Uganda Wildlife Adventure CME

11 Days from $9,200

Visit Uganda with Wilderness & Travel Medicine on this wildlife adventure!

Get a little closer to primates with Gorilla and Chimpanzee trekking with visits to Murchison, Queen Elizabeth and Kibale National Parks.  Sit back and relax on boat safaris in the Kazinga Channel and around Murchinson Falls.  Unwind at the end of the day with sundowners on the veranda of one of the luxurious lodges you will be staying.

This is the an unparalleled Uganda experience paired with world class CME lectures!

Uganda Wildlife Adventure CME

Get ready for an ultimate eco-travel adventure!

This Wilderness Medicine CME conference is a wildlife and nature lover’s dream! The land of Uganda mixes savanna, enormous lakes, rain forests, and the glacier-clad Rwenzori Mountains, one of Africa’s tallest ranges. The headwaters of the Nile originate here, then burst through a cleft in the rocks at Murchison Falls. Uganda’s parade of animals is amazingly diverse. Hippos graze along the shores of Lake Edward, while lions lounge in the trees of Ishasha, in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The star in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, is the mountain gorilla, a species down to about 720 animals visible in their tiny habitat. (National Geographic David Swanson)

Our journey will start with a flight to Murchison Falls National Park and Paraa Safari Lodge for a two night stay. During your stay enjoy game drives in the park, Nile River cruise to the base of Murchison Falls, and hiking. A scenic full day drive to Fort Portal, will take us through beautiful agricultural countryside, the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains and tea plantations, ending at the stunning Kyaninga Lodge. Kyaninga Lodge is perched atop a hill overlooking a crater lake. During your stay enjoy chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest National Park, Bigodi Forest Swamp walk, a tour of Fort Portal Hospital and exploring the local lakes, caves and cultural sights. Next, off to Queen Elizabeth National Park for two nights at Mweya Lodge. Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park, a boat trip on the Kazinga Channel to view hippo and crocs awaits! Embark on a morning game drive through the Ishasha region in search of tree climbing lion and other game. Continuing on by road to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, passing through the scenic area known as The Switzerland of East Africa, to arrive at Mahogany Springs Lodge for your next three nights. During your stay enjoy a gorilla trek, cultural exploration and a service day at Kellerman Batwa Community Hospital. Transferring by road to Mbarara passing through scenic misty mountains and eventually into Ankole Cattle country ending at Mihingo Lodge at Lake Mburo National Park. The following day you will travel to Masaka to tour the Kitovu Hospital, then continue to Entebee and the Protea Hotel for your final night in Africa.

Each day the Wilderness Medicine CME lectures will take place before dinner.

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Visit famous Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls National Parks
  • Visit the fabulous Rwenzori Mountains and the headwaters of the Nile River
  • Wonderful Wildlife viewing opportunities for diverse species including elephants lions, crocs, hippos
  • Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest
  • Gorilla Viewing in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Day 01 – 27th January 2018:

Arrive Entebbe, meet and greet and transfer to hotel. Overnight at The Boma Guesthouse (D).

This small boutique hotel which is owner run is set in tropical gardens in a leafy suburb, a few minutes’ drive from Entebbe International Airport. Our rooms combine the modern comforts one expects today with the charm and character of the tastefully restored 1940’s colonial homestead. All of our self-contained rooms are individually decorated in a mixture of African and European décor, and have been designed to reflect the original colonial architecture. The rooms are very comfortable all on ground level with own verandas overlooking the well-tended gardens. The crystal clear swimming pool is the perfect spot to cool off and have a sundowner after a day in the tropical sun.

Day 02 – 28th January 2018:

This morning, we start our Uganda safari. Transfer to the airport for your morning scheduled flight to MFNP. Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s largest national park, with an area of 3840km². It lies in the core of the Murchison Falls Conservation Area. This impressive park protects a chunk of untamed African savannah bisected by the mighty river Nile. The dramatic Murchison Falls, where the world’s longest river explodes violently through a narrow cleft in the Rift Valley escarpment to plunge into a frothing pool 43m below strikes an exhilarating impression on all 5 senses. Murchison Falls is occupied mainly by lush grasslands. The highest diversity of wildlife is found on the open plains north of the Nile, where elephant, buffalo, giraffe and a huge variety of antelope are regularly encountered. The Nile itself boasts one of Africa’s densest hippo and crocodile populations, and a dazzling variety of water birds including the world’s most accessible wild population of the rare shoebill. Today we will visit the Top of the Falls and have a game drive on the south side.

