Frequently asked questions about Uganda
Are you planning a trip to Uganda but still have doubts? In the FAQ you will find answers
to all your questions.
Prior to your departure
Safari and displacements
Book a trip
Agencies and Institutions in Uganda
Prior to your departure
What is the best time to travel to Uganda?
Uganda is located at the height of the equator and enjoys a climate that allows us to organise trips in any month of the year. The most important variable to take into consideration is the rain: although it will not affect the success of your activities, the period from December to March and from June to September is considered drier, therefore with a more limited percentage of rainfall; in the forest areas instead, a downpour can surprise you 365 days a year.
If you have the freedom to travel in every month of the year we can give you an advice on the best period considering the climate, prices (flights and lodges) and the presence inside the National Parks. We tend to recommend February, March, June and September. If your trip should be more ethnic and cultural, we do not recommend to travel between July and the end of October; unlike the naturalistic part in the west of Uganda, the north and east area is more prone to rains and unforeseen logistic problems due to almost non-existent infrastructures.
Which airlines fly to Uganda?
The international airport of Entebbe receives flights from the major international airports. There are no direct flights from Italy, and a stopover is necessary to reach the destination. We do not book flights directly, but if you wish we can advise you on the best solutions according to the tour you choose. We indicate the airlines that fly to Entebbe:
– Qatar Airways (Via Doha); arrival in Entebbe expected at 14:00, return expected at 15:00.
– Ethiopian airlines (Via Addis Ababa); arrival expected at 10:45, return expected at 18:00.
– Emirates (Via Dubai) expected arrival at about 14:00, expected return at about 17:00.
-Klm (Via Amsterdam) arrival estimated at 9 p.m., return estimated at about 10 p.m.
-Brussels Airlines (Via Brussels ) arrival estimated at 9 p.m., return estimated at 10 p.m.
-Turkish airlines (Via Istanbul) arrival estimated at about 3 a.m., return estimated at about 5 a.m.
– Egypt air (Via Cairo) expected arrival at about 3 am, expected return about 5 am.
How many days are needed for a trip to Uganda?
This question needs to be contextualised according to your budget requirements and specific interests.
– We suggest between 9 and 11 days in order to have a complete overview of the country from a naturalistic and cultural point of view and to have a tour that includes all the primates (Mountain Gorilla, Chimpanzee and Golden monkey), “The Big Five”, our “boat rides”, first level activities for the whole African landscape as quantity of fauna and village life.
– For those more interested in primates, a minimum stay of 7 days is required.
– Those interested in more ethnic activities should consider a stay of at least 14 days.
What should I take in my luggage for a trip to Uganda?
A light type of clothing is required: long trousers, maybe with a zip to shorten them and a shirt with long sleeves to avoid mosquito bites. In the past, in the area where the Gorilla Trekking will take place, there have been sudden drops in temperature, especially in the morning, which have made it necessary to wear heavier clothing such as a fleece and a windbreaker in technical material such as Gore Tex or similar. It is also essential to have with you: waterproof trekking shoes, a lamp or torch, mosquito spray and a rucksack to use during the treks.
If possible, “soft” luggage, and for convenience of movement, it is suggested that you carry the essentials. To ensure the safety of your personal belongings, it may be useful to use luggage locks if you leave your luggage in your room during the excursions. During transfers we recommend that you carry a backpack with the essentials, so that you don’t take up too much space inside the 4×4 and are more free to move around to take photos in case of sightings. During Gorilla Trekking it will be compulsory to use a small backpack (max 35 litres) for photographic equipment, plus what is strictly necessary for the excursion.
How can I apply for a visa to travel to Uganda?
You can apply for a tourist visa in 3 ways:
-You can apply for a tourist visa at least 3 months before your departure. We recommend that you send your passport and two passport photos to the Ugandan Embassy in Rome. The visa costs 50 €.
– The way we recommend is through the E-visa following this link (https:// visas.immigration.go.ug) and filling in and attaching your documents (passport, yellow fever and passport photo) and making the payment of 50 euros by credit card, at the end of the procedure Ugandan immigration (within 72 hours) will send you a bar code that you must print and bring with you in Uganda. At the border you will be put the physical “stickers” that will allow you to stay at least one month in the country. This procedure will allow you to have a preferential and faster route upon arrival at Entebbe airport. N.B. The bar code has an expiry date of 3 months, so you will have to apply it no earlier than three months after departure.
