Our Travel Guide throughout East Africa

September 6, 2016
Travel Guide

Uganda Visa: When visiting Uganda, a single‐entry visa is required for most nationalities costing $50 and valid for 3 months. Information can be obtained here.

Embassy of the Republic of Uganda 5911 16th Street, N.W. Washington D.C., 20011, Tel: +202‐726‐7100.

In addition to arranging visas through a Ugandan Embassy/Mission. Single‐entry visas for Uganda can be obtained on arrival at Entebbe airport and land borders for the sum of $50 payable in U.S. currency. The currency must be in good condition and dated from the year 2009 or newer. $1 bills are not accepted; therefore clients should be prepared with $50 or $20 and $10 denominations. Obtaining a visa at the airport or land entry point is a simple procedure too.

 

Tanzania Visa: This Visa is issued for a single entry to a visitor for a period not exceeding three months for the purpose of holidays, business, health treatment, studies, leisure, or any other activity legally recognized by the Laws of the Republic of Tanzania.

Fee rates for Ordinary visas are the US $50, except for the following Nationals with their specific visa rates in brackets; Pakistan (the US $200), USA-(the US $100), Ireland (the US $100 ), Transit visa is the US $30, while standard Multiple visas are the US $100. The currency must be in good condition and dated from the year 2009 or newer. $1 bills are not accepted; therefore, clients should be prepared with $50 or $20 and $10 denominations.

Basic requirements for a visa:
Two applicant’s passport size photographs: – A letter of request (Note Verbale) from the mission he or she belongs to; and Hotel confirmation One visa application form (duly filled and signed by the applicant), Photocopy of the bio-data page of the passport.

  • Entry Requirements
    Foreigners seeking to enter the United Republic of Tanzania should be in possession of a valid passport or any other authorized travel document valid for not less than six months, a document other than the National passport issued by a state or an International Organization and recognized by the government of the United Republic of Tanzania as a travel document.
  • A Residence Permit or a Pass or his name is endorsed upon the same;
  • A valid Visa (where applicable) from any Tanzania Mission abroad or on arrival at any designated entry points. Visa issuing centres.
  • Who requires a visa
    All foreigners seeking to enter the United Republic of Tanzania are required to have a valid visa unless their countries have a visa abolition agreement with Tanzania.
  • Entry authorization. Upon complying with the entry requirements, a visitor is issued with a Visitor’s Pass with validity not exceeding three months (and not exceeding six months for citizens of EAC Member States).

 

Rwanda Visa: A visa for Rwanda is required for all nationals of the following countries (USA, Germany, South Africa, Great Britain, Sweden, Australia, Israel, and New Zealand) and is available upon arrival at any Rwanda entry point without prior applications. The entry visa fee is $30, valid for a period of up to 30 days. Nationals of the mentioned countries may also choose to get a visa at Rwandan Missions (except UN Mission in New York) or online.

Nationals of Singapore, Hong Kong, Mauritius, and the Philippines are exempted from entry/tourism visas for a stay of up to 90 days.

Nationals of countries not mentioned above shall get visas upon application online before traveling and pay a prescribed fee of $30 for a single-entry visa on arrival. All travelers needing to obtain a visa before arrival in Rwanda must obtain an invitation/facilitation letter from the Rwandan Government before leaving their home country. The application for the letter can be found and completed online on the Rwanda immigration website

 

Kenya Visa: A visa is required for all nationals visiting Kenya with the exception of the guests from the following countries which are Exempted: Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Burundi, Cyprus, Darussalam, Dominica, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Jamaica, Fiji, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia(For less than 30 days stay), Mauritius, Namibia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa(For less than 30 days stay), Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

There are two kinds of Kenya eVisa fee that you have to pay for to get your eVisa to Kenya, including eVisa service fee and Kenya Government fee and a single-entry visa per person costs US$ 59 (normal visa within 3 working days), urgent $79 (within 24 hours) and super urgent US$ 99-withing five hours). Kindly visit by clicking here; Kenya authority’s website for any other specifics:

Attention: Travelers visiting Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya: A multiple‐entry visa for East Africa is $150 and is valid for 6-12 months, allows travel between Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya with the same multiple entry visa. The holder of the East Africa Tourist Visa shall enter the region from the country that issued the visa and move within the two other countries without applying for another visa or paying another visa fee.   This visa can now be obtained on arrival in both Kenya and Uganda. If Rwanda is the first point of entry, then the application for this visa shall be lodged at any of the diplomatic representation of the Republic of Rwanda, at the Immigration Offices, or online where applicable and must be obtained prior to travel.

Note. A Yellow Fever Inoculation Certificate is required for entry to Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya. This certificate is obtained from the entity or agency performing the inoculations.

Health alerts to note

Check the routine vaccines and medicines list (if any) and visit your tropical diseases doctor before your trip to get vaccines/medicines and any other consultations that may be necessary during the period you intend to be away.

Routine vaccines

Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip especially if you also intend to travel with young children. These vaccines include the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot, check on the Centre for Disease Control (CDC).

Yellow fever vaccine

Entry into Uganda and Kenya (unlike Rwanda) requires the presentation of a yellow Fever card that is issued upon receiving the injection. If you are from the United States (USA) and have not received the injection yet, it is currently limited and if you need to be vaccinated before your trip, you may need to travel some distance and schedule your appointment well in advance. Please kindly visit their website for more attention. Stamaril-clinics. This service is equally available at Entebbe and Nairobi Airports at a charge of US $ 40.

Most travel vaccines

Get travel vaccines and medicines because there is a risk of tropical diseases like malaria in the countries that you will be visiting. Please do visit the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) website: centers for disease control for updates about any other new emergencies that you should be aware before your travel date.

General Covid-19 policy statement.

Snowea Wildlife Safaris-Africa continues to monitor the global Covid-19 (pandemic) situation and exceptional circumstances that are constantly evolving. While these are challenging times, we are committed to making responsible decisions for the future of tourism and holiday travel in East Africa. With every effort, we strive to continue operating responsibly by ensuring our top priority is putting the health and safety of our guests/clients and staff first with no compromise and thank you for your continued support and cooperation as we manage to live with this pandemic.

Please kindly give attention and make use of the links below by visiting them in addition to the brief highlights that give an update about the Covid-19 procedures that must be complied with as far as traveling to East Africa is concerned.

Covid-19 procedures in-Uganda

  • Visitors fully vaccinated against Covid-19 at the time of arrival in Entebbe-Uganda will be exempted from the Covid-19 PCR test provided that they do not have any signs of Covid-19 at the time on Entebbe Airport.
  • If the visitor is not from a country recently flagged by the Ministry of Health of Uganda as having high numbers of Covid-19 cases, the visitor will be subjected to a PCR test at an extra cost of USD 135.2 (for express results) or USD 65 (for 12 hours waiting time results) at a specialized medical clinic at the airport: Test and Fly.
  • If found positive for Covid-19 or requested to undertake a self-isolation for 7 days or 14 days, this will be in line with the government’s stipulated self-isolation procedures in the specified residences or any other reserved residences that we shall consider as safe for our guest’s convenient stay in Uganda.

Covid-19 procedures in-Tanzania

  • Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter? Yes. Travelers are required to complete an online Health Surveillance Form  within 24 hours prior to arrival. Travelers will then receive a Unique Health Code (UHC), which they will present to health officials upon arrival.
  • Is a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) required for entry? Yes. All travelers are required to present a negative COVID-19 test certificate upon arrival. The test must be a Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test, with the sample collected within 72 hours before arrival in Tanzania.
  • The Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children “Travel Advisory No. 7 of 4th May 2021” has details on these requirements.
  • The health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry? Yes. All travelers entering Tanzania will be subject to enhanced screening for COVID-19, including through a rapid test. The rapid test cost is $25 per traveler. Contact the local immigration office for visa extensions for instances where the Covid-19 results have not been received in a timely manner.

