Top Trip planning ideas:Traveling with Money to Uganda,Rwanda and D.R.Congo.

Money advice for your Safari in Uganda,Rwanda and D.R.Congo:  How much is needed per day,how to exchange to local currencies and how to withdraw Cash during your trip.

 Client's view of the morning sunrise at Mt.Nyiragongo summit-the joy of proper timing and advance safari preparation with Instinct safaris.

Client's view of the morning sunrise at Mt.Nyiragongo summit-the joy of proper timing and advance safari preparation with Instinct safaris.

Tourists coming to spend their holidays in Uganda and Rwanda need to know these are Cash based travel destinations. Currently most of the growing tourist numbers come to these destinations on topmost notch of the Great wildlife trails while trekking to the Mountain gorilla. As you look forward to that life time trip in Uganda and Rwanda, you need to have local knowledge on the form of the region’s currency and the fore bureau market. The Ugandan currency reffered to as Uganda shillings abbreviated as Ugx and for Rwanda it’s called Rwandese Francs. Travelers to Uganda and Rwanda will find US Dollars as the common media to all their safari quotations and US Dollars are widely accepted. Your tour operator will package details of your tour and after issue an invoice which will be quoted in U.S Dollars; this is because the same amount quoted in US Dollars will be paid for your tour activities, hotel booking and transport arrangements.

With the currently improvement in the infrastructures and other forms of tourist’s social amenities, there are  many ATMS branches allocated in both big and small towns available throughout the countries however a better experience will always be in the big city. As the saying goes “Far from court, far from care” it’s better to handle your financial requirements before getting off the main city and feel free to ask your safari guide in case of help. While in the capitals, the use and acceptance of Visa and Master Cards is guaranteed however this deteriorates as you enter the rural wild places.

 During your inland travel experiences, some of the bigger hotels and shops will accept the payment mode of credit cards. For tourists looking forward to have their traveler’s checks exchanged, you will find this time consuming and frustrating. The credit card payment system is always prompt and taking out money on a credit card can run a surcharge of 3.5 to 6% or higher. Even though Advance safari booking is a recommendation to all tours to Uganda and Rwanda, we advise clients to bring with them cash for their personalized trip experience. This must be preferably US dollars as they are very easy to exchange, although Euros and UK pound are also fine. Tourists need to make sure that dollar bills are no older than 2006, and have no tears or blemishes.

While exchanging your favourite notes on the ground, please note dollar exchanges are based on quantity in Uganda. Here I mean the higher the bill, the higher the rates. Usually Exchange rates will be a little bit lower on smaller notes and higher with big notes, on small us dollar note category they classify notes from 1$-20$ and in big note category they consider notes of 50$ and 100$. Higher bills get better exchange rates, so we recommend bringing 100 dollar bills. There are a number of places to exchange money which your guide can direct you to. Avoid exchanging money at the airport and at borders as they exchange rate is usually lower. You should also avoid using US dollars at craft markets and restaurants, as you will get more for your money by using local currency.

 How much Money to Bring on your safari to Uganda,Congo and Rwanda?

As a common question asked by at least every tourist coming for safari in Uganda and Rwanda, you will find that it’s not about how much you need to bring but it’s about what you want the money for. After all Instinct safaris quotes all itineraries on Full board plan, however this doesn’t mean a client will not spend some moneys for an enriched safari experience together. We attend closely to all our tourists and the majority has been found to reveal to us what they need during their safari and from here we are able to approximate the daily costs. On every itinerary instinct safaris will list all inclusives and there are also exceptions/exclusives for each tour as well and on such a list a client can tell if he/she is interested in an exception though not part of the general tour quote. Depending on the duration of your itinerary, you will need to spend on certain stuffs like souvenirs, alcohol from your lodge and during the safari daily transfer, what about stopping at one of the green restaurant for the taste of the local cuisine? There are other fields you might find interesting and perhaps will need to pull out some cash. Usually on each tour category we recommend bringing around $20-$50 USD a day for personal expenditures.

