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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Do I need a VISA to enter Uganda?

You will require a tourist visa for entry into Uganda. Tourist visas can be bought in advance via the Uganda Embassy or Consulate in your country or online (https://visas.immigration.go.ug/) or simply purchased upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport or at any overland border. Photos are not required. A single entry tourist visa currently costs US$50 per person for up to 90 days stay in Uganda. If you are planning to combine Uganda with a visit to Rwanda or Kenya, it is recommended you obtain the East African Tourist Visa instead of a single entry visa. This special visa costs US$100 per person and allows 90-days multiple entry to Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. Regretfully, Tanzania is not (yet) a member of the East African Community and therefore not part of this special visa arrangement.

 

Can I use my ATM card or credit card in Uganda?

Only a few banks accept ATM cards or Visa credit cards for money withdrawal in Uganda. While you can withdraw a limited amount of cash per day from ATM machines in Kampala, there are very few opportunities to withdraw cash once you are on safari in Uganda. Payment by credit card in Uganda can attract additional charges of between 5–10%, occasionally more. Do check with lodges and restaurants in advance, if you plan to pay by credit card.

 

Can I buy Uganda Currency before I travel?

The Ugandan currency is Shillings (UGX). It is not possible to get Ugandan currency outside Uganda. We therefore advise you to bring cash and change your money in Entebbe or Kampala after you arrive. US dollars, British pounds and Euros are easy to change. However, for some expenses, like the payment of a tourist visa at the airport/border and National Park entry permits, it is easier to have US dollars available. It is often possible to pay for other tourist activities with US dollars. Please note: US dollars bills issued before 2006 are NOT accepted in Uganda. Exchanging low denomination dollar bills (anything less than a US$50 bill) attracts a lower exchange rate.  

Are travellers cheques accepted in Uganda?

Travellers’ cheques are no longer accepted in Uganda.  

Is MasterCard accepted in Uganda?

Very few places in Uganda accept MasterCard. In addition to cash, we suggest you bring a Visa debit card.  

What should I tip in Uganda?

How much to tip in Uganda depends entirely on your level of satisfaction of course, but even a small tip to show your gratitude will be highly appreciated. You might consider US$10 per day if you are happy with the service of your safari guide and 5-10% tip in up-market hotels and restaurants.  

What is the best time to travel in Uganda?

Officially, Uganda’s dry seasons are from December/January through to mid March and from June through to mid-September. These dry months are the most popular with tourists, with July and August and Christmas and New Year being the peak seasons. As in the rest of the world, the East African climate is changing, making it more difficult for us to predict the weather during your safari. However, in Uganda the temperature is very stable and pleasant, with sunshine almost every day in the year. During the day, the temperature averages between 23°C and 29°C, although in some places it can be quite cool at night. Most rain falls in October-November and April-May. However, this doesn’t mean that it rains all day, nor does it mean it will rain every day - after the rain comes sunshine! The weather is no reason to avoid travelling in the wet season – you might even consider it because of the easier availability of gorilla permits. One remarkable aspect about Uganda safaris is that, whether you travel in the dry, dusty months or in the wet season, you will never find tourist locations over-crowded like in Kenya or Tanzania. If you spot a lion or leopard, it is very likely that you will be the only one to see it!  

Is Uganda a safe country for tourists?

Uganda is a very safe country to visit. Although Uganda has lived through a turbulent history, the country is safe, stable and welcoming. Ugandans’ hospitable nature is legendary! You will be warmly welcomed wherever you go by the country’s friendly residents. The border areas with Rwanda and DRC remain stable and all National Parks and Wildlife Reserves are well protected by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Tourism is hugely important for Uganda’s economy and a Tourism Police force has been created to protect visitors. If you are not sure about the safety of travel to Uganda, please contact Homestead Tours and Safaris or visit your country's Foreign Office website. However, in our experience, these bodies all err on the side of caution and do not necessarily know what is happening on the ground in Uganda at the time. For UK Foreign Office travel advice, see: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/uganda. Your safety is our absolute priority, so you can rest assured that we will always give you the best Uganda travel advice and are able to make adjustments to your itinerary at short notice in the extremely unlikely event of a particular destination becoming unsettled.  

Is Kampala a safe city for tourists?

Kampala is one of the safest capital cities in Africa – although, as anywhere, petty thieves may try and take advantage of people who leave phones and valuables unattended. Your driver/guide will give you all the information you need to make sure your trip is safe and incident-free. Feel free to ask questions!  

How safe is it for homosexuals to visit Uganda?

Despite some negative press, Uganda is a safe country for gay and lesbian travellers. However, Uganda is a conservative country where the law introduced by the British Government in 1950, making homosexual activity illegal, can still be enforced, so we would recommend discretion.  

Can I do gorilla trekking in Uganda?