Covid-19 procedures in Rwanda

  • Travelers who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and have a negative PCR COVID-19 test certificate for a test conducted within 72 hours prior to arrival to Rwanda and no signs of Covid-19, shall be approved to proceed with their travel plans within Rwanda.
  • Non-vaccinated travelers or those coming from countries recently flagged by the Ministry of Health of Rwanda as having high numbers of Covid-19 cases, the visitor will be requested to undertake a covid-19 test at an extra cost of USD 60 (Covid-19 test) and USD 10 for specific logistics and will be required to wait 24 hours for the results of their COVID-19 test taken upon arrival in a designated transit hotel. To register for a Covid-19 test before arrival, please kindly follow the link: Covid-19 test
  • Upon arrival and completing the Covid-19 test, the traveler can monitor the status of his or her results through the regulator website link: monitor Covid-19 results.

Effective June 15, 2021, all passengers arriving from or have traveled to India and Uganda in the last 7 days are required to complete 7 days in mandatory quarantine upon arrival at the designated hotels (Ubumwe Grande Hotel, Landmark Suites, Corina K. Guesthouse, and Colours.

Covid-19 procedures in Kenya

  • Travelers who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and are coming from the exempted countries shall be allowed to proceed with their travel plan in Kenya provided they don’t have any signs of Covid-19 at the time of arrival at the airport. Check for the exempted countries on the link here and any other details: Covid-19 tests.
  • Depending on which other countries the travelers are coming from, the hall has a negative PCR-based Covid-19 certificate carried out within 96 hours prior to the departure date. Arriving passengers will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine except if they are coming from the exempted countries. Please check on the link here to confirm your eligibility in this regard.
  • The mandatory Ministry of Health Travellers Health Surveillance online Form must be filled out and submitted prior to travel. The online form should be accessed from the Ministry of Health website: Surveillance online form.
  • After submitting the travel surveillance form, Passengers are advised to download the QR code. Passengers will be required to display the received QR codes to port health officials on arrival for them to be allowed to proceed to arrival immigration.
  • Locator forms are to be completed and left with your tour operator for purposes of any potential traceability.

  • Uganda: When leaving Entebbe Airport in Uganda, travellers must pay a departure tax of $40. In most cases, this fee has been included in the price of the airline ticket. If not, it is payable in U.S. currency.
  • Tanzania: When leaving Kilimanjaro International Airport or Julius Nyerere International Airport, there is no payment of a departure tax as this has already been included in the air-tick charges
  • Kenya: When leaving Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, there is no payment of a departure tax as this has already been included in the air-tick charges.
  • Rwanda: When leaving Kigali Airport in Rwanda, clients must pay a departure tax of $20. In most cases, this fee has been included in the price of the airline ticket. If not, it is payable in U.S. currency.

  • In Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, and Rwanda, credit cards can only be used in a small number of shops/shopping malls in the cities of Kampala, Kigali, Nairobi, and in a few hotels/camps lodges, though credit card use is continually expanding. Charges may be as high as 5% and are automatically added to your bill. They cannot be used for cash advances, and the only credit card readily accepted is VISA. Mastercard and American Express are not readily and widely accepted.
  • In Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, and Kenya, ATM machines are only available in large cities. Machines accepting VISA are at Entebbe Airport, Kampala, Mbarara (Uganda), Arusha, Dar el Salaam, Dodoma (Tanzania), Nairobi, Kisumu, Nakuru (Kenya), Kigali  Airport (Rwanda), but are sometimes out of service and only pay out Uganda Shillings.
  • There are very few places in Rwanda outside of Kigali at which a credit card can be used, thus visitors to Rwanda are encouraged not to depend on credit cards for making purchases.
  • It is not recommended to bring traveler’s checks with you to Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, and Rwanda. They can sometimes be changed for local currency at the airports in both Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, and Rwanda, but this is not guaranteed. For cashing traveler’s Checks, the receipt from their original purchase may be required.
  • Once on safari, only cash can be used for currency conversion. Larger U.S. bills earn a better rate of exchange ($50 and $100 bills).
  • Uganda Shillings, Tanzania Shillings, Kenya Shillings, and Rwanda Francs can be changed back to U.S. Dollars at the airport upon departure. Most currency exchange services will not change coins ‐ paper currency only.
  • U.S. Dollars must be dated 2009 or newer and must be in good condition, not torn or defaced.

In addition to the normal clothing for an East African safari, we recommend:

  • Strong walking boots with ankle support
  • Socks long enough for trousers to be tucked into
  • Light shoes
  • Cotton or Gortex trousers
  • Shorts
  • Long‐sleeved shirts for trekking
  • Sweater or sweatshirt
  • Light gloves for protection against thorns and nettles
  • Light jacket or fleece
  • Waterproof clothing (no bright colours, which disturb the animals)
  • Hat for sun and/or rain
  • Daypack
  • Plastic bags for cameras, film, and spare clothing
  • Be prepared for cool or warm, dry or wet weather when trekking gorillas.
  • Muted colours are necessary for gorilla trekking, no bright colours.

Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, and Rwanda have pleasant climates year-round with minor temperature variations. The altitude on a typical East African safari varies but days are pleasant, 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and nights are moderate, 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

At higher altitudes, it can be cooler, for example around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, the green season is usually from April to May and again from late October to November.

Please visit these sites for any specific updates about the climate in East Africa:

  • Soft‐sided luggage is required
  • Travelling light is always best. One medium or large duffel bag and one small backpack should be adequate.
  • All venues during the trip are casual and laundry services are available at all accommodations.

  • Travel Insurance (often called trip insurance) is strongly recommended and is available from most travel agencies in the United States and Europe.
  • Snowea Wildlife Safaris-Africa through an independent arrangement upon request offers Flying Doctors Service to clients for an additional fee of $30 per person for two weeks or $50 per person for one month, covering the whole of East Africa.
  • We highly recommend all our travel guests to consider taking on board travel insurance while they prepare to visit East Africa.

To have more insights about East Africa before your travel date, we recommend reading the following books (if possible); 

Uganda

  1. Uganda, The Bradt Travel Guide, 8th Edition (Philip Briggs)
  2. Spectrum Guide to Uganda, 2nd Edition (Camerapix)
  3. The Safari Companion A Guide to Watching African Mammals (Richard Estes)
  4. The Year of the Gorilla (George Schaller)
  5. Gorillas in the Mist (Dian Fossey)
  6. The Last King of Scotland (Chris and Tilde Stuart)

Tanzania

  1. Lonely Planet Tanzania 7 (Mary Fitzpatrick, Ray Bartlett, David Else, Anthony Ham),
  2. Tanzania Safari Guide (With Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar and the Coast (Kindle Edition)

Rwanda

  1. Rwanda, 4th (Philip Briggs, Janice Booth)
  2. Fodor’s the Complete Guide to African Safaris (Fodor’s travel guides)

Kenya

  1. DK Eyewitness Travel Guide (Philip Briggs)
  2. Lonely Planet (Anthony Ham, Shawn Duthie, Anna Kaminski)

For your attention:

  • Uganda is 3 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
  • Tanzania and Kenya time zones are 3 hours ahead of the Greenwich Mean Time.
  • Rwanda is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
    Electrical Current in East Africa is 240 volts. Therefore relevant adapters are required. In Uganda, plugs are square with three prongs. In Rwanda, plugs are round with two prongs. In lodges where there is no electricity in the guest rooms, cameras and video equipment can be charged in the manager’s office upon request.

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