AFRI TOURS AND TRAVEL FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What is the best time to go on safari in Uganda?
A: The best times to travel in Uganda are December to February and June to September.
Q: What is your advice to those wanting to fish in Murchison?
A: According to Sambiya River Lodge’s Fishing Hall of Fame member and expert fisherman, Jim Moorhouse, " the best times of the year are January 1st through Easter and again, July 1st through October 1st although when bait hits the water, anything can happen….and usually does!
It is absolutely essential that anglers handle fish carefully and release all caught except for the occasional 15-20 pounders for the “table”. Otherwise the fishery will be destroyed. That would be a huge pity… the big ones are caught multiple time. I caught a 128 pounder and four days later she hit again at 124 lbs. … a week later my fishing partner got her and she was down to 120 lbs. Then we left and, thank God, gave her a respite!
A friend got a century with the tail half eaten off by a croc and nicely scared over. A fishing partner got the same fish two months later!
That fishery could be wiped out of big fish by inattentive handling and over pressuring. Some anglers don’t realize the number of big fish is limited. Many are careless….”
Q: What kind of clothes etc. should I bring with me for my safari?
A: Shorts, light weight tops and sandals for travel days; good hiking boots, sun hat, sweat band & gloves (for tracking gorillas & chimps); light weight rain gear, long sleeve shirt and pants (for any type of walking safari), a light backpack, sunscreen, and sun glasses. Most up market lodges have swimming pools, so remember your swim suits! Khaki colored clothing is advised since it does not attract insects and it is cooler to wear. Evenings may get cool, especially in Bwindi, Mgahinga or the Virungas (Rwanda) so bring a jacket and / or sweater. Also remember bug spray, especially if you are going to do any fishing. Favorite snacks, enough film and a diary may also be packed.
Chimp trackers undertaking activities at Padidi (Budongo Forest) MUST wear long trousers.
Q: What is it like to track gorillas and chimps?
A: Being in fit physical condition is advised. Walking safaris and chimp tracking may involve hiking up and down hills, negotiating over muddy areas or small streams and sometimes going off track through dense forests. For clients who are gorilla tracking, porters can be hired to carry your back packs and help you up and down more mountainous terrain. Once the gorillas are located, all backpacks must be left with the porters or accompanying Park personnel. It is advisable to stretch your arms, back and legs before and after your tracking. Keep any valuables, money, camera film and anything else you do not want to be separated from in your pockets! It could take anywhere between 15 minutes to 8 hours to track gorillas. Time depends on how habituated a group is and your luck!
Q: Are there age limits for any of your safaris?
A: There minimum age for gorilla tracking is 15 years, and chimpanzee tracking 13 years. Adults should be physically fit for hiking activities, which vary in length. Chimp tracking may last from 1 to 5 hours. As time goes by, chimps get more habituated and are easier to find and less time is spent in tracking. The same is true of gorilla tracking, but usually longer distances have to be traversed to find the various gorilla groups. The length of time for forest walks may be decided with the ranger guide and the other members of your hiking group.
Q: If I want to bring my children with me on safari, are there activities for them to do while I go gorilla and chimp tracking?
A: Most Lodges and Parks have games and activities that will keep children occupied while parents are tracking. Lodges can usually provide a sitter to watch children while parents are busy. Ugandans generally love children and are very good with them. The Afri Tours driver guides are no exception. You will find that they will develop a good relationship with your children! They could take children on short, easy, guided walks or stay with them in the vehicle or Lodge (what ever you desire) while you go on longer outings.
Q: What medical precautions should I take?
A: Get a medical check up before coming on safari if you have had previous medical concerns, especially if you are tracking gorillas. If you wear prescription glasses or contacts bring a copy of your prescription. Carry all important medications in your hand luggage. See further medical advice under travel tips.
Q: Do you offer travel insurance?
A: We do not offer travel insurance. We suggest you arrange your travel insurance before leaving home. All of our safari vehicles are covered with comprehensive insurance. AAR Health Services in Kampala does provide evacuation insurance to tourists. If interested please check out their website: www.aar.co.ug
Q: What are the roads like in Uganda?
A: The only dual carriage ways (four lane highways) are on the outskirts of Kampala. Usually major and secondary roads are well maintained better than other places in East Africa. Roads do tend to deteriorate with heavy rains, which are frequent in Uganda –so there may be portions of roads that are in between maintenance, which could be better. Just be prepared for such instances and take them in stride as part of your African safari experience!
Q: What are the travel times to the more popular safari destinations?
A: Traveling leisurely (not during rush hour traffic times in Kampala); taking into consideration rest, photo, and refueling stops-
Kampala to Entebbe about 45 minutes
Kampala to Jinja about one hour and 30 minutes
Kampala to Murchison Falls National Park about five hours
Kampala to Queen Elizabeth National Park about six hours
Murchison Falls to Fort Portal about eight hours
Fort Portal to Queen Elizabeth about three hours
Queen Elizebeth to Bwindi about five hours
Kampala to Bwindi about 10 hours
Q: What type of transport does Afri Tours offer?
A: We transport our clients in 4WD Toyota Hiace minibuses with seven (5 window) and nine (7 window) seats and pop up safari roofs. We also have a Toyota Land cruiser modified to sit seven people (5 window seats), also with a pop up roof. These pop up roofs allow our clients to stretch their legs while in the game parks, get exciting views of the flora and fauna as well as better photographs! For smaller groups land cruisers or station wagons can be arranged. For larger groups, coaster buses can be arranged. All of our vehicles are fully loaded with air conditioning. Our driver guides are excellent drivers and very knowledgeable. Most of them have been with us for at least 10 years! Two of them are superb “twitchers” when it comes to identifying birds!
Our vehicles are well maintained, but you must remember you are traveling in Africa and road conditions differ from those in developed countries. Vehicles do get flat tires, which our drivers are very good at changing! Just take such occurrences in stride, as part of the African safari experience!
Q: Can you arrange flying safaris?
A: Afri Tours and Travel can arrange flying safaris upon request. Most Ugandan national parks have at least one airstrip, unless it is in a mountainous region. Bwindi and Mgahinga have airstrips near by. In Murchison Falls there are two airstrips, one on the South Bank (20 minutes drive from Sambiya River Lodge) and one on the North Bank.
Q: Is there electricity at the various lodges and tented camps?
A: Most lodges have power provided by generators and solar energy. Park regulations usually do not allow generators to be run through out the night so it is advisable to pack a flashlight and batteries. If you need to recharge batteries remember to do it when the generator is first turned on. Some tented camps and lodges only utilize lanterns and candles for lighting.
Q: What is included in the tour price that you have quoted me?
A: Transport as requested, accommodation on full board basis unless otherwise noted, all activities as per the itinerary, gorilla permits and chimpanzee tracking where applicable, taxes and the services of the most experienced English speaking driver guide. You will also have a ranger guide with you for many of the activities in the national parks you visit. Not included in the tour price are accommodation before and after the safari unless requested, laundry services, telephone bills, drinks, tips, and any other items of a personal nature.
Q: What is the best way to pay for my safari?
A: We suggest that you pay for any gorilla permits required and your safari with Afri Tours & Travel through a telegraphic transfer to our bank account. The necessary information will be provided once you have confirmed your safari. Please refer to booking terms and conditions for further information.
Q: We are a bit nervous transferring large amounts of money to a safari company that we have not dealt with before. What assurances can you give us?
A: We recommend that you refer to Uganda Wildlife Authority, Uganda Tourist Board, the Ugandan Ministry of Tourism or the Ugandan High Commission in your country of residence for a recommendation concerning our reputation.
If you have been unable to find the answers to any of your questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.