Travel Tips

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS INTO THE COUNTRY

A valid passport is required; the passport must be valid for at least six months past your intended stay.

VISA

All visitors to Uganda will need an entry visa. Visas can be applied for and obtained at the Uganda High Commissions or online at the Immigration website, Ministry of Internal Affair of Uganda. Immigration website: https://visas.immigration.go.ug

HEALTH

Have your Covid vaccination card up-to-date and available. It should have recorded your 2 initial vaccination dates and type, and any booster dates and type. It is also required to enter Uganda to have Yellow Fever vaccination and documentation of this vaccination.  A “yellow card” is often issued for documenting Yellow Fever and other shots.  It is wise to keep your basic shots such as tetanus, typhoid, polio, and diphtheria up to date. Some travelers choose to receive vaccinations against Hepatitis A and B.  All of these can be recorded on a “Yellow Card”.

Malaria (transmitted by mosquitos) is widespread in Uganda. It is imperative that you take precautions. Because the strains of malaria and the drugs used to combat them change frequently in different parts of the world, it is important to get the latest advice before you travel. Normally, it is better to obtain this from a specialist malaria laboratory than from your local doctor, who may not be up-to-date with the latest drugs and developments. We advise that you be cautious with the drug Lariam, particularly if you have never used it before. It is known to have some side effects that may impact your traveling and enjoyment of the trip. Please consult your family doctor for alternative drugs, particularly the new drug Malarone (atovaquone/proguanil). When outside in Uganda, please take care to cover up, especially in the evening (long-sleeved shirt, trousers), and bring insect repellent with you.

“Traveler’s sickness” or mild digestive problems can be encountered.  The majority of visitors will have at least one bout of traveler’s sickness, so it’s best to come prepared for this. Imodium and similar medicines can be a stop-gap measure but are not curative. Strong antibiotics like Cipro can be useful in more serious cases, and it might be worth chatting with your home physician about the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics before leaving home. Rehydration salts are often helpful. Many visitors report that taking probiotics before and throughout their trip seems to help avoid and recover from digestive issues.

AIRPORT PICK-UP

A driver will pick you up from the airport and transfer you to the hotel. Please send us your flight details, as soon as you know them.

If you experience flight problems on the way to Uganda that will significantly delay your arrival, please inform Ensi Safaris at; info@ensinature.com  or Hamlet at; hamletlls0772@gmail.com. Call: +256788715303 / 778277549

 

COURTESY

We ask that there be no smoking in dining areas, vehicles, and any enclosed places where the group gathers. 

WHAT’S INCLUDED / EXCLUDED? 

Included:  Accommodation, Meals from the start of the trip up to the end of the trip, bottled drinking water in our vehicles while on the road throughout the trip, ground transport in 4WD land-cruiser vehicles, fuel for the trip vehicles, Boat trips, Park ranger, Gorilla permits, guiding, chimp permits, nature walks, Ensi safaris tour leader, night game drives, birding, park entrance to all national parks and wildlife reserves, forest reserves, wetlands reserves, an excel checklist to keep track of your daily bird and mammal sightings.

Not included: International and domestic flights, Tips and local guides, Visa fees (payable as you apply for your online visa), Snacks, additional drinks apart from those included, Alcoholic beverages, Travel insurance, and Excursions that are not included in the tour itinerary, Extras in hotels such as laundry service, minibar, room service, telephone calls, and personal items, Medical fees, PCR tests, and an extra day before departure. Other items or services not specifically mentioned as being included.

CASH, CREDIT & DEBIT CARDS

  • Some major business centers in Uganda accept credit and debit cards should you wish to get or buy something, but most of the time cash is a preferred method of payment for anything you need to buy.
  • Most establishments accept international credit cards. It makes sense to carry more than one brand of credit card as not all types are accepted by all outlets and some hotels and lodges
  • It is recommended that you prepare part of the money you plan to spend in cash. The most common foreign currencies are the US dollar, the euro, the British pound, and the currencies of neighboring countries. It can be difficult to exchange other currencies. With the US
  • Dollar, the exchange rate for small bills such as 20, 10, 5, 2, and 1 is low, so we recommend carrying $50 and $100 bills.
  • In Uganda, the accepted US bills should be dated from the year 2010 and more recent.
  • Traveler’s cheques (checks) are not widely accepted in Uganda.
  • The United States Dollar (USD) remains the most widely accepted, followed by the Euro and the British Sterling.
  • Note that;Most banks and credit card companies in the US advocate that you advise them before you travel overseas. This is so that their credit card monitoring systems do not suspend your card when they detect any unusual purchases.

