Frequently Asked Questions ~ Gorilla Tour Booking Safaris

Frequently Asked Questions

East Africa especially Uganda, is a land of captivating people, dramatic landscapes, unique wilderness, intriguing cultures, great food, and vibrant music. This enchanting region in Africa is home to many world landmarks that allure travelers from around the world
From the endless open Savanna of Queen Elizabeth Np, Murchison falls In Uganda, Masai Mara and Serengeti plains, to forested Bwindi impenetrable Forest, to Kidepo valley National Park with vast unfenced wilderness areas. It is worthwhile planning ahead to ensure you get the most out of your visit.

Our FAQs attempt to answer most of your questions.

ACCOMMODATIONS

what are the accommodations like? 
Up market safari lodges, tented camps and hotels in Africa provide world class accommodations. Rooms have proper beds with mattresses and duvets, en suite (attached, in room) flush toilets, basins and showers with hot and cold running water. Other amenities include mosquito netting, lamps, purified water, insect repellent, flashlights, wardrobes, and ethnic furnishings. Gorilla Tour Booking Safaris Vacations hand picks lodges and camps famed for their quality service. Read More

BOOKINGS AND TRIP PAYMENT

You can email us here… . We insist on only offering our clients the best wildlife experience and as such, the time of year that you travel will be very important in trying to assess where we should go. Please therefore let me know what time of year you prefer to travel. When you email us also kindly give us an outline of your expectations in terms of the accommodation, wildlife and photography. The more you tell me about your expectations the better we can tailor a safari that will exceed these expectations. We will then use our knowledge of the region, its camps/lodges and wildlife to make recommendations. Another vital bit of information that we will need to know is if you are traveling on your own or with a partner or in a group? This affects charter flight costs as well as the cost of securing an exclusive safari truck. Once we agree on a basic outline you will receive a fully customized itinerary and this is all done without you needing to commit in any way. Only when you are entirely satisfied that we have the right product for you, will the booking process begin. Read More

CHILDREN

Are children allowed on safari? 
In Uganda and East Africa in general, traveling with children is easier as child policies are more liberal you can do most tourist activities with people of all age groups except for Gorilla and Chimpanzee tracking where the age is limited to 15 year olds and above. The majority of safari Lodges and camps have no problem with children being hosted. However, it’s advisable to pre book private safari activities

CULTURAL INTERACTION

Are their opportunities to meet with local people or visit real African villages? 

There are many opportunities for cultural interaction. We can arrange tours to local schools, markets, and villages. Village visits may last a few hours or an overnight with your guide may be arranged. In some cases guests may participate in daily chores such as planting crops, brewing beer, or carrying water. From carrying firewood to sitting for hours around a smoky fire listening to stories many people feel that their lives are forever changed by this experience.

ELECTRICITY / INTERNET / PHONES

Is there electricity? 

Electricity in east Africa (Uganda, Kenya) is 220/240 volts. Most safari lodges and camps are not connected to a mains electrical supply. Solar lighting (backed up by batteries) is common, with many lodges having a generator which runs part of the day (morning and late evening while guests are partaking in activities). Lanterns also provide light at night. In most areas you will not be able to use a hairdryer or electric shaver but provisions for charging are always given Read More

EMERGENCIES

In cases of accident. How do we get evacuated??

Clients undertaking a full safari package with our company are covered for evacuation insurance. This insurance policy covers personal liability; medical expenses; repatriation in the event of accident, illness or death Read More

HEALTH AND SAFETY CONCERNS

Is it safe to visit East Africa?

