A safari tour to Uganda is without doubt an experience of a lifetime when you book any of our Uganda safari packages or when we help you custom-build the safari you like.

When you land in the beautiful Pearl to start your Uganda gorilla safari, primate safari, birding safari or wildlife adventure safari, the last thing on your mind is a medical emergency! However, there is no rock-solid guarantee that nothing can go wrong!

Going forward, our partnership with the Flying Doctors’ Society of Africa means that we will recommend our clients to take out travel insurance.

This will be such that should you require urgent medical assistance during your safari to Uganda, you need to make sure that your medical care is well arranged and fully covered.

In conjunction with the Flying Doctors’ Society of Africa, Uzuri Uganda Safaris offers you the opportunity to register for a med-evac insurance Tourist Evacuation scheme. The med-evac cover gives you access to emergency air evacuation whenever its required and wherever you are with all emergency evacuation costs covered 100%.

This covers the whole of East Africa, including Rwanda and Burundi. Travelers going for Gorilla safaris, to Zanzibar, to Southern Tanzania or to North Eastern Uganda are all covered by the 1000 kilometre radius that the cover offers. This cover is for short periods ranging from 2 weeks to 2 months.

Flying Doctors Society of Africa.

The Society is a fundraising organization that has been in existence for over fourty years. We raise funds specifically to finance medical outreach work in Africa. We do so by, among other things, selling membership and shop merchandise.

All our members are entitled to free unlimited air ambulance evacuations in case of a medical emergency while in East Africa and two ground ambulance evacuations in Kenya.

We co-ordinate all emergency calls and evacuations through our 24hr radio room guaranteeing all our members a fast, reliable and effective evacuation response.

The costs are as follows;

1000km radius – covers – (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania Rwanda and Burundi) $30 for 14days and $50 dollars for two months

Why register for Tourist Evacuation Scheme?

Supporting a charity

If you have been registered for the Tourist Evacuation Scheme but do not need evacuation after all, consider that you have given back to help medical services reach disadvantaged people who cannot afford medical care in East Africa. The Flying Doctors Society of Africa funds Medical Outreach Programmes in Africa. The objective of this is to treat patients who would not otherwise have access to the care they need and to train local health teams in extremely rural areas to carry out this work themselves in the future.

The Medical Outreach Programmes serve more than 150 rural hospitals in the eastern Africa region.

Who benefits?

The principle beneficiaries of the Outreach projects are poor disadvantaged patients living in remote rural areas of Eastern Africa, together with their families, and the communities in which they live. It is estimated that 30 million people living in the rural parts of Eastern Africa covered by the services benefit from the programme indirectly.

How the programme works

The Programme takes specialist surgeons to areas where there are no communications, limited medical services and little or no surgical services.

For more information about FDSA, please visit their website: http://www.flyingdoctorsafrica.org/

 

I don’t know about you, but I can spend hours day-dreaming about my next travel destination. All it takes to get me started is a few minutes spent scrolling through the seemingly endless array of travel-themed accounts on Instagram. But, there is a story that those wanderlust photos don’t tell you. That story is the planning that went into traveling to that destination.

Deciding that you want to go on a safari in Uganda is the easy part. I mean, how cool would it be to visit the source of the Nile River or live a real-life adventure by tracking gorillas in misty mountains? This is the stuff that adventure and wanderlust are made of!

But, if we’re being honest here, the planning needed to make sure that you get the most of your travels can be quite taxing. Thankfully, we have the all-knowing oracle (the internet) to provide us with all of the answers to our questions. However, it can be time-consuming to sort through all of the information and pick and choose what is truly necessary.

So, to help save you time planning your safari adventure, we’ve put together the only guide you’ll ever need for traveling in Uganda.

From best time of year to visit and visa information to the vaccines needed and the safaris you cannot miss, we’ve got you covered. When you’ve finished reading, you’ll want to bookmark this page!

Why Visit Uganda?

