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Uganda & Gorillas Overland

Valid for all trips departing January 1st, 2012 - December 31st, 2012 Last Updated:
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Introduction

Using Uganda's vibrant Kampala as a base, this compact eight-day adventure offers those short on time a life-changing experience in the forests of Uganda. Experienced trackers will take you deep into the region’s forests for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spot endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Our overland trucks are an adventurous and inexpensive way to see the highlights while wilderness camping will keep you in the thick of the action. Your CEO will take care of the planning so you're free to explore all that Uganda has to offer. What a trip!

  • Encountering the 'Big 5' in several game parks
  • Including the Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Getting up-close to mountain gorillas on their turf.
Duration: 8 days
Start/Finish City: Kampala to Kampala
Service Level: Basic
  • Excellent value, amazing prices, quality experiences
  • Simple and clean hotels, guesthouses and hostels chosen for location and character
  • Affordable public and private transport for maximum cultural interaction
  • Plenty of optional activities tailored to your interests and budget
Physical Grading: 4
You might encounter a few high-altitude hikes or other more strenuous activities. Pro tip: Put down that pastry, buster.
Travel Style: Overland
From North America to Africa, our Overland trips are perfect for those looking for a truly authentic backcountry experience. Using a combination of camping and hotel accommodation, our overland tours open up a continent's most amazing vistas and remote locations.
Trip Type: Small Group
Group trips average 12 travellers per departure, depending on the adventure. The maximum is usually no more than 16, but some can be smaller or bigger, depending on the trip. Check individual trips for details.

Itinerary

Route map for Uganda & Gorillas Overland (DUUG)

Day 1-2 Kampala (1B,2L,2D)

Approximate Distance: 431 km
Estimated Travel Time: 9 hrs

The journey begins early in the morning (6am) as we travel west towards Lake Edward to Queen Elizabeth National Park, with Uganda's largest wildlife populations. Here embark on both morning and afternoon game drives on Day 2, with hopes of catching glimpses of buffalo, hippo, elephant, lion, and the elusive leopard. For a different perspective, you may also opt for a boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel.

The 1,978 sq. km Queen Elizabeth National Park is characterized by open savannah, large areas of swamp around Lake George, the extensive Maramagambo Forest in the southeast, and the forested Kyambura Gorge along the border with Kyambura Game Reserve.

Day 3-6 Gorilla Tracking/Lake Bunyonyi (4B,4L,4D)

Approximate Distance: 201 km
Estimated Travel Time: 6 hrs

We travel south through gorgeous countryside to Lake Bunyonyi, our base for several days in the area. Our time in this lush, magical, mountainous region of Uganda is spent between enjoying the area of Lake Bunyonyi and many activities that it has to offer, and an unforgettable guided trek deep into the forest-sloped volcanoes for a wild encounter of a family of mountain gorillas (Gorilla Permits Included). Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the home to approximately half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas, the world's most endangered ape. One of Africa's major highlights, a close encounter with these amazing animals is simply breathtaking.

Ugandan authorities are fiercely protective of this natural treasure and currently permit only a maximum of 8 people per day to visit a given gorilla family. As such, the group will be split into different sub-groups for the trek, and depending on the amount of travellers there are total, different sub-groups may do their trek on different days. In the morning of your trek, you will drive in smaller vehicles to park office and meet with your local mountain guides and porters, who can carry your personal items and assist you during the trek. The guides will brief you on the etiquette of gorilla trekking, after which, you set off into the forest. The trek can take from one to six hours and can exceed altitudes of 2500m. The terrain is rough and at times muddy and slippery. It is very important to bring along plenty of water. It can rain in a few minutes notice; hence waterproof clothing is essential along with protective bags for your camera and film.

Approximately 98% of the gorilla treks are successful but there is no guarantee that you will see the gorillas as they are constantly on the move.

For the rest of your time in the area, you will have the chance to go swimming, fishing, or canoeing on the lake; visit the local community; or rent a mountain bike to explore the area, among other activities offered by the camp where we stay. The area of Lake Bunyonyi is extremely peaceful and is a nature lover's paradise.