At  Gorilla Tour Booking Safaris, our number one concern is your safety. If we felt that traveling to East Africa was unsafe we would not arrange African safaris. Certain countries are generally considered safe while others are not. We actively discourage travel to destinations that we consider unsafe for any reason. For example we were offering gorilla safaris in Congo and we stopped once we realized it was becoming un safe. That explains why we have not had any single incident since inception. Read More


PRIVATE SAFARIS

Do you offer private safaris over and above the safaris and tours advertised on your website?
Yes, we certainly do. Our advertised safaris are samples of most popular safaris that have been done by several travelers over years. We are happy to privately custom design your safari with you. If you would like to travel alone or with a friend or spouse or your own group, we can arrange a private safari for you to even un traveled routes of East Africa. In this case we will rework a costing depending on your group size and we tailor an itinerary. We can look at different dates if need be or you can book the same set departure dates as advertised on our website but just have it run as a private safari. We have a client base of very serious travelers that do private safaris with us, so that they can elevate their imagery to new heights

SAFARI COST

Ok, what does a private safari cost?
The cost of a private safari will depend on the length of your safari and the number of people in your group. If you are a single traveler and trying to keep the cost low then join us on one of our advertised set departures which are exclusive east African safaris in their own right.

SAFARI GUIDING

Who runs / guides the safaris? 
We are safari consultants (safari operators who specialize in East Africa travel) and offer land arrangements. We do run or guide all the safaris on the ground with our own vehicles and trained safari guides.
We offer a wide variety of African travel packages – some are group trips with set departure dates however the majority of our trips are tailor-made to suit our client’s specific needs. We work very closely with Lodges and Camps and also own our own properties

Who looks after us while on safari? 
A very important element of traveling to a largely unknown destination is the peace of mind to know that you will be properly taken care before, during and after your trip. At abacus Africa we take a conservative stance in deciding which Lodges and guides we will work with – they must have a lengthy and consistent record of truly exceptional service, be fully licensed. While in Africa you will be met at each location and transferred from airports, to hotels to lodges and camps; your safari representatives are on call 24 hours a day to answer any questions you may have or to handle any eventuality – from medical emergencies to retrieving a bag that may have been left behind and having it delivered to your next destination. In this way it is possible to travel with all the security of a packaged tour, but all the flexibility and privacy of an individual traveler not compromised.

SAFARI TRANSPORT

How do we get around in East Africa? 
While on safari you will be transferred between lodges, camps, hotels, and different national parks by road, boat and air.

Air travel is the most convenient and preferred method of moving between destinations though more expensive than road. Depending upon your choice of safari you may travel by scheduled flights. The majority of commercial airlines use modern jet or turbo prop aircraft. Alternatively guests may fly aboard smaller single, or twin, engine charter aircraft seating 6 to 12 people.

What types of vehicles are used on safari for wildlife viewing? 

Most of our safaris are conducted in closed Land Rovers/Land cruisers  seating 5 passengers (all with window seats) with a guide and roof hatches for game viewing. We do also have Safari minibuses in our fleet  with roof hatch which we also  use for those conscious of the budgets. We advise that you Indicate the choice of the car at inquiry.

SHOPPING IN AFRICA

What is there to buy in East Africa? Shopping while on safari is limited. Often lodges and camps have small curio shops where you may purchase postcards, local goods such as carvings or books, clothing (hats, shirts), and film. At airports and in larger towns you will find African curio markets where you may buy all sorts of carvings, masks, drums, jewelry etc…In general souvenirs and curios are inexpensive (in US dollar terms). Fun spirited bartering is the norm.
In most cities there are up-market jewelers and art galleries where you can easily spend hundreds, even thousands, of dollars on African art. Most reputable shops offer shipping of your purchase at extra cost.

SPENDING MONEY

How much money should I bring? Cash or travelers checks? Are credit cards accepted? 
You will need very little spending money on most safaris as the majority of meals and activities are included in your package cost.

You will need to pay for lunch, dinner, and drinks when you are staying on a bed and breakfast basis as is the case at most city hotels. Bills may be settled by US cash, by credit card (by far the easiest method as major credit cards are accepted at nearly all lodges, camps, hotels at 5% surcharge).
Credit cards may also be used in large towns at restaurants and shops with MasterCard and Visa being most accepted. However, use may be restricted in small towns and country areas and non-existent in small retail shops. Please note that American Express is not commonly accepted in Africa. Please note that in east Africa hotels, lodges, camps, restaurants and shops often charge a fee(5%) for the use of a credit card.

