Frequently Asked Questions – Kiho Gorilla Safari Lodge

How safe is Uganda?

Petty crime is common in the larger cities of Kigali and Kampala. By staying with your guides, you will avoid most issues. Don’t wear expensive accessories or watches, and don’t carry large sums of cash.

Take particular care of your passport. Travellers should take the same precautions that they
would in a major city in the US. Pay attention to the advice of your tour leader and hotel reception and take common-sense precautions such as not going into unfamiliar areas alone, especially at night.
Guides will monitor your safety in cities and in the game areas. From time-to-time generalized travel statements are issued concerning travel conditions in the area.

What time zone is Uganda?

Uganda is on East Africa Time Zone, GMT +03:00. Uganda does not recognize Daylight savings time.

Is the water safe to drink?

Tap water is generally unsafe in East Africa and it’s recommended that you drink only bottled water which is widely available.

Bottled water will be provided in the safari vehicles for all of our game drives and in the bathrooms at the lodges for brushing your teeth.

While Gorilla Tracking, you will be required to carry your own water supply.

Can I use US dollars, or do I need local currency? What is the local currency, exchange rate, etc.?

Uganda is a relatively expensive destination compared to other places in Africa. Budgeting $30-$50 dollars per day per person is reasonable. The local currency in Uganda is the Ugandan Shilling (UGX) and is currently around 3550: US$1.

It is advisable to exchange a small amount of money into local currency for use at roadside shops & restaurants. Please be aware that high denomination US Dollar bills (only post-2000) are usable.

Bills should be in excellent condition with no stains or tears. Check out a Currency
Converter like for the latest exchange rates.

 Should I bring cash or Traveller’s checks? Are ATMs available? Can I use credit cards?

ATMs are readily available in the larger towns and cities, but hard, if not impossible to find elsewhere. Traveller’s checks are not recommended as they are hard to exchange, and fewer retailers are accepting them.

Although it is helpful to bring a credit card along for emergencies, don’t count on using
it for most purchases as sometimes their POS machines might not work because of a bad signal or no signal at all.

Where can I get a local sim card?

We provide a cell phone with a local sim card number in each vehicle. There will always be airtime on. But if you would still prefer your own simcard, you can go to any network services and buy one, they would be between 2,000ugx to 5,000ugx. You will need a copy of your passport.

Do I need a visa/passport?

Travelers will all need a passport valid for at least 6 months after they depart, and have at least 2 consecutive blank pages. Tourist visa or other visas can be applied for online.

This link, might be helpful to see which nationality needs a visa.

How Much Do Uganda Visas Cost?

The cost of a visa depends on how long you plan to stay in Uganda. Costs can range from $50 to $200.

Single entry e-visas start at around $50. An East African Tourist e-visa starts at $100. If you’re planning multiple entries into Uganda with an e-visa, pricing ranges from $100 to over $200, depending on the length of the visa and similar factors.

Please note, the Ugandan government can change fee amounts at any time. Fees do not include processing, service, consular, postage or other charges.

Are Any Vaccines Required for Uganda?

Yes, some vaccines are recommended or required for Uganda. The CDC and WHO recommend the following vaccinations for Uganda: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza.

Please note that some countries, such as South Africa, require a yellow fever vaccination if traveling directly from Uganda. Please check with the Centre for Disease Control for information for your onward travel from Uganda.

For the most current information, please consult your doctor and/or check out the Center for Disease Control web-site.

COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for travel to all regions, both foreign and domestic. Check with.  Entebbe International Airport Port Health shall approve for arrival or departure a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate undertaken within 72 hours from the time of sample collection.

It is best and highly recommended to pre-register online, as well as make payments online. PCR test cost $30 per person. Print both copies and have it in your and when you arrive, it will save you a lot of time.

Uganda Arrival Covid Regulations

COVID-19 Health Measures for Entebbe International Airport

*All arriving passengers at Entebbe International Airport will be subjected to a COVID-19 test, regardless of country of origin or vaccination status.

