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Welcome to the Safari to Uganda page!

"MUZUNGU, HI"

Dear reader, this is only a quick guide for those of you who are planning on visiting us in Uganda!  

This is not a 'professional' page and may not cover all of your questions.  

We hope you find it helpful and that it helps you prepare for your AMAZING trip!


IMPORTANT:  When selecting your itinerary, try your hardest to arrive at the Entebbe airport Monday night through Thursday night.  Friday night traffic is horrible and it'll take hours to get you anywhere.  Saturday and Sunday aren't much better.  Let us know if you can't get an flight for the other days of the week and we can advise you.

Links:

Online Visa

Safari's

Packing List

Culture Notes

Getting Around in East Africa


Cultural Note: You will affectionately be called "Muzungu", please don't be offended or say anything back, they're just excited to see you.  A good response is "Jambo".

***NEWS UPDATE!  Check out the new rules for carrying a laptop in your carryon, many airlines don't allow it anymore!

Immigration / airport

  • New Visa Procedure: You CAN apply and receive a visa BEFORE coming to Uganda.
    • Go to: https://visas.immigration.go.ug or click HERE.
    • Choose Visa
    • Choose East African Visa
    • Continue with the application process.
  • Make sure you have your Yellow Fever vaccination and Immunization Card to show when entering Uganda.
  • Credit Cards: Bring the same credit card that you purchased your tickets with.  Oftentimes, the airline will request to see your card and if you cannot show it to them, they will cancel your tickets and you will be forced to purchase new tickets on the spot.
  • You will be asked on the Immigration Form where you are staying and with whom.  Our contact information is below.
  • If you are bringing American cash into Uganda, make sure you have a fresh and fairly new $100 USD bill and that is not torn nor written on.
  • http://www.xe.com is a great website for getting an accurate exchange rate and they also have a free app for your smart phone.
  • Bring a printout of your flight itinerary, both the arriving and departing flights, and have them ready when going through immigration.  Don't count on having an e-copy on your smart phone.  Most phone batteries are drained by arrival time, or the phone is still turned off, taking too long to turn on to show the immigration officer (s/he will NOT wait for your phone to turn on and they'll send you to the back of the line).
  • When asked how long you are going to stay in Uganda you need to consider if you might be traveling to Kenya and/or Rwanda.  If you are, tell them that you are going there and you'd like to know about the East African Tourist Visa ($100).
  • There are money exchange offices inside the luggage pickup room.  Feel free to get some money exchanged there, about $100 USD will be good for sodas, snacks, and some light shopping.  There are also ATM's scattered throughout Uganda, so getting to one is no problem either.  About 350,000 UGX = $100.
  • When you arrive, if for some reason you don't see us, there is an entrance to go back into the airport.  You will have to go through security again.  Tell the security officer that you are waiting for your friends and that you'd like to use the washroom while waiting.
    • Inside you can wait, or if you have a smart phone you might be able to log on to the airport wifi and check your messages/message me.  
    • Also outside, you may be able to purchase a SIM card from a MTN vendor booth, insert it into your unlocked phone and call me at 0785-469-753
      • See note below on making calls.
Special Notes RE Calling:
  • Phones: The International Calling Code for Uganda is +256.  To make a call to me, for example, you will need to dial +256-785-469-753.
    • However, if you are in country and you have a local SIM card, you will need to drop the +256 and add a ZERO before the number.
      • To call me while in Uganda, dial "0-785-469-753"
Hotels:
  • Two great places to stay that also offer a shuttle to and from the airport is:
    • Sunset Entebbe, Guesthouse. http://www.sunsetentebbe.com Phone: +256-776-323-501
    • Airport Guesthouse, Entebbe (no website, but you can find info on Google) Phone: +256-414-370-932 / +256-777-086-977
      • Also, a good number to have on hand is the airport taxi company, or National Airport Services: +256-751-150-923 / +256-751-118-891
Contact Information:
  • Bring a copy of this contact information below with you on the plane.  You WILL need it and proof of the Yellow Fever vaccination to enter Uganda.
Matthew Actis
Plot 41, Kisinja Road
Jinja Town, Uganda
Phone Matthew: 0785-469-753 
Phone Shelley: +256-785-605-743

