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Useful Information

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Useful Information

HEALTH SAFETY AND INSURANCE

Health and safety issues that safari-goers are likely to encounter, are mostly predictable and largely avoidable. The best insurance for carefree trips is a pre-travel consultation with a travel health provider, and taking along a small, personalized medical kit

WE, Uganda Safaris and Excursions suggest that you buy medical evacuation insurance. However we will supply you with ample literature relating to local conditions, and our knowledgeable guides always carry first aid kits and communication equipment to summon help, if necessary.

Health advice must be itinerary- and game park–specific. Immunizations and preventive medications necessary for one park may not be necessary for others.

Generally, proper preparations, common sense precautions, and our experienced guides, make safaris relatively low-risk undertakings for travelers of all ages.

Food and Water

Travelers' diarrhea appears to be the most common ailment, and most cases are mild. Sensible food and water selections may reduce the incidence. Illness may occur even on deluxe trips. Carrying medication for self-treatment is generally recommended

Animals

Wild animals are unpredictable. Travelers should follow oral and written instructions provided by our safari guides. Animal-related injuries are extremely rare and are usually the result of disregarding rules, such as approaching animals too closely to feed or photograph them.

Rabies exists throughout Africa. While most cases result from bites from dogs, all mammals are susceptible and could transmit the virus.

Malaria

Malaria transmission may occur in most game parks. Safari activities often include sleeping in tents and observing animals at dusk or after dark, sometimes near water holes, all increasing the risk of being bitten by malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Taking preventive medication and using personal protection techniques—wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, using insect repellents, and sleeping under permethrin-impregnated mosquito netting—are essential.

Yellow Fever

Yellow fever vaccination is recommended for much of East Africa. In 2010, the World Health Organization and CDC reclassified a portion of East Africa to "low potential for exposure" to yellow fever virus and consequently downgraded the vaccination recommendation for these areas to "generally not recommended." This recommendation limits the need for vaccination to a small subset of travelers who are at increased risk for exposure to yellow fever virus (such as prolonged travel, heavy exposure to mosquitoes, or inability to avoid mosquito bites).

Some countries require a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate as a condition of entry. Travelers must check the requirements of each country on their itinerary, including countries they only transit en route to their destination. Some countries may require the certificate even if there is no yellow fever in the country travelers are leaving or entering.

Other Health Risks

African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), a disease only rarely seen among travelers, is transmitted by day-biting tsetse flies (Glossina). Wearing light-colored clothing (and avoiding wearing blue) seems to deter the flies. Insect repellents are only partially effective. Symptoms include fever, eschar at the site of the bite, headache, and signs of central nervous system involvement.

We suggest that when you are planning your trip you advice your health authorities in order to find out which vaccination and/or medication is needed in order to travel to East Africa

GENERAL TIPS

WHAT TO PACK

Here's a list of what to pack when going on safari, it is best to pack it in a canvas holdall. It is also useful to take a small rucksack on the vehicle with you for carrying your camera, binoculars, and any thing you might need whilst travelling in the vehicle. Most lodges except camp sites supply towels and toiletries.

Feel free to add to the list.

1. Shorts and t-shirts or light trousers for the daytime. Bright colours alert the animals, so stick to neutral tones like beige, khaki, stone, green and brown. Avoid camouflage prints and dark colours. Also lots of pockets are helpful so if you find the right item, wrong colour, tie die it.

Note for Ladies: A high-impact rated sports bra (level 3 or 4) is absolutely essential for safari driving! The roads are typically very rough. For multi-day safaris, bring two so one can be washed/dried whilst you wear the other.

2. A pair of good walking boots if planning any walking safaris

3. A wide brimmed hat to shade you from the sun

4. Plenty of high factor sun cream

5. A good pair of binoculars -- or skip it if you're bringing a zoom lens.

6. Long trousers and long sleeved shirt for the evening as protection from mosquitoes for the men and similar for the ladies, and mosquito repellent for areas of bare skin (Mosiguard (natural) or Jungle Formula (containing DEET) are good products).