Overnight at Baker’s Lodge (BLD)

Baker’s Lodge, on the south bank of the mighty Nile River which transects Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda, derives its name from the historic English explorer Samuel Baker.
The lodge provides a thatched central lounge, bar and dining area which is raised with wooden decks all around allowing guests to savour the morning sunrise for breakfast, sunset in the evening and 180 degree river views.
Each of the individual accommodation cottages is raised from the ground on supporting pillars and has it’s own deck overlooking the river. Care has been taken to ensure each of the cottages has privacy as well as excellent views either up or down stream. The large, airy en-suite thatched cottage have netted windows with opening options, customized solid wooden furniture, hanging mosquito nets and especially selected locally crafted items for the accessories. The en-suite bathrooms are open plan with solar hot water showers and baths with a view in some units.
Solar lighting complete the services for this eco-friendly top quality establishment.
In keeping with standards expected of an establishment such as this, full multi course dining with choices are offered as well as a good selection of wines and other bar items, all served by our well trained and experienced Ugandan staff team.

Day 03 – 29th January 2018:

Today we get to explore the wonders of this magnificent park, by safari vehicle for game drives and private boat. The launch trip takes you along the Nile to the bottom of the falls. Murchison Falls National Park is said to be the best game park in Uganda. During a typical game drive you can be expected to see a large number of antelope species, including the bush buck, the water buck, Thomson’s gazelle and the dik dik to name but a few. Larger herbivores, such as giraffe and elephant are present in the park in great numbers and often the lumbering giraffe will cross the roads right in front of you. MFNP is the most accessible park in Uganda to see the giraffe. Huge groups of buffalo are a common sight whilst exploring the park on a game drive. Primates, such as the baboon and the patas monkey, stare at you as you pass by and if you are a bird lover then Murchison Falls National Park will not disappoint.

Overnight at Baker’s Lodge (BLD)

Day 04 – 30th January 2018:

This morning we transfer to Bugungu airstrip for a charter flight to Kasese airstrip where Kyaninga Lodge vehicles will be waiting to take clients to the lodge. Today we have afternoon lodge activities.

Overnight at Kyaninga Lodge (BLD)
Set against a stunning backdrop of Lake Kyaninga and the legendary Mountains of the Moon beyond, Kyaninga Lodge is the spectacular result of one man’s vision and unwavering commitment to creating an experience of Africa’s beauty unlike anything else. Kyaninga Lodge is located 15 minutes outside Fort Portal town. Perched atop a hill overlooking a stunning blue crater lake, the lodge enjoys spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, set against a magnificent backdrop of the Rwenzori Mountains in the distance. The lodge accommodates twenty guests in eight raised log cabins. Kyaninga Lodge’s eight cottages are built on platforms and set apart to offer privacy and tranquility. Access to the cottages from the main lodge is via a raised wooden walkway. Each spacious cottage is beautifully appointed with a choice of twin or double beds made up with Egyptian cotton bed linen and soft feather pillows. Two family cottages feature a mezzanine level with extra sleeping space for children. Once inside, an indoor sitting area leads out to a private deck where one can enjoy morning tea or a sundowner and views over the lake and the Mountains of the Moon beyond. The en suite bathrooms boast marble countertop basins set atop beautifully crafted Elgon Olive pedestals, claw footed freestanding baths and glass walled showers. Hot water and lighting in the cottages are solar powered, providing the comforts of home in an extraordinary setting.

Day 05 – 31st January 2018:

This morning we get the opportunity to explore Kibale Forest National Park. Kibale Forest is home to 13 primate species and a guided forest trek will be taken in search of one of the most popular primate species in the world – the chimpanzee. Although chimp sightings are not guaranteed, the odds are good with the chance of encountering them standing at higher than 90%. You will go on a forest walk in search of primates. Whilst trekking in the depths of the lush green forest, you will be surrounded by bird song and can expect to see at least 5 or 6 other types of primate, most probably the grey-cheeked mangabey and the red-tailed monkey and of course the chimpanzee. The walking is fairly easy due to the well-maintained trails and reasonably flat terrain.

