Required vaccinations for visiting Uganda

One of the questions asked by travelers planning a business trip or safari vacation to Uganda is what the required vaccinations are for one to be allowed entry into Uganda. However, beyond the requirement of vaccination for entry, safety from disease is perhaps one of the biggest concerns for any traveler planning a trip to Africa, a continent many see as a cradle for disease and epidemics. So, beyond the mandatory vaccinations, it is important to protect against many other illnesses that you may be at risk of contracting and these too we are going to highlight in this article..

What are the mandatory vaccinations for visiting Uganda?

Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever vaccination is mandatory for all travelers coming into and leaving Uganda.

Normally it should be that visitors from yellow fever low risk countries do not need to have a yellow vaccination, BUT then Uganda is one of the WHO (World Health Organization) listed countries that are high risk with reported positive cases, so it is an absolute must to get vaccinated for your protection. After vaccination from yellow fever, you get the “International Certificated of Vaccination or Prophylaxis”, also commonly referred to as the “Yellow Card”, which is in fact a yellow card.

If you depart from Uganda a high-risk country you will need to present a yellow fever vaccination certificate wherever you will go, including your low-risk home country.

If flying into Entebbe Airport, Uganda, without the Yellow Card (irrespective of whether you are already vaccinated), there is a health facility on site where you will be sent to receive the shot and get a yellow card before you will be cleared by the immigrations.

To contain yellow fever outbreak in Uganda the government continues to carry countrywide vaccinations.


Vaccination against covid-19 (at least two shots) is mandatory for arrivals and departures but if not vaccinated you need to present a negative PCR covid-19 test result that is not older 72 hours from the time of taking the test.

Not required but essential vaccinations

  • Malaria
  • Typhoid
  • Tetanus
  • Rabies
  • Hepatitis
  • Polio
  • Meningitis

Is there a vaccination requirement for trekking gorillas in Uganda

No, there is not vaccination requirement for the gorilla trekking in Uganda. Not even vaccination against covid 19. However you will be required to put on a mask during coming into contact with the gorillas.

What is the best time to visit Amboseli National Park

View of Kili from Amboseli

Amboseli National Park is the famous iconic destination of Kenya whose landscape is dominated by the Kilimanjaro Mountain towering over dusty plains filled a variety of wildlife that include some of the biggest herds of elephants you will ever see. The park is mostly taken as the favorite extra to the safari in Masai Mara National Park, to catch the spectacular view of the Kili, but travelers will be wowed by the amount of wildlife there is to see. Among other animals in Amboseli include lions, hyenas, buffaloes, zebras, wildebeests, yellow baboons, grants gazelles, Thomson’s gazelles, giraffes, etc…

Amboseli is situated below the Kilimanjaro on its leeward side that receives less rains hence the desert like environment for much of the year. However underground rivers originating from the mountain have created huge wetlands and ponds that become lakes during the rainy season. While animals can be seen throughout the year, the time you decide to visit Amboseli will very much determine the kind of experience you shall have on your trip to Amboseli.

Dry vs wet season in Amboseli National Park

The best time to visit Amboseli National Park is during the long dry season from June to October. During this time there are virtually no rains so the park turns into some sort of desert dotted with huge wetlands and ponds that are oases for wildlife in the park. It is easier to explore the park and reach many areas to discover plenty of wildlife. The dry season also makes it easier to spot animals as they concentrate around the ponds and wetland hence you can see animals and birds as close as possible…

When the rains come the ponds and wetlands overflow cutting off many areas of the park from access. Dusty plains hence become “muddy” plains.

On the other hand, however, the wet season turns the scenery of the park to more spectacular. The park seems to regain life as the dried-out grasslands and savannah become lush green cover. The Kilimanjaro that shows a small snow cover on the park during the dry season now a large snow crown.

If you are therefore looking for an experience more than just spotting animals, the wet season of November to December and March to May will offer you a beautiful experience of Amboseli National Park

Book a trip to Amboseli National Park

3 days Amboseli National Park tour

6 days Amboseli and Masai Mara safari

About gorillas: scientific name, types of gorillas, weight, mating, lifespan

Gorillas are great apes, which are the primates that have no tails. They have the same ancestor with humans and share up to 98% DNA with humans.

Gorillas are sometimes confused with chimpanzees, but gorillas are much bigger and are hairier than the chimps.

Gorillas have no tails like monkeys

The gorilla has become famous through the movie fiction character “King Kong” where it is depicted as a massive ferocious beast in faraway jungles. But how much do you know about gorillas?

Species of gorillas in the world, scientific names and where to find them

There are two species of gorillas, the western gorilla (gorilla gorilla) and eastern gorilla (gorilla berengei)

Western gorillas

The scientific name of western gorilla is gorilla gorilla

Under western gorilla,

Western gorillas are found mostly in West Africa and central Africa

Eastern Gorillas

The scientific name of the eastern gorillas is gorilla berengei

Under the Eastern Gorillas are two sub-species, that is, the lowland gorillas, also called Grauer’s gorillas, and the mountain gorillas.