Automatic teller machines (ATM’s) are situated outside most banks in towns and cities in southern Africa, and international credit cards often can be used to withdraw currency. However, as Africa is unpredictable, please do not rely on ATM machines for your currency needs.

LANGUAGE

Do people speak English in Africa? 
English is spoken widely throughout East Africa (with the exception of Burundi). South Africa has eleven national languages. In Uganda, and Kenya, English is actually the national language.

LAUNDRY

Can we have our clothes washed while on safari? 
The majority of safari lodges and camps offer complimentary laundry service (some charge a small fee) weather permitting, however please note that undergarments are often excluded. You may wish to bring a small supply of liquid laundry soap (a small plastic travel bottle filled with Woolite works well for hand washing).

MEALS / DRINKS / SPECIAL DIETS

What types of food are served on safari? 
The food served at most up-market safari lodges and tented camps is of the highest quality. Gourmet cooks bake fresh breads, and produce soups, salads, and entrees that could easily grace tables at top restaurants around the world.

Meals are international in flavor with soups, salads, cold meats, pasta dishes, meat and fish dishes, and breads. Your day normally starts with tea and biscuits before your morning activity. Returning to your lodge or camp late morning, brunch is enjoyed – cereals, fruit, bacon, eggs, sausage, and toast are on offer as are salads, quiches and cold meats. Before your afternoon activity tea and light snacks are served. Dinner consists of an appetizer followed by meat, fish and pasta dishes served with assorted vegetables and sauces. Dinner is followed by coffee (or tea), cheeses, and gorgeous desserts.

What about special dietary needs (vegetarian, diabetic, no spicy foods)? 
Special diets are not a problem as long as we know your needs in advance.

What drinks are available on safari? 
In Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya, where drinks are often separate from food. Full board rate includes food except drinks but all kind of drinks are always available in the bar. Budget for USD 4-5 for a glass of wine, USD 1for a bottle of water, USD 2-3 for a bottle of beer. Other drinks in the bar include different types of wines and spirits Certain high end imported drinks i.e. Scotch whiskey, Champagne, Rums, All this if available, are typically for your own account.

PACKING

What type of baggage / luggage should we take? 
Luggage should be kept to a minimum. In east Africa the limit is typically 15 kg’s / 33 pounds per person. The number of bags is not as important as the total weight of your bags. It is OK to have duffel and a small carryon bag. Hard sided suitcases and soft-sided internal frame carryon luggage (the type with a handle and wheels) are not acceptable as they will not fit in the baggage compartment on small aircraft which are often used for transfers between lodges and camps. On safaris that have no small aircraft transfers the weight and size allowance is not as important however you should still strive to bring as little as possible. Remember – a complimentary laundry service is offered at most safari camps and lodges if luxury option is booked.


What types of clothes should we take on safari? 
When on safari it is best to wear grey, brown or khaki colored clothing during the months June through October, and green clothing during the months November through May so as not to alert wildlife of your presence. White (which gets dirty very fast) and other bright colors are definitely not recommended (blue actually attracts tsetse flies – but not enough to worry about). Camouflage clothing is not advisable.

Bring comfortable clothes that are cool, but that can layer to keep you warm at night or on game drives. During dry months (June through September in East Africa) bring a pair of gloves and a warm hat as temperatures can drop to chilly on occasion! It is also advisable to bring a pair of sandals, comfortable walking shoes (tennis shoes), a swimsuit, and a hat to block the sun. There is no need for heavy boots.

We provide all clients with comprehensive trip information including a travel checklist upon booking.

Do I need to bring a sleeping bag on a camping safari? 
No you do not… all camping equipment will be provided for you.

PARK FEES

Are park fee’s included on my safari? 
Park fees are almost always included in the overall trip cost. Your consultant will advise you if any park’s fees that must be paid direct.

