2022 – Covid19 and Your Upcoming tour to Uganda – What you Need to Know about Booking, Cancellations, Reschedules

Mountain Gorillas on Uganda Chimpanzee - Uganda Gorilla Trek, Chimpanzee Tracking

2022 - Covid19 and Your Upcoming tour to Uganda - Your Questions Answered

What you Need to Know about Booking, Cancellations, Rescheduling your Uganda gorilla trekking permits and Chimp permits during the COVID-19 Pandemuc

The current outbreak and spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) together with the associated media and social media coverage is understandably becoming an increasing cause for concern for many travelers across the globe. Our priority is your safety and to ensure that you can enjoy your tour with Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris with confidence. Our staff is on hand to answer any questions or concerns that you may have, but the following information and frequently asked questions may also be of assistance.

Although many cases of COVID19 have been reported in Uganda, there are several SOPs in place to ensure your safety as a tourist. You can still do your trip to Uganda safely without getting exposed to the virus.

What happens if I would like to cancel or change my tour to Uganda?

If your tour is still scheduled to depart as normal and you choose to cancel your tour for any reason then you will be liable for any cancellation fees that were agreed upon at the time of booking.

However, if your tour is not able to go on as scheduled because of the airport and National Park closures, you can opt to reschedule it to a future date at no extra cost. If however, you choose to cancel and not reschedule the tour, you might lose your deposit for gorillas and chimpanzee tracking. The Uganda Wildlife Authority is not refunding anyone who cancels their prebooked gorillas and chimpanzee tracking permits because of COVID19. The only option they are offering is rescheduling your visit to a future date. You are even free to reschedule a second time for free if in case you're not sure at the first dates' rescheduling.

Can I change my booking to depart on a later date?

If you wish to consider postponing to a later departure for travel, please contact us to discuss your options. We are unable to guarantee that you will be able to change your booking, as it is dependent on future tour availability, but we will do everything we can to assist you.

If I have paid my gorillas/ chimps permits deposit and choose to cancel my booking, am I entitled to a refund?

Unfortunately not. Uganda Wildlife Authority is not giving anyone canceling their gorillas or chimpanzee tracking permits any refunds. If your tour/ safari is still due to travel and you choose to cancel, your deposit is non-refundable by Uganda Wildlife Authority and therefore, we too cannot be able to give you a refund.

If I have paid for my booking in FULL and I choose to cancel my Uganda  Safari booking, will I get a refund?

Because we incur costs from when we confirm your tour booking, the following cancellation charges will be payable:

  • If canceled prior to the final payment due date a cancellation fee of the deposit applies.
  • If canceled after the final payment due date but more than 45 days before travel a cancellation fee of 50% applies, less any non-refundable deposits already paid for gorilla and chimps permits, gorilla habituation, and local flight tickets.
  • If canceled less than 45 days prior to travel, a cancellation fee of 100% applies.
  • If you cut short your holiday, we are unable to offer you any refund of your holiday not completed or assist with any curtailment cost you may incur. 

For further details refer to our booking conditions.

If I choose to cancel my booking will I be covered by my holiday insurance?

You are advised to contact your insurance company, however, it is highly unlikely that your insurance company will cover cancellation due to what is referred to as a disinclination to travel.

If Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris cancels my tour, am I entitled to a refund?

If Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris is forced to cancel your tour for reasons beyond our control (force majeure) you will be given the option to reschedule the tour to a future date once (subject to availability and future prices), less any deposits and /or booking fees paid in advance to hotels, suppliers, or gorilla and chimps permits, gorilla habituation permits and local flight tickets. 

Uganda Safaris Covid19 Prevention Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Open spaces, sunshine, and fresh air are an excellent environment for avoiding Covid, making your Uganda safari one of the best leisure travel activities at this time.

At Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris, we have assembled a Covid-19 Safari Response Committee whose job is to oversee our procedures, operations, and the safari guest experience – ensuring health and safety are at the forefront of your holiday in Uganda. Here we outline the minimum of the policies and procedures we will require to book you in any facility and have in place for our guests’ safety and our staff your safari in Uganda.

Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris Covid's response team has been designed to be agile and adaptive, monitoring and working with the latest available information from the WHO, Ministry of Health, and East African Governments.

All travelers to Uganda, irrespective of vaccination and country of origin, will have to present a VALID NEGATIVE PCR COVID-19 TEST CERTIFICATE, taken not more than 72 hours on arrival and exit. On arrival at Entebbe International Airport, all travelers will be subjected to mandatory covid-19 screening at their own cost (at $30 per person).

