, Singapore Solomon Islands St Vincent & the Grenadines, Tonga, Vanuatu, Italy (Only diplomatic passport holders) and Cyprus.
IMMIGRATION INFORMATION FOR INTENDING VISITORS TO UGANDA
• Uganda visas may be obtained at Uganda missions abroad or on arrival at the country’s exit /entry stations.
• Entry should be made only through the country’s gazetted ports of entry/exit.
• Every visitor will be required to carry a passport with validity beyond six months.
• All arriving visitors will be required to fill in arrival declaration cards on arrival. The cards are available at the arrival lounge.
• No arriving visitor should carry or convey substances or goods prohibited by customs. (Contact Uganda Revenue Authority website: www.ura.go.ug for details on prohibited substances under the “Customs Tax Guides” tab).
• Visitors should not overstay their visa validity otherwise they will be subjected to a fine of U$ 30 per day and other appropriate legal action.
• Where visitors seek to stay longer than the period granted on arrival, extension of the period should be sought from the Immigration Headquarters in Kampala before expiry of the initial visitor’s pass.
• All visitors must comply with immigration legislation and other national laws of the country during their stay in Uganda.
For further information on immigration get in touch with us.