Uganda 2009 / 2010 / 2018

Uganda really touched my heart the first time I went there as a tourist going on Safari. Wonderful people despite all its poverty and a great place to see wild animals. Also, less touristy. 


The second time I went was even more precious, as I got to know the real Uganda as a volunteer, supporting a small volunteering organisation. Uganda was very different to what the tourists get to see, but from a people point of view just memorisable! Kindness at its best! Living like the locals, also taught me about life! I will never forget! Thank you Uganda!

In 2018 Thomas and I returned for the Gorillas and we just loved our time in Uganda. It was a bit more developed 8 years after my last visit, but the people remained as kind, helpful and friendly as I had experienced them in 2009 and 2010. 

Here is some additional information (2018): 

A Ugandan visa fpr Germans needs to be applied and paid for online.The visa itself is given at entry. It cost us 30 Euro.
An East African Visa should be obtained when also travelling to other East African countries like Rwanda and Kenya. More information is provided on the applicable website.

Ugandan Schilling is preferred, but US Dollars and credit card are possible at some places.

Uganda is a multilingual country, but the official language besides various dialects is Luganda, Swahili and English.

Left-hand side. Max 80km/h on country roads and 50 km/h in the city. Some paved roads, but still mainly graval roads.

Wifi is possible in some places. Internet connection is fairly good!

We personally believe and experienced Uganda to be a safe place for travelling. Nothing ever happened to us and the Ugandans in Hotels, National Park etc. pay great attention on the safety of tourists.
We were also told that the Ugandans are aware that tourists bring money into the country and bad media would be a disaster for the country, as they put so much effort into its development.
However, like in most countries it is advisable to have your valuables always with you and for women it is better to be accompanied by someone. Begging we never experienced in Uganda.

In December, January and September we never had issues with mosquitos. However, malaria medication is adviseable according to our GP. Malaria medication has to be taken 3 days before entering the country, during the stay and 7 days after leaving the country. So plan accordingly. Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, socks covering ancles and insect repellent will help to protect as well. When buying insect repellent, one with deet 50 and above is recommended. This can be obtained online, or in your pharamcy.

When travelling through Uganda there is a great variety of accomodation ranging from luxery to low budget accomodation. As this is a matter of preference we will only recommend the places we stayed in and enjoyed.

In Kampala we stayed at the Forest Cottages Hotel, which is a little oasis in the busy capital city Kampala. Rooms are in small huts with ensuite surrounded by trees. Breakfast and dinner is available and is ok. When it comes to cleanliness it is ok. The hotel is in Kampala itself and one will definately experience real Uganda when stepping out of the hotel. Be open for an adventure.
A supermarket is closeby (payment preferred in Ugandan Schilling) and an ATM is in front of the luxery hotel called Kabira Country Club in about 10 min walking distance from the hotel. Guests of the Forest Cottages can use the facilites and fitness courses on offer at this hotel with a voucher obtained at the Forest Cottages reception. Wifi is provided everywhere at the Forest Cottages Hotel.

Tented accomodation
Kluges Guest Farm in Fort Portal is owned by a German man who moved to Uganda over 40 years ago.
It is beautifully situated between banana plants in a hilly landscape. Very green, tidy, clean and well-looked after. Wifi is provided in the restaurant, tents do have electricity and light. Bathroom facilities are shared.
Breakfast and dinner is served as a buffet including European, Indian and African dishes. German and English is spoken. Very helpful and kind staff. In the evening a bonefire will be set up to enjoy a drink under the sky.
Payment is possible via credit card, US Dollars and Ugandan Schilling.
From here we did the Chimpanzee trekking. However, the hotel is located about one hour drive from the Kibale Rainforest.
Besides tents, cabins with ensuite are available.

The Bush Lodge in the Queen Elisabeth National Park is a wonderful place to be and it is located next to the water. Wild hippos walk around freely and in one night we apparently had lions and elephants walking around. However, staff will look after people even at nighttime. It is important to bring a torch to this place.
Tents do have light and electricity. Bathroom facilities are shared.
Food is a four course menu and is nice. It is fresh, mainly Western style and served outside under a roof. Adviseable to bring along a warm jumper. 
Wifi is not provided. Payment is preferred in Ugandan Schilling and cash. Credit card is not possible. The staff is amazing! The place is very tidy and clean.
Besides tents, cabins with ensuite are available.

Rushaga Gorilla Camp in Bwindi is just outside of the Gorilla Impenetrable National Park. Rooms are provided in wooden cabins with ensuite with magnificent panorama windows. We loved our room! Sitting on the balcony and listening to the sounds of the rainforest.
When we arrived orphans from the Rushaga orphanage sang for us, which was really touching. The view from the hotel is simply stunning.
Breakfast consisted of sausages, potatoes, beans, fruits, tea, coffee, hot chocolate and a choice of egg dish freshly prepared, or pancakes at 10 US Dollars.
Dinner was buffet style with mainly western food consisting of a soup, rice, pasta, a meat dish, some vegetables, potatoes and cabbage salad. Highly recommended place!

