A Uganda Safari is one of the safest trips you'll take to Africa during COVID-19 because the open savannah plains and rainforest jungles are the best places to keep away from the human crowds and breath the fresh wild air. The Uganda government has done a tremendous job in keeping its people and places free of the pandemic yet staying open for tourism.
We've made sure that our ground handler understand the risk that comes with operating in coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic times, so they've have standardized their operating procedures based on the GoU, MoH and WHO to protect the traveller, the tour managers and the animals in the attractions they visit.
On your trip, you'll be checked only into Covid compliant lodges checked an approved by the ground handler. You'll be picked up in a safari vehicle that carries upto 6 people with enough space in between seats to observe social distancing. On arrival, you tour manager will brief you on how to handle yourself on the safari trip avoiding contact and also give a free branded mask and sanitizer bottle.
See our ground handler's SOPs
and Uganda Wildlife Authority Guidelines
for detail. Keep up-to-date with Uganda's Covid status https://covid19.gou.go.ug/
On arrival, tourists and business visitors will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test (irrespective of complete vaccination or not) dated no more than 72 hours before they board their flight to Uganda. Same applies to outbound. A covid-19 test for exiting travelers can be done at a number of hospitals in Kampala & Entebbe with results given within 4-24 hours at about $65. Travelers from USA, UK, UAE, Turkey, South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, and Tanzania will be subjected to another test on arrival. They'll be taken to a holding area 5km from the airport for a 4-hour PCR COVID-19 test. They can either wait at designated hotel at their cost or at the holding area at no cost.
After finishing with immigration and health desk, your driver or Uganda tour manager will have to ensure that you proceed directly to your place of stay and do not to public places.
There will be no requirement to self-isolate on arrival. If found with coronavirus symptoms however, you’ll be isolated, handed over to health officials and taken to a designated place for treatment.
Ugandan nationals who arrive with a negative COVID-19 test will be allowed to proceed straight to their homes. It is not yet clear whether they will be required to self-isolate at home for 14 days or not.
Uganda or East Africa Visa can be gotten at entry point but to avoid contact, please process your online at visas.immigration.go.ug. You’ll need a six months valid passport and yellow fever vaccination certificate to be allowed entry.
Find out more
The drier months from June to August
and December to February
are the best time for wildlife watching trips to Uganda
. There’s also plentiful sunshine at this time. In the wetter months, there’s the possibility that rain will cut off roads and wash out your primate trekking adventure. Primate walks in the forest are a big part of any safari in Uganda. The habitat of rainforests are, by default, very wet, and one can't avoid rain completely. However, after heavy rain, the skies often open up to bright sunshine. Read more
It is best to book as far in advance as possible (at least 3-6 months), as some safaris (like gorilla trekking
) sell out months ahead of their departure dates. This is especially important for those planning to travel during peak seasons (June to August and December to February) and for those adding extensions to scheduled trips.
Uganda Safaris are classified according to the quality and amenities of accommodations, and the quality and number of meals and activities included in the price of your vacation. A Luxury safari in Uganda is private (not shared with other unknown travelers) with flight transfers between destinations, 4x4 private cruiser vehicles, book you in private rooms of high-end accommodation facilities and include a trip manager to make sure you get what you pay for.
English is used on almost all Uganda safari trips. It is also the national language and is used by almost everyone you'll be dealing with on your trip. If you don't speak English, your trip planner can organise for you a special Guide/Driver that speaks your language (eg French, German or Italian) but you should know that it's challenging to make that arrangement, so an extra fee may be charged.
Ugandans speak more than 30 languages but Swahili (a coastal language) and Luganda (African Bantu language) stand out with most Uganda. So here are a few Ugandan words that may come in handy on your trip.
Most Uganda safari companies set specific age limits for children. For safety reasons, children five and under might not be allowed on game drives in the parks and reserves, where terrain may be rough. In some cases, very young children may not be permitted on a safari at all, and older children and teens must be accompanied by an adult. We have a few Uganda safaris designed just for families, providing an exciting and educational experience for all.
Group sizes vary according to the local tour operator. Many local operators limit game drives to four or six people per vehicle, using more than one vehicle if needed. Everyone is guaranteed a window seat and good photo opportunities. Other safaris use buses that take more than ten people, but comfort can not be guaranteed.
We offer Uganda safari trips that range from less than a week to a month or even longer. We usually recommend one to spend at least a week to experience Africa enough to talk about it and remember it.
All our Uganda safari packages do not include international airfare but include local air transfers and everything else you'll need once you touch down. Please process your return international air tickets with your local travel company. We'll include meals, permits, transfers, accommodation and activities in the tour price.
Uganda safaris are mostly private safaris and fit well with solo travelers and others traveling together. Most camps and lodges may quote rooms based on double occupancy, but they always have rooms for a single traveler. If you booked a room as a double and would like to add an extra person, the lodge will most probably charge you a single supplement fee. A single supplement is a fee imposed by hotels, lodges, and camps on individuals traveling alone who want private accommodations. We can arrange for two single travelers to share accommodations, providing they are on the same safari and both persons agree to the arrangement.
All safari guests must carry a passport that is valid for six months beyond the intended length of stay. The East African governments require visitors to purchase visas. It is recommended you purchase your visa in advance but you purchase one on arrival at entry points. Check with your consulate for the latest visa and entry requirements.