While at Lake Bunyonyi, you may be offered the chance to visit 'Little Angels Orphanage'. G Adventures does not endorse this activity as we feel this experience does more harm than good to the children.

Many orphanages rely almost entirely on donations from visitors to survive, and as such, directors may purposefully maintain poor living conditions for children to secure funds from visitors. By visiting orphanages and making a donation you may be fueling this system, and G Adventures thus advises against both visiting and donating to the aforementioned orphanage.

Day 7 Lake Mburo National Park (1B,1L,1D)

Approximate Distance: 230 km
Estimated Travel Time: 5.30 hrs

A scenic journey takes us to Lake Mburo National park, to continue our nature and wildlife encounters in one of Uganda's most precious locations. After arriving to the park and having lunch, we continue for a game drive passing through the acacia woodland in search of the diverse resident wildlife. If time allows, you can even go for a nature walk or take a boat trip on one of the lakes, with hopes of spotting hippos, crocodiles, and a variety of waterbirds. We finish the day camping on the shores of the lake listening to the sounds of the African wilderness.

Lake Mburo National Park is a nature lover's paradise, as the park consists of open plains, forested woodland, and five lakes. It is the best place in the country to see the gigantic eland antelope and has about 68 different species of mammals. The common ones are zebra, impala, buffalo, topi, not to leave out the rare sightings of roan antelope, as well as sitatunga antelope and red, black and yellow papyrus gonalek. Leopard, hyenas and jackals are all predators of this region.

The lake is rich with a diversity of animal and plant species which can only be viewed clearly if you take a boat trip. The crocodiles, hippopotamuses and birds like Pelicans, Black crake, Heron, cormorant, fish eagle, you may also sight the rare Shoebill Stork and all these will furnish your visit with pride.

Day 8 Depart Kampala (1B,1L)

Approximate Distance: 190 km
Estimated Travel Time: 4 hrs

Today we head back towards Kampala, where your trip ends upon arrival.

With a population nearing 1,210,000, Kampala is the largest city in Uganda. It is located in the district of Kampala at 3,900 ft (1,189 m) above sea level. Before the arrival of the British, the Buganda King, the Kabaka, had chosen the area that was to become Kampala as one of his favorite hunting grounds. The area was made up of numerous rolling hills and lush wetlands. It was an ideal breeding ground for various antelopes - particularly the Impala. When the British arrived they called the area the Hills of the Impala.

The Baganda, eager to adopt foreign words into the local language, translated "hill of the Impala" into Luganda as "kasozi k' Impala" (pronounced "ka Impala" and eventually "ka mpala"). So whenever the Kabaka left his palace to go to hunt his favorite game, royal courtiers would say "the Kabaka has gone to Kampala to hunt" and thus name stuck.

What's Included

Entrances and game drives in Queen Elizabeth and Lake Mburo National Parks, Guided Mountain Gorilla Trek with permits.

Highlights

Encountering the 'Big 5' in several game parks, including the Queen Elizabeth National Park, getting up-close to mountain gorillas on their turf.

Dossier Disclaimer

The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.

Itinerary Disclaimer

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Important Notes

1. This tour departs early on day 1 from Kampala. Though this tour does not include accommodation in Kampala, you may choose to pre-reserve a room through G Adventures at our joining hotel.

2. An essential part of your safari is participation - from putting up your tent or packing away it in the mornings while camping, to helping with clean up and dishes after meals - it is all part of your adventure and when everyone puts in a little effort the trip will run smoothly. We have a cook and staff who will do all the meal preparation, but we do ask the clients to help with the washing up. Team spirit is part of the fun! All camping equipment (with the exception of your sleeping bag and pillow) is supplied. We supply dome tents and assembly/disassembly takes only 5 minutes. All tents have built-in mesh insect nets on the doors and windows. Mattresses are also available, which are approximately 4cm thick, warm and comfortable.

3. Sleeping bags can not be rented on any of our Africa overland or safari trips

4. This is not a physically demanding journey; however, travelling can be difficult, as long drives and poor road conditions are the rule as opposed to the exception in both Kenya and Uganda. This overland camping trip is about travelling to see what the region is like, and see some animals in game parks, to trek to see the mountain gorillas, along and some other sights in between. As such, we cover long distances and have long, bumpy travel days to to get to some of these amazing locations. Despite this, the diversity and scenery of the African landscape, the local culture and abundant wildlife are all well worth the experience.

