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uganda

East African Countries

East African Countries

Five nations comprise the East African Community (EAC): Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia which are collectively known as The Horn of Africa is also typically considered part of East Africa. Comoros, Mauritius and Seychelles are small island nations in the Indian Ocean while Mozambique and Madagascar are often considered part of Southern Africa. Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe – often also included in Southern Africa, and formerly of the Central African Federation.

The region offers some of the world’s most exciting outdoor tourism. Most countries in the region were colonized by United Kingdom, Germany, Portugal, Belgium and France

Climate in this part of the continent is unusually cool and dry for an equatorial region, due to its mountainous configuration and westerly monsoon effects. The world’s third highest ‘Mount Kilimanjaro’ is situated in this East African and over 20,000 visitors reach its summit each year. Also, the largest river in the world, the Nile, runs through East Africa. Its source, Lake Victoria, is the world’s largest tropical lake. Lake Tanganyika, the world’s second deepest, is the source of the Congo river system. The lakes, rivers and tributaries of East Africa are among the world’s best for all forms of swimming, scuba and whitewater activity.

East Africa is also home to amazing concentrations of large wild animals, most famously the great ape, elephant, lion, rhinoceros, and wildebeest. All types of corporate and independent guided tours through the outdoor beauty are available. In this article will take you through some of the things you need to know about the history, economy and politics of the following East African countries. Sit down, relax and enjoy this piece!

South Sudan

South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan in 2011 and Its current capital is Juba, which is also its largest city. South Sudan is notable for having a varied geology. Part of the country lies in the region of the Sahara Desert, but the Nile River flows through the middle section of the country. Due to this, the nation is vulnerable to floods whenever there is a torrential rainfall. Couple of months ago, thousands of people fled their homes, houses were destroyed and more than hundred people died.

In recent years, Sudan had been marred with political violence as a result a conflict between President Salva Kirr and his Vice which led to the death of thousands of its citizens. During this political violence, UN report had it that, Sudan were recruiting child soldiers; which now raised a question if the country’s civil war is back?. But, South Sudan government refuted the claim and later agreed with the UN for new international peacekeeping force to come in and save the nation from going into another era of civil war.

Ethiopia

Ethiopia is one of the countries known as “the horn of Africa”. Legend has it that the Ark of the Covenant has been secreted away in a tiny Ethiopian village for centuries. The most striking geological element in the country is its division by the Great Rift Valley. This fissure was caused by volcanic lava deep within the canyons and gorges. Ethiopia is also blanketed by thick jungle, and is home to many rivers and lakes. Its capital, Adida Ababa, is among the most beautiful cities in Africa. Recently, Ethiopia became Africa’s largest producer of coffee which had led its to be among the top 15 fastest growing economies in Africa with a GDP growth of 4.5 percent. The first East African plant by South Korea’s Kia Motors Corp will be on Ethiopia soil with a mega deal signed with a local company to start assembling cars.

 
Eritrea

This small country has a very varied terrain. The interior of Eritrea is dominated by the Ethiopian Highlands that rise over 7,000 feet. Within these highlands can be found scattered rivers and streams. The coastal region of the country is bordered by the Red Sea and is actually semiarid in climatic conditions.

Kenya

One of the most well-known countries of East Africa is Kenya with coastline on the Indian Ocean. There are lowlands in both the northern and coastal regions of the country. Down south Kenya becomes flat and very dry. The Rift Valley also slices through Kenya, having created lakes as well as volcanic peaks rising to 17,000 feet. Kenya is east African biggest economy and its also among top 10 investment destination in Africa. September 2016, Kenya signed a business deal with Volkswagen South Africa to assemble cars in the country. And with the way its economy is fast growing, Kenya’s vision could transformed the country into a middle-income economy by 2030. With the recent visit of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, it shows that Kenyan developers are the best in East Africa. Kenya is also ranked among the most friendly African countries for expatriates In 2016. Lupita Nyong’o, Oscar-award winning actress who took Hollywood by storm is a Kenyan and she is doing this great continent proud.