There is a reason why this country is regarded the ‘Pearl of Africa’. You don’t need to look very hard for reasons to want to travel here, but we thought we could share a few anyway.

Uganda packs a lot into one small country and, unlike Kenya and Tanzania, it is still pretty under-the-radar, meaning you will escape the crowded tourism. Traveling here can go from days spent climbing the ice-capped Rwenzori Mountains to spotting rare animals while trekking through tropical forests and even white water rafting on the Nile.

But, it is more than just an amazing destination for adventure addicts. This beautiful East African country is situated in a basin between the eastern and western branches of the Rift Valley, giving it an amazingly warm year-round climate that is perfect for lazing on beautiful beaches and reconnecting with nature through yoga.

The Basics

Now that you know that Uganda is your next travel destination, let’s cover some of the basics:

Best Time of year to visit

This is probably the first thing that comes to mind when planning. Thanks to its pleasant temperatures, Uganda is a year-round destination. But, of course, there are peak and low seasons that can make the world of a difference when taking crowds and budget into consideration.

Generally speaking, December/January through to mid-March, and from June through to mid-September are peak tourist seasons thanks to the drier climate. However, if you’re looking to go on a budget safari, then consider traveling during the wetter time of year.

Most rain falls in October-November and April-May, and you might see quite a drop in the cost of going on a safari, but this doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to enjoy it. Low season means fewer crowds and more wildlife viewing.

Top Tip: Traveling during the wetter months also means easy availability of gorilla permits.

Budget

The cost of traveling is one of the biggest concerns for many people and one of the most common misconceptions is that the further you go, the more expensive it is.

The good news is that, depending on what your travel style is, you can still have an amazing holiday without breaking the bank. Generally, flights are the most expensive part of traveling but there are plenty of ways to find cheaper flights to almost every destination.

Personally speaking, I prefer to go for all-inclusive packages so that minor costs such as airport transfers and every day meals and drinks are taken care of. But, if winging it is more your style, then here is a little breakdown of a few of the basics:

Dorm bed: US$12–20

Double room in a budget hotel: US$30–50

Street-food snack: US$1–2
Meal in a good local restaurant: US$10–20

Bottled water: US$ 0.28
Local beer: US$1

What You Should Know Before You Go

Visas

All persons entering Uganda require a visa, which usually costs around US$50. Although it is possible to obtain a visa on arrival, the Ugandan embassy highly recommends applying for one online before your travels.

Here’s a little breakdown of the basic requirements:

For a single-entry tourist visa, you’ll need:

Passport copy
Recent Passport-size Photograph
Vaccination Certificate (Yellow Fever)
Copy of recent Passport size Photograph
Travel itinerary/Return Ticket

Top Tip: There are no banks, ATMs or Forex bureaus before immigration. So keep some cash on you while traveling

Vaccines and medications

While traveling to Tanzania, I vividly remember arriving at Abeid Amani Karume International Airport and watching young travelers being refused entry because they didn’t have a yellow fever certificate.

Vaccines are definitely one of the most vital parts of travel planning, and you want to make sure that you have all the needed documentation. If you’re traveling to Uganda, you will require vaccinations for hepatitis A, typhoid fever, yellow fever, and meningococcus.

Another common ailment among travelers to this region is travelers’ diarrhea, so be sure to pack medications to keep on hand in case you become ill.

Currency

The local currency is the Ugandan shilling (USh) and there is an abundance of ATMS available in the cities. If your home currency is US dollars, then you’re in luck as these are widely accepted, especially in small towns.

Top Tip: If you’re using dollars, try to avoid bills printed before 2006, as often they’re not accepted due to a higher risk of them being counterfeit.

On the Ground

So, your bags are packed, tickets are booked, and now you’re counting down the days until you travel. It’s a pretty exciting time and can also be a little daunting if you don’t quite know what to expect when you hit the ground.

The Locals and language

Although there has been plenty of negative hype about the region’s LGBT bill in the news, Uganda is one of the most tourist friendly African countries to visit! So much so, that Winston Churchill even wrote about it after his trip back in 1907.

