FAQ about Gorilla Trekking
Are you anticipating traveling to Africa to see mountain gorillas? Let us provide you with information so that you get prepared well in advance
Firstly you need to know about the gorilla trekking rules which include the following
Guidelines and rules for gorilla trekking
No sick tourist is allowed to visit the gorillas if you have cold, flu or other infectious disease.
A maximum of 8 people are allowed to visit 1 gorilla family per day.
Human waste like feces, vomiting must be buried 30 centimeters under the soil
Keep your voices low when you are approaching gorillas in distance of 200 meters
When you are with gorillas in the forest take note of this;
Keep a distance of 7 meters (about 21 feet) from the gorillas. At this distance gorillas remain calm.
Do not isolate yourself when observing the gorillas you must keep in a tight group together with trackers and guides. This will reduce any risk of gorillas charging at you though it never happens.
Obey your guide’s instructions. Some gorilla families are used to humans and especially young ones or mothers will approach and tap on you. In such a situation you are not allowed to touch the gorilla, the guide will tell you to make a step back or give way or crouch down. You must not run or so anything that guides has not told you to do.
Gorilla tracking lasts for 1 hour while gorilla habituation experience you spend 4 hours with gorillas.
Turn your camera flash light off when photographing gorillas
No eating or smoking in front of gorillas because it affects their feeding behavior
Cover your mouth and turn your head back when you want to sneeze or cough. In DRC, visitors wear masks on the mouth which may soon be introduced in Uganda and Rwanda. Perhaps conservation organizations and some responsible tour operators encourage their clients to do so.
General health rules
What to bring on your gorilla tracking safari
General information about Uganda
Entebbe is the main international airport of Uganda where most tourists arrive and depart. Kampala the capital city of Uganda is 40 km (about 1 hour drive) from the airport. There cross border points. If you land at Kigali Rwanda, you can use Cyanika and Katuna borders. From Tanzania you get to Uganda via Mutukura while those from Nairobi use Busia. Once you are in Uganda and you want to go on safari to far western or northern regions of Uganda, there are airstrips and charter flights provide the easiest access.
Are there domestic airlines that operate in Uganda and East African region?
Yes there are a number of charter planes that operate charter flights within Uganda to remort parks like Kidepo valley, Bwindi. Jambo jet, Aero link, Eagle air can also fly to Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania
Can I rent a car in Uganda?
If you like to explore Uganda on your own without using the tour operator, we recommend you to rent a car. There are many car rental companies but the charges differ depending on the type of a vehicle you want.
On arrival at Entebbe air port
The arrival area at Entebbe is standard and it does not get crowded. As you get out of the aircraft, visitors will find it easy to get to the immigration and customs office where you usually line up and then to the luggage check in area.
Health checks (Do I need any vaccinations to enter Uganda?)
The mandatory vaccinations required for all travelers arriving at Entebbe are yellow fever. You must have your yellow fever certificate. Other vaccinations such as typhoid, hepatitis B, are not mandatory but ministry of health Uganda recommends that travelers should be up to date and inquire from their operators. In case of any minor illness visit a local pharmacy, or clinic. For major sickness or injuries visit hospital like Mulago the national hospital among others.
Money exchange / withdrawing at ATM
The local currency is Uganda shillings (UGX for short). As of 2018, the 3,600 is equivalent to $1 US dollars. On arrival, there is jet forex while at departures is Norfrax. There are also ATM’s of Barclays bank and Stanbic bank.
Language (Do Ugandans speak English?)
English is the official language of Uganda. not only in the tourism industry, majority of the people speak English while few know foreign languages like Spanish, French, German and Chinese. Feel free to ask for a guide who can interpret for you on the safari. Even if you get trouble communicating, Ugandans are very friendly people who will assist you.
When to visit, how is the weather in Uganda?
Uganda has a tropical climate marked by two seasons, the dry which is the best time to visit from December to February and June to September. The rainy season is also favorable to travel because the scenery is always green and instead of dust on dirt roads, there will be a bit of mud. Regardless of the season, you can still visit Uganda but be sure to pack clothing to prepare for rain even if it is a dry season.
What to wear
On safari around Uganda, clothing will depend on the activities you want to participate in. but if you are just in Uganda wear light clothing. For those going to national parks, you need hiking shoes, long pants, sweaters and you should also pack rain jackets. Those climbing mountains like Rwenzori be aware of temperatures below freezing point and you will need hyper gear to keep your clothes dry while on the summit.
Will my cell phone work in Uganda?
Network providers operating in Uganda include MTN, AirTel, Uganda telcom, K2 Telcome, Africell. You can purchahse a sim card and register it. However depending on your provider, you may need to check international roaming from any of the network providers.
What to bring?
To drive in Uganda you need to visit Uganda revenue authority who will check you for an international driver’s license (though you don’t need one. but you need your country’s will work for the entire period of your holiday.
When driving around please make sure you have your identification documents and the drier’s permit itself is much more important.
How much do I tip in Uganda?
Generally tipping in Uganda most people are not used to it. But in the tourism industry, it is acceptable to give a tip to guides, drivers, rangers, hotel staff, and traditional dancers, depending on how you appreciate the services given unto you.
What is the food and drinks like in Uganda?
Traditional dishes like Matooke, beans, rice, g/nuts luwombo, go heavy on Ugandan menu in restaurants and hotels. However there are arrange of International cuisines, served in major tourist hotels, lodges, and cafes whether it sis Chinese, Italian, Indian, Japanese, European, or American. There are natural fruit drinks and juices homemade. Sodas are common as well alcoholic drinks.
What to buy
Some supermarkets and shopping malls have a wide range of international products such as Japanese soya and various products from Asia, Europe, and America. Local products, like crafts souvenirs are widely available mostly in Kampala Buganda road craft shops and at national theatre.
Those who like reading, you will find books such as Bradt guides, the eye magazine,
What emergency number to dial in case of any incident
Call 999/ 122 Uganda police will assist you.