Uganda

The highlight of any visit to Uganda will take you to the southeastern corner, where you will find Lake Victoria. The land is very mountainous otherwise, with elevations between 3,000 and 6,000 feet quite common. Mountains reaching over 16,000 feet run alongside the western border, while to the east you’ll find Mt. Elgon, which is an impressive 14,000 feet. Uganda is also among the most friendly African countries for expatriates in 2016 and its occupies 25th position globally.

Just like Lupita Nyong’o from Kenya, Florence Kasumba, German actress of Ugandan origin, also took Hollywood by storm early this year after she appeared in the most popular film “Captain America: Civil War”. Arguably, Uganda president, Yoweri Museveni is currently the best president in East Africa with his leadership quality and excellent work since 30 years that he had been in power.

This came with the backing of former vice president, Prof Gilbert Balibaseka Bukenya, asking the country’s parliament to enact a law that will enable President Museveni to rule for life. In terms of economy, Uganda will become the first East African Country to open a gold refinery by the end of 2016 after signing a deal with a Belgian investor. Also, its government recently reduced single entry visa to boost tourism and i think that’s a great move from the path of the government and it’s a good news for tourists that are willing to travel to the country. Uganda is also among the East African countries who offer free public WiFi services to its citizens.

Seychelles

The Seychelles is actually an archipelago that is made up of roughly 90 small islands within the Indian Ocean. The Mahe group of islands are rocky with interior mountains. The Coralline islands are coral and inhospitable. The climate of the Seychelles is warm and wet.

Burundi

Burundi is mainly a country of plateaus. The Great Rift Valley has done its work here as well, creating peaks that rise 7,000 feet as well as having a hand in the shaping of long and narrow Lake Tanganyika. The high elevation of Burundi helps to moderate the otherwise tropical climate.

Uganda Gorilla Permits Increase

Uganda Gorilla Permits Increase

Uganda Gorilla permits Increase by Uganda Wildlife Authority

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The Uganda Wildlife Authority has announced an increase in the price of gorilla permits that will now cost a flat fee of 600USD in both low and high seasons for all visitors effective immediately.

This price increase will also affect tourists who had already made bookings for the low seasons of April, May and November.

Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) raised the price of Gorilla permits to be able to suitably compete with Rwanda whose gorilla permits had seen an increase from 750USD to 1500USD.

With that in mind, all 2018 Set Departures organized by Nature Bound Africa will require  750USD supplement to make up for the increase in price for gorilla permits.

For more information please reach us at info@natureboundafrica.com  OR call us on +255 784 737 413

Uganda Implements Online e-Visa

Uganda Implements Online e-Visa

Uganda Implements Online e-Visa & cuts single entry visa fee in half to $50
Nature Bound Africa would like to notify their valued clients and trade partners that Uganda has Implemented Online e-Visa & cuts single entry visa fee in half $50. Guests wishing to visit Uganda must now apply for their visas online by following the link – https://www.visas.immigration.go.ug/
Step 1: Choose the type of visa

Ordinary” (single entry) and East Africa Tourist Visa (valid for travel between Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda) are the most common.

Step 2: Upload clear document copies of current passport

Upload clear document copies of  current passport, yellow fever certificate and a passport photo. For an East Africa Tourist visa, a travel itinerary and proof of return ticket must also be submitted.

Step 3: Submit your online application form

Once the online application form is completed and submitted, the applicant will receive a bar-coded email notification of approval. This can take 3 or more days. Once received, this bar-coded email should be printed and brought to Uganda for presentation upon arrival.

Step 5: Arrival at entry points / Boarder

Upon arrival at any border (entry point), the bar-coded email along with passport and original yellow fever certificate must be presented. The Immigration officer will scan the barcode, take fingerprints and a photograph and collect the $50 visa fee ($USD cash only, in excellent condition and dated 2006 or later). The visa will be printed and pasted into the passport.