Airlines
  • Anywhere you travel someone will have access to your luggage and may steal from your checked luggage (they usually do this in the hold of the airplane).  Don't pack any electronics or breakables in your suitcase-unless required to do so by the airline.  Check the new rules out for carrying a laptop in your carryon, many airlines don't allow it anymore!
    • Zip-Tie the zippers on your checked suitcases shut and bring extras for the return trip.  Pack your toothbrush, a change of undergarmets, and a t-shirt in your carry-on in case your luggage is lost.
  • You will be flying in Entebbe, Uganda, or EBB airport code.
  • Don't use Turkish Air.  Friends have flown with them and they say it's terrible.
  • KLM is great.  You may be required to use a smaller than usual carry-on, and they may allow laptops in your carryon.
    • KLM has it's layover in Amsterdam.  Sometimes their layovers are short, so be careful and make sure there's enough time to catch your connecting flight!
  • Emirates is one of the best, and it even offers an in-airport hotel room for free if your layover goes through Dubai and is over something like 10 hours.  Be sure to ask!  When flying back to the US, you will NOT be allowed to have your laptop in your carryon and you will have to check it.
  • Hipmunk - I recommend using www.Hipmunk.com to get an estimate on prices before calling a travel agent.
    • I've booked on Hipmunk many times and it's great.  
    • Hipmunk also has a price graph that shows you which days the fares are least expensive, so you move your schedule around a bit to get the cheaper price.
  • AAA offices can help you with booking your flight as well.
  • Using a travel agent sometimes will allow you to get 3 pieces of checked luggage, as your coming on a Humanitarian visit.  Also, in case of a delayed flight and missed connecting flight, a travel agent will be there to take care of you.  However, they are not always the cheapest route.
  • Tricks and tips for getting a good priced ticket:  
    • Buy in advance!  3 months or more is best.
    • Look at prices Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.  Usually Tuesday has the cheapest flights, but you won't know unless you've been watching, and by Wednesday they usually go back up.  Their price patterns will follow the same routine the following week, so if you really want to do it right, watch the prices for two or more weeks.  Hipmunk.com also has an "alert."  When you start your search it'll ask you for your email and it'll send you updates if the price goes up or down.  This has worked well for us in the past.
    • If you're not using a travel agent, use a different computer when you actually book your tickets.  Websites download "cookies" to your computer to 'remember' what you've been shopping for.  After you've checked out prices and then you return to the website to buy your tickets, the cookie will alert the webpage that you're a serious shopper, and the price will have gone up!  However, from a different computer you'll get the honest price.  A smart phone works just as well.

Vaccines

You will need to start on this at least 2 months prior to coming to Uganda!
Most likely, you'll need some vaccinations before coming.  Sorry! 
  • Taking anti-malarial medications is also highly recommended.  Malarone or Mefloquine are the best for our areas, but be sure you check with your doctor (I am NOT a doctor!).  Also, if your insurance won't cover your medications, send me a message (I have a little trick!).
  • You will need at least these vaccines:
    • Hepatitis A
    • Yellow Fever
    • Typhoid
    • Check the CDC to confirm all that is recommended 2 months prior to your trip.
      • http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/uganda
  • Always check with your doctor first, as some vaccinations are covered by your health care provider.  
    • Kaiser, for example, we've heard will give them to you for free.
  • After you've checked on prices with your doctor, call your County Public Health Laboratory Services to check their prices and/or make an appointment to get your vaccinations.  They do a great job of letting you know what you need to take, but it's not inexpensive by any means!
    • For Fresno County residents:
      • Phone number: (559) 600-3407
      • http://www.co.fresno.ca.us/DivisionPage.aspx?id=930
  • Please start on this soon!  Some medications have to be done in a sequence, so not getting started soon enough would be the same as not getting them done at all!  Malaria medication, for example, usually has to be started at least 1 week prior to arriving in a malaria zone.
  • The truth about vaccinations (what do we do?): Many ask, did you guys take....?  YES!  We did and we have all of our immunizations up to date all the time.  The only thing we don't take is anti-malarial medications, but it's only because the long-term effects of it are harmful too.  For visitors of up to 3 months, do you really want to ruin your trip and be in bed for over a week because you didn't take some pills?  If you're sick, you can't board your plane back home either!
  • The most serious of all vaccinations that we recommend is making sure your Tetanus vaccine and all your routine vaccinations are up to date.
    • http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/routine . (By the way, we have had the mumps!-get your shots!)