Travel Guide - East Africa

Prepare for your trip to East Africa with the guidelines below.

Factsheet

Visitors arriving into East Africa should have valid vaccination certificate for yellow fever! This is particularly important when crossing from one East African country to another.

Typhoid and cholera vaccination certificates are also recommended.

Visitors are advised to take Malaria prophylactics or use anti-malarial creams when visiting East Africa.

It is safe to swim in the sea and swimming pools and some lakes, but it is not recommended for rivers, and open reservoirs as you risk getting infected with bilharzia.

We encourage visitors to East Africa, to drink mineral water which is widely available in supermarkets and general stores.

The Flying Doctor Service, which covers the entire East African region, provides highly effective emergency response and ambulance services in case of accidents.

Tourist Visas can be obtained at most entry points though visitors are advised to obtain their visa from their home countries to avoid delay at the entry points.
The visa fees vary between Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Uganda.

The single entry visa allows multiple entries within the East African countries.

Tourists traveling to Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda can also apply for the East African Tourist Visa, a multiple-entry visa which covers travel to these three countries. When applying for an East African Tourist Visa, the application has to be made on the e visa site of the country they enter first.

 

To apply for the Rwanda Visa online visit: https://www.migration.gov.rw/visa

To apply for the Kenya Visa online visit: https://evisa.go.ke/evisa.html

To apply for the Tanzania Visa online visit: https://visa.immigration.go.tz/

To apply for the Uganda Visa online visit: https://visas.immigration.go.ug/

To apply for the Ethiopia Visa online visit: https://www.evisa.gov.et/visa/apply

 

Visitors are not allowed to engage in any paid or unpaid employment during their stay except with written permission from the Department of Immigration.

Apart from personal effects visitors may bring with them cameras, binoculars, cigarettes, perfumes and spirits in such quantities as are in the opinion of the authorities consistent with the visit. Gifts are subjected to duty while firearms; illicit drugs and obscene literature are prohibited

As elsewhere in the world, visitors are advised not to leave cash and valuables in their hotel rooms but make use of the hotels safe deposit box. Visitors should also not carry large amounts of cash while walking on the streets.

They should also be careful with handbags and other valuables while in crowded places and busy streets. It is advisable to take a taxi/cab if you are visiting the city after 6pm. Walking alone at night should be avoided. Besides an efficient police force and a special Tourist Police Unit, most hotels employ experienced security personnel.

All in all, it is advisable to take precautions as anywhere in the world.

There is no restriction on the amount of foreign currency you bring into any of the East African countries. It is advisable to change the foreign currency into local currency only in banks and Forex Bureaus. Before your departure visitors can change the local currency back to their original currency but visitors may be asked for the initial exchange receipt. US$ are acceptable for payments in most tourist establishments and are commonly used than the Euros. Many hotels and National Parks quote their rates in US$ for visitors.

The present Exchange Rates are as follows:

 

US Dollar/Kenyan Shilling132.75
US Dollar/Rwanda Franc1,311.67
US Dollar/Tanzanian Shilling2,693.7
US Dollar/Uganda Shilling3,694.78USh
CurrencyRate · USD · 24 Jul 
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The exchange rates are constantly changing, for live exchange rates you can refer to http://www.x-rates.com/. Credit cards such as Visa Card, Master card and Chinese Union Card are widely accepted in tourist establishments; with a 5% surcharge for processing card payment. In Kenya, there are many ATMs where you can use credit cards to obtain cash. The banking system in Kenya & Rwanda are very advanced as compared to Uganda, Tanzania & Ethiopia. Banking hours are usually from 8.00 am – 4.00pm from Monday – Friday. At the Airports the banks are open 24 hours.

East Africa is a photographer’s haven. It is abundant in wildlife and bird life in their natural habitat, magnificent scenery, diverse culture and unlimited sunlight. It is difficult not to capture its beauty. While on safari, one must remember that the animals are not tame and it is advisable to keep a distance or remain in the vehicle.