7. A fleece for the early morning and evening game drives as it tends to get a bit chilly especially in the highlands

8. Plenty of film or memory for your camera and a battery charger.

9. A small first aid kit – camps and lodges have-- not necessary.

10. A light weight waterproof jacket in case of a sudden shower

11. Swimming costumes if you intend to visit sea side

12. A book on East African Birds and Wild life to allow you to identify what you see on safari although our authorised well trained guides will completely inform you

13. Good pair of sun glasses as you are on the equator where the sun is very powerful.

14. A pair of trainers and/or hiking boots if you intend to do any hiking.

15. A pack of wet wipes.

16. A small maglight or torch.(flashlight)

17. A small blow-up cushion or borrow a pillow from the hotel.

18. A small supply of pens, pencils and exercise or notebooks are handy for children or staff. The gesture is always appreciated. Don't take sweets as these are bad for children's teeth - most people do not have/cannot afford toothbrushes. DO NOT give money.

19. Toilet roll and plastic bag to put the non-organic stuff in.

20. Bring small gloves and a serious scarf for the early morning and evening game drives, it's dang cold.

INSURANCE POLICY TIPS

Your credit card accident cover, home insurance, European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or private health cover is not always sufficient. An emergency abroad can be extremely expensive. If you need to be returned home it could cost you too much money, unless you are adequately insured: So before your trip make sure you have the appropriate insurance cover.

What your travel insurance policy should cover:

  • medical and health cover for an injury or sudden illness abroad
  • 24-hour emergency service and assistance
  • personal liability cover in case you're sued for causing injury or damaging property
  • lost and stolen possessions cover
  • cancellation and curtailment (cutting short your trip) cover
  • extra cover for activities that are commonly excluded from standard policies, such as jet skiing, hiking, big game hunting etc (if you intend to do any).
  • The policy should cover the whole time that you're away. Multi-trip policies may specify a maximum number of days' travel.

 

Your policy may also have:

  • personal accident cover
  • legal expenses cover
  • financial protection if your airline goes bankrupt before or during your trip
  • Common travel insurance policy exclusions:
  • most policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents
  • 60% of travel insurance policies now cover terrorism. Where possible, ensure that your policy does not exclude terrorism
  • you must take reasonable care of your possessions or your policy will not cover you
  • Travel insurance buying tips
  • Shop around to find a good price and the right product rather than opting to travel without cover.
  • Cheaper policies will usually have less cover – for some the price seems most important, but is it worth the initial saving?
  • Consider annual multi-trip insurance if you make several trips a year – you'll save time and money.
  • Holiday cancellation and abandonment.
  • A good insurance policy will cover you for canceling or cutting a trip short under certain circumstances. Check carefully to see exactly what you're covered for:
  • accident
  • illness
  • family bereavement
  • pregnancy (unknown when you buy the policy)
  • jury service or witness summons
  • home emergency: fire, storm or flood, burglary
  • redundancy
  • strikes
  • bad weather – affects the departure of flights and ships

 

Types of foreign travel insurance

Personal liability insurance: If you accidentally cause an injury to someone or damage their property they may sue you. Good travel insurance will cover you for personal liability.

Personal accident cover – disability and death:Travel insurance can cover a personal accident payment made for permanent disability or death.

Cover for stolen, lost or damaged possessions: Limits for single items such as cameras and jewellery can vary from as little as US$300 up to US$1500 or more. Check these limits are adequate and realistic. You should report a loss to the Police within 24 hours. Proof of notification will be required when you make your claim. All insurance policies say that you must take care of your belongings at all times. If you don't, the policy may not pay out. Take as much care of your property as if it were uninsured.

Lost baggage on flights: Do not rely on compensation from an airline if it loses your luggage. By law, airlines only have to pay a specified minimum value per kilo of lost luggage. This is unlikely to cover the full value of your things.

KENYA USEFUL INFORMATION

Getting To Kenya

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and Moi International Airport in Mombasa are main points of entry. Many charter services operate out of Nairobi's Wilson Airport. Regular services link Kisumu, Lamu, Malindi, Mombasa and Nairobi. Air Kenya flies to Amboseli, Lamu, Masai Mara, Nyeri, Nanyuki and Samburu. Kenya Airways is the national airline. South African Airways links Johannesburg and Nairobi with regularly scheduled air services.

On Arrival in Kenya
All visitors must have a valid passport and are subject to clearance through customs. In addition, all non-Commonwealth citizens require a visa, to be obtained from Kenyan Missions abroad or at the post of entry. Visas are required by all except nationals from Angola,. Antigua, Barbados, Bahamas, Belize, Comoros, Cyprus, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Italy, (only Diplomatic passports), Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Malta, Mauritius, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Singapore, Tonga, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe These can be obtained from Uganda's Diplomatic and Consular Missions abroad.
IMPORTANT NOTE: It is possible to get issued a visa on arrival at Entebbe Airport as long as one satisfies the entry requirements. However, it is advisable that you get your visas before you embark on the trip to Uganda to avoid unnecessary paper work at point of entry. On arrival in the country, however, you may be asked to show you have sufficient funds to support your stay and that you have an onward ticket. This is however not a common practice currently.
Personal effects, including cameras, binoculars and film are allowed into the country duty free..

