If you're planning a safari holiday to Uganda
see below for practical travel tips to assist, including packing advice, suggested reading, tipping guidelines and more. Our Uganda travel specialists would be delighted to answer any further questions you may have.
WEATHER IN UGANDA
A combination of tropical location and high altitude means that Uganda has a temperate year-round climate with temperatures rarely going above 30°C. The exceptions are the chilly upper slopes of the Virunga Mountains and the hot low-lying areas on the Tanzanian border. The hottest months are from December to February and the rainy seasons are from April to May and October to November.
MAP OF UGANDA
WHAT TO PACK FOR UGANDA
Baggage on safari should be carefully considered. One soft-sided bag and one smaller piece of hand luggage per person is recommended. Travellers may be required to pay for an extra seat on a charter flight if the luggage is heavier than 20kgs including camera equipment. Suitcases and other heavier items can usually be stored in city hotels or at the airport (provided you are returning to the same airport) while you are on safari.
Lightweight summer clothing in cottons or blends is ideal for most of the year. Daytime on game reserves is generally hot and shorts and a t-shirt are perfect, though pack a lightweight short or blouse to cover shoulders and arms from the sun to avoid burning. Light neutral-coloured clothes (khaki, beige and brown) are strongly recommended on safari – they help to deflect the bright sunlight, are less likely to attract mosquitoes and also are less conspicuous in the African bush.
In winter, for early morning and evening game drives, or if travelling in the mountains, a jumper or jacket and long sleeved shirts and trousers may be needed as temperatures are likely to be lower. Long sleeves and trousers will also protect you from mosquitoes. For those colder winter mornings always remember that layering your clothing helps keep you warm and is a convenient way to ensure you are wearing what you need as the day heats up.
A waterproof jacket may come in handy in the mountains. When tracking gorillas wear solid walking shoes and sturdier clothing to protect against stinging nettles.
Remember that most lodges in Uganda include laundry as part of their package so you should only need three or four changes of clothing for an entire trip. Toiletries such as soap, shampoo and insect repellent are also usually offered at lodges and hotels.
MEDICATIONS & VACCINATIONS FOR UGANDA
We always advise you visit a local travel clinic or your GP before travelling to Uganda. You should take professional advice on which vaccinations or booster shots you may wish to consider, as in some cases you will be recommended to take precautions against Diptheria, Hepatitis A, and Tetanus. All travellers are now required to provide a mandatory certificate of yellow fever vaccination, irrespective of the country you are arriving from.
Malaria is also a high-risk disease in Uganda, including in its main towns. You should therefore consult your doctor about anti-malarial prophylactics, as well as take routine mosquito-bite avoidance measures. These include using a good quality insect repellent as well as covering bare skin with loose clothing when mosquitoes are out.
For more information you will find helpful travel health advice on the NHS's website Fit for Travel
as well as that of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention
. The Medical Advisory Service for Travellers Abroad
(MASTA) is also a very useful source of up-to-date health alerts in Uganda, and offers a "Health Brief" service specifically tailored to your trip.
TIPPING IN UGANDA
Tipping is an integral part of life in Uganda, and gratuities are expected for services that you might take for granted at home. However tipping is only recommended if you are satisfied with the service you have received and is entirely at your own discretion. We would generally recommend around US$1 per bag for porters and the same for doormen if they perform a service such as sourcing a cab. On safari, you will generally have a ranger and a tracker in your open vehicle. For your ranger, consider around US$15 per person per day, and US$8 per person per day for the tracker. Some lodges will have a staff gratuity box in which you can leave any tips for general staff, such as chamber maids and waiters. Suggested is US$15 per day for all the staff. For a full day tour or trekking we recommend giving your guide US$15 as a gesture of thanks.
Electricity in Uganda is supplied at 220/240 volts AC, 50HZ. Plugs are the standard UK flat three-pin type. Major hotels and some lodges will supply adapters on request.
MOBILE / INTERNET CONNECTIVITY
Cellphone coverage extends to most major towns in Uganda and international roaming agreements exist with some international mobile phone companies.
Internet and WiFi are easily accessible in most urban areas. Most Ugandan hotels and, in recent years, a number of cafés and shopping centres, offfer WiFi internet access. Always check what charges will be incurred before using, but in most cases WiFi will be complimentary.
Uganda, The Pearl of Africa by Paul Joynson-Hicks
Gorillas in the Mist by Dian Fossey
Sowing the Mustard Seed by Yoweri Museveni
End of the Game by Peter Beard
Gorillas: Natural History & Conservation by Kelly J Stewart