Before you come for your safari into Uganda:

You are required to have negative Covid-19 PCR test results with the test done not more than 72 hours before starting your flight journey to Uganda. Please ensure that you have done the test and have authentic results as it is being discovered that some people present fake results which in turn affects their plans as entry will be denied.

Considering the different uncertainties that the Covid19 pandemic presents and the various effects due to late cancellations, it is important to look into the different travel insurance options and get yourself the best travel insurance for your Uganda safari to mitigate any losses that might occur when your holiday is canceled.

When you arrive in Uganda for your Safari:

All arriving guests need to have done a PCR covid test not more than 72 hours before starting their journey to Uganda and before departing from Uganda. But in addition to this, another test shall be done when you arrive at Entebbe Airport. Your sample will be collected and you shall be allowed to exit the airport. The results will be sent to your email or WhatsApp.
To quicken your exit, please fill in the online Health Surveillance form athttps://arrivals.healthdesk.go.ug at least 24 hours before arrival and proceed to pay USD 30 online https://covidpay.postbank.co.ug at least 24 hours before arrival.

You are required to follow the set Covid19 guidelines at the airport and other entry points including washing your hands with soap and running water, correctly wearing a face mask to cover your mouth and nose, and maintaining a social distance of 2 to 4 meters.

After you are cleared, your driver/guide will be waiting to pick you up and proceed straight to your hotel in Entebbe / Kampala or head out straight to the field depending on your itinerary.

COVID-19 Uganda Gorilla Trekking Guidelines – SOPs:

  • When you arrive at the briefing point in Bwindi, you will be required to wash or sanitize your hands. Your temperature will then be taken and recorded. Those with temperatures above 37.5 degrees Celsius will be refused from taking part in the trek.
  • The briefing for the gorilla trek shall be done in small groups of 8 people after the Gorilla groups have been allocated.
  • You are required to wear an N95 mask, a surgical mask, or a cloth mask with a filter. Those with N95 and surgical masks are encouraged to carry 2.
  • You will have breaks to catch fresh air during the gorilla trekking in the forest and social distancing will be strictly observed.
  • As you get closer to the mountain gorillas, you will be required to sanitize your hands again before the viewing takes place.
  • You are required to stay at least 10 meters away from the mountain gorillas during this period to avoid and chances of transmitting the Covid-19 virus to them.

What Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris is doing to keep you safe from Covid-19:

At Gorilla and Wildlife Safaris, our staff and driver/guides have been fully sensitized and are familiar with the Ministry of Health guidelines. All tour guides are fully vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus and many have taken booster shorts too. Other procedures seriously followed at Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris to keep tourists safe from Covid-19 include:

  • Consistently and correctly wearing a face mask, regularly washing or sanitizing of hands, and maintaining a social distance of 2 to 4 meters.
  • We provide enough surgical masks to our driver guides while heading out on a trip and that is on top of the government-provided cloth mask.
  • Our safari vans are spacious to allow a window seat for each occupant and ensure proper social distancing.
  • The vehicle is washed every day and regularly sanitized during the day while taking part in game drives and other activities.
  • We partner with the best hotels and lodging facilities that practice SOPs and guarantee safety during your stay.
  • We accept online payments in order to minimize the handling of cash.

All in all, we are fully aware of the danger before us and well prepared to take you on a rewarding and memorable safari in Uganda while ensuring the safety of everyone involved.

Uganda COVID-19 Protocols For Departing Passengers

  • Passengers departing Uganda via Entebbe Airport must have an authenticated negative Covid PCR test certificate provided within 72 hours of the time of sample collection to boarding aircraft.
  • All PCR test certificates for departing passengers must indicate travel as the intended purpose of the test.
  • Passengers departing Entebbe Airport are required to know, understand, and interpret the COVID-19 requirements of the country they are traveling to.
  • Passengers departing in curfew time, and or from districts beyond Kampala with a valid air ticket shall be allowed to proceed to their destination airport by the presentation of the passenger ticket to the authorities as evidence of going to the airport.
  • Individuals who test positive for the COVID-19 test shall be treated according to the Ministry of Health protocol for COVID19.

Where And How Can You Do Your Covid-19 Departure Tests While On Your Uganda Safari? 

Gorillas and Wildlife Safaris' tour guides will assist you to locate the most convenient place to get samples for your pre-departure Covid-19 test. If you are doing gorilla trekking in Bwindi, international travel Covid19 tests can be done at Bwindi Community Hospital in Buhoma. Samples can also be taken from Mbarara city.  Otherwise we can arrange for your samples to be taken when you are in Kampala or Entebbe. Most results will be returned within 8 hours but express test can be arranged so that you have your results back in 2-3 hours before proceeding to the airport.

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