Uganda is a land locked country found in East Africa, it was ranked number 1 destination in the world in 2012 by lonely planet, and this is because of its wildlife, landscape, culture among other things. There are 10 National parks in Uganda and other game reserves where to find various animals and plant species and below are some of the best National parks and other places one can visit while in Uganda.
32 top things to do while on Safari in Uganda
According to travel experts, Uganda is considered among the top destinations on every tourist’s budget bucket list. This amazing country also known as the pearl of Africa has from time to time received outstanding reviews from renowned organizations and websites such as lonely planet, CNN and the BBC; so it’s no wonder this country is much loved among holidaymakers.
The extensive list of attractions and things to do in Uganda accommodates both first Time travelers and devoted travelers. its offers various fascinating activities to engage in ranging from meeting man’s closest living relative – the mountain gorillas in Bwindi National Park, visiting the source of the Nile – the longest river in the world, whitewater rafting with class 5 rapids and ascending the snow capped mountain peak of mountain Rwenzori. in addition to the country’s fascinating wildlife encounters that include views of Africa’s big five animals Uganda has a great diversity of ethnic groups found within the country which can be explored during the culture tours winch will give travelers opportunities to engage, meet, interact and even have hands- on experiences with the local people of Uganda. Below we have brought you like top 32 things to do while on Safari in Uganda
Trek the mountain gorillas of Bwindi National Park or Mgahinga National Park
Every year Uganda receives thousands and thousands of tourists who visit to see the mountain gorillas. These amazing creatures are considered to be an endangered species with approximately 900 of them remaining in the whole world. These can only be seen in three countries across the universe with Uganda holding the largest population of them all. During your visit you will be allowed sometime to take pictures as you observe these amazing creatures which share about 98% of their DNA with man. this is considered one of those once-in-a-lifetime wildlife encounters
Uganda has a population of over 5,000 chimpanzees living within its verdant forests. Today chimpanzee trucking is among the most popular tourist activities in this country. During the tour visitors get an opportunity to meet the chimps which can be seen in different natural sanctuaries across the country, but looking at just Queen Elizabeth National Park there are about 1500 chimpanzees living there. On this adventure you will be able to see how closely related humans and chimpanzees are. As you observe their behavior, vocal communication, how they socially associate with each other and the amazing way the mothers are able to take care of their young ones. Chimpanzee tracking can be done in Kibale national park, Kyambura gorge found in Queen Elizabeth National park, and Budongo forest found in Murchison Falls national park,
Climb Mount Elgon
Mount Elgon is located on Uganda’s border with Kenya and being an extinct volcano is estimated to have last erupted 24 million years ago. it offers a uniquely challenging mountaineering experience and at the top of its caldera which is considered to be one of the largest in the world is a nice camping site.
Visit the Uganda martyrs shrine at Namugongo
In 1886 on the 3rd of June, kabaka Mwanga the then ruling king of Buganda kingdom killed forty five young men by burning them in dry reeds for failing to renounce the Christian faith. these martyrs belonged to the Roman Catholic as well as the Anglican faith. Annually this shrine at Namugongo receives millions of pilgrimages coming from different parts of the world. in addition this site has been visited by three popes of the Catholic faith including Pope John Paul II in 1993, Pope Paul VI in 1969 and Pope Francis who recently visited the site in 2015.
Track down the tree-climbing Lions living in Ishasha area
Within the well-known Queen Elizabeth National Park is an area known as that Ishasha sector where you will find a population of the unique tree-climbing lions. The biggest percentage of tourists that visit the park also engage in this amazing activity. Generally lions are known for their inability to climb trees however these unique lions are commonly seen resting up in the tree branches of the giant fig trees. Interestingly, to date the reason behind this unique behavior has not yet been known however some people suspect that they do so to escape from the heat on the ground, whereas others say they do so to easily see their prey, some others insist that they do so to run away from the biting insects on the ground.
Enjoy a cultural visit to the Batwa community
The Batwa who are pygmy people that lived within the impenetrable forests of Bwindi and Mgahinga currently stay on the outer fringes of these National Parks. They are a people who entirely depend on this forest for survival and a visit to their villages will give you an opportunity to learn how they managed to survive for several years in these parts of the African jungle. You will be entertained by their traditional songs and dances, as well as visit some of the village elders who will narrate to you interesting stories about the history of these people
Visit the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to track rhinos
A number of years ago the Rhino species was totally extinct from Uganda and the primary cause of this was severe poaching and political unrest within their sanctuaries. There was improper conservation of these land Giants however with the establishment of the Ziwa rhino sanctuary these amazing creatures were re-introduced into the country and today the White rhinos can be seen there. During your visit led by the well experience ranger guides you will head on foot and track these land Giants. The guides will also offer you detailed information about the white rhinos as well offer you the best conservation guideline
Explore the Nyero Rock paintings
These paintings are dated back to 1250 CE and are found in eastern Uganda within, Kumi district. It’s alleged that they could have been drawn by the local batwa what people who lived in this area at the time. They show quite an interesting insight of the way of life that the people who stayed in this area centuries ago lived.
Visit the Rothschild’s giraffe
This giraffe species is considered to be endangered worldwide with about 1,700 individuals remaining today. These Rothschild giraffes currently can only be seen in Uganda as well as Kenya with Uganda having the larger population of them all. They can be easily found in Kdepo National Park as well as Murchison Falls National Park.
