Frequently Asked Questions
Uganda is a landlocked country in east Africa and famously called the “Pearl of Africa” by Winston Churchill, it is home to a wide range of African fauna some of which include the endangered mountain gorillas and the common chimpanzee. Uganda has an equatorial/ tropical climate, but the climate is not uniform in all regions as the altitude modifies the climate. The average temperatures of Uganda are at 21.5 C and 71 F, these also drop at night-time to around 54 F which affects the altitude. Rainfall in Uganda ranges between 1000-2000mm every year.
Southern Uganda is wetter with rain generally spread throughout the year. It is heavily influenced by one of the worlds biggest fresh eater lakes, Lake Victoria which contains many islands. Most rain falls are from March to May and in the November period. The north and north eastern region have the driest climate and is prone to droughts in some years. November to February is much drier than the rest of the year. Rwenzori in the southwest on the border with DR Congo receives heavy rain all year round.
Uganda has a lot to offer to tourists and every region has something unique to offer. The most visited places are usually national parks some of which include: Bwindi impenetrable national park, Mgahinga national park, Queen Elizabeth national park, Murchison Falls National Park, Kibale Forest National park and Kidepo Valley National Park among others.
The best time to visit a place varies depending on what activities on plans to undertake and Uganda is an all year-round travel destination. In Uganda most trips involve driving or moving through forests or hiking and this makes the dry season the best time to travel to Uganda. the country is at its best during its two dry seasons between December-February and between June-August, when conditions are particularly good for trekking to see mountain gorillas and chimpanzees. As for game viewing in the savannah parks, these months are the best times to go because grass is short and wildlife can be easily spotted even at a distance.
December is one of the busiest months of the year in most national parks and it’s advisable to book the accommodation in time to avoid disappointments. During the Christmas season, most Ugandans plan to take vacations to national parks so it’s always a peak season in the month of December. Visiting in low season is okay to many tourists since accommodation is cheap to encourage many tourists to travel even though it’s a rainy season. Visiting in this season also means that you will enjoy the jungle with relatively low crowds. February and September are good months for a safari vacation in Uganda since there are less tourists visiting, and the lodges are not fully booked as in the high season.
Regardless of what month you travel, we will make sure you have a memorable stay while in the “Pearl of Africa”.
Uganda, Rwanda and other East African nations acknowledge humble attire, so please know about nearby sensitivities and be ready to cover legs and arms when far away from touristic places and beaches. Make sure to pack a lot of cotton garments to stay agreeable by day. Different layers of light attire are generally appropriate. Bring boots, a sweater and rain coat for movement into rugged and bumpy regions. For chimpanzee or gorilla tracking, please look through our packlist ‘Gorilla Tracking Equipment’ underneath.
Rwanda and Burundi: 2-stick attachments (cycle), 240 V
Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania: 3-stick attachments (square), 230/240 V
If it’s not too much trouble make sure to bring along your own adapters unless you’re going to lodges where these are provided. Most lodges and camps are happy to give you recharchable batteries or candles if there is no power. In the rare moment that you have to recharge your batteries, please consult with your guide.
Here at Manya Africa Tours, we don’t offer or compose international flights. The accompanying organizations give flights to Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport: Emirates, British Airways, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, Brussels Airlines, Egyptair, KLM, Ethiopian Airlines, South Africa Airways, Kenya Airways and African Express. Aerolink offers 2 flights daily between Kibale Forest, Murchison Falls, Kidepo, Bwindi and Queen Elizabeth. To travel to Rwanda you can use for example Kenya Airways, KLM, Brussels Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines or South Africa Airways.
In East Africa, flights are operated by Rwandair, Kenya Airways, Coastal Aviation and Precision Air. Associations between the savannah fields of Tanzania/Kenya and Rwanda/Uganda are presently less demanding than they have ever been. Helicopter exchanges can likewise be organized regularly inside Rwanda to destinations, for example, Virunga Lodge. The carriers that are working in the area may change every once in a while, so make a point to check with your aircraft before adding a flight to your timetable. Essentially, ensure that your flight connections fit to the begin and finish of your Safari. Please consult your Manya Africa Tours experts for this.