Health Requirements
A certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required although may not be asked to show. All visitors should take malaria prophylactic drugs. It is advisable to drink bottled rather than tap water.

Money Matters
Currency unit is the shilling, comprising 100 cents. It's best to come into the country with either Travellers checks or dollars or pounds which can be exchanged at any of the many Bureau de Change in the main Towns. If you are offered an exchange on the black market at the borders, exercise extreme caution as they are notorious for cheating you without you even realizing it. A VAT (tax currently 16% on most items, 2005) is levied and visitors cannot claim a refund on goods purchased.

There are numerous banks in the major towns as well as many bureau de change. Hours of business vary from bank to bank, but most are open from 9h00 to 14h30, Mondays to Fridays, and 9h00 - 11h30 on Saturdays. Hotels and lodges change money outside these hours. Banking services are also available at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and at Moi International Airport in Mombasa.

Language in Kenya

While the national language of Kenya is Kiswahili, English is the official language and is widely spoken and understood across East Africa.

When to Visit Kenya

Kenya can be visited by any time. Between December and mid-March, the days are sunny, hot and dry and the nights are cool. Best time for deep sea fishing and scuba diving is between August and March when the ocean is calm and water is clear. Rains fall mainly from April to May and again in November.

What to Bring to Kenya
A valid passport is mandatory, and visa requirements should be checked before you travel. To make the most of the game reserves and national parks, carry binoculars and field guides. Photographers will need a zoom lens for wildlife (70-300 or similar). Print film and developing is available in Kampala. Toiletries and other essentials can be bought in the cities.

Tipping Advice

You won't be expected to tip in Kenya, though feel free to do so if you've received exceptional service. Bargain when buying things from a market, from a street stall or craft shop. Tipping is not standard practice at local hotels and restaurants, but it will always be appreciated. It is normal to tip 5-10% at tourist-oriented restaurants. Guides and drivers sometimes expect to be tipped.

Facts for the Traveller
Time: GMT/UTC plus three hours
Electricity: 220V, 50Hz
Weights & measures: Metric

Safety & Security in Kenya
Just like in any other urban city elsewhere, visitors are advised not to make themselves obvious target and do not carry large sums of cash in the streets.

Travel Insurance While in Kenya
If you need medical care whilst in Kenya, it is best to be aware that medical providers may not accept payment through your insurance company. In these circumstances you will have to pay in full after your treatment and file a claim with your insurance company for reimbursement. Therefore you should have access to cash, either from a credit card or by wire transfer. To be compensated you must be treated by licensed medical personnel and provide your insurance company with proper documentation and receipts. It is advisable to always ensure you have a comprehensive travel insurance policy which covers you for repatriation to your home country.

Climate in Kenya
Although Kenya is considered to fall in the tropics, climate and temperature varies depending on altitude and proximity to the ocean. Coastal regions are hot and humid while the central plateaus are warm and dry, with cool nights.

UGANDA USEFUL INFORMATION

Getting To Uganda
Entebbe International Airport, which lies 40km from the capital Kampala, is serviced by a number of international airlines, including SN Brussels, British Airways, South African Airways, Kenya Airways, Air Tanzania, Rwandair Express, Egypt Air and Ethiopian Airlines. Uganda can also be reached overland from Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania.

On Arrival in Uganda
Customs and immigration officials are polite and efficient, and a visa - for those who require one - can be purchased on the spot at Entebbe International Airport or at any overland border. Foreign exchange and ATM facilities are available at the airport, which is also serviced by several shops and restaurants.

Health Requirements
A certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required although may not be asked to show. All visitors should take malaria prophylactic drugs. It is advisable to drink bottled rather than tap water.

Money Matters
The unit of currency is the Uganda shilling. The US dollar is traditionally the hard currency of preference, but Euro and Pound Sterling are also widely accepted. Hard currency cash can be changed for local currency at banks and private bureaux de change in all large towns, but travellers' cheques are not widely accepted outside Kampala. Local currency can be drawn against Visa and other major credit cards at selected ATMs in Kampala, at Entebbe International Airport, and in a few other large towns.

