General Safari Information

UGANDA

Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa whose diverse landscape encompasses the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains and immense Lake Victoria. Its abundant wildlife includes endangered gorillas and chimpanzees as well as rare birds. Remote Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a famous mountain gorilla sanctuary, while Murchison Falls National Park in the northwest is known for its 43m-tall waterfall and wildlife such as hippos.

KENYA

Kenya is a country in East Africa with coastline on the Indian Ocean. It encompasses savannah, lakelands, the dramatic Great Rift Valley, mountain highlands and abundant wildlife such as lions, elephants and rhinos. From Nairobi, the capital, safaris visit the Maasai Mara reserve, known for its annual wildebeest migrations, and Amboseli National Park, offering views of Tanzania’s 5,895m Mt. Kilimanjaro.

TANZANIA

Tanzania is an East African country known for its vast wilderness areas. They include the plains of Serengeti National Park, a safari mecca populated by the “big five” game (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino), and Kilimanjaro National Park, home to Africa’s highest mountain. Offshore lie the tropical islands of Zanzibar and Mafia Marine Park, where whale sharks swim through reefs.

RWANDA

Rwanda is a landlocked East African country whose green, mountainous landscape has earned it the nickname “Land of a Thousand Hills.” Its renowned Volcanoes National Park is home to mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. Bordering Congo and Uganda, the park encompasses 4,507m-tall Mt. Karisimbi and 4 other forested volcanoes. Kigali, the nation’s sprawling capital, has a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene.

WEATHER/CLIMATE

There is no single best time to visit East Africa but there are rainy and dry seasons. Each has its advantages and each destination has its best moments, not least in the Masai Mara/Serengeti where the seasonal Wildebeest migration takes place.

DECEMBER TO MARCH

At a glance: Expect warm temperatures and short rains. Game viewing in the Serengeti, diving in Zanzibar and gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda are excellent choices now.

Weather: This is summer in East Africa. Temperatures are warm and pleasant with an average high of 28°C and an average low of 15°C. The rains from early November to late March are usually scattered and localized with short-lived downpours. There is often heavy rain in late March.

APRIL TO JUNE

At a glance: Don’t be put off by the long rains: safaris are still good inUganda/Rwanda/Tanzania and Kenya. It’s also less expensive and popular destinations are less crowded.

Weather: The rains arrive and heavy showers can be expected for a few hours every day or so.

JULY TO NOVEMBER

At a glance: Mild temperatures and classic dry-season game viewing make these months a popular time to visit East Africa. Book accommodation and tours well in advance, especially if it’s the wildebeest migration you want to see. Visitor numbers peak in August.

Weather: The October to December short rains in Tanzania and central Kenya notwithstanding, these months are mostly dry and sunny forcing animals to gather at permanent water. July to September offers the most pleasant weather in East Africa.

LOCAL TIME:

EAST AFRICA has a single time zone which is GMT + 3

INSURANCE: 

There is no national welfare scheme in East Africa and visitors are responsible for their own medical expenses. We recommend for our clients to have an emergency evacuation insurance which we include in most quotations (pls. check your inclusions / exclusions). All clients are requested to inform us about:

-Their overseas travel insurance details

– Passport numbers

– A contact person at home in case of any emergency

-Nationality

-Your birth date

Your blood group

Whilst every care is taken of you and your property, we cannot be held responsible for any accidents, injury, or illness that you may incur or for any loss or damage to baggage. We therefore advise that you and your property be fully covered by your own insurance and it is advisable to have separate baggage and ticket insurance.

DRINKING WATER: 

Please ensure that you drink bottled mineral water only throughout your stay in East Africa. (Except for accommodations where drinking water is put into your room)

CURRENCY: 

The monetary unit is differing in East Africa, Ugandan Shillings, Kenya Shillings, Tanzania Shillings and Rwanda francs. There is no limit to the amount of currency that you bring into the country.  Most of the hotels, lodges and shops in Kenya /Tanzania will accept major credit cards HOWEVER Uganda is mostly a cash economy with few lodges accepting credit cards. There is no longer “exchange control” the rate of exchange varies between banks, foreign exchange bureaus and hotels. It is recommended that visitors do not change money on the black market, as they are more likely to receive a lower rate of exchange. There is an opportunity for tourists to change their Euros, USD Or GBP among other currency at the all International Airport.

