Film Fixing and Photography in Uganda
Are you an international, regional or local media company, ad agency, brand, or production company looking for filming or photography production support and shooting crew in Uganda? Contact us for trusted and experienced directors, fixers, producers, videographers, full shooting crews, drone pilots, Director of photography, photographers and other specific needs of your filming project in Uganda.
Filming in Uganda
Uganda is one of the best filming locations in Africa commonly tagged as “The Pearl of Africa”. Uganda filming locations depends on the need of your project, locations range from filming mountain gorillas, wildlife, forests, rivers, local culture, mountains, waterfalls, hospitals, cities and towns, historical sites among others. For introductions and guidelines to shooting in Uganda see below notes on Uganda filming permits and requirements, what is needed from each film crew member planning to film in Uganda, film locations in Uganda, when to shoot, costs and tax incentives, unique local stories, crew and talent, filming equipment, visas and work permits for filming in Uganda, transportation, Accommodation and safety advice.
Uganda Film Locations
Uganda is the Pearl of Africa. Despite the small size of Uganda, it is home to 50% of the only remaining mountain gorillas in the wild and Africa’s most diverse ranges, landscapes, wildlife and biodiversity including more than 1000 bird species. This makes Uganda one of the best filming location in Africa. Filming locations in Uganda range from rivers, lakes, savannas, mountains, jungle, waterfalls, hospitals and traditional villages. Uganda has hosted films including The Last King of Scotland (2006), Queen of Katwe (2016), Congo (1995), and The African Queen (1951). Uganda Agricultural film locations include plantations of coffee, tea, cotton, sugarcane, corn, and sunflowers. Industrial locations include gold, tin, granite, copper, and iron ore mines.
Film locations in Uganda can be divided into the following regions:
This region includes the districts and towns of Buikwe, Bukomansimbi, Butambala, Buvuma, Gomba, Kalangala, Kalungu, Kampala, Kayunga, Kiboga, Kyankwanzi, Luweero, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Masaka, Mityana, Mpigi, Mubende, Mukono, Nakaseke, Nakasongola, Rakai, Sembabule, and Wakiso. Kampala is the capital, the largest city, and the main production service centre where crew and equipment are based. Locations of note include Bahai Temple, Kampala city main business area, Makerere University, Kampala Hindu Temple, Kabaka’s Palace, Uganda National Mosque, and the Nakasero Market. Ssese Islands, located in Lake Victoria, are known for their white-sand beaches and relaxed pace of life. Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is located on an island in Lake Victoria. Ssezibwa Falls are a beautiful film location. Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary has an active southern white Rhinos breeding programme great for filming. Aero Beach is a resort built around the rusty relics of old airplanes used in the Uganda passed fallen regimes including Idi Amin.
This region includes the districts and towns of Buhweju, Buliisa, Bundibugyo, Bushenyi, Hoima, Ibanda, Isingiro, Kabale, Kabarole, Kamwenge, Kanungu, Kasese, Kibaale, Kiruhura, Kiryandongo, Kisoro, Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, Masindi, Mbarara, Mitooma, Ntoroko, Ntungamo, Rubirizi, Rukungiri, and Sheema. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to the Great Apes, 50% of the only remaining mountain gorillas in the wild, the park is also home chimpanzees, forest elephants and other wildlife, all depends on the requirements of your project. Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to the Big 4 animals, animals include hippos, elephants, crocodiles, buffaloes, lions, leopards, mongoose, warthogs and chimpanzees found in Kyambura Gorge among others. Locations include Kazinga Channel, Katwe salt mines, crater lakes, local communities at Kasenyi and katunguru landing sites, Kyambura Gorge among others Kibale National Forest is home to chimpanzees, monkeys, and a diversity of birdlife. Uganda is the source of the Nile River. The spectacular Murchison Falls force the river’s flow through a tight gap known as the Devil’s Cauldron. Murchison Falls National Park is home to elephants, crocodiles, giraffes, leopards, buffalos, hippos, and waterbuck. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is a great place to photograph the mountain gorillas, this is because its vegetation is mainly bamboo vegetation which is not very thick compared to tropical forest in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Lake Mburo National Park is home to zebras, Giraffes, hippopotamus, leopards, and a diversity of bird species. Uganda is home to the highest mountain range in Africa; the Mountains of the Moon in the Rwenzori National Park. The picturesque Lake Bunyonyi is a great location for bird photography. Semuliki National Park is home to leopards, hippopotamus, elephant, monkeys, the Pygmy scaly-tailed flying squirrel, and a diversity of butterfly species. Mount Muhavura is an extinct volcano in the Virunga Mountains.
