Planning for a Uganda safari trip will require you to know the best time to take safari trip due to the unpredictable weather patterns that blanket the equatorial region. It is known to rain any time of the year in Uganda and if rain is not a hindrance to your holiday vacation, then we can comfortably say that a trip to Uganda can happen any time of the year.
Although, we would like to advise you to read further and find out when the climate is dry or when the price is low or when there are few visitors in the park for planning the best Africa safari experience. Fortunately, all parks are open all year long, even during the covid pandemic. But you may have to adhere to stringent wildlife operating procedures.
Unlike countries in Europe and Americas, Uganda has basically two weather seasons
The rainy season is characterized with some months of heavy downpour (long rains) and others light rains (short rains). This is usually the low season for Uganda safari trips. The Dry Season is characterized by high temperatures and short rain surprises. This is the high travel season for you you get under the African sun and get the tarn you’ve been talking about.
The warm and tropical climate makes Uganda an ideal Africa safari destination that can be visited any time of the year! Uganda’s average annual temperature iterates at 29° Celsius (84° Fahrenheit) and an average low-temperature of 17.1°C (62.8° Fahrenheit), but colder at altitudes above 1,300 meter (4,265 ft), including the mountain gorilla parks.. The country is sunny most of the year with temperatures rarely rising above 29 degrees (84° degrees Fahrenheit).
The weather patterns are mostly controlled by Equator that crosses the country, the Eastern and Western Rift Valleys that sandwiched the country and the marvelous montane forests, mountains in the west, swamps, rivers, falls and lake including the massive 68,800 square kilometers of Lake Victoria.
There are two rainy seasons in Uganda—March through May is the long rains with heavy downpours that are no fun for a safari trip to Uganda. The months of September, October & November see short rains that show off the emerald plains dotted with the most impressive wildlife.
The rainy season does not mean that it rains throughout the day hampering human activity. A heavy downpour or thunderstorm may last for an average of 3 hours and rest of the day remain winter-like but during the short rains the sun may show up and heat up the moment is just a few minutes changing every living thing’s mood. And you should note that a downpour can stick to a regular pattern once the season starts, for example stick to raining late in the night or particular hours of the day throughout the season.
During the heavy rains (March, April & May), is not the best time for a trip to Uganda. Some sites may be inaccessible due to washed away roads/trails, gorilla trekking is the hardest because of the impassable dump forest floors and drenching misty rain that does not allow you to see beyond your palms. During this time some camps and lodges close or cut fees to the lowest.
However, during the short rains of October through November, you can enjoy the low season rates with almost all lodges and safari camps. Because the plants have sprouted, leaves are green and the tree fruits are yelling ‘eat me’, there is plenty of wildlife to be seen on the plains. Migratory birds can be spotted during this period and a gorilla trek excursion is great at this time because the mountain giants don’t have to forage in far lands and to avoid very low temperatures, they stay in lower altitudes.
During the short rains is also the best time for a trip into Uganda’s savannah plains. The grass is green, short, nutritious and the animals are dotted allover the plains. You don’t have to drive far park trails to find the BIG 5.
There’s plentiful sunshine in drier months from June to August and December to February and these are considered the best time for viewing wildlife in Uganda. During these months there’s little or no downpour especially in the northern region of Kidepo Valley and Murchison Falls National Parks.
In the south where the gorilla trekking activity takes place, trails are dry and not slippery therefore making this the most preferred time for a gorilla trek or chimpanzee tracking experience. Wildlife is easier to spot as animals gather around water points and there is also little undergrowth for the animals to hide. You will also have enough time for bird-watching.
However, some would say the most ideal time is between late May and September, when there’s less rain and the animal food is abundant in the parks. From November to April, migratory birds can be found in the parks. Birding is best done early in the morning and it’s easy to spot many bird species at that time. The Shoebill is best sighted in the dry season from January-March.
In the peak season which is between June to September the prices and cost of safari are usually higher and most tourists prefer this time because it is cooler and the rain isn’t bothersome. The parks tend to be crowded.
December also tends to be overcrowded with residents booking for holidays especially during the Christmas season. Booking in advance will save you any disappointments. The upside of trekking gorillas during this period is that the gorillas are not so far and trekking them will be in a short period since they are easily found in the lower slopes since food is abundant for them.
Dress in loose clothing throughout the day but bear in mind you may need warm clothing for the chilly evenings. Long sleeves and trousers will shield you from red soil dust, colder evenings, mosquito and other insect bites. Don’t forget to use sunscreen and insect repellent to protect your skin. Raincoat and sturdy boots are essential in case it rains and trekking.
It is expected for birders to carry a birder’s guidebook, a pointer, a pair of binoculars, Sunglasses, hats, sturdy hiking shoes, and enough water.
In summary, the pros and cons analysis for each travel month in most Uganda National Parks can be highlighted below:
SEASON MONTH PROS OR CONS Dry season January Best Time, Trails dry, best wildlife viewing, migratory birds Dry season February Best Time, Trails dry, best wildlife viewing, migratory birds Wet season March Low season, not crowded, migratory birds Wet season April Low season, not crowded, migratory birds Wet season May Low season Dry season June High Season, Best Time Dry season July High Season, Best Time Dry season August High Season, Best Time Dry/ Wet season September High Season, lesser rainfall Wet season October Low season, lesser rainfall Wet season November Low season, lesser rainfall not crowded, migratory birds Dry season December Best Time, Trails dry, best wildlife viewing, migratory birds
However, at the north in Kidepo Valley National Park which is in an altitude: 999—2,349 meters. The area is semi-arid. Temperatures can reach as high as 40°C/104°F, but average around 29°C/84°F in the afternoon and 17°C/63°F at night. There is one wet season April to August which differs from most of the country which experiences two.
Our Africa safari consultants have this information at their fingertips and would love to guide you through planning your safari trip to Uganda. Talk to one of the experts to help you consider what the best time for a Uganda trip is and also give you important information about where to stay and how to get to your Uganda destination. Our listed tours to Uganda on this website are great examples that can be tailored to your exact style to give you maximum experience.
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