LUGGAGE: 

Please ensure that your baggage is packed in soft bags and should weigh no more than 15 to a maximum of 20 kgs per person. It is possible to store luggage during the safari either at your hotel if you are returning thereafter your trip or in our offices. Most lodges have laundry facilities at an extra charge. On air safaris the maximum luggage allowance per person is 15kgs including hand luggage.

VOLTAGE: 

Voltage throughout the East Africa is 220-240AC. Most safari vehicles have a cigarette lighter socket operating on a 12-volt system. On request, we are happy to furnish your safari vehicle with an inverter free of charge. Pls. request for the same.  In most lodges and camps there is no mains power and generators are used during limited times during the day and in the evening. Please carry adaptors with a square 3-pin English standard option and sufficient batteries for photographic equipment.

COMMUNICATIONS: 

All camps and lodges have radio or phone communication. The outside world is of very little interest or consequence to us on safari, but if there are urgent messages they should be sent to our office in Entebbe for onward transmission by E-mail/Tel. Most camps and lodges have excellent network connections nowadays and it is very possible to call from a lodge / camp to your home country or for your cell phone to be used. Some phones switch to automatic roaming.

 VEHICLE: 

Your vehicle will be custom built and safari equipped 4WD Land cruiser or Nissan Patrol, a pop-top van for budget safaris. Our vehicles have game viewing hatches / pop-up roofs or are open, are comfortable. In most

ON SAFARI: 

When you are out on safari our schedule is completely flexible. Our staff and vehicles are there exclusively for your safari. We can spend the day exactly as you wish. The best times for viewing animals are the cool hours of the early morning and late afternoon. Therefore, our usual routine will be to have an early rise with a cup of tea or coffee before leaving camp on a game drive, returning to camp midmorning for breakfast. We’ll stay in camp in the heat of the day and go out again after tea in the afternoon, or stay out the whole day with a picnic lunch. Your guide will be with you to plan your day, tell you about what you see, take you to the loveliest places, look after any formalities or negotiations with the local people, and take care of your safety and comfort. All our guides are fluent in English, speak the local language, are proficient in bush craft, and can tell you about the animals, identify birds, and help you learn more about the world around you.

CLOTHING ON SAFARI:

Light cotton clothing is recommended. T-Shirts, short and long cotton trousers (or jeans), a sun hat, long sleeved shirts and sweaters for game drives (it can be cold in the morning & evening), swimming costume as some lodges / camps have swimming pools.  Good and comfortable walking shoes (e.g. sneakers). A rain / wind jacket is a good idea too. Dress code in general is casual on safari and formal in 5 star hotels.

SECURITY: 

Avoid carrying large sums of money. Be sensible with hand bags, jewellery and camera cases. Avoid walking at night. Lock up valuables in the safety deposit boxes, provided by most hotels / lodges and camps. In some bush camps, there are no safety deposit boxes, pls. carry anything really valuable with you.

PHOTOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT: 

Do not photograph local people without their prior permission. Your driver/guide will advise you further on this sensitive matter. Take a good supply of film with you as local supplies are limited when on safari or for digital photography, pls. carry extra memory cards. Do also carry spare batteries (please note that rechargeable batteries cannot be relied upon as some camps and lodges only have solar or generator power). Binoculars are invaluable for game and bird viewing with your guide but we recommend that you carry your own pair along for convenience.