Visit the Baha’i Temple
This is the only Temple belonging to the Baha’i faith found on the African continent it was opened in 1962 in the month of February and it is found within Kampala City a visit here will give you an insight of different societal religions and traditions. The site also has very beautiful gardens worth exploring.
Track the shoebill stork birds
This highly elusive bad species is considered as one of the must-see birds on everybody’s destination while in Uganda. They can easily be seen within the muddy swamps where they feast on a variety of prey including small types of fish. The country offers a variety of habitants where the birds can be seen among which is the Murchison Falls National Park, the Mamba Island on Lake Victoria, Lake Mburo National Park and the ziwa rhino sanctuary.
Track Golden monkeys
This amazing adventure offers you an opportunity to see the amazing golden monkeys which have a unique golden-orange color on their coats of far. Just as a number of other wildlife species such as mountain gorillas, these golden monkeys are also considered to be endangered worldwide and can only be seen in Uganda, Congo and Rwanda. Golden monkey tracking is conducted in the Mgahinga Forest National Park during which the travelers will be given a detailed briefing about this unique species. You will visit them and observe then go about their day-to-day activities and if Lucky capture a number of photographs of these highly elusive monkeys.
Visit the Kabaka’s palace in mengo
The Bulange which is the official residence of the king of the prominent Buganda kingdom was constructed back in 1885. On this tour you will get to learn about the historical and administrative journey of the Buganda people since the British colonial times. There are a number of sites relating to this kingdom that you will visit as well
Visit the reptile village
although this destination is not a commonly visited place in Uganda it is found along the Kampala Entebbe highway and it was primarily established to educate visitors about the different reptile species in the country and how they can be conserved. Among the resident reptile species that you will see during your visit are different types of snakes, crocodiles, tortoises, lizards and chameleons in addition to many others. A visit to the reptile village will give you a closer encounter of the much-feared reptiles. Visiting this reptile village is usually a single day adventure that is normally included at the end or start of a safari in Uganda
Enjoy a beautiful getaway on the Ssesse islands
In Lake Victoria is the beautiful Ssesse islands that surrounded by white sand beaches and beautiful accommodation. The Ssesse is a good place for holidaymakers seeking a romantic getaway or on a honeymoon vacation. Besides enjoying the quite Beaches, you will also be able to meet the local people who are mainly fishermen that live on these islands.
Spot Africa’s big 5 animals
Uganda pride in a number of different National Parks spread out across the country offering holidaymakers great opportunities to see the big five animals which include lions, Buffaloes, rhinos, cheetahs and elephants. In addition you won’t miss out on interesting species like zebras, giraffes, different antelopes and the unique tree-climbing lions. The country has ten (10) different national parks which offer holidaymakers the great diversity to choose from where to see these amazing animals. Among the most popular wildlife savanna parks is the Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and the Kidepo valley National Park
Enjoy the fascinating nightlife of Kampala
Kampala is the capital city of Uganda and it offers very interesting opportunity especially for holidaymakers who love music, dancing and partying. There are a number of top notch bars, restaurants, night clubs and lounges found across the city. Kampala is generally safe, the streets are well-lit and the people are hospitable and outgoing.
Go bird watching
There are more than 1000 different types of birds that have been recorded here in Uganda. Irrespective of which part of the country you visit you will definitely be rewarded the amazing views and sounds of birds that will wake you up in the morning singing sweetly from the high trees. Among the special species found in Uganda are the shoebill storks the blue turaco and the Ibis.
Some of the best places to view birds in this country include Semiliki National Park, Bwindi National Park, kidepo National Park – home of several rare species, and Queen Elizabeth National Park which has more than 600 different species.
Visit the Uganda equator
Have you ever imagined yourself standing one foot in the southern hemisphere and the other in the northern hemisphere, then visit the Uganda equator? You will get an opportunity to take very memorable pictures carry out a number of interesting experiments and visit the souvenir shop where you will be able to purchase a number of interesting take home gifts for the people you left home.
Enjoy a hot air balloon ride
Uganda offers hot air balloon rides its different national parks during which holidaymakers are able to enjoy views of the beautiful landscapes and see the large wildlife numbers from an aerial view. Photographers normally engage in this exciting adventure that is mainly conducted in Murchison falls National Park and Queen Elizabeth National
Engage in sports fishing
Uganda has a number of different lakes within its boundaries with approximately 90 different species of fish recorded there. it offers holidaymakers interested in fishing opportunities to make a number of remarkable catches like the Nile Perch from the big freshwater lake – the Lake Victoria
Set out Quad biking
One of the unique ways to explore the unique terrain and have an up-close view of different wildlife is by taking a quad bike adventure. This is mainly done in Lake Mburo National park because the park has a very small number of predators that might put the lives of participants at risk. The park has a very large number of grazers such as zebras, the Uganda kobs, elands plus several other types of antelopes and with a very minimal number of leopards and the lions.
Visiting Uganda museum
This is the oldest museum in East Africa and showcased its first exhibition back in 1905. In 1954 it was relocated to a more spacious place where it is currently located, and today it is one of the best places you can visit to get a proper insight of Uganda’s culture, pre-colonial history and even see a number of remarkable displays about this country.
Game viewing on a cycling tour
In Uganda it is possible to enjoy game viewing while riding a mountain bike. This kind of adventure brings you closer to Mother Nature and the different birds and animals found in the country. Today this activity is currently conducted mainly in Lake Mburo National park because the park has several grazers like different antelopes and zebras with very few predators such as lions which can put the riders at risk.
