African Safari Tips – Advice – Information for Uganda – Rwanda

Posted by on February 3, 2018

African Safari Tips – Advice – Information for Uganda – Rwanda

Know before you Go – Practical and Helpful African Safari Tips

It all begins with Preparation – gathering information – planning the Safari – from Immunizations  to getting your visa, from budgeting for the safari to planning your itinerary about what you do not want to miss in Uganda or Rwanda and what activities you would like take part in such as visiting the Mountain Gorillas on a Trek or spend 4 hours with them on the Gorilla Habituation Experience, Chimpanzee tracking or All-Day Habituation, Volcano Climbing and much more.

Safari Tips and Advice that will prepare you for the Safari ahead of you.  We will help you make your time in Africa a success.

Know before you go – know what to expect while on Safari, what to bring, what to wear, entrance requirements for Uganda and Rwanda, health tips and more.  If you are on Safari with us feel free to contact us and ask your question you might have.

African Safari Tips – Advice – Information for Uganda and Rwanda

 Planning your African Safari

Planning your activities, planning the safari in Africa also involves a preparation at home.  It is good to read about the country that you will be visiting, knowing the requirements about a Safari and of course what to pack and bring for your safari in Africa.

The information we have gathered here will help you in planning that just right safari for you.

We bring years of Safari experience on board to make your time on Safari as smooth as possible that is why we put together the African Safari Tips – Advice – Information for you.

Your Safari begins with planning  – You can also use one of the Safaris we have online and we can tailor it to make it just right for you.

 Getting to Uganda by flying to Entebbe-Uganda or Kigali-Rwanda:

You have to get here and there are two ways that you can and that will make things easier on you in regards to drive-times once you get here.

You can fly into Entebbe International Airport and go on Safari with us, most often ending up in Southwest Uganda for Gorilla Trekking.

The other way, especially if you are coming here for Gorilla Trekking only is to fly into Kigali, Rwanda and we take you to Uganda for Gorilla Trekking and other activities such as Chimpanzee Trekking and Wildlife.  This is an option that about 60% are now taking, often flying into one country and flying out of the other.

 Common Sense:

An African Safari is not a visit to a zoo in the west, this is the African Wild in Uganda or Rwanda. You are in a different world, quite different from anywhere else in the world and it takes common sense – a sense of the wonders of each discovery on a game drive, walking safari, tracking of gorillas, chimpanzees or golden monkeys.

Nothing is predictable but the wonder of it all. It also takes patience at times to see that pride of lions, that leopard, that shoebill stork and it is best if you have and keep a sense of humor as you experience authentic Africa in Uganda. When you lose your patience or sense of humor – take a deep breath and realize where you are – “Magical Wild Africa” and take it all in with open eyes and listening ears and a bit of patience.

 What about my Tourist Visa:

If your Safari is in Uganda only, then you can apply for a Uganda Tourist Visa online with your Uganda Immigration.  Most, however, prefer the more convenient on Arrival Visa at the point of Entry into Uganda.

As of January 1 -2018 all Tourists to Uganda can obtain a Rwanda Tourist Visa on arrival

If you are visiting both Uganda and Rwanda – or going on to Kenya you will need an East African Tourist Visa that allows you to visit all 3 countries as a tourist.  You must apply to the country that you will be visiting first.

Tourism Visas for Uganda and Rwanda – online or on Arrival.

 Yellow Fever Certificate:

Here you will find the Yellow Fever Immunization requirement for both Uganda and Rwanda.  You are entering the Yellow Fever Zone, a belt that circumvents the world and where yellow fever inoculation is required for entrance into the country.  Both in Rwanda and Uganda if you want to enter without the certificate you must receive n inoculation.  It takes 10 days for inoculation to be effective.  It is, however, good for a lifetime.

There are no reported cases of Yellow Fever in either Rwanda or Uganda.  There was an outbreak in Angola, now contained that started the requirement for Travelers in most East African Countries, prior to that it was only required if you were coming from a country where yellow fever is endemic.  For 99 % plus of Travelers, this is not a problem, we did have one cancellation due to it.

What document will I need with me while on Safari?

 Documents you should have in your possession for your Safari:

Have one large plastic envelope that you can keep with you at all times. We suggest that you have like a day-pack where you can put all of your important papers including your cash – unless you use the safe at the lodge or hotel for that purpose.

Always have extra copies of the documents – just in case they are lost or misplaced.  Do not take your passport with you if you are walking around town – instead, have a copy with you and leave the passport at the hotel.

The packet should contain the following items and anything else you may consider necessary.

  • Your safari itinerary – read it over to make sure that it is just the way you like it to be.
  • Your passport should expire at least 6 months after returning to your home country (make a copy of passport)
  • You should have at least 2 free pages in the passport for each country you are visiting
  • You should have a photocopy of your passport.
  • Your Travel Insurance Policy
  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Copies of any medical prescriptions
  • Vaccination Certificates such as Yellow Fever for Uganda and Rwanda.

 What about Money?

There are some things you need to do when coming on safari in Rwanda that will save you some dollars and cents.

