Frequently Asked Questions

We have tried to provide answers to our most Frequently Asked Questions below. If you cannot find the answer to your question, feel free to contact a member of our sales team.

Kyambura Gorge Lodge to Bwindi Lodge

This scenic drive passes through the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park and provides the chance to search for Ishasha’s famous tree-climbing lions, as well as elephants and many of the park’s 600+ bird species.

From Kyambura Gorge Lodge, take the Kasese road and continue to the Katunguru – Ishasha junction and Uganda Wildlife Authority Queen Elizabeth National Park headquarters.  Look out for the Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge signpost that marks the Ishasha road turning. Turn left onto the murram dirt road and drive 81 km through the park to Kihihi. The drive from the junction in Ishasha to Kihihi town is about 10 km.

From Kihihi, take the Kanungu road up to Kanyantorogo. Take the Butogota road for approximately 33 km then turn right. (Look out for the Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge signpost). Drive for 17 km to Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge in Buhoma.

The journey from Kyambura Gorge Lodge to Bwindi Lodge should take approximately five hours.

Bwindi Lodge to Mount Gahinga Lodge

From Bwindi take the Ruhija road and drive for 70 km to the Kabale – Kisoro tarmac road. Turn right onto Kisoro road and drive for about 55 km to Kisoro town.

From Kisoro town, take the Bunagana road and turn left opposite Kisoro police station (50 metres). Drive past Travellers Rest Hotel and take the next right at the Volcanoes Safaris’ signpost. Follow the Mgahinga – Kisoro road for approximately 14 km and turn at the signpost showing Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Mount Gahinga Lodge on the right of the road, a few hundred metres before the park entrance.

The drive from Bwindi Lodge to Mount Gahinga Lodge should take five to six hours. However, the drive may take up to seven hours during the rainy season.

Mount Gahinga Lodge to Virunga Lodge

From Mount Gahinga Lodge, drive to Kisoro town and proceed to the Uganda/Rwanda border (Cyanika border post about 22 km). From Cyanika take the Ruhengeri road – drive for about 12 km to Nyarwondo trading centre and turn left. From here, Volcanoes Virunga Lodge signposts will guide you to the lodge on top of the hill (approximately 5 km).

The drive from Mount Gahinga Lodge to Virunga Lodge should take about two hours. This includes the time it takes to clear immigration.

In case of emergency, please call + 256 772 741 718 for Uganda and +250 788 389 576 for Rwanda.

Kampala to Kyambura Gorge Lodge

Take the northern bypass (to avoid heavy traffic) and drive west towards the Busega roundabout. Here take the Masaka – Mbarara highway (for approximately 287 km). From Mbarara town, take the Bushenyi – Kasese road to Kyambura trading centre in Rubirizi district.

Look out for the Volcanoes Kyambura Gorge Lodge signpost at the trading centre. Turn right on the Katerera road. It is 1 km drive to Kyambura Gorge Lodge.

The drive from Mbarara to Volcanoes Kyambura Gorge Lodge is approximately 130 km. This journey should take 6 – 7 hours allowing for a lunch stop on the way.

Alternatively, daily scheduled flights operate from Entebbe Airport to Kasese Airstrip. The flight time is two hours.

Kampala to Bwindi Lodge

Take the Kampala – Masaka – Mbarara highway (approximately 280 km). Drive through the main street of Mbarara. After 3 km, take the right turning onto the Kasese road (Bushenyi and Rubirizi districts).

Continue to the Katunguru – Ishasha junction and Uganda Wildlife Authority Queen Elizabeth National Park headquarters (about 10 km).  Look out for the Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge signpost that marks the Ishasha road turning. Turn left onto the murram dirt road and drive 81 km through the National Park to Kihihi. The drive from the junction in Ishasha to Kihihi town is about 10 km.

From Kihihi, take the Kanungu road up to Kanyantorogo. Take the Butogota road for approximately 33 km. Turn right at the Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge signpost and drive for 17 km. Drive through Buhoma, past Bwindi Community Hospital. You will find Bwindi Lodge clearly signposted, on the left side of the road.