– Visa on arrival at the airport, by filling in the form that you will be given on the plane, at a cost of 55 dollars. We recommend this procedure only for those who book “last minute”. It is a procedure that will make you lose a few minutes on arrival and less suitable for those who have transferts planned on the day of arrival in Entebbe.
What other documents do you need to fill in/take with you for a trip to Uganda?
We recommend that you also bring a colour copy of all your personal documents: passport, credit cards and driving licence. Send the digital files to an email address of a person you trust or to a second email address of your own. This way, in the event of loss, you will always have access to a copy for reprinting anywhere. This is much more practical and secure than a paper copy, as nothing can be lost.
What vaccine do I need to travel to Uganda?
A yellow fever vaccine is required to obtain an entry visa and enter Uganda. You can get the vaccine at your local health authority at a cost of about €30. Depending on your region, you may have to request an appointment or enter without booking.
What other precautions should I take before travelling to Uganda?
We recommend that you contact your insurance advisor to take out insurance that will best suit your needs with regard to possible cancellations, personal travel luggage or your health situation.
Depending on the tour you choose, malaria prophylaxis may be necessary (we will give you more precise instructions when organising your itinerary). In any case, we recommend that you consult your doctor to get advice on the most suitable prophylaxis therapy for your travel habits and your state of health.
Is it possible to self drive with your cars in Uganda?
We cannot rent our cars to private people, first of all because we are not qualified, secondly because to self drive in Uganda would imply having a very important experience in mechanics and in the knowledge of Ugandan roads that often are not mapped in the forest; experience is a detail that we cannot calculate. Having an expert guide will allow you to save time in your travel itinerary and also money, for a classic tour that we do in 10 days a “self driver” will take at least 2 days more; as some activities are booked well in advance and cannot be changed in date, some delays could make you miss unmissable activities. If you wish, we could create a tailor-made itinerary for self-drive tours, leaving us the task of advising you and booking the facilities (the best from a logistic point of view) and activities (some of which can only be booked through certified tour operators), giving you precise indications on the routes to take with a pre-departure briefing and constant support during the trip..
Safari and displacements
Are permits required to observe Mountain Gorillas?
Yes, in order to visit the Mountain Gorillas it is necessary to obtain a permit that can be purchased only from tour operators registered in Uganda like Albrieux Africa Tours: it costs 700 usd per person and it is not refundable or changeable. Once purchased, this permit will allow you to visit one of the 18 gorilla families adapted to the presence of man. These families are located in 5 trekking points, about 1.30 hours apart, inside the Bwindi forest or Mgahinga National park.
The maximum number of permits per family is 8 and in high season, July, August, December, January and February, they must be requested well in advance. Before you book with us we will confirm availability for the date it will be scheduled.
What are the means of transportation for a travel itinerary in Uganda?
We have 4×4 cruisers with 6 – 4 and 2 seats depending on the number of participants, or also 9 seats mini-van that we load with maximum 6 people. Each person is guaranteed a window seat.
How strenuous is Gorilla trekking? Is there an age limit to participate?
We could never give you a precise answer to this question, the peculiarity of this activity is that it takes place in the natural habitat (not in a reserve) of the Mountain Gorilla and that it is free to move where it wants. Having said that, since each family is open to 8 tourists, and being followed on sight by trackers who follow them from dawn until dusk, leaving about 2 hours before you, picking them up to follow them from where they left off the night before, only in the morning of the trekking it will be possible to know whether your assigned family will be more or less distant from the trekking point. Furthermore, depending on the distance of each family from the trekking point, the rangers will form groups of 8 people according to age and physical fitness. The difficulty in any case is never represented by the distance, but by the slope and the “impenetrability” of the forest. You do not need any specific
training and there are no age limits after 15 years old, in any case you will always have some rangers following you and you will be able to catch your breath at any time and you will be escorted; the average trekking time is between 1 and 2 o’clock p.m. taking into account that you’ll be with them for one hour.
Are many hours necessary between one destination and another?
Depending on the tour you choose, you will be able to choose the number of stops you want to make on your journey. Often the destinations are many and the transfers can be long, but never boring; we consider these transfers an opportunity to get to know the culture of the country even better, through the stops you will make at markets and villages you will have the chance to interact with the population and understand what the reality of this part of Africa is, without anything “pre-packaged”. During the transfers you will also have the chance to witness sudden changes in the landscape, from rivers, lakes, forests, savannah, volcanic craters to mountains, volcanoes and rift valleys; we consider car travel a fundamental part of the trip. With our help, in the creation of tailor-made programmes, we will be able to help you avoid unnecessary journeys, especially when it comes to recommending hotels, choosing those closest to the focal points. Through the interactive maps that you find on the pages dedicated to the tours, you are able to verify with precision the duration and the mileage of each trip.