For lunch we will visit with Tinka, a local community leader, we are able to visit him at his home and sample a variety of traditional Ugandan dishes. Tinka will advise on the preparation and cooking process of all of the foods.

After lunch, we may have another primate walk in the forest, or have a swamp walk in Bigodi. Bigodi village is situated in the highlands of western Uganda, in the shadow of the Ruwenzori Mountains, the famous “Mountains of the Moon”. The swamp walk takes place in the Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary, which is located in the Magombe wetland. The sanctuary is a major eco-tourism attraction in the Kibale Forest area. The Sanctuary is operated by the Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (KAFRED), a registered local community based organization.

Overnight at Kyaninga Lodge (BLD)

Day 06 – 1st February 2018:

This morning after breakfast we gently descend into The Great African Rift Valley and Queen Elizabeth National Park. Queen Elizabeth National Park resides in a fertile, equatorial area and has beautiful scenery. It is Uganda’s most popular and accessible savannah reserve, with a total area of 1978km². It is primarily associated with grassy savannah plains, but this impressive park also includes within its boundaries, leafy rainforests, dense papyrus swamps and natural volcanic crater lakes. As a result it has one of the highest biodiversity ratings of any game reserve in the world, including a total of 95 recorded mammal species and more than 610 species of birds. (Approx. 3hrs)

Overnight at Kyambura Gorge Lodge (BLD)
Kyambura Gorge Lodge – The main lodge building was originally a coffee store and processing plant, surrounded by coffee plantations. The original structure has been sensitively restored to create a stunning and contemporary living space, balancing the history of the building with a series of distinct luxurious spaces for guests to relax.
The beautiful bandas have each been nestled into the hillside with their eco-luxury comforts including en-suite bathrooms and an individual view of the park.
– Unique timber or brick guest bandas with iron sheet or thatch roofs (3 doubles and 5 twins) reflect the local building style.
– En-suite bathrooms with flushing toilet, double vanity, shower with hot and cold running water.
– Rooms have mosquito nets, 240v lighting and a private balcony.
– Bandas are individually named after the Kyambura Gorge chimpanzees.
– Wi-Fi available in the main lodge building.

Day 07 – 2nd February 2018:

This morning we head out onto the northern savannahs of QENP for a game drive. After lunch we will drive to the Kazinga Channel and take a private boat ride along the river (2hrs). The launch trip along the Kazinga Channel is one of the most popular activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park. It provides an amazing chance to sit back, relax and enjoy the fresh river breeze whilst observing a large selection of animals. Those species commonly seen along the riverbank are elephants, buffalo, waterbuck and Ugandan Kob. On occasion visitors will also see giant forest hog, leopard and lion. The waterbirds in the area are plentiful; in particular, water thick knee, yellow-billed stork, various plovers, white pink-backed Pelicans and white-bellied cormorants, with 560 + recorded species and a record of 296 bird species seen in one 24 hour period. You will also view some of the largest concentration of hippo in the world {reported to be about 30,000}.

Overnight at Kyambura Gorge Lodge (BLD)

Day 08 – 3rd February 2018:

Today we drive through the savannahs of Queen Elizabeth National Park to the Ishasha region. Game drive in search of tree climbing lion (75% success rate). We leave behind the lush savannah grass plains of QENP and drive to Buhoma/Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Bwindi forest is a magnificent luxuriant swathe across the steep ridges of the Albertine Rife Valley, this ancient rainforest – one of the few in Africa to have flourished throughout the last Ice Age – is regarded to be one of the most biologically diverse forests in Africa. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park has at least 90 mammal species, including 11 primates and is ranked as one of the best in Uganda for forest birding, with 23 highly localised Albertine Rift endemics. Bwindi is renowned for its Mountain Gorilla population, slightly more than half the world’s mountain gorilla population is resident in Bwindi: an estimated 280 – 320 individuals living in 15 groups. Looking deep into the expressive brown eyes of these gentle giants is an extremely special privilege and an encounter unparalleled in most likely the whole of Africa.