The drive from Kampala to Bwindi Lodge should take approximately ten hours.

Alternatively, daily scheduled flights operate from Entebbe Airport to Kihihi Airstrip. The flight time is one and a half hours.

Kampala to Mount Gahinga Lodge

Take the Kampala – Masaka – Mbarara highway (approx 280 km). Drive through the main street of Mbarara and follow the Mbarara – Ntungamo – Kabale road (158 km). From Kabale town, take the Kabale – Kisoro road (80 km). The Kisoro road has a number of bends, hills and valleys; drive with extra care.

From Kisoro town, take the Bunagana road and turn left opposite Kisoro police station (50 metres). Drive past Travellers Rest Hotel and take the next right at the Volcanoes Safaris’ signpost. Follow the Mgahinga – Kisoro road for approximately 14 km and turn at the signpost showing Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Mount Gahinga Lodge on the right of the road, a few hundred metres before the park entrance.

The drive from Kampala to Mount Gahinga Lodge should take approximately 8 – 9 hours.

Alternatively, daily scheduled flights operate from Entebbe Airport to Kisoro Airstrip. The flight time is one hour and five minutes.

Kigali to Virunga Lodge

Take the Kigali – Butare road. After 3 km, turn right onto the Kigali – Musanze (Ruhengeri) road.

Drive through Ruhengeri town and turn right onto the Ruhengeri – Cyanika road. Drive for approximately 17 km to Nyarwondo.

On the Ruhengeri – Cyanika road, look out for a Volcanoes Virunga Lodge signpost. Turn right here and take the murram dirt road. Volcanoes Virunga Lodge signposts will guide you to the lodge on top of the hill (approximately 5 km).

The drive from Kigali to Virunga Lodge should take approximately three hours.

Kigali to Mount Gahinga Lodge

Take the Kigali – Butare road. After 3 km, turn right onto the Kigali – Musanze (Ruhengeri) road.

Drive through Ruhengeri town and turn right onto the Ruhengeri – Cyanika road. Drive for approximately 28 km to the Cyanika border. After clearing with Uganda/Rwanda immigration, continue to Kisoro town (approximately 14km).

From Kisoro town, take the Bunagana road and turn left opposite Kisoro police station (50 metres). Drive past Travellers Rest Hotel and take the next right at the Volcanoes Safaris’ signpost. Follow the Mgahinga – Kisoro road for approximately 14 km and turn at the signpost showing Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Mount Gahinga Lodge on the right of the road, a few hundred metres before the park entrance.

The drive from Kigali to Mount Gahinga Lodge should take approximately four hours. This includes the time it takes to clear immigration.

Kigali to Bwindi Lodge

Take the Kigali – Katuna road (95 km) to the Rwanda/Uganda border post at Katuna border. After clearing immigration for both countries, continue to Kabale town (22 km).

From Kabale, take the Kabale – Kisoro road. After 30 km, turn right and take the Ruhija road (marked by a big signpost). Continue on the Ruhija road until you reach the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest where you will find a signpost to Buhoma. Turn left here.

Follow the Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge signs. Drive through Buhoma, past Bwindi Community Hospital. You will find Bwindi Lodge clearly signposted, on the left side of the road.

The drive from Kigali to Bwindi Lodge should take approximately seven hours.

Kigali to Kyambura Gorge Lodge

Take the Kigali – Katuna road (95 km) to the Rwanda/Uganda border post at Katuna border. After clearing immigration for both countries, continue to Kabale town (22 km).

From Kabale, turn right and take the Kabale – Ntungamo road (75 km).

As you approach Ntungamo town, turn left at the Fuelex fuel station and follow the Ntungamo – Rukungiri road. After 15 km, turn right at Kagamba junction. Drive to Ishaka town (35 km), then turn left and continue to Rubirizi town in Rubirizi district.

From Rubirizi town continue to Kyambura trading centre where you will see a Volcanoes Kyambura Gorge Lodge signpost. Turn right on the Katerera road. It is 1 km drive to Kyambura Gorge Lodge.

The drive from Kigali to Kyambura Gorge Lodge should take approximately six hours.