You are required to purchase a tourist visa before you enter Uganda. Tourist visas can be bought in advance via the embassy or consulate in your country or simply purchased upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport or at any overland border. Photos are not required and a single entry tourist visa costs US$ 100 per person for up to 90 days stay in Uganda.
If you are planning to combine Uganda with a visit to Rwanda or Kenya it is recommendable to request for the East African Tourist Visa instead of a single entry visa. This special visa costs US$100 per person and allows a 90-days multiple entry to Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. Regretfully, Tanzania is not (yet) a member of the East African community and therefore not part of this special visa arrangement.
Read more about these requirements
Due to space limitations aboard motorcoaches and domestic flights between safari destinations, tour operators may place restrictions upon the number of bags allowed per person, and upon the maximum weight of each bag. Guests also may be required to use only soft-sided luggage or duffel bags rather than hard-sided suitcases. Ask your travel counselor for more details.
The electrical current in lodges and hotels in Uganda is 220 volts. If you plan to bring 110-volt electrical devices, it's suggested that you pack an electrical converter and an adapter plug set (socket configurations in destination countries vary between the two-pronged variety and the three-pronged variety). In general, there are no electrical outlets in the tents of safari camps but you'll find them in common areas. Many safari camps in remote locales produce their own electricity by solar and limit electrical connections to save energy. Your tour guide may be able to arrange for the charging of digital or video camera batteries at these times.
Basic precautions should be taken in all countries. Tour guides
are highly experienced in navigating each destination, but visitors should always be aware of their surroundings, especially in any rural villages that may be wary of foreigners. In less-developed countries where many people live in poverty, crimes of opportunity can occur, such as petty theft. Visitors are advised to stay alert and use common sense. Safari guests should limit the amount of cash they carry and lock valuables in a hotel safe or other secure place. Lock hotel rooms when you leave. Do not walk alone in deserted areas at night. Take extra care of purses, bags and wallets in crowded places such as malls and nightclubs.
Tap water in Uganda is not safe to drink. It is advisable to drink bottled water rather than tap water in Uganda. Bottled and canned drinks should be widely available at hotels, lodges and restaurants.
It is worthwhile to be selective when traveling through the tropics, as possible disease hazards can range from minor bouts of travelers' diarrhea to dysentery and more serious parasitic diseases. Food should always be thoroughly cooked and served hot. Do not feel compelled to eat anything you might be wary about, as it is better to err on the side of caution. We choose hotels and restaurants with high standards for food preparation. When dining elsewhere, it is best to avoid ice and raw produce. Avoid buying food or drink from street vendors.
Malaria is prevalent in Uganda and spread by mosquitoes, which bite mainly at dusk and at night. You can only contract malaria if you are bitten by an infected anopheles mosquito. Safari guests are advised to use insect repellent containing DEET (sprayed on clothing and any exposed skin), to keep arms and legs covered as much as possible, and to avoid the use of perfume, hairspray and other scented products that might attract mosquitoes. To protect you during sleep, we only use facilities that cover your bed with an anti-mosquito net. We also like to echo the CDC's advice that strongly recommends that visitors to southern and eastern Africa take anti-malarial medication. Consult your physician before your trip so that he or she can prescribe the appropriate drugs.
Depending on the season of your safari, the heat may be intense. Always stay well hydrated, use sunscreen with a high protection factor, wear
a hat and light clothing, and stay indoors or in the shade during the hottest parts of the day. Keep a close eye on any minor wounds to ensure they do not get infected. Travelers should avoid handling any animal, as rabies can be transmitted by licks and scratches as well as bites. Schistosomiasis, also known as Bilharzia, is a parasitic disease spread in Africa's streams and rivers. It is best to avoid swimming anywhere except in chlorinated pools.
Uganda is located in the East African Time Zone. That is +3 GMT. Eastern Daylight Time is 7 hours behind of Eastern Africa Time.
The official currency is the Uganda shilling. The US dollar is traditionally the hard currency of preference, but euro and pound sterling are also widely accepted. Most hotels and camps accept Credit/Debit cards. US dollar notes that are older than year 2000 are not accepted everywhere and can be very difficult to exchange. Major currencies such as the dollar and the euro are easily exchanged at the airport, banks and private bureaux de change in all large towns, but traveler's checks are not widely accepted outside Kampala.
Banksin Uganda are generally open from 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 12noon on Saturdays. Some banks are open later.
Credit cards are accepted in hotels, camps, lodges and major cities and towns, but are not widely accepted elsewhere. Local currency can be drawn against Visa and other major credit cards at selected ATMs in Kampala, at Entebbe International Airport, and in a few other large towns.
Tipping is not standard practice at local hotels and restaurants in Uganda, but it will always be appreciated. It is normal to tip 5 to 10% at tourist-oriented restaurants. Guides and drivers should always be tipped.
While communications in remote tented camps will be limited, most major hotels and lodges offer Internet services as well as international telephone services. Additionally, private communication centers and cyber cafes in larger towns enable tourists to stay connected. Some centers may close on Sundays and public holidays.
The cellular networks in safari destinations cover most large towns and tourist areas.
Find more information on networks and connections in Uganda
Despite some negative press, Uganda is a safe country for gay and lesbian travellers. However, Uganda is a conservative country and we would recommend discretion. Please don't be asking for your gay rights in Uganda, you may get persecuted.