For a traveler visiting the country, there are important facts about Uganda you should know to help you plan your safari journey with confidence, and that’s what we shall cover in this post.
Uganda is a landlocked East African country, evergreen and lying across the equator. Tanzania borders it in the south, Sudan in the north, Kenya in the east, DRC in the west, and Rwanda in the southwest.
At an altitude of 1,000m in most parts of the country, Uganda is generally flat with remarkable geographical diversity. 25% of the area is covered with lakes, rivers, and swamps, having Lake Victoria, the Nile River source, Lake Kyoga, Lake Edward, Lake George, Lake Albert, and many crater lakes. The country houses the Rwenzori mountains, Mount Elgon, Virunga mountains, and volcanoes.
Uganda, the Pearl of Africa, is known for its splendor, natural wonders, and amazing people.
The country has a diverse cultural heritage with more than 50 local tribes, each with its own rich culture and traditions. You will be fascinated by Uganda’s scenic wonders- fantastic landscape, savannahs, lakes and rivers, montane forests, marshes, and grasslands.
Though most hotels, lodges, tour companies, and tourism tariffs are quoted in US Dollars and accept credit card payments, you may need the local Uganda Shillings (UGX) currency to purchase local souvenirs and other items. You can get forex exchange at banks and cash advances from ATMs.
The best exchange rates are in Kampala or Entebbe. However, the smaller notes below $20 always get a lower exchange rate. Other currencies accepted are Euro, Pound Sterling, and widely used international currencies.
Currency notes below the 2003 series are not accepted at most forex bureaux. Avoid exchanging money at random places to avoid fraudsters taking advantage of you.
Traveling to Uganda for a safari is safe though defensive measures against various infectious diseases might need immediate and advance planning for the various immunizations. Considering the prevalent CORONAVIRUS pandemic, get your COVID-19 vaccine before you chose to travel.
Uganda immigration will require that you present a valid NEGATIVE PCR COVID-19 TEST CERTIFICATE at any Ugandan entry or exit point, especially at the Airports. Irrespective of vaccination status.
It’s also good to consider vaccination against yellow fever, hepatitis, typhoid as well as tetanus, measles, and polio. Typhoid, hepatitis-A, cholera are transmitted through contaminated food and water.
Hepatitis B is transmitted through contaminated body fluids. Meningitis and influenza are usually transmitted through airborne droplets. Rabies is transmitted through infected animals. Mosquitos transmit diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever through contact.
Visitors are encouraged to take all health safety measures when travelling:
You will need an entry visa to travel to Uganda, which has increasingly become a preferred tourist destination. The visa process is simple, and visitors can apply for this online. Travelers can obtain Uganda Visas from all Uganda Embassies and missions abroad and on arrival at Entebbe airport or border entry. You will be required to fill in a form with your passport dates and details.
The equator runs through Uganda, giving it a conducive temperate climate that is very warm throughout the year. At a geographical altitude of 1,000m, it offers Uganda a characteristic evergreen feature. The average annual temperature around 25 to 30 degrees. Nights can get chilly, with temperatures reaching approximately 15 to 20 degrees.
There is a rainy season from March to May and from October to November. In November and December, there is light rain. The hottest months are January, February, and December. The annual rainfall is between 1,000mm to 2,000mm throughout the country, apart from the northern region that receives low rainfall.
Learn more about Uganda’s climate
The warm and tropical climate makes Uganda an ideal destination for journeys any time of the year! The rainy season March to May and October and November makes some roads impassable. However, this should not stop you from traveling and enjoying a safari. During the rainy season, average temperatures are 21.5°C, and when they drop, it’s usually to a minimum of 12°C.
June, July and August, December, January and Feb are the best months for game viewing in Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls National Parks. Prices and cost of safari are usually higher in the peak season. Park fees during May and April are usually discounted by the Uganda Wildlife Authority and many tour operators, give a discount of $150 less for a Uganda safari gorilla permit.
In our opinion, and our experience – yes! Uganda is a safe safari destination. Through an organized safari by Nkuringo Safaris, you can enjoy a safe, stable, and secure holiday with all your family. Don’t just take our word for it. View our reviews on Trip Advisor.
This is the largest conservation area in Uganda covering an area of over 3,840 sq km. You will find the Murchison falls, where the Victoria Nile powerfully hurls its way through a narrow crevice as it thrusts over 40m with a thunderous roar. At the Murchison Falls locally called the Karuma Falls you can find diverse vegetation from riparian forests to Savannah. Abundant wildlife roams Murchison Falls National Park.
QENP has a massive variety of habitats, including the savanna grassland, beautiful crater lakes, swamps, and tropical rainforest. There are abundant wildlife, primates, birdlife, and butterflies.
This park is an ideal place for game watching, especially at Mweya and Kasenyi. Bird watching on the Kazinga channel and Maramagambo forest are amazing. You can track chimpanzees in the Kyambura Gorge and spot tree-climbing lions in Ishasha.
This national park is situated in southwestern Uganda, found in the hilly countryside and the low land forest. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site mainly for its biological significance, is a treasure harboring half of the only surviving population of endangered mountain gorillas in the world.
This park is located in the western region in Kiruhura District, covering 370km², making it the smallest park in Uganda, yet it has five lakes within! It’s conveniently located close to the western highway between Masaka and Mbarara’s towns, taking you about 4 hours to get there from Kampala, making it the closest national park to Kampala. The park showcases a varied mosaic of habitats and landscapes from open wooded savannah forest and acacia woodlands, rocky outcrops, grasslands, sweeping valleys, craggy hills, bush thickets, and extensive wetlands.