The Equatorial climate of Uganda and Rwanda is a major attraction with temperatures on the plains ranging between a very agreeable 21°C and 30°C. The climate does not change much, meaning both countries are ideal holiday destinations throughout the year.

In the mountainous areas it is colder than on the plains (especially at night) and the rainfall is greater. Temperatures in the mountainous areas can go down as low as 10°C in certain months.

The rainy seasons tend to be from March to April and October to November, but this varies and it can rain any time of year, especially in the gorilla park areas. Travel can be slower in the rainy season but the views are often better as the rain clears the air of dust.

Gorilla tracking can be muddier during the rainy season but with the right equipment and a helpful porter to guide you, gorilla tracking still remains open to visitors.

ur advice is to travel when it is most convenient for you. Visitors generally agree that the rain, which is usually just for short periods of time, is part of the great travel experience.

International telephone communication is very good from Kampala and Kigali but more difficult from some up-country areas. The mobile telephone network is good and rapidly expanding. Our safari guides have mobile phones which can be used for incoming calls.

Most European or American mobile phones with a roaming agreement work in Uganda and Rwanda. Local SIM cards can be purchased cheaply (upon presentation of your passport).

Internet facilities are widely available in Kampala and Kigali and in most major towns in Uganda and Rwanda although the quality and speed of the connection varies. Free Wi-Fi is available in all our lodges. However, the remote locations do affect connectivity.

Uganda is three hours ahead of GMT.

Rwanda is two hours ahead of GMT.

Uganda and Rwanda are generally secure countries but use your common sense and take the same basic safety and security precautions that you would in any other country.

Make use of safety deposit boxes in the lodges to keep your travel documents and other valuables secure. Do not carry excessive jewellery and money or leave them lying around.

Do not walk unescorted at night. Staff at our lodges are always available to escort you.

For digital photography, remember to pack extra batteries and memory cards. Volcanoes Safaris lodges have facilities to recharge batteries but packing a car charger can be useful if you are staying at other lodges (as not all lodges and camps have electricity).

If you are shooting film, bring as much film as you think you will need during your trip. You are unlikely to be able to buy it in Uganda or Rwanda.

Flash photography is not allowed in the vicinity of the mountain gorillas or the chimpanzees, so fast film is useful (400-1600 ASA). The mountain gorillas and chimpanzees are most usually found in the forests. Dark tree cover may obscure the light so bear this in mind when you’re setting up your camera.

Personal DVD recorders are allowed however professional filmmakers require permission to film in the National Parks and need to purchase filming permits in advance. You are welcome to contact our sales team for advice on organising filming permits.

Before photographing people, it is polite to ask their permission first. Photography is not allowed near soldiers or military buildings.

Most costs are covered in your safari.

For personal expenditure, cash is the best option. Very few outlets accept credit cards in Kampala and Kigali. Where they do, surcharges can be high. Outside the capitals, very few establishments accept credit cards.

ATM machines are only available in Kampala and Kigali.

For daily cash expenditure, we suggest US$30-50 per day. One US Dollar is about 3400 Ugandan Shillings and 800 Rwandese Francs (September 2016).

Please be aware that only post-2006 US Dollar bills are acceptable. Bills should be in excellent condition with no tears or stains.

You are advised to seek medical advice before travelling. Seek advice on any vaccinations that may be required.

Currently, all visitors to East Africa, including Uganda and Rwanda, are required to present a valid Yellow Fever Certificate on arrival as a condition of entry into the country. It is also required as part of the online visa application process for both countries.

In the UK, MASTA (The Medical Advisory Service for Travellers Abroad) can be consulted on +44 9068 224100 or online at http://www.masta-travel-health.com/

In the USA, CDC can be consulted on http://www.cdc.gov/

Bring a good supply of any personal medication required. Anti-malaria tablets and mosquito repellent are essential.

Drink bottled or boiled water only. Medical services, especially up-country, are basic. Check that your travel insurance includes medical and evacuation cover.

For the latest health and travel security information, please feel free to contact one of the sales team.

