Uganda Travel Tips
Before traveling to Uganda adhere to the travel tips that will help you have a successful and less challenging self drive trip in Uganda or a guided safari to the different destinations throughout the country as provided below;
Safety and well being
Your person safety and well being is top priority to every tour company you may wish to partake a safari with. Always take care of your personal belongs in that they are far away from the temptation of petty theft and pick pocketing. It is suicide displaying large sums of money while in busy places like supermarkets, local market while in Kampala and other urban set ups
When leaving the car always ensure that the windows and doors are well locked and always carry your valuable like cameras, laptops and phones while getting out of the car. it is always to have a perch or a moon bag where you can keep your swift valuable like credit cards, money and electronic gadgets.
While at the accommodation facility, it is commendable to keep your money and other valuables in the safety facility provided to you. It is always great to check for the room to ensure you pack everything that you came with before leaving.
In Uganda, it is allowed to take photos of social or street scenes but endeavor to seek permission in case you wish to take picture of a certain person or a specific group of people. Payment of the pictures may be requested but it is always up to the tourist to give out any amount of money as upon requested by the people. It is also suffice to note that taking pictures of military, military personnel or establishment is prohibited.
In the vehicle
In case you are traveling with a group of people, please try to be accommodative so the you have a very harmonized condition on the trip. Remember different people may have different interests that are against yours on game drives and other activities but always be considerate and let democracy take its course.
Do not throw rubbish out of the window while in the car. Uganda is a very environment conscious country that focuses of not degrading its natural environment. Smoking is not permitted while in the car.
Uganda has a good mobile phone network supporting the local and international calls and also the internet too. Please not that some people find it arrogant to use the phone in the wild environment like in the national parks and in shared vehicle. It is great to reserve some discreet while using the phone.
There are stopovers with toilets on each and every long distance route leading to the various tourism destinations. If at all you get a discomfort and the distance seems to be far away from the stopover, inform the guide and make arrangement for your relief. If in the bush bury the waste to the ground.
Locals in Uganda are very friendly however before starting any conversation greetings are some importance for a good rapport since it is of great importance in Uganda. Even when merely asking for directions or simple inquiry, start off with “how are you?”
Hand shaking is discreetly reserved by both sexes so it not advisable to just have a handshake with an opposite sex. While not all hotel staff would expect to be greeted thus as a general rule, one may not have so many handshakes in Uganda.
Drinks and beverages
Unless drinks on the meals as indicated on your itinerary while traveling with a tour company in Uganda, you are responsible for purchasing your own drinks on your Uganda safari. Most lodges and hotels have considerably good selection of wines and spirit with more up market to offer its clients. Soft drinks, water, juice, local gins and beer are also available across all lodges. Price of the drinks vary in correspondence with the location.
For the case of drinking water, always take bottled mineral water to tap water as the tap water is not well treated to be from germs.
Most of the time, when traveling with a tour company, you are always offered drinking water and some local fruits.
Approximate cost of drinks at lodges and hotels:
Most drinks are priced in Uganda shillings but below are the prices in dollars for ease reference of travelers.
Water: around $1.5-2.00 per half litre
Soda: around $1.5-$2.5 per bottle
Beer: around $2.5-$4.0 each
Spirits (imported): around $4-$7 per drink
Wine (imported): around $5-$7 per drink
Wine (imported): around $25-$50 per bottle
In Uganda, it is not mandatory to give out tips/gratuities but it is taken as an appreciation for good services. The amount of the tip is left to the traveler to decide and the following are only guidelines. The tips can be given in a foreign currency or local currency and also items like shoes, watches, clothes, jewelry can also be given out.
Gorilla and chimpanzee guides: the tips are normally placed in the tips box at the head guide office at the national parks. The head guide normally distributes the tip amongst the guides and game guards- USD15-20 per visitor on every tracking day.
Porters for primate tracking: when tracking gorillas and other primates at times porters to carry your heavy luggage are hired for $15-20 per day and an amount of $5-10 may be given as a tip.
Safari driver guides: guest traveling 4-6 guests in vehicle can give out 10-15 dollars per day. If traveling in a smaller group, please tip at your discretion.
Hotels/lodge stuff: a traveler can tip $3-5 per guest per stay. Several of the small hotels and lodges have tip box where traveler can drop the tip. For the large hotels, the travel can do it at his/her discretion to the different personnel that have given him/her a good service.
National park guides (cruises/bird walks/game drives):