Of course, there are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind while traveling through Uganda. For example, it is seen as a sign of respect to engage with elderly people of the community, dress modestly and always ask for permission when taking photos of people.

Public affection is also a sensitive issue here. While you may see men holding hands with other men, this is known as a sign of friendship. In general, kissing in public or other signs of affection even with your spouse are frowned upon.

Useful phrases:

‘Hello’: Oli otya
‘I don’t know’ : Simanye
Do you speak English?’: Omanyi olungereza?
Please’: Mwattu
Thank you’: Weebale

Where to Go on Safari in Uganda

Now for the fun part! There is so much to see and do in Uganda that planning your itinerary can be a little overwhelming. To make this process a little easier, we have put together our favorite wildlife safaris in Uganda:

3 Days Gorilla Express Tour and Safari

This is, perhaps, my favorite safari because it checks all the boxes. Most people today don’t get to explore the world because of time and money, but this safari takes care of that. It is easy on the wallet, not too long, and allows you to get up close and personal with Uganda’s gorillas.

While on this thrilling safari, you will spend three days in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, which is home to half of the endangered mountain gorillas in the world, and you will have a chance to meet the region’s royal drum makers.

2. 7 Days Uganda Safari Tour

One week may not seem like much, but this exhilarating safari is packed full of adventurous tours and wildlife viewing. How does seven days of waterfall showers in Murchison Falls, views of River Nile, Big Five game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park and rhino tours in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, sound to you?

The best part about it is that your entire itinerary is taken care of, from airport transfers to accommodation, meals and all tours. All you need to do is arrive ready for adventure!

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There you have it. All the information you need to have an epic adventure is right in front of you! So what are you waiting for? Go on an exhilarating safari in Uganda!

Once in a lifetime Uganda safari tour

John and Jerry are Australians who are planning a 30th anniversary trip for a Uganda safari in April next year.

They have chosen to travel to Uganda (having been on safari in Tanzania, South Africa and Namibia before) for two reasons – they want to do a habituation experience with the chimpanzees in Kibale Forest National Park as well as two gorilla treks in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

This is a once in a lifetime Uganda safari tour for the elderly couple – John is 65 and Jerry is 62! They are healthy and fit given that they are avid hikers.

At this stage, they have finalized everything to do with the itinerary (includes hotel reservations, permits for both chimps and gorillas etc) on the ground in Uganda, their biggest challenge are the flight connections to Uganda.

The shortcomings to travel

All the options they are looking at from Perth to Entebbe include a lot of connecting flights with long lay-overs in airports across the world and they arrive at an un-godly hour in Entebbe – 4.00am aboard Turkish Airways to be exact!

The easier option is to fly to Uganda via South Africa but that does not seem to work because they have to be back home in Australia 9 days later. If they take the South Africa option, they will be back home eleven days later and as such they have chosen the option that connects through Istanbul.

In light of the scenarios above, the presence of an efficient Uganda Airlines with interline agreements with some of the major airlines in John and Jerry’s part of the world would make life easier.

It would mean that Jerry and Linda would probably do one hop from Perth to say Guangzhou and then onto a Uganda Airlines flight direct to Entebbe and vice versa. That way they do not have to take tiring detours and stops in different places not to mention the price of a ticket.

The return of Uganda Airlines

News this week that Uganda Airlines is making a comeback will be a welcome boon for people like Jerry and Linda and a lot more prospective safari goers intending to visit Uganda. No doubt the presence of a Uganda Airlines will be good for safaris to Uganda.

It means that potential travelers choosing between Uganda and other destinations when comparing prices will make safari holidays to Uganda as competitive when compared to destinations like South Africa, Botswana, Kenya etc.

Regionally, the return of Uganda Airlines with a focus on regional travel is also expected to add serious appeal to destination Uganda.

Why? Today, a tourist intending to combine a Tanzania or Kenya safari with an experience to see the primates/great apes of Uganda has to pay a lot of money for a connecting flight from Nairobi or Serengeti/Arusha.

A new hope

At Uzuri Uganda Safaris, we are positive the expensive air ticket from Arusha or Nairobi has put off many a potential traveler who would have loved to add a visit to Uganda and as a result, we have all lost out on that income/revenue.

Currently, we are talking to a potential customer who wants to do a double Gorilla trek in Uganda in April 2019 as an add-on to their safari in Tanzania.

Jim and his family want to fly from the Serengeti to Entebbe International Airport and be in time for their domestic connecting flight to Kihihi in the viscinity of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

They do not want to spend a night in Entebbe – they want to arrive in Entebbe and straight away fly to Bwindi! This will mean that they can squeeze the gorilla tracking experience into the time they have available!

While there is a regional airline that will make the connection between Serengeti and Entebbe possible, it is clear that if Uganda Airlines returned and plugged these gaps with cheaper air tickets and many frequencies (with strategic and aggressive marketing by the other tourism stakeholders), destination Uganda would attract more safari goers interested in two or three-country visits.

 

CNN is currently airing a new documentary on how Uganda is deploying digital tools to revolutionize destination Uganda’s appeal to the nature-loving traveler.

Uganda is home to some of Africa’s cherished wild animals – the endangered Mountain Gorilla standing out as the crown in the country’s jewel. However, Uganda is much more – Africa packed into one what with the savannah game parks, mountains, rivers and lakes, prolific birdlife as well as other primates.

Travel journalist Solomon Mario Oleny, who has blogged about destination Uganda as well as used social media platforms Facebook and Twitter is the lens through, which this documentary is shot on location in Murchison Falls National Park and Mgahinga National Park.

Tour operator Amos Wekesa features in the documentary with powerful commentary expected of a veteran who knows destination Uganda like the back of his hand.

This documentary comes on the heels of other positive news and endorsements that are all going a long way in re-establishing Uganda as a top safari destination – a crown that slipped in the 1970s.

Uganda casts her spell wherever safari goers will go – attractions ranging from the jaw-dropping landscapes, the largest fresh-water lake on the African continent – from which the mighty Nile flows, prolific bird and animal life not to mention the people, cuisine and more.

Global media houses like CNN, world-reknowned guide books and big travel resellers that have visited Uganda have waxed lyrical about Uganda non-stop to really add to the genuine appeal of Uganda.

Early in the year, CNN ranked Uganda as the 5th best destination to visit in the world. The news network based its ranking on the country’s beauty – pointing out it’s known as the Pearl of Africa.

Before the shoot for the documentary now airing on its Inside Africa programme, CNN had ranked Kidepo Valley National Park among Africa’s 10 national parks – highlighting the remote park’s “phenomenal wildlife sightings and a level of exclusivity” as the reward for those who make it to the very picturesque park.

In January, Rough Guides, a UK-based travel guide ranked Uganda number 4 among its top 10 destinations for 2017. India topped the list, with Scotland and Canada coming second and third respectively.

Uganda’s appearance on the list has added to the destination’s appeal – fighting it out with safari draws like Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa.

Rough Guides, a UK-based travel guidebook and reference publisher owned by Penguin Random House, said that one of the reasons Uganda is a must-visit destination in 2017 is that “the small but incredibly diverse nation of Uganda remains a fascinating yet vastly underexplored destination.”

Two weeks ago, Nat Geo Wild added to the growing reputation of Uganda’s uniqueness when they added the Ishasha sector’s famous residents – the tree climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park as one of Africa’s seven incredible natural wonders.

It is this constant endorsement that is raising the country’s profile as a major safari destination once again. For those that have not yet visited Uganda, it is about time you made that consideration given the uniqueness of the country.

If still in doubt, speak to those that have already made the journey and speak to us and we will be happy to work with you to make your Ugandan safari a reality for that unforgettable experience.

Photo credit: http://www.holidaysbox.com/