The only exemptions are children below 6 years, and airline crew with evidence of full COVID-19 vaccination.

*Passengers who test positive for COVID-19 on arrival will be provided psychological support and transferred to the gazetted public and private
treatment facilities where they will be managed for 7 days and discharged on a negative PCR test.

*The treatment for passengers in above will be free in the Public Hospitals. However, Passengers who opt for Private Hospitals will meet their costs.

*In the case of arriving tourists, if they are asymptomatic or with mild disease, they will be managed in the designated tourists Hotels.

*The tourists in (5) above who progress to severe disease will be transferred to the hospitals of their choice.

*All travellers whose body temperature is NOT above 37.5° C (99.5°F), do not have a persistent cough, difficulty in breathing or other flu-like symptoms shall be allowed to enter or depart Uganda.

*This excludes transit time at the terminal building.

*Travellers who have had COVID-19 vaccination and hold certificate must still present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate taken within 72 hours
from the time of sample collection to boarding aircraft. This is because the vaccine is not 100% protective, and it also takes several days/weeks to
begin protection.

*Passengers travelling out of the country, will be required to hava e negative COVID-19 PCR test
*Certificate is taken within 72 hours from the time of sample collection. They will abide by the health travel requirements of the destination country.

*Air transportation of human remains into the country is allowed if the following conditions are fulfilled:

Medical Certificate of Cause of death.

Post-mortem report or Comprehensive Medical Report from the attending doctor/health facility.

iii. Embalming certificate (including embalming certificate for death due to COVID-19).

Copy of passport/identification document of the deceased (The original passport /travel document/identification document to be presented to immigration authorities);

Import license/import authorization from the tDirector-Generalral of Health Services.

Appropriate packaging – wrapped in a waterproof body bag then placed in zinc-linedned coffin and an outer metal or wooden box.

vii. The document will be verified by port health and the casket on arrival shall be decontaminated by port health.

viii. The burial of bodies of COVID-19 victims will be conducted following the existing procedures for scientific burials.

To bring human remains in the country clearance MUST be obtained from Ministries of Health and Foreign Affairs.

Entry requirements change with surprising frequency. It is each traveller’s responsibility to check with the consulate for the most up-to-date visa information.

Is travel insurance recommended?

It is not mandatory but if you would prefer to have insurance that is completely up to you. All our guides/drivers are drive carefully and would avoid going places with our clients where they not supposed to.

But it is always a good idea to rather be safe than sorry. Also maybe it is a good idea to insure expensive items.

What are the accommodations like?

This depends on what type of accommodation you are looking for. As you will see on our Lodge Uganda Portal, we have created our own & independent rating criteria and named it “The Crane rating”. We have 3 Crane, 4 Crane, and 5 Crane Ratings.

For more information, check out our Lodge Uganda Portal Website or let us assist you with your Safari Adventure here in “The Pearl of Africa”!

Do I need a power adapter or converter for the electricity in Uganda?

Uganda uses 240 volts of electricity and requires 3-pin (square) sockets.  Travelers will need a voltage converter for 110-volt devices. It is best to travel with your own adapters. Even if they do not have power, most camps or lodges can make arrangements for recharging batteries. Consult your guide if needed.

Are meals included?

This depends if your package is based on BB (Bed & Breakfast), HB (Half Board), or FB (Full Board). Generally, we offer you a package with all meals included, but if you would like to bring costs down we can change your meal options. Note that some lodges only have a full board mandatory.

Meals while staying at hotels in major cities (Kampala or Kigali) are limited to breakfast only. If you have any dietary preferences or concerns, please let us know well ahead of time.

What are the tour leaders like?

Your local guides are nature enthusiasts who love to share their passion with our clients. Most speak several languages and have been guiding for a combined total of over 100 years.

They are professional, accommodating, understanding, punctual, organized, mature, well knowledgeable, trustworthy, reliable, solving problems easily, and just really nice to have around part of your Uganda Adventure!

What type of food is typical in Uganda?

The food may not be sophisticated but benefits from the inclusion of fresh fruit and vegetables.