Visit the Gadaffi mosque
also known as a the Gadaffi mosque this project that was started by Iddi Amin back in the 1970s a former president of this country, and was only completed in 2006 with financial assistance from former president of Libya – Colonel Gaddafi. The mosque has a very beautiful architectural design and has a very high tower that offers a 360 degrees view of the whole of Kampala City center. There is a staircase of more than 300 steps that you will have to climb before reaching the apex viewing point
Enjoy a boat cruise to the bottom of the Murchison Falls
Many people wonder why a boat ride to the bottom of Murchison falls is always talked about as a Uganda Safari Special. The reason is because of the experience the whole ride brings.
This unique water adventure takes you all the way to the bottom of the powerful Murchison falls which make a 43 meter drop to as plunge poll below on the River Nile. You will enjoy uninterrupted views of these falls. In addition, as the boat sails down the course of the Nile you will sail past large numbers of giant Nile crocodiles, several hippos and different types of water birds. This is a good place to see the rare Shoebill stock.
Hike the snow capped Mount Rwenzori
Mount Rwenzori is Uganda’s highest mountain and offers a very challenging mountaineering experience as compared to some of the higher mountains on the continent like Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya. Unique about this beautiful mountain is that its peak is covered with snow despite Uganda’s location on the equator. The ascent on the mountain takes about nine days to make a round trip and reaching the Margherita Peak is a dream comes true for adventurers particularly interested in mountain climbing
Go White water rafting on River Nile
The River Nile is the longest river in the world and offers a number of adrenaline filling water sports among which is White Water Rafting. The Nile offers one of the best rafting experiences in the world. Its rapids range from the Grade I to Grade V making it a perfect destination for both novices and experienced rafters. Rafting is one of the most adventurous outdoor water sport activities you can enjoy in Uganda.
Visit the source of River Nile
The River Nile is the longest river not only on the African continent but in the world at large. get a chance to explore the source of this long river. on reaching there, you will enjoy a boat ride to the Rippon Falls where on one side is the massive Lake Victoria, and on the other River Nile begins to flow.
Enjoy Bungee jumping in Jinja
Jinja is among the tourist capitals found in Uganda especially for water sort activities. Among the other adrenaline –rushing activities you can enjoy here is bungee jumping. This activity is ideal for an adventurous traveler hopping to go beyond their limits in the name of having fun. There are a number of fascinating sites where this activity is conducted so imagine yourself dropping off a cliff of approximately 40 meters high and plugging down towards the river Nile! Participants will be offered with world-class protective gear and proper safety measures have been perfectly put in place to guarantee the safety of the participants.
Zip lining in Mabira forest
This verdant natural rain forest is located a couple of Kilometers from Uganda’s capital city – Kampala. This is among the activities that can be enjoyed by travelers with limited safari time while visiting Uganda. During this activity, you will move through the towering tree and see various primates and bird species. The zip-line is comprised of a network of five zip lines that cover a distance of 250 meters and comply with the global safety-standards.
Explore the Sipi Falls
Within Kapvhorwa district in Eastern Uganda are the Sipi falls found on River Sipi on the lower slopes of Mount Elgon. Enjoy a hike up to the three tier water fall and marvel at the beautiful waters as well as explore the beautiful caves below the waterfall. The site is visited by several tourists both international and local.
Top Uganda Safari Destinations
- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
This National park lies in the South western of Uganda. It harbors a various number of Mountain Gorillas roughly half of the world’s remaining population. It has other species like the Chimpanzees, baboons, elephants and antelopes. Birders still encounter at least 350 bird species. Concerning cultures in Bwindi there is an opportunity to discover the local Bakiga and Batwa pygmy cultures through performances and village walks an amazing experience.
Mountain Gorillas can be tracked in various sectors in the park which include; Buhoma, Rushaga, Nkuringo, and Ruhija and to track in these areas it’s based on accommodation like Buhoma community camp, Chameleon hill lodge, etc.
Note: In order to do Gorilla tracking one needs a permit which costs USD 700, and if the option is Gorilla habituation the permit costs USD 1500 per person.
Murchison Falls National Park
This is Uganda’s largest and oldest park, located in the northern end of the Albertine rift valley; it’s bisected by the Victoria Nile creating the magnificent Murchison falls, while in this park one can have a game drive where there is a great opportunity to see various wild life such as Buffaloes, elephants, giraffes, antelopes, lions, leopards, various bird species and also plant species like the sausage trees. There are also other things to do while in Murchison like a boat cruise on the Nile, hiking to the top of the falls, sport fishing, chimpanzee tracking in Budongo forest, boat cruise to the delta, balloon safaris, most activities are enjoyable basing on where your accommodation is.
There are several lodges in and outside the park such as Paraa safari lodge, Murchison River lodge, Baker’s lodge, Fort Murchison, Chobe safari lodge and many others. This park also can be accessed by Road/Air.
On the way to the park, one can visit the Ziwa Rhino sanctuary which is located in Nakasongola district, a home of around 19 rhinos, apart from rhino trekking, other activities can be bird watching and nature walks.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
This park is located in the south western part of Uganda approximately 400 kilometers from Kampala; it is separated by the Kazinga channel which connects Lakes George and Albert, it derived its name from the Queen of England, “Elizabeth”. It is endowed with various numbers of wildlife and the beautiful landscape, while in this park a various number of activities can be done such as Game drives giving you opportunity to see animals like elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, warthogs, leopards, and different bird species, crocodiles, hippos, especially while on a boat cruise on the kazinga channel.
