Volunteer programme for Green Blue Life Uganda 2020

Dear all, 

The volunteer programme organised by Green Blue Life Uganda is constantly evolving and it is therefore possible that the programme will have changed once you participate. It is therefore necessary that all participants are flexible, helpful and respectful. 

It is prohibited to consume alcohol and other illicit substances during the programme.

The programme is not suitable for those who are looking for a relaxing vacation, since active participation is necessary. Since parts of the programme take place in national parks inhabited by wild animals, it is necessary that all participants follow the orders of the leaders / park rangers and respect the wilderness itself. Participants must be in good physical and mental shape. 

Participation can be cancelled four weeks before the official beginning of the programme at the latest. In case participants wish to end the programme early, no financial reimbursements will be given. 

All participants are required to fill out an online form for the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary that will be emailed out a month before the beginning of the programme. All participants are further required to study and sign the Volunteers’ obligations document

Uganda is a magical country and all those who visit will undergo a transformation.

Thank you for your interest,

The Green Blue Life Uganda team

Programme

Day 1

The first night after the arrival will be spent near the airport in Entebbe camping in a pleasant local hostel (shared rooms). Currency exchange possible.

Day 2 – 5

The next part of the volunteer programme will be focused on the town of Karuma, located on the border of the oldest and largest national park in Uganda, Murchison Falls National Park. This small town is very close the river Nile and deals with the issue of single use plastics, which are carried by the wind into the surrounding areas or washed away by the rain into the river. Garbage also ends up in this unique national park.

In Karuma, we will administer ecological lectures and workshops to a local school. During school holidays, the lectures will be given to the local community.

​Day 6 – 12

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is a private nature reserve directed at reproduction and rescue of white rhinoceroses. The reserve is 70km2 large. Each rhinoceros is monitored 24/7 by two park rangers to ensure almost perfect safety that is necessary for the survival of these beautiful majestic creatures. Apart from 30 white rhinoceroses living in the reserve, there are also 40 different species of mammals such as hippopotamuses, leopards, monkeys, a few species of antelopes, various species of reptiles including crocodiles, and also 370 species of birds. The vegetation in the reserve consists of densely overgrown savanna and marshes.

We have already installed 14 photo-traps that monitor the animals and the human activity in the reserve. Volunteers will participate in monitoring the reserve and their tasks will include placing/controlling the traps and data collection. During the programme, volunteers will cooperate with the local rangers in the reserve.

Day 12 – 14

Visit to Murchison Falls National Park.

Safari

During the course of the next 48hours (2 nights) we will spend time in the biggest and oldest national park in Uganda. The park offers an incredible variety of animal species. It is possible to catch a glimpse of herds of elephants, buffalos, bearded pigs, giraffes, countless birds and various types of antelopes. Lions, leopards and hyenas also live in the park.

There is a high chance of spotting herds of hippopotamuses, crocodiles and flocks of birds near the water, especially if you are during cruises. The cost of this trip is not included in the price of the programme and the extra cost totals at $55 per person. During this 3-4 long cruise and the light hiking trip along the banks of the river Nile, we will see the world’s strongest waterfall. Other large mammals (e.g. elephants, buffaloes, antelopes) are also quite common, since the animals like to spend time around the river.

Accommodation will be provided in tents in the campsite in the heart of the park. Here, you will witness animal life and sounds (e.g. hippopotamuses) occurring even at dusk. A smooth course of action in the park during the night will be assured by professional rangers, who are trained for this type of work and love wild animals and nature.

​Day 15

Cleaning tents / sleeping bags / sleeping mats. Relaxing near Lake Victoria.

​Day 16

Breakfast and airport transfer, departure from Entebbe.

Programme fees

The price of our volunteer programme has been set at: $1,450.

The price includes:

  • vegetarian/vegan meals during the course of the programme
  • transport from and to Entebbe airport
  • seven days in the savanna and a five-day volunteering programme in cooperation with rangers in the private reserve focused on white rhinos (Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary)
  • all transports in Uganda within the scope of our program and transport during the safari in Murchison Falls
  • camping for the duration of the programme – this concerns camping in national parks and their surroundings and two nights in a local camping site near the airport in Entebbe.

What is not included:

  • return flights
  • Ugandan visas – we recommend that you sort the visas at the airport after arrival, it is necessary to show a valid certificate of vaccination for yellow fewer and a valid passport. Visas cost $50 for the period of 3months (payment in cash, notes undamaged, printed since 2012).
  • antimalarials – Uganda has been classified as a country with a high risk of malaria. All four kinds of malaria occur in Uganda. It is therefore recommended that you consider buying antimalaria medication and inform yourself on how to use them.
  • travel insurance – All volunteers are required to have a valid travel insurance for the duration of the programme.

The capacity of the volunteer programme is 12 persons at the moment.