How much do i need to Tip a day and to who?
First I need to bring it out that there is no defined rule when it comes to tipping during your safari, the same ideology is applied to who is waiting for tips at the end of the day? When it comes to tipping while on tour, we take is to be a valuable form of passing appreciation to someone in front of your service. Then who can force someone to appreciate? Definitely no one but as a tourist there is need to respect the travel traditions like elsewhere while visiting Uganda, Rwanda and D.R.Congo. We travel to discover, to immerse, to feel, to interact and finally with Responsible tours and travel the world has been made better. So giving tips will harmonize your relationship with the service personnel beyond someone who has not given tips, I don’t say you won’t get the same services but your appreciation will matter to the other side. For example all our instinct safari guides get paid a fair salary to escort all tours in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo, while they are on safari, and tipping your guide is not mandatory but is a life support that changes a lot when it comes to his daily income and facilitating the needs of their families. If you feel that the service has been exceptional you are more than welcome to appreciate and give a tip, usually clients tip around $5-$10 USD per day. Tourists can either do this per day or sumup everything to tip them once you complete your trip. Hoteliers can be tipped as you checkout, another category are wildlife rangers and guides who will lead your Mountain Gorilla treks and these can be tiped at the end of your Gorilla encounter on the debriefing session. In every scenarios of your travelling, if you feel that the service has been exceptional, you are more than welcome to tip, but it is by no means mandatory.

We thank you once again for considering safaris in Africa this time, we will be more than happy to tailor down all the details of your lifetime trip to Uganda, Rwanda and D.D.R.Congo together. Feel free to reach to us as you look forward to crown up with all the necessary details for your long waited dream safari experience. Allow us hear about it, together we will design a professional itinerary only to be quite rewarding, exciting ,comfortable and professionally guided. Karibu!

Hot Air Balloon safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

The benefits of flying over Uganda’s medley of wonders: On your visit to Uganda's Queen Elizabeth national park,don't forget an itinerary including the time to be adventurous, wild ,free and responsible.This African safari dream comes true while enjoying the magnificent views of Uganda’s wild places with a hot air balloon ride operated by Balloon Tours Ltd, a newly cooperated and established Ugandan company since February 2014. The company is licensed to operate hot air balloon tours over Ugandan sky from Ugandan Civil Aviation as the designated authority for this activity. All other licenses (such as trading license, investment license, etc.) have been obtained. They boost to have launched the Ugandan first balloon flight in Queen Elizabeth was successfully on 16th November 2014.

 Tourists getting ready for morning silent float in the sky.

Tourists getting ready for morning silent float in the sky.

With a hot air balloon ride over Queen Elizabeth national park, tourists experience the wilderness of Uganda in a new safari style; you will find this highlight an only unique way to enjoy the wild beauty of Queen Elizabeth conservation area and her sorroundings.

Imagine waking up early to catch the sunrise, as you silently fly over the plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park. During the hot air balloon ride tourists admire the herds of buffaloes, elephants and enjoy the serene tranquility of the African bush…

 Bush Breakfast is served amidst anatural open world of wonders.

Bush Breakfast is served amidst anatural open world of wonders.

On every safari to Uganda, you now have the opportunity to add an exciting hot air balloon ride to your safari. While in QENP, tourists take off early at dawn for a flight that lasts for approximately 1 hour of rising as the sun rises while floating in whatever direction the winds of the morning takes you. Hot air balloon ride with fly high above the trees and hills to enjoy the best of Uganda, with many great photo opportunities of the scenery and wildlife below.

