Planning A Family Safari in Uganda With Kids
Uganda is an enchanting destination for family safari vacations with kids. It has charming, adventurous, and safe experiences and lodges where your active, curious kids are adored and enriched, not merely tolerated. You shouldn’t wait until your kids are old enough for them to experience Africa’s Wilderness magic. A family safari holiday in Uganda can open a child’s mind and heart to different cultures and the natural world.
Transformative travels like these aren’t just about inspiring passion for nature and the wilderness. They’re about making unforgettable memories together, bonding family ties, and taking quality time on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure with the whole family.
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Which places are suitable for a family safari in Uganda?
Go west! Western Uganda has the best attractions for a family safari vacation. It has spectacular landscapes, varied family safari experiences, and stunning wilderness reserves protecting some of Africa’s most cherished animal and bird species.
Top highlight experiences for teenagers above fifteen include tracking mountain gorillas in the extreme southwest and walking with chimpanzees, other primates, and birds near the spectacular Rwenzori Mountains.
Both younger and older kids will enjoy wildlife viewing adventures on the expansive plains of Lake Mburo, Queen Elizabeth, and Murchison Falls National Park. The three parks have spectacular walking adventures, game drives, and boat safaris perfect for the whole family with flexible age restrictions.
Kids above six can track the endangered white rhinos on foot in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. The sanctuary offers short bush walks (or “poo walks”), which help the children identify animal spoor and droppings and collect pods, feathers, insects, and leaves. In fact, the whole family should come along and join the rhino and shoebill tracking experience in Ziwa.
Central Uganda also has captivating attractions concentrated around Lake Victoria for younger kids. Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary offers a good experience with wild chimps for children under fifteen. Kalangala Islands (aka Ssese Islands) also make for some laidback holiday relaxation and beach fun for the kids.
The renowned source of the Nile in Jinja, Eastern Uganda, is perfect for active family adventures in Uganda. Dubbed the Adrenaline Capital of East Africa, Jinja pulls in crowds from all over the world for its high-octane activities, including grade-five whitewater rafting, kayaking, bungee jumping, horseback riding, stand-up paddleboarding, quad biking, and mountain biking.
Adrenaline-pumped kids above eight can join the hearth throbbing whitewater rafting experience in the Nile rapids. The other family members can cruise down the River Nile to the source, check out John Hannington’s Speke’s Monument, and eat fish at the floating restaurants. You can also visit the local markets and walk through Jinja’s colonial streets sightseeing.
Uganda Family Safari Highlights
Walking with gorillas and chimpanzees in Uganda and standing ten meters across Africa’s great apes is a showstopper. The primate parade on the forested mountain slopes of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park will leave the whole family breathless with excitement and exertion. It’s a perfect summer activity for older adventurous kids and gown-ups.
Driving through southwestern Uganda’s emerald rolling hills and exquisitely cultivated slopes is another endearing experience for the whole family. Driving by stunning landscape views in the countryside to the great apes will teach children to appreciate untamed natural landscapes.
The National Park’s savanna plains and rivers showcase Uganda’s abundant wildlife, perfect for family safari game drives, boat rides, and bird spotting. Surprisingly, kids will find elephants, buffalo, and lions very easy to spot in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The park has many antelope species, including Uganda kob, topi, and bushbuck. The thrilling boat rides on the Kazinga channel are some of Uganda’s most revered family safari experiences. The family can get the closest to hippos, crocodiles, and elephant herds here.
Guided walks are a significant highlight of visiting Lake Mburo and a great addition to your boat cruise. A walking safari in Lake Mburo National Park allows you to surprisingly get very close to wild animals, like the impala and zebra herds, on foot.
In Lake Mburo National Park, a local guide leads the family off the beaten path through enchanting wilderness till they find themselves among a herd of calm ungulates. Kids will love the immersive walking or biking experience with the small animals and giraffes.
The quiet urban, and vibrant downtown streets of Kampala and Entebbe will introduce the whole family to Uganda’s medley of local and international cultures. From food testing to language, music, dance, lifestyle, and sightseeing, the cities offer a bucketload of cultural experiences for the whole family.
The native Karamojong cultures of the semi-arid region in the northeast, the Busoga festivals of the east, and the southwestern aboriginal communitys will entertain the family evenings with sky-jumping dances, half-naked dress styles, unbelievable body piercings, and community cultural practices hidden from the familiar world.
Valuable Planning Tips
Although Uganda boasts of varied African safari activities, gorilla trekking and chimpanzee tracking are the main reasons most travelers visit Uganda. However, trekking the great apes may not be suitable for a family safari with kids younger than 15 years.
