General information for Uganda and Rwanda

VISAS

  • When visiting Uganda, a visa is required for most nationalities
    Information can be obtained from: http://washington.mofa.go.ug/data-smenu-53-Visa-Requirements.html
    Embassy of the Republic of Uganda 5911 16th Street, N.W. Washington D.C., 20011
    Tel: 202‐726‐7100
  • A single‐entry visa for Uganda is $50 and is valid for 3 months
  • A multiple‐entry visa for Uganda is $100 and is valid for 6 months. Clients visiting Rwanda who are beginning and ending their trip in Uganda will need a multiple‐entry visa for Uganda.
  • In addition to arranging visas through a Ugandan Embassy/Mission. Single‐entry visas for Uganda can be obtained on arrival at Entebbe airport and land borders for the sum of $50 payable in U.S. currency. The currency must be in good condition and dated from the year 2006 or newer. $1 bills are not accepted; therefore clients should be prepared with $50 or $20 and $10 denominations. Obtaining a visa at the airport or land entry point is a simple procedure
  • A visa for Rwanda is required for all nationals of the following countries (USA, Germany, South Africa, Great Britain, Sweden, Australia, Israel and New Zealand) and is available upon arrival at any Rwanda entry point without prior applications. The entry visa fee is $30USD, valid for a period of up to 30 days. Nationals of the mentioned countries may also choose to get a visa at Rwandan Missions (except UN Mission in New York) or online: https://www.migration.gov.rw/index.php?id=245.
  • Nationals of Singapore, Hong Kong, Mauritius and Philippines are exempted from entry/tourism visa for a stay of up to 90 days.
  • Nationals of countries not mentioned above shall get visa upon application online before travelling and pay prescribed fee of $30 for a single entry visa on arrival. All travellers needing to obtain a visa before arrival in Rwanda, must obtain an invitation / facilitation letter from the Rwandan Government before leaving their home country. The application for the letter can be found and completed online on the Rwanda immigration website: https://www.migration.gov.rw/index.php?id=203
  • Travelers visiting Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya: The East Africa Visa allows travel between Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda with the same multiple entry visa. The holder of the East Africa Tourist Visa shall enter the region from the country that issued the visa and move within the two other countries without applying for another visa or paying another visa fee.   This visa can now be obtained on arrival in both Kenya and Uganda. If Rwanda is first point of entry then application for this visa shall be lodged at any of the diplomatic representation of the Republic of Rwanda, at the Immigration Offices or online where applicable and must be obtained prior to travel.  This visa is valid for 90 days and costs $100.
  • A Yellow Fever Inoculation Certificate is required for entry to Uganda and Rwanda. This certificate is obtained from the entity or agency performing the inoculations.

HEALTH

  • For health requirements, please consult your nearest tropical disease centre, or the web site of the Centres for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/travel
  • Malaria is present in both Uganda and Rwanda.

DEPARTURE TAXES

  • When leaving Entebbe Airport in Uganda, travellers must pay a departure tax of $40. In most cases, this fee has been included in the price of the airline ticket. If not, it is payable in U.S. currency.
  • When leaving Kigali Airport in Rwanda, clients must pay a departure tax of $20. In most cases, this fee has been included in the price of the airline ticket. If not, it is payable in U.S. currency.

CREDIT CARDS, BANKING and CURRENCY EXCHANGE

  • In Uganda, credit cards can only be used in a small number of shops in the city of Kampala, at the Lake Victoria Hotel in Entebbe and at Mweya Safari Lodge in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Charges may be as high as 5% and are automatically added to your bill. They cannot be used for cash advances, and the only credit card readily accepted is VISA. Mastercard and American Express are not readily accepted.
  • In Uganda, ATM machines are not readily available. Machines accepting VISA are at Entebbe airport and in Kampala, but are sometimes out of service and only pay out Uganda Shillings.
  • In Rwanda, there are no ATM machines.
  • There are very few places in Rwanda at which a credit card can be used. Visitors to Rwanda are encouraged not to depend on credit cards for making purchases.
  • It is not recommended to bring Traveller’s checks with you to Uganda or Rwanda. They can sometimes be changed for local currency at the airports in both Uganda and Rwanda, but this is not guaranteed. For cashing Traveller’s Checks, the receipt from their original purchase may be required.
  • Once on safari, only cash can be used for currency conversion. Larger U.S. bills earn a better rate of exchange ($50 and $100 bills).
  • Uganda Shillings can be changed back to U.S. Dollars at the airport upon departure. Most currency exchange services will not change coins ‐ paper currency only.
  • U.S. Dollars must be dated 2006 or newer and must be in good condition, not torn or defaced.

RECOMMENDED TIPPING (not included in price of trip)

It is best to tip using local currency.

