Uganda is generally a very safe country for travelers. Ugandans are considered among the friendliest and most welcoming people on planet earth feel free to meet and talk to Ugandans, as they will be most honoured.
Kampala is known to be one of the safest cities in Africa, but you should use common sense when traveling in any big city. Be responsible and cautions during your tour and use taxi when you are going out at night and always keep close watch over your belongings. Traffic in Kampala can be rather hectic and sometimes even dangerous if you use the otherwise convenient boda-boda (motor bike taxi) contact your local embassy for more safety instructions during your tour.
2. How can I be sure that Escape Adventure Tours really exists and is a reliable tour company know?
Escape Adventure Tours is a Ugandan owned tour company that has been offering tourism in East Africa for over six years. We are members of the tours operator network-AUTO, ATTA, SGR and proud sponsors of the Ugandan wildlife foundation many happy customers have rewritten their feedback on our face book page.
Most lakes in Uganda as well as the River Nile contain Bilharzia and are not considered safe for swimming. The flukes (microscopic warms) reproduce in snails which inhabit worm stagnant H2O on the edges of rivers and lakes.
If you choose to swim here anyway or if you go rafting on the Nile, we advise that do a cheek-up at least two months (standard incubation period for the flukes) after you have been swimming. The health impacts vary from slight discomfort to serious organ damage if the bilharzia goes untreated.
The two lakes in Uganda that are 100% Biriharzia free and safe to swim in are Lake Bunyonyi and Lake Mutanda.
4. Can Escape Adventure Tours give me medical advice about malaria prevention and treatment?
Escape Adventure Tours does not have the authority to give medical advice you should contact your family doctors or general practitioner within the range of only 56 days before your trip to bring about the necessary vaccinations or other preventive methods. Proof of a yellow fever inoculation is often requested by immigration officials. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre. And useful information about healthcare abroad, including a country-country guide of reciprocal health care agreements with UK, is available from NHS choices.
Medical facilities in Uganda are limited, particularly outsides the capital city, in the case of serious accident or illness. Evacuation by air ambulance may be required make sure you have adequate travel insurance and accessible funds to cover the costs of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
5. Which area should I pick to go gorilla tracking?
There are an estimated 800 mountain gorillas in the forest highlands areas shared by Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Habituated families can be visited in Uganda and Rwanda and Escape Adventure Tours offers a variety of trips options to both. By booking your Uganda tour well in advance. You will make a higher chance of securing a permit for the specific gorilla group you wish to visit. The permits often sell out in advance, so it might be that escape adventure tours will have to choose from the few remaining permits for your dates. The procedures to view the gorillas in Rwanda vary somewhat.
6. What chances do I have of actually seeing the gorillas?
Chances of seeing the gorillas are over 95% as your driver/ guide will be happy to assist you in the procedure.
7. How tough is it physically to do gorilla tracking?
The ease of seeing the gorilla depends on the movements of the gorilla family on that particular day for Uganda, some say that the Rushegura group in Buhoma is easy to spot, but we cannot guarantee this. In general you can expect the gorilla tracking. Attitudes averages 2000 meters, the muddy hills of Bwindi are steep. The time it takes to find the gorillas can be anywhere from 45 minutes to 8hrs.
If you have a low level of fitness which limits you from walking long distances in ragging terrain, we advice that you consider tracking in Rwanda where the rangers assign you to an easier or make different tracking according to your fitness level. The gorilla permits in Rwanda, however are more expensive.
8. What should I wear during gorilla tracking?
We advise you to wear long pants and long sleeved shirt made of light –weight materials. You will want to tuck the cuffs of your pants into your shocks in order to prevent safari ants from entering. It is also wise to wear a hat to prevent ticks from getting in your hair. Bring a rain jacket and rain pants in you day picks, as well as an extra t-shirt and a sweeter for when the tracking gets long and forest gets cooler. Make sure you have good hiking shoes and don’t worry about the weight of your back pack. Porters are available for US Dollar 20 fee which helps families from the communities around the park.
9. What are the social customs and norms in Uganda?
Ugandans are very welcoming and among the friendliest people in Africa. They are very interested in meeting you and discovering more about your home country. Do not be afraid and be open to a small conversation. As greeting, make sure you always shake hands but do not hug women, If you wish to ask someone a question, make sure you start by “how are you?” if you would just walk up to someone and ask “where can I find the supermarket”? It will be very likely that he/she will answer with “I am fine…”
When you go to someone’s private house, to a church, a school or any official place, make sure you wear normal shoes, long pants (or dress) and a shirt/blouse with long sleeves.