NOTE:

The online system and obtaining visas on arrival are working CONCURRENTLY. Visas will be available on arrival until July 31, 2016. After this date, all visas must be obtained online using the E-Visa system. [Update July 27: While it has widely been reported that visas will be available on arrival only until July 31, 2016.

Nature Bound Africa, have confirmed with the Ministry of Internal Affairs that the online system & visas on arrival will work concurrently until further notice, until the E-Visa system is working flawlessly. However, we recommend your guests utilize the E-Visa system moving forward to be safe].

Here is the official statement from Uganda Immigration regarding the $50 single entry visa fee:
 
Press2BStatement2BImmigration Uganda Implements Online e Visa

Visiting Uganda  for business or Pleasure has never been easier. Home to the source of the world’s longest river (river Nile), the world’s remaining Mountain Gorillas, vast and diverse natural wild life reserves; Blessed with tropical, all year round summer weather, a diverse cultural heritage of over 50 local tribes, snow caped mountains, natural water rafting spots, vibrant night life. A wealth of unexploited natural resources and a young educated population.

Choose Uganda The Pearl of Africa as your next holiday destination and experience true African hospitality.

Arusha Day Trips

Arusha Day Trips

Arriving into Tanzania from anywhere that requires many lines of latitude to be crossed, or several plane changes, an intelligent strategy is to allow a day or two’s leisure in Arusha prior to your climb. The reasons for this are:

  • Around 1 in 7 people have their luggage delayed. Most delayed luggage arrives 24 hours after it’s supposed to
  • Prolonged airline travel tends to dehydrate and tire people. Having a day at leisure allows rehydration / revitalisation
  • A day getting used to Arusha’s elevation (around 1,450m) and the dry air, helps with adaptation to Kilimanjaro
  • Those who do not have time to go on safari after their climb often appreciate the opportunity to see a little of the local (non-alpine) environment and culture

Other than safaris, there are several day-trip options available to be enjoyed from Arusha. We briefly summarise the seven most popular options for Arusha day trips below.

Arusha Town Tour

This is a popular day trip, requiring only some three hours and little or no transport. Those interested to see the main features of Arusha will begin somewhere around the Clock Tower, on foot, with one of our guides and will usually begin walking northwards in an anti-clockwise direction, taking in such sites at the Natural History Museum, various monuments celebrating independence, the local market, and some craft shops. A town tour typically takes some 2-3 hours and covers around 4km.

Tours are completed on foot with one of our guides. The cost is USD 20 per group, regardless of how many people are in the group. However, it is customary for each person to tip the guide, with the amount being purely at the climber’s discretion, but generally being around USD 10 per climber for small groups, and some USD 5 per climber for large groups.

Hot Springs

This is probably the best place to swim. Emanating from within the earth, the geo-thermally warmed water is constantly renewed and is therefore very fresh, clear and clean. It’s a very pleasant place to spend a couple of hours with family, or to relax before or after a climb.

The distance from Arusha to the hot springs is 69km and the journey normally takes around 1 hour 20, so one should allow at least 5 hours for this excursion.

Costs for visiting the hot springs include lunch and transport:

  • USD 189 per person when solo
  • USD 114 per person when 2 subscribe
  • USD 89 per person when 3 subscribe
  • USD 88 per person when 4 subscribe
  • USD 87 per person when 5 subscribe
  • USD 86 per person when 6 subscribe
  • USD 79 per person when 7 subscribe
  • USD 75 per person when 8 subscribe

Meru Waterfall

This is a beautiful little waterfall, with its principal advantage being its proximity to Arusha. The journey from Arusha is just 7km and takes only 15 minutes. Having parked, there is a short walk that involves some steep ground and some clambering, but is quite manageable, even for young children.

