Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a visa to enter Uganda?
Yes, you do need a visa to enter Uganda. A tourist visa costs $50 US dollars and can be applied for in advance online at https://visas.immigration.go.ug/. It is also possible to get your visa on arrival at any port of entry, and at Entebbe Airport without prior application, in which case you would have to carry cash ($50) and be able to present all other necessary documentation like a valid passport, yellow fever vaccination card and your travel itinerary or cover letter from the company.
If you are planning to combine Uganda with a visit to Kenya or Rwanda, we recommend you apply for the East African Tourist Visa. This visa costs $100 USD per person and allows 90-day multiple entries into Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. Please note that if acquiring the East African Visa before travel, your first entry must be the country through which you applied for the visa.
Citizens of some countries can visit Uganda without a visa. Read more on https://www.immigration.go.ug/content/visas-and-passes
Do I require travel insurance?
We do recommend you take out travel insurance before commencing on your journey to Uganda. Medical insurance is also a must-have.
When is the best time to visit Uganda?
Uganda’s weather is generally very pleasant all year round. The dry seasons are from December to January, thought mid-March and June to mid-September. These have become the peak tourist seasons and advance booking (sometimes a year ahead) if planning to travel around this time is highly recommended.
The rains here come in average downpours, so even if you planned to come during the rainy months of October – November or April – May, you would still have a great tour experience. The good thing here is in the rainy months, it is considered off-peak tourist season, numbers are less so things like gorilla permits are always available in most cases, and a tour can be booked in the shortest time possible.
Is Uganda a safe place to visit?
Uganda has had a turbulent history but currently, the country is safe to visit, stable and welcoming. Uganda’s hospitality is legendary and you will be warmly welcomed everywhere you go. All our national parks and wildlife reserves are well protected by the Uganda Wildlife Authority Rangers and a Tourism Police force has been created to ensure safety and security of all tourists, tourist attractions, sites and facilities in Uganda.
If you are unsure about safety during your planned travel to Uganda, please contact Chigo Tours Africa. Your safety is our absolute priority and you can rest assured that we will always give you the best travel advice about Uganda.
Do I need vaccinations for my Ugandan safari?
We do suggest you get your yellow fever vaccination before coming to Uganda. Although Uganda is Yellow fever-free, having a Yellow Fever Vaccination certificate is mandatory. You have to present it together with your passport upon arrival at the airport.
For purposes of your own safety, other vaccinations to consider may include Hepatitis A & B, typhoid, cholera, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis, polio, and measles, mumps, rubella, Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria & pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza. We also advise you to take malaria prophylactics medication (malaria preventive medication).
Other Health Concerns: HIV / AIDS is real and even though Uganda has registered lower infection rates compared to other African countries, the prevalence rates are still high. Tourists are therefore warned against engaging in risky behaviour; so protect sexual health seriously.
How safe is it for homosexuals to visit Uganda?
Despite the negative press about this, Uganda is a safe place for both gays and lesbians. But note Uganda is a highly conservative society, so we encourage discretion for such relationships in public.
Can I use my ATM, credit card or cash only while in Uganda?
Most banks have ATM Machines in most cities in Uganda. Visa and other credit card withdrawals are accepted among many ATMs. You can withdraw a limited amount in local shillings and some USD to a daily maximum equivalent to about $800 at the days’ exchange rate. Maximum to withdraw may depend on your card issuing bank limitation. VISA Mastercard, JCB & AMEX can also be used in some establishments in Kampala and Many upcountry lodges in national parks are beginning to accept these cards.
Please note that only a few banks ATM accept Mastercard. Besides we advise our clients to carry some cash (US dollars preferred) in larger denominations (100s,50s) as these fetch a higher exchange rate compared to smaller notes ( 1,5,10). On arrival, our guide can always recommend where to have money changed for your personal use on tour.
Again note that if you are paying in USD cash in Uganda, older issued US notes will not be accepted, it is best to take US dollars issued 2013 or later.
How do I pay for my safari?
Once you confirm a tour with us after filling out the booking form, you will be issued with an invoice detailing the mode of payment; either by bank transfer or credit card via a merchant service provider, whose details we will avail to you. For deposits and full payment, refer to our terms and conditions.
Can I offer tips and how much?
This largely depends on your level of satisfaction on the type of service offered, but a small tip is always appreciated. If you are happy with the service of your tour guide, you might consider a $10-20 dollar tip per day for your guide is ok, and $5-$10 would do for site guides, hotels or lodge staff.
How do I get a gorilla permit?
If you are planning to do a gorilla safari in Uganda or Rwanda, advance booking is always preferred as there a limited number of permits available per day. And this availability changes on a daily basis, so the earlier the better.
As a company, we can give you the availability information depending on the date you want to travel. Once you confirm your tour with us and are ready to pay for the permit, we can reserve the permit for you. A gorilla permit in Uganda costs $600 and in Rwanda $1500.
What is the right age for trekking gorillas in Uganda?
The minimum age for gorilla trekking in Uganda is 15 years. But even then you must ensure that you are physically fit and strong enough to take on the trek. The hike can sometimes be strenuous but it is doable. However, if you are sick, or fall sick, you will not be allowed to trek.
What are the rules and regulations for gorilla trekking?
- A maximum number of 8 visitors are permitted to visit one family of habituated mountain gorillas per day. This grouping is done during the pre-trek briefing done in the morning of the trek. Maximum time with the gorillas is strictly for one hour. This minimizes behavioural disturbance to the gorillas and the risk of their exposure to human-borne diseases.
- Always wash your hands before you head out to the gorillas.
- On the way to the gorillas, Please always keep your voices low. You will also be able to observe the great birdlife and other wildlife in the forest.
- DO NOT leave rubbish in the park. Whatever you bring into the forest should be carried back out with you.
- When you are with the gorillas, a 7 meter (21 feet) distance from the gorillas should be observed at all times. The further back you are, the more relaxed the group will be.
- You must stay in tight group whey you are near the gorillas.
- Keep your voices down at all times. However, it is okay to ask the guide questions.
- Do not smoke, drink or eat when you are near the gorillas. Eating or drinking inevitably will increase the risk of food/drink morsels/droplets falling, which could increase the risk of transmission of diseases.
- Sometimes the gorillas charge. Do not attempt to run away. Follow the guide’s example (crouch down slowly, do not look the gorillas directly in the eyes and wait for the animals to pass). Flash photography is not permitted! When taking pictures move slowly and carefully
- Do not touch the gorillas. They are wild animals.
- The maximum time you can spend with the gorillas is one hour. However, if the gorillas become agitated or nervous, the guide will finish the visit early.
What to bring on your Gorilla Safari and Chimpanzee trek?
- Passport ( for registration before trekking)
- Sturdy and comfortable trekking boots
- Thick pants and a long-sleeved shirt as protection against stinging nettles.
- If you feel safer with a walking-stick, pack a folding one. Local walking sticks – made out of wood, are also available at the gates.
- During rainy seasons, a poncho or raincoat might be a worthy addition to your daypack.
- Sunscreen, sunglasses, repellant and a hat are a good idea at any time of year.
- Bring a snack or lunch (often provided by your lodge) and at least a litre of water.
- Make sure your camera gear is well protected in a waterproof day pack.
- Gloves (gardening type)
- Tip for rangers
- Porter fee if necessary ($15)
Please note that special arrangements for physically challenged persons are available to allow them to enjoy gorilla and chimpanzee trekking.
Other than gorilla trekking, what other activities can I do in Uganda?
Uganda famously referred to as the Pearl of Africa is a country gifted by nature. You will love the Rift Valley scenery of open savannah, tropical rain forests, crater lakes, snow-capped mountains and the distant volcanoes. With numerous national parks and wildlife reserves, there a lot of activities one can do on a tour in Uganda; although gorilla trekking comes as the unforgettable Ugandan experience. Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale (the primate capital of the world) is another much-loved activity, game drives, boat cruises on Kazinga channel and River Nile, hiking, birding…..the list is endless. Just browse through our website www.chigotours.com, find your interests and we’ll customize an itinerary just for you – one that will feed your soul and blow your mind.
What are safari accommodations like?
Safari accommodation in Uganda calls into three categories: budget, mid-range and luxury. Budget accommodation may be simple and basic rooms, bandas or tents with double or twin beds and mosquito nets. Some budget camps have shared bathroom facilities, the private bathroom are not always available.
Mid-range and luxury accommodations offer comfortable rooms or luxury furnished safari tents with private bathroom facilities. Flush toilets and hot/cold running water are always available and mosquito nets provided where necessary. Many have Swimming pools.
Our partner lodges are carefully selected to ensure comfort and safety for our clients.
What Vehicles does Chigo Tours Africa use on Safari?
Chigo Tours Africa provides an open roof, 4WD safari vehicles for all safaris and tours. Our comfortable land cruisers with pop-up roofs to maximize game viewing have different seating capacity. 4WD land Cruiser – Prado seats 2 people. Our 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser – Had Top Full size – most used safari horse in Africa seats 5 people. For larger group or family, 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser- Extended with a fridge is used and seats maximum 7 people. We also have 4×4 Toyota Super Custom Van that does group tours for up to 6 people.
Our vehicles are regularly serviced and well maintained to avoid any eventualities on the road.
What’s Uganda Airport and Which airlines can I book to Uganda?
Entebbe Airport (EBB) is Uganda’s main international airport. International airlines that connect to Entebbe include; Uganda Airlines, KLM-Airfrance, Delta, Brussels Airlines, Turkish, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian, South African, Rwanda Air and Aerolink for domestic flights. For more information https://entebbe-airport.com/flight-information/