This region includes the districts and towns of Abim, Adjumani, Agago, Alebtong, Amolatar, Amudat, Amuru, Apac, Arua, Dokolo, Gulu, Kaabong, Kitgum, Koboko, Kole, Kotido, Lamwo, Lira, Maracha, Moroto, Moyo, Nakapiripirit, Napak, Nebbi, Nwoya, Otuke, Oyam, Pader, Yumbe, and Zombo. Kidepo Valley National Park is home to hyenas, lions, cheetahs, leopards, wild dogs, elephants, giraffes, zebras, and a diversity of birdlife. The Ike community Pian Upe Game Reserve is a wooded grassland location home to wildlife such as such as giraffes, lions, leopard, zebras, and buffaloes. Manyattas are interesting traditional villages lived in by the Karamojong people, a tribe of warrior pastoralists.
This region includes the districts and towns of Amuria, Budaka, Bududa, Bugiri, Bukedea, Bukwa, Bulambuli, Busia, Butaleja, Buyende, Iganga, Jinja, Kaberamaido, Kaliro, Kamuli, Kapchorwa, Katakwi, Kibuku, Kumi, Kween, Luuka, Manafwa, Mayuge, Mbale, Namayingo, Namutumba, Ngora, Pallisa, Serere, Sironko, Soroti, and Tororo. Sipi waterfall is located in the slopes of Mount Elgon National Park, local community experience the coffee tour and traditional sites. Mountain Elgon National Park, the park is home to a wide array of wildlife which includes mammals and over 300 species of birds. It is home to unique and beautiful Afromontane plants and forests found on the slopes of mount Elgon. It is also home to the largest intact caldera in the world habiting various unique and endemic flora and fauna. The park is also well known for its traditional cultures, history and ethnicities tribes include the Sabaot, the Bagisu, the Sapiinjak and the Ogiek.
Uganda Film Location Permits
For location permits in Uganda most locations are possible given time, money and the right approach. Please contact Eco Adventure Safaris for location specific information. All the members of the visiting crew may be required to present their Press Accreditation when filming on location so we advise you always secure this in advance before starting off the project.
Uganda Visas and Work Permits
Uganda requires Press Accreditation for each visiting crew member. Once all required visitor documentation is submitted, processing takes 2-3 days. Press accreditation is valid for 30 days. Visitors are required to have this permit at the port of entry, when clearing gear through customs, and when filming anywhere in Uganda. Our fixer can arrange this for all visiting crew members. Press accreditation costs US$175 per person.
What we need from each crew member to film in Uganda:
1. Headed cover letter addressed to the Uganda Media Council stating the purpose of your visit to Uganda. 2. Scanned photocopies of the passport of each crew member. 3. 2 Scanned passport size photo of each crew member. 4. $175 per crew member press accreditation fee. 5. Completed form G. (We shall share with you this form to fill in) Visas are required by all nationals. These can be applied for at your closest embassy, or online using the e-Visa system, or on arrival at Entebbe airport. Our local team can provide you with an invitation letter for you and your crew. The tourist visa costs $50. Uganda has an agreement with Kenya and Tanzania to waiver visa re-entry fees if travelling between the three countries. Similarly, obtaining an East Africa Visa allows travel multiple entry travel between Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda. Important to remember you must carry your yellow fever vaccination cards at all times.
All film crew members are by law supposed to be accredited by Uganda Media Council. Once this process is completed, each crew member will be given a media card which costs USD175.00 for 30 days filming and USD225.00 for up to 60 days filming. Each crew member is required to fill Form G (which we normally send to you) with all details, scan and send it back to us with a copy of his/her passport as well as one photograph to be put on his/her media card. On top of this, we will need a letter from the filming company detailing who they are, why they are filming, where they will be filming and details of crew members on this shoot. We will attach this letter to all details provided and send them to Uganda Media Council for Media card processing. This takes 2-3 working days to have these media cards ready.
