Culture & Wildlife of Uganda & Rwanda

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There’s a wealth of adventure to be had in both Uganda and Rwanda, especially now that tourists are beginning to rediscover this region. We keep this trip small and intimate – think guesthouses and farm stays – in order to really create a connection with this captivating land. Of course there’ll be trekking to spot chimps and gorillas and game drives through Queen Elizabeth II National Park to see elephants and hippos, but we’ll also visit the genocide museum for a closer look at the recent history of the region. Trust us: Uganda and Rwanda will stay in your memory for a very long time.

What's Included

Farm stay near Kibale NP. Chimpanzee trek. Game drives (Queen Elizabeth II NP). Gorilla trekking with guides (Volcanoes National Park). Genocide Museum (Kigali). All National Park fees and trekking permits. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

Highlights

Admire a family of mountain gorillas in their natural habitat, trek to see chimpanzees in Uganda, explore the adventure capital of Jinja, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife on game drives in QEII National Park.

Dossier Disclaimer

Itinerary Disclaimer

Important Notes

1. AGE RESTRICTIONS
Please note that all passengers must be aged 15 years or older (prior to start of travel) to go on this tour – there are no exceptions to this as it is for safety reasons and strictly controlled by the Government.

2. PHYSICAL REQUIREMENT
This trip is rated a level 4 physical requirement – travellers 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. Please ensure you meet the requirements as described under “physical rating”.

3. TRAVEL DAYS
Travelling can be difficult, as long drives and poor road conditions are the rule as opposed to the exception in both Rwanda and Uganda. Despite this, the diversity and scenery of the African landscape, the local culture and abundant wildlife are all well worth the experience.

6. WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS
G Adventures can never guarantee the sighting of wildlife, especially when it comes to mountain gorillas. However, the mountain gorilla trek is organized to ensure success. Before heading into the jungle, our local guides receive coordinates from trackers on the whereabouts of the gorillas, and the trackers stay with the gorillas until the group arrives.

7. ILLNESS
Please note that if you are unwell with anything contagious, even a common cold, you may be denied any of the treks to ensure the safety of the gorillas and chimps. This is a national park regulation, and trekking permits will not be refunded if you are denied entrance due to illness.

8. CAMERAS
As it is very dark and damp in the jungle; please ensure your camera equipment is appropriate for such conditions and that you bring dry bags to protect it.

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

Group Leader Description

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.

During both treks in Volcanoes National Park, we use an experienced and certified tracking guide, 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 12, avg 8

Meals

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.

Transport

Private van, walking.

About our Transportation

Road travel 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

Accommodation

Standard hotel (3 nts), furnished tents (6 nts).

About Accommodation

Please remember that this is a developing area and as such, accommodations/service may not be of similar standard to which you are used to in your home country. As well, interruptions in electricity and water can be common. We appreciate your patience and understanding as well as your sense of adventure.

Joining Hotel

Red Chilli Hideaway – Kampala
13-23 Bukasa Hill View Road
Butabika, Kampala, Uganda
+256 (0)772 509150
+256 (0)312 202903

Joining Instructions

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.

If you would like more time in Kampala you can choose to pre-reserve a room at our joining hotel in Kampala through G Adventures.

PLEASE NOTE you must be at the joining hotel in Kampala at 9AM on Day 1 for a meeting with your CEO and fellow travellers before the 2.5 hour drive to Jinja.

Arrival Complications

Emergency Contact

Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. 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.

AIRPORT TRANSFER: If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that: Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS

24hrs Emergency Contacts
G Adventures Local Representative from Uganda
Name: Alex
Contact: +256 772 887 484

G Adventures Local Representative from Rwanda
Name: Cathy
Contact: +250 786 831 900

G Adventures Local Office (Nairobi, Kenya)
Emergency number:
From outside Kenya: +254 727 208 832
From within Kenya: 0727 208 832

If you are unable for any reason to contact our local operator or local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

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, of medium size, as well as a day pack.

On this trip you may experience several types of weather. It is important to pack clothes for warm days and cool evenings. Light, quick-drying, practical clothes are advisable for this trip.