The mountain gorillas are found in the Virunga mountains range and the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

There has been debate among the scientists, some claiming that the Bwindi gorillas are distinctive from the mountain gorillas in the Virunga mountains and should therefore be classified a subspecies of the western gorillas (gorilla beringei bwindi). At the moment no clear distinction has been proved and no split declared.

What do gorillas eat?

Gorillas are vegetarian and their diet largely consists of leaf, stem, root, and short. They do also look out for fruits. In a day the male gorilla will eat up to 34 kg (75 pounds) while the female will eat up to 18kg (40 pounds).

The gorilla eco system provides a perfect balanced diet for gorillas. The plants for each of the above species and subspecies will vary depending on the eco system and the season.

Also, different plants in the gorilla eco system will serve a particular purpose. For example certain plants serve a medicinal purpose of the gorillas, for instance when a gorilla has a stomach ache, the gorillas know when plant provides the remedy and will look out for it.

How much do the gorillas weigh?

Gorillas are the biggest of all primates.

There is a slight difference in size between the two gorilla species, with the western gorillas being slightly bigger than the eastern gorillas.

Male gorillas weigh between 300 pounds (136kg) to 500 pounds (227kg), while females weigh between 150 pounds (68kg) to 200 pounds (91kg)

How tall are gorillas

Males stand up to 6 feet (1.8m) tall, while females stand up to 4.5 feet (1.4 meters) tall.

How strong are the gorillas

Gorillas are also the strongest primates. One adult male gorilla’s strength is said to be equal to the total strength of 8 healthy men.

Mating and reproduction in gorillas

The dominant silverback gorilla has the mating rights in the gorilla group and he can met with any of the females.

The menstrual cycle of gorillas is of similar to that of humans which is a 28-day menstrual cycle.

Once impregnated the gestation period of the gorilla is about 255 days on average, that of humans is approximately 265 days.

Babie gorillas do not leave their mothers’ physical contact for the first 3 – 4 months. After one year the mother shall begin weaning the babies, after around 30 months they will be fully weaned and spend only half of the time with the mothers.

Mother gorillas tend to extend weaning of the males to improve their sons chances of becoming the dominant and having high reproduction success.

At weaning the mother gorilla resumes estrus.

Gorillas go through the following stages of growth:

0 – 4 years: infant – still dependent on the mother still breastfeeding,

4 – 6 years: juvenile – been weaned by the mother and becomes semi-independent,

6 – 8 years: adolescent – who are not yet sextually mature

8 – 10 years: sub-adult – who has become sexually active

10 – 13 years: blackback – sexually mature but males not fully mature physically

13+ years: Silverback male – fully mature males

How long do gorillas live

Gorillas in the wild can live up to 35 years. The known oldest mountain gorilla (Ruhondeza silverback gorilla of Bwindi forest in Uganda) in the wild lived up to 50 years .

How do gorillas move and how fast can a gorilla run

Gorillas are terrestrial primates, meaning they spend much of their time on ground. Because they are big and heavy primates, climbing trees is not the strength of gorillas unlike the chimpanzees and other smaller primates. But they can and do climb trees, more so the young gorillas who will climb to set up a nest for the night, get a good view, swing on vines or pick fruits. The older big ones have to very careful when climbing a tree otherwise their fall is quite heavy and can fatal as some big silverbacks have actually died from falling from trees.

The gorillas travel on ground moving all a fours (quadrupedal mode). Meanwhile on their hands they use their knuckles and not palms, a method called knuckle walking.

Sometimes the gorillas also travel bipedally/upright on their hind legs like humans but this is for a short distance. They cover no more than 3 meters in this mode which often happens whey are chest beating.

How far do gorillas move in a day in the forest?

Gorilla movements are largely dictated by the availability of food. When food is available a gorilla group cover as few as 400 meters in day. The distance covered will also be limited by the landscape of the area, for instance gorillas in bigger mountains will cover a much less distance than those in less mountainous areas.

There are also incidences where gorillas will travel longer distances of several kilometers and this when faced with a safety issue in their location, such as encountering aggressive males that want to take over a group or other dangerous animals that pause a threat to the gorillas.

Is Rwanda the easiest country to visit in Africa?

Rwanda is setting the pace in Africa, doing things differently from most African countries.

While other African countries come up with new restrictions every other day for travelers, Rwanda is instead positioning herself as one of the easiest countries to visit and travel in.

Below are reasons why Rwanda may be the easiest country to visit

Open door policy

Rwanda has adopted an open door policy that allows all people in the world to visit Rwanda without getting a visa in advance. Every person from any country can travel to Rwanda and get his or her visa on arrival at the border or the airport.

The open door policy is perhaps one the strongest reasons that make Rwanda the easiest country to visit. If you decide to travel to Rwanda today, you just need to get onto the plane, arrive at the Kigali International Airport where your visa is promptly issued and you are in Kigali City – Rwanda’s capital.

