musana tours and travel - travelBwindi - uganda

Travel Advice

The Ultimate Gorilla Trekking Destination

Things to know before you travel to Uganda

Visas

General info about this visa or permit

This is permission to enter Uganda. All persons intending to come to Uganda for holiday, tourism, business, study, visit, medical are required to apply and obtain a visa online.

Process

Once the application is submitted it will be studied by an Immigration Officer. Please note that during the approval process additional information may be required. The new required information can be submitted electronically through “Manage your applications”. The decision taken on the application will be sent electronically through the email provided by the applicant. If approved, an approval letter will be sent as an attachment to the email provided. Click on the link to download it.

This travel authorization does not guarantee entry into Uganda. Travelers will be subjected to secondary verification where necessary before personalization. Present a valid travel document of not less than 6 months validity to the Immigration officer at the port of entry.

Fees

    Visa For Diplomatic and Official Passport Holders

  • DiplomaticApplication Fee: 0 USD
  • OfficialApplication Fee: 0 USD

    Uganda Ordinary/Tourist Visa

  • Single Entry (online payment only - all the online payments may be subjected to a 3% surcharge fee)Application Fee: 50 USD

    East Africa Tourist Visa

  • East Africa Tourist Visa (online payment only - all the online payments may be subjected to a 3% surcharge fee)Application Fee: 100 USD

    Transit

  • Transit (online payment only - all the online payments may be subjected to a 3% surcharge fee)Application Fee: 50 USD

    Multiple-Entry

  • 6 Months (online payment only - all the online payments may be subjected to a 3% surcharge fee)Application Fee: 100 USD
  • 12 Months (online payment only - all the online payments may be subjected to a 3% surcharge fee)Application Fee: 100 USD
  • 24 Months (online payment only - all the online payments may be subjected to a 3% surcharge fee)Application Fee: 200 USD

Required documents

    Visa For Diplomatic and Official Passport Holders

  • DiplomaticDiplomatic passport (Bio-data page & Cover Page) with at least 6 months' validityDiplomatic Note (Note Verbale)Vaccination Certificate (Yellow Fever) Recent Passport size Photo graph
  • OfficialSupport documents for official visaRecent Passport Size Photo graphPassport (Bio-data page & Cover Page) with at least 6 months' validityVaccination Certificate (Yellow Fever)

    Uganda Ordinary/Tourist Visa

  • Single Entry A letter stating reason for transit and country of destination Return TicketCover letter detailing the purpose of visitSupport Document for the purpose of visit (Medical)Immigration Status of the HostReturn TicketInvitation LetterInvitation letter for the ConferenceRecent Passport-size PhotographPassport bio-data page (with validity of at least 6 months))Vaccination Certificate (Yellow Fever)

    East Africa Tourist Visa

  • travel itineraryReturn TicketVaccination Certificate (Yellow fever)Copy of recent Passport size PhotographCopy of the passport (Bio-data page)

    Transit

  • Passport (Bio-data page) with atleast 6 months validity A letter stating reason for transit and country of destination Vaccination Certificate (Yellow Fever)Recent Passport size Photograph

    Multiple-Entry

  • 6 MonthsPassport (Bio-data page) with at least 6 months validity Recent Passport size Photograph Valid Police clearance from Interpol or home country Recommendation letter from referee two (2) in Uganda Recommendation letter from referee one (1) in Uganda Cover Letter stating reasons for Multiple Entry Proof entries and exits into Uganda in the last one year Vaccination Certificate (Yellow Fever)
  • 12 MonthsRecent Passport size Photograph (not older than 6 months) Police clearance from Interpol or home country Vaccination certificate (Yellow Fever) Recommendation letters from referee Two (2) in Uganda The passport (Bio-data page)Cover Letter stating reasons for Multiple Entry Proof entries and exits into Uganda in the last one year Recommendation letters from referee one (1) in Uganda
  • 24 MonthsThe passport (Bio-data page) Recent Passport size Photograph (Not older than 6 months) Police clearance from Interpol or home country Proof entries and exits into Uganda in the last one year Recommendation letters from referee one (1) in Uganda Cover Letter stating reasons for Multiple
  • EntryRecommendation letters from referee Two (2) in Uganda Vaccination certificate (Yellow Fever)
  • Apply for a visa

Health and Safety

The Government of Uganda requires mandatory proof of a yellow fever vaccination for travelers 1 year of age and above. Travelers should possess a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate with the vaccine received at least 10 days prior to entry into Uganda. Travelers who do not meet this requirement must be vaccinated at the airport (with possibility of isolation as determined by the Airport Health Authority) at the traveler's own cost.

Furthermore, all required inoculations must be recorded by your health practitioner on a valid vaccination certificate. You must carry this document with you throughout the tour. All visitors should take malaria prophylactic drugs. We also advise that you bring a mosquito repellent with you. Always consult your doctor or pharmacist for up to date requirements, inoculations and personal recommendations!

Normally you need the following vaccinations:

  • Yellow Fever
  • DTP
  • Hepatitis

For malaria you need to take tablets, Malarone or Lariam. Malarone is mostly used (please always consult a doctor). Hygiene is not at the same standard as in your home country, so we advise you to bring a disinfectant cream with you. Always drink bottled water instead of tap water.

Travel Insurance

We advise you to apply for a Flying Doctors membership. The membership provides a quick and reliable air evacuation and medical care if needed. AMREF Flying Doctors offers 2 plans (Annual and Tourist). You can choose between the Maisha Silver (Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar), Maisha Gold (Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi) or Maisha Platinum (Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Ethiopia).