If you plan to use an ATM card or credit card it would be good to notify your Bank that you will be using your Credit Card or Debit Card for purchases or cash withdrawals from an ATM in Rwanda or Uganda.

The USD is the currency of choice in much of Africa and it is in Uganda and Rwanda.  Below you will find more information that might come in handy during your time in Africa.

Uganda Money Information

Rwanda Money Information

Tipping in Uganda – Rwanda

 What about Health and Well-Being Concerns?

Most people incur no health problems while visiting Uganda or Rwanda but simply enjoy themselves during the time of Safari.

Do however read our health page and take advantage of the information found there

Vaccination Certificates such as Yellow Fever.
Bring sufficient amount of your prescriptions.
2nd set of eyeglasses
Eye-Drops if you wear contacts – we are a bit on the dusty side in Africa.
Preventing Malaria    Using the right Insect Repellent  Preventing Bilharzia

No Client of ours has ever become Ill on Safari, contracted Malaria or any other ailment

 Packing for your African Safari:

When packing for a Safari  – keep it to just the essentials and keep it light – most people pack too much

For a safari, pack clothing, neutral in color – bring along some insect repellent – the Australian Rid product is most effective against mosquitoes and even Tsetse flies.  If you are hiking, gorilla or chimpanzee tracking – pack a light pair of hiking boots.  If you are going on a flying safari in Uganda – it is best to pack light.  Packing for your flying safari in Uganda 

If you are visiting a school, orphanage, clinic, pack with a purpose adding a few books, deflated soccer balls, dolls, crayons, colored pencils, stethoscope, blood pressure kit and more to name just a few.  Keep from bringing sweets, candies, gum.

 What to wear on Safari:

Keep it simple – Plain and Practical for your comfort while on Safari in Uganda – definitely do not try to look like a big Bwana of old on Safari.

Wear comfortable clothing, jeans, otherwise neutral colors, sturdy shoes, a hat come in handy for most. Khaki is good for its color, easy to wash and feels good as you wear it.  A rain jacket also comes in quite handy and long-sleeved shirts offer good protection for you from thorns and insects

Jeans may not be recommended however they prove to be some of the best long trousers for a safari, they hide the dirt, give more protection and in our climate, they dry the same day after being washed at a lodge. (Please Note- there is a taboo against washing another person’s undergarments – buy some small packets of soap and do it yourself).

The key is casual, plain and practical – enjoy your safari in Uganda.

What to wear Gorilla Tracking.  The kind of shoes needed for a safari in Uganda.  Binoculars for your Rwanda -Uganda Safari.

 Responsible Tourism Travel Safari Tips for Uganda:

Simple Responsible Tourism Eco-Friendly Safari Tips that will enhance your time in Uganda A Code of Conduct for Safari Visitors to Africa that respects Communities –the Environment – the Wildlife.

Before you arrive for your Safari in Africa – take part in planning your safari by taking an active part in creating your safari and we will help in making a responsible tourism Safari just for you

No off-road game driving, no garbage thrown out of windows, simply practical tips you already adhere to in the West

Take nothing with you – but memories and pictures – leave nothing behind but footprints.

 Safari Lodging Tips and Advice:

If you look at many itineraries online and if you checked lodging facilities that were selected for you, the quality would often be what one could call abysmal, even when it comes to budget facilities we only use budget facilities that in most cases have self-contained rooms.

Lodging is an important aspect of your safari in Uganda and we do not take it lightly.  If our clients complain about a lodging accommodation facility – our response – it goes off our list and we remove our recommendation of it from our website.

Safari Lodging experiences depend on many things – the mood of those who receive you and wait upon you, the management.  We have found that things can change and we do our best to make sure that your stay at a lodge is satisfactory.

 Safari Food and Meals:

What you eat and the quality of food that is served to you on safari depends on the kind of lodges you are using.

If you want quality safari Food that is of Restaurant Quality than stay in upmarket lodges,  Moderate lodges will be ok serving sumptuous – tasty meals.

When you go to budget lodges, you are often receiving fried foods like fish and chips, stews where the meat may not be tender. Breakfast will be just eggs and toast along with instant coffee.

What if you are a vegetarian or vegan and going on Safari?  Most of the time you are just fine with certain precautions taken.

 Drinks – Juice -Wine – Coffee on Safari:

You will not get thirsty on Safari in Uganda and Rwanda.  There is bottled water in both countries, upmarket lodges will have some in your room.

Coke and Pepsi Products, 7-Up, Mountain Dew, Schweppes.  Diet Sodas are rare, though Coke-1 can be found in some supermarkets. Sparkling water is not to be found except in a few supermarkets.

Lodges have plenty of Beer both brewed in Rwanda and Uganda, Juices, some of which are squeezed freshly and sodas.

Wine is served from boxes and can be disappointing, here is our solution.

Rwanda and Uganda grow great Arabica Coffee, in a budget and many moderate lodges you are served instant with powdered milk and sugar.  Here is our Solution.

 Safari Driver or Tour Guide?

You can always find a driver in  Uganda – the need is for a driver that is also a tour guide.  At Kabiza Wilderness Safaris we hand-pick the tour guides based on their experience and we use the feedback from our clients.

