Popular African Safari questions

Some of the more common questions we get.

Do you plan and book my entire trip?

Yes. We can plan as much of your trip as you wish: we can handle everything including international airline tickets, or if you wish to make your own reservations to and from Africa, we will handle everything here. Just let us know what you need - we will do our very best to accommodate you.

Do I need a Visa to do a Safari in Uganda ?

Tourist visas can be bought in advance via the embassy or consulate in your country or simply purchased upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport or at any overland border.

Photos are not required and a single entry tourist visa costs US$ 50 per person for up to 90 days stay in Uganda. If you are planning to combine Uganda with a visit to Rwanda or Kenya it is recommendable to request for the East African Tourist Visa instead of a single entry visa. This special visa costs US$100 per person and allows a 90-days multiple entry to Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. Regretfully, Tanzania is not (yet) a member of the East African community and therefore not part of this special visa arrangement.

Can i use my Bank ATM from my Country?

Only a few banks accept ATM cards or Visa credit cards for money withdrawal in Uganda. While you can withdraw a limited amount of cash per day from ATM machines in Kampala, there are very few opportunities to withdraw cash once you are on safari in Uganda.

Payment by credit card in Uganda can attract additional charges of between 5–10%, occasionally more. Do check with lodges and restaurants in advance, if you plan to pay by credit card. We therefore advise you to bring cash and have money changed upon arrival in Kampala. US dollars, British pounds and Euros are easy to change. However, for some expenses, like the payment of a tourist visa at the airport/border, it is easier to have dollars available.

It is often possible to pay for tourist activities with US dollars. Please note: US dollars bills issued before 1999 are NOT accepted in Uganda. Exchanging low denomination dollar bills (anything less than a USD100 bill) attracts a lower exchange rate.

How much are Gorilla Tracking Permits? Are they refundable?

The Rwanda Government charges USD $1,500.00 for each person each day; Uganda charges USD $600.00 per person per day, Congo charges $450 per person per day. Gorilla Permits are non-refundable - we can try to resell your Permits if you need to cancel, but there is no guarantee that we will be able to find a person who will purchase a ticket for the date of permit.

Is it a must to have a Gorilla Permit?

Yes, You need an official Gorilla permit handled by each of the national parks to see the gorillas. You have to obtain the Gorilla permits several months in advance. We obtain the necessary Gorilla Tracking Permits for you as part of our service

What about cash, and electricity, and clothes, and cameras, and ... and ... and ...?

We will send you all that information, long before you need it. We have been guiding visitors in East Africa for many years, so the answer to every one of your questions is probably in the material we will send you as soon as your trip is booked.

How do we pay for our trip?

You can pay using credit card - or, you can wire the money safely from your bank to ours. We strongly advise that you not send money by Money Order or any commercial money transfer company - use your credit card or your bank, they are both much safer.

How far in advance do I have to book my trip?

The Gorilla Permits are the biggest issue - they sell out months in advance. Committing to your trip one year in advance is not always necessary, but it is not too early, either. The simplest answer - send us your dates, and we will find out if we can get Permits for you.

Is Yellow fever card a must have for my african trip?

Yes. All Visitors to Uganda are now required to have a valid Yellow Fever Immunization Card from the world health organization – which means you must be immunized and that you should do so 10 to 30 days prior to your Ugandan Arrival. It will also help you enter other East African countries. A yellow fever immunization is good for a lifetime. Should you not have one – you will be required to have a Yellow Fever shot at the airport or another point of entry.

How much do i have to pay/deposit to comfirm my african safari?

Once you have confirmed the final itinerary with us, you will be asked to pay a deposit of 40%. Gorilla permits must be paid for in full at the time of booking. Note that availability of accommodation and permits is not guaranteed until officially confirmed by GoExplore Safaris.

Accommodation, permit and activity reservations will be made as soon as payment has been received on our account. For your convenience, the balance payment of 60% should be settled 45 days before the start of your safari.

We accept payment by VISA credit card (please include 5% service charge) and bank transfer in either dollars or Euros to our bank account in Uganda. Please note that all bank charges are at the expense of the client.

What is the minimum age for a gorilla tour?

The minimum age for a gorilla tour is 15 Years old.

Where can one see the Gorillas?