There are no set percentages for tips or gratuities. Local culture believes the level of tips should be at the discretion of the client and any token of appreciation is gladly received. These are our suggestions:

  • Restaurants – 3-5%
  • Lodge staff – US$ 3-5 per person per day
  • Guides / drivers – US$5 per day per person
  • Community walk guide / Batwa guide – US$ 5 per person
  • Kazinga Channel boat trip staff – US$5 per person
  • Gorilla tracking guides – US$ $5-10 per person per day for the main guide. A smaller amount for the rangers
  • Gorilla tracking porters – US$ 15 per person per day in Uganda and US$ 10 per person per day in Rwanda
  • Intore dancers at Virunga – $5 per person
  • Batwa dancers at Mount Gahinga – $5 per person
  • Lodge baggage porters – US$ 1-2 per person

Who can track the gorillas

Trackers must be fit and in good health. Tracking in thick forest at heights of up to 3,000 metres, traversing steep-sided mountains and ravines, can be arduous, especially if it is wet. To protect gorillas from disease, no children under 15 are allowed to go gorilla tracking. People who are ill on the day of the tracking may be denied. To minimize the possible transmission of human diseases, visitors are asked to maintain a distance of seven metres (about 22 feet) from the gorillas.

Gorilla tracking permits 

Only a limited number of permits are available in each gorilla park. It is therefore essential to book well in advance. Permits need to be paid for at the time of the initial safari booking so that they can be purchased immediately. A delay in payment can result in permits not being secured for the intended dates. A percentage of the gorilla permit fee goes to communities living around the gorilla parks.

Gorilla tracking permits are non-refundable, except for medical reasons, in which case a medical certificate must be provided. Gorilla viewing can occasionally be denied at short notice because of National Park or border closures, security changes or gorillas moving out of range. In such rare circumstances, refunds are at the discretion of the authority and are not within the company’s control. Obtaining a gorilla permit therefore is not a guarantee of seeing a gorilla.

Gorilla tracking rules

At the National Park headquarters, ranger guides explain the rules for tracking gorillas. These are designed for both you and the gorillas’ protection and must be followed.

One hour is allowed with the gorillas, at a distance of at least 7 metres. Flash photography is not permitted, so fast film is useful (400-1600 ASA). Personal DVD recorders are allowed. Professional film makers require permission to film in the National Parks and need to purchase filming permits. This can be arranged through the Volcanoes Safaris sales team.

The Mountain gorilla lives in four parks in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

In Uganda the gorillas can be trekked in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park.

In Rwanda the Gorillas can be tracked in the Parc National des Volcans (PNV) where the famous Primatologist Dian Fossey conducted her ground-breaking research.

Virunga National Park in the DRC also has a number of habituated gorilla families but Volcanoes Safaris does not currently take clients there.

UGANDA

Uganda has twelve habituated gorilla families with eight permits available daily for each family group.

Eleven of the twelve habituated gorilla families live in the thick tropical forest of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Bwindi’s steep hillsides make tracking more challenging than Mgahinga National Park in Uganda and PNV in Rwanda. Trekking the mountain gorillas in Bwindi can take 3-10 hours after leaving the Park headquarters.

Five of Bwindi’s Gorilla families (Mubare, Habinyanja, Oruzogo, Bitukura and Rushegura) are accessed from Buhoma in the north, for guests staying at Volcanoes Safaris’ Bwindi Lodge. An additional six families can be tracked from Southern Bwindi, which is accessed from Kisoro, for guests staying at Volcanoes Safaris’ Mount Gahinga Lodge. These gorilla families are Nkuringo, Nshongi, Kahunje, Busigye, Bikingi and Bweza.

The Mubare Family: 
12 members including 1 silverback.
Mubare is the oldest habituated gorilla group in Bwindi. The group is named after the Mubare Hills, where the family was first spotted and was habituated between 1991 and 1993. The family is led by silverback Kanyonyi.
15-30 minutes from Bwindi Lodge.

The Habinyanja Family: 17 members with 1 silverbacks.
Habinyanja means ‘body of water.’ This family was habituated in 1997. It was a massive family group that split into two families, the other being the Rushegura family.
1 hour drive from Bwindi Lodge.

