Frequently Asked Questions About Traveling In East Africa

Is Uganda a safe country?

Although Uganda has a turbulent history and suffered from war for many years, it is a safe country to visit nowadays. You will be warmly welcomed by the friendly residents. Kampala the capital city is announced to be one of the safest capital cities in East Africa.

Most national parks are situated in the southwestern part of the country and all are safe for tourist activities. The border area with Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo remains stable. All national parks and wildlife reserves are well protected by the rangers of the Uganda Wildlife Authority.

What is Included or Excluded in the Price?

All mentioned prices are inclusive of:

  • Ground transport per comfortable 4WD safari vehicle
  • All birding areas entry fees
  • Visit to all mentioned places in the itinerary
  • The services of an experienced birding guide and driver
  • National Park entrance fees
  • Gorilla permits where applicable
  • Chimpanzee permits where applicable
  • Activities that are mentioned in the itinerary, except for the optional activities
  • Accommodations in the mentioned locations
  • Meals included in the final itinerary
  • Bottled drinking mineral water
  • Government taxes during the itinerary
  • Ranger fees

Not included are:

  • International flight fares
  • Visa (available at the airport)
  • Meals and snacks that are not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Beverages not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Laundry fees
  • Optional activities that are mentioned in the program
  • Items of personal nature
  • Travel insurance
  • International transaction costs

What is the best time to travel to Uganda?

Officially Uganda has a rainy season from September-November and from Mid-March-May and a dry season from January-Mid March and June-mid September. Dry season months are most popular with tourists, with July and August as the peak season.

Most rain falls in October-November and Mid-March-May. However, this does not mean that it rains all day. Usually, it is a tropical shower at night or shortly during the day, but in Uganda you can trust that after rain, comes sunshine. The weather is no reason to avoid traveling in the wet season.

Like in the rest of the world, climates seem to be changing thus difficult for us to predict the weather during your safari. On the contrary, the temperature is very stable and pleasant, with sunshine 365 days a year. During the day the temperature averages between 26°CC, though in some places it can cool down in the night.

One remarkable aspect about coming to Uganda is, whether you travel in the dry, dusty months or in wet season, you will never find the crowded tourism. If you spot a lion or leopard, it is very likely that you will be the only one, even during the peak season!

How big are your travel groups?

At Penny Africa Safaris, we have low group size limits. Our Off-the-shelf tours of six (9) individuals will bread a quality tour since better communication will be ensured and there are higher chances of seeing birds clearly and closely even when birding in the tropical rain forests of Uganda.

Our comfortable safari vehicles offer seats for four to nine people just to ensure that every birder has a window seat and enough space for luggage. However, we offer tours for larger numbers upon request.

Can I book my safari with you when I am traveling alone?

Lone travelers are well entertained. Lone traveler safaris are organized at any time of client request. However, out of experience we know that lone traveling can be expensive. To help offset this, we can design scheduled departure tour which is ideal in this case. 

Do I need a visa to enter Uganda?

Despite the fact that you need a passport which is valid for another six months, you are also required to have a tourist visa before you enter Uganda. Visas are purchased online since covid 19 came but it used to be purchased on arrival at the airport or land border entry. Photos are not required and a visa fee is US$ 50 per person.

Can I do Gorilla & Chimpanzee Tracking at the same time?

If you are interested in a mountain gorilla safari in Uganda, you are required to buy a gorilla permit. A permit costs USD 700 starting 1st July 2020 only and USD 200 for the Chimpanzee Permit, eight people are allowed per day at each gorilla group, the demand is high thus it would be wise to let us know of your interest in gorilla tracking early so that the booking is done in time. It is our pleasure to arrange this for you, all we need to know is the preferred date. In order to be able to buy the gorilla permit you have to provide us with your full names, nationality and passport number. Some level of fitness is required for the gorilla tracking, though you might be denied if you are found ill. Also note that the minimum age for tracking the gorillas is 15 years.

What kind of transport do you offer?

We provide full time 4WD safari vehicles with pop-up and clear sliding windows for easy photography even amidst the untamable savannah residents.

What are the available accommodation types?

For your safari, you have the choice to stay in Budget, Midrange or Luxury accommodation.

Budget accommodation consists of simple and basic rooms, bandas or tents, providing double or twin beds and mosquito nets when necessary.

Private bathrooms are not always available and therefore you might have to share the washing facilities. The 3–5-star accommodations offer comfortable rooms or luxury furnished safari tents with a private bathroom, Flush toilets as well as hot and cold running water. Also, mosquito nets will be present where necessary.

All lodges are carefully selected and frequently visited by us, to ensure quality of the facility and service. Most of the safari accommodations are small-scale with a maximum of 8 rooms and offer a unique location or ambience.

How do I pay for my safari?

Once you confirm the final itinerary with us, we request you requested to pay a deposit of the total cost (please view our policy here). In case gorilla tracking is included in the program, you will be required to make a full payment for the gorilla permits. Note that availability of accommodations and permits is not guaranteed until officially confirmed by us. Reservations will be made as soon as the payment has been received on our account.

Our bank offers electronic bank transfers and our Swift code will be sent to you for the transactions. Please note that all bank charges are at the expense of the client.

Are vaccinations required before any safari?

Different types of vaccinations are recommended and required before entering Uganda. Besides bringing mosquito repellents, we advise you to carry malaria prevention medications. Vaccination against yellow fever is mandatory, just as a cholera stamp in your vaccination passport. Immunizations against DTP (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio) and Hepatitis A are recommended as well. Please consult your local doctor or health department for a detailed and updated advice.

Are ATM cards/Credit Cards/Travel cheques accepted?

Unfortunately, there are only a few banks that accept Visa credit cards and the likes for transactions. Master cards are not widely accepted either. Only a small number of banks do accept traveler cheques. Therefore, we advise you to bring cash and have money changed upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport. US dollars, Euro and Pound Sterling are easy to changes. For some expenses, like the payment of your visa, it is easier with US dollars.

NOTE: US dollar bills from the year 2001 and below are NOT accepted!

How much should tip?

Tipping in Uganda is not obligatory but many travelers do leave tips – and this extra money really helps boost the income of people working in the tourism industry. For restaurants, you can tip 10% for good service, and if you want to tip a taxi driver, then you can round up your fare.