10. How can I make my tour more ecologically/socially sustainable?
Tourism has a lot of positive influences in Uganda. It support the economy, creates awareness and it helps to protect national parks and its wildlife. Without tourism the gorilla and many other animal species would likely be extinct by now. However tourism has negative influences as well. As a tour operator we have the responsibility to limit the negative influences on social-economic and environmental aspects as much as possible. However, these are always you as a traveler can help us achieve these goals.
promise to send them a photo, do please keep your promise.
11. Should I bring clothes, gifts or money for the local community?
Of course we understand that you wish to support or do something when you are in a developing country. However, we advise you not to bring any gifts to give directly to the local community. It is often the same people that receive items each time and very often they are not the neediest people in Uganda. Moreover it may create begging culture.
Instead, we suggest that you consider supporting an NGO structurally. May be you can visit this particular NGO, while you are on your tour and may be you can bring something from home that this NGO has expressed a specific need for.
Additionally, you may/can choose one of the cultural programs developed by escape adventure tours in co-operation with different communities. These programmes are focused on a working relationship, whereby we pay them for their valuable services and dedication.
12. What is Escape Adventure Tours doing to make my visit sustainable?
Escape Adventure Tours has been voted among the few as a sustainable tourism leading in Uganda.
13. Can I get a visa at the border or do I have to apply in advance?
Citizens of most countries can get a Uganda, Tanzania and Zanzibar Visas at the point of entry at US $50 pp. You need only to present your yellow fever vaccination card and a valid passport.
A Visa of Rwanda has to be organized in advance (except for nationals of USA, Germany, South Africa, Sweden and East Africa countries).
14. How do I make sure I pick the type of accommodation that I like?
It essentially only depends on availability Escape Adventure Tours has selected accommodation all over Uganda,Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar and Rwanda for a range of budgets.
Our selection criteria are based on the view, service, location, style and price of each lodge. We also select accommodation based on the feedback from previous clients check our suggestions for budgets, mid-range, semi-lute and luxury categories.
15. Can I design my own tour?
Yes, we can tailor – make your tour in every detail. Please view the task made form and we will send you a detailed proposal.
16. Can I pick different types of Transport to suit my budget and needs?
In Tanzania, we only work with Toyota Landcruisers and domestic flights. In Rwanda and Uganda, however, you can choose your preferred mode of transport according to your budget and desired level of comfort.
17. Can I add or cancel days before, after or in between one of the standard tours on the website?
Yes, you can. As you are booking a standard tour, just inform us about your additional wishes on the “booking details”, section of the book, on this tour form.
18. What are the average prices for meals and drinks (when not included in the program)
In general, these will be the average prices when eating at proper restaurant or lodges in Uganda and Tanzania.
Soda US$ 1, Beer US$ 2-3, Wine US$ 4-5, Spirit US$ 2-3, Breakfast US$ 3-4, Lunch US $ 6-10, Dinner Us$ 8-15.
Prices in Rwanda tend to be around 20% higher.
19. Do you have any guidelines for tipping?
Customers are advised to give a fair reasonable tip to the local guides, cleaners, drivers, hotel staff etc service staff in Tanzania can be quite insistent about the daily tipping expectations. We advice only to give tips when you honestly happy with services provided.
Your driver/guide US$ 3-5 pp per day.
Porters USD 5 for half-day (3-4hrs) or 10 USD full day.
Hotel porters USD 2 pp.
Rangers and local guides 10 US$-20 US$ per activity (divided by the number of persons).
Restaurants 5-10% of the pre-tax bill.
Hotels US$ 2-3 pp / per height.
20. Can I use a credit card during my tax?
Credit cards are not widely accepted in Uganda, Tanzania or Rwanda only at major hotels, up-market, lodges and a few fancier shops can they be used.
21. Can Escape Adventure Tours accept credit cards?
Not yet, but this is in process as now we can only accept bank transfers.
22. Is it easy to exchange currency?
You can exchange dollars, pounds and Euros at many Forex Bureaus around capital cities.