What other precautions should I take during a trip to Uganda?
During the stops for refueling or at the villages, it will be possible to get off the vehicle to stretch your muscles and maybe take some pictures. Before taking pictures of people it is a good idea to ask permission or consult with our driver guide. At the markets, it is often possible to spend the equivalent of a few cents to buy any item, have a word with the trader and receive permission to photograph.
You can then give away what you bought to those in need.
Along the route you won’t find many equipped service areas and the toilets are often in the open air, so remember to use the toilets of the facilities where you will be staying before you leave.
Your driver will always be at your disposal, so if you see a place or a particular situation that catches your attention, don’t hesitate to ask to stop the car (compatibly with transfer times).
Where to stay in Uganda?
Having scrupulously tested each facility, we offer a list of facilities depending on the type of trip you will choose, you can evaluate the facility from the Internet and we will be able to answer to any information or doubt you may have about any of the facilities in the lodge.
We tend to give priority to lodges that are located near the activities you are going to do, this will allow you to save time and kilometres. In Uganda it is possible to stay in facilities of all range: – low cost accommodation: Guest houses with private bathroom or even fixed tents with private or shared bathroom, with cleanliness and hygiene standards absolutely of excellent level; – medium range accommodation – high range accommodation.
Please let us know if you have seen a particular facility in which you would like to stay, as all our tours are customizable, we can adapt the tour to your request or explain the reasons why it would be advisable to use another one.
What precautions should I take about food in Uganda?
In all the facilities where you will stay overnight, good quality food will be served, with hygienic standards dictated by western tourism. So do not hesitate to eat raw fruits and vegetables. Obviously do not overdo with experimenting with local dishes, especially before long transfers. Outside the facilities, if you want to buy extra food, do so carefully and, most of all, do not eat any raw or undercooked food. In the case of fruit bought in markets, it is suggested that you eat it after peeling it.
Will I get internet connection in Uganda?
GSM phone lines work almost everywhere, but the costs for calls made or received with an Italian card are quite high. For short communications we suggest to use apps like WhatsApp (in almost all the facilities where you’ll stay you’ll find free wifi connection), or sms messages. If you wish, we will provide you with a wifi router that you can take with you and use until the end of your trip.
How can we quantify the tips to be given to our guide or to the national parks staff or to the hotel staff?
Tips are appreciated, but not mandatory; for the guide who will accompany you during the tour, who will be fundamental for the success of the trip, it is obviously at your discretion, but we advise you to calculate a figure between 10 and 20 usd/euro per day per group, depending on the number of participants that your guide will have to manage.
Usually for the luggage handlers you can consider between 1000 and 3000 Ugandan shillings or one dollar; for small tips we suggest to use the local currency.
For waiters, hotel staff and cleaners, we recommend that at the end of your stay you leave a small amount of money in the tip box of your hotel to indicate your appreciation of the services provided.
As for the rangers and park staff who will accompany you during some of the activities in the forest or in the national parks, depending on their commitment, competence and precision, you can leave a small amount that can vary between 10 and 20 thousand shillings.
N.B. For small tips we suggest to use the local currency.
What is the official language in Uganda?
English is the official language in Uganda; although “Luganda” is the most common language used by the locals. More than 40 different dialects are spoken throughout the country. Luganda is the first language used by the natives of the “Bugada” region, which includes more than 7 million people. Along with English, it is the language taught in schools, although Swahili is the second official language after English.
What is the official currency of Uganda?
The official currency of Uganda is the Ugandan Shilling.
The exchange rate Shilling – US dollar is: 3,600UGX (Ugandan shilling) = 1U$D
The exchange rate Shilling – Euro is: 4430 Ugx (Ugandan Shilling) : 1€
What precautions should I take when making payments during my trip to Uganda?
On-site expenses will be limited to drinks at the lodges (soft drinks or alcoholic beverages), tips, laundry, souvenirs and, if you opt for half board, lunches. We always suggest to change euro ( or american dollars ) in local currency upon your arrival. Try to convert only big
notes (50 or 100) because the small ones have a disadvantageous conversion; our guide will show you the most advantageous Forex Bureau. We also suggest to bring with you American dollars strictly issued after 2006 and not consumed, for more expensive expenses, as more expensive souvenirs, or to participate in optional activities not included in the program.