Overnight at Gorilla Forest Camp (BLD)

Gorilla Forest Camp is exclusively located within the lush rainforests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Designed to blend seamlessly into the fragile environment, accommodation is offered in eight large tents, raised on wooden platforms, each with en suite bath room comprising shower, flushing WC, and the unique facility of a bath tub looking out onto the forest. Each tent has a large wooden deck where guests can relax or experience private dining. The tents are exceptionally spacious inside and have two queen-sized beds with headboards carved by Ugandan artisans. The Gorilla Forest Camp offers a central bar and dining cottage overlooking the rain forest, as well as a raised natural platform for open air dining. At night, a traditional African campfire is lit from where guests may sit and reflect on their days activities or simply admire the brilliance of a clear night sky.

Day 09 – 4th February 2018:

Gorilla tracking day.

After breakfast take a short drive to Park Headquarters and meet with excellent local guides and trackers who will give a talk on the etiquette of gorilla trekking. We then hike into the forest where the gorillas were seen the night before and track from that point. The trekking can take from 1 to 6 hours and climb to altitudes not in excess of 7,500 feet. The terrain is rough and at times muddy. Although the hike is physically demanding the beauty of the forest and surrounding scenery make the trekking worthwhile. Once the gorillas are located all fatigue is forgotten, as the experience is often described as being the most profound natural history experience in the world. Picnic lunches are provided and it is important to take plenty of water. Cameras and plenty of fast speed film are recommended. It can rain at a few minutes notice; hence waterproof clothing is a good essential including zip lock bags for cameras and film.

Overnight at Gorilla Forest Camp (BLD)

Day 10 – 5th February 2018:

Second day of gorilla trekking or free day.
Overnight at Gorilla Forest Camp (BLD)

Day 11 – 6th February 2018:

This morning we depart the lodge at 8.00am for the drive to Kihihi airstrip for your scheduled flight back to Entebbe (09h45/11h25) where (depending on departure times) a day room is booked at The Boma Guesthouse for you to relax and then later we transfer back to Entebbe airport to connect with your international flight home. (BL) OR an overnight for those departing on the 7th February 2018.

Day 12 – 7th February 2018:

Transfer to Entebbe International Airport for your flight home.

Please note: This is a sample itinerary. Depending on availability we may choose a different hotel but of similar type and equal quality.
(Legend: B = Breakfast included , L = Lunch included, D = Dinner included)

Bakers Lodge: ugandaexclusivecamps.com/bakers-lodge

Kyaninga Lodge: www.kyaningalodge.com

Kyambura Gorge Lodge: www.volcanoessafaris.com/lodges/kyambura-gorge-lodge

Gorilla Forest Sanctuary Camp: www.sanctuaryretreats.com/uganda-camps-gorilla-forest

Departure Dates:

2018
January 26 – February 6

Trip Length: 11 Days
Trip Price:

$9,200 per person, based on double occupancy.  Includes internal flights.

Does not include Gorilla/Chimp permits ($750)

Single supplement is available, please as for pricing

Deposit: $1,000.00

PASSPORTS & VISAS

As a requirement for entry into Uganda, all passports must be valid for at least 6 months after your expected return date to country of origin.

In addition, when traveling to East Africa, all passports must have at least one blank page for each country you plan to visit (not including endorsement pages).

Make a copy of the information pages of your passport to carry separately from your original. Should your passport be lost or stolen, this copy will help in the replacement process.

Visas: When visiting Uganda, a visa is required for most nationalities.
Information can be obtained from: http://www.ugandaembassy.com
Embassy of the Republic of Uganda
5911 16th Street, N.W.
Washington D.C., 20011
Tel: 202-726-7100
The Uganda immigrations has launched an e-visa system where visitors to Uganda must now apply for their visas online by following the link below:

https://www.visas.immigration.go.ug/

Step 1: Choose the type of visa: “Ordinary” (single entry) and East Africa Tourist Visa are the most common.

Step 2: Fill out the requested personal and travel information. CAS’ office address is required in the form: Classic Africa Safaris, Plot number M 77 Erica Magala Road, Entebbe, Uganda
Tel: +256 -414-320-121 or +256-772-642-527

Step 3: Upload clear copies of current passport, yellow fever certificate and a passport photo. For an East Africa Tourist visa, a travel itinerary and proof of return ticket must also be submitted.

Step 4: Once the online application form is completed and submitted, the applicant will receive a bar-coded email notification of approval. This can take 3 or more days. Once received, this bar-coded email should be printed and brought to Uganda for presentation upon arrival.