Other activities include balloon safaris, chimpanzee tracking in kyambura gorge, a game drive in the ishasha sector for tree climbing lions, cultural heritage and nature trail such as seeing cultural performances in music dance, and drama and seeing workers harvest salt on in Lake Katwe. There are a number of lodges in and outside this park which are Luxury, Midrange and budget like Mweya Safari lodge, Bush lodge, Katara lodge, Ishasha wilderness camp. This park can also be accessed by air from Entebbe to Kasese airstrip.
There is an added experience for the adventurous travelers who can also opt for mountain climbing on the Rwenzori Mountain. This is Uganda’s tallest mountain and its snow capped, it’s found in the West on the border of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. As you climb this mountain there is a variety of vegetation, mammals, and bird species to see such as the Rwenzori Turaco. It takes around a week to climb to the top of the mountain, and those who are not skilled hikers can opt for cultural encounters such as cultural performances, villages and home stead visits, in the Bakonjo villages.
- Kibale Forest National Park
This park is located in the heart of Tooro kingdom near Fortportal and contains one of the loveliest tropical forest in Uganda, it harbors the 13 primate species such as the L’Hoest’s, red colobus monkeys, its major attraction is the Chimpanzees, the delightful apes, most closest to human beings than any other living creature, these can be seen swinging in the tree branches as one treks through the forest tails, there is also an opportunity to see over 300 bird species like white-winged warbler, papyrus canopy and other animals like the Forest elephants, buffaloes, antelopes and the forest hogs. Other activities that can be done in the park are Chimpanzee habituation which is an all day experience seeing chimpanzees, feed, rest, hunt, build new nests etc, day hikes/nature walks, cultural encounters to meet local people.
Accommodation in and around this park includes; Primate Lodge, Kyaninga lodge, Kibale forest camp, and this park can be accessed by Road/Air.
Jinja District is located in the East of Uganda, one can participate in various activities such as Quad biking, bungee jumping, boat cruise on the Nile to see the source of the Nile, white water rafting, kayaking, on the way to Jinja one can have a stopover around Mabira forest, which is a rainforest located in Buikwe District. Activities in Mabira include; bird watching, zip-lining, nature walks, camping, and also it’s a very good place for researchers and students.
- Sipi falls
These falls are a series of three waterfalls, found in Kapchorwa in Eastern Uganda approximately 194 km from Jinja; Activities to do while here include hiking which is done around the falls offering a stunning view of the Karamoja plains, Lake Kyoga, and the slopes of Mt. Elgon, Coffee tours can also be done which are organized through guides with knowledge of coffee farming, processing and roasting. Accommodation around include sipi river lodge, Noah’s ark cottages, Lacam lodge, sipi falls resort. Basically Sipi Falls is a nice place to unwind, relax and literally chill out away from the hustle and bustle of the towns and cities!
Entebbe is a town on a peninsula in Lake Victoria, in Central Uganda. A number of attractions are there and one can take part in different activities;
Uganda Wildlife Education mostly called the “zoo”, a place to relax and walk around seeing different animals like lions, giraffes, crocodiles; one can choose to have a personal encounter with the chimpanzees (the rates vary).
Botanical Gardens, this has diverse plants, birds and monkeys. It is a great place to spend a half/full day.
Ngamba Island, this is an island on Lake Victoria that harbors orphaned chimpanzees, to visit this island bookings can be made through the agent (wild frontiers).
Mabamba Island, home to the shoe-bill stalk, it’s about 30 minutes drive west of Entebbe, Some other birds of interest in the swamp are the African Jacannas, Pied Kingfishers, the African Pygmy goose and the blue breasted bee-eaters.
Uganda is home to the some of the remaining families of mountain gorillas of Africa. You can track the gorillas in Bwindi National Park. Other wildlife safaris and visits to National Parks is also possible
Uganda the pearl of Africa as described by Winston Churchill, is home to various wildlife animals, flora and fauna. A visit to Uganda would enable you to see the mountain gorillas. A gorilla trekking permit costs USD 600 per person per trek.
Other interesting activities include the Murchison falls wildlife safari, bird watching Uganda safaris in every Uganda National Park, white water rafting on the River Nile, mountain climbing at the Rwenzori and Mt. Elgon National Parks and so much more.
Kampala City tours are part an exciting start to safaris in Uganda. Kampala is a vibrant modern metropolis, the capital city of Uganda adorned with gardens and parks providing colorful oases for its citizens and visitors alike. Entebbe town is home to Uganda’s only Airport and the fresh water Lake Victoria. Entebbe has several fine hotels, a golf course and splendid colonial-era homes on tree-lined streets, an impressive Botanical Garden and a wildlife orphanage.
Sese Island and Ngamba islands are part of Lake Victoria tours. Ngamba Island is home to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary. The boat trip to the island is lots of fun and by visiting the island your entrance and activity fees help cover the costs of the island sanctuary and the well being of the chimpanzees. Fishing is another fascination on the lake.
The Nile River flows from Jinja making a journey of more than 6600 kms from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt with incredible white water rafting rapids en-route. If you dare, you can challenge this mighty river and raft the Nile near the Bujagali Falls in Jinja.