Your clothes will in all likelihood get very muddy and may not recover to their original state – therefore take old clothing for 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 pants
-Waterproof hiking boots
-Small towel and swimwear
-6 shirts/t-shirts, cool and breathable
-Long-sleeved shirt
-1 pair of shorts
-2 pairs of long trousers
-1 pair hiking pants
-Comfortable shoes
-Sport sandals
-Sun hat/bandana
-Sunblock
-Sunglasses
-Watch or alarm clock
-Water bottle
-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
-Camera and extra memory card/film
-Extra batteries (recommended)
-Electricity Plug Adapter

-Day pack
-Camera with extra memory cards and batteries
-Personal Entertainment
-Binoculars
-Waterproof backpack cover

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

Recommended for Gorilla trek (as well as the other 2 treks):
-Hiking pants
-Shirts/T-shirts
-Hiking boots
-Reusable water bottle
-Water purification tablets or filter (optional)
-Snacks
-Sun hat/Bandana
-Sunblock
-Windproof rain jacket
-Windproof rain pants
-Gloves
-Day pack
-Drybag
-Walking poles (Optional)
-Pack lightly as you’ll be carrying your own luggage throughout the tour.

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels and lodges for a charge.

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.

East Africa Tourist Visa

An East Africa Tourist Visa allows the holder to move freely between Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda with only one Visa, and is valid for a period of 90 days. It also acts as a multiple entry Visa, so if you leave any of the above countries, you do not need a new Visa to re-enter (provided it is within the 90 day validity period). These need to be applied for in advance, and a confirmation letter received from the Rwanda immigration department if the first point of entry is Kigali, Rwanda. You should contact the foreign Embassy (of the country you will be entering through) for more details. The cost is 100USD per person.

Please see below for more information:

http://www.visiteastafrica.org/visa/


VISAS TO RWANDA
Most nationalities need to apply for visa “facilitation” prior to visiting Rwanda. Please check the Rwanda immigration department’s official website – www.migration.gov.rw – which nationalities need a visa and which ones do not – it is VERY important to do this as travelers without the correct documentation with them will NOT be allowed to board their Rwanda bound flight. The visa facilitation is also applied for on this website and you normally get a confirmation in 3-5 working days. Please make sure you apply for this at least a month before your intended arrival to Rwanda. Bring a copy of the visa approval sent to you (VERY important) and pay for the visa at point of entry. Current cost for a 15 day tourist visa is US$ 50 per person (June 2015) – payable in US$ cash only. Please be aware that the US$ notes has to be from 2006 or newer, older notes are NOT accepted for payments in Rwanda.

Visas to Uganda can for most nationalities be obtained upon arrival at the boarder when arriving from Rwanda, in US$ 50 cash only.

There are however, a number of exceptions to this rule specifically for many nationalities from the Middle East (Including Lebanon) who can NOT get a visa upon arrival, this should all be checked with the Ugandan embassy in your home country well before time of travel.

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.

Spending Money

Money Exchange

The local currency in Rwanda is the Rwanda Franc. In Uganda it is the Ugandan Shilling.

There are several foreign exchange bureaus in Kigali offering similar rates, the most widely accepted currency is US$. Your CEO will inform you where you can change money throughout the tour and approximately how much money you will need for each country. That said – most everything is included in this tour – we recommend that you bring enough USD cash with you, to cover for any additional drinks/snacks and souvenir shopping.

The easiest foreign currency to exchange for locally for any of the local currencies is the $US; however the British Pound and Euro may also be exchanged as well. Please note that due to past problems with forgery, $US notes that are older than year 2006 are not accepted in Africa. Larger note ($US 50, $US 100 etc) can be difficult to change in some places, but will gain you the best exchange rate.

If you plan to buy your visas at borders, you will need to bring $USD cash to pay for these visas. Please note you cannot use the local currency or any other currency to buy these visas- they must be purchased in USD.

Please do not bring Travellers’ cheques to Africa. They are difficult if not impossible to exchange in many places.

Visa/Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. it is harder to find machines Mastercard/Cirrus cards. We highly recommend that if you hold a Mastercard, you obtain a Visa card prior to departure and travel with both. This is also useful should somethingunforeseen happen to one of your cards during your travels. While there are many ATMs in the major centres, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Africa. Check with your bank.

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. The majority of our optional activities can also be paid by credit card. Your CEO will advise on these.

Please note that in many areas there may be occasional power-outages, where there will be no electricity for hours at a time. In addition, ATMs outside of larger centers often run out of cash or can be out of order unexpectedly. These factors could affect your ability to access money from ATMs. As such, please do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money.
A combination of foreign currency and debit/credit cards for cash advances 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

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 / CEO US$3/4 each, per day worked, per traveller.

Optional Activities

Bungy Jumping US$115.00 per jump
Half-day Whitewater Rafting US$115.00
Full-day Whitewater Rafting US$125.00
Kayak the Nile US$140.00 for one person, US$115.00 for two or more
Quad Biking US$99.00 Overlander Safari
Horseback Riding US$80.00 for three hour ride
Sunset Cruise $45 pp (minimum 5 passengers)

Fort Portal
Community Lunch $20 per person
Bigodi Swamp Walk $20

Queen Elizabeth National Park
Game Drive $60 per person (minimum 4 passengers)
Boat Ride $30

Musanze (formerly called Ruhengeri)
Traditional Intore Dance $20 – approx 1 hour

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.