Mountain gorillas are living in four unique National Parks in Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo). Mountain gorillas can be found in Mgahinga National Park and Bwindi National Park in Uganda and in Rwanda they can be seen in Parc National des Volcans where research was led by well known primatologist Dian Fossey. In the DRC, there are gorilla families living in Virunga National Park. Please check out our itineraries for Congo which will be conducted by our professional partners on the ground.
There are nine groups of habituated gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and every day there are eight licenses accessible for each gathering. In case you’re searching for a more difficult gorilla trek, Bwindi is the place to go. The tropical woods are thicker than they are in Rwanda’s Parc National des Volcans or Uganda’s Mgahinga National Park. When you have left the base of the Uganda Wildlife Authority for your pre-trek instructions, it can take somewhere in the range of 3 to 10 hours to finish the trekking, because of the more extreme slopes. On the off chance that you remain at the hotels in the Buhoma territory north of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, you’ll have the capacity to get to five of the gorilla families including the Rushegura, Mubare, Oruzogo, Habinyanja and Bitukura. On the off chance that you remain at Mount Gahinga Lodge or Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, among others toward the south of Bwindi, you’ll have the opportunity to track one of four gorilla families: the Nshongi, Nkuringo, Mishaya and Kahunje.
The Mubare gorilla family – There are 7 individuals in this family and this incorporates one silverback. This is Uganda’s most established habituated gorilla family. It was first habituated in 1991 – 1993 and got its name from the Mubare slopes after first being spotted there. The gathering initially contained 12 individuals with silverback Ruhondeza driving the family. At a certain point in time it developed to 18 individuals then later downsized to 7. This gathering is found 15 to 30 minutes from your convenience with in Buhoma area.
The Oruzogo gorilla family – This family contains one silverback and 16 individuals. The gathering, which was given the name of a typical plant that develops locally, is found 2 hours away via auto or truck from your host hold up at Buhoma zone and 15 minutes from lodges around Ruhija zone.
The Habinyanja gorilla family – This family comes finish with 2 silverbacks and 15 relatives. This gathering was first habituated in 1997. It began off as a bigger gathering however then split into 2 isolate families: the Habinyanja Family and the Rushegura Family. These gorillas are found roughly a hour from your host stop with Buhoma part.
The Rushegura gorilla family – There is one silverback and 19 individuals in this family that chipped off from the Habinyanja gathering. They were named after a kind of tree called the ‘Ebishegura’ that develops in their neighborhood living space and they are the nearest family to the Bwindi Lodge, Buhoma hold up, Gorilla timberland camp and Mahogany springs. The family makes their home roughly 15 minutes from it and they are a quiet family that regularly visit a few cabins around Buhoma area.
The Bitukura gorilla family – This family comprises of 4 silverbacks and 12 individuals and their name originates from “Bitukura River”. This is one of the more up to date families to live in the Impenetrable Forest since their home just goes back to 2007. Following of this family began in 2008 and they are situated around 2 hours from your host hold up (buhoma region) and 15 minutes from lodges around Ruhija.
The Nkuringo gorilla family – There are 2 silverbacks and 19 relatives in this gathering. The gathering was is situated at the southern piece of the recreation center, at first spotted at Nkuringo Hill, which is the place the name originates from. They were first habituated in 2004 and at the time they were wrecking nearby ranchers’ harvests. Presently the agriculturists can profit by the majority of the nearby tourism that they give. The family is found 5 minutes stroll from Clouds mountain gorilla hold up, 2 hours from Mount Gahinga Lodge and 6 hours from Buhoma the northern area of stop.
The Mishaya gorilla family – This gathering contains one silverback and 12 individuals. This family was shaped after aNshongi family debate when they chipped off and went their own way. The gathering was named Mishaya, signifying “fortunate one” and they make their home 6 to 7 hours from Buhoma the northern division, 45 minutes from mists mountain gorilla stop, 5 minutes from Gorilla safari cabin and 2 hours from Mount Gahinga hold up.