When To Shoot in Uganda?
Uganda has a wet, tropical climate, with the exception of the far north savanna region which is dry. Uganda’s first dry season runs from December to February. The first wet season runs from March to May. The second dry season runs from June to August and the second wet season runs from September to November. The dry seasons are the best time to film for weather and tracking the Great Apes. Big game wildlife filming is best at the end of the dry seasons, when animals congregate around water sources. Uganda is a predominately Christian country, so those holidays are observed. Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Uganda.
Unique Local Stories
Brands are looking for local stories that match their brand narrative. Our local teams are a great lead for sourcing those unique stories and characters. If you are looking for stories for your next shoot, send us your brief and we will pitch your ideas. If you have a unique story you would like to pitch to a brand anywhere in the world, pitch us your idea. We have well-established processes to ensure that your ideas are properly seen and protected.
Costs and Tax Incentives
Costs. Uganda’s local costs such as talent, supporting crew and locations are inexpensive. Imported goods can be expensive. Since little to no filming infrastructure exists all key crew and equipment must be brought in from abroad. Kenya is the closest major production center. Our Ugandan fixer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget. Tax Incentives. At present there are no tax incentives for foreign commercials or films shooting in Uganda.
Fixers and Talent in Uganda
Crews. There are very few directors, videographers or stills photographers in Uganda. Most crew must be brought in from abroad. Local supporting crews can help with basic projects. If you need to look further, more experienced crews exist in nearby Kenya. Contact Eco Adventure Safaris if you are looking for a director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew for your shoot in Uganda. Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable. English and Swahili are the official languages. Uganda has 54 different ethnic groups. The largest groups include the Baganda, Banyankole, Basoga, Bakiga, Iteso, Langi, Bagisu, Acholi, and Lugbara. All other looks need to be brought in from abroad.
Uganda Film Equipment
Equipment. Uganda has all of the standard camera, grip and lighting equipment available locally. Bringing in gear is a simple process. Customs fees are around 10% of the value of imported equipment but our fixer can work out a flat fee. Send us your gear list and we can advise accordingly. Nairobi, Kenya is the closest regional film production center if you need to bring in gear. Communication. Slow internet. Communication is key. Our agility and global experience allows us to customize the right communications systems for every shoot. Web posted casting, scouting, and videoconferencing. For clients that are unable to attend set we offer a virtual video village solution. This dedicated and secure high-resolution video streaming platform allows clients from one or multiple timezones to view setups without compromise and to participate in real-time with the team on set. Separate systems can be set up for the discrete conversations that are required to make a job run right. Working remotely with our local teams reduces your content production costs, turnaround times, carbon footprint, and risks associated with unpredictable global events.
Vehicle Hire and Transportation Services
Eco Adventure Safaris organizes transport for film crews depending on their interest, budget and the nature of roads in such selected locations. For rough terrains, like in National Parks, we recommend Customized 4x4 Land Cruisers which costs from USD200-250 per vehicle per day with Driver/Fixer or 4x4 Safari Vans from USD200 per Van per day with driver/Fixer. For us to estimate how much it will cost in terms of fuel, we will need to look at your filming schedule to establish mileage and distance to be travelled. We also organize both charter and schedule air transport for those that need to fly in order to reduce on the number of hours. For those filming on water bodies, we work with other credible service providers who are in position to hire us boats
Film Fixers in Uganda
All our vehicles come with drivers who act as location fixers and most of them have been to almost all parts of Uganda and are thus conversant with the local situations and are able to provide relevant information and fix any situation on ground. These act as intermediaries between you and our office while on location in Uganda.
Film-Friendly Accommodation in Uganda
Accommodation options to stay in during filming range from Budget, mid-range to luxury options. You will choose what to stay in depending on your interests and budget. Contact us here for details. Recommended film friendly hotels in Kampala include: Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala Serena Hotel, Emin Pasha Hotel and Kampala Sheraton Hotel.
Uganda Film Productions Support
If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company in Uganda, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Uganda, please contact Eco Adventure Safaris we are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly. If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Uganda, such as a director, DoP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, please contact us here.