The Gorilla tracking safaris can be done in uganda (the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park), Rwanda (Parc National des Volcans or Volcanoes National Park) and Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC (Virunga Mountains park called the Parc National des Virunga).

Is there any extra charge on the Gorilla Permit?

We do not add a surcharge to the cost of the Permit - the cost to you is what we pay the respective Government for your Permits.

Are Gorilla Permits refundable?

NO, Gorilla Permits are not refundable. In an emergency we can try to resell the Permits for you, but there is no guarantee that we will be abl to do so.

What is Gorilla Trekking?

Gorilla trekking is an on-foot wildlife experience (with a maximum of 8 people per group), through east Africa’s rainforests to get up close with endangered mountain gorillas.

Why is gorilla trekking such a sought after experience?

The plight of Africa’s mountain gorillas really came about in the 1960s predominantly through the work of Dian Foessey. A lot of the work she did, through extensive studies and research, launched Africa’s mountain gorillas to fame. Reasons for trekking mountain gorillas varies from person to person and there may be a few people who can’t even give you a valid reason why they are so interested in it. However, whether you have a reason or not, gorilla trekking remains one of the most stirring and rewarding wildlife experiences there is

Where can I trek mountain gorillas?

Mountain gorillas have a limited habitat extent and are only found in three countries that span four national parks: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Uganda), Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (Uganda), Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda) and Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of Congo)

Is gorilla trekking safe?

When you finally catch a glimpse of a mountain gorilla, you will be amazed (perhaps intimidated) at their size and physique, so the issue of safety will definitely come to mind. Compared to other wildlife encounters, gorilla trekking is one of the safest there is. That being said, there are rules (outlined later), that should be followed without exception.

When is the best time to trek?

Trekking can be done during the dry (June to September and December to February) or rainy seasons (March to May and October to November). The rainy season does make trekking more challenging, so it’s often recommended to trek during the dry season. One of the benefits when trekking during the rainy season is that accommodation at lodges and hotels are at discounted rates.

How long does a gorilla trek last?

You will have an early morning wake up on the day of your gorilla trek. Depending on how far your lodge is from the park gates, you could leave between 06:30 and 07:00. Once you arrive you will be briefed by the parks rangers and guides. When the trek begins, there is no pre-determined amount of time you will spend in the forest. Time spent in the jungle is dependent on the movements of the gorillas and where they have slept for the night. Treks can last for 30 minutes or up to 5 hours. Once a gorilla family has been found, you will spend an hour with them.

Are mountain gorillas friendly?

Although mountain gorillas are big, muscular creatures, they are described to be intelligent, affectionate and gentle. They are calm vegetarians who are dedicated to their group members. The gorillas spend most of their time interacting, feeding, playing and aggressive in case there is an intruder in the family. They welcome humans only if they are peaceful but if danger is sensed, they may be harmful.

Would it be possible to see a Mountain Gorilla in a zoo?

No, it’s not possible because these Mountain gorillas can’t survive in captivity. They are only found in mountainous areas and only in Africa

What is the average life span of a mountain gorilla?

Their average life span is quite a challenge to predict due to the fact that they only live in the wild. However it ranges from 30 to 35 fives.

How long do baby gorillas stay with their mothers?

Mother gorillas stay with their younger ones until they are four years old. All this time the mothers attend to their babies until they can support themselves. A newborn gorilla weighs 5 pounds at birth and covered with black hair. Their hair develops quickly compared to human babies.

At what age do male mountain gorillas develop silver hair on their backs?

Adult male mountain gorillas are acknowledged as silverbacks. When they reach maturity, they develop the silver-colored hair on their backs. In the impenetrable forest, they are easily seen with their unique color and size.

How much does a full-grown male silverback mountain gorilla weigh?

An adult male mountain gorilla weighs close to 450-500 pounds and its height is 5-6 feet. They are big in size and so can eat up to 60 pounds of vegetation daily.

Should i visit Rwanda, Uganda, Congo or both?

Bwindi’s gorillas in Uganda live in a high altitude rain forest, while the gorillas in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda live in a bamboo forest. These habitats result in some behavioral differences and definitely result in different hiking and viewing differences. Budget issues often impact whether our guests visit both parks and only one. If time and budget permit, we recommend that our guests view in both parks.

How many babies do female gorillas have?