Details of your Whole day Hot Air Balloon tour Program:

Starting time is 05.30 am with hotel transfer to arrive at Kasenyi gate: Transfer of the passengers, balloon, pilot and ground crew to pick the right spot for takeoff. The locations are limited to designated sites where the disturbance to animals is kept to a minimum. After the necessary weather tests for wind direction and allocating the final take off place, guests are served tea, coffee and refreshments while the balloon is unloaded and assembled. Then cold inflation takes place followed by hot inflation. Guests will receive safety briefing before the flight.

06.15 am Takeoff: The flight will take place for approximately 1 hour. Flights can vary from 45 minutes up to 1.5 hours depending on the amount of fuel on bard, the passengers’ combined weight, the temperature of the air and when the pilot finds a suitable landing area. The balloon will fly at an altitude range anywhere from tree tops up to 2500 feet (760 metres) which allows guests unique panoramic views and great photographic opportunities of the scenery and wildlife below.

07.15 am Landing & Bush Breakfast: After landing as smooth as possible there will be a celebration with sparkling (non alcoholic) wine and a full English bush breakfast will be served. Every passenger will be honoured with a hot air balloon safari certificate as a souvenir of this adventure.

08.30 am Return to the lodge (with game drive en route).

Back on the ground after an incredible balloon flight

Hot Air Balloon tour Costs:

  • The price of the hot air balloon experience is USD $380 per person.
  • Children up to 12 years will receive 50% off the adults price.
  • Rates include the balloon flight, refreshments before and after the flight and a balloon certificate.

Frequently asked questions about Hot Air Balloon excursions (FAQ’s):

No minimum passengers are required. The maximum capacity of the current balloon is 16 pax. Any smaller number will be sharing with other passengers.

The minimum age is 6 years unless under parents responsibility.

Flights are offered daily all year round, unless the weather does not permit.

Hot air balloon passenger flights take place in winds less than 10 knots, with no rain or approaching storms in the immediate area. Flights also require a visibility of at least 4 km.

Should weather conditions dictate that the balloon safari may not depart; a full refund will be issued. Alternatively, if passengers have another morning to experience the balloon safari they may opt to try it again the next day (subject to availability).

The entire experience takes 3-4 hours. Passengers are expected to be back at their lodge around 09.00-10.00 am (depending on the length of the game drive).

What to bring for the balloon ride: guests can only take a small day backpack, camera etc. Main luggage must be left at the lodge. No special clothing is required for hot air ballooning.

The flight is not high enough for a change in temperature so plan to dress for the temperature of the day. Remember to bring your camera, binoculars, batteries and a protective bag.

For more information about balloon tours in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth national park and Muchison falls national park, you can read this article here or request for a tailored safari for your wild experience. The two parks are iconic safari gyms with varied array of wildlife for prolific game experience for your lifetime trip. Remember you can browse through our tour package, request afree quote or contact your safari admin for 24hrs advice. Welcome-Karibu!

 Balloon pilot's Selfie moments alondside Breakfast table with tourists.

Balloon pilot's Selfie moments alondside Breakfast table with tourists.

Understanding your Gorilla Trip inquiry.

Common Gorilla trekking worries and needed Advice. With decades of helping tourists to enjoy the best of their lifetime tours, time spent on the Greatest of the current Wildlife trails of the whole world cannot be taken for granted. People take longer to make gorilla trekking decisions, they save for years and after this getting the right information about this rare mountain gorilla trekking can be a challenge.

 An adult male Mountain Gorilla silverback climbing atree to grab marianthus fruits for breakfast inside bwindi south at Rushaga sector.

An adult male Mountain Gorilla silverback climbing atree to grab marianthus fruits for breakfast inside bwindi south at Rushaga sector.

The tourist agony is when people supply them with wrong information and this becomes the a challenge to plan and expect the best in the first case, but feel at ease niow while reading this article. With your reservation experience officer at Instinct safaris, we make sure every Trip Enquiry is attended to in details with timely and accurate information.

For every Mountain Gorilla trip to be comfortable, exciting and professionally conducted, we advise you to do enough research and always recommend advance booking for a period not shorter than six months. In here we hope these blog posts will Help You while Planning for your safari to the mountain gorilla experience; we hope you will get out of the common mountain gorilla Trip worry.