5. LUGGAGE COMPLICATIONS: It occasionally happens that luggage on international flights into Kampala (direct or via Nairobi) does not arrive, especially with, but not exclusive to, major airlines out of London-Heathrow or Schiphol (Amsterdam). Please be aware that this may happen, especially if you have a tight connection in either of these centres, are flying with different airlines with a connection, have a last minute flight change or re-route, or fly from or connect through another African centre. Please be prepared and keep all important documentation and valuables on your person. As well we recommend a change of clothes in your hand luggage. If unfortunately this does happen, and your luggage does not arrive, you should be entitled to a limited initial compensation from your airline. The arrival of lost luggage normally takes between 48 and 72 hours after the initial plane’s arrival. The airlines technically should be responsible to forward your luggage to you, or to your hotel. You may find that your tour will begin, and you still have not received your luggage. Considering that the customer service standards in East Africa are different from home, and that we find that the airlines are not always pro-active in helping luggage in its care be reunited with its owner, it is recommended that you purchase locally a few needed items, begin your tour, and hire someone locally to persist with the your airline to retrieve your luggage. Your tour leader or local representative will be able to help you organize this, and once your luggage is retrieved, it should be able to be forwarded to you – depending where you are. Please note that any costs that you may incur for luggage retrieval or sending luggage are not the responsibility of G Adventures, though we will always strive to assist you in any way possible. You should always keep all receipts and documentation, and contact your airline or insurance provider for reimbursement.

6. Flying through London-Heathrow to East Africa?
Please note that regardless of the rules in other centres, travellers flying from, or connecting in, London-Heathrow are currently only permitted one carry-on piece of luggage and one small personal bag (purse, laptop-size bag, briefcase) on board on flights to East Africa. If you arrive to the security gate with 2 pieces, you will be forced to check-in one of them, which may result in complications noted above. This policy is in place as of the time of writing, though local rules and regulations may indeed change. It is thus advisable to contact your airline directly for the most up-to-date information.

7. Because of the migratory nature of the gorillas, G Adventures can not guarantee that you will be able to see the gorillas on your day trek.

8. Visitors to Uganda should be in excellent physical condition, without any heart problems and prepared to spend strenuous days in humid rain forests, steep terrain and high altitude trekking for chimpanzee and gorillas, as well as other primates. Waterproof hiking boots, trousers and long sleeved closed shirts, garden gloves, waterproof clothing and poncho are essential. A pouch for your camera equipment is also highly recommended. As it is very dark in the jungle; only high speed film (ISO 400 or higher) will give good results. Those preferring to remain at base camp in Bwindi may do so, however, there is no price reduction.

9. The power supply in Uganda is nominally 240VAC, 50hz. Variable voltage, spikes and sporadic, unexpected, unscheduled power cuts of varying duration can be expected.

10. Please note that the price of this tour includes all national park and permit fees for the Gorilla tracking experience in Uganda. As such, you will not be expected to pay any other fees in order to take part in this amazing experience on this tour - we include all fees of this activity within the selling price.

Group Leader Description

On this journey, you will be accompanied on your trip by 3 crew members - a Chief Experience Officer (CEO), a driver, and a camp cook.

The Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will be the group manager and leader. He/she organizes the trip, and will be there to assist you when needed. He/she will take care of the small things so you can concentrate on enjoying your adventure. All of our CEOs in East Africa are experienced group leaders, with a broad knowledge base of the region’s history, cultures, and wildlife. Your leader will be from either southern or East Africa depending on which part of the tour you are on.

All of our overland truck drivers are experienced in the routes travelled, and highly skilled in dealing with different terrains. All of our cooks will organize and lead the meal preparation, and have experience in cooking a variety of local and international dishes for large groups.

During the actual gorilla trek we use an experienced and certified local mountain guide, expert gorilla trackers, and armed guards to accompany you for your safety.

We also use local guides for some included activities where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting.

Group Size Notes

Max 22, avg 22.

Meals Included

7 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 7 dinners.

Meals

As mentioned above, most of the meals on this tour are included in the tour price. In Nairobi after your tour, your tour leader will be able to suggest some good local restaurants or options for you to choose from.

All included meals will be prepared from fresh local produce. The majority of the shopping for foodstuffs will be done before the trip departs, and fresh goods, such as meats, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, will be bought en route during the trip from supermarkets, local shops and markets. Please note that even though our cooks will try their utmost to provide you with a varied and interesting meals, the choices might be somewhat limited, based on what is available on the local market.

Breakfasts will generally consist of breads and cereals, if time allows a warm breakfast may be prepared. Many lunches will be provided en-route and will be light meals such as sandwiches and/or salads. All evening meals will be freshly-prepared hot meals, and will consist of a variety of continental and local dishes.

Our cook will organize the meal preparation and lead the way here, but will prepare a duty schedule for ensuring a fair, rotating participation from you and your group members in the meal preparation and dish washing duties.

Vegetarian meals and other dietary requirements need to be specified prior to arrival. Please note all bottled drinking water will be at your own expense.

Meal Budget

Allow USD20-25 for meals and drinks (including bottled water) not included.

Transport

Overland vehicle, minibuses, walking.

About our Transportation

This trip is done in a large 24 seat overland vehicle for most of the trip. This mode of transport allows the entire group to travel together, and sits higher, great for game viewing and to enjoy the scenic landscape.

Road conditions can run the full gamut from new to being in very poor condition. This style of travel is by no mean luxury, but it does allow us the flexibility of making stops when needed, and reaching some out-of-the way parts of East Africa where the traditional safari crowd would not dare to go.

Here’s a quick look at the well-equipped G Adventures overland truck:
- Storage for main luggage in a compartment under the seating area (accessed from the outside of the truck). Day packs can be stored at your feet (there is plenty of room).
- Onboard safety box(es) for valuables.
- Front view windows
- Large sliding windows, great for game viewing
- Fully equipped retractable kitchen
- Intercom between seating area and driver
- Inverter for battery charging (South African plug - 220-240V)
- A cd-player with an input for mp3s

Please note that our trucks do not have on-board bathrooms. Nor do they have seats that recline as often reclining seats will break, and thus you will have some seats that recline and some that don't.

In addition to the overland truck, for the gorilla trek, we split the group into smaller vans in order to arrive in a more timely manner to the trail heads of the park.

This is not a physically demanding journey; however, travelling can be difficult, with long drives and poor road conditions at times. Please take note of the travel times and distances in the above itinerary, and consider that this is often on poor quality, bumpy roads. Despite this, most clients feel that the diversity of the African landscape, culture and wildlife are all well worth the experience.

Solo Travellers

We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.

Accommodation

Participation camping (7 nts).

My Own Room

Not available on this tour.

About Accommodation

Camping in East Africa is truly an adventure. You will be able to get off the beaten track to get a first-hand experience of the beautiful wilderness and nature. We stay at designated campsites inside of and nearby the national parks. These campsites generally are very basic, and we carry tents to pitch at the public campsites.

The campsites in East Africa are generally good, but basic. Luxury here will mean electricity for charging, warm showers, flush toilets, shelter for eating. Rustic camps have no electricity, simple or no bathing facilities, and squatting long-drop latrines. Expect to see both extremes, though most fall somewhere within that spectrum.

All camping equipment (with the exception of your sleeping bag and pillow) is supplied, including camp mattresses, which are warm and comfortable. We supply dome tents and assembly/disassembly takes only 5 minutes. They are good quality, durable, industry-standard 2-person safari canvas tents. Please note that most adults will not be able to fully stand up inside the tents, though most travellers find these more than adequate, as they have a base area of approximately 4 square meters. These tents are regularly treated with a waterproofing agent, but under certain rainy conditions, the tent fabric may become saturated to the point where seepage or leakage may occur. All tents have built-in mesh insect netting on the windows and doors.

We travel with our own portable camp chairs with a comfortable back-rest, and we utilize our own cooking equipment to provide the group good quality camp meals.