The Oruzogo Family: 17 members including 3 silverbacks.
The group was named after the local name of a common plant in this gorilla family’s home range.
2 hour drive from Bwindi Lodge.

The Bitukura Family: 13 members including 4 silverbacks
The family is one of the newer groups in the Impenetrable Forest and was named after the Bitukura river. Their habituation started in 2007 and tracking began in 2008.
2 hour drive from Bwindi Lodge.

The Rushegura Family: 16 members with 1 silverback
The family was habituated in 2000. It is named after the place where this group separated from the larger family of Habinyanja. Their name is taken from a tree species that grows in their home area, ‘Ebishegura’. They are a calm group and often visit the Bwindi Lodge gardens.
15 minutes or less from Bwindi Lodge (It is the nearest group to the lodge).

The Nkuringo Family: 12 members with 2 silverbacks
The family was named after the Nkuringo Hill where the group was first spotted. They were originally habituated in 2004 because of difficulties caused by their destroying crops of local farmers. Now farmers benefit from the tourism they provide.
2 hours from Mount Gahinga Lodge.

The Nshongi Family: 7 members with 1 silverback.
The group was named after the river close to where this gorilla family was first sighted. Nshongi was the largest group to be habituated and were first tracked in 2009.
2 hour drive from Mount Gahinga Lodge.

The Kahungye Family: 18 members including 4 silverbacks.
The group was named after the Kahungye Hill. Visitors have been tracking this family since 2011.
2 hours from Mount Gahinga Lodge.

The Busigye Family: 9 members including 1 silverback.

2 hour drive from Mount Gahinga Lodge.

The Bikingi Family: 15 members including 1 silverback.

2 hour drive from Mount Gahinga Lodge.

The Bweza Family: 12 members including 2 silverbacks.

2 hour drive from Mount Gahinga Lodge.

 

UGANDA

Uganda’s Mgahinga National Park is home to one habituated gorilla family.

Tracking in Mgahinga (and Rwanda) is usually easier than Bwindi as the afromontane forest is lighter and easier to navigate.

The Nyakagezi Family: 10 members, including 5 silverbacks.
Although this group gained a reputation for being nomadic (crossing the borders of Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC) they have been resident in Uganda for nearly three years. They are the oldest habituated mountain gorilla group in Uganda.
5 minutes from Mount Gahinga Lodge (the group tends to move frequently and distance to the group itself varies).

RWANDA

Parc National des Volcans (PNV) in Rwanda has ten habituated gorilla families with 8 permits available daily for each group. These include Susa, Karisimbi, Sabyinyo, Amahoro, Umubano, Kwitonda, Hirwa, Agashya, Bwenge and Ugyenda. Most groups are half-day walks but Susa can take around 7 hours. Tracking in PNV is usually easier than tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda as the afromontane forest is lighter.

The Susa group: 28 members including 3 silverbacks.
Susa was the largest gorilla group before it split into two and was named after the Susa river. It was the group originally studied by Dian Fossey and is popular because of a pair of twins, Byishimo and Impano.
40 minutes from Virunga Lodge.

The Karisimbi group: 15 members including 3 silverbacks.
This is the family that split from the original Susa family. It has 15 members and it always stays in the lower slopes of Karisimbi Volcano.
40 minutes from Virunga Lodge.

The Sabyinyo group: 12 members including 2 silverbacks.
The group was named after the rugged Sabyinyo Volcano. Sabyinyo means ‘old man’s teeth’ and the group is known to stay between the mountains Sabyinyo and Gahinga, enjoying the gentle slopes and easy terrain.
40 minutes from Virunga Lodge.

The Amahoro group: 17 members including 1 silverback.
Amahoro means ‘peaceful’ and the group is usually extraordinarily gentle and peaceful, which is why they were given the name. It is a tougher climb to reach them, though.
40 minutes from Virunga Lodge.

The Umubano group: 11 members including 1 silverback.
Umubano means ‘live together’ as the group originally formed when it split from the Amahoro group. They still share much of the same territory and there is a peaceful relationship between them.
40 minutes from Virunga Lodge.