Uganda National Parks Safaris
The Mountains of the Moon preferably called Rwenzori illuminate the south west corner of Uganda with several scenic features like numerous lakes and jagged, volcanic mountains. Astride the mountains sits Ruwenzori National Park. It is a fantastic place to trek.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park located on the slopes of Rwenzori is the home of Uganda Gorilla safaris. The lush montane rainforest is home to approximately 300 mountain gorillas, about half of their estimated world population. They live alongside 350 to 400 chimpanzees and this is the only forest in Africa where they occur together. In addition there are another 120 species of mammal, including 10 species of primate and roughly 360 bird species. Gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda are part of every safari itinerary with Rwanda gorilla safaris to complete tours of the gorillas living in the dense forest around south western Uganda.
Other interesting national parks within Uganda include Queen Elizabeth National Park renowned for Tree climbing lions of Ishasha, Lake Mburo National Park for remarkable birding safaris, Kibaale forest national park is where chimpanzee tracking in Uganda is given first priority, Murchison Falls National Park is part of Uganda’s largest National parks. At Murchison Falls the Nile river is forced through narrow gap and falls 43 mtrs to a Boling pool below. These Falls are notable not so much for height as for their immense power. The park is vast and beautiful. Predominantly wooded savannah, at 4,000km² it is home to giraffe, lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, hartebeest and many more.
Semiliki National Park is the place to be if you want to taste the hot water springs from the remote Semiliki valley. It is of particular interest to bird watchers as a high proportion of the 400 bird species recorded here. Semiliki is also home to lion prides, leopard, elephant, buffalo, chimps & more. Kidepo National park is remotely located in northern Uganda but you’ll not be disappointed with the wildlife numbers in this hot region of Uganda. There are also a number of predators present including lion, cheetah, leopard, and spotted hyena.
Hotels and accommodation in Uganda
Uganda hotels and accommodation are available in all major towns like Kampala and Entebbe, near every tourist attraction and Uganda game parks. Luxury hotels, exclusive safari lodges, up market tented camps, backpacking facilities, budget guest houses, bush camps, bed and breakfast, self catering facilities… it’s a very long list.
Safaris to Uganda are arranged through a number of Uganda tour operators who will tailor and make suitable safari packages covering Uganda tours, hotels and accommodation. All packages are fully guided and include services of professional tour guides
How To Trek The Mountain Gorillas ?
Uganda is among the only 3 countries having Mountain Gorillas living in their Wild. The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest has more than 400 Mountain Gorillas with 80 living in Mgahinga Gorilla National park. The majority of Visitors who take on gorilla trekking in Uganda do it in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There isn’t a Safari to Uganda rendered complete without tracking the Mountain Gorillas, a number of guests trek gorillas two times and occasionally hike through the Impenetrable Bwindi forest and trek Gorillas in Buhoma as well as Nkuringo area of this park. Uganda is the finest choice for a safari in Africa since Uganda offers you Mountain Gorillas as well as all other wild animals you will see in other parks in East Africa.
Where To Find Chimpanzees in Uganda
Uganda not only has a single park or a single place to track chimpanzees but also has several. Close to Murchison Falls is the Budongo Forest. In Queen Elizabeth Park and on the outskirts is the Kalinzu Forest. You may as well track Chimpanzees within Semliki Valley or East Africa’s Primate sanctuary Kibale Rainforest having 13 primate species and the highest number of Chimps in the whole of East Africa. Other than chimpanzee tracking you may go on a full day chimp habituation experience with the researchers. This may be done in Kibale Forest throughout the year and even in the off-season in Budongo Forest.
Uganda is amazing; the wildlife, Mountain Gorillas, birds, Chimpanzees and the scenic sights, and above all the warm friendly people An additional reason why this country is the ideal African Safari.
National Parks To Visit
the Savannah Parks of Uganda have a profusion of wildlife for tourists to see. Kidepo Valley Park which is the most distant and less visited in East Africa is turning out more and even more famous even though arriving there isn’t easy unless you are flying there. The most visited game park in Uganda is Murchison Falls National where you will have an added advantage of seeing the powerful waterfall and along the way you can as well track Rhinos in the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary on foot. The Ishasha area in Queen Elizabeth Park of East Africa is finest place to see the Tree Climbing Lions. In Uganda you will be able to see the different wildlife most the internationally renowned Mountain Gorillas, Mangabey Monkeys, Chimpanzees and Golden Monkeys.
Best Birding Areas in Uganda
Uganda is the finest country in Africa for birding. You may see more than 1060 bird species in Uganda and this is the ideal destination to see the most sought-after bird species in Africa; the Shoebill Stork. In case you are or not even a birder, you’ll find an profusion of birds in this country in all the national parks in Uganda. the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Kibale Forest, Murchison Falls Park as well as Queen Elizabeth Park stand out.
Uganda has numerous jungles, rivers, forests, lakes and swamps to explore as you look for birds of all types. Uganda is a tiny country, however in regards to birds, it being the Pearl of Africa is a large country with more than 1000 bird species to see.
How About Adventure ?
