Birding in Uganda
Most of our tours primarily focus on birds. However, we encounter lots of interesting mammals and other wildlife along the way so our highly trained guides will help you see, identify, and understand these creatures, as well.
TOURS: WHAT IS INCLUDED?
Our tours include full board accommodation in comfortable lodges or luxurious tented camps strategically located to maximize birding potential, packed lunches, drinking water, Gorilla permits, Chimpanzee tracking permits transport throughout the tour by coach, boat, jeep and ferry, park entrance fees and services of all the guides and leaders.
What is NOT included are flight charges, trip insurance, drinks and items of a personal nature, laundry services, plus optional tips for the local guides.
FLIGHTS AND ARRIVALS: Entebbe International Airport. Access Uganda by road through the border points or by plane at Entebbe International Airport, which is served by International airlines including KLM, British Airways, Kenya Airways, Emirates.
The Uganda Shilling is the national currency (the exchange rate ranges between 2200 to 2600Uganda Shillings to US$1) depending on the Forex Bureau that you go to. Larger notes of US$50+ attract a considerably better rate of exchange than smaller notes of say US$1, 5, 10 and 20. All the notes must be dated 2003 and above and must be in good condition. Uganda Shillings can be changed back to US Dollars at the airport on departure or in any other Forex Bureaus.
The rate of exchange tends to be higher as you go far away from the city centers. Credit cards are used in a few places, including some of the Lodges where we shall be staying. ATM machines are not readily available except in city centers at Barclays Bank and Bank of Baroda, Stanbic Bank.
A valid passport and a tourist visa are required for United States and Canadian citizens traveling to Uganda (valid for at least six months after your departure). Visas can be obtained upon arrival in Entebbe at a cost of US$50. Yellow fever vaccinations certificate is also recommended though not mandatory Citizens of other countries should check with their respective consulates/embassies for instructions.
SAFETY AND SECURITY.
Uganda is one of the safest and most politically stable countries in East Africa. Crime rates are minimal compared to the neighboring countries. A strong military force is in all the protected areas that we shall be visiting. You will be welcomed by the broad smiles of Ugandan people who are considered to be the most hospitable in East Africa.
Most of our days begin very early, at or before sunrise, and we often spend long hours in the field. Most tours do not require a high level of fitness but participants should be in good general health as much of the forest birding will be done on foot and may require walking for several hours in a day. However, those intending to go for gorilla tracking must be fit (see below).
Gorilla tracking involves an all day excursion and the trekking can be quite arduous, so a good level of fitness is required. The activity generally involves several hours of strenuous walking on steep slopes, sometimes off-trail. This is well achieved with the help of a network of tracker guides. The trek can last from 20 minutes to hours in a day. The chance of finding the gorillas is estimated at 99%. On occasion the Gorillas remain elusive but usually, they can be found readily by the tracker guides.
Gorilla tracking is usually an optional excursion and those not wishing to go can spend time looking for the excellent birds around the lower trails accompanied by a local bird guide.
MEANS OF TRAVEL.
We normally use extended and comfortable 4WD Land cruisers, Minibuses and buses with open roof hatches to maximize birding and observing other wildlife as well as allowing opportunities for photography.
WEATHER AND HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS
The climate Uganda is tropical and rains are unpredictable. Some places can be hot, but it is considerably cold in some parts of southwestern Uganda – particularly the high altitude section of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Most of the walkways in forested parks are narrow, sometimes steep and slippery. Bring appropriate footwear.
Some roads connecting to different national parks are dusty. If you believe this will inconvenience you, we advise that you carry a dust mask.
We carry bottled water for drinking throughout the trip. Water used for showering, brushing teeth or making ice in the lodges and hotels is always boiled or otherwise sterilized. All the hotels and lodges that we shall be using are very cautious about the meals that you are served.
Please notify us of any dietary problems in order for us to post your specifications to the respective accommodation facility in good time.
BITING INSECTS/MALARIA PROPHYLAXIS.
It is important that you carry insect repellant to avoid mosquitoes and other insect bites, or/and take malaria prophylaxis one to two weeks before departure from your home country. Although food hygiene and quality is excellent and we rarely experience any food poisoning cases, you may want to bring the remedy you prefer or are prescribed for an upset stomach like indigestion and diarrhea medicines.
Electricity – 220-volt AC, with British type 13-amp 3-prong plugs in Uganda, however other places have solar power or rechargeable lumps.
Uganda is EST +8hrs and GMT +3hrs.