If you are interested in a mountain gorilla safari in Uganda (or Rwanda), you will need to buy a gorilla permit well in advance of your trip. There are a number of gorilla families in Uganda which have been habituated, but only eight people are allowed to visit each gorilla group per day, so the demand is high. Gorillas are wild animals which are free to range through the forests, so having a permit cannot guaranteee that you will see gorillas, although guides go out very early in the morning to locate the groups before you leave on your trek. Once you have found your group, you are allowed to stay near them for one hour only. You might want to consider getting permits for two days. There are no refunds. Tracking through the mountainous forests can last several hours and be quite demanding, especially if it is hot and humid or raining. Homestead Tours and Safaris are happy to book your gorilla trekking permits and organize your gorilla safari. In 2017, a day's permit costs US$450 during April, May and November, but US$600 during all other months. (A permit in Rwanda costs US$750.) To buy your gorilla permit, you will need to provide us with your full names, nationality, and passport number, preferred date of trekking and gorilla permit fee. The minimum age for visiting the gorillas is 15 years. A certain level of fitness is required for the gorilla tracking, and you may not be allowed gorilla trekking if you fall sick.

 

What is Safari accommodation like?

Uganda safari accommodation falls into three categories: budget, mid-range or luxury - the choice is yours. Budget accommodation may be simple and basic rooms, bandas or tents, with double/twin beds and mosquito nets when necessary. Private bathrooms are not always available and you may have to share bathroom facilities. Toilets may occasionally be pit latrines. 3-star, 4-star and 5-star accommodation offer comfortable rooms or luxury furnished permanent safari tents with a private bathroom. Flush toilets and hot and cold running water are available. Mosquito nets will be provided where necessary. All Uganda lodges are carefully selected and frequently visited by Homestead Tours and Safaris staff, to monitor quality and service levels. Apart from a few large safari lodges in the bigger National Parks, most hotels and 'camps' are small-scale, offering a unique location and ambiance.  

Has the Ugandan government implemented the planned increase in VAT on tourist lodges and hotels?

No. Although in June 2013, it was reported in the press that the Ugandan government planned to charge additional VAT on tourist accommodation, we are delighted to report that a number of tour operators lobbied the government to prevent this tax being implemented.  

What vehicles does Homestead Tours and Safaris use for safaris?

Homestead Tours and Safaris uses 4WD (four wheel drive) safari vehicles for all our tours. Our comfortable Land Cruisers offer seats for four to six people. We also have 4WD minibuses which can take a maximum of nine people. All vehicles have a lift-up roof for game viewing in the National Parks. To ensure that everybody has a window seat to enjoy the best views of Uganda, we usually limit the number of people to seven in the 4WD safari minibuses. Limiting the number of people per vehicle also means plenty of leg-room and luggage storage.  

What are roads like in Uganda?

All main 'arterial' roads connecting the major towns and cities are basically tarmacked (paved) although potholes do develop quite frequently which can make travel slow and rough. Once off the main 'arterial' roads, the surface is usually packed and graded murram. Murram roads vary from being quite smooth to being rough and bumpy. In the dry season, they can be very dusty. In the National Parks, or if visiting remote villages, you will travel on narrow dirt tracks which can be very dusty in the dry season and muddy in the wet seasons. However, the 4WD vehicles can cope with any road conditions. There are heavy fines for travelling off-road in the National Parks.  

I am travelling on my own. Can I book my safari with Homestead Tours and Safaris?

Single travelers are very welcome! However, to minimize your costs, we would suggest joining a group. Although we can try and arrange this for you, we cannot guarantee we can find a group whose interests, budget and preferred route correspond to yours, especially during low seasons. If you would like to stay in a single room please notify us well in advance and we will try to meet your request. Please bear in mind that single rooms are not common and it is more likely that you will be offered single occupancy of a double room. A single room supplement will apply.

 

How many people are in your group safaris?

We offer tailor-made safaris for any number of participants. There is no minimum number for a group tour, although the bigger the group, the more attractive the price will be. Our comfortable Land Cruisers offer seats for four to six people. We also own 4WD minibuses which can take a maximum of nine people. To ensure that everybody has a window seat, we usually limit the number of people to seven in the 4WD safari minibuses.  

What is INCLUDED in the price of my Uganda or East African safari with Homestead Tours and Safaris?

  • ground transport in a comfortable four wheel drive (4WD) safari vehicle
  • a visit to all places detailed in the programme
  • the service of an experienced English speaking driver/safari guide
  • National Park entrance fees
  • activities as detailed in the itinerary (except for those that are marked optional)
  • overnight in the named accommodations, based on sharing a twin or double room
  • full board (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
  • bottled mineral water for every person while travelling in Homestead Tours and Safaris vehicle
  • government taxes
  • park ranger fees
  • 10% for Community Development projects

 

What is EXCLUDED in the price of my Uganda or East African safari with Homestead Tours and Safaris?

  • international flights
  • tourist visa (available at the airport)
  • meals and snacks that are not mentioned in the itinerary
  • beverages (other than the bottled mineral water provided in the safari vehicle)
  • tips and gratuities for safari guides and/or park rangers and/or hotel staff
  • laundry
  • gorilla trekking or chimp trekking permit
  • optional activities that are mentioned in the program
  • items of a personal nature (toiletries, camera batteries, souvenirs)
  • travel insurance
  • international payment transaction costs
  • medical vaccinations, malaria prophylaxis, treatment etc
In most cases, we will specify the extra charge of optional activities in your itinerary. If not, or if it is not clear to you, please contact Homestead Tours and Safaris so that we can advise of any additional fee(s).  

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