How should you go about selecting the perfect safari for you?
Here are a few things you need to keep in mind when choosing a safari. One of the first things you need to do is get in touch with a reputable tour operator. You can choose a company that is in your home country, or one in Uganda like us here at Insight Safari Holidays. To choose the right safari from the ones your safari operator is offering assuming you have hired one; you need to know what you want to see and do while you are in Africa. There is a lot of information that you can get from online blogs and travel journals to help you figure out what you want to see and do in Africa.
Find out what the safari company you have chosen specializes in and whether that specialty coincides with what you want to do in Uganda. Some companies specialize in white water rafting, other in gorilla trekking, other in different national parks, and some cover almost all possible tourist options.
Accommodation is just as important. Be sure to make a choice of accommodation that is comfortable and affordable. Safari accommodation is often categorized in to 3; budget, moderate and up-market accommodation. You can pick which one suits you and your needs as you see fit. Safari vehicles a company uses can give you a hint of what kind of safari they are offering. Proper safari vehicles with open roof or doors, usually cruisers and land rovers are the better option. You do not want to ride in a small starlet across the savannah; you will not enjoy it at all! Find out something about the driver as well, his knowledge of the places you plan to visit, what languages he speaks.
Also find out if the driver will be accompanied by a wildlife expert guide to guide you through the trip. Also find out the size of the group that will be on safari with you, and the size and kind of vehicle the company will be using for that group. You could also opt for a private safari rather than a group safari. Private safaris usually have adjustable tours which is usually not the case with group safaris. Be sure to confirm this with the safari operator. So can know if the tours can be adjusted to times and schedules that are comfortable for you and those in your party.
What things should you be very cautious about?
When planning a Uganda safari from abroad, you need to be cautious about everything in the planning. There are some things that you shouldn’t let people lie to you about or that you cannot afford to be careless about:
Permits: If you plan to go gorilla trekking in Uganda, you will need a gorilla permit. A gorilla permit in Uganda is $700. Do not fall for online scams advertising free gorilla permits, there is no such thing. Be sure to book and pay for your gorilla permit in time.
Safari companies: be sure to deal directly with the safari company rather than some broker or re-packager in Europe or the USA. With the Ugandan safari companies you can be sure they know what they are talking about rather than the re-packager who has probably only read about safaris in Uganda.
Payment: Most countries in Africa are cash economies, so African safari companies usually take payments in cash rather than credit card. So if you are given the options of either cash or credit card, be sure to find out how the transactions are made, and what the charge for money transfer will be. In a way whether you pay the Uganda safari company directly or deal with a local tour company in your country which will in turn connect you to a local agent in Uganda, the cost will probably end up being the same.
Do safari companies give refunds?
It is advisable to find out if the safari company will give you a refund of the deposit in case your plans change. The deposit for most tour companies is 30% of the total fee, and the rest is paid either upon arrival or before. Most reputable safari operators will give you a refund less any permit or reservation charges they could not recover. Permits are usually resold and most of the permit cost refunded to you. So plan your Uganda safari and keep all these pointers in mind as you try to choose the right safari for you.