PASSPORT AND ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Do I need a passport? 
Yes! Most African countries require that you are in possession of a valid passport with an expiration date no less than six months after your return to your country of origin.
Visa is required but can also be secured at the point of entry.
Should we purchase local currency? Most travelers do not need to change money into local currency as US dollars and Euros are widely accepted. Small bills (US $1, US $5, US $10, and US $20) are not advisable as they fetch a low exchange rate. Dirty bills and old bills below year 2000 are not acceptable in East Africa.

TIPPING

How much should we tip? Who do we tip? How do we tip? 
Tipping at restaurants (at your discretion) is 10%. Tipping at lodges and camps is always welcomed but the amount varies greatly. It is often best to tip the lodge manager who will distribute your tip amongst the lodge or camp staff. As a rough estimate you can tip US $15 (US $10 for your guide and US $5 for camp staff) for each traveler per day at each lodge / camp. The majority of lodges and camps are able to accept credit cards for tipping (MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted while American Express is not).

TRAVEL INSURANCE

Do I need travel insurance? Do you offer travel insurance? 
All Gorilla Tour Booking Safaris Ltd clients are advised to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance plan upon booking. This should cover you for events that may occur before, or during travel, such as tour operator bankruptcy / financial default, trip cancellation, trip delay or interruption, terrorism, lost stolen or delayed baggage, emergency accident (before),We provide insurance cover for evacuations in case of accident, sickness while on safari.

WEATHER.

What is the weather like in East Africa? 
In general East Africa (Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania) experiences dry weather during the months June through October. There are two rainy seasons – the long rains which fall mid March through May and the short rains which arrive in mid October and continue until mid December.
Temperatures are moderate throughout the year with average daytime temperatures around 20- 28 degrees Celicious. Evenings and mornings are often chilly, with cold nighttime temperatures especially in Bwindi impenetrable Forest and Ngorongoro crater due to altitude.
In general the climate in Uganda is as near perfect as you can get anywhere in the world with dry season temperatures similar to those of the Mediterranean, but without the humidity. Daytime temperatures average 20 – 28 degrees Celicius. During the rainy period May through may nighttime temperatures in some areas can drop to 5-15 degrees Celicious – don’t let this dissuade you from a safari as by mid morning temperatures are warm enough for shorts and a short sleeved shirt.
Further information on weather can be found in Destinations. Below is a guide to the weather in East Africa designed as a quick reference to help you understand at a glance the best times of the year.

Month East Africa
JAN
Summer
Rain (Unlikely – prime time)
FEB
Summer
Rain (Unlikely – prime time)
MAR
Summer
Rain (Unlikely – prime time)
APR
Summer
Long rainy season begins
MAY
Autumn
Long rainy season
JUN
Winter
Long rains ending
JUL
Winter
Rain (Unlikely – prime time)
AUG
Winter/Spring
Rain (Unlikely – prime time)
SEPT
Spring
Rain (Unlikely – prime time)
OCT
Summer
Rain (Unlikely – prime time)
NOV
Summer
Short rainy season
DEC
Summer
Short rains ending

WHEN TO TRAVEL

When is the best time to travel to Africa to view wildlife? The most desirable months.
Wildlife viewing is, in part, predicated on the amount of surface water available. During the rains (November through May) wildlife is scattered as there is abundant surface water (puddles, perennial rivers) to drink. Once the rains end (mid June) wildlife congregates around remaining surface water supplies (pools, lakes, and large rivers).

Please note that travel during East Africa’s “green season”, November through May, does have some advantages. The bush will be lush and green and many wildlife species will have newborn in tow. Dust, which can be a nuisance during the dry season, is greatly reduced and nighttime temperatures are milder than during the dry months. For those interested in Gorilla Trekking Safari, there are fewer travelers and so gorilla permits are on a discount and chances of getting availability is much higher or almost guaranteed.

In east Africa, safaris are best enjoyed during the periods mid December through the beginning of March and during the period June through end of October each year.