  • Driver/guides: $5 ‐ $10 per client per day.
  • Camps and lodges: $5 per client, per night (deposited in general tips box at lodge)
  • Gorilla trekking guides and trackers: $10 per client, per trek.
  • Baggage porters at hotels/lodges: $1 per client, per service
  • Kibale forest guides: $3 per client, per walk
  • PORTERS when trekking gorillas are $20 per porter per day hire fee.

WHAT TO WEAR?

In addition to the normal clothing for an East African safari, we recommend:

  • Strong walking boots with ankle support
  • Socks long enough for trousers to be tucked into
  • Light shoes
  • Cotton or Gortex trousers
  • Shorts
  • Long‐sleeved shirts for trekking
  • Sweater or sweatshirt
  • Light gloves for protection against thorns and nettles
  • Light jacket or fleece
  • Waterproof clothing (no bright colours, which disturb the animals)
  • Hat for sun and/or rain
  • Daypack
  • Plastic bags for cameras, film, and spare clothing
  • Be prepared for cool or warm, dry or wet weather when trekking gorillas.
  • Muted colours are necessary for gorilla trekking, no bright colours.
  • No camouflage clothing (can be an issue, relating to national military uniforms)

CLIMATE

Uganda and Rwanda have a pleasant climate year round with minor temperature variations. The altitude on a typical Uganda safari varies from 1,000 metres to 2,400 metres above sea level. Days are pleasant, 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and nights are moderate, 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. At higher altitudes it can be cooler, especially at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The green season is usually from April to May and again from late October to November.

LUGGAGE

  • Soft‐sided luggage is required
  • Travelling light is always best. One medium or large duffel bag and one small backpack should be adequate.
  • All venues during the trip are casual and laundry services are available at all accommodations.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

  • Travel Insurance (often called trip insurance) is strongly recommended and is available from most travel agencies in the United States.
  • Classic Africa Safaris offers Flying Doctors Service to clients for an additional fee of $30 per person for two weeks or $50 per person for one month, covering the whole of East Africa. More information on the web at: http://www.amref.org/index.asp?PageID=36

RECOMMENDED READING

  • Uganda, The Bradt Travel Guide, 5th Edition (Philip Briggs)
  • Spectrum Guide to Uganda, 2nd Edition (Camerapix)
  • Uganda’s Great Rift Valley (Andrew Roberts) available in USA from www.africanteagarden.com
  • The Safari Companion A Guide to Watching African Mammals (Richard Estes)
  • The Year of the Gorilla (George Schaller)
  • Gorillas in the Mist (Dian Fossey)
  • The Last King of Scotland (Chris and Tilde Stuart)

MISCELLANY

When photographing gorillas, no flash is allowed. For film cameras, we recommend taking several different speeds of film (64 to 1000) since gorillas can be found in the open sun or in the dark underbrush of the forest.
Uganda is 3 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
Rwanda is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
Electrical Current in East Africa is 240 volts. Therefore relevant adapters are required. In Uganda, plugs are square with three prongs. In Rwanda, plugs are round with two prongs. In lodges where there is no electricity in the guest rooms, cameras and video equipment can be charged in the manager’s office upon request.

ABOUT CLASSIC AFRICA SAFARIS LTD

Classic Africa Safaris brings a total of over 75 years combined experience to its customers. The satisfaction and safety of our clients are our priorities, and our in‐country staff strives to ensure that every safari runs smoothly. We take pride in our work and do our best to demonstrate that you are in capable hands. We pay attention to detail, and are flexible whenever possible to accommodate our clients. Our goal is to provide you with the experience of a lifetime.
Please remember though, that you are in Africa, and no matter how capable we are, things don’t always work or operate in the manner to which you may be accustomed. Patience, a sense of humor, and a desire for adventure should be brought with you.
All of our safaris include:

  • Airport transfers
  • Informational client briefing upon arrival
  • Departure services
  • Additional guides as needed
  • Comfortable, modern, 4×4 vehicles, customized for maximum viewing with open roof hatches.
  • Professional, experienced, English‐speaking guides who are knowledgeable in all aspects of Uganda and Rwanda safaris.
  • All accommodations and meals as stated in your chosen itinerary
  • All excursions as stated in your chosen itinerary, which includes any park fees and taxes
  • Flora and fauna identification books available for use in the vehicles
  • Umbrellas, bean bags and blankets in the vehicles
  • Courtesy bag which includes tea, coffee, biscuits.
  • Coolers with bottled water in our vehicles
  • Map of Uganda and/or Rwanda

Classic Africa Safaris is 100% Carbon Neutral

Carbon Neutral 2012

As part of our corporate social responsibility program Classic Africa Safaris is carbon neutral. We are the FIRST safari company in Uganda and Rwanda to become carbon neutral, and one of the first safari/travel companies in East Africa to officially 'GO GREEN'.