Upon arrival at any border (entry point), the bar-coded email along with passport and original yellow fever certificate must be presented. The Immigration officer will scan the barcode, take fingerprints and a photograph and collect the $100 visa fee ($USD cash only, in excellent condition and dated 2006 or later). The visa will be printed and pasted into the passport.

SINGLE ENTRY VISA
A single-entry Ugandan tourist visa can be applied for online ($100 USD) which is subject to change at any time without notice. It is valid for 3 months and must be paid for in CASH—U.S. dollars or the equivalent in pounds sterling or euros upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport. Make sure you have enough money on hand, upon arrival in Uganda, to cover this expense.

VERY IMPORTANT: It is essential to bring crisp, new-format (dated year 2006 or newer), larger bills ($50 and $100 U.S. bills), with no blemishes. Smaller bills do not receive as favorable an exchange rate as larger bills but do come in handy for tipping. Older, worn or torn bills will not be accepted.

MULTIPLE ENTRY VISA
A multiple visa for Uganda is also available at $100 and is valid for 1 year and can be requested for in advance through online application.

EAST AFRICAN TOURIST VISA
East Africa Visa $100.00 – allows travels between Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda with the same multiple entry visa. The holder of the East Africa Tourist Visa shall enter the region from the country that issued the visa and move within the two other countries without applying for another visa or paying another visa fee. This visa can be requested through online application for Uganda, and for Kenya it can be obtained on arrival. If Rwanda is first point of entry then application for this visa shall be lodged at any of the diplomatic representation of the Republic of Rwanda, at the Immigration Offices or online where applicable and must be obtained prior to travel. This visa is valid for 90 days.

FLIGHTS:

You are responsible for booking all international flights. We will arrange for the three domestic flights within Uganda. Once ticket price is confirmed, we will update your invoice for these flights which typically cost $1,800 – $2,200, per person.

FLYING IN
You will fly into Entebbe, Uganda (airport code: EBB) on Day 1 and check into the hotel. After breakfast at the hotel on Day 2, you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Murchison Falls National Park.

FLYING OUT
You can fly out of Entebbe on the last day as you will return to Entebbe in the early afternoon. Please make sure that your flight is after 3pm. You can also spend the night in Entebbe and then depart the next day.

EARLY ARRIVAL/LATE DEPARTURE
For those arriving early or departing after the scheduled itinerary, we are happy to make hotel and airport pick up arrangements. Please contact us well before departure if you would like us to make these arrangements for you.

HEALTH & MEDICAL INFORMATION:

For health requirements, please consult with your physician or nearest tropical disease center for additional or specific information.

INOCULATIONS
Proof of Yellow Fever immunization is required for entry into Uganda. Not all travelers are asked to show proof of vaccination upon entry, however it is a requirement and you may be denied entry if you are not able to prove you have been immunized

Travelers who cannot have the vaccination for medical reasons (age, allergy, pregnancy, undergoing cancer treatment, etc.), may get a waiver certificate, however, you must go to a registered travel clinic. Letters from doctors who do not operate at an officially registered clinic will not be accepted.

Bio Bio Expeditions suggests you check with your family doctor to find out the latest requirements for shots when traveling to Africa. See your doctor at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect. Recent information on required vaccinations can be obtained by calling the Centers for Disease Control international travelers’ hotline at 877.394.8747. You can access their website by directing your browser to http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/uganda?s_cid=ncezid-dgmq-travel-single-001

Here is a list of CDC suggestions:
• Yellow fever – mandatory to enter Uganda.
• Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG).
• Hepatitis B – if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay longer than 6 months, or be exposed through medical treatment.
• Rabies – if you might be exposed to wild or domestic animals through your work or recreation.
• Typhoid, particularly if you are visiting developing countries in this region.
• Malaria
• Meningitis
• As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria, measles, and a one-time dose of polio vaccine for adults. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11–12 years who did not receive the series as infants.

MEDICATIONS
As it will be nearly impossible to obtain any medication during your safari, plan to bring extra of any prescribed or over-the-counter medications you take on a regular basis. Keep all prescriptions in their original, labelled containers and bring a copy of the written prescription if you have it.