We do not recommend the use of credit cards outside the structures where you will be staying.
Book a trip
Are you able to plan a tailor-made itinerary?
Yes! This is definitely our priority: to create a tailor-made travel experience according to your requests, which we will adapt according to our logistical expertise and our precise knowledge of the area. Each trip and tour that we propose in the “Our trips” section can be modified according to your preferences (are you more interested in primates or “The Big Five”? trekking or cultural experiences?) Depending on the budget (therefore also on the choice of alternative structures to those proposed) and on the duration (from 3 to 20 days); after the first exploratory request, which you will fill in through the appropriate “form”, it will also be possible to arrange a telephone meeting that will help us to understand your travel preferences in more detail.
Can I have an Italian, French or Spanish speaking guide during my tour?
Absolutely! For an “extra cost” we have the possibility to give you an Italian guide (Edoardo) or a local Italian speaking guide (Noeline) depending on their availability. We can also provide you with French or Spanish speaking guides/drivers.
Do you offer group tours? Can I join other travellers I don’t know?
Absolutely, yes! In advance, we will propose standard departures on our website and on our social channels, with fixed dates and a number of participants ranging from 4 to 10 people.
In addition, once you have booked a trip for 2 or 4 people, you can “open” your individual tour to other participants (i.e. with your own dates and programme), so that you can save on the total cost (for each additional participant the final price would go down). You can also sign up to the group form and give us a preference for departure dates, budget and duration; this way we can collect your preferences and create a tailor-made group tour for you.
How far in advance should I book?
The main problem with “last minute” bookings is due to the availability of permits that would allow you to see the Mountain Gorillas, which are 8 per day per family of gorillas and cannot be changed in date; in high season (December, January, February, July and August) the demand for permits is very high and our advice is to move between 6 and 12 months in advance, especially to have more freedom of choice on dates.
In any case we buy in advance a lot of Gorilla permits during the high season, so don’t hesitate to ask us about availability and maybe we can give you an immediate solution or an option by making a few days change in the schedule.
What are your policies on returns and refunds?
If you are temporarily unable to travel, we will freeze your deposit and not increase your price. In case of lockdown issues in your country of origin, you will have the option to postpone your trip until 31 December 2022.
What are your travel booking arrangements?
To confirm a trip with Albrieux Africa Tours, you must pay a deposit of 50% at the time of booking, with the remaining 50% to be paid one month before departure by bank transfer, the details of which will be given to you once the contract has been signed and the trip and services chosen have been confirmed. We will be flexible with any requests or extensions if the booking is made in advance.
Is it advisable to do a tour that includes Uganda and Rwanda?
It is possible to do a mix of the two countries, although this will depend on your budget (costs for Rwanda are very high) and the time you have available. Both countries have destinations with very similar activities and settings, you can go Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes Park in Rwanda and Bwindi and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda (the latter is very similar to Volcanoes Park), to see chimpanzees in Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda and in Kibale, Budongo, Kyambura and Kalinzu in Uganda, for the search of “The Big Five” the Ugandan parks (Kidepo – Murchison falls – and Queen Elizabeth) are far superior to Akagera NP located in eastern Rwanda. We suggest to not take off certain visits in a country to make them in another one just for the sake of adding a stamp on the passport, also because this would imply not indifferent logistic inconveniences and because we could never tell you if trekking with gorillas in Rwanda is better than doing it in Uganda or vice versa, both the settings and the experiences will be anyway unforgettable. Our advice is to “visit well at least one country rather than visit badly two countries”, so it is desirable to dedicate some time to the tour in order to have a good experience.
Agencies and Institutions in Uganda
Is there an Italian Embassy in Uganda?
Of course: the official website of the Embassy can be found .at this link.
What are the compulsory requirements to enter Uganda?
At the moment, it is compulsory to present a negative molecular test translated into English, carried out at least 120 hours before departure from Italy. The result will be requested together with the yellow fever certificate before receiving the entry visa.
In Uganda, masks are compulsory in enclosed spaces, where you will still have your temperature taken before entry as well.
What are the compulsory requirements for returning to my country?
It is necessary to take a Covid test 72 hours before going to the airport, we will arrange this
before your return.
Can’t find an answer to your question?
Ask Edoardo, he is a specialist in travel and safari in Uganda