Uganda is a country full of adventure not experienced elsewhere in East Africa. You can raft on River Nile, ascend the Volcanoes, hike the Rainforest Jungles, roll in a dugout canoe, walk the foothills of the highest Mountain Range –Rwenzori Mountains also known as the Mountain of the Moon all in Uganda. Adventure here means mountain climbing, ATV Quad Biking, hiking, horseback-riding safaris, mountain biking, white-water rafting, fishing in the freshwaters of the largest African freshwater lake for Nile Perch. Uganda is the best adventure country in East Africa, simply a wonderful country, and in fact Lonely Planet plus National Geographic picked it among the finest travel destinations on the planet. Do not miss all the Adventure in Uganda which is the Pearl of Africa home to various birds, primates and other animals.
What To See ?
Uganda being the Pearl of Africa is a country swarmed with a profusion of picturesque wonders, most of them in or close to the National Parks in Uganda. A tour in Uganda will offer you an opportunity to see the breathtaking scenery in this country. The legendary Rwenzori Mountains, the spectacular Virunga Volcanoes, the stunning lakes like Lake Bunyonyi as well as Lake Mutanda, River Nile and one of the most strongest waterfall on the planet – the Murchison Falls. Whenever you visit the Pearl of Africa you will see the beautiful scenery just as a coffee-table book. Whichever place you go to you will find out that is among the most breathtaking countries across the African continent.
there are several places where you may unwind and chill out such as the exotic warm islands having beautiful sandy beaches. Although Uganda is a landlocked country, a large part of Lake Victoria is in Uganda home to the Ssese Islands a nice place relax. 26% of the country is comprised of lakes aplusnd rivers. Among the Lakes is Lake Bunyonyi as well as Lake Mutanda are wonderful places to chill out. You may as well do so at the bottom of the Rwenzori Mountains, or even visit the crater lakes, or explore the great River Nile, track mountain gorillas one day and then chill out the following day. There are endless options in Uganda – the Pearl of Africa. This country will offer you the finest Adventure as well as the most excellent places to chilling out at.
Uganda is among the friendliest countries in the whole of Africa and once you visit this country you will certainly agree to this. Uganda is greatly culturally diverse as well as different. Ugandans are very welcoming and each time you visit the Pearl of Africa they will greet you in all corners you go. What occasionally is very welcome is the Western Culture is considered as tradition or even cultural by Ugandans. In case you are organizing a safari to Uganda enjoy the amazing cultures and traditions of the Ugandan people.
FAQ on Uganda
- Why should I visit Uganda over other safari destinations?
Uganda is also known as the pearl of Africa and considered to be one of the most spectacular countries to visit on the African continent. it enjoys very conducive equatorial climate and is home to more than 1,000 different bird species which is the largest number on the continent. in addition Uganda is home to a great diversity of wildlife including having the highest population of the endangered mountain gorillas in the whole world. There are also several habituated chimpanzees in addition to several other primates like baboons and the golden monkeys. Animals like the giant Forest hog, zebras, giraffes, rhinos and the cape buffalo can easily be seen within this beautiful country. The people are very hospitable and there is a great diversity of cultures which will reward holidaymakers with fascinating cultural tours.
Furthermore, the source of the longest river in the world – the River Nile is found in Uganda and there are various water sport adventures such as white water rafting with Grade V rapids that can be enjoyed in this country
- Is Uganda a safe tourist destination?
Yes, Uganda is generally safe. But similar to most destinations there is petty crime within the larger cities including Kampala however we recommend that you should always move with your guide and avoid wearing expensive accessories such as watches and jewelry. it is also not safe to move with large sums of money and even expose some of your valuable items such as laptops, phones and cameras when moving around. When you visit it is a good thing to follow the advice of your tour guide and the hotel reception crew especially regarding your personal safety while moving around the city.
- How to get to Uganda?
There are a number of airlines that fly into Uganda’s Entebbe International airport some offering direct flights into the country while others go through main cities such as Doha, Nairobi, Amsterdam, Dubai and Addis Ababa.
- What means of transport are used in Uganda while on Safari?
Majority of the tour companies offer well serviced four-wheel drive vehicles having pop-up roofs to take their clients around the country. However there are also charter flights to major tourist destinations which can be used by tourist particularly those having an large budget
- What is that one activity that I should not miss on my visit in Uganda?
Well gorilla trekking conducted in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga national park is considered a very memorable experience you can enjoy on your visit in Uganda. Considering that there are less than 900 mountain gorillas on in the world today this is something you should look forward to doing.
- How much is a Gorilla permit in Uganda?
Currently a Uganda gorilla trekking permit costs six hundred US Dollars (US $600). However from 1st July 2020, the Uganda Wildlife Authority will be increasing the cost of all gorilla permits to seven hundred US Dollars (US $700). On the other hand, the Gorilla Habituation permit that allows you four hours will remain at one thousand five hundred US Dollars (US $1,500)
Because each of the gorilla parks offers a limited number of trekking permits per day, we recommend that all safari goers to book their safari earlier to enable your tour operator book your trekking permit and guarantee their availability on your desired travel dates.
- What is the time zone in Uganda?
Uganda is part of the East African time zone GMT + 0300 and doesn’t recognize the day light savings-time
- Is tap water safe to drink?
No. It is not safe to drink tap water in Uganda, however during your safari you will be provided with bottled drinking water in your Safari vehicles especially during the game drives. the lodges and hotels also offer bottled water in the bathrooms to be used for brushing your teeth. in case you are thirsty you are always advised to drink only bottled water.
- What is the local currency in Uganda?
