Frequently Asked Questions About Uganda, Rwanda Safaris

Rwanda & Uganda Travel Tips & Frequently asked questions - FAQs

Flights, Tourist visas, tipping, credit cards, money, tracking and weather

Flights

There are many airlines that offer regular flights to both Rwanda (Kigali) and Uganda (Entebbe).

A helpful resource for finding a cheap flight is www.kayak.com. Please let us know if you would like us to arrange a flight for you and handle your booking.

Flights to Uganda & Rwanda

Country of Origin Airlines
USA Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar Airlines
UK Emirates Airlines, KLM
Germany Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar Airlines
France Qatar airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Brussels
Japan Qatar Airlines, Emirates Airlines
Austria Qatar airlines, Brussels Airlines
Switzerland Qatar airlines, Brussels Airlines
Sweden Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar Airlines
Canada Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar Airlines
Australia Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airlines, South African Airlines
South Africa Emirates Airlines, South African Airlines
UAE Emirates Airlines, Kenya Airways, Fly Dubai, RwandaAir

If your country is not listed, please let us know and shall let you know the possible flights to use.

Does one need a visa to enter Uganda?

Beginning 1st July 2016, travellers to Uganda have been able to obtain the US $50 Ugandan Tourist Visa online from the privacy of their home wherever in the world with an online Application.

Tourist visas can also 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 visa is valid for up to 90 days stay in Uganda.

If you are planning to combine Uganda with a visit to Rwanda, 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 90-days multiple entry to Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. Regrettably, Tanzania is not (yet) a member of the East African community and therefore not part of this special visa arrangement. Go to https://visas.immigration.go.ug/

How about Automated Teller Machine ATM card or credit card?

Uganda and Rwanda are both cash based societies. The Ugandan currency is called shillings, while in Rwanda they use Francs as well as the US dollar. There are a many ATMS available throughout the capitals which accept Visa, although they become scarcer as you enter the rural areas.

Most banks will 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 attracts additional charges of between 5–10% and occasionally more. Please check with lodges and restaurants in advance, if you plan to pay by credit card.

It is advisable that you 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 advisable to have dollars available. It is often possible to pay for tourist activities with US dollars.

Please note: US dollars bills issued before 2006 are NOT accepted in Uganda. Exchanging low denomination dollar bills (less than a USD100 bill) attracts a lower exchange rate. Exchange rate for cash US$ in large denomination (100 & 50) attracts better rate than the smaller notes.

Are travellers cheques accepted in Uganda?

Traveller’s cheques are no longer accepted in Uganda.

Is MasterCard accepted in Uganda?

A few places in Uganda will not accept MasterCard. In addition to cash, we suggest you bring a Visa Credit or debit card which is accepted almost everywhere

.

What should I tip in Uganda?

Offering a tip is optional! 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.

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!

Health information for Travellers to Uganda

What 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 both Uganda and Rwanda. 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 at Africa Sceneries. 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 reported by health authorities to be higher than in most Western countries. Some tourists and visitors to Uganda seldom engage in risky behaviour. We recommend that you take your sexual health seriously!

Health information for Travellers to Uganda

What 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 both Uganda and Rwanda. 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 at Africa Sceneries. 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 reported by health authorities to be higher than in most Western countries. Some tourists and visitors to Uganda seldom engage in risky behaviour. We recommend that you take your sexual health seriously!

Safety information for travellers to Uganda.

How safe is Uganda for tourists?

Uganda is a very safe country to visit. The country overcame its turbulent history three decades ago and is now safe with welcoming people. 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, please contact Africa Sceneries for more information.

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 some travel advisories 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.

How safe are the streets of the capital, Kampala for tourists?

Kampala is one of the safest capital cities in East Africa and central Africa - although, as anywhere, petty thieves may try and take advantage of people who leave phones and portable 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!

Is it safe for homosexuals to visit Uganda?

In spite of some recent reports to the contrary, Uganda is a safe country for gay and lesbian travellers. However, like most African countries, the Ugandan society is conservative. We recommend discretion especially with regard to public display of affection!

Booking and Paying for Uganda & Rwanda Safaris.

How can I Book and Pay for Uganda and Rwanda Gorilla Safaris?

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. Only eight people are allowed to visit each gorilla group per day as the demand is high. Africa Sceneries 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. Although a certain level of fitness is required for the gorilla tracking, those who cannot walk can enjoy this activity by use of a stretcher. You may however not be allowed gorilla trekking if you fall ill.

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 Africa Sceneries. 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.

Africa Sceneries, terms and Conditions of booking.

What is the Safari accommodation like?

Your accommodation while on our safari falls into three categories: budget, mid-range or luxury.

Budget accommodation may be simple and in 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, 4 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.

What vehicles does Africa Sceneries use for safaris?

African Sceneries provides 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 have 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 leg room and luggage storage.

Can I book a single person safari with Africa Sceneries?

Oh yes! We organise safaris for single travellers. However, to minimise your costs we would recommend that you join 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 do your group safaris take?

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 use 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.

What is included in the price of my safari?

Africa Sceneries prices are inclusive of:

  • Ground transport in a comfortable four wheel drive (4WD) safari vehicle.
  • A visit to all places detailed in the programme.
  • The service of an experienced English speaking driver/safari guide.
  • National Park entrance fees.
  • Park ranger fees.
  • Activities as detailed in the itinerary (except for those that are marked optional).
  • Overnight in the named accommodations, based on sharing a twin or double room.
  • Full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner) where applicable.
  • 2 litres of bottled mineral water per person per day while travelling in our vehicle.
  • Government taxes.

What is excluded in the price of my safari?

Africa Sceneries prices do not include:

  • International flights.
  • Tourist visas (available at the airport).
  • Meals and snacks that are not highlighted in the itinerary.
  • Beverages (other than the bottled mineral water provided in the safari vehicle).
  • Tips and gratuities for safari guides and/or park rangers.
  • Laundry.
  • Gorilla trekking or chimp trekking permit.
  • Optional activities that are highlighted in the program.
  • Items of a personal nature (toiletries, camera batteries, souvenirs).
  • Travel insurance.
  • International payment transaction costs.

We typically specify any extra charges against optional activities in your itinerary. If any extra charges are not clear to you, immediately contact Africa Sceneries for the necessary clarifications.

What items can I bring with me for a safari?

Binoculars, cameras, telescope for birders, video cameras and field guide for birds, animals, trees and butterflies.

What can I carry for my Gorilla and Chimpanzee tracking safari?

Tracking can be wet and hot work. Therefore carry water proof jackets and a day pack to hold essentials like binoculars and cameras. Tracking is through steep ridges with thick and thorny vegetation. It is advisable to have robust hiking shoes, long trousers, long sleeved shirts, sun cream, sun glasses, gloves, walking stick and a hat. For photographers you may need 800 ASA or 1600 ASA cameras.

How much may I offer as a tip while on safari?

Africa Sceneries guides receive adequate pay and safari-related facilitation. The company cautions staff against soliciting tips! However, for clients who feel their guides have offered exceptional services, tips in our safari industry are estimated from between USD 5 to USD10 per day. Note: Offering a tip is purely discretional and NOT mandatory for our clients!

Elsewhere, tipping attendants at restaurants and hotels in Uganda and Rwanda happens but it is not a common practice.

Do you have any other questions about your safari to Uganda and Rwanda? Please contact Africa Sceneries at: info@africasceneries.com