The Nshongi gorilla family – There are 4 silverbacks and 25 individuals in this gathering. The family got its name from the stream that was in closeness to the region where the family was initially located out of the blue. They were followed without precedent for 2009 and it is the biggest family to be habituated. In the event that you go from Mount Gahinga Lodge it will take you 2 hours to achieve this family or, if taking off from Buhoma the northern segment of the recreation center, it will take 6 to 7 hours, 45 minutes from mists mountain gorilla hold up, 5 minutes from Gorilla safari stop.
The Kahungye gorilla family – This is a recently habituated amass that comprises of 3 silverbacks and 27 individuals. This family name originated from the Kahungye slope and they have just been followed since 2011. The gathering lives 2 hours from Mount Gahinga Lodge, 30 minutes from Clouds mountain gorilla hotel and 6 to 7 hours from Buhoma the northern segment of the recreation center.
There is just a single gorilla family to be found in Mgahinga National Park. The Nyakagezi Family comprises of 3 silverbacks and 10 individuals and it is an extremely roaming bunch that crosses the outskirts of the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda. Now and again it can seem just five minutes from mount Gahinga hold up, 2 hours from Clouds mountain gorilla stop, yet since it completes tend to venture to every part of the separation can differ.
In Rwanda, the Parc National des Volcans has 10 gorilla families that have been habituated and consistently each gathering is permitted eight licenses. The families incorporate Karisimbi, Susa, Sabyinyo, Umubano, Amahoro, Kwitonda, Agashya, Hirwa, Ugyenda and Bwenge. It typically just takes about an a large portion of a day of strolling to get together with one of these gatherings however it can take up to 7 hours to achieve the Susa gathering.
The Susa gorilla family gather – This gathering has 3 silverbacks and 28 aggregate individuals and its unique name originates from the Susa River. It was the biggest gathering of its kind before partitioning into 2 isolate gatherings. This family wound up plainly famous because of the investigations initially directed by Dian Fossey and its arrangement of twins named Impano and Byishimo. The gathering is arranged roughly 40 minutes from Virunga hold up stop, 15 minutes from Sabinyo and mountain Gorilla see cabins to achieve this family.
The Karisimbi gorilla family bunch – With 3 silverbacks and 15 individuals, this is the gathering that split far from the Susa family. The gathering dependably stays in the general zone of the Karisimbi Volcano on the lower inclines. It takes around 40 minutes from Virunga hold up, 15 minutes from Sabinyo and mountain Gorilla see hotels to achieve this family.
The Sabyinyo gorilla family – Named after the Sabyinyo Volcano, this gathering has 2 silverbacks and 12 individuals. It jumps at the chance to assemble between the Gahinga and Sabyinyo Mountains to appreciate the delicate landscape there. You can get to this family by going around 40 minutes from Virunga hold up, 15 minutes from Sabinyo and mountain Gorilla see hotels to achieve this family.
The Amahoro gorilla family gather – This is a quiet and delicate gathering as ought not out of the ordinary since the word Amahoro signifies “tranquil”. They are situated around 40 minutes from Virunga Lodge, 15 minutes from Sabinyo and mountain Gorilla see hotels to achieve this family. You’ll encounter a harder climb achieving this family that contains one silverback and 17 amass individuals.
The Umubano gorilla family gather – This gathering has one silverback and 11 relatives. This family was initially a piece of the Amahoro gathering and despite the fact that the 2 bunches never again live respectively regardless they share a ton of a similar domain gently. This gathering can be found around 40 minutes from Virunga stop, 15 minutes from Sabinyo and mountain Gorilla see cabins to achieve this family.
The Kwitonda gorilla family – The name of this gathering signifies “humble one” and comprises of 2 silverbacks and 18 individuals. Despite the fact that the gorillas normally jump at the chance to remain on the Mount Muhavura bring down slants, it is a gathering that is more hard to track. They are situated around 40 minutes from Virunga hold up, 15 minutes from Sabinyo and mountain Gorilla see hotels to achieve this family.