MALARIA
Malaria is present in Uganda. The use of malaria prophylaxis is highly recommended for travel in East Africa. Although the mountainous regions inhabited by the gorillas are generally too high in elevation for mosquitoes to survive, they do exist in lower lying areas.

MANGO FLIES
Mango flies are found in Uganda, especially in hot and humid areas. They can get under human skin through clothing which has not been ironed, sweaty or wet hats, pool towels, cushions from outdoor furniture, etc. We recommend making sure any laundry you have done during your stay in Uganda is properly ironed or tumble dried. If you wear hats/caps during the adventure, please make sure they are washed, if they get sweaty, and either ironed or dried inside. This also applies to any clothing you may hand wash yourself. We also recommend you do not sit directly on the ground or on cushions outside if they are damp or have been left outside overnight. Our vehicles will always have blankets available for you to sit on.

If your skin starts to itch or you develop sores on your skin, please let your guide know. Treatment usually consists of applying the lesion with petroleum jelly or liquid paraffin to suffocate the larva which can then be pushed out via finger pressure.

INTESTINAL HEALTH
Wherever one travels, stomach upsets and diarrhea can occur. An effective precaution against getting sick is taking Pepto Bismol tablets or acidophilus capsules every day, starting a couple of days before your safari until a few days after you return. If you do become ill, one dose of Imodium will often clear it up.

Bacterial diarrhea caused by eating contaminated food or drinking impure water, however, can potentially be very serious (we do not recommend the use of Imodium for this type of illness). If you experience symptoms that persist, notify your Driver/Guide who will assist you in seeking medical attention.

TREKKING & PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS
In order to ensure that you enjoy your visit with the gorillas to the fullest extent, it is a good idea to engage in an exercise program for at least several weeks or even months before your departure. The treks, which usually last between two and eight hours, including one hour spent with the gorillas, may cover more than four miles in distance and may occur in any kind of weather; rain may occur at a moment’s notice. In addition, you may also be walking for up to six hours when viewing the chimps in Kibale Forest.

Please also note that the gorilla treks occur at altitudes of up to 7,500 feet above sea level and can be very physically strenuous. It can be very humid and the terrain is often steep, rough and, at times, slippery and muddy. The goal is to be able to walk up hill for several hours, so make sure your exercise regiment includes walking up inclines. In addition, strong hiking boots with good tread and ankle support are essential.

ELEVATION
The highest elevation reached on our adventure is about 7,500 feet, Shortness of breath; pounding heart and lack of energy are normal responses to the diminished amount of oxygen in the air. To lessen the effects of altitude should you feel tired or short of breath, we highly recommend drinking plenty of water. Proper hydration is essential, particularly at higher altitudes. In addition, the avoidance of alcohol, cigarettes and heavy foods will go a long way towards preventing acute symptoms.

SLEEP APNEA
For those with sleep apnea, CPAP machines can be accommodated on this adventure as long as advance notice has been given. You must bring any necessary power converters or outlet adapters with you, as they will not be available during the adventure. In addition we recommend bringing a battery pack that can be recharged in order to ensure the use of your machine at all accommodations.

MONEY MATTERS:

DEPARTURE TAXES
When leaving Entebbe Airport in Uganda, travelers must pay a departure tax of $59. In most cases, this fee has been included in the price of the airline ticket. If not, it is payable in U.S. currency.

CURRENCY-
The national unit of currency in Uganda is the Ugandan shilling (UGX), which is divided into 100 cents. Coins come in the following shilling denominations: 50, 100, 200 and 500. Bank notes are printed in denominations of 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 shillings.

MONEY EXCHANGE
The current exchange rate is approximately $1 USD equaling UGX 3,500. We recommend waiting until you arrive in Uganda to exchange money as it is very easy to do.

VERY IMPORTANT: It is essential to bring crisp, new-format (dated year 2006 or newer), larger bills ($50 and $100 U.S. bills), with no blemishes. Smaller bills do not receive as favorable an exchange rate as larger bills but are good for tipping. Older, worn or torn bills will not be accepted.

Any amount of foreign currency may be brought into Uganda, however, amounts over $5,000 USD must be declared to Customs officials. There is an exchange bureau at the international airport which remains open for the majority of flight arrivals (with the exception of the flight arriving at 11:15 pm). Keep in mind, cash generally yields a better rate of exchange than traveler’s checks, and small bills will not be accepted for exchange.