The park’s highlights include rich birdlife, plentiful wildlife, exciting activities like cycling and quad biking, horse riding, nature walks, and sports fishing. This is the only park you will find zebras.
This national park covers about 1436 sq km, and it’s situated in the Karamoja region in northwest Uganda, with incredible savanna landscapes and rising mountains in its background. The park is divided by the rivers of Kidepo and Narus. The park harbors over 86 mammal species that include leopards, lions, cheetah, giraffes, the bat-eared fox, and over 500 bird species.
This evergreen rain forest park is near the Fort Portal in the Western part of Uganda, east of the Rwenzori Mountains covering 766 sq km. At an altitude ranging between 110m and 1600m, the park harbors various wildlife, colorful birds, butterflies, and a variety of primates, especially chimpanzees.
The park is located at the base of the mountains of the moon, just at the DRC border, covering an area of 220 sq km of the valley floor. The reasonably flat park contains the tropical lowland forest, hot spring area, variety of wildlife and birds.
The park is on the Uganda-Kenya border with its highest peak. Wagagai sits at 4,321m. Its main attraction is the beautiful caves along its slopes with beautiful flora.
This UNESCO world heritage site is located on the border between Uganda and DRC. Its highest peak Margherita stands at the height of 5109m. It stretches to about 110km in length. This snow-capped mountain range includes an astonishing range of landscapes, from the bizarre afro-alpine moorland to the thick tropical rainforest on the lower slopes—lastly, the glaciers at the highest reaches.
This park is in the south of Uganda, at Kisoro district, covering 33.7km2, making it Uganda’s smallest National Park. At an altitude of between 2,227m and 4,127m, it was created to protect the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit its dense forests, a habitat for the endangered golden monkey, wildlife. The indigenous Batwa pygmies showcase rich culture.
The Mgahinga’s most striking features are its three conical Virunga Volcanoes; Muhavura, Gahinga, and Sabinyo. The other 5 of the eight chains are dotted at the borders of Rwanda and DRC. There are many bird species with perfect viewing points along the farm trail, the Gorge trail, and the Bamboo trail.
The steep mountain slopes contain caves formed by lava tubes, one of them being the famous Garama Cave.
The cost of a safari will differ and depends on the itinerary you choose, the time you travel, the number of travelers in your group. You will receive a tailor-made itinerary from Nkuringo Safaris to fit your interests and budget.
Nkuringo Safaris will give you a detailed all-inclusive Uganda safari itinerary with suggestions of budget, mid-range, and luxury accommodation.
The cost will also vary if you choose to get a chartered flight when in Uganda. There are several discounts offered in the low season. Traveling in a group also reduces the price.
Nkuringo Safari has a detailed list of items to pack for your safari upon confirming your booking. However, you should bring some essentials: sunscreen, poncho or raincoat, warm clothing, insect repellant, money belt, long-range camera, hiking shoes, and many more.
When packing, you must consider the size and weight of your luggage. If your itinerary involves flights in a charter plane, you’ll need to pack extra light to comply with baggage restrictions limited to a baggage weight of 10 to 20kgs. Some lodges provide laundry services. You can, however, coordinate with your tour company to keep your excess luggage or have it delivered to your lodge.
The official language of Uganda is English. You will interact with many Ugandans from different regions, each rich with diverse culture. Most travelers find Ugandans pleasant, warm, welcoming, and friendly.
You will enjoy the different cultures, traditions, artifacts, ceremonies, and customs. At the East, you will find Bagisu in Mbale, Japadhola in Tororo, Basoga in Jinja, Basamia in Busia. In the central, you will find the Baganda in Kampala, Mpigi, Masaka. In the west; Banyankole in Mbarara, Batoro in Fort Portal, Bakonju in Kasese. In the south, Bakiga, Batwa pygmies. In the North, Nilotic Acholi and Langi. In northeastern; the pastoralists Karamojong.
You can join in the song and dance of Runyege among the Banyoro, the Dingi dingy in the Acholi and the Ntogoro among the Batooro, and many more. You will be entertained with different traditional ceremonies and dances. Note: photographs can only be taken with permission.
There is a variety of accommodation options to choose from when on a safari. Nkuringo Safaris will give you the various options in your itinerary, ranging from budget to high-end facilities, all to suit your needs. You may reside in the city at 5-star hotels or choose boutique hotels spread around Kampala’s hills. You may choose to live in the African wild safari in lodges or tented camps set in traditional style or the beautiful bandas. In Bwindi, you will find Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge set just next to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
There are many carriers to Uganda, Entebbe International Airport (EBB), all connecting through Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBI). These carriers include; Kenya Airways, British Airways, KLM, Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airways, Emirates, Kenya Airways, Rwanda Air, Etihad Air, Turkish Airline, and many more.
It’s important to determine whether a tour operator like Nkuringo Safaris belongs to a certain professional association such as the Association of Uganda Tour Operators, Tourism Uganda, Africa Tour Operators, and many others.
Is Uganda different from any other tourist destination? Yes! Uganda is not a crowded destination. Here in Uganda, we have impressive scenic features from; the rare mountain gorillas, grand chimpanzees, mighty Murchison Falls, Mt. Rwenzori (the Mountains of the Moon), the Virunga Volcanoes, white sandy beaches in Ssese Island, beautiful lakes (Lake Victoria, Lake Bunyonyi), variety of birdlife, abundant wildlife including the big 5, rich historical culture and but not the least hospitable people. Uganda is undoubtedly the “Gem of Africa.”
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