What to Bring

A valid passport is mandatory (passport must be valid for at least 3 months after entry) and visa requirements for all countries you are planning to visit should be checked before you travel. To make the most of your visit to the game reserves and national parks, we advise you to carry binoculars and field guides. Photographers will need a zoom lens for wildlife (70-300 or more). Please make sure to carry enough memory cards with you. Toiletries and other essentials can be bought in the cities if there is something that you forget. A torch (flashlight) can prove to be very useful.

Gorilla Trekking Essentials

When you talk about gorilla trekking, for many the first thing that comes to mind is the famous 1988 film “Gorillas in the Mist.” This was based on Dian Fossey's book that provided deep insight into the plight of mountain gorillas at the time. During Dian Fossey's research study in the Virunga Volcanoes region, mountain gorillas were at risk of becoming extinct because of habitat loss, poaching, gunshot as a result of crossfire during wars etc.

There were fewer than 604 mountain gorillas left in the world but due to the commitment from conservationists, there is a positive progress in their population growth in the wild today. Currently, the population of mountain gorillas according to the recently conducted census stands at 1063 individuals thriving in the jungles of the D.R. Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. Gorilla trekking is undoubtedly a bucket-list adventure experience most nature lovers come to enjoy in these 3 African countries.

If you plan to visit Uganda, Rwanda or the Congo for gorilla trekking, you will require adequate preparation. This is why we have come up with important gorilla trekking tips as a guide for planning your 2022 gorilla safari holiday.

Don't forget to obtain a valid gorilla permit

Gorilla permits are a must to carry regardless of the gorilla trekking destination- Uganda, Congo or Rwanda. There are 4 National Parks to visit to see mountain gorillas and in each park, you must present a valid gorilla permit. These include Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda with gorilla permits costing travelers US $1500 per person. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda and gorilla permits are issued at US Dollars 700 per person (cost applying to foreign non-residents), foreign residents US Dollars 600.

If you are citizen within East African Community, expect to pay shs. 250,000. The Congo gorilla permits are available for reservation at US Dollars 450 per person and permits are booked via a trusted tour operator. All gorilla permits should be booked early before the actual date of visiting the park. We recommend that you do so 2-4 months before.

Be ready for any weather conditions

Uganda, Congo and Rwanda often enjoy favorable weather conditions all year-round. Sudden changes in weather conditions may occur considering the nature of the habitat where gorillas live… tropical rain-forests. Daytime weather conditions may be chilly, humid or hot and rainy. However, the dry season is the best time to travel to any of the 3 countries to track gorillas.

The dry seasons usually run from June till September and December to February. The weather conditions during the wet or rainy season are characterized by wet grounds due to heavy rains, etc. This is a season some gorilla trekkers tend to avoid as the ground can be slippery, muddy and the vegetation can be thick. The wetter months run from March to May, October till November. Obviously, the ideal time to go on a gorilla trek is in one of the two dry seasons but, the gorillas are here all year round!

Pack well

When you think of gorilla trekking, you must think about what essentials to have/bring. This is not an ordinary wildlife experience. You need a valid gorilla permit, rain-jacket or rain coat, long sleeve shirt, long trousers, insect repellent, gloves (garden are ideal), bottled water, snacks, sweater, non-flash camera for photography, walking stick (get it at the park office or request one from the place of stay), hat and more.

Exercise adequately

Gorilla trekking involves hiking and hikes can be strenuous as you tackle the steep slopes. Before arriving, prepare adequately by exercising and ideally find high elevation areas to get acclimatized. On the other than, you can fly to your destination early enough and take advantage of the hilly areas of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo.

Always respect gorillas

One of the important rules and regulations for gorilla trekking is observing a distance of 8-10 meters from mountain gorilla groups. Although these apes undergo habituation and are notably non aggressive, humble and shy, it should be noted that they are wild animals. These apes can turn aggressive if threatened. So, to avoid any kind of incident, visitors are always reminded to observe a distance from them. All treks to view gorillas are done with an experienced park guide. Other regulations include covering your mouth when coughing or nose when sneezing, do not use flash photography, NO touching of the gorillas, no visiting gorilla family when sick or ill.

Book accommodation early

A successful gorilla trek will require you to pre-book accommodation for your stay. All national parks have a variety of lodges for visitors to retire for the night. The parks have budget, mid-range and luxury accommodation offering a chance for all visitors to enjoy their gorilla treks.

Who is eligible to go trek gorillas?

The minimum age for all gorilla treks in Rwanda, Uganda and Congo is 15 years old. Get in touch with your local tour operator to plan your trip and answer any additional questions.

Where to go track gorillas?

Since going on a gorilla trek is likely a once in lifetime event, we suggest you contact your tour operator to help decide which country and national park you want to visit these incredible creatures. You might decide you want to visit more than one park or country. This can be arranged with proper planning.

Transportation

Driving in Uganda is on the left-hand side. Visitors without experience of African roads are advised to travel with a 4x4 vehicle driven by a knowledgeable driver/guide, rather than self-drive. All our guides are well trained in “defensive driving”. Depending on where you choose to experience your gorilla trek, there will be different transportation options (flying/driving). Your tour operator will be able to advise you on the best option for you.

Money

In most of the cities it is possible to withdraw money from an ATM. Travelers cheques are not widely accepted and it is very difficult or impossible to pay by credit card outside the cities. The US dollar is traditionally the hard currency of preference. We advise to bring some dollars for daily expenses and tips. Dollar bills should not be older than 10 years. The unit of currency is the Ugandan Shilling. Please check the latest exchange rates before you go to your destination. This will be a guideline. Please note you will get a better exchange rate in the bigger cities.

Sim Cards

Sim cards are available at the airport. We suggest you stop by the MTN office (better coverage in remote areas) and buy a local sim card to meet your usage needs.

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