Frequently Asked Questions
How much can I expect airfare to cost?
Generally, from the United States to Entebbe, Uganda, is about $1,400 – $2,000. We are not able to make flight arrangements as a group, as people will be coming from many different places and may want to extend their travels after this trip. KLM, Brussels Air, Ethiopian Airlines and Turkish Air often have the best fares. British Airways no longer flies directly to Uganda, but you can take BA to Nairobi and then connect to Entebbe on Kenyan Air. It is a good idea to have at least two days worth of clothes in your carry-on in case your bags choose to take an additional layover somewhere without you.
Is it safe?
There are always risks involved with travel, no matter where you go. We will be traveling as a group, which increases safety, and with experienced guides. Kampala is widely considered to be one of the safest cities in East Africa. While we of course cannot guarantee safety 100%, we feel very confident that this is a safe itinerary that will keep us out of any danger.
What shots will I need?
We are not doctors, and so are not able to recommend which shots you should get. Your local clinic or hospital should have a travel clinic or should be able to tell you where the nearest one is. You may also be able to get this information directly from your primary physician. Please also ask them about malaria prevention, and as of 2016, proof of Yellow Fever Vaccination IS REQUIRED.
Will I need a visa?
How many people will be on the trip?
Our maximum number is 15.
Can I bring my children?
Our minimum age is 12.
Will everything go exactly as planned?
One evening during a power out, my wife and I were coming back from dinner and realized we were out of lamp oil. We stopped at a local market where the shop-keeper struggled to locate the oil somewhere in the dark aisles. His memorable comment, as he bumped into one thing after another was, “These Ugandan things are not straightforward.”
We will do everything in our power to prepare for the unexpected, but Africa has a way of surprising you. Often, it is when things don’t go as planned that the most fascinating interactions and adventures happen. Through our experience living here and with the assistance of our very capable Ugandan guides, we should be able to keep these surprises to a minimum, but a good sense of humor will serve you well!
What will the weather be like?
Expect daytime temperatures in the 80s, and nighttime temps in the 70s. We may also get occasional thunderstorms. That said, climate change is happening in Uganda just like everywhere else, so it is difficult to predict.
What should I bring?
You can find a list on the “Miscellaneous Info” link on the sidebar.
What language is spoken in Uganda?
There are over 50 languages currently in use in Uganda. The two most widespread local languages are Luganda, spoken in the south, and Luo, spoken in the north. English is the official language and is widely spoken in the capital city and in tourist centers like the national parks. Swahili is not widely used because of its association with Idi Amin’s efforts to make it the national language, but in September 2005 the current administration did add it as a national language. Time will tell if it will gain favor as a unifying language.
What types of accommodations will we be staying in?
Our accommodations throughout this trip are modest, but comfortable. All of our hotels have running water, electricity, and sometimes air conditioning.
What is included in the cost of the trip?
Double occupancy accommodations throughout (11 nights). Single occupancy is available for an additional fee of $415.
Airport transfer on select flights
All meals during the trip.
All wildlife viewing by private minibus with photographic roof hatches, chauffeured by a professional driver/guide.
Complimentary bottle of water per person per day in vehicles.
All applicable hotel and lodge taxes.
All game park entry fees.
Gratuities to the baggage handlers, driver/guides and other conveyance attendants, waiters and other service staff at hotels and lodges.
Does Not Include:
Airfare and any U.S. and foreign airport taxes.
Passport and visa fees and service charges for obtaining visas.
Excess baggage charges levied by the airlines.
Laundry and other items of a personal nature.
Souvenirs, and special optional tours and activities.
Personal, medical, travel and baggage insurance.
Cost of anything not specifically mentioned in the listing above.
Can we bring gifts to give away?
Please don’t, unless a home-stay is part of your itinerary. It can create awkward power dynamics when gifts are given. This can happen if there is only enough for some people or if the value of the item highlights the wealth disparity. If you have items you would like to donate, you can give them to the BeadforLife staff in Uganda and they will find appropriate recipients.
Does the required medical/evacuation coverage also include Trip Insurance or cancellation coverage?
No. It does not cover a cancelled trip. We are not requiring Trip Insurance, but you are welcome to purchase this on your own.
What is the typical dress while in Kampala and while visiting project sites?
For women, please wear skirts below the knees and/or pants (Capris are fine). Modest tank tops are okay, but make sure they are not too low cut or cropped. Men should wear long pants. Shorts are acceptable in the game parks and while you are relaxing at the hotel. In general, the more modestly you dress, the more respect you are showing and the more comfortable you will feel.
What about bug spray?
Use your judgment here. The mosquitos in Uganda are not overwhelming. However, malaria is present in the region we will be in, so it is important to have some sort of protection. Long sleeve shirts, long pants and socks are great protection in the evenings. We highly recommend being on malaria prophylaxis. There are side effects of some malaria medications so please talk with your doctor about the right option for you.
What books do you recommend to learn more about Ugandan culture?
Mark’s recommendations are on Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Travel-to-Uganda/lm/R3JL6F000V232H/ref=cm_lm_pdp_title_full
Will people be able to get in touch with us in an emergency?
We will have a number available that family can call in the event of an emergency. There also might be limited Internet access. Please do not count on having this access because power outages might make it difficult to get time on-line.
Can we extend our travel in Uganda?
Yes. It often works out best to extend your trip afterwards, since you will have a better sense of how to move around the country and may have new ideas of how you would like to spend that time. You can make arrangements directly with Ezra, or contact another guide service. Outside the set dates of the trip you will need to make arrangements independent of Conservation Concepts or BeadforLife. Also, many people have inquired about the possibility of volunteering with BFL before or after the trip. Unfortunately, BeadforLife is currently not able to accommodate any short-term volunteers. Mark can give you suggestions on other things to see while in Uganda if you would like to extend your trip.