The land of the primates
Uganda travel guide: Travel to pearl of Africa and do a Uganda Safari
All information given are the best of our knowledge and belief and were correct the time we travelled Uganda.
What we knew from Uganda, when first thought about traveling there, was that it´s one of the last places in the world where mountain gorillas can be seen in their natural habitat. Our first idea was to do 3-day fly-in Safari to Bwindi. So enter, mountain gorillas and exit Uganda. But the more information we gained about Uganda, the more we wanted to see of it, which was not so easy, because blogs and vlogs(click here for our Vlog)about Uganda are quite rare. At some point we found some videos on YouTube and they blew us away. So we were looking for tour operators in Uganda and found HomeToAfrica [Ad]. Click here for our experiences with them..
Despite everything, it was a trip into the unknown for us. Though our joyful anticipation raised every day and we experienced these "wow" moments from the first day.
This country is commonly said to be the Pearl of Africa and it´s true. It is so multifaceted and beautiful.
Of course we informed about safety in Uganda. If you here about African countries in the European news, it´s only bad things like Ebola, rebels in the neighbouring country Congo etc. But when we arrived, we didn't feel any of it. The borders to Congo are protected by soldiers. Our safari guide gave us a sense of safety, so we felt perfectly comfortable and safe during our 8-day Uganda Safari.
We visited Uganda in form of a guided tour, so the article is also written from this perspective.
Anreise, Visum und Abreise – Uganda Reisetipps
The visa for Uganda costs USD 50 (+ 3% online payment fee) and must be paid online.
You must show the vaccination certificate with the yellow fever stamp again and again.
According to the website, the following documents are required for immigration: Passport photo, passport and copy thereof, onward flight tickets. With us they just wanted to see the visa confirmation. The passport photo was taken on site by the immigration officer.
The baggage claim hall is located after immigration. In this hall there are still money exchange offices, as well as a SIM card provider. The ATM is outside of this hall.
After a security check you can leave the airport. Outside there are other ATMs (Uganda Schilling/UGX only), SIM card providers, hotel shuttles and taxis.
When leaving the country you have to undergo various security checks again. Vehicles and people are subjected to a security check as soon as they arrive at the outside of the airport. Additional baggage and security checks take place at the entrance to the airport building, after immigration and before boarding.
As everywhere in the world, souvenirs at the airport are overpriced. We bought our souvenirs in Queen Elizabeth National Park. We always left the negotiations to our guide, who obviously enjoyed it.
Health precautions for the Uganda Safari
The first thing you should do before you travel to the country in the east of Central Africa is to inform you about the necessary vaccinations and precautions.
The yellow fever vaccination is mandatory, because you cannot get the online visa without proof. Attention Yellow fever may not be vaccinated by every doctor, since this vaccination is used to vaccinate living pathogens.
We already had the following vaccinations from previous trips, but they are not required by law:
– Hepatitis A/B
– Meningococcal diseases
- Typhoid fever
Since there is a high risk of malaria all year round in Uganda, we have decided to prevent malaria (malarone).
In any case, get advice from a specialist about the current health precautions.
P.S .: Authors of blog articles are usually not specialists when it comes to health precautions. They only pass on their own experiences. Circumstances can change.
Best SIM card for a Uganda Safari - Uganda travel guide
We already informed us before starting our Uganda safari about mobile phone providers and the best network coverage. Once arrived at the airport we equipped ourselves with 10 GB each. The network coverage with MTN Uganda was very good. We paid 20 USD for 10-GB monthly data volume. In addition, there is a social media tax for Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp (6,000 UGX per month).
You can buy either weekly or monthly tickets. For the purchase, you need a passport and cash (USD or UGX).
National Parks in Uganda
On the go - Uganda travel tips
Guided tour or self-drive safari?
During our trip we met a couple who were traveling on their own. Somehow they managed to stay overnight in the national park without a ranger. As a self-driver, you can usually only get to the national parks overnight with a ranger. Ultimately, they stayed on a camp site in the park in their igloo tent. The guides and rangers felt that they were lucky not to have been killed or eaten. The next day they were caught by the rangers and had to pay a heavy fine. But that's not the only reason why we think that a self-driver safari in Uganda is not the best choice.
The distances between the individual destinations are e.g. T. very large or drag very long because of the extremely poor road conditions. It is far more pleasant to relax while driving and then be fresh and focused again with the highlights.
So the most important of our Uganda travel tips is to trust a well-rated tour operator and enjoy the trip instead of bothering yourself with driving, navigating or other stress. We are basically more the self-drivers, but in Uganda we were glad that we decided against it.
Road conditions and road transport in Uganda
The roads in and between the national parks are mostly unpaved and very bumpy. Especially on the way from Murchison Falls to Kibale, the ride is very uncomfortable due to many potholes. But the speed is always reasonable and so you feel quite good anyway. Besides, there is always a lot to see, so time passes quickly. There is not much traffic outside the big towns.
There is left-hand traffic in Uganda.
In and around Kampala the road conditions are relatively good and the traffic is very dense. A new toll-express highway was recently opened, which shortened the journey time between Kampala and Entebbe from three hours to 45 minutes.
People in Uganda - Uganda travel guide
In Uganda, we did not have any feeling of being scammed. People are very trustworthy and they do not make tourists feel as a wallet as in some other countries.
The waving little children on the roadside gave us great pleasure. Those are really heart breaking cute. Some of them also like to sell homemade items or ask politely for money. Even if it is sometimes difficult, one should resist the offers and questions of the children, because when the children thereby bring home money, their chances of being sent to school by their parents are low.
Climate in Uganda
Uganda is 241,038 km² in size and is traversed from the equator (equator crossing in Queen Elizabeth National Park and on the way from Lake Bunyoni to Entebbe).
In the lower parts of the country, temperatures can raise very hot, while it can get chilly on the higher plateaus and in the cloud forests. You should always consider this when packing your suitcase.
The climate is very well suited for farming, so agriculture is one of the largest economic sectors for Uganda. Especially tea, bananas, avocado and sugar cane are grown.
Food during a Uganda Safari
In Uganda, people typically eat beef, pork, goat or chicken. As sides, they usually serve matoke (plantain in various variations), maize porridge, rice and chapati. For vegetarians, salad or vegetable curry are available in every restaurant.
Tips during the Uganda trip - Uganda travel guide
Withdraw enough money at the airport in Entebbe, because ATMs are few and far between in Uganda. They do exist, but it needs to be discussed with the guide or driver, as the nearest ATM can be quite a way away.
When traveling to Africa and of course Uganda you should consider a not insignificant cost factor: the tip.
When tipping our safari guide, we followed the usual conditions. According to online and offline sources, $ 10 to $ 20 per day / per group is common, and that's what we oriented ourselves towards. For the boys in the accommodations, who carry the heavy suitcases or the waiters, you should always have some small change in your pockets.