 Tourists are worried about the Price of Mountain Gorilla Trekking Safari: Our potential tourists always put it forward that “Gorilla Trekking is too expensive”. This tourist activity of Mountain Gorilla Trekking is mistakenly assumed to cost too much, now let us discuss this as Compared to what?  When tourists value Gorilla encounters in terms of commodities or like other trip activities, that becomes the main center of the problem.  Gorilla Trekking costs too much – Compared to what?  All sorts of tours can easily be compared in Africa but time spent on the Greatest wildlife trail of the Planet while encountering the Gorillas cannot be compared with any safari style anywhere in Africa and the whole world.

 Tourists need to understand that, Trekking these Gentle Giants is done inside their natural homes-forest and only in 3 Countries on the planet, when you visit them you conserve them. A mountain gorilla tour is a wildlife conservation strategy which has yielded tremendous fruits of a well-managed responsible Eco-tourism. The Gorilla conservation mission after highlighted by Dian Fossey, the wildlife conservation fraternity now boosts of an increment in Mountain Gorillas population. This is a three way conservation trend involving the Governments, local people and foreigners activism as awhole. Tourist visits are forms of daily wildlife patrols for monitoring and research, sometimes your treks are accompanied by teams of wildlife doctors ascertaining their daily health and researchers doing Gorilla census alongside ranger.

Tourists to the gorilla lands are also known not to leave their skills at home while travelling, one time a tourist identified a deformity on one of the newly born gorilla baby in Bwindi during the trek. Gorilla tours are major source of all the funding needed to pay salaries and allowances for rangers, what about habitat management.

The gorillas live in forested regions and the locals do get safe water projects and other better community health care facilities as this lowers the risk to transfer diseases from the local residents to gorillas. Tourists need to understand that it’s possible to pass on diseases due to sharing close bonds with gorillas trailing at 98 percent of DNA. While these Mountain gorilla homes were being conserved into safe and free wildlife habitats in 1990, it’s unfortunate that local people had to loose their land and to make the project sustainable for both people and the gorillas this must be catered for in terms of subsidies and the permit fees paid by every tourists bears a percentage which meets such needs in the communities affected in form of compensation.

As the conservation authorities looked forward to harmonise all the procedures needed for Mountain gorillas conservation while delivering the best service to tourists, the fees were levied which we call Gorilla permit fees. In Rwanda you can trek to the volcanoes for mountain gorilla encounters at 1500$ a permit, in Uganda the permits is 900$ less than in Rwanda and in Congo Gorilla trekking permit is sold at 400$.

All the three countries are all the year destinations and the choice remains yours. You cannot compare a Mountain Gorilla Trek to any other travel experience. Add to that, Mountain gorilla trekking is only doable in natural forests of Uganda, Rwanda or D.R.Congo and not in any zoo in the world since Mountain Gorillas cannot live in zoos around the world. They are adaptive to the Albertine Rift conditions to survive.

Mountain gorilla trekking is a cheap strategy to save an endemic and endangered species from extinction, not like other safari experiences. You cannot simply drive or walk to trek to the mountain gorillas, this is an act that starts with morning briefings about the dos and don’ts, then you are guided to follow a trail inside the tropical rain forests.

Every trails is utilized once and allowed to regrow, you’re allowed time from one hour tracking to awhole day experience to observe, photograph, learn, ask questions and you have time to enjoy all the biodiversity of the forests. What about the cool carbon free oxygen as you trek? Trekking to the Mountain gorillas cannot be complete without meeting the locals, the keepers of the forest who left them for you and me.

Gorilla tours are beyond safari styles but renowned conservation ideas. In case of more questions, feel free to request for more details here. There are trekking tours leaving every day in both destinations from Monday to Sunday and January to December. Karibu!