East Africa Essential Travel Information

How do you get to and around East Africa?

East Africa can be accessed through Air, Road and Water though the later is less reliable.

Uganda – Entebbe International Airport
Rwanda – Kigali International Airport
Kenya – Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
Tanzania – Kilimanjaro International Airport, Julius Nyerere International Airport and Zanzibar International Airport Regional flights operated at Kigoma Airport, Mtwara Airport, Mwanza Airport, Songwe Airport.
Overland – There are cross Border Buses link East Africa Countries.

Major airlines include:  Air Kenya, Air Tanzania, Air Uganda, Coastal Aviation, Fastjet, Kenya Airways, Precision Airways, ZanAir

Flights: A number of international airlines fly directly within East Africa among them British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Egypt Air, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad, Kenya Airways, Qatar, KLM, South African Airlines and Turkish Airlines. Most major towns have an airstrip as do most National Parks and Game Reserves. There are regular scheduled flights between most airstrips, and there are reputable charter operations as well.

Looking for cheap flight tickets to/out of East Africa? Contact or travel consultants right away.

What are the visa requirements for East African Countries?

Visa Uganda:

Uganda Single entry visas costs US $50 per person. All nationals can process Uganda Travel Visas electronically through the Uganda E-immigration System or purchase the travel visa directly upon arrival and paid for in cash.

Visa Rwanda:

Rwanda single entry visa costs US $30 per person. Visas have to be applied for online via the Rwanda Immigration website. You will need a copy of the approved application at the entry point where the visa will then be issued and paid for. The citizens from the following countries are required to pay visa fees but are allowed to obtain their visa upon arrival without prior online application: Australia, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, UK and USA.

Visa Kenya:

Kenya single entry visa costs US $50 per person. All visitors to Kenya will be required to apply and pay for the visa online. Please remember that the visa process may take one full week. Kenya Embassy .

Visa Tanzania:

Tanzania single entry visa costs US $50 per person and is applied for via Tanzania Consulate

East African Tourist Visa:

If you are planning to travel to East Africa and and travel to the East Africa countries (Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania) it is recommendable to request for the East African Tourist Visa. This special East Africa tourist visa costs US $100 per person and allows 90 days multiple entry to Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania.

How to obtain the East African Tourist Visa:

Applications for the East Africa Tourist visa is at any of the diplomatic representation of the Republic of Kenya, Republic of Rwanda and Republic of Uganda and Republic of Tanzania at the Immigration Offices of the respective countries or online where applicable.

  • Uganda and Kenya: upon arrival at the airport and can be paid directly in cash and find information on the visa application process on the consular section of your local Kenya embassy’s website.
  • Rwanda: online via the Rwanda Immigration website. Similar to the application for the single entry visa but make sure to select the East African Tourist Visa.
  • Tanzania has recently joined though information on how to apply for this visa is yet to be confirmed.

What health issues should I be aware of?

We do value health of our customers and highly recommend the Yellow Fever Vaccinations that are compulsory to ease your visit. If you are travelling during the rainy season, we do recommend taking precaution with anti- malaria tablets. Prescription drugs can be bought affordably and with ease over the counter in Kampala. Personal travel and emergency evacuation insurance is strongly advised.

Kenya Rwanda Uganda Important Travel Information - East Africa Essential Travel Information

When to travel to East Africa?

Dry Season – July to October and it’s easier to find / spot game due to less vegetation cover and around water holes and water bodies in the national parks.

October and November have short rains that rarely disrupt safari plans

Wet Season March to May – Longer rain patterns and wildlife might be sparse and game tracks impassable

Travel Seasons

High Season – June – August – Game spotting is easier, Less Vegetation Cover, Animals around water sources

Green Season – September- February – Short rains in October and November, Greener Landscapes

Low season – March – May – Heavy rains that may disrupt safari plans, fewer travelers and low season discounts offered on travel packages.

What to wear?

There is no particular dress code in East Africa and most people are Casual dressers. It tends to get hot, cold and rainy depending on the seasons. It is recommended that a variety of light clothing: shorts, light long pants, t-shirts, flip flops, hat, rain jacket, as well as study shoes (essential for tracking). Long sleeved-shirts and a sweatshirt or fleece are needed for evenings. Accommodation facilities don’t have dress codes and they do follow a casual theme.

