Flights & Transfers
- Flights between Uganda and Northern Tanzania’s parks are about 1-2 hours.
- The 33-lb weight limit, including both your soft sided duffel and small carry-on bag, is STRICTLY enforced.
- Upon arrival in Uganda, you will be met and transferred via 4×4 safari vehicle to your lodge.
- A $50 USD single entry ordinary/tourist visa is required to enter Uganda. You can apply for your visa online at https://visas.immigration.go.ug/#/; we recommend 30 days prior to your departure
- Please note: due to the Uganda online application system limitations, you will be required fill in a trip duration of at least 7 days in the appropriate field, even if you will not be in the country for 7 days.
- After applying, you will get a visa letter that acknowledges you are eligible for approval. Final approval will be done at the point of entry.
- YOU MUST bring a printed copy of your visa letter to the point of entry. This is required for approval!
- Travelers who will be visiting other East African countries within a 3-month period can also consider an East Africa Tourist Visa (EATV). Please note, Tanzania is not part of the EATV program and requires its own visa.
- For travelers who will be traveling to Uganda via Rwanda, please apply for an East Africa Tourist Visa prior to your departure.
- Please visit https://immigration.go.ug/ for the latest visa requirements.
- Please visit https://ug.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information-page/ for the latest COVID-19-related requirements for travel to Uganda.
Yellow Fever Vaccination
- Please speak to your travel doctor for the most up-to-date yellow fever policies for Uganda.
- Please note that policies fluctuate often.
- Those who are unable to get the vaccination due to medical reasons must show a doctor’s letter.
Accommodations & Meals
- Comfortable rooms have en suite bathrooms and pleasant décor.
- During the trek you will have picnic lunches from the lodge.
- Breakfast and dinner service is provided at the lodge.
- Most dietary requirements can be accommodated with advance notice, preferably at least 60 days prior.
- Batteries can be charged at your lodge.
- Current is 240 volts, and plugs are square sockets, with 3 prongs, Type G. A multi-plug adapter set, available in most electronics stores (and larger airports), will include a current converter and every plug type you’ll need.
- Weather conditions vary seasonally but generally don’t affect the possibility of viewing gorillas.
- Sporadic rain may occur any time of year, so bring a lightweight waterproof jacket/poncho.
- Year-round, temperatures do not vary much; highs in the low 60s – low 80s, and mid 40s – mid 60s at night.
- It tends to be predictably rainier in March through April as well as in September through November.
Essential Physical Considerations
- Parks in Uganda reach elevations of over 8,500 feet (Bwindi Impenetrable National Park) to 13,000 (Mgahinga Gorilla National Park) but gorillas are generally found at around 7,500 feet.
- Gorilla trekkers will be taken through a trek briefing at park headquarters, where you will be able to choose between short, medium and long trek options. Allocation is done at the discretion of the park authorities.
- Gorilla viewing can never be guaranteed and may require anywhere from one to six hours of hiking.
- Hiking can be strenuous, covering steep forest paths and relatively ungroomed trails.
- General physical fitness is required, and every effort will be made to accommodate a reasonable pace for the group; however, it is not likely that individuals in a group will be able to turn back separately from the group.
- Waterproof hiking shoes with good traction and ankle support recommended. Sneakers are not appropriate.
- At your trek briefing, you will have the opportunity to hire a personal porter for your gorilla trek.
- You will not be allowed to wear a backpack in the presence of gorillas; we strongly recommend a personal porter to carry personal items such as camera, water bottle, backpack, etc. ($15-20 per person, per trek plus an additional $15 tip per trek).
Money & Valuables
- Do not bring non-essential valuables, due to the remote location and baggage allowance on your flights.
- US Dollars are accepted in Uganda. Bills must be clean, un-torn, and the series date on bills should be less than 10 years old. There are few ATMs; credit cards (Visa and MasterCard) are accepted at major lodges but not small gift shops.
- Plastic bags are not permitted in Uganda; waterproof stuff sacks (nylon or vinyl) are recommended for cameras and other items that cannot get wet (Ziploc bags, grocery bags, garbage bags are not allowed).
Gorilla Viewing Rules
These essential rules are in place to protect both you and the rare gorillas you have traveled so far to see.
- A maximum of eight tourists are allowed to view the gorillas at any one time, minimum age 15.
- Plan to wear a mask on your trek, enough to refresh masks several times during the day.
- If you have an infectious illness, such as a cold etc, you will not be permitted to view the gorillas.
- While it is likely that you will see gorillas, it cannot be guaranteed.
- Each trekking group will be visiting a separate group of gorillas; each is allowed one hour max. with the gorillas.
- Gorilla viewing permits are not refundable or transferrable for any reason.
- Viewers should maintain a distance of at least 20 feet from gorillas. No touching is allowed. If a gorilla comes close, don’t make any sudden movements, but move back calmly without disturbing them.
- Do not do anything that may cause stress; respect their space, speak quietly and avoid fast movements.
- If a gorilla should charge or vocalize at you, do not be alarmed. Stand still, look away from the gorilla and follow your guide’s directions.
- Do not eat or smoke on the trail or in the presence of the gorillas, and do not spit anywhere in the park.
- Do not defecate in the forest. If it is unavoidable, a hole of at least eight inches must be dug and covered.
- Do not use flash cameras.
- Do not wear bright colors as this may disturb gorillas; do not wear camouflage as it is associated with the military.
Packing Considerations for Gorilla Trekking
- Due to fluctuating temperatures on any given day, layering clothing is recommended.
- Cotton is not appropriate for hiking; it absorbs water quickly and dries very slowly, which can lead to hypothermia.
- Long sleeves, long pants, gaiters and gloves can help protect from thorns and nettles.
- Hiking boots; waterproof with ankle support
- Gaiters (please bring your own pair per traveler. Available for an additional cost at the lodge gift shops)
- Shell jacket; waterproof, windproof (Gore-Tex or similar technology)
- Fleece jacket
- Convertible hiking pants (not cotton)(2)
- Long-sleeved shirts (not cotton)(2)
- Short-sleeved t-shirts (not cotton)(2)
- Lightweight hiking socks (wool)1/day
- Gloves (gardening gloves work well)
- Trekking pole (provided at trail head)
- Hat (wide-brimmed or with visor for sun protection)