Really Important Bit!
Please remember that this is a developing country and as such, accommodation and service may not be what you are used to in your home country. Furthermore, interruptions in electricity and water can be common and internet/wifi is not always available.
Air-conditioning is not always available in the accommodations used on this trip. In general it is not a concern as it does cool down at night and depending on location, fans or screened windows are available.
4x4 vehicles will be used to better navigate rough roads but it is important to note that vehicles typically do not have air conditioning. We drive ourselves and will ask for volunteers to take a turn but driving is certainly not compulsory!
Tap water is not drinkable and we will supply free bottled drinking water throughout the tour. Food will be safe but menu choices will generally be limited.
Finally, it is going to be hot. It is the end of the rainy season so might be hot and wet. Come prepared - even for some a lot of red African dust. You will need to be able to cope with the temperature and be able to walk over uneven terrain.
We appreciate your patience and understanding as well as your sense of adventure!
You sort out your flights to Uganda (we can advise here of courese), visas, medicals, personal and medical insurance, on tour you pay for certain drinks and laundry bills, and we will do the rest.
We will manage all the core tour elements ie all Uganda transport including from and back to Entebbe International Airport, accommodation, food, national park and local community development project visits.
The logistics of this tour are being led by Iain Patton and Melissa Mills of Uganda Partnership. Iain has been travelling in East Africa for over thirty years. Read his travel and preparation advice below.
You will need to arrive at Entebbe International Airport before the start of the tour. There are no direct flights from the UK. When booked, we will ask for these details so that we can meet your plane and take you to the hotel from where the expedition will start the following morning.
Yellow Fever vaccination and Certificate is compulsory to enter Uganda and it is best to shop around to get the best price for the few local Doctors surgeries which do this.
Personally I recommend, Hepatitus A (I nearly died from that so get it!), Typhus, tetanus booster, antimalarials, perhaps meningitis but your own surgery will advise so please ask and take their advice. Official UK travel advice can be found here .Best to get the jabs done and dusted 2 months before the tour.
You can get most things in Uganda now and a doctor is never that far away so don’t worry. However it's best to bring what you might need from home and carry the usual sort of things with you on your person eg anti diarrhoea, sun-cream, painkillers, antimalarials, antacids if necessary, anti-bacterial hand gel, insect repellant, anti-histamine, etc
British Passport holders: 6 months validity after the date of return to the UK is needed on your passport. Amazingly Uganda has just switched to an electronic visa which needs to be sorted BEFORE you travel. Go to https://visas.immigration.go.ug/ Suggest you sort this one month before travelling. The fee is $50 + 3% surcharge = $51.50. To use this service you need to upload your Passport biometric page (the one with your photo on), plus your Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate, and a Passport size Photo. Each file must not be more than 250 KB
Irish Passport holders: 6 months validity after the date of return is needed on your passport. No visa or fee needed, simply turn up in Entebbe!
Uganda currency is the Ugandan Shilling and today's exchange rate is approx 5,000 shillings to a £1! Do not take travellers cheques or similar. Cash machines are occasionally available but generally only Visa CREDIT cards are taken and not Mastercard or American Express, nor DEBIT cards even Visa ones. I recommend bringing cash from the UK as banking and cash machines are generally a challenge. I recommend changing money on arrival in Entebbe, BUT please only bring out NEW or nearly new and SPOTLESS (no writing or inking from bankers pens etc) £20 notes or $ notes, but again only recently printed bills.
Bags and Packing:
For long-haul flights, you can usually take two large cases on the plane. However at the Uganda end, space in the vehicle is tight so instead of hard cases, soft ones are much more space efficient, please. Pack light and ideally only one case per person. We can wash clothes as we go so don’t bring too many. In Uganda, we will be doing a lot of travelling so bag organisation is key. Roll your clothes up as you don’t want to be constantly folding and unfolding them. Time is better spent washing the dust down with a beer. You’ll need a day bag with internal organisers for all the quick access essentials you need –camera, water, sun cream etc. Prepare for dust – lots of it.
Most of our tours happen in the dry season as travelling is easier then. However, I suggest that you might pack a light coat incase it does rain. It’s going to be around 30 degrees most of the time, perhaps hotter up north. Dress lightly and cover up if you burn. I go for long sleeves, loose fitting, light clothes. Dark T-shirts are not a good idea, as they attract flies such as tsetse flies. Pack a light jumper for evenings or the very early morning safari trip in the Park before sun-rise. I wear strong but light footwear –usually tough sandals. Bring a hat.
Accommodation and Food:
We will be staying in hotels,guesthouses and lodges which we know well. Accommodation and food will be clean and safe and the beds will have mosquito nets. Quality varies esp the service but all should have a Gin and Tonic or cold beer to wash the dust down! I will have a steady supply of bottled water throughout the tour.
UK plug sockets are the norm (amazingly) so no problems there. Most of the places we stay at should have wireless internet but it can be hit and miss as can the electricity supply but the hotel will have a big generator on standby. It’s a bumpy journey on the roads, so I recommend only bringing out a small amount of kit such as a phone and a decent camera. Dust will get everywhere so don’t bring anything too precious! Binoculars will be good for the game viewing and a torch is very handy in a power failure. If you want to phone or text home make sure your phone provider has sorted this for Africa before you travel. It will be expensive mind. WhatsApp works well on most Uganda hotel wifi. I will have a local phone for the tour.
This is critical and we will ask for these details before we travel. Get some decent comprehensive cover focusing particularly on the health side of things.
By a mile Uganda is the friendliest and safest place I have ever been to. Given what they have been through they are an amazingly warm, welcoming and hospitable people. The people are a joy and an inspiration. Obviously, though you need to be vigilant and look after your things to not put temptation in the way.