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About Uganda, The Pearl Of Africa

With Churchill Tailored Safaris

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 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 Languages: English, Luganda. 

Practical Information Before You Travel To Uganda

Before you make your journey to amazing Uganda, use the information featured in this section to plan your trip and make the most of your time here, from entry requirements, safety tips, how to get around to weather conditions, currency and accommodations. Your trip planning starts here and we’ve got you covered! Read our updated  FAQs to learn more.

CURRENCY
ENTERING UGANDA
TRAVEL INSURANCE
HEALTH
WEATHER
FLIGHT INFORMATION
LUGGAGE AND IMPACT TRAVEL
SAFETY TIPS
ACCOMMODATION AND TRANSPORT
PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEOGRAPHY
CONSULATES/ EMBASSIES
NATIONAL/PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
NATIONAL PARKS AND TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
CURRENCY

Local Currency: Uganda Shilling (Ugx/UGX/UgShs). Approximately Uganda Shilling 3,750 = 1 US Dollar (January 2019)

ENTERING UGANDA

To enter Uganda, you have to present your identification documents, like your ID card or passport. And, depending on your country of origin, a stamped visa. The visa documentation / permission MUST BE DONE in advance of your arrival irrespective whether you fly or drive there.

, UgandaIt 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 traveling 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.

Most nationalities require entry visas when traveling to Uganda. Visas can be purchased on arrival at the airport for $50, or can be issued by Ugandan High Commissions in countries where they are represented or applied for online in the comfort of your sits (this part may be strenuous though). 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.

EAC nationals will be issued with a 6 months’ visitors pass (renewable) at entry points with no fee.

For more information about entering Uganda, visit https://visas.immigration.go.ug/

TRAVEL INSURANCE

It is a strong recommendation that you are covered by some type of medical insurance before you grab that flight to come and experience the Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tour. Talk to your travel consultant about this. Should you require further information please do not hesitate to contact us. Minimum cover should be $80 for medical and related expenses.

HEALTH

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 repellent with you to spray on yourself in the evenings and early morning when mosquitoes tend to be about.

Diarrhea /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.

PRIMATE 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 INTEGRATION WITH THE CHIMPS or CAREGIVER PROGRAMMES where you overnight on the island)

WEATHER

Live updates on weather in Uganda are available here: Uganda Weather

FLIGHT INFORMATION

Live updates on flights in Entebbe International Airport, Uganda are available here: Entebbe Airport Live Data from Airline

LUGGAGE AND IMPACT TRAVEL

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 Churchill Safaris Tour items into your soft bag, before the safari, and then leave your hand suitcase at your return point e.g. 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.

GORILLA TREKKING CLOTHING

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. 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 i.e. hard wearing clothes, no bright colors, e.g. 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 colors in areas where you may find tsetse flies, as they are often attracted to these colors, (this would be in small parts of Murchison Falls for example, check with your guide).

We suggest you take something warm e.g. 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.

IMPACT TRAVEL

A suggestion from past Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tour 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 Churchill Tailored Safaris 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.

SAFETY TIPS

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 center of Kampala / Entebbe / Kigali.

If you come to Uganda or Rwanda, here are some tips that will help you have a safe and pleasant experience:

  • When visiting the country, and just like in every other major city in the world you must look after your bags and suitcases to avoid theft and have a safe experience in East Africa.

  • Carry copies of all your important documents including your passport.

  • Avoid walking alone at night on the outskirts of towns.

  • Valuables: 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. Don’t carry flashy valuables while walking on the street. (especially cash, travelers 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.)

  • Always carry a map with you and the address of the place you’re staying at.

  • If you travel to places away from cities, carry a first-aid kit with you and the names of the medication you may need, in English.

  • When at lodges / hotels we recommend you either keep your money and valuables with you or utilize 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.

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 center of Kampala / Entebbe / Kigali.If you come to Uganda, here are some tips that will help you have a safe and pleasant experience:

  • When visiting the country, and just like in every other major city in the world you must look after your bags and suitcases to avoid theft and have a safe experience in East Africa.

  • Carry copies of all your important documents including your passport.

  • Avoid walking alone at night on the outskirts of towns.

  • Valuables: 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. Don’t carry flashy valuables while walking on the street. (especially cash, travelers 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.)