Yellow fever vaccination is mandatory for all visitors over 1 year of age and as the vaccination is not valid until 10 days after vaccination it is important to have this done in good time as this will be checked upon arrival to Rwanda.

Please be aware that Rwanda 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 CEO 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:

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.

Diarrhea:
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

Trip Specific Safety

Cities
Please exercise caution in the cities and always take a pre-arranged taxi if you go out at night.

Trekking/safari
At all times, please abide by all National park/reserve rules and always follow interactions from guides/trackers specifically, these are set to not just protect the wildlife but also to protect you.

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

A Couple of Rules

Travel Insurance

Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation

Feedback

Newsletter

Travel Forum - The Watering Hole

Max Pax

Group Leader

Chief Experience Officer (CEO)/driver throughout, experienced gorilla trackers, local guides.

Meal Budget

Allow USD105-140 for meals not included.

Meals Included

9 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 2 dinners

PRODUCT_LINE: DURU, ID: 22584


Itinerary

  1. Day 1 Kampala/Jinja (1D)

    Meet at the tour’s starting point in Kampala and have a short information meeting with your CEO and fellow travellers before the drive to Jinja.

    Spend a free afternoon here before an included welcome dinner in the evening.

    Additional Notes:
    This trip starts in Kampala on Day 1 at 9am so we recommend you arrive a day early. We can help you arrange a transfer from Entebbe airport if needed and also a night of pre-tour accommodation in Kampala. Arriving early and spending an extra night in Kampala will ensure you are ready to meet your group at 9am on Day 1. Accommodation in Jinja is furnished tents.

    Included Activities:
    Welcome Meeting

    Transport:
    Private Vehicle (2.50 hour(s))

  2. Day 2 Jinja (1B, 1L, 1D)

    Enjoy a free day in Jinja. Opt to go whitewater rafting, horseback riding, bungee jumping, quad biking, and more. In the evening, opt for a sunset cruise.

  3. Day 3 Jinja/Fort Portal (1B, 1L)

    Take the scenic route to Fort Portal at the edge of Kibale National Park. Spend the night on a farm listening to the sounds of monkeys and birds.

    Additional Notes:
    Accommodation in Fort Portal is on a farm in furnished tents.

    Transport:
    Private Vehicle (7.00-8.00 hours, 400km)

  4. Day 4 Kibale National Park (1B, 1L)

    Explore the evergreen rainforest and trek to spot chimps in the morning or afternoon.

    Included Activities:
    Chimpanzee Trek

  5. Day 5 Kibale National Park/Queen Elizabeth National Park (1B)

    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.

    Additional Notes:
    Accommodations in Queen Elizabeth are furnished tents.

    Included Activities:
    Game Drive

    Transport:
    Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s), 115km)

  6. Day 6 Queen Elizabeth National Park (1B, 1L)

    Explore the national park with a chimp trek in search of the playful primates. Enjoy a safari drive with possible sightings of buffaloes, waterbucks, warthogs, lions, leopards, hyenas, giant forest hogs, and elephants.

    Included Activities:
    Game Drive

  7. Day 7 Queen Elizabeth National Park/Musanze (1B)

    Cross the border into Rwanda and continue to Musanze, formerly Ruhengeri, the gateway to Volcanoes National Park.

    Additional Notes:
    Accommodation in Musanze is a standard hotel.

    Included Activities:
    Border Crossing (Uganda – Rwanda)

    Transport:
    Private Vehicle
    Private Vehicle

  8. Day 8 Musanze (1B, 1L)

    Head into Volcanoes National Park to meet the park ranger/guide for orientation. Embark on the trek, which can vary in length and difficulty, depending on the location of the gorilla family that’s being visited. Spend 1 hr (max) observing these beautiful and endangered creatures, a truly privileged experience. Trek back and return to town. Enjoy free time in the afternoon.

    Included Activities:
    Gorilla Trekking

    Transport:
    Private Vehicle (0.50 hour(s))

  9. Day 9 Musanze/Kigali (1B)

    Head to Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali. Visit the genocide museum to learn more about the dark history of this fascinating country.

    Additional Notes:
    Accommodation in Kigali is a standard hotel.

    Included Activities:
    Genocide Memorial Visit

    Transport:
    Private Vehicle (2.50 hour(s), 100km)

  10. Day 10 Kigali (1B)

    Depart at any time.

Contact our travel experts for more details

G Adventures