The local currency used in Uganda is the Ugandan shilling UGX and this comes in forms of coins that include 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 shillings. The paper notes vary from 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 20000 and 50000 thousand shillings.
- Can I use the U.S dollar while on safari in Uganda?
Well Lodge and hotel accommodation can be paid using the US Dollars and even the big restaurants may allow payment done on dollars, however for day-to-day purchases you are recommend to exchange your foreign currency and get some local currency for daily transactions. Please note that the US dollar notes that will be accepted in Uganda should be in good condition with no tear or stains.
- Is English widely spoken in Uganda?
Yes English is the official language in this country; there you should expect to use English even in the remote parts of the country.
- How are the accommodation facilities in Uganda?
Uganda offers a variety of accommodation facilities ranging from the budget facilities which are ideal for travelers on a limited budget, the mid-range and then the luxury that offer the ultimate comfort and all inclusive amenities. There are also camping facilities available for those interested in spending the night out in the wilderness under the open starlit sky.
- How is the food in Uganda?
It is very good. Most of the dishes prepared in Uganda have a good influence of the English, Arab and Asia cuisines. Majority of the nice restaurants have specific chefs in place to prepare you whatever meal that you will want. None the less some of the commonly eaten foods in Uganda include matooke, rice, Ugali and potatoes. Expect to eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits especially if in season because Uganda is generally considered to be a food basket
- Do I need special vaccinations while visiting Uganda?
Yes you will be required to present proof (a vaccination certificate) of receiving the yellow fever immunization. it is also recommended that you take anti-malaria tablets prior to your Safari. It’s for that reason that you are greatly advised to visit your local physician so that he/she can recommend all the necessary medication you will want. In case you have any special medication you are carrying please remember to bring a copy of the prescription and the medicine should be well labeled to avoid any disturbances especially at the airports
- How much should be given as tip
According to the local tipping culture in Uganda, tips are left to the person offering it as it is generally considered as a sign of appreciation that will gladly be welcomed; however, below is a summary of our suggested tip.
at camps or lodges US$3 to 5 per guest for a stay of 1-3 days; baggage porters at hotels or lodges US$1 to 2 per client for every stay; for guides or drivers US$5 to 10 each day per client; the Head Ranger during gorilla trekking US$10 per day per client; Forest walk guides US$5 per client; porters in game parks US$20 to 25 per day each person; and in restaurants 3 to 5%.
- What to Pack on your Uganda Safari
When visiting Uganda on holiday, we recommend that you pack casual clothes that are comfortable and preferably of neutral colored especially if going to the game parks. Don’t forget your sweater as well because the early morning and late evenings are usually very cold. In case you are going to engage in walking safaris or do some sort of hiking, then come with a pair of flat comfortable hiking shoes that offer ankle support. As part of your safari gear, you should park some socks, warm clothing and a light-weight woolen sweater. As the day progresses, the temperature begin to rise and it becomes warm so light clothes such as short sleeved shirts will be very useful during the day. a pair of sunglasses, and sun screen with high SPF should not be forgotten, together with a wide brim hat to protect your face from the sun. Majority of the hotels / lodges have a swimming pool so you can always pack your swimming costume. The most important rule while packing is to pack light. Ensure that your luggage does not exceed fifteen kilograms (15kg) especially if you are planning to use any of the local airlines.
- What is the best time to visit Uganda?
Uganda generally experiences a warm temperature and it one of those destinations that can be visited all year round in Africa. Other than the temperatures being conducive for most of the year, the dry season which runs from June to September is considered to be the best time to visit Uganda because there is reliable view of wildlife and the trekking conditions for gorillas and chimpanzees is good. December to January is another good time to Safari in Uganda as it is dry and the temperatures are conducive. Generally, the country experiences a tropical climate what is based on its altitude. The hottest month of the year is February whereas July is considered to be the coldest month. The country experiences the rainy season from March to May and some of roads especially within the remote parks are inaccessible and some of the accommodations have shut down. irrespective of when you plan to visit Uganda your packing list should be the same including lights clothing, a rain coat, comfortable hiking shoes and garden gloves for those trekking, and then trousers, a sweater, sunglasses and sunscreen for general Safaris.
Best time to visit Bwindi National Park
Although Bwindi NP can be visited all year round, the wet months of April, May, November as well as December should be avoided since the rain is very intense and the Forest trails are extremely slippery and very challenging to traverse. There are porters available in the park to assist you during the trek but the condition of the trails will make the trek longer than usual. the wet season in addition makes photography challenging as well especially when you find the Gorillas in an open area where are you cannot protect your camera from the rain.
June to October is considered the most favorable and best time to trek mountain gorillas and this is also the peak tourist time when the gorilla parks receive the highest number for visitors. Therefore, in case you are planning to visit during this time of the year, it is better to book your gorilla permit in advance as well as your accommodation so as to guarantee their availability on your Safari dates.
Best time to visit kibale National Park
Chimpanzee tracking which is the primary tourist activity done in this Forest Park is conducted all year round, however the dry season is the most conducive time and this runs from the month of June to October as well as from December to February. During this season the vegetation is not very thick which makes it easier to track down and see the chimpanzees in their natural habitat. There are fewer mosquitoes and stinging bugs during this time as well. because this is the peak tourist season there are normally very many tourists and because this activity has a limitation of just eight (8) people visiting a chimpanzee group at a time, the demand for tracking chimpanzee permits is very high at this time and accommodation as well.