Once we reach the waterfall, it is usual to enjoy the environment with a picnic, included in the price. Costs include transport:

  • USD 114 per person when solo
  • USD 74 per person when 2 subscribe
  • USD 60 per person when 3 subscribe
  • USD 59 per person when 4 subscribe
  • USD 58 per person when 5 subscribe
  • USD 57 per person when 6 subscribe
  • USD 54 per person when 7 subscribe
  • USD 52 per person when 8 subscribe

Cave Falls

This option is suitable for those who want to spend more time walking as, following a 30 minute / 13km vehicle transfer to the area, access to the waterfall requires a 2km walk along a river bed. The walk to the falls takes a little under an hour and some 40 minutes to get back to the vehicle, if completing a circuit. Bear in mind that to get back to the car requires a height gain of 60 metres, so while not strenuous, one should be prepared for this.

  • USD 104 per person when solo
  • USD 69 per person when 2 subscribe
  • USD 58 per person when 3 subscribe
  • USD 57 per person when 4 subscribe
  • USD 56 per person when 5 subscribe
  • USD 55 per person when 6 subscribe
  • USD 52 per person when 7 subscribe
  • USD 50 per person when 8 subscribe

Lake Duluti

Two options are possible on this excursion: either one may walk around the lake or canoe across it. Depending on which hotel we start from, the drive is around 15-20 minutes to reach the lake. The walk around the lake covers some 3.5km, however, we normally have a picnic along the way and may stop regularly if we encounter birds, monkeys or monitor lizards.

Costs for the lakeside walk include the government conservation fee walk and are as follows.

  • USD 121 per person when solo
  • USD 91 per person when 2 subscribe
  • USD 81 per person when 3 subscribe
  • USD 80 per person when 4 subscribe
  • USD 79 per person when 5 subscribe
  • USD 78 per person when 6 subscribe
  • USD 76 per person when 7 subscribe
  • USD 74 per person when 8 subscribe

Please note that use of canoes is extra with hire fees being payable direct to the local government office.

Maasai Crater

This is a dramatic topographical feature with steep falls that fall away into a lush green crater. The attraction of this walk is threefold: the exercise, the awesome views, and the opportunity to meet authentic Maasai villagers. If walking around the crater rim, we cover around 4.2km, however, climbers will often want to descend to the crater floor, which may add another 3km or thereabouts. Bear in mind that if descending to the crater floor, the return to the rim requires an ascent of 257 metres, which will normally take somewhere between 30-50 minutes and is quite strenuous, dusty and exposed to direct sunlight with virtually no shade.

The following costs include transport, lunch, local entrance fees and a small gift to Moita village.

  • USD 134 per person when solo
  • USD 89 per person when 2 subscribe
  • USD 74 per person when 3 subscribe
  • USD 73 per person when 4 subscribe
  • USD 72 per person when 5 subscribe
  • USD 71 per person when 6 subscribe
  • USD 67 per person when 7 subscribe
  • USD 65 per person when 8 subscribe

Travel Packing Light

In a recent post, I admitted to having a packing problem — namely overpacking — so that I have to lug a large suitcase on many plane or train trips rather than a lighter, much handier carry-on-size bag (21 or 22 inches long). It spurred me to write “Seven Reasons for Packing Light,” mostly learned the hard way.

But I like to think that after my last trip — a week-long European cruise in February — that I’ve learned my lesson. I’d convinced myself there were extenuating circumstances: it was winter, so I needed heavier clothes; it was a cruise, so I would only need to unpack once; and it was a business trip (a story assignment), so I needed dress clothes and shoes for the ship’s semi-formal nights.

And, of course, my large bag had wheels, as does virtually every suitcase these days, so I could easily wheel it through airports and on level ground. And it being an overseas flight, there would be no extra charge for checking the bag. So, giving in to what seemed the inevitability of a large bag,  I loaded it up with contingency clothes: extra shirts, extra shoes, extra trousers. The “you never know when you might need it” syndrome. It all added up to one heavy, bulky suitcase.

My Big Mistake

New York City train stations and airports are notorious for escalators not working, with no elevators in sight. This means lugging or dragging a heavy suitcase up or down sometimes long — very long — flights of stairs, only to have to squeeze onto a crowded commuter train. What to do with my oversized bag? In my recent case, it meant blocking a crowded train aisle. Conductor not pleased. Other commuters irate, throwing dirty looks. Embarrassing for a professional traveler.