In camping within the national parks and conservation areas, some camp sites are enclosed for keeping the resident wildlife out. Other camps are open to the natural environment – care must be taken, especially at night, when a torch/flashlight is recommended when walking around the camp area.

Despite the challenge that a few days “roughing it” may pose to some, the experience of being that close to nature, camping under the African stars, and seeing incredible wildlife at your tent door-step is not just gratifying but ultimately an experience of a lifetime.

Joining Hotel

Red Chili Hideaway
Plot 17. Gangaram Road, Mbuya, Kampala
P.O. Box 40288, Nakawa, Kampala
+256 772 509 150
+256 414 22 39 03
http://www.redchillihideaway.com/

Joining Instructions

This tour begins at 6:00am on the morning of Day 1 at the joining hotel above. Please be on time to meet your driver/guide at the front entrance of the hotel.

The Entebbe International Airport is just outside Entebbe, the former Ugandan capital, and is the international hub that serves Kampala, the current capital and starting point for our trip. Upon arrival by air, an arrival transfer is not included. You can either pre-arrange an airport pick-up with us, or you can make your way to the joining hotel. Entebbe International Airport is about 40 km from Kampala and your hotel.

There are a couple of ways to get to Kampala from the airport. Public transport is available at the airport to the town of Entebbe, where you can transfer to a vehicle that goes to Kampala. This would take about 1 hour in total, and costs a total of US$2, better payed in local currency. We recommend an airport taxi, which takes about 40 minutes and costs US$25. Look out for yellow-band cars, and each vehicle has an identification number and inscription "AIRPORT TAXI" in black letters. These are available on the ground level in the arrivals area.

You will be camping for 7 nights while on tour. However, you may choose to pre-reserve a room at our joining hotel in Kampala through G Adventures.

The tour departs Kampala in the morning of day 1.

Arrival Complications

We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your trip leader (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.

Emergency Contact

Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call our local G Adventures operator listed below. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

G Adventures Local Operator (Uganda)
Pearl of Africa Tours & Travel Ltd.
Emergency Telephone - +256 772 403 614 / 772 55 8888 (Julie - Office Manager), +256 772 61 60 21 (Ben - Tours Manager)
Emergency Email - info@pearlofafricatours.com

Your second option should be contacting our G Adventures Emergency Mobile Phone for our Local Office in Nairobi, Kenya: +254 727 208 832. Locally, from Kenya, dial 0727 208 832. Beyond that, you may try our Operations department in Canada:

Toll-free, North America only: 1 800 465 5600.
Calls from UK: 0844 272 0000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Outside North America, Australia and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

Finishing Point Instructions

This tour finishes in the late afternoon of Day 8 at the finishing hotel above. You may choose to pre-reserve post-tour accommodation at our finishing hotel in Kampala through G Adventures.

What to Take

You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. Your baggage should be clearly labelled and restricted to one soft compact suitcase, sports bag, or backpack, no larger than 30cm(height) x 30cm(width) x 60cm(length), maximum 15kg, plus a daypack. Luggage limits on airlines are strictly enforced, and due to limited vehicle capacity, the cost of transporting any luggage beyond these restrictions is the responsibility of the client. Please note, if you are travelling with a large amount of luggage for other legs of a longer tour, you may leave a portion of it at the start hotel in Nairobi, this is indeed possible as storage facilities are available.

On this trip you may experience several types of weather. It is important to pack clothes for warm days and cool evenings, as well as a warm jacket for early morning game drives. Light, quick-drying, practical clothes are advisable for this trip.

We suggest you take something warm eg tracksuit, fleece or pullover for the mountainous areas i.e. Bwindi National Park. It is at a higher altitude and will therefore be cooler in the evenings - a jersey, anorak/wind jacket and tracksuit pants would be suggested. It will also be necessary to take some wet weather gear as it does rain in the mountainous areas of Uganda on a regular basis. We suggest lightweight rain gear for the walk to see the gorillas.