Dates

1 Feb. 15, 2020 March 1, 2020 12 0 no
2 March 14, 2020 March 29, 2020 12 0 no
3 April 11, 2020 April 24, 2020 12 0 no
4 May 9, 2020 May 24, 2020 12 0 no
5 June 13, 2020 June 28, 2020 12 0 no
6 July 11, 2020 July 26, 2020 12 0 no
7 Aug. 8, 2020 Aug. 23, 2020 12 0 no
8 Sept. 12, 2020 Sept. 27, 2020 12 0 no
9 Oct. 10, 2020 Oct. 25, 2020 12 0 no
10 Nov. 14, 2020 Nov. 29, 2020 12 0 no
date start end group size booked fully-booked

Application and payment

Applicants need to fill out the electronic application form and pay a deposit of $450 deposit to the Green Blue Life Uganda Limited account.

Payment instructions

Recipient Name and Address:
GREEN-BLUE LIFE UGANDA LIMITED
PLOT NO.1548 (BLOCK 161)
KIGOOGWA CENTRAL ZONE MITYANA

Recipient Bank Name
STANBIC BANK UGANDA LIMITED

Recipient Bank Address
CRESTED TOWERS SHORT TOWER FLOOR 1
7131 KAMPALA

Recipient Account Details
9030015450508

Recipient SWIFT (BIC)
SBICUGKX

Recipient reference (money goes through USA bank)
Citibank, New York, NY
Account number: 36110279
SWIFT Code: CITIUS33

A bank transfer from Europe to Uganda costs around $30 and this amount is paid by the applicant.


Please include “VOLUNTEER PROGRAMME” and your name in the reference box so that we can easily identify the payment. The deposit is non-refundable.

The remaining $1,000 will be paid later (4 weeks before the start of the programme at the latest) to the said account. You will be informed later of the exact date.

Volunteer programme application form

Possibility of a personal meeting with the mountain gorillas

The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (UNESCO) is one of the most suitable places in Africa to observe mountain gorillas. The Park is home to roughly half of the global population of mountain gorillas (450 animals), chimpanzees, elephants, forest antelope, 350 species of birds and 200 species of butterflies.

A trip to Bwindi can be arranged by us. If you want to make sure that you really see the gorillas, you need to buy a permit for the so-called Gorilla Trekking. These permits are sold by the Ugandan animal protection authority - the Uganda Wildlife Authority and are available to be purchased from the central office in Kampala. We are happy to help you purchase this permit subject to separate negotiation.

The price of the permit is determined by the Ugandan government at $600.. If you would like to pay for the permit with a card, there will be an extra $20 fee, totalling at $620.

This is a half-day trip and the time you can spend near the gorilla family is one hour. The trekking takes place with the assistance of the trained park managers, who also serve as guides. In case there is large interest in the trip, it is recommended that you purchase a permit for 4 days which would extend your trip with us. In this scenario, you would spend 20 days in Uganda.

The total price of the trip to see the mountain gorillas (including the permit, $600) comes up to $1,100.

The price includes the ticket to see the gorillas, 4 nights camping, car rental + driver + fuel, meals (breakfast/lunch/dinner), tent accommodation and transfer to Entebbe airport. This is a 14-hour transfer and throughout the trip you will travel across the entire country (approximately 1,600km). if you would like to see the mountain gorillas, we recommend you arrange the trip in advance since the visitor numbers are limited.

We are happy to get the ticket sorted for you – in this case, we recommend you send the money for gorilla trekking with the deposit, i.e. $450 + $620 = $1,070..

Bank transfers from Europe to Uganda cost approximately $30 and are covered by the applicant.

A minimum of 2 volunteers is required for the trip.

Useful tips and travel advice

Location

Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa. All international flights arrive at the Entebbe International Airport which is located about an hour drive from the capital Kampala. There are several flight route options with stopovers in Istanbul, Dubai and Nairobi to name but a few. We personally use the Prague – Dubai, Dubai – Entebbe or Prague – Amsterdam, Amsterdam – Entebbe connections. We will pick you up at the airport and drop you off after the program ends.

​Weather and climate

Thanks to large parts of the country being occupied by a plateau, Uganda boasts a fairly mild tropical climate compared to other countries in the equatorial region. Historically, this part of Africa enjoyed two rainy seasons – April and November. The rest of the year remained fairly dry, particularly in the northern parts of the country. Recent environmental and climatic changes, however, are rendering accurate predictions of weather conditions and patterns increasingly difficult. Be ready for both intense heat and rain. Frequent showers are to be expected particularly at the cloud forest site. It is necessary to be prepared that on warm days the temperatures are around 27 degrees and the wind is usually cooler. If you are interested in a trip to see the gorillas we recommend to take warmer clothes as the temperature is around 20 degrees. The temperatures are cooler, especially at night.