Language in Uganda

Educated Ugandans are generally fluent in English, which is the official language. Of 30-plus different indigenous languages, Luganda serves as something of a lingua franca.

When to Visit Uganda

Uganda can be visited at any time, though mountain hikes, gorilla tracking and other forest walks are more challenging during the rains, which generally peak over October to November and April to May. The best time to visit Uganda is late December to late February, as the weather at this time of year is generally dry (though hot). A close second is the mid-June to mid-August period. However you can still get around outside of these dry tropical months.

What to wear
Daytime temperatures are generally warm to hot, so bring lots of light clothing. Evenings are cooler, especially at high altitudes, so carry a couple of light sweaters too. Those who intend to hike on the mountains will be exposed to alpine temperatures and should pack accordingly. Solid walking shoes and sturdy clothing are ideal for forest walks. Don't forget to bring a hat, sunglasses and a waterproof jacket.

What to Bring to Uganda
A valid passport is mandatory, and visa requirements should be checked before you travel. To make the most of the game reserves and national parks, carry binoculars and field guides. Photographers will need a zoom lens for wildlife (70-300 or similar). Print film and developing is available in Kampala. Toiletries and other essentials can be bought in the cities.

Tipping Advice

You won't be expected to tip in Uganda, though feel free to do so if you've received exceptional service. Bargain when buying things from a market, from a street stall or craft shop. Tipping is not standard practice at local hotels and restaurants, but it will always be appreciated. It is normal to tip 5-10% at tourist-oriented restaurants. Guides and drivers sometimes expect to be tipped.

Facts for the Traveller
Visas: Citizens of most countries do require visas.
Time: GMT/UTC plus three hours
Electricity: 220V, 50Hz
Weights & measures: Metric

Safety & Security in Uganda
Just like in any other urban city elsewhere, visitors to Kampala are advised not to make themselves obvious target and do not carry large sums of cash in the streets. Generally Uganda is a very safe country and there are no particular dangers

Events in Uganda

Uganda celebrates many Christian holidays, including Christmas, Easter and Good Friday. The Muslim population honours Islamic holidays, which follow the Muslim calendar. Hari Raya Puasa , the sighting of the new moon, signifies the first day of the Muslim calendar and the end of Ramadan , the fasting month. Women's Day takes place throughout the country in early March. There are also several holidays associated with independence and events during the civil wars: NRM Anniversary Day is 26 January; Martyrs' Day is 3 June; Heroes' Day is 9 June; and Independence Day is 9 October.

Travel Insurance While in Uganda
If you need medical care whilst in Uganda, it is best to be aware that medical providers may not accept payment through your insurance company. In these circumstances you will have to pay in full after your treatment and file a claim with your insurance company for reimbursement. Therefore you should have access to cash, either from a credit card or by wire transfer. If you need assistance contact the country's local embassy or representative. To be compensated you must be treated by licensed medical personnel and provide your insurance company with proper documentation and receipts. It is advisable to always ensure you have a comprehensive travel insurance policy which covers you for repatriation to your home country.

Climate in Uganda
Although Uganda is located on the equator, its climate is warm rather than hot, and temperatures vary little throughout the year. Most of the country receives an annual rainfall of at least 30 inches. In the Lake Victoria region an annual rainfall of 59 inches is distributed throughout the year and the average annual temperature is 21.6°C (71°F) with a daily range of 7 - 9°C (13-16°F). Further north rainfall averages about 35 inches, with a pronounced dry season in June and July. The mean annual temperature in this region is 15.5°C (60°F) with a daily range of 11-13°C (20-23°F)

VISAS & IMMIGRATION

Visas are required by all except nationals from Angola,. Antigua, Barbados, Bahamas, Belize, Comoros, Cyprus, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Italy, (only Diplomatic passports), Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Malta, Mauritius, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Singapore, Tonga, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe These can be obtained from Uganda's Diplomatic and Consular Missions abroad.
IMPORTANT NOTE: It is possible to get issued a visa on arrival at Entebbe Airport as long as one satisfies the entry requirements. However, it is advisable that you get your visas before you embark on the trip to Uganda to avoid unnecessary paper work at point of entry. On arrival in the country, however, you may be asked to show you have sufficient funds to support your stay and that you have an onward ticket. This is however not a common practice currently.

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Slobodan Miseljic

My name is Slobodan Miseljic and I am a medical doctor from Boston, USA. I am an avid traveler and have been to over 120 countries around the world. 

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