ATM machines

  • In Uganda, ATM machines supply only local currency and you may need an international PIN code. Be sure to check with your bank/credit card facility at home about how this should work. Not all ATMs in Uganda will accept every credit card type. VISACard has the best coverage in Uganda. Use an ATM at a bank, so if your card is retained for any reason, you can go in and get it back. Don’t rely on ATMs as your main source of cash while on safari!

TIPPING 

  • Our tour leader is a professional, and tips are always appreciated. We recommend a tip of $10-15 per person per day

DEPARTURE TAXES 

  • There is currently no international airport departure tax to leave Uganda.

ALTITUDE AND NATURE OF WALKS

  • Length of walks

In Bwindi gorilla tracking range from 30 minutes to 8 hours in duration.

Nature walks/bird watching in Bwindi, Mgahinga, and Semliki forests last between 1 and 10 hours or more depending on what we are looking for and also weather conditions, but also lunch breaks and when there is little bird activity in the hot hours of the day.

In Budongo forest, walks will range from 3 to 8 hours but maybe more depending on our targets and of course with a lunch break.

Kibale Forest and Bigodi nature walks may range from 3 to 5 hours with lunch breaks.

In Lake Mburo National Park nature walks range from 2 to 3 hours.

In Murchison Falls National Park walks range from 1 hour to 2 hours at the top of the falls.

Other locations will be birding drives with multiple stops as you hop off our vehicles and take short walks of around 20-30 minutes in search of hidden and escaped species prior to observation.

The difficulty of trails:  easy, moderate, difficult.

  • Mgahinga Volcanic National park (is difficult) but has good trails in the bamboo.
  • Bwindi Impenetrable NP – Ruhija sector has both (moderate and difficult) difficult especially hiking to the Mubwindi swamp area for the rare African Green Broadbill, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, and other rare endemic species basically this trail is so rich in diversity, especially endemics. The moderate birding in this sector is along the nature road in the park.
  • Semliki forest has the easiest nature walks being that the site is very flat compared to the rest of the sites.
  • A walking pole is recommended for those who may need it on this tour.

Some days we will have very early starts in order to reach sites at a good time for bird activity.  It is best to start early to maximize time in the field during the morning hours. In addition to the day’s birding, there may be some excursions for night birds, although in general, these are optional and not everyone is expected to take these.

TRANSPORT 

  • The vehicle we use for the trip will be safari land cruisers. At night, all belongings should be removed from the vehicle/s.

PHOTOGRAPHY 

  • This is a birding tour with a focus on seeing as many birds (and mammals) as possible. It is typical that participants will have cameras and will want to document their sightings with photos. Some of our observations will be difficult for the whole group to see. We will make sure that all participants have seen the bird first before folks take photos.  For some of the tour expect that photography may be difficult, particularly within forests.

CLOTHING:

  • Dress casually and pack lightly. Bring clothing for cooler mornings at higher altitudes. Some areas will be quite hot and humid so warm weather clothing is a must. In general lightweight, fast-drying clothing is preferable. At the minimum pack a raincoat or poncho. A small umbrella is also recommended.

Recommended Clothing List

  • Several long-sleeved lightweight “travel-style” shirts.
  • T-shirts, Lightweight “travel-style” trousers for most situations. Shorts may be nice for relaxing around the lodge, but generally should be avoided in the field due to sharp vegetation and annoying insects.
  • Lightweight rain jacket and umbrella, Sun hat with a wide brim.
  • Sturdy hiking boots/shoes, Rubber boots. These are essential for a couple of muddy sites.
  • A pair of sandals or light shoes to change into in the evenings.
  • Plenty of long cotton socks, and of course, undergarments.
  • A fleece or sweater for moderately cool mornings and evenings at higher altitudes. ∙

 

Other Essential Items

  • Binoculars, A still photo camera, Video camera, Insect Repellent
  • Sunscreen (SPF 30 and above are recommended) and lip balm with sunscreen.
  • Field guide, but also download the eBird Merlin pack for Uganda!!
  • Small knapsack or waist pack, Small flashlight/headlamp, as well as spare batteries for both, Moist wipes/hand sanitizer.
  • Personal first aid kit with band-aids, aspirin, motion sickness pills, blister pads, anti-itch cream, etc.
  • Over-the-counter remedies and prescription medications in their original containers packed in your carry-on bag. Take along a copy of the prescription in your suitcase.
  • An extra pair of glasses or contact lenses if you are dependent on them.
  • Reading and writing materials, Photocopy of your passport.
  • Anti-malarial prophylaxis

Optional

  • Spare a pair of binoculars and/or DSLR.
  • Shock-resistant walking stick. Some trails are steep and slippery, and this can help prevent falls.

 

UGANDA TRAVEL ADAPTORS AND ELECTRICITY

  • You will need to consider what to pack, to ensure you can use your personal electrical appliances safely whilst abroad. For Uganda, the associated plug type is G, which is the plug that has three rectangular pins in a triangular pattern. Uganda operates on a 240V supply voltage and 50Hz.
  • Electricity in Uganda is all 220 – 240V/50Hz AC, as is much of Europe, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, virtually all the Asian countries, and India. Guests from the United States should bring an adapter for the proper plug configuration and a converter.
  • The type of plug you can buy for use in Uganda isG (UK plug): Three-prong rectangular

 FOOD AND DRINK 

  • Most foods served at lodges are safe to eat in Uganda. We do recommend that even at nice lodges you may want to avoid milk products, fresh salad, and other uncooked dishes.
  • Food at the camps and lodges can be ordered and served at the time of your choice.
  • If you have any dietary restrictions or allergies, please inform us as soon as possible.
  • We will normally have set two or three-course meals with plenty of pure water, with instant coffee and tea usually available. Some lodges have other soft drinks and alcoholic beverages available at the bar, but these are not included in the tour fee. If drinks are not included in a particular meal, Ensi will pay for one non-alcoholic beverage and one tea or coffee. Alcoholic beverages or additional drinks are not included.

 

  • Consider bringing supplemental food and snacks such as nuts, beef jerky, or dried fruit. Basic snacks like candy bars, biscuits, and chips can also be purchased at shops in Uganda. Coffee fanatics may want to bring some coffee of their own.

 

  • Bottled/purified water will always be provided for you. If you run out, please inform the tour leader. Do not drink the tap water. (come with a water bottle for refilling every time you empty it)

 

Ensi Safaris is making an effort to reduce the use of plastic water bottles – try to work with them.

  • Use your own water bottles that can be refilled with more water whenever you empty them. This is an initiative that you should adopt wherever possible as this will have a significant and positive environmental impact. By doing away with the factory-filled (sealed) plastic water bottles you will not only save fuel in transporting these bottles to remote regions (by their thousands) but also solve the problem of the enormous pollution to roadsides and towns that these plastic bottles foster.

                         LODGING 

  • In this part of Uganda, we will be in mostly mid-range accommodations. And you can have a hot shower any timeof the day.

 

VALUABLES 

  • You are encouraged to leave your jewelry at home. Such valuables as you will need – cash, passports, watches, etc., should not be left in the lodge rooms during the day while you are in the field, except for the lodges/hotels that provide in-room safes.

 

LAUNDRY SERVICE 

  • Some of the hotels and lodges offer laundry service, which is generally reasonably priced. It’s still advised to check the price before handing in a huge load! Also be aware that many of the lodges and camps do not have driers, and line dry the laundry, which can take more than 24 hours when conditions are cold and wet.

 

COMMUNICATION 

  • Some of the lodges where we stay have Wi-Fi, though it may be slow or maybe cut entirely. Cell phones with international plans often work well, but it is best to check with your service provider to see if access in Uganda is possible.

Another option for those who want to make calls or access 3G/4G from Uganda is the purchase of a local SIM card and minutes, which are quite cheap, and access to the extensive local networks. If you want to buy a SIM card, your only chance will be at international arrivals in major airports. Keep in mind that many phones are locked to not accept alternate SIM cards.

 

                       CHARITY ON SAFARI

  • Many visitors to Uganda feel a strong urge to help the less fortunate whom they encounter on a safari, or when visiting a local village, a hospital, a local NGO, or a school. It is best to seek an appropriate opportunity while you are traveling, rather than carry along gifts from home.  Ask your tour operator about this and visit the school, clinic, or project if you can.  A donation to something you have seen on the ground will bring you more satisfaction (and directly help the neediest). Contribute in a way that helps a person (or community) help themselves, and enhance their way of life.

Resist the temptation to offer ‘handouts’ to kids on the side of the road. This only encourages dependency on such generosity and teaches these children that begging brings reward. There is no dignity in begging.

 

For more information or to book a safari tour, Contact Us, please. It is our pleasure to assist you with your safari plans.