PASSPORT AND VISA REQUIREMENTS: 

Kindly note that all nationals require a visa to enter Kenya and Uganda. The Visa fee for Kenya/Rwanda and Tanzania is USD. 50 PER PERSON irrespective of adult, child or infant. Uganda Visa cost USD. 100 PER PERSON HOWEVER you can also obtain East Africa Visa for Uganda/Rwanda and Kenya for USD.100 PER PERSON. Visas can also be obtained on arrival at the international Airport HOWEVER you require to apply for Rwanda visa prior to arrival.  You can obtain them in advance from the local Embassy too. Alternatively, we can forward you our visa application form in advance, so you can fill it prior to your arrival and save some time at the local immigration desks. (One has to queue)  Pls. also note that you require 2 empty pages in your passport for entry into Kenya

Visa links:

www.visiteastafrica.org/visa-2/

https://www.migration.gov.rw/index.php?id=233

http://www.magicalkenya.com/visit-kenya/visa-information/east-africa-tourist-visa/

Tanzania will need a separate visa more information http://tanzania.travisa.com/

DANGERS OF THE BUSH AND PARK REGULATIONS: 

Although the animals we see may seem completely unconcerned by our presence, they are wild and they are dangerous. – DO NOT walk outside the limits of the camp. – DO NOT get out of the safari vehicle in the park without first consulting your guide – DO NOT climb out onto the roof etc. of your safari vehicle to photograph or view animals. This is strictly forbidden and can be fined by the park rangers.  All the above are against park regulations. It is also against regulations to sit on top of the vehicle, play loud music in the bush, or to attempt to provoke some “action” from an uncooperative animal by hooting, whistling, or banging the side of the vehicle etc. Littering is of course prohibited. Should you come across an unwelcome guest – please call a member of staff to deal with.

EXTRAS/ INCLUSIONS / EXCLUSIONS: 

Pls. note that the majority of camps and lodges do not include beverages and excursions. These are extras payable. Hotels in cities and towns for arrivals and departures are always booked and quoted on bed and breakfast. Therefore meals such as lunch and dinner are NOT included. All safari lodges are usually quoted on full board accommodation and more detailed in your safari program.

Pls. carry some extra money for souvenirs that you may wish to purchase during your trip.

PHOTOS – prohibited areas:

It is prohibited to take pictures of State house, airports, military installations, police stations, government facilities, any border post, soldiers or police. Pls. always seek advice from your driver/guide before taking pictures of tribes. Not everyone will agree to have their photograph taken randomly.

TIPPING:

Although tipping is a safari tradition, it is never compulsory and should only be done if you have received good services. The staff very much appreciates receives gratuity from you, our guests, because it is one way of assuring them, they are doing a good job.

Most lodges have a staff tip box located at the reception, or a central location. We recommend a $ 3.00 – 5.00 per client per day in a tip box. Tips left here will be divided amongst the porters and waiters and all other lodge staff. If you are particularly satisfied with assistance received from someone, a personal tip is also acceptable. However, driver/guides are always tipped separately.

As for driver/guides: we do recommend approx. USD. 20.00 PER DAY PER VEHICLE as a recommended guideline.

It is not acceptable for staff to ask you for a tip or for a present for their family to be sent home etc and we would appreciate it if you reported any behavior of this sort.

In case of further questions, pls. do not hesitate to contact us!

Gorilla permit information:

The permit provides for a single visit to view a family group of Mountain gorillas as part of a group of maximum 8 visitors where the permit is date and gorilla group specific. You will spend one hour viewing the group however you may spend as many as 10 hours in the field as part of the tracking activity and returning to the visitors Center. This would be an exceptional day to spend 10 hours trekking. I must advise however it must be realized these Gorilla groups are wild and no day in the forest is the same as the day before.

Each gorilla Permit costs USD350- as a promotional price during the months of April, May and November. But for the rest of the months, each gorilla permit costs USD600-. We cannot make tentative bookings for any tracking permits. All bookings need to be supported with payment in cash at the time of making the reservation.

Each permit is issued in an individual’s name where the following details would be reflected on the permit issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority, please provide the details below:

First and family name
Passport number
Nationality
Country of residence
Date of birth