Ugandan Food
Breakfast in hotels generally consists of coffee, black/african tea, cornflakes, fruits, toast, jam, peanut butter and egg dishes that can be ordered. 

Local dishes contain for example of plantain, millet bread, posho (bread made of maize/corn), potatoe, rice, sweet potatoe, yams, manyok,  chicken and beef either as a stew, or fried. Vegetarians are fine.

Luggage on Group Tours
Easiest to travel with in these countries and with Gadventures is a backpack. However to be able to lock up our valuables in hotels we also prefer to take one suitcase with us at all times. This is surely also a matter of preference.
Hiking shoes, sandals, torch, cloths for warm and cold days, adapter, sunglasses, tissues, hand sanatizer, insect repellent, camera and a sleeping bag are suggested to take on these trips. However, when travelling with Gadventures a list on what to bring will be provided. 

Tours & Attractions
Uganda is famous for its Gorillas and Gorilla Trekking in the Bwindi Impenetrabel National Park is just a once in a lifetime experience. We can hardly put it into words how lucky we were. There are 3 places from which tours start. We startet at Rushaga and can recommend it.
The walk to the Gorillas can be exhausting and can take between 1 to 12 hours, going up and down, hiking through beautiful countryside and the rainforest jungle. It is exhausting, but it is so worth the effort to get to the gorillas to stay with them for one hour. Only 8 people per day are permitted to visit a particular gorilla family. We were told there are 36 families at the moment (September 2018). The permit to get to the gorillas is fairly expensive, but it protects them!
Take good hiking shoes, a rainjacket, enough to drink (minimum 4 litres per person we were advised) and some lunch.
Optionally a porter can be hired for 20 US Dollars to carry your luggage and make the hike easier for you. We found the porters very helpful! Not only did they carry our luggage, but they also helped on the trek, pushing and pulling us and providing a helping hand whenever needed. This really is a tip that goes to people in need. Porters are mainly people from far away villages who hope to earn some money as porter for the day. Some walked for 5 hours to get to Rushaga, then helped the tourists while trekking and then walked back to their villages for 5 hours. So 20 US Dollars means a lot to them and for most of us, it means nothing really in terms of survival.
A tip of about 20 US Dollars per person is recommended for the tour guide too and a tip of 10 US Dollars per person for the trekkers that leave early in the morning to search for the gorillas so that it is easier for tourists to find them in the rainforest.
It is an expensive experience, but one of the best of our life so far! We are very thankful!

Chimpanzee trekking in the Kibale National Park is great and you really will experience an adventure, as you will run through the rainforest leaving treks.
Good shoes, long pants, a long sleeved shirt, a rain jacket and a hat are recommended to avoid injuries and protect from biting ants. If ants are on your body it burns a little and you have to pull them of. However, it is manageable.
The hike is exhausting, takes about 3 hours and once the chimpanzees are located, you can spend one hour watching them. It really is an amazing experience. A tip of 10 US Dollars is recommended for the tour guide at the end of the tour.

A safari in the Queen Elisabeth National Park is great and you will get the chance to see hippos, buffalos, elephants, tree climbing lions, leopards and antilopes and other animals one would hope to see when on safari. However, zebras and giraffes cannot be seen here. 

A boat ride on the Kazinga Channel is possible here too, especially if interested in birds, lizards, hippos, buffalos and crocodiles. The tour takes 2 hours and starts close to the luxery MweyaSafari Lodge with beautiful views over Lake Edward and Lake George. For 30 US Dollars per person and 3 to 5 US Dollars tip we found it a bit expensive.  But for people doing a boat safari the first time it is worth an experience.

A Safari in the Murchinson Falls National Park is beautiful and a hike to the Murchinson Falls is a great experience too. A boat ride can be done and a great varaiety of animals can be sighted.

Jinja Whitewater Rafting in the Victoria Nile is only for real adventures. Falling out of the boat will happen for sure. It takes up to 6 hours including a lunch stop. This is super adventures considering crocs and hippos, but also leeches live in the Nile too. Safety kayaks will ensure that you will be saved when falling out of the boat and a sanatary boat will accompany the ride at all times. 

Recommended travel organisation 
Gadventures stands for Great Adventures and indeed with this travelling company it always is. 
Small groups, local food, local accomodation, local tour guides and drivers and a lot of great adventures to experience. 
Uganda was the fourth time to travel with this company and it is always a delight. Friendly, very well-organised,  very helpful and a local experience.  
Gadventures is the only group holiday we would ever book. 
It is great to get to know developing countries and travel safely while doing so. Also, a lot of insider information is provided. 
Women can safely travel with this company on their own. 
Gadventures pays attention to the environment, animals and human rights. For people with food allergies, or vegetarians it is not an issue at all.
Our tour guide was Paul Mbanza and he was just great! He really loves his job! If you book with Gadventures ask  if he will be the CEO of the tour and you will have a wonderful time in Uganda!

Touristy Uganda 2009

Non-touristy Uganda 2010

Uganda Gorilla Trekking 2018

The Mekis

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