You will find a largely vegetarian diet, although meat is available. The cuisine is largely based around beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, bananas, rice, japati, and a rolex is quite popular and delicious.

In the higher-rated lodges, you will find a more exclusive, modern, and delicious menu.

What type of transportation is used?

For your safari, you will be transferred in either a Compact SUV Xtrail 4×4 or a safari vehicle. Depending on your budget. But either will be 4×4, comfortable, and well maintained.

What is the climate like?

Due to the high altitude and proximity to the equator, you can expect to find a remarkably pleasant tropical highland climate in Uganda. The rainy season runs from March to May, during which the rain is fairly constant. June to mid-September is generally noted as the best time to travel.

October and November will also be rainy, and there is a short dry season from December to February. Even in the dry seasons, travellers should expect light rain showers.

What is the typical age range for these tours?

Our Africa tours tend to attract all ages. The more adventurous trekking tours tend to attract a slightly younger group (mostly 20s-40s), but we’ve also had active 70-year-olds do great on these treks so don’t let age discourage you if you are fit and healthy.

Expect a wide range of ages and ask your trip planner if you are curious about the demographics for a particular departure.

Are these trips suitable for kids?

It completely depends on what type of safari you will be doing. If you are going to visit a view national park like Murchison Falls National Park, kids are welcome. There is a lodge well suitable for kids as well as the boat activities & Game drives kids can enjoy with an adult present.

Game drive hours can be done according to what makes you and your kids more enjoyable & comfortable. The only 3 activities where we would advise not to experience with kids, are Gorilla Tracking, Chimpanzee Trekking, and Rwenzori Mountains Trekking.

The government restrictions, mandate the participants be at least 15 years of age at the time of travel.

Can I do a trip on my own and is there a big difference in the price?

Yes, you absolutely can. Having us sort everything out for you might just be easier, less stress, we have all the resources & suppliers, and we can assist in sorting out if there would be any issues.

Regarding price differences, all the rates are directly from our suppliers and we only add a 10% handling fee.

Do the rates include international flights?

Your Safari Package does not include international flights no. We can however include inbound flights for you to shorten your time on the road.

We find that it is usually less expensive for travellers to book their international flights separately and this also allows you the flexibility to choose the schedule and routing that is most convenient for you.

We do know a travel agency very well and will be more than happy to put you in contact with them if you would like.

What does my safari package include?

Included in Package:
– All Accommodation on BB/FB basis.
– All mentioned Activities
– Gorilla trekking Permits x2 ($700 per permit per person)
– Chimpanzee trekking Permits
($200 per permit per person in Kibale Forest, $40 per permit in Kyamburo Gorge)
– All Park Entry Fees ($40 per person per park entry – 1 park fee is valid for 24h)
– Vehicles Park Entry Fees ($10 per vehicle per day)
– Vehicle
– Guides
– Fuel
– Snacks & Water

Excluded in Package:

– Any extras (other meals not included in the accommodation, restaurant, alcohol, other beverages, etc.)
– Extra activities not mentioned in the package
– Flights
– Uganda Visa ($50 per person)
– The arrival PCR test at Entebbe airport it is $30 per person.
– On return PCR test between $70 – $200
– Any tips or donations

What should I pack?

-Mozzie Spray/cream
– Comfortable shoes
– Summer clothes (Not too short or little material)
– Long sleeve clothes
– Jacket/rain coat
– Sunscreen
– Hat
– Enough money to buy snacks for some of your day itinerary/activities/trekking
– Yellow ever card
– Valid passport for 6months and above
– Online paid visa
– Online pre-registered PCR test
– Online Payment link for pre-register PCR test

How do I get to the guesthouse/lodge from the airport when I arrive?

Your safari guide will meet you at the airport. They will have a sign in their hand and you will see them as soon as you exit the airport building. Your guide will take you to your guesthouse/lodge.

We would highly recommend staying the night in Entebbe on the day you arrive and start your safari early the next morning. In most cases, clients are tired after their long flight or arrive too late to take on the long road.