  • Always carry a map with you and the address of the place you’re staying at.

  • If you travel to places away from cities, carry a first-aid kit with you and the names of the medication you may need, in English.

  • When at lodges / hotels we recommend you either keep your money and valuables with you or utilize 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.

ACCOMMODATION AND TRANSPORT

Depending on the class or style of your Churchill Tailored Safaris Tour, your accommodation may range from high end class to medium class. 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 or check out Accommodation.

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 utilized 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.

SAFARI ROAD CONDITIONS

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 Churchill Tailored Safaris 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 throughout the safari for traveling between destinations as well as for game drives and other activities at the lodges and within the National Parks.

PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEOGRAPHY

There is no charge for personal filming of gorillas during the Churchill Tailored Safaris Tour and other scenes with personal video cameras, e.g. 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.

CONSULATES/ EMBASSIES

Follow the link to the list of all Embassies & Consulates in Uganda

NATIONAL/PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

Follow the link to all National/Public Holidays in Uganda

NATIONAL PARKS AND TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
  1. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park; Famous for mountain gorilla trekking and gorilla safari. It has a population of around 340 gorillas of which an estimated 116 are habituated, at least 120 mammal species living in the forest, the eleven primate species found here include black-and-white colobus and L’Hoest’s monkeys, baboons and chimps. There are forest elephants and several species of antelopes. Of Bwindi’s 200 butterfly species, 42 are endemic to the Albertine Rift. An estimated 350 bird species with 23 endemic to the Albertine Rift and 14 recorded nowhere else in Uganda.
  2. Kibale National Park; It has tropical rainforest, and a multiplicity of animals. The most famous of its 13 species is the chimpanzee, our closest relative. Kibale’s 1450 chimpanzees represent Uganda’s largest population of this endangered primate. It is home to East Africa’s largest population of the threatened red colobus and the rare I’Hoest’s monkey. Other primates include the black-and-white colobus, red-tailed and blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, olive baboon, bush baby and potto. An estimated 500 elephants are present, along with buffalos, leopards, warthogs, bush pigs, golden cats and duikers. A keen observer may spot reptiles and amphibians as well as a colorful variety of 250 species of butterflies. It also boasts of more than 375 species of birds.
  3. Kidepo Valley National Park; It contains one of the most exciting faunas of any Ugandan national park. It harbors scenery that cannot be found in any other parks in East Africa. It has a profusion of big game and hosts over 77 mammal species as well as around 475 bird species.
  4. Lake Mburo National Park; It is the smallest of Uganda’s savannah national parks and underlain by ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks which date back more than 500 million years. It is home to 350 bird species as well as zebra, impala, eland, buffalo, oribi, Defassa waterbuck, leopard, hippo, hyena, topi and reedbuck. With 13 other lakes in the area, making it one of a birding destination.
  5. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park; It was created to protect the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests, and it is also an important habitat for the endangered golden monkey, it has a huge cultural significance, in particular for the indigenous Batwa pygmies. This tribe of hunter-gatherers was the forest’s “first people”, and their ancient knowledge of its secrets remains unrivaled.
  6. Mount Elgon National Park; Mt. Elgon is an extinct volcano that first erupted more than 24 million years ago. With the largest surface area of any extinct volcano in the world (50 km by 80 km) The Park is named after Mount Elgon, an extinct shield volcano on the border of Uganda and Kenya. The botanical diversity of the park includes giant podocarpus, juniper and Elgon olive trees cedar Juniperus procera, pillarwood Cassipourea malosana, elder Sambucus adnata, pure stands of Podocarpus gracilior and many orchids. 400 species have been recorded. It is home to a variety of small antelope and forest monkeys, including the Black-and-white Colobus and Blue Monkey. Over 300 birds can also be found in the area, Elephants and buffalo, Other scenery like cliffs, caves, waterfalls, gorges, mesas, calderas, hot springs, and the mountain peaks. The most popular areas are the four explorable, vast caves where frequent night visitors such as elephants and buffaloes come to lick the natural salt found on the cave walls. Kitum cave, with overhanging crystalline walls, enters 200 m into the side of Mt. Elgon.