The Hirwa gorilla family – The name of this gathering signifies “fortunate one” and comprises of 12 individuals and one silverback. This is a generally new gathering that framed from fragment bunches when Group 13 and the Sabyinyo family combined. There is an arrangement of twins in this family and they can for the most part be found on Mount Sabyinyo, which is around 40 minutes from Virunga hold up, 15 minutes from Sabinyo and mountain Gorilla see hotels to achieve this family.
The Ugyenda gorilla family – There is one silverback and 11 individuals in this family and the name of the gathering signifies “flight”. This is a less demanding gathering to track than numerous others since it has a tendency to stay in the district of Mount Visoke, around 40 minutes from Virunga hold up, 15 minutes from Sabinyo and mountain Gorilla see cabins to achieve this family.
The Bwenge gorilla family – The name of this group means “brightness” and there is one silverback and 10 members in the family. They share a lot of territory on Mount Visoke with the Ugyenda group and can be found approximately about 40 minutes from Virunga lodge, 15 minutes from Sabinyo and mountain Gorilla view lodges to reach this family.
The accompanying equipment is required for gorilla tracking:
Light fleece or downy sweater, warm garments, a lightweight parka or rain poncho and rain cap, a sun cap, long underpants or leggins, long sleeve shirt, woolen lightweight socks, strong pants, gloves for holding vegetation and waterproof strolling boots that are solid and can deal with climbing steep slopes. Pack with the goal of layering your garments since the temperature has a tendency to change.
The accompanying gear is required for gorilla tracking as well:
Sunscreen, quick film, shades, binoculars, a light and a little rucksack for conveying a stuffed lunch and water. On the off chance that you require a mobile stick you can either obtain one from the lodge or a guide can make you one.
Every gorilla tracking allows only a specific number of visitors per day so it is necessary to book gorilla tracking early. When you book your underlying safari you’ll have to pay an advance for the allowance with the purpose that it can be secured instantly. Inability to do so can mean missing out on an allowance.
If it’s not too much trouble ensure that you are set up legitimately for gorilla tracking before leaving home. Don’t hesitate to check our pack list under the point “What to bring for Gorilla Tracking” on our site. Children younger than 15 are not allowed to track gorillas nor are individuals with any sicknesses. This approach is basically to shield the gorillas from undesirable illness.
In the event that you want to anticipate in the Gorilla tracking you should be healthy and fit since you’ll be going through thick timberland and may need to move to hights of at least 3000m. You can likewise get wet as you go up the mountains and down into gorges. If necessary you can hire a porter for a small fee to carry your belongings.
Licenses for Gorilla Tracking are non-refundable unless you can give a testament from a doctor to demonstrate that you can’t go to for medicinal reasons. As well, tracking may be cancelled off on short notice due to border closures, gorillas heading out of range, national park closures or due to security changes. In these types of situations, refunds are left up to the authority’s discretion and are beyond our control. There is no guarantee that you will see a gorilla if you purchase a gorilla tracking permit.
You are permitted to see the gorillas for one hour and must stand at least 7m far from them. According to Uganda Wildlife Authority, there have put a side two gorilla famalies for the so called Gorilla Habituation experience in Rushaga region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
In this experience, clients will spend more time with mountain gorillas compared to gorilla trekking which is restricted to only one hour. It true that gorilla trekking can take three quarters of the day but this involves trek to and from the gorillas but the actual time spent with the gorillas for observation and photography is only one hour. With mountain gorilla habituation experience, clients will be moving with researchers/those who habituate gorillas, spend more time and see how gorillas are habituated. This experience is likely to attract more tourists since your spend more time (Four hours) compared to those interested in doing two treks.
Bring along quick film that is 400 to 1600 ASA since no blaze photography is permitted. You can, be that as it may, bring along your film recorder. In the event that you are a film influencing proficient you’ll to need to get authorization initially to buy a recording license.
When you meet the ranger at the national park they will advise you facilitate about the guidelines and controls and will lead you to the gorilla families. We generously ask that you follow the controls.
