Planning to take a safari in Uganda. Here is all the information you need to get started with planning a tour to Uganda.
Before Coming to Uganda
It is important to make adequate preparation and ensure that your relatives, friends or your next of kin get to know exactly which places to tour. Information your close relatives, friends, and so on for easy trekking – let them know when? And where? Details about your safari.
Documents: Make two photocopies of your passport – the identity page, and if relevant, any visas you need. If it gets stolen then a photocopy is often good enough to prove who you are to get an emergency replacement. Leave one copy at home, and take another with you. If you have a driving licence takes this also, as it can be considered evidence of identity if your passport goes missing.
Mobile phones: get your phone unlocked – that’s network unlocked – so any SIM card in the world will work in it. Buy a local SIM card when you get there – they are usually pay as you go, and cost about £10. Then SMS your family back home to give them your number there. They can use a cheap international call service to get hold of you if necessary. Get the emergency number for your local embassy or consulate on the phone so you can call your country representatives if necessary.
Passports & Visas: It is essential to ensure you have the right paperwork in place before flying to Africa. Generally all passports need to have a number of blank pages available while visa specifications differ depending on nationality and destination. Note that visa regulations can sometimes change without much warning. We recommend contacting the relevant authorities in good time or simply chat to your African Safari Expert before you go – they’ll have all the answers.
Where to Stay
For up to date information on the latest health and vaccination recommendations , please consult with a qualified health professional at least 6 weeks before your intended departure . Anti-malarial medication is strongly recommended for all visitors in Uganda.
If you are arriving ( or planning to re-enter ) from a country where yellow fever is endemic, then you are required to have a yellow fever vaccination. This vaccination is also recommended if you are traveling outside of urban areas. It is recommended that all international travellers ensure that their tetanus, Hepatitis A, and polio vaccines are up-to-date. Do not drink ( or brush your teeth with ) the tap water.
While it is your choice of which immunizations to take, be aware that a certificate proving yellow fever immunization is required for entry into many sub-Saharan African nations, and may be required if you plan to travel elsewhere from Africa (i.e. home!). Check with your local physician or travel medical clinic at least two months before departure.
First Aid Kit
An African adventure first aid kit needs to be a bit more advanced than a regular one. In addition to all the standard health care items, make sure to bring a course of antibiotics that will help with stomach ailments, extra anti-malarial medication, sterile latex gloves, a sterile syringe and needle, and condoms. Remember that AIDS is spreading throughout Africa like wildfire. Don’t take chances with your health.
The Ugandan shilling is issued in denominations of 1000, 5000, 10000, 20000 and 50000 shillings for notes, while coins are issued in denominations of 10, 50, 100, 200, and 500 shillings. The local currency can be obtained at authorized facilities ( such as banks and foreign exchange bureaus ) foreign currency can also be changed at the airport on arrival. Many establishments will only change USD issued after the year 2000. Be aware that only paper currency will normally be accepted for exchange.
In Uganda, credit card use is usually restricted to major banks and hotels, most shops will not accept other methods of payment other than cash. In most areas, the accepted carsd include Visa, MasterCard, Amex and JCB credit cards. Travellers cheques are not widely accepted outside of Kampala.
Western Union offices are all over the place in Africa. It’s a growth industry. So if you need money in a hurry, you can get someone in your home country to send it to you. They can SMS the details to you on your local phone number, but you’ll need some ID to pick it up, and they may ask you a test question (“What’s your dog called?”, for example).
Maximum of 15kg/ 33Ibs of luggage per person in soft-sided bags are allowed for light aircraft flights, including hand luggage and camera equipment . It is highly recommended that checked luggage is locked. Please do not pack valuable items in checked luggage.
Police: If you get into trouble with the police then stay calm. Sadly, a lot of police officers are very poorly paid and only too happy to take a bribe. If you’ve been really criminal then you are certainly in trouble so insist on your right to see your ambassador or consul. If it’s something petty or something you’ve just been accused of for the hell of it, it will almost certainly be easier to pay whatever is needed to have the matter buried. For example, in a lot of African countries homosexuality is illegal. Information such as this is held in country reports that we discussed earlier.