Camping safari in Uganda camping means staying in the bush overnight away from the campsite…
Safari Guide on self-drive tour and Guided safari tour
Kindly allow me to take you through this briefing. It is important even when you are a regular traveler!
Welcome to Africa in particular Uganda and Rwanda; countries Gifted by Nature, with the world’s most welcoming and hospitable people. where people will welcome and greet you by shaking hands or a more traditional way of hugging. Kindly be aware of this.
English is the official language spoken in the country, though it is our second language after our mother languages, since Aug and Rwanda are the most ethnically diverse countries on earth, Be careful of the pronunciation of English; otherwise, feel free to ask for pardon until you understand what the person is meaning. Actually, I do not speak correct English but I try to articulate myself for you to understand.
Driving is on the left in Uganda but it’s on the right hand in Rwanda, so you are encouraged to enter the vehicles from the left-hand side or the right-hand side respectively to avoid accidents.
Vehicles are no-smoking zones, but we shall do stops for smoking in case there is a need.
It is an offense to Smoke in public.
Anyone who is not black is called “Muzungu”
The Ugandan Shillings and Rwandese Francs are the national currencies used as a major medium of exchange. Other currencies widely used include; US Dollars. For foreign currencies, kindly carry bills of the year 2012 and newer versions.
In case you want to change foreign currencies to local currency, consult your guide or visit a designated Forex bureau or a commercial bank. Do not change money from street vendors.
Credit cards/ shopping cards can be used to pay in some places and many lodges but not all. Therefore, carry some substantial cash with you to be used in case you can’t pay by card.
Do not carry huge sums of money onto your person. You may use ATM to withdraw more money in case you need it.
Giving street beggars money is strictly disallowed.
Deposit rubbish in designated places.
Buy items from supermarkets. Otherwise, prices in open markets may be hiked a little for you. Consult your guide for better shopping deals.
Official working hours are from 08H00 to 17H00 from Monday to Friday for government offices, while private offices operate for half day on Saturday and markets are open even on Sundays.
We use British power sockets in Uganda and American sockets in Rwanda.
Many feeder roads are dirt and bumpy. While highways are paved.
Sleep under a mosquito net in your rooms of accommodation. We have anopheles mosquitoes that spread malaria.
Drink only bottled water.
Some lodges and places use solar power which is scheduled. So, plan to charge your gadgets accordingly.
Most lodges have WiFi but some lodges have no internet. In case you want to communicate from such places, ask your guide to buy for you a data bundle or take you to a public internet café.
Security and defense personnel carry guns. It is for our security.
Checking and registration of clients are common at lodges. In some places, you will be asked for your passport or Identity card copies. All is intended to know who you are.
Keep your rooms under the key and lock always.
Photography is strictly prohibited in the following places; the state house/ state lodge (Presidential administrative centre), Embassies and high commissions, bridges, police and army barracks. Do not take photos of persons unless you seek for their permission.
Facebook has been suspended in Uganda for a short time.
Do not trust strangers.
Carry your valuables on to your person always in a small bag, unless your guide advises.
While in the rooms of accommodation, use the safe boxes. But in case there are no safe boxes, keep your valuables safe.
If you buy a new sim card, register it with your passport or any legal document.
Avoid walking alone at awkward hours. In case there is an emergency, you must be in the company of a trusted citizen. Ask your guide to help.
Avoid walking on the back streets of towns alone. Pickpockets may take advantage of that.
Tipping is desirable though it may be essential in some scenarios; e.g.: Mountain guides, Gorilla trekking, and chimpanzee trekking guides. In case you choose to tip them, any amount shall keep a smile to their faces. In the event that you choose to tip hoteliers, kindly put it in the “Tip Box” so that it can be shared by all the workers, instead of giving to the waiter or receptionist only.
There are no good toilets on the way but in case you want to ease yourself, kindly let me know so that I look for a suitable place. It may be a fuel station, a simple guest house, some person’s home or even a bush for “short calls” in case of long drives.
Carry your required equipment for the safari: sun-creams, insect repellants, caps/hats, rain gear, medicines, hiking boots, jackets or sweaters, sanitizers, binoculars, cameras, etc.
Our time zone is +3 in Uganda and +2 in Rwanda
call code is +256 in Uganda and +250 in Rwanda
The police toll-free number is 112 or 999. But it may not be picked instantly.
The guide/ driver may sleep at the same lodge with you or at the “Drivers’ quarters” next to your rooms but shall be with you until you retire to sleep.
The guide is not an angel, so they may not know all the answers to your questions but shall endeavor to respond correctly. Therefore, keep asking all that you want to know. It is our job to be asked.
Services at hotels/ lodges may delay a little due to poor technology. Kindly allow some more minutes from the agreed time.
Power outages may happen, but some lodges have backup generators or solar power.
You will be teamed up with other people for some activities like gorilla trekking, Chimp tracking, Rhino tracking, boat cruises, and mountain hiking.
Packed lunches and breakfasts are enjoyed as picnic meals as we may not get good dining places to enjoy our meals.
You can’t get all that you need on a single safari, but what you come across shall be enjoyed to the fullest: the people, wildlife, culture, food, photos, etc.
Animals and birds are not habituated, they are wild and shy. There is no guarantee to find them.
Some features and wildlife are there to see not to be photographed as they are so agile, fast, and far.
After a meal, endeavor to order the next meal if you are staying at the same lodge.
Communicate dietary issues in advance.
For services or items that are not described in your itinerary, you will be billed directly. Direct billing may apply to services or products like; laundry, tips, beverages, buying souvenirs, etc.
We carry no strangers in our safari vehicle but the following people may be given a “lift” on your permission; employees of Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and Rwanda Development Board (RDB) on duty, fellow tourist guides on duty in case of emergencies, other tourists in case of emergencies.
Whilst in Uganda, you are free to discuss any topic of your choice, but to enjoy your stay in Rwanda, do not just speak to anyone you find around about serious topics like politics.
- Specify room distribution in advance in case of a group.
- The most common ailments suffered by travelers are dehydration and allergies due to weather changes or food. Be sure to carry electrolytes or oral rehydration salts; and always drink the bottled water provided by our staff or at the lodges.
- Try the “Rolex” – our Ugandan wheat rolled chapatti containing eggs and vegetables; and the roasted chicken or meat pinned on sticks at road-side markets. They should be eaten hot on the recommendation of the guide.
- Take a ride on the commuter motor-cycles called “boda-boda” in Uganda or “Moto” in Rwanda but insist to the motorists to ride at a manageable speed and ask for the head helmet or carry yours in case of long rides.
- Whenever your itinerary has a community walk or community interactions and jungle hike, always put on long pants or trousers and boots
- While driving through busy cities and traffic jam, keep your windscreens closed and vehicle doors locked or else do not use your mobile phone and camera. Pickpockets may use that chance.
- Look at each side of the road to ensure that there is no vehicle before you cross roads even when you are at the zebra-crossing points.
- Trainees and researchers are common in our destinations. It will be upon your decision to help them respond to their questionnaires.
- I will be giving you daily specific briefings for every activity or destination