Gratuities are graciously accepted and are left to the complete discretion of the customer. We can offer the following recommendations for tips but they are suggestions only:
Restaurants – Approximately 3% to 5%
Camps and lodges – $3 to $5 USD per guest based on a 1-3 day stay
Guides and drivers – $5 to $10 USD per client per day
Gorilla tracking head ranger – $10 USD per client per day
Park porters – $20 to $25 USD per person per day
Baggage porters at lodges and hotels – $1-$2 USD per stay per client
Walks in the forest – $5 USD per client
What to bring for Hiking and Trekking?:
Overmitts, gloves or mountain gloves for climbing, rain gear, wool sweater and coat, long sleeved shirts for trekking, rain and sun caps, mountain coat, a warm cap for moving at high-elevations, T-shirts, shorts, climbing and climbing pants, long lightweight clothing and lightweight gloves for the camp.
Footwear – Sandals or camp shoes, an arrangement of gaiters for low heights and a set for high elevations, mountain boots that can suit crampons, strolling/running shoes.
Crampons, grappling rope, climbing tackle, ice hatchet, dozing mat, resting pack, tent, slings, climbing pack or day pack, carabiners and waterproof sacks. Kayak sacks, for example, those made by Ortleib, are suggested and can be utilized for pressing your gear, dressing, sleeping bag and tent.
Medicinal – Dark shades, sun screen that is ranging between 45 – 60 spf, Malaria prophylaxis, resting pills in the event that you think that its difficult to rest at a high elevation, an emergency treatment pack, any recommended pharmaceutical, non-solution painkillers (keep away from aspirin). Diamox assists with acclimatization and furthermore lessens the danger of creating edema. On the rare chance that your nearby drug specialist does not stock these things, different stores online can supply them.
Ensure that you get appropriate restorative scope before leaving home. When you book an east African tour, you should demonstrate confirmation of sufficient travel insurance to the organization before your takeoff. The travel insurance should cover the whole span of your visit. Insights in regards to clearing cover.insurance can be found on the AMREF Flying Doctors protection site.
Internet and Telephone
In case you’re going to Kigali or Kampala you’ll have no problems to make worldwide calls yet it to can be somewhat troublesome up-country despite the fact that the cell phone range is growing quickly countrywide over East Africa. Most American and European cell phones work in Rwanda and Uganda with a roaming agreement. Numerous outlets additionally offer local SIM cards. In the event that you have to use the Internet while here, there are internet caffees accessible in Kigali, Kampala and in most Rwandan and Ugandan bigger towns. It would be ideal if you take note of that the speed and nature of the Internet associations can differ starting with one area and changing onto the next. Our guides can accept incoming calls on their cell phones.
Medical and Health
Before heading out you are encouraged to look for medical advice. In the United Kingdom, the Medical Advisory Service for Travelers Abroad (MASTA) can be reached at www.masta.org or you can call them under +44 9068 224100. If you live in the United States, you can contact CDC through their site at www.cdc.gov
When going to East Africa, bring along any individual pharmaceutical and make sure to pack mosquito repellent and anti-malaria tablet. You might be required to get all necessary immunizations which vary from country to country and if you are intending to visit Uganda and the DRC you’ll have to get a vaccination (and authentication) for Yellow Fever. After your arrival, make sure to use bottled drinking or sparkling water or filtered water only and be aware that medical services are basic, especially when you’re traveling up-country.
Travellers are prescribed to move with cash money since only a few offices or hotels accept Mastercards or Visa. Just a couple of lodges and guesthouse upcountry, and a couple of outlets in Kigali and Kampala, will accept credit card or debit cards, and the charges can be high. Make sure that the carried money is in excellent condition. US Dollar notes MUST be dated after 2013 and you should expect to spend between $30-$50 USD every day. ATM machines are just accessible in Kigali, Kampala and a modest bunch of bigger towns. One dollar USD levels with around 3,500 shillings in Uganda and 836 francs in Rwanda. Traveler’s checks are no longer accepted anywhere in Uganda.