Packing essentials

  • Waterproof jacket, raincoat or poncho
  • Pair of solid walking shoes
  • Pair of comfortable trousers
  • Long sleeve T-shirt/shirt and a warm sweatshirt or jumper 
  • Comfortable pair of sneakers and a pair of sandals/flip flops
  • Cap/hat is an absolute must

​​All programme participants will be provided with a tent and a quality sleeping bag. Feel free to bring your own if you prefer.​

To lead by example and to minimise the use of disposable plastics, all volunteers are asked to bring reusable food containers, a set of cutlery and a vacuum flask to store hot beverages. Apart from a few areas high in the mountains, bottled water is currently the only safe source of drinking water - a sad fact we cannot do much about at the moment. To keep our plastic waste generation as low as possible, we always buy drinking water in large containers. Tap water in Uganda is only safe to drink after boiling.

Food

Sealable containers for food, cutlery, tea/coffee. We do not want to be part of the culture of disposable plastics and we strive to minimize their use. Only bottled water is drinkable in the country, and we cannot influence this at the moment. Tap water is drinkable after boiling. Drinking water can be bought in a big barrels and can be arranged by us.

Planning vegetarian and vegan menus as well as daily meal preparation is done by volunteers themselves. Are you looking forward to trying delicious exotic fruit and veg yet?

Malaria and mosquitoes

As mentioned above, Uganda belongs to countries with a high risk of malaria and purchasing antimalarials is highly recommended. To be able to make an informed decision, it is advisable for all volunteers to carefully study both prophylaxis and stand-by treatment options.

The first step in protection against malaria, however, should always be long sleeves, trousers and mosquito repellents. This is particularly important after 5pm when mosquitoes become active. Your chosen repellent brand should contain as high a percentage of DEET as possible. If you intend to transport a mosquito repellent in your hand luggage, always keep in mind there is a 100ml size restriction on all liquids.

People, wildlife and safety

Uganda is one of the safest countries in Africa, and people from across its many different communities generally are respectful and kind-hearted. As in any urban area in the world, caution and a watchful eye is advised in particularly crowded areas, although larger groups have also proved to act as a pickpocket deterrent.

In nature reserves and parks, close encounters with wild animals, especially when sudden and unexpected, can turn very dangerous. This mainly applies to large mammal species such as buffaloes, elephants and hippos to name but a few. Lions, leopards and hyenas have all been occasionally spotted in the Semliki Wildlife Reserve. It is more of a rarity but has to be taken into consideration nonetheless. We will move around in groups and all volunteers are expected to follow instructions given out by group leaders, guides and rangers. Activities not included in the programme’s schedule must be discussed with a programme team representative beforehand.

Electricity, water and hygiene

Safe drinking water will be available at all times. Sufficient shower (sometimes hot) and sanitary facilities are also available.

Electricity, hot water and wireless internet connection can be relied on approximately 60% of the time. Staying in the African wilderness, we cannot guarantee uninterrupted provision of utilities. A high capacity power bank definitely comes in handy.

In Uganda the associated plug type is G, which is the plug that has three rectangular pins in a triangular pattern and is also used in the UK. Uganda operates on a 240V supply voltage and 50Hz. To be able to use your personal electrical appliances safely, ensure you pack the right type of travel adapter where needed.

Spending money

As stated above, the programme fee covers accommodation, food and local transportation costs. Any additional expenses are to be considered solely at the discretion of each individual. Our recommended allowance for the whole duration of the programme is $150.

Programme requirements

All programme participants must be over 18 years old. All underage participants must be accompanied by an adult. Each person is responsible for their own behaviour and is obliged to follow all instructions with no exception.

Most of our time will be spent in national parks and nature reserves. Therefore, respect for animals and the environment is essential. A reasonable level of physical as well as mental fitness is also required.

FAQ

Why should I pay to volunteer?

The funds received will be used for the whole project in Uganda. All of our organisation’s revenue goes towards the running and administrative costs of the Green & Blue Life Uganda project. Our top priority is the purchase an off-road vehicle to facilitate transportation of volunteers. Other means of public transport such as coaches and local buses are highly unreliable and can be very time-consuming. There is no rail network in Uganda. 

Last but not least, we would like to buy a land on the border of the national park or a nature reserve, where we can create a base for our programs and volunteers. We plan to build a cottage or a large tent, of course, as gentle as possible to the local nature.

We also want to start working with the locals so that they can benefit with a financial contribution to help conserve the nature, and to stop poaching.

Who is this programme not for?

Our volunteer programme is not intended for those who wish to spend some time away on a relaxing holiday. The programme requires an active approach and participation in all its aspects.

Pre-departure checklist

  • Passport – Must be valid no less than 6 months after return.
  • Visa – Visas can be applied for electronically no later than 4 days prior to departure. A successful visa application requires a yellow fever vaccination certificate.
  • Malaria – Uganda belongs to areas with a high risk of malaria and all treatment options should be carefully considered. 
  • Yellow fever – Yellow fever vaccination completed no later than 8 days before arrival is required to enter Ugandan territory and the entry into the.country is not possible without proof of the vaccination card. This is checked at the airport.
  • Travel Insurance