Gorilla Adventure Tours provides you with all the useful travel information so that you better plan your African safari for a memorable experience. Take a look at our travel tips that will be useful for you when you visit Rwanda and Uganda.
Uganda and Rwanda have got well organized postal services and there are no problems related with sending or receiving letters. International call facilities as well as fax facilities exist at the main Post Office and in many Secretarial bureaus. Otherwise phone cards can be bought and used in public pay phones. International telephone communication is very good from Kampala and Kigali. From some upcountry areas it is more difficult. The mobile telephone network is good and rapidly expanding. A European or American mobile phone with a roaming agreement works in Uganda. In Rwanda, local SIM cards can be purchased in many outlets. Some Camps and lodges up country can be accessed by two-way radio communication. There are Email and Internet access services in Kampala, Kigali, and Entebbe and in some towns upcountry.
French and local Kinyarwanda is the official languages in Rwanda. English and Swahili are also widely spoken here. Uganda is a multi-tribal society and as such about 56 languages are spoken here. English and Swahili are the official languages and most Ugandans are able to communicate fluently in English. All media and business is in English and most Ugandans speak it fairly well. Swahili is the next most commonly understood language in the East African region, including Uganda.
Many international newspapers and magazines are available in major hotels, restaurants, government and travel agencies. A number of Newspapers are published in Kigali and Kampala. The quality of the news content reveals Uganda and Rwanda’s ever prestigious quality education and training which has been a source of envy in the whole of Africa. Uganda boasts of the first and most prestigious Journalism and Mass communication Institute which plays a big role in replenishing Uganda’s scribe folk.
With the COVID-19 pandemic currently ravaging the globe, all visitors are advised to follow the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that include, hand washing, sanitising, social distancing and using face masks while in public. Also, a negative COVID-19 result is required of all visitors arriving in both Rwanda and Uganda and this should be taken within 72 hours from the arrival time.
Both Rwanda and Uganda are in a malaria zone and so visitors should take caution against malaria although the best way to avoid catching malaria is to avoid bites by using mosquito repellent and sleeping under a mosquito net. Visitors from or passing through a yellow fever and cholera zone (most of tropical Africa and South America) may be able to produce a valid International Certificate of Vaccination. Air travelers who only pass through the airports of such a zone are exempt from the requirement. It is also advised that all travelers be vaccinated against Meningitis, Typhoid and Hepatitis. For your own comfort take a mosquito repellent. Mosquito nets are provided in most hotels, lodges and camps. Precautions should be taken against malaria both when visitors are in the country, and when they return home. It is advisable to drink only boiled or bottled water and avoid swimming in ponds and still water pools.
While doctors and dentists are available throughout many areas of the country, the major hospitals are located in the main towns. Bring any special medication you may need, and carry medical insurance. Medical Insurance should be purchased before you leave your own country. There are some medical rescue organisations available.
Uganda and Rwanda are both near the Equator. As a result the climate does not change much and they can be visited throughout the year. The rainy seasons tend to be from March to April and October to November, but this varies in different areas and it can rain any time of year, especially in the forest and mountainous areas. Travel can be slower in the rainy season but the views are often better. Gorilla tracking can be muddier but it can certainly be done. In the mountainous areas it is much colder than on the plains and the rainfall is greater. The temperatures on the plains tend to be between 21°C and 30°C and in the mountainous areas they can go down to 10°C in certain months. So our advice is to travel when it is most convenient and usually the rain, which is often for short periods, is part of the great experience.
Apart from tipping and buying souvenirs there may be nothing else in relation to your safari that you need to buy as our safaris are usually largely all inclusive. This is why clients are advised not to carry too much money around. It is best to budget for around US$30-50 a day as a reasonable minimum. Kampala/Kigali/Bujumbura are well serviced with banks. International Banks especially in Kampala include Stanbic, ABSA, Orient, UBA, Standard Chartered, Tropical Bank among others. The unit of currency in Uganda is the Ugandan Shilling (Ush). Kigali is well serviced with a few international banks, such as Stanbic, and a few modern local ones such as the Bank of Rwanda and the Bank de Kigali. The unit of currency in Rwanda is the Rwandan Franc (RWF).
Credit Cards: Most hotels, restaurants, banks, travel agencies and the bigger shops will take credit cards in Uganda, Rwanda. Only a few hotels and banks in Bujumbura will accept credit cards. Most of the bigger banks and hotels will advance local currency against a credit card. The most commonly accepted credit cards are VISA, MASTER CARD and AMERICAN EXPRESS.
There is a wide selection of the best hotels and accommodation establishments in Rwanda and Uganda. Our hotels range from – budget (1 Star Hotels), mid-range (3 Star) and Luxury Hotels (4 Star & 5 Star). We also book safari lodges, Resorts, apartments, Guest Houses and bed and breakfast accommodation. Find out all you need to know about room rates, hotel facilities, and conference venues and events management services. In towns, accommodation ranges from 3-5 star hotels and guesthouses. Upcountry lodges and hotels have varying standards, often with no running water and electricity. Tourists pay in US Dollars except for the smaller guesthouses where the local Ugandan Shilling and Rwandan Franc are acceptable.
There are a number of sporting, dancing and social clubs, theatres and other entertainment places in the major towns. Visitors are usually welcome. Some charge a temporary membership fee. Avoid staying up till late when you are traveling the next day. Interactions and friendly relations are at the discretion of the client, but seek your guide’s advice. Many of the main hotels have swimming pools, and there are excellent opportunities for golf, tennis and squash in Kampala/Kigali, and in several other parts of the country. Football, rugby, tennis and cricket clubs are found in the main towns.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
Be quite awake when walking around carrying anything of value. Petty theft, including pickpockets is around in some places. Do not walk around at night unescorted before seeking advice. If possible, never leave your vehicle unattended and never change money on the streets. This is less of a problem in the rural areas. Carry minimum amounts of cash and keep it hidden or in a money belt, if possible. Secure your belongings such as passport or airline tickets and other valuables and documents; use safe deposit boxes where available. For the most part, however, the local people are very friendly and helpful. If in doubt seek local advice. For specific questions on current security conditions please contact us.