Be prepared to take a lot of pictures, yet please ask before capturing any individuals. Taking pictures of fighters or territories close military structures isn’t allowed. Make sure to bring along additional batteries and an auto charger for your digital camera, since not all lodges provide power. In the event that you are an expert movie producer, you’ll have to request authorization before recording in the National Parks and should buy a special filming allowance. Manya Africa Tours can be helpful with this. Flash photography of wildlife is forbidden so bring fast (400 to 1600 ASA) film to get the best results. DVD recorders are permitted. You should also take note that it is usually easier to photograph gorillas on cloudy days.
As it is with movements anywhere, you should practice fundamental security safety measures and utilize sound judgment on your adventure to East Africa and amid your remain. Leave your costly jewelery at home and never leave your cash money lying around. At the point when security store boxes are accessible, utilize them to store your valuables and travel documents. Make utilization of your driver guides and the hotel staff and don’t walk alone during the evening. If you ever have any security inquiries or concerns, kindly don’t delay to counsel with your Manya Africa Tours guide.
Rwanda is +2 hours GMT and Uganda is +3 hours GMT.
Rwandan Tourist Visa
A single entry tourist visa is quite easy to obtain, whereas multiple entry visas require more negotiation.
Rwandan visas are no longer offered at Kigali Airport. If you’re not a national of one of the countries listed above, you’ll need to apply for a tourist visa before your trip to Rwanda. You can either request a visa online through the Entry Facility Form or you can request one from the Rwandan Embassies/Diplomatic Missions. If you fill out an online request, you’ll be able to pick the visa up once you arrive at the airport. For further details please visit the Migration Rwanda website.
You’ll be asked to show a copy of the Entry Facility Form that was accepted before your visa is given to you. The cost for a single entry Rwandan visa is $50 USD. The Rwandan Embassy in the United Kingdom is located at 120 – 122 Seymour Place in London, UK, W1H 1NR. You can call the embassy at +44 020 722 49 832.The Rwandan Embassy in the United States is located in Washington DC at 1724 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, 200091. The phone number there is +1 202 232 2882.
If you are a citizen of Japan, the United States or the European Union, you’ll need a visa to visit Uganda. If you are from another country you should check first and find out whether a visa will be required.
Ugandan visas are no longer offered at Entebbe Airport. Please visit https://visas.immigration.go.ug/ to apply online for a visa.
A single entry Ugandan visa will cost $50 USD and will be valid for between two weeks and three months. For further information about the visa requirements to enter Uganda please visit the official website at www.immigration.go.ug/page/requirements-entry-uganda . The Ugandan Embassy in the United Kingdom is located here: Uganda House Embassy, 58-59 Trafalgar Sq., London UK, WC2N 5DX. You can reach the embassy at +44 (0)20 7839 5783.
The Ugandan Embassy in the United States is located in Washington DC at 5811 16th Street NW, Washington DC USA, 20011. You can reach Embassy officials at 1 202 726 7100.
Travelers from Germany can find help here:
Bridge Corporation, Huttenstraße 22,10553 Berlin
Tel.: 030 809 203 22 , Fax: 030 306 401 58
If your are travelling to more than one East African country please obtain the EAC Visa.
Both Rwanda, Uganda and other East African nations are located near the equator. This implies there isn’t much fluctuation of weather, making the two countries a flawless year-round goal for visitors. The rainy season runs from March to April and from October to November in many territories yet rain can be normal at some other time – particularly in the regions close to the gorilla parks. Despite the fact that the rainy season can slow down movement times, the views are frequently better in these conditions. Gorilla tracking will be available during these times and you can hope to keep running into some mud along your way.
There is more rainfall in the mountains and the encompassing zones and it is additionally significantly colder there than it is in the open savanah. All in all, the temperature ranges 21°C to 30°C on the plains and in amid specific months the temperature can go as low as 10°C in the mountain territories. We encourage our customers to design their movements after their taste since the rain, which typically only occurs for brief periods, is another piece of this phenomenal experience.