The Kwitonda group: 18 members including 2 silverbacks.
Kwitonda means ‘humble one’, a name given to the group after the name of their dominant silverback. They generally stay on the lower slopes of Mount Muhavura but are one of the more difficult tracking experiences.
40 minutes from Virunga Lodge.

The Hirwa group: 12 members including 1 silverback.
Hirwa means ‘lucky one’. Hirwa is a new group that was formed when splinters from Sabyinyo group and Group 13 merged. They have twins and are usually on Mount Sabyinyo.
40 minutes from Virunga Lodge.

The Agasha group: 25 members including 2 silverbacks.
Agasha means ‘the news’. The Agasha group was previously known as Group 13 but was renamed when Agasha challenged the dominant silverback by leading the group away from him and assimilating other individuals from groups or solitary wandering.
40 minutes from Virunga Lodge.

The Bwenge group: 10 members including 1 silverback.
Bwenge means ‘brightness’ and shares much of their territory with the Ugyenda group on Mount Visoke.
40 minutes from Virunga Lodge.

The Ugyenda group: 11 members including 1 silverback.
Ugyenda means ‘departure’. The group usually stays around the Mount Visoke region and the tracking is not too difficult.
40 minutes from Virunga Lodge.

Volcanoes Safaris does not organize or sell international flights.

Flights to Uganda are available from Emirates, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Brussels Airlines, KLM, Egyptair, Ethiopian Airlines, African Express, South Africa Airways and Kenya Airways.

Flights within Uganda are offered by Aerolink which operates twice daily flights between Murchison Falls, Kibale Forest, Queen Elizabeth, Bwindi and Kidepo. Fly Uganda also offers scheduled flights to Murchison Falls, Kibale Forest, Queen Elizabeth, Bwindi and Kidepo.

Flights to Rwanda are available from KLM, Kenya Airways, Brussels Airlines, Qatar Aiways, Turkish Airlines, South Africa Airways and Ethiopian Airlines.

Helicopter transfers within Rwanda can be arranged daily to Volcanoes Virunga Lodge and other destinations.

Flights within East Africa are operated by Kenya Airways, Precision, Coastal Aviation, Air Uganda and Rwandair, making the connection between Uganda, Rwanda and the savannah plains of Kenya and Tanzania easier than ever before!

Please note that Volcanoes does not handle international flights. The airlines operating to the region are subject to change so please check with the airline concerned. Please also be sure that the timings of your flights connect with the beginning and end times of your safari.

We recommend the following clothing and equipment for mountain climbing:

Clothing

  • Mountain gloves or mittens, or overmitts for climbing; light pair of gloves for camp
  • Hats for sun/rain; warm hat for high altitude climbing
  • Mountain jacket and raingear
  • Fleece jacket and sweater; ‘moisture-wicking ‘ T-shirts and long-sleeve trekking shirts
  • Hiking or climbing trousers; shorts
  • Lightweight long underwear

Footwear

  • Camp shoes or sandals
  • Walking shoes (runners)
  • Gaiters (a set for low and high altitudes)
  • Mountain boots that can fit crampons

Equipment

  • Climbing rope and climbing harness
  • Crampons and ice axe
  • Carabiners; slings
  • Day pack/climbing pack
  • Tent, sleeping bag and sleeping mat. Waterproof sacks, such as large canoe bags (Ortleib) for packing tent, climbing gear, sleeping bag and clothes

Medical

  • Malaria prophylaxis
  • Diamox (helps acclimatisation and reduces risk of edema)
  • Non-prescription painkillers (like panadol). Avoid aspirin
  • Sleeping pills (for those who find it hard to sleep at altitude)
  • First aid kit
  • Your personal medication
  • Sun screen (about SPF 45 or 60); dark sunglasses

We recommend the following clothing and equipment for tracking the gorillas:

  • Warm ‘moisture-wicking’ clothes, including a fleece or light wool sweater, lightweight wool socks and long-sleeved shirt
  • Strong waterproof walking boots (comfortable for going up and down steep hills)
  • Sturdy walking trousers
  • A breathable lightweight rain poncho or ‘parka’ with a rain hat
  • Gloves to grip vegetation (inexpensive gardening gloves work well)
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and sun hat
  • Torch
  • A good supply of rechargeable camera batteries and/or fast film
  • Binoculars
  • A small backpack to carry water and a packed lunch
  • Walking stick
  • Tips or gratuities for the guides and porters

It is best to wear layers of clothing as temperatures fluctuate. Early mornings on the mountains can be cold, although as the sun rises in the sky, and you climb, you will start to feel the heat. It rains often, generally in the afternoons.