While gorilla trekking you will need a comfortable, hard wearing, pair of walking shoes or boots. Conditions are generally very muddy/slippery. There are uphill sections which may be quite steep and strenuous. It is also advisable to wear a long sleeve cotton shirt and lightweight long pants to protect yourself from the undergrowth, stinging nettles and biting ants. (Tracksuit pants often get caught on bushes, thorns, etc and jeans can get very heavy when wet). Gloves are also highly recommended – just cheap gardening gloves will do. Tuck your long pants into your socks/boots to avoid biting insects. Also take a water bottle, and a day pack for camera gear and to carry your jacket if it’s too warm.

Your clothes will in all likelihood get very muddy and may not recover to their original state - therefore take old clothing for the gorilla trekking. Hard wearing clothes, no bright colours, or no army camouflage clothing should be worn. Greens, khaki and similar neutral clothes are recommended.

Checklist

-Fleece or wool jumper/jacket
-Windproof/waterproof jacket and/or pants
-Garnering gloves
-Small towel and swimwear
-4 shirts/t-shirts, cool and breathable
-Long-sleeved shirt or sweater for evenings
-1 pair of shorts
-2 pairs of long trousers
-1 pair hiking pants/track pants
-Comfortable shoes
-Sleeping bag
-small travel pillow
-Sport sandals
-Sun hat, Bandana
-Sunblock
-Sunglasses
-Watch or alarm clock
-Water bottle
-Purification tablets or filter (bottled water is also available for purchase)
-Pocketknife
-Flashlight or Headlamp (with extra batteries and bulbs)
-Money belt
-First-aid kit (should contain Lip balm with sunscreen, Aspirin, Ibuprofin , Malaria pills, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamine, Antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhoea, rehydration powder, insect repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
-Toiletries (biodegradable)
-Hand sanitizer gel/Sanitizer wipes
-Toilet paper
-Camera and extra memory card/film
-Extra batteries (recommended)
-Electricity Plug Adapter

For donation: notebooks, pens, pencils, pins, flags, pictures, postcards from your country for local villagers or children

Optional Items: reading/writing material, binoculars, cover for backpacks, Maps, guidebooks

Documents:
-Passport (with photocopies)
-Travel insurance (with photocopies)
-Yellow fever certificate
-Airline tickets (with photocopies)

-Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
-G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
-Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required

Laundry

Hand washing of clothes can be done at most of the campsites. We recommend you bring a non polluting/biodegradable soap, as well as a roll of simple string to act as a drying line for your clothes. If you arrive in the late afternoon, or if there is poor weather, it may not be possible for your clothes to completely dry.

Visas

All countries require travellers to have a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity), and you are required to acquire the entry visas for each of the countries visited.

Please note that upon arrival by air to Entebbe, Uganda, you can obtain a visa for US$50 in $US cash (valid for those who would be permitted a Uganda visa while still in their own country). This visa is valid for 3 months with multiple entries/exits permitted to Tanzania and Kenya only.

This information is accurate at the time of writing, and please contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements and costs, regarding these, and the other countries visited, or see your travel agent. It is your responsibility to have the correct travel documentation.

Detailed Trip Notes

REGIONAL INFORMATION

UGANDA - Official Statistics
Area: 235,796sq km (32nd in Africa)
Population: 26,219,000
Capital City: Kampala
Official language: English
Other languages: KiSwahili (widely spoken, but not indigenous), Luganda, Runyoro
Head of state: President Yoweri Museveni
Life expectancy: 52 years
Literacy: 70%
Per Capita Income: US$220
Main industry: Tourism
Major Cultures: Bantu, Batembuzi, Baganda, Asian (Indian)
Relgion: Christian, ZCC and Muslim.

Uganda enjoys ideal equatorial weather conditions, ranging from the warmth of the lowland areas and lakeshores to the coolness of the highlands. The altitude on a Uganda safari varies from 1,000 metres to 2,400 metres above sea level. The days are a pleasant 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and nights are a moderate 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit with January being the warmest month. At higher altitudes it can be cooler, especially at Bwindi. The long rainy season is between March and May and the short rains are from October to November, but it can rain at any time of the year. The rainy season can sometimes make travel difficult but the views are clearer. It can be cool in the evenings, especially in the hilly and mountainous areas. Despite the high temperatures and rainfall, due to altitude, the humidity is low, making for one of the most pleasant and comfortable climates in the world.'

Spending Money

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

The local currency in Uganda is the Ugandan Shilling (UGX, or USH). The easiest foreign currency to exchange locally into Ugandan Shillings is the $US, however the British Pound and Euro are also widely exchanged as well. Large denomination notes attract the best exchange rates ($US 50, $100). In addition, $US notes prior to 2000 are worthless in East Africa, as they are not accepted and impossible to exchange. Travelers’ cheques are also difficult to exchange in many places, and often get a lower rate. Debit cards are very useful for cash advances, but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs.). The Visa/Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards; it is harder to find machines that accept Cirrus cards.

While there are many ATMs in Kampala, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Africa. Check with your bank. Barclays Bank ATMs are known to accept the most foreign bank cards. Credit cards can be used in major cities and towns ONLY but please do not rely on them as a method of payment because they are generally not widely accepted. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies. Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US dollar cash, travellers cheques and cards is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don't want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.

As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com.

Emergency Fund

Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!

Departure Tax

USD40, usually included in most international air tickets.

Tipping

Tipping is an expected - though not compulsory - component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. It is one of the most direct ways that you can have a positive economic impact within the East African community. Although it may not be customary for you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, as an important source of income for those in the tourism industry. Giving a tip should be a seen as a formal 'thank you', and the action should in no way be awkward. The best method of tipping someone that has served the whole group is to plan in advance, and not rush when it comes to saying goodbye. A suggestion would be for each group member to contribute anonymously by putting their tip into an envelope. This often works the best and the group as a whole should gather to present the gift to the recipient(s), offering their thanks and showing their appreciation. This method brings the action out into the open, allowing for a friendly and appreciative interaction between the group and the recipient(s).

You may use the following as a guideline, all given in a per client format: Restaurant/Café servers: 10% of cost of bill, especially when in a large group (no envelope required); Driver / Camp Cook / Tour Leader US$3/4 each, per day worked, per traveller.

Optional Activities

Optional activity prices are subject to change and can fluctuate in relation to the high/low season and the number of people on a specific excursion. Not all excursions listed here may be available, due to season, or weather conditions. As generally not a lot of time is spent in start/end cities, you may want to arrange to arrive early, or stay longer after the trip in order to allow sufficient time to participate in optional activities there.

All prices are in US dollar amounts, per person but will generally be paid in local currency.

Queen Elizabeth National Park
Kazinga Channel Launch Trip $25pp

Bunyonyi
Bird Watching $5
Nature Walk $5
Canoeing $8 per canoe
Traditional Dance Show $20
Fishing $5
Boat Tour of Lake $20/15 mins, $25/1 hr.

While at Lake Bunyonyi, you may be offered the chance to visit 'Little Angels Orphanage'. G Adventures does not endorse this activity as we feel this experience does more harm than good to the children.

Many orphanages rely almost entirely on donations from visitors to survive, and as such, directors may purposefully maintain poor living conditions for children to secure funds from visitors. By visiting orphanages and making a donation you may be fueling this system, and G Adventures thus advises against both visiting and donating to the aforementioned orphanage.

All prices are per person (unless stated otherwise), and are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators.

Health

Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.

We recommend you contact your family physician, or your local travel clinic for the most up-to-date health information at least one month before departure.

Please ensure you have all the inoculations recommended by your doctor for travel in East Africa. Be aware that Kenya and Uganda have many regions where malaria is present. We thus recommend that you take malaria medication; your doctor should be able to recommend the necessary prophylactics. Travellers should also carry a basic travel first-aid kit as medical facilities are basic throughout these countries. An important item to include is a liquid or gel hand sanitizer and/or alcoholic/sanitary wipes, as they will aid in personal cleanliness and hygiene throughout the trip. The local tap water should not be consumed, so any water treatment tablets (ex. iodine), drops, etc, would help, but good, clean, and inexpensive bottled water is widely available throughout the entire trip. If you have any pre-existing medical condition, you must inform G Adventures prior to the purchase of the tour, and upon arrival, to the tour leader so he/she can be prepared to help you.

East African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness): This is a serious parasitic disease that is always fatal without treatment. The disease is spread by the bite of tsetse flies, found only in parts of Eastern and Central Africa, including Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania. There is no vaccine or drug to prevent African trypanosomiasis.

Sand flies and Mosquitos: Are found in the areas visited. Mosquitos are more prevalent in areas that receive more rainfall, and sand flies, though generally found on the coast, can also be found in dry & dusty conditions inland. Both tend to come out in the early evening and early mornings. Malaria: This infectious disease is transmitted by mosquitos carrying the parasite. These mosquitos are found at altitudes of under 1,800m, and thus can be found in most areas that we visit on this tour. You must have prophylactics which you can obtain from your local doctor at or health clinic.

Precautions against insect bites:
* Wear protective clothing, including long-sleeved shirts and pants at all times.
* Wear khaki or olive-colored clothing. Tsetse flies are attracted to bright and dark colors.
* Use bed nets.
* Inspect vehicles for tsetse flies before entering.
* Avoid bushes. Tsetse flies are less active during the hottest part of the day; they rest in bushes and will bite if disturbed.
* Use insect repellent. Although repellents have not proven effective in preventing tsetse fly bites, they are effective in preventing other insects from biting and causing illness.

Sun:
It is very important that you wear sun block, even on a cloudy day when it feels cool as we are near the equator and the sun is very strong. A sunburn can turn a pleasant trip into a painful trip.

Hydration
Even when days are cool please be sure to drink a minimum of two litres of water and refrain from drinking to many diuretics, as while when travelling outdoors the breeze can dehydrate you quickly as well as the heat.

Diarrhoea:
It is normal for people travelling overseas to get an upset stomach due to a change of climate and food. Please make sure that you wash your hands and stay away from street food.

Safety and Security

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:


www.gadventures.com/travel-resources/safety/

Trip Specific Safety

Kampala
-Always leave your passport (It’s better to carry a photocopy of it instead), traveller’s cheques, flight tickets and money that you won’t be using in the safe deposit in your hotel room/reception. This is free of charge to G Adventures Adventure clients.
-Remember that like in any other city, you should never leave your bags unattended, nor flaunt jewellery, cameras etc
-Please don’t wander through the city at night. Stick to the main streets only during the day, and after sundown, please take a taxi. Taxis can be organised from reception of your hotel. Also, take the address of the hotel with you.
-People are generally friendly, but don’t let people take advantage of you, especially the sales people!
-Beware of people approaching you on the street with an apparent interest of where you are from, and want to sit down and have a chat with you. These people are most likely con men and try to get money from you in one way or another
-People on the street who ask you if you want a safari and have a brochure are often con men, best to avoid these folk. Besides, you’re already on safari!

Photography
Please refrain from taking photos of police stations, airports, bus stations, immigration are border crossings, army barracks and personnel, or any government building. It is against the law and will result in the minimum of your film and camera being confiscated.

Medical Form

Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility' is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
Please note that all passengers traveling to Antarctica are required to fill out this questionnaire.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at:

www.gadventures.com/medical-form
.

A Couple of Rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.

Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation

Through our commitment to responsible tourism we have developed the Planeterra Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people and communities around the world through support of international charities, local organizations and community projects in the places that we visit on our tours. G Adventures matches all individual donations and pays all administration costs, which means that 100% of each donation is doubled and goes directly to support our projects. For more information about Planeterra and the projects we support, or to make a donation, please visit www.planeterra.org

Planeterra Dollar-A-Day Program
Our Dollar-A-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to help us give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar per day for the duration of their tour. 100% of these proceeds will go directly to support our Planeterra projects.

To participate in this program please indicate at the time of booking that you would like to participate in G Adventures’ Dollar-A-Day program, either by clicking the check box online, or by advising your G Adventures specialist or travel agent. (Note: Donation will be charged in the currency of your booking)

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at customerservice@gadventures.com and we will send it on to you.

Newsletter

Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/

Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation – Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra's monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.

Travel Forum - The Watering Hole

Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you're interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.