In up-country cities the exchange rate is less advantageous and it becomes difficult to exchange pounds and euro. Dollars are the most used currencies but bear in mind that US dollar given out before 2006 is not accepted and denominations below 100 are exchanged at a lower rate.
23. What are the exchange rates of the most used currencies?
Exchange rates 2014 (this was the exchange rates in Nov 2014)
Euro - Dollar 1 -33
Euro – Ug shs 3350
Euro - Tanzania shs 2159
USD – Euro 0.73
US Dollar – Ug shs 2707.86
US Dollar - Tanzania shs 1607
Pound sterling – Dollar 1.58
Pound – Uganda shs 4223.2
Pound – Tanzania shs 2554
24. What is your tour cancellation policy
(IA) Cancellation by client(s) for a private tour
(IA) The cancellation of your booking must be made in writing and signed by the leader of the group. The amount of cancellation fee is calculated according to the date on which we receive a written notice of your wish to cancel.
30 days before the departure date. Cancellation fee is 55% of the land arrangement plus the cost for gorilla permits, chimpanzee permits.
24-14 days before the departure date. The collation fee is 70% of the total cost of the booking plus the costs of gorilla permits, chimpanzee permits.
13-7 days before the departure date the cancellation fee is 90% of the total cost of the booking plus the cost of gorilla permits, chimpanzee permits.
Within 1 week of the departure date the cancellation fee is 100%. Cancellation before the deposit has been made will not incur any fees.
1B cancellation of client(s) joining a group
If clients being part of a private group cancel a trip, they will be charged their part of the shared costs for that group trip, so that the rest of the group will not face any price increase. The amount is in addition to the general cancellation fee (as listed in point 1A).
Cancellation, medicals and repatriation insurance are compulsory for all Escape Adventure Tours Ltd bookings and it is the client’s responsibility to arrange such insurance through the client’s broker. It is strongly recommended that clients also take out insurance to cover emergency travel and accommodation, lost baggage and any other coverage that the clients deem necessary. Other than compulsory insurance, the decision over which insurance coverage he/she obtains is solely the responsibility of the client.
25. What should I bring on my tour?
We request that you to bring a bag or suitcase made of soft material. Hardcover suitcases are difficult to place in the car and could break on the bumpy roads.
The most important items to bring
26. Do you have Multi-lingual guides?
We have English, but 2015 August we are looking at getting, Dutch, Germany, Italian, French and Spanish speakers but we need to be booked well in advance.
27. Since East Africa lies on the equator, isn’t it always hot, does it rain a lot?
Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda are at the entire equator, but because they generally have an average inland altitude of 1200m, the climate is pleasant throughout the year! Temperatures rarely go above 30oc nor below 20oc (expect contain high mountain areas). Across the region, there are generally two rainy seasons in which humidity can be higher and roads more difficult to travelers.
28. What is the best time of year to visit the region?
During or just after the rainy season is normally the most beautiful and affordable time of the year to visit. Flowers are blooming, new grass is growing and this attracts many animals. Many young animals are born in this time of the year as well. Another advantage is that prices are normally lower and the national parks are even less crowded than usual.
29. There is a stretch of 200km where you mentioned that it takes 6hrs driving. How is this possible?
Road conditions in Uganda are extremely poor and after a rain shower the dirt roads become difficult to pass. All of our vehicles have 4-wheel-drive and our drivers are experienced in handling the difficult road condition, but speeds are necessarily low to make sure that you are safe and the car does not break down.
30. Can you arrange my international flight?
31. I have a gluten free diet. Is this a problem during my tour in Uganda?
It’s not possible at all, since nearly everything grows in Uganda’s fertile soils and you don’t need to depend on pasta and wheat bread etc. Please tell us in advance of you dietary restrictions and we will be happy to make appropriate arrangements.
32. I am a vegetarian, what can I eat on my tour?
The countries where escape adventure tours operates are generally quite fertile and most fresh vegetables can be found. Also, beans peanuts, sesame and eggs can provide alternative sources of protein for vegetarians.
For these who enjoy fish, the lakes and rivers of the region are replete with Tilapia and Nile perch. It would be helpful if you could let us know it in advance so we can make preparations with the restaurants and lodges.
33. I want more practical information about each country?
We have also compiled more information about climate, culture and practicalities each country we serve below: