Avoiding costly Travel Mistakes in Uganda
Costly Mistakes that Travelers to Uganda often make.
How to avoid costly Travel Mistakes in Africa which can lead to a trip to the Pit instead of the Pearl of Africa-Uganda. Travel is to be exciting, enjoyable, safe and yet adventurous. It can be just that but it takes a bit of planning, preparation and a gathering of information.
Common Mistakes made before Coming to Uganda
Be uninformed about Uganda:
If your are uninformed about Uganda it means you are missing out- a Travel mistake that results in you losing out on some of the richness of this country. This website has many pages that will give you the background to Uganda.
If do not know about money in Uganda, it can cost you a lot by bringing traveler cheques which will give you a lower exchange rate, bringing small US Dollar denominations which will not get full exchange rate just to name a few items.
Before coming to Uganda buy yourself a copy of the Bradt Guide for Uganda, it gives you background information, history, culture, excellent tips about traveling to the pearl of Africa and even covers restaurants and where you can buy good at an affordable price.
Become informed about Uganda before you arrive.
Have no International Immunizations Card:
Yellow Fever inoculation is a minimum requirement if you are coming from a country where Yellow Fever is present such as Kenya or Tanzania. You might be required to show proof upon entrance into Uganda at Entebbe Airport or another point of entrance if you are coming by vehicle from Kenya, Tanzania or Rwanda. It is not often that travelers or those cross over from the Democratic Republic of Congo
Presently, you being asked for a Yellow Fever Immunizaation certificate does not happen often but if you are coming from a country where Yellow Fever is in existence such as Tanzania you just might be asked. If you do not have one, it will create problems that you can might have to immediately be immunized in Uganda at Entebbe or even have other problems.
Plan ahead – go to a tropical travel clinic if you plan to visit after visiting another African country where it does exit.
Have not planned your Time or safari in Uganda:
Some people show up at Entebbe and stumble down onto the Tarmac without a plan, no hotel that has been booked, no one to pick them up in arrivals – that can mean a lot of extra money.
They jump into a taxi – tell the driver they would like to go to hote – the taxi driver may not be ethical and take him to a place that is not safe and reputable because he receives a commission but the visitor without a plan is about to be taken.
Coming to Africa, Uganda takes much planning and often it is best to plan with a Safari Tour Company such as ourselves
They did not plan their stay with a Safari tour company such as ourselves in Uganda – that can cost you all kinds of money. No taxi driver at the airport will not try to extract something extra including taking you to a hotel where he gets a kickback and not some place that you would choose.
Before you get off the plane at Entebbe – plan your time in Uganda.
It is easier to get the Tourist Visa upon entry and you save money since you do not have to pay extra for express mail back and forth to the Ugandan Embassy in your home country, plus the passport pictures you have to buy. Simply fill out the entrance form giving to you on the plane, have 50 USD on hand, 2003 or newer and you have a visa.
As of 2014 you can obtain one visa and visit 3 countries – Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda. You have the contact the embassy of the country you are first visiting in East Africa – the cost of that visa is 100 usd.
Check with your bank, Visa ATM Cards will work at most ATM stations, while MasterCard is hit and miss. Also let your bank know that you will be using your ATM card in Uganda for the next so many days, since they will often block after one or two withdrawals thinking someone is stealing your money in Uganda.
Go to our page on money advice and tips and you will find some answers. Though Uganda is for the most part safe – some people can lose some of their money.
Packing too much:
Most of us over pack – keep it simple and take the Ugandan holiday weather into consideration. Also various activities, such as Gorilla tracking and Chimpanzee tracking require some light boots, rain jacket for Gorilla Tracking and a backpack for water and lunch in some cases.
Depending on which region of the world you come from there again it takes planning as to what you pack depending on your luggage allowance.
Packing for your African Safari in Uganda
Travel Mistakes in Uganda:
Don’t do a self-drive trip in Uganda:
Uganda has the second highest accident rate in Africa. There are many laws on the books, but it will seem a free for all to visitors. Keep your cool and hire a reliable Ugandan driver and vehicle.
Kampala city traffic alone can drive you mad. There are no lanes, people simply make one, the traffic jams can last until 10 pm at night and unless you have a driver who knows alternative ways, bring something along to eat and drink.
Many come here, not having booked a hotel and now are at the mercy of a local taxi (for-hire) driver. There are many hotels not listed on the internet that give you safe lodging, and many comforts such as en-suite toilet for as low as 15 USD per night with breakfast.
Better hotels are also hidden away and can run around 100 USD a night with all the comforts of home, plus more. A tour company such as Kabiza Wilderness Safaris will give you free advice and steer you in the right direction and can book rooms in Kampala or Entebbe for you.
Lots of people try doing it, only to put their hands up in frustration and email someone such as us to put something together. Often we are contacted for transportation only to the various parks-yet on checking with them – they do not have Gorilla or Chimpanzee tracking permits, no lodging booked at a park, thinking that they can do so once arriving in a park. Park accommodations –are not necessarily in abundance – if you can arrive without a reservation you might sleep in the vehicle you arrived in.
It is best to work with a safari company such as Kabiza Wilderness Safaris and have peace of mind, enjoy the wildlife and scenery and not worry about all the small details.
The word budget can mean many things to many people. A backpacker is happy with a dormitory bed and 10 people in the room or tent and roll out his sleeping bag and in some cases bring one’s own towels- that is not budget but a shoestring safari. In other cases in can mean an African Hut made of mud and a thatched roof – in some village – many like not having electricity, assisting in the cooking and preparation while others would certainly not enjoy that. Kabiza Wilderness Safaris always tries to get better Budget rooms that are self contained and meet our standards and have minimal past complaints from clients.
Do not bring Western Thoughts to the word Budget when you are looking at accommodations here but be sure to communicate what you really want and expect – so when you arrive and are on safari you will not focus on the place where you eat and sleep. Along those lines, some companies in Uganda offer low-priced budget safari tours, read the fine print- BB – those letters mean Bed and Breakfast-I guess the rest of the day they expect you to fast.
Reminds me of used car dealer. Some companies offer what seems is a low price – look for the words exclusive and inclusive – often gorilla permits costing 500 USD each are left out…also look if it covers all the food, how many people are you sardined in with while going on wildlife game drives, and do you have to share rooms with someone you do not know or maybe will not like.
Want a cheap safari? Remember the Yugo – cheapest and most failed car…
Booking an overpriced Safari – save and buy Ugandan:
You can book a safari with a Travel agent in the West. The package looks great, you have minimal input and after coming here you find out you could have saved 30 or 50% on your safari by booking direct with a Ugandan Safari tour company. When you buy a safari package, there is the tour company’s profit and then there is the Western Travel Agency that also has to get a cut.
We charge a maximum of 10% on safari tours and depending on how many days you go for and where you stay it can be less.
“If I have ever seen magic, it has been in Africa.” John Hemingway, African Journeys
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