Money and currency

The Local Currencies are recommended to use while on safari and it is best to bring Dollars or Euros to be exchanged. There are numerous forex bureaux and banks in the capital and the main towns. Credit cards are accepted in major hotels and restaurants though VISA is most widely accepted, with MasterCard occasionally accepted. AMEX and others are not recommended as establishments usually don’t support them. Note that a surcharge of 5% is attached to their usage.

US$ Dollar bills smaller in denominations than US$100 may attract a less favorable rate of exchange and notes older than 2006 are not accepted by hotels, banks etc. ATMs are located in the major towns /centers and they do take VISA or MASTER cards or both. Take note that some ATMs have a limited amount of money to be withdrawn.

  • Ugandan Shillings (Ush)
  • Tanzania Shillings (Tsh)
  • Rwanda Franc (RFr)
  • Kenyan Shillings (Ksh)

Exchanging Money

Forex Bureaus are located in major towns and have regular banking hours Monday to Friday at 08:30hrs to 16:00hrs. Saturdays open 09:00hrs to 12:00hrs. Travellers Cheques may be changed in major towns/cities however they do attract a low rates and it’s recommended to forego this option. Note: A purchase receipt is often asked by the bank and forex bureaus and once cheques are lost, you can’t get replacements.

Tell me about accommodation and meals

Within East Africa, accommodations ranges are budget, midrange, and luxury/top end facilities. These consist of Guest Houses, Motels, Dormitories, Camping grounds, Hostels, Hotels, Lodges, Luxury Tented Camps, Fly in Camps, Cottages /Cabins. During your itinerary designing, we always advise accordingly with descriptions of the facilities and do aim for comfort, cleanliness, safety, and a good location.

Rooming and Single Room Supplements (SRS)

Within the national parks, most of rooms are twin bedded rooms despite the fact that the rooms may be booked as single rooms as well. There is supplement to book a single room. If you are travelling as a family, most facilities lack family settings however some do arrange triple rooms from time to time what is normally called Extra Bed Supplement – a twin bedded room with an additional bed
Meals

Most of the lodges around and in the national parks offer rates inclusive of meals (Full Board) however you may request for a bed and breakfast option to get advice accordingly. Children rates are offered between 2 -12 years –usually 50% off adult rate though this has to be reconfirmed.

Meals range from local cuisine to intercontinental cuisines

Internet Access

Internet Cafes are located in the major towns though some accommodations do have WIFI in their main areas especially reception / lounge areas though at times it does become unstable and limited to particular times. If you must have internet during your travels, consider buying a dongle or USB stick from the main mobile providers and credit that rangers from USD 15- USD70.

Do I have to tip for services?

Tipping is an important part of the safari adventure based on service satisfaction. From time to time tipping is extended to driver guides and hotel/lodges staff. Tips range from USD $ 10 – USD$ 15 per day per group, it is recommended to give your tips directly to the staff though most lodges/hotels have a tip box to be shared amongst all staff.

Can I use my mobile phone?

Local SIM cards are readily available and can be used in most International Mobile Phones. It is important to note that roaming costs are high hence it’s better to acquire local SIM cards within a particular country.

What should I pack for the safari?

  • Binoculars and Camera plus extra batteries
  • Rain Gear, waterproof / good steady hiking boots
  • Sun glasses and a hat
  • Waterproof rucksack
  • Mosquito / Insect Repellent and Sunscreen
  • Hand and Toilet tissue paper
  • For trekking / walking safaris – carry light weight, long sleeved shirts and trousers and long socks.

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Kenya

Capital Nairobi
Official Languages Kiswahili, English
Population 45 M (2014)
Currency Kenyan Shilling (Ksh)
Time Zone EAT (UTC +3)
Traffic Drives Left Side
Dialling Code +254

Rwanda

Capital Kigali
Official Languages Kinyarwanda, French, English
Population 11.3 M (2015)
Currency Rwandan Frank (RWF)
Time Zone CAT (UTC +2)
Traffic Drives Right Side
Dialling Code +250

Uganda

Capital Kampala
Official Language English, Swahili
Population 34.6 M (2014 Census)
Currency Uganda Shillings (Ush.)
Time Zone EAT (UTC +3)
Traffic Drives Left Side
Dialling Code +256

Tanzania 

Capital Dodoma
Largest City Dar es Salam
Official Languages Kiswahili, English
Population 51.82M (2014)
Currency Tanzanian Shilling (TZS)
Time Zone EAT (UTC +3)
Traffic Drives Left Side
Dialling Code +255