The ranger guides will make you a walking stick, if needed, or you can borrow one from your lodge. You will find the walking sticks come in very useful when climbing up and down slippery slopes.

  • Uganda: 240 volts. 3-pin (square) sockets.
  • Rwanda: 230/240 volts at 50 Hz. 2-pin (round) sockets.

All our power is solar and there are facilities for recharging phones and other gadgets in the main living area of each lodge. We provide adaptors at all our lodges.

If you are travelling to other lodges on your trip to Rwanda and Uganda, you may want to bring your own adaptor . Most camps and lodges can make arrangements for recharging batteries , even if they do not have power.

Ugandans and Rwandans appreciate modest dressing.

Uganda and Rwanda are warm – sometimes hot – on the plains but often cold in the hilly and mountainous areas. Layered clothing, a rain jacket, heavy sweater and boots are essential for higher altitude stays at Bwindi Lodge, Gahinga Lodge and Virunga Lodge.

Have a look at our other FAQs on this page for equipment for hiking and our equipment list for Gorilla tracking.

A valid passport with minimum six months of validity is mandatory. Single entry tourist visas are available without difficulty. Multiple-entry tourist visas are difficult to obtain. You will need a valid Yellow Fever Certificate to enter Uganda and Rwanda. If you require a visa, you will need to show your Yellow Fever certificate during the visa application process.

Rwanda tourist visas

The latest advice from the Rwanda immigration service is the following:

  • Nationals of USA, UK, Australia, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden require a tourist visa and pay a visa fee of $30 upon arrival at any Rwanda entry point without prior application. The visa is valid for a period of 30 days.
  • Rwanda tourist visas are NOT required by nationals of the East Africa community and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Hong Kong, Philippines, Mauritius and Singapore.
  • Foreign nationals of all other countries should submit their visa applications to Rwandan Diplomatic Missions of their country of residence.
  • Where there is no Diplomatic Mission or consulate, visitors should use the online visa application process. Successful applicants will be sent an Entry Facility Form that should be presented on arrival in Rwanda. The single entry visa is issued upon payment of the $30 visa fee.
  • Please visit the Rwanda immigration web site  for more information on different visa types.

For more information about Rwanda tourist visas, contact:

  • In the UK, the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda is located at 120 – 122 Seymour Place, London W1H 1NR. Telephone: +44 (0)20 722 49 832.
  • In the USA, the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda is located at 1724 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington DE 200091. Telephone: +1 202 232 2882.
  • List of Rwandan diplomatic missions around the world.

Uganda tourist visas

The latest advice from the Uganda immigration service is the following:

  • Nationals of USA, the European Union and Japan require a tourist visa and should apply in advance of travel to Uganda. The visa fee of $50 is payable upon arrival at any Uganda entry point.
  • Uganda tourist visas are NOT required by nationals of Ireland, the East Africa community, COMESA. Other nationals should check.
  • Applications for all Ugandan visas should be made online on the Uganda immigration website.
  • A single entry visa to Uganda costs US$ 50, and is valid for between two weeks and three months.

For more information about Uganda tourist visas, contact:

  • In the UK, the Ugandan Embassy is located at Uganda House, 58/59 Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DX. Telephone: +44 (0)20 7839 5783.
  • In the USA, the Uganda Embassy is located at 5811 16th Street NW, Washington DC 20011. Telephone: +1 202 726 7100.
  • Please visit the Uganda immigration web site for more information on different visa types.
  • List of Ugandan diplomatic missions around the world.

Please note that immigration rules and visa costs are subject to change at late notice. For any information on visas to Rwanda and Uganda, you are welcome to contact the Volcanoes Safaris team.