  7. Murchison Falls National Park; Sometimes referred to as Kabarega National Park is the largest park in Uganda and the most visited. It is named after the Murchison falls where the mighty river Nile bangs through a narrow gorge flowing down to be converted into a placid river. Here, you will see hippos, water bucks, crocodiles, buffaloes, elephants, lions, leopard, giraffes, hartebeests, oribis, Uganda kobs, chimpanzees, and many bird species including the rare shoebill. The flora and Fauna at Murchison is characterized by savannah, riverine forest and wood land.
  8. Queen Elizabeth National Park; Queen Elizabeth national park along with kyambura and kigezi wildlife resource brings together the most diverse ecosystem in Africa. Thousands of hippos populate these water shores. Open savannah dotted with acacia and euphobia trees provide habitat for, leopards, elephants, lions, Uganda Safari kobs, in addition to big herds of buffaloes. Also harbors primate species, ten in number which include chimpanzees and monkeys. Waterbucks, giant forest hog, topi, hyenas, and crocodile. The park is also famous for its volcanic features, comprising volcanic cones and deep craters, many with crater lakes such as Lake Katwe, from which salt is extracted.
  9. Rwenzori Mountains National Park; UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park has Africa’s third highest mountain peak and many waterfalls, lakes, and glaciers. It is known for its beautiful plant life. The Rwenzori Mountains are higher than the Alps and are ice-capped. Mount Stanley is located in the park. Margherita Peak, one of Mount Stanley’s twin summits, is Africa’s third highest peak with a height of 5,109 m (16,762 ft). Africa’s fourth and fifth highest peaks (Mount Speke and Mount Baker) are also located in the park. It has a high diversity of plants and trees. It is noted for its botany, which has been described as some of the most beautiful in the world. There are five distinct vegetation zones in the park, which change according to changes in altitude. The park has 89 species of birds, 15 species of butterfly, and four primate species. You will find forest elephants, chimpanzee, hyrax, black-and-white colobus, L’Hoest’s monkeys, duiker, and Ruwenzori Turaco.
  10. Semliki National Park; The rich habitat of grassland, savannah, forest and wetland is home to diverse fauna, in addition to 400 bird species and 300 butterfly species. It is one of the richest areas of floral and faunal diversity in Africa, with bird species being especially diverse. It has two hot springs in a hot mineral encrusted swamp. One of the springs – Mumbuga spring – resembles a geyser by forming a 0.5 m high fountain. These hot springs attract a large number of shorebirds and they are a source of salt for many animals. It has over 60 mammal species, including forest buffalos, leopards, pygmy hippos, Mona Monkeys, water chevrotains, bush babies, civets, elephants, the Pygmy Flying Squirrel (Idiuus zenkeri) and nine species of Duikers.
  11. Katonga Wildlife Reserve; Many of the species of plants and animals in the Katonga Reserve are unique to the reserve’s wetland environment. The vegetation of the Katonga Reserve is mixed Savannah with acacia scrubland or woodlands. There are over forty animal species and over one hundred and fifty bird species found within the reserve, you will find Sitatunga, Reedbuck, Waterbuck, Warthog, Bushbuck, Colobus monkey, Elephant, River otter.
  12. Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve; Is a conservation area in the Karamoja subregion of northeastern Uganda. It is the second largest conservation protected area in Uganda. Most of the Reserve is covered by undisturbed grassland and wooded grassland. Small areas of riverine woodland, kopjes also exist. Dominant tree species are red acacia and desert date. Also present are bushwillows, Harrisonia abyssinica and red spike-thorns. Shrubs include butterfly pea and wooly caper bush. It is home to enormous rock pythons and smaller but venomous puff adders. Harmless water snakes, lizards are also found there.
  13. Matheniko Game Reserve; The Matheniko Wildlife Reserve is a conservation area in the Karamoja subregion of northeastern Uganda. It is the fifth most-threatened conservation protected area in Uganda.matheniko is a part of the corridor of protected areas that stretches from Kidepo National Park down through Bokora and Pian Upe Wildlife Reserves. The Reserve’s northeastern boundary is also the Uganda-Kenya border.
  14. Bokora wildlife Reserve
You Are Now Equipped With The Important Travel Information! There is so much to see in Uganda, from the beautiful sunset scenery, to the amazing gorillas, jumpy chimpanzees and majestic birds. The list goes on!

Let's Go!