When taking shots of local people, respect their culture and always seek permission from them first. Photography around government institutions and premises is prohibited. Tourists intending to film and take photos in parks and public city space for commercial purposes have to apply for a permit beforehand. The use of drones is not allowed.

A UV filter and lens hood is required to reduce the glare while a camera bag comes in handy to protect the equipment from the dust.

International newspapers as well as local English Newspapers are available. International television stations are available in all major urban centers. Most hotels will have television in the rooms and/or visitors lounge.

We are a fully-fledged management destination company and will organize for you transfers and vehicle throughout your safari and stay with us with our 4×4 Landcruiser sitting a maximum of 7pax per vehicle with 6 window seat. Most of the roads to the National Parks and Reserves are gravel roads, which are very rough and can become a treacherous sea of mud during the rainy season. 

When it comes to traffic regulations, Ethiopia and Rwanda drive on the right side while Tanzania Kenya and Uganda all drive on the left-hand side of the road.

Kigali- Rwanda

Arusha- Tanzania

Kampala- Uganda

Nairobi – Kenya

Addis Ababa-Ethiopia

(C.A.T)+2Central African Time

G.M.T+3 (Greenwich Mean Time)

G.M.T+3 (Greenwich Mean Time)

G.M.T+3 (Greenwich Mean Time)

G.M.T+3 (Greenwich Mean Time)

Most hotels, game lodges and tented camps include a service charge in their tariff, as do most restaurants. Most workers expect a tip for services offered.

Driver guides and other safari and hiking crew will generally expect some form of gratitude if you are happy with their services. The amount is at your discretion. Recommendation for tipping can be obtained from our office and varies from program to program.

Tanzania:

Tanzania has a temperate tropical highland climate, with lower temperatures than are typical for equatorial countries due to its high elevation. Tanzania’s long rainy season lasts from about March to May when the rain is heavy and persistent. Then from June to mid-September is the long dry season; this is generally the best time to visit if you have the choice. October to November is a shorter rainy season and it’s followed by a short dry season from December to February.

Uganda:

Uganda has a temperate tropical highland climate, with lower temperatures than are typical for equatorial countries due to its high elevation. Uganda’s long rainy season lasts from about March to May when the rain is heavy and persistent. Then from June to mid-September is the long dry season; this is generally the best time to visit if you have the choice. October to November is a shorter rainy season and it’s followed by a short dry season from December to February.

Rwanda:

Rwanda has a temperate tropical highland climate, with lower temperatures than are typical for equatorial countries due to its high elevation. Rwanda’s long rainy season lasts from about March to May when the rain is heavy and persistent. Then from June to mid-September is the long dry season; this is generally the best time to visit if you have the choice. October to November is a shorter rainy season and it’s followed by a short dry season from December to February.

Kenya

Traveling to Kenya is a very rewarding experience when it comes to counting on the weather. Kenya lies on the equator and has a pleasant, tropical climate, but there are large regional climatic variations influenced by several factors, including altitude. Kenya’s daytime temperatures average between 20°C/68°F and 28°C/82°F, but it is warmer on the coast. Being equatorial the annual temperature variation is not as marked as at greater latitudes, however there is still a variation of weather throughout the year which can be summarized as follows:
Long rains : March – May
Short rains: October – November
Hottest Months – December to March with temperatures as high as 34° C
Coolest Months – July and August temperatures can fall as low as 10° C

 

Ethiopia

Although Ethiopia is near the equator, only some parts of the country have a true tropical climate.

In the region north of Addis Ababa ( the plateau) the dry season lasts from October to May. The average temperature is around 18 ° C with little difference between the highest and lowest temperatures. It generally cools down in the mornings and evenings.

South Ethiopia (Omo Valley) has a short rainy season in November and in late March and early April. The roads in the south may be severely affected and so we may have to adapt the route. In the south the temperatures are significantly higher.

Best time to travel:

The best time to visit is from October – March. Yet July and August are also pretty good times too.

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