Ugandan Shillings can be changed back to USD at the airport upon departure. Most currency exchange services will change paper currency for USD, but not coins.

CASH
We recommend having sufficient cash on hand to pay for incidentals, meals not included in the itinerary, alcoholic beverages and gratuities.

U.S. currency is accepted to pay for expenses at most, but NOT all accommodations. However, because you will generally receive a lower exchange rate using U.S. dollars, and they are extremely difficult for locals to exchange, we highly recommend changing some of your money at the airport, upon arrival in Entebbe. You will also always receive a better price for souvenirs purchased with shillings.

If you are using large Ugandan bills to make purchases at shops or restaurants, local merchants may not have enough cash on hand to make change for you. To avoid this problem, we highly recommend asking for small bills when exchanging money.

ATM
ATM’s within Uganda are located at the international airport and in some of the larger cities such as Kampala and Entebbe. In the past, the ATM at the airport has often been out of service. Additional machine have recently been installed, so the likelihood of one of the machines working is better, but cannot be guaranteed. Therefore, please do not rely on the use of ATM’s to obtain cash while on your safari. ATM’s will only accept Visa cards and cash will be given in Ugandan Shillings.

CREDIT CARDS
Credit cards can be used sporadically throughout Uganda (mostly only in Kampala and Entebbe), but their acceptance is never guaranteed. If you are planning to bring a credit card (recommended), Visa is typically your best bet. Mastercard, American Express and Diner’s Club are rarely accepted.

It is very expensive for most African companies to accept credit cards. They will often pass this expense on to the buyer in the form of a surcharge, which may amount to five to seven percent of the amount purchased.

TRAVELLER’S CHECKS
Although it can sometimes be a good idea to bring traveler’s checks while traveling, they are not accepted at camps and lodges in Uganda.

CLIMATE:
Uganda have a pleasant climate year round with minor temperature variations. The altitude on a typical Uganda safari varies from 1,000 metres to 2,400 metres above sea level. Days are pleasant, 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and nights are moderate, 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. At higher altitudes it can be cooler, especially at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The green season is usually from April to May and again from late October to November.

LUGGAGE:

LUGGAGE ALLOWANCES
We recommend soft-sided luggage.

One medium or large strong, water-resistant duffle bag and one small, collapsible carry-on or daypack, for holding items needed on daily activities, should be adequate. Traveling light is always best.

All venues during the trip are casual and laundry services are available at most accommodations.

WEIGHT RESTRICTIONS
Although international airlines have varying and often generous luggage weight allowances, charter flights within Uganda strictly limit passengers to a total of 33 pounds of luggage, including carry-ons and camera equipment. Excess baggage is subject to being left behind and later shipped to you at considerable expense; charges are extremely expensive!
If you are spending additional time in East Africa, it may be possible to leave excess luggage in Entebbe. Please contact our office for further details.

PERSONAL WEIGHT INFORMATION
Because the overall weight on board our charter flights can be a significant safety issue, it is also important for us to know in advance if any traveler weighs more than 200 pounds. We understand this can be a sensitive topic, but the safety of our travelers is our most important concern.

LANGUAGE:
English is the official language of Uganda and is taught in grade schools, used in courts of law and by most newspapers and some radio broadcasts. Ganda or Luganda is the most widely used of the Niger-Congo languages, and is preferred for native language publications in the capital and may be taught in school.

TIME ZONE
Uganda is 3 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+3) and is eight hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in the U.S.

ELECTRICAL CURRENT
The electrical current in Uganda is 240 volts. Universal power converters are commercially available and have the ability to select differing input voltages, output voltages and come with a variety of plug type and power jacks in different sizes and formats to suit various types of equipment.

In addition, plugs are usually three-pin, square peg (as in the U.K.). You will need an outlet adapter if you wish to use any personal appliances or recharge batteries while on traveling in East Africa. Some accommodations may have generators that run only during certain hours during the day (usually morning and evening).

In lodges where there is no electricity in the guest rooms, cameras and video equipment can be charged in the manager’s office/main building upon request.

The picture shown below is the type of plug you are most likely to find in Uganda. You may also wish to bring a cigarette lighter adapter that can be used while in vehicles.

If you wish to recharge camera batteries, you will also want to bring a spare which can be charged while you are out for the day.