In the wet season Kibale National Park receives heavier rains which make the paths more slippery and challenging. Nonetheless, this is a good time for persons interested in bird watching as many of the migratory bird species have arrived in the forest. The wet season is also a good time for tourists on a limited budget.
Best time to visit Murchison falls national park
Murchison Falls National Park can be visited all year around. From December to February and then June to September the countries experiences the dry season and it is considered to be the best time to Safari there. At that time, the temperatures are warm and the skies are generally clear which makes most of the roads passable and a conducive time to enjoy the different activities in the park. in the dry season most of the water sources have dried up so there will be large numbers of animals congregated around the few remaining permanent water sources making it easier for game viewing.
For tourists interested in bird watching the best time to visit is from January to April when most of the migratory species have arrived and the number of tourists is small.
Best time to visit Queen Elizabeth National Park
The park can be visited during the dry season just as it is with most tourist destinations in the country. However the best time to visit and enjoy good game views is from June to September and then December to January which is the dry season. Most of the animals at the time can easily be seen around the permanent sources in the park, and the roads are dry and accessible. a safari in the Queen Elizabeth National Park can easily be combined with a gorilla trekking expedition in Bwindi or a chimpanzee tracking tour in Kibale National Park or even a visit to the Murchison Falls National Park.
Choosing a Tour Operator?
Find a list of trusted safari companies in Uganda.
Where To Go On A Safari in Uganda
Beautiful landscapes, enormous water bodies, wide variety of amazing wildlife species and friendly people make Uganda safaris the most thrilling and unforgettable adventures in the heart of Africa. Uganda is blessed with over 10 national parks & wildlife reserves offering a wide range of activities that suit all types of travelers including adventure seekers, mountain climbers, families, cultural enthusiasts , students as well as solo travelers. Whether your interested in Big Five , mountain gorilla tracking, white water rafting, bird watching or hiking, the Pearl of Africa has something to offer for everyone.
From walking safaris to guided & unguided game drives , a safari will always leave long lasting safari memories about Africa. Below is a our pick of some of the best safari destinations in Uganda any keen tourist shouldn’t miss out.
Bwindi National Park
A UNSECO world heritage site, Bwindi impenetrable forest is one of Africa’s most ancient rain forest inhabited by Uganda’s star attraction; the endangered Mountain gorillas. Bwindi forest is home to over 120 mammal species and up to 340 bird species plus an extensive list of flora. The main activity carried out in Bwindi is gorilla trekking which is arguably the highlight of any safari, the forest is inhabited by over half the population (340) of the remaining gorillas in the world making it a safari destination you can not miss out on while in Uganda.
Murchison falls Park
Uganda’s oldest and largest park is popularly known for it beautiful thundering falls on the nile known as Murchison falls which were named by Sir Samuel Baker after Sir Roderick Murchison who was president of the Royal Geographic Society. The Victoria nile forces itself through a narrow gap of rocks about 7 metres wide creating a strong scenic fall that captures the imagination of many during a launch trip to the bottom of the falls. Guided game drives through the park creates opportunities to encounter four of the famous Big five wildlife species and a launch trip offers tourists chance to to watch birds and some water animals like hippos, nile crocodiles, buffalos as they enjoy the busking sun on the nile banks.
Recently ranked among Africa’s top safari park by CNN travel in 2013, Kidepo park is one of Uganda’s most remote safari destination located in the northern Karamoja making it hard to be reached by road hence most travelers prefer using a charter plane to fly over which is quite expensive accounting to the low number of visitors to this park . Blessed with beautiful landscapes and large herds of cape buffalo, game drives and mountain hiking top the list of things to do. Guided game drives along the Kakine circuit & Narus valley will reward you with sightings of zebras, giraffes, cape buffalos, elephants, leopards, ostriches and if lucky you may spot the rare bat eared fox and tree climbing lions. A trek to Mount Morogule to visit the IK people has been added to make your experience to this safari destination more enjoyable.
Uganda’s second largest and busiest town is regarded as the center of all adrenaline adventure sports activities and home to the source of the Nile , world’s longest river. Originally a fishing village, Jinja has developed over the years to become a popular destination for adrenaline junkies interested in water sports like white water rafting, paddle through grade 5 rapids and waves under guindance of well trained ADRIFT staff. Other sports activities include bungee jumping, kayaking, biking, hiking and jet boating. Enjoy a day excursion around the town visiting markets, fish landing sites plus a trip to the source of the nile where the longest river begins its journey northwards to Egypt.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Uganda’s most visited park named after Queen Elizabeth II during her royal safari in 1954. The park is boasts an endless list of amazing wildlife species including iconic African wildlife animals like the Lions, leopards, buffalos, elephants, hippos, nile crocodiles and record of over 500 species of birds. Top activities include wildlife game-drives along Kasenyi plains, boat rides on Kazinga Channel and Chimpanzee tracking at the Kyambura gorge though travelers can also tour the salt mine on Lake Katwe and traverse the Ishasha sector to witness the rare tree climbing lions. Queen Elizabeth park is one safari destination wildlife lovers should always add to their itnerary to get value out of their money
Whatever safari destination(s) you choose, be prepared with all the right documents and safari equipment. There are many attractions in different parks and so its always advisable to consult a travel agent before making any decisions about where you want to go and things you want to do in order for you get the safari experience of a life time with you loved ones.