Customer service and satisfaction is foremost on the minds of our driver-guides who will go beyond the expected norm to make your safari in Uganda a success.  As said – you can always find a driver in Uganda, but you need one to get you there and who knows Uganda, the parks, the wildlife, the culture and more.

Our driver-guides have at least seven years of experience in the Safari-Tour business, they do not need a map –  it is in their head, they will know when a bridge is out, a road is being repaired and they will take an alternate route if necessary.

 Tipping Practices on Safari:

Tipping is showing one’s gratitude for excellent service.  Uganda and Rwanda are both culturally non-tipping countries.

Fortunately, Visitors of Uganda think differently in most cases.  Here you will find help in what is a right tip, for lodge and restaurant staff while on a Safari.

What to tip a ranger that takes you gorilla trekking, or on a game drive.  Often our clients write us about tipping.

Most of what you need to know is found here.

Hiking-Walking Safaris -Tips and Advice:

It is one thing to go on a normal safari in a vehicle – however Uganda has many places where you can hike and do nature walks in abundance.

Hiking and Walking Safari take extra preparation depending on the time of the year that you venture out on foot into the African Wild of Uganda and where.

Visit the Ik People in the Morungole Mountain and once again an all-day hike that you need to prepare for in order to be comfortable.

There are great Hiking opportunities within Uganda, they just have to planned into your safari.

 Gorilla Trekking Tips and Advice:

Most Safari Goers want to take in Gorilla Trekking in either Uganda or Rwanda.  Gorilla Trekking is different from a wildlife Safari in Uganda or other parts of Africa.

It takes some different preparations, things to know about and how to get permits for your Trek.

In Uganda, there is also the exclusive, one of a kind all day Gorilla Habituation Experience where you spend 4 hours with a Gorilla Family.  We also have tips and advice for that activity.

Gorilla Trekking can be done in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and in Mgahinga Gorilla Park in Uganda.

Gorilla Habituation Experience Tips and Advice:

 Staying in touch with Home while on Safari:

This is a question that we often receive before people go on a safari. How do we stay in touch with home?  Some up-market lodges have WiFi.  Many still like to come to Africa and still unplug – the other reason is that networks do not always extend into the bush.

Many still like to come to Africa and still unplug – the other reason is that networks do not always extend into the bush.

There are some practical ways around it – get a local sim card for our smart phone and receive calls for free – you can Skype back home also.

If you are using a laptop – you can buy a local USB connection with data time and you can do the same for a tablet or iPad.

There are ways that you can stay in touch with home – upload your daily safari pictures and update your family and friends about your travels on your blog or Facebook.

Keep in mind Security:  Posting your Safari on Facebook can alert some people that no one is at your home and cause potential problems.  Some enjoy their time on Safari – unplugged from the Internet.

  Safari Journal:

More and more have dropped the habit of pen and ink and keeping an old-fashioned safari journal.  No matter how you might record your daily memories, do record them.

Dawn comes here in Uganda about 6:30 am – the sun soon rises, arrange for a cup of coffee and write your thoughts – do not think deeply about it all but use free-flow thinking and just write.

Back in your home country, you can take those thoughts and even put them up on your blog or website.

Keep a journal of your African Travels – Winston Churchill  – Ernest Hemingway and Karen Blixen did.

  Safari Safety and Security:

Uganda is one of the most stable and secure countries in Africa – it is also one of the top friendliest countries in Africa according to an African Economist Survey.

As a Tourist, you even receive extra security in form of our Tourism Police and when you go on a game drive an armed ranger is with you. On a Gorilla Trek in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and an armed escort is also with you in both Rwanda and Uganda.

The safest place to be in Uganda or Rwanda – is on a safari. Your driver-guide and our staff will do our best to make your safari in Africa a safe one.

 Do it yourself Safaris – a Recipe for a Disaster:

Some visitors to Uganda have this notion that one can easily arrange their own safari.  Uganda – Rwanda is Africa – this is not Europe or North America.  Making arrangements in the West are simpler and less complicated.

Most often you do not need a tour-operator in the West – you can easily self-drive – use a map and GPS and you are well on way.  Things are relatively predictable.  That is not the way it is in Uganda or Rwanda

It is advisable to use a Tour-Operator in Uganda and Rwanda that knows the country, roads, conditions, lodges, and culture, you will be glad that you did.

Do-it-yourself Safaris – a Recipe for Disaster 

 Kabiza Wilderness Safaris – our Safaris 

Our Safaris include Honeymoon, Gorilla, Chimpanzee, Family,  Hiking safaris in Uganda, combined safaris that include Rwanda and Rwanda Safaris and we have missed the safari that you wanted – we will do so.

We know Uganda and Rwanda, we live here, we have driven to every part of both countries, we know the lodges, parks, cultural places, allowing us to create for you the Safari, best for you.

There is only one thing that we do “Create Memorable Safaris in the Pearl of Africa – Uganda and the Land of a Thousand Hills – Rwanda.”

We know Uganda and Rwanda beyond the Guidebooks, Forums, Blogs, we live and work here.

Want more African Safari Tips – Advice – Information -write to us