So I’ve decided that unless I’m going on a trip that absolutely requires special equipment — such as heavy hiking boots and hiking sticks and multiple sweaters in the Himalayas — that I’m packing light from now on. That means no checked bags, and no bags I can’t easily carry up or down stairs or get into overhead bins on trains or planes.

Here are 10 general tips on how to pack light. In subsequent posts, I’ll have tips specific to women, and others for men.

* Particularly when  it comes to clothing, keep this old chestnut in mind:  “Lay out everything you think you need, then pack only half of it.” For instance, if you think you’ll need four shirts, you’ll probably do fine with two. (However, if you lay out so much that half still equals a mound the size of a small-town landfill, you’ll definitely have to check a bag.)

* Another way to look at the above rule: “If in doubt, leave it out.” You can always buy a needed — or wanted — item at your destination.

* Open your (carry-on sized) suitcase and pack your absolute essentials first (nothing terribly valuable, of course, in case you have to gate check your bag or leave it in an overhead bin that’s out of sight; valuables go into your “personal” carry-on, such as a shoulder bag, backpack, or briefcase that will fit under an airline seat).

Once you’ve packed your essentials — and I’m talking shoes (preferably one pair, while you wear the other en route), underwear, one or two shirts, a pair of trousers (you’ll wear the other on the plane), a few socks if you’re wearing shoes other than sandals), toiletries with TSA-approved small-sized containers, a crushable hat or cap for sun protection, and some specific items for women and men that I’ll get to in subsequent posts — then you can add borderline items only if there’s space. For example, you may want to pack bulky computer cords or charging equipment in this bag if you’re reasonably sure it won’t be out of your sight.

* Take advantage of “miracle” fabrics that can be washed out and dry easily overnight or even while you’re eating lunch. That means you can wear them over and over, even if they get sweaty, and they are much lighter and more breathable  than wool, cotton, etc. I have a down “sweater-jacket” that can roll up into a small stuff bag that’s easily crammed into the corner of a suitcase. It fits snugly and provides warmth, especially if worn under an outer jacket if needed.

* Use packing cubes. Rather than digging around in your suitcase for an elusive pair of socks, pack your shirts (or underwear, trousers, etc.) in packing cubes — nylon containers that fasten with Velcro or zippers and keep your clothes neat and unwrinkled. You don’t even need to unpack them at your destination — just remove a piece of clothing as needed and if it’s still clean after wearing, fold and return it to the packing cube.

*Use compression packing bags. These are bags you fill with dirty clothes (usually) and then roll them up as a one-way valve pushes out the air, forming a flattened pack that takes up much less space and keeps your dirty clothes separate as well.

* Use every inch of space. Stuff extra socks or anything you can roll up into a small ball (such as a belt) inside packed shoes or anything hollow.

* Wear your heavy jacket, blazer, or heavier pair of shoes onto the plane so you don’t have to pack them. Fill pockets with extra handkerchiefs, Kleenex packs, etc.

* Remember that in general, as a leisure traveler you won’t be expected to be as turned out and stylish as you might be at home. Still, there are easy ways to look good (tips on those to come in subsequent posts).

* This may seem obvious, but it’s commonly overlooked amid all the other last-minute travel arrangements:check the weather at your destination before you pack. If it’s going to be dry and sunny, leave your rain gear at home. (It’s always prudent to carry a compact, fold-up umbrella, however.) If the weather is going to be cool and you’ll be nowhere near a beach, sandals are probably dispensable.

* Be sure that your personal carry-on — where you carry your passport, wallet (or extra wallet — more on that in the men’s tips post) or little purse, any other valuables, prescription medications, electronic equipment (laptop, tablet, cell phone, charger, etc.), reading material — is large enough to hold what’s needed and that your passport, cash, and a pen (for filling out forms) are readily accessible. Having shirt or jacket pockets while traveling is also extremely handy.

Next up: Packing tips for women.

Readers, if you have any favorite packing tips that I haven’t covered, please feel free to add by leaving a comment — thanks!

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