Rwanda has built a reliable national airline (Rwanda Air)

Rwanda’s national airline, Rwanda Air is making traveling to Rwanda easier. Rwanda Air currently has direct flights outside Africa to/from four major world cities. The airline flies to/from London (UK), Dubai (UAE), Guangzhou (China), and Mumbai (India). Meanwhile, more routes to other cities and continents are in the offing.

If therefore you are traveling from any of these continents, you just have to visit the Rwanda Airline website and book your seat (

Safest (and most organized) country in Africa

Rwanda is an oasis of peace and security in the heart of a volatile central Africa. The country is located near the Congo, a hotbed of insurgencies, and given Rwanda’s tragic past the country has built one of the most formidable security and intelligence systems which has combated any threat to peace and safety in Rwanda.

Only in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, can you walk in any area at any time, while using your phone without constantly looking over your shoulder in fear of losing it to thieves.

Nothing makes traveling in country easier than the feeling of being safe wherever you go.

Superb transport system and organized country

Public transport is one of the biggest challenges to travel within the chaotic African cities. Taking a passenger bus in most African cities comes with a risk of getting lost, arriving late, getting an accident or being robbed.

Rwanda has one of the most organized public transport system in Africa. There are public buses in the city that are cashless and require just a tap-and-go card which is also easy to get. The buses are also fitted with speed governors to avoid over speeding that would leads to accidents. The roads are well paved and traffic is well managed, with everyone adhering to the traffic laws.

Those who do not want to travel cheaply in public buses, there are ride-hailing apps for both cars and motorcycles.

Excellent infrastructure

The organized transport is made possible by excellent roads that are well marked and have walkways for pedestrians, and pedestrian crossings are respected by motorists (unachievable in sub-Sahara Africa).

Certain streets in the city have been turned into car-free-zones accessible only by pedestrians.

Amazing people with Great hospitality

Rwandans are amazingly friendly people who will go out of their help strangers. Everyone is eager to help you if they realize you are a visitor, unlike in other countries where many people are eager to take advantage of visitors.

In places where one needs to queue up for a service, a stranger will taken to the front so that she or he is served immediately!! Where in the world do you find this??!!!

A small country that is easy to explore

Rwanda is a small country with a size of about twenty six thousand squre kilometers. The small size and excellent road network and safety make visiting and exploring easy.

Popular destinations such as Volcanoes National Park where gorilla trekking takes place is just about two hours drive from the capital Kigali. The country’s big five safari destination, Akagera National Park, is also just about 2 hour drive from Kigali.

English and French languages widely spoken

Two international languages, English and French, are widely spoken making Rwanda more accommodating to speakers of these two widely spoken languages.

What kids can do when adults go gorilla trekking in Rwanda

Planning an African safari that will include the famous gorilla trekking in Rwanda is a big challenge for families, or parents that will be traveling with children/kids. This is because the gorilla trekking in Rwanda has an age limit, that is, only persons aged 16 years and above can do the trek. There is no exception as long as an individual is not aged 16 years and above, she or he would not be allowed to track the gorillas in Rwanda.

One may ask, why are children not allowed to participate gorilla trekking in Rwanda?

Children (below 16 years) are not allowed to go tracking the gorillas for reasons such as;

  • they may not have the physical energy to climb the mountains. The trek can be physically demanding as it can take many hours or even a full day of climbing the mountains to find the gorillas.
  • children are susceptible to communicable diseases such as cough which can easily spread to the gorillas, and
  • there is also the fear that children do not have the maturity to remain calm or behave appropriately around the gorillas in situations when the gorillas become agitated or moody. Children may also not have the discipline to adhere to the trekking rules…because kids are kids!

So, parents who will be traveling with their children are always concerned about what their kids will be doing when they (parents) are away for a full day trekking in the mountains to see the gorillas.

Some parents want an activity the kids will enjoy to compensate for missing out on the exciting gorilla adventure. Other parents are concerned about who will manage or take care of their children in their absence and if they can trust those people.

In this article I discuss what options are available for children when adults are tracking gorillas in Rwanda.

Nature walk in Buhanga forest

Buhanga forest is a small patch of forest not very far from the Virunga mountains in Musanze district. The forest has a huge cultural and historical significancy to Rwanda. It is said to hold the origins of the nation Rwanda. The forest provides a nice nature walk through several species of trees. A child, say 10 years old and more, can learn so much from the nature walk including the different types of trees, birds, geography of the area and also the historical traditions attached to the forest. The walking trail also goes through a cave which offers a nice ancient experience.

Village walk near the park

A child can be taken for a guided walk in the village to see rural Rwanda and learn how other people live, see gardens and about how different crops are grown, etc…

Biking in the villages

For biking enthusiasts, bikes are available even for kids as young as 10 and can go on a guided biking adventure through Musanze to the villages and enjoy the views of the rolling landscape. Neat village paths and paved roads that are safe are available in Musanze. One can take a biking trip to the twin lakes, Mukungwa river or a wetland.

Play kids games at the lodge

Kids can be kept busy at the lodge by engaging in kids’ games, painting and drawing challenges. Most upmarket lodges do have these options available to kids.