Female gorillas have a slow rate in reproductaion.The maximum number of offsprings they may have during the course of their lifespan is 2-6.The male gorillas normally have 10-20 offsprings but from different females. Female gorillas attain their sexual maturity at the age of 10 years while male gorillas at the age of 15 years. Surprisingly, female gorillas make the first move towards the male gorillas for mating. They are sexually accessible during estrous. Their estrous cycle consists of 28 days and right after giving birth, they stop ovulating for so many years.

Are there any rules to track the Gorillas?

Yes, the following must be considered before you go for a gorilla trek.

  1. You have to be over 15 years of age
  2. You can not be sick or have any infectious disease
  3. Only 1 hour is allowed with the gorillas at a distance of at least 5 metres
  4. Maximum number of visitors per day is 6-12 people per group
  5. No flash photography is allowed
  6. No eating or drinking in the vicinity of the gorillas
  7. No touching the gorillas (although they may decide to touch you)
  8. Trekkers must be fit and well equipped, which includes warm clothing for the wet cool climate high in the mountains.

How much does the whole trip cost?

That's very difficult to say - it depends on how many days you want to stay with us, what you want to do while you are here, how many Permits you need, what other parks and towns you want to visit, what other countries you want to see. We can arrange a 3-day 2-night Gorilla Tracking Safari including transportation to and from Kigali and lodging near the park for as little as $700.00US per person plus the Permit ... or we can take you on a 2-week tour of Rwanda and uganda which will cost several thousand dollars per person. Let us know what you are interested in doing, and how long you have - we will create a custom trip for you, life-long memories included

What is included in my African Safari?

GoExplore Safaris Quoted Prices include:

  • All activities included in the safari itenarary
  • Bottled water all day while travelling in GoExplore Safaris Vehicle
  • Services of an English speaking safari Guide/Driver
  • Park Entrance Fees
  • Accomodation as specified in the safari itenarary
  • Ground transport in safari comfortable 4WD vehicles
  • Meals as shown in the safari itenarary
  • All government safari taxes
  • All safari Transfers
  • Does someone accompany us on your trips?

    Yes, One of our multilingual licensed Guides will meet you when you clear Customs and Immigration at Entebbe, Uganda or Kigali, Rwanda, and will take you to the airport when you are leaving -- airport hugs and tissues to wipe away your tears at having to leave, those are included. Your Guide will be with you every step of the way, answering every question you can think of to ask, identifying every bird you see, explaining why the animals behave the way they do, introducing you to the men, women and children who live here ... remember - this is our home, and we will welcome you with open arms

    What should i do while in the parks or game reserves?

    Always respect wild animals:

  • Never feed a wild animal unless as part of an official rehabilitation program.
  • Keep a respectable distance and if the animal shows signs of fear or aggressiveness, back off immediately and give the animal plenty of space to move on.
  • Avoid chasing or following wildlife that is attempting to escape. Keep watching times to a reasonable length to avoid stressing the animals.
  • Move slowly, quietly, and in full view to avoid scaring or stressing animals.
  • Avoid touching animals unless part of a carefully structured research or conservation program that has the required permits.
  • Avoid captive wildlife facilities unless they actively support reintroduction to the wild or take in animals that would not be able to return to the wild (see below for more specific captive wildlife guidelines).
  • Follow the Guide or park ranger guidelines to reduce human impact on wild places.
  • When can i travel for my African Safari?

    Officially, Uganda’s dry seasons are from December/January through to mid March and from June through to mid-September. These dry months are the most popular with tourists, with July and August and Christmas and New Year being the peak seasons.

    Most rain falls in October-November and April-May. However, this doesn’t mean that it rains all day, nor does it mean it will rain every day. Usually there’s a tropical shower at night or a shorter shower during the day, but in Uganda you can trust that after rain comes sunshine! The weather is no reason to avoid travelling in the wet season – you might even consider it because of the easy availability of gorilla permits. As in the rest of the world, the East African climate is changing, making it more difficult for us to predict the weather during your safari. However, in Uganda the temperature is very stable and pleasant, with sunshine almost 365 days a year.

    During the day, the temperature averages between 23 and 27°C, although in some places it can be quite cool at night. One remarkable aspect about Uganda safaris is: whether you travel in the dry, dusty months or in the wet season, you will never find the crowded tourism like in Kenya or Tanzania. If you spot a lion or leopard, it is very likely that you will be the only one to see it – even in peak season!