WHY AFRICA

Why should I go on safari in East Africa? 
Africa remains one the last outposts of raw adventure; a refuge from the modern world. From the splendor of the Masaai Mara teeming with herds of a million wildebeest, to the pristine primordial beauty of the Ngorongoro Crater; from Uganda’s Kibale Forest filled with birdsong and chimpanzee calls to the raging Nile River as it crashes untamed over Murchison Falls 40Metres down, and to the Rare endangered Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi and Mgahinga – this ancient land and its people offer a memorable travel experience truly unlike any other.

East Africa in particular, in our opinion, provides travelers with the highest quality African wildlife and wilderness experience available in a land that is both clean and comfortable. East Africa is home a tremendous wealth of wildlife including Africa’s Big 5 wildlife species (buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard, and rhino – both black and white). Bwindi impenetrable Forest has the highest concentration of endangered Mountain Gorillas in the world! Masai Mara and Serengeti is home to the highest density of wildebeest in the world, and Uganda’s bird record represents 60% of bird species found in Africa and 11% of the whole world. Uganda is an Equatorial country of astonishing contrasts with an amazing diversity of habitats with a checklist of over 1050 bird Species, despite its small size, Uganda ranks high among the richest destinations for birds in Africa and probably world over. With over 1,050 species recorded, out of which over three quarters are resident and Afro tropical migrant species breed or are assumed to breed. There are 10 globally threatened species, all in the vulnerable category, as well as two Data Deficient species and some 17 globally near-threatened species.


If am interested in Birding am catered for? 
Birding in Africa is spectacular, especially during the northern hemisphere winter when the northern migratory birds are present. From the flightless ostrich to tiny bee eaters, Africa is an ornithologist’s paradise!

Uganda lies at the meeting place of five biomes of central and eastern Africa, each with a characteristic avifauna. These biomes comprise the Sudan–Guinea Savanna with 22 Ugandan species restricted to it, the Guinea–Congo Forests biome with 144 species, the Lake Victoria Basin biome with 12 species, the Afro tropical Highlands biome with 88 species, and the Somali–Masai biome with 32 species.

Uganda harbors a large number of predominantly Central African species which cannot be found anywhere else in East Africa which include some of the continent’s most spectacular and sought-after birds such as; Long-tailed Hawk, Congo Serpent Eagle, Lyre-tailed Honey guide Black-wattled Hornbill, Nkulengu Rail, just to mention but a few.

Birds like Shoebill, Lesser Jacana, Blue Swallow, Black-Shouldered Night jar, Afep Pigeon, and Blue Breasted Bee-Eaters can be easily seen on a bird watching safari. The country’ bird record represents 60% of bird species found in Africa and 11% of the whole world.

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Gorilla Tour Booking Safaris is one of the top holiday brands in Uganda that exclusively caters to the unique needs of tourists who are interested in Gorilla Trekking Adventures,  Wildlife Safaris, Bird Watching Tours, Cultural Packages, Mountaineering Adventures, Quad Biking & Cycling Tours, Camping and Honeymoon Trips  With a global approach and local knowledge, we take your Ugandan and Rwanda holiday/Safari experience to an all-new level.
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⇒1 Day Lake Mburo National Park Wildlife Safari Tour
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⇒2 days Chimpanzee trek to Kibale Forest National Park

⇒2-Day Tour to Queen Elizabeth National Park.


⇒2 Days Murchison Falls Short Wildlife Safari Tour

⇒2 Days,Rwanda Gorilla safari Gorilla tracking Adventure.
⇒3 Days Gorilla Trekking Tours , Gorilla Expeditions Safaris Bwindi National Park.
⇒3 Day Wildlife Safari -Queen Elizabeth National Park- Short Safari in Uganda.
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⇒5 Days Uganda Safari trekking Chimpanzees and Gorilla tracking.
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⇒7-Day Uganda Super Safari: Lake Mburo ,Bwindi Impenetrable , Queen Elizabeth and Kibale
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⇒9 Days Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Lake Bunyonyi-Queen National Park .

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