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English is the official national language. Luganda, the most
common of the many indigenous languages, is also widely spoken.
The Ugandan shilling is issued in denominations of 1000, 5000,
10000, 20000 and 50000 shillings for notes, while coins are issued
in denominations of 10, 50, 100, 200 and 500 shillings. The
local currency can be obtained at authorised facilities (such as
banks and foreign exchange bureaus). Foreign currency can also be
changed at the airport on arrival. Many establishments will only
change USD issued after the year 2000. Be aware that only paper
currency will normally be accepted for exchange. Travellers cheques
are not widely accepted outside of Kampala. In Uganda credit card
use is usually restricted to major banks and hotels and most shops
will not accept other methods of payment other than cash. Sanctuary
Gorilla Forest Camp accepts Visa, MasterCard, Amex and JCB credit
Tipping is not compulsory, nor are there any fixed amounts. The
customary gratuity is about 10% of the cost of the service. Tips
are usually given in Uganda Shillings or US Dollars. Driver-Guide
in Bwindi: a tip of about US$10 per transfer is appropriate for
your transfer driver. On a Gorilla Track : If you choose to take a
porter (highly recommended), the minimum recommended tip is US$15
per traveller per track. Guides (usually 1 per group), Trackers
(usually 2-3 per group) and Security personnel (usually 2-4 per
group) do earn salaries. A recommended tip of about US$20 per
day of tracking per traveller may be placed in the appropriate tip
box for your gorilla group (found at Park Headquarters) for
distribution amongst the staff.
PASSPORT & VISA INFORMATION
Each traveller must be in possession of a passport that will
remain valid for at least six months beyond the completion of
his/her trip. Travellers should check for visa requirements
pertaining to their citizenship, as entry requirements vary.
In Uganda days are warm, but it almost invariably rains, except in
the very driest months of January and February. It can get very
cool at night. The year-round weather stays within this range.
You should discuss health precautions for your travel itinerary
with a qualified health professional at least six weeks before you
depart. If you are arriving from a country where yellow fever is
endemic, you are required to have a yellow fever vaccination.
Anti-malarial medication is strongly recommended for all travelers
to East Africa. It is also recommended that all international
travellers ensure that their tetanus, Hepatitis A, and polio
vaccines are up-to-date. Do not drink (or brush your teeth with)
the tap water. Mineral water is available at the Gorilla Forest
In Uganda, electricity runs at 220/240 volts. You may want to
bring an international converter kit complete with a set of adapter
plugs as lodges are unable to provide adapters. We do,
however, suggest that you consider battery-operated appliances
wherever possible - and bring a supply of extra batteries. However,
be aware that overnight recharging may not be possible where
generator use restricts the availability of electricity.
Flash photography is prohibited when tracking gorillas. We
recommend that you bring all the photographic equipment you will
need from home, including an ample supply of film, additional
memory cards and rechargeable batteries. Many travelers,
viewing this as their "trip of a lifetime" for animal photography,
bring more than one camera in case of a malfunction. Sun filters
will help block glare and heat haze. A dustproof camera bag and an
air brush will help protect your equipment from heavy dust.
If you plan to travel with digital photographic and/or video
equipment, make certain to pack the specific charging apparatus for
each piece of equipment (as well as the appropriate socket plug
adaptor and voltage converter if required).
When photographing people, especially members of the local tribes,
always ask permission first. Because so many local people are asked
for permission to be photographed, many will expect a tip or an
outright fee for this. Always be considerate of anyone's desire not
to be photographed. There are some places where photography is
prohibited, and these areas are usually clearly marked.
Dress on safari is entirely casual. Because it can be dusty,
neutral colours are most practical for game viewing. Remember to
include one or two smart casual outfits for dining. Temperatures
tend to be cooler in the early morning and after sunset - but warm
up by midday. To be prepared for such temperature variations and to
maximise the versatility of your travel wardrobe, we recommend
packing lightweight clothing that can be layered. Casual clothing
of "breathable" fabric (such as cotton) is the most
comfortable.Pack a heavier jacket, sweater, and pair of slacks made
of warm, lightweight material (such as wool). Good sunglasses and
sun block lotion are essential for protection from the strong sun.
You may also want to bring your own fold-up sun hat. Binoculars
will maximise the enjoyment of game viewing and bird watching. A
compact and lightweight pair is suggested.
For the Gorilla Track:
- It often rains heavily, even in the dry season, so a light
raincoat will be useful.
- Sturdy walking boots with good ankle support and grip are also
- A light shoulder bag or small rucksack is useful to carry your
packed lunch, water bottles, raincoat, camera and other essentials.
Local porters are also available.
- Strong gloves are of enormous help, as you will be hauling
yourself uphill by grabbing the bushes, and often sliding downhill
on the seat of your pants.
- During the track, wearing a pair of walking trousers or gaiters
will prevent cuts and scratches.
- Carry a water-proof plastic bag to wrap your camera and film or
memory cards in.
- Flash photography is strictly prohibited as this may upset the
gorillas. Make sure you bring ample supplies of high-speed film or
memory cards to counter this. Also make sure you are completely
familiar with the workings of your camera before you observe the
For the Camp:
- Evening dress is 'smart casual', there is no formal wear
required. We advise guests to dress in a way they feel most
- The altitude at Bwindi is just over a mile high. Evenings can
get chilly, so it is advisable to carry a sweater. For the daytime,
light clothes usually suffice.