However, it is doable to go straight to your lodge depending on what time you arrive. But we would highly recommend not to do so.

How much should I budget for tips?

The local culture believes the level of tips should be at the discretion of the client and any token of appreciation is gladly received. These are our suggestions:

About 3-5% in restaurants; at lodges/camps US$ $3-5 per guest for a stay of 1-3 days; for driver/guides US$ $5 – 10 per day per client; for the Head Ranger when gorilla tracking $10 per day per client; porters at parks – $20-25 per day per person; Hotel/lodge baggage porters – $1 to $2 per client per stay. Forest walks – $5 per client.

How much fuel do I have to budget for?

Usually, your fuel costs will be included in your package, but if you would prefer to fill up as you go, then we would suggest at least a budget of $100 to $150 per day.

Of course, this rate will change depending on your distances. We do have a policy that our vehicles are only filled up at either Shell or Total.

How far in advance should I book?

You can book your Uganda tour at any time and generally the earlier you book, the better.

Booking early (10-12 months or more recommended) is especially important for travellers visiting during the height of the dry season, Dec-Feb or June-Sept, as many of these lodges, activities, vehicles & guides fill up months in advance.

Travelers visiting outside of these busy months can often book a bit closer to the arrival date, though a 4–6-month notice is still recommended.

How much are the Gorilla Trekking Permits?

Only a limited number of permits are available in each gorilla park per day. It is therefore essential to plan well in advance. Permits need to be paid for at the time of the initial safari booking so that they can be purchased immediately. Delay in payment can result in permits not being secured.

To protect gorillas from disease, no children under 15 or people with illnesses may go tracking. There are 3 different types of groups who do the trekking, one group for the advanced fit, a group for those who would like to walk a little slower, and then a group for the elderly.

For the advanced trackers, must be fit and in good health as tracking in thick forest at heights up to 3,000m traversing steep-sided mountains and ravines can be tough, arduous, and wet.

Permits are non-refundable. Gorilla viewing can be denied at short notice because of a national park or border closures, security changes, or gorillas going out of range. In such circumstances refunds are at the discretion of the authority and are not within the company’s control.

Obtaining a gorilla permit, therefore, is not a guarantee of seeing a gorilla. One hour is allowed with the gorillas, at a distance of at least 7 meters. Flash photography is not allowed. Personal DVD recorders are allowed.

Are tour dates flexible?

Of course, this completely depends on your time. It is however important to know that some lodges might not have accommodation available with your changed date, so we might have to look at another price range to be still in the area of your arrange/planned safari.

Lodge Uganda tours are very flexible in changing anything according to your needs and wishes, except last-minute changes and cancellations. This makes this a bit harder and a lot more stressful for our guide and clients themselves.

To prevent any inconveniences it would be best to make changes at least a week before the arrival date.

Can I extend or change my stay

Absolutely! Let us know how you would like to customize your trip and we will do our best to accommodate you.

How concerned should I be about the altitude?

Altitude affects each traveller differently and until you have visited an area with high altitude, it is impossible to predict how your body will react.

Commonly, our travellers report mild altitude symptoms such as fatigue, headache, or light-headedness during their first day or two at elevation.
Severe altitude sickness is rare.

In this case, the best treatment is to go down in elevation as soon as possible. We have never had a traveller that had to be evacuated to a low altitude.

Many severe cases of altitude sickness are the result of a pre-existing condition that is aggravated by altitude. It is important to ask your doctor whether or not travel to high altitude is advised, especially if you have a pre-existing heart or lung condition such as high blood pressure, asthma, angina, etc.

You might also want to ask your doctor about prescription Diamox, a diuretic that many travellers swear by to help them adjust to the altitude more readily.

Do the Lodges have mosquito nets?

Yes, most of them do. But it is still recommended to always have mosquito repellent with you just in case your lodge doesn’t have a mosquito net.

If your question is not on our FAQ sheet, please contact us and we are happy to assist.
We would also like to add your questions to the list if that is ok, so any suggestions are more than welcome!

Thank you in advanced

Please ask your question!