You will not be able to use hairdryers or electric razors while in most tented camps, as they have low wattage fuses, which will trip if such appliances are used.

DRIVING
In Uganda, there is a system of sealed roads between most major centers of population. However, the conditions may vary from unbelievably good to dreadfully bad, and at times, the ride can be uncomfortable. Minor roads are usually riddled with potholes and become impassable after heavy rains.

Conditions can sometimes be dusty while driving. If you are very sensitive to dust, you may want to bring a small, surgeon-type mask or bandana to cover your nose and mouth, in addition to eye drops and nasal spray for any irritation which may occur.

VEHICLES
The safari vehicles we use are specially-designed for adventures in Uganda, with two goals in mind: providing comfort during overland drives on sometimes rough roads, and allowing for excellent game-viewing opportunities for each passenger.

We use Nissan Patrols, Land Cruisers and Land Rovers in a number of different sizes. All are four-wheel-drive and are fitted with high-quality, imported tires, to ensure that we can press on through rough spots. Seat belts are three-point, instead of the typical lap belts found in most safari vehicles, for added safety. All are outfitted with a cooler box with bottled water, as well as tea and coffee, guide books on mammals, birds and trees, umbrellas and bean bags upon request for avid photographers.

Each vehicle was designed with an environmentally-friendly oil bypass filtration system that allows for an extended engine service period. This limits the amount of waste oil that must be disposed of, as Uganda does not yet have oil recycling facilities.

GORILLA TREKKING
• There is a minimum age of 15 for all participants in this adventure.
• Under no circumstances are gorillas to be touched by humans. This is to protect them from communicable diseases, to which they are very susceptible.
• Any traveller with an obvious cold or other communicable illness will not be allowed to participate in the treks.
• Groups may not be more than 8 travellers trekking one family at one time and may only remain with the gorilla family for 1 hour.
• Park regulations stipulate that if the gorillas have not been found by 1pm, then the group must turn around and head back to camp to avoid trekking in the dark.

PHOTOGRAPHY
• When photographing gorillas, no flash is allowed. We highly recommend bringing high-speed film and a fast lens with you or using a faster ISO on your digital camera during your treks.
• We recommend bring extra memory cards, batteries, chargers. Also zip-lock bags to protect camera equipment from the elements.
• Some travellers have had excellent results bringing just one lens (to save weight and space). We suggest a lens with a large range (i.e. 35mm-300mm) as well as wide-angle and telephoto capacities. Use your fastest lenses with maximum apertures of f/2.8 or f/4 to take in as much light as possible for faster focusing and faster shutter speeds. An ideal lens for most situations is the 70-200mm or 80-200mm f/2.8, preferably with image stabilization or vibration reduction.
• If you have a camera with detachable lenses, a lens with a 250-300mm zoom is good for long distance shots and a shorter lens 20-30mm is useful for scenery and community photography.

RECOMMENDED READING
• Uganda, The Bradt Travel Guide, 5th Edition (Philip Briggs)
• Spectrum Guide to Uganda, 2nd Edition (Camerapix)
• Uganda’s Great Rift Valley (Andrew Roberts) available in USA from www.africanteagarden.com
• The Safari Companion A Guide to Watching African Mammals (Richard Estes)
• The Year of the Gorilla (George Schaller)
• Gorillas in the Mist (Dian Fossey)
• The Last King of Scotland (Chris and Tilde Stuart)

IN ADDITION TO THE NORMAL CLOTHING FOR AN EAST AFRICAN SAFARI, WE RECOMMEND
• Strong walking boots with ankle support
• Socks long enough for trousers to be tucked into
• Light shoes
• Cotton or Gortex trousers
• Shorts
• Long-sleeved shirts for trekking
• Sweater or sweatshirt
• Light gloves for protection against thorns and nettles
• Light jacket or fleece
• Waterproof clothing (no bright colours, which disturb the animals)
• Hat for sun and/or rain – bandana
• Swimsuit (Optional—several accommodations have swimming pools)
• Daypack
• Waterproof zip lock bags for cameras, film, and spare clothing
• Be prepared for cool or warm, dry or wet weather when trekking gorillas.
• Muted colours are necessary for gorilla trekking, no bright colours.
• No camouflage clothing (can be an issue, relating to national military uniforms)

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