The minimum age restriction for both experiences is 15 years. However, some safari lodges offer babysitting services when grown-ups join the early morning trekking excursion.
Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary and UWEC zoo in Entebbe provide promising alternatives for viewing chimpanzees behind a protected fence. For an immersive jungle adventure, you can also book nature walking experiences for kids in Kibale, Kyambura, and Budongo Forests.
Mountain gorillas live at high elevations of 8,000 to 13,000 feet, and nights can get pretty cold. Please allow the kids to acclimatize to the altitude before engaging in active adventures in southwestern Uganda. Book more nights and stay longer at the safari lodge near the visitor center and allow the whole family to get familiar with the environment.
The international airport at Entebbe is at least a 7-to-8-hour-drive from all western Uganda attractions. Kids may find the long-hour drives tedious. Schedule breaks along the routes with fun activities like visiting museums, cultural centers, photography moments, and maybe a night in one of the towns.
Alternatively, take domestic flights between remote destinations to reduce travel time. Uganda has small airstrips with scheduled flights between national parks and the international airport at Entebbe.
The most famous driving stops for a family safari in Uganda include Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary en route to Murchison Falls, The Equator crossing, Igongo Cultural Center, Mbarara Town, and Lake Mburo National Park in western Uganda.
If you have enough time on your family safari vacation, it makes sense to limit your itinerary to fewer places to visit and get the most rewarding experiences for the kids with fewer transfers. Spend more time in fewer destinations to allow the children to get the whole experience than packing all highlights on a single trip.
For example, 2 nights in Kampala/Entebbe, 3 nights in Lake Mburo, 3 nights in Kibale Forest, and 2 nights in Jinja is a good trip for a family with kids. A Family with older children can add 3 nights in Bwindi.
Malaria is a considerable risk for children traveling in Uganda. Even grown-ups are particularly susceptible to catching severe and fatal malaria. Before traveling, you must consult your doctor about taking antimalarial medication for your children. While traveling, try to prevent them from getting bitten by wearing suitable clothing, insect repellent, and sleeping under mosquito nets.
Before booking family safari lodging, check the minimum age policies of lodges and camps with your trip planner. Most camps’ child policy accepts infants of less than five years to share a room with their parents for free, while 5-12 years old have a special child rate. Others have family rooms that accept the entire family to share the same living spaces, offering child-friendly services like menus and guided nature walks for kids. It’s worth researching the best lodges for families before your Uganda trip.
Uganda safaris involve traveling long distances for long hours during the day and staying in very remote places with limited facilities. You may spend long hours in the bush looking for animals, which will require a significant amount of patience and observing necessary but intrusive, demanding safety precautions.
Cut game drive time and hours in the bush into shorter buffs, which will require careful planning that should be more than six months before the trip.
How to plan a family safari in Uganda
Planning a family safari in Uganda that involves kids is a demanding task requiring a considerable amount of cognition and careful consideration of all parts of the journey.
Nonetheless, with proper planning, you can make the dream of taking your younger kids, teenagers, and older children on a family safari in Uganda’s wilderness.
Here are some valuable tips on making vacationing in Uganda’s rainforest jungles filled with giant primates or Kenya’s vast savannah wilderness a family-friendly adventure filled with remarkable memories.
- Start with gradually introducing the idea to the children
- Use direct flights to eliminate family travel stress
- Check for age restrictions
- Include family-friendly activities
- The family doesn’t have to do all the safari activities
- Consider an all-inclusive private family safari holiday
- Bring binoculars, wildlife books, and a healthy supply of snacks
- Allow everyone to capture the moments
- Kids enjoy finding smaller creatures
- Child supervision and safety precautions
Read more on the valuable tips for planning a successful journey with the entire family.
Best time to go
The best months for a family safari holiday in Uganda are June, July, August, September, October, December, January, and February. The weather during these months is favorable, with no guaranteed downpours, dry walking trails, and plenty of animals on the arid plains.
Primate experiences are exceptional from June to September. Though, it’s peak season in the country. Lodges and service providers hike prices to take advantage of the high number of travelers. So start planning your family safari in Uganda now!
Travel With Nkuringo Safaris
Email a local expert at email@example.com to request a quote and get expert advice. Nkuringo Safaris is a trusted DMC in Uganda with expertise since 2007, a fleet of well-maintained four-by-four safari vehicles, two multi-award-winning lodges, and an exciting team of local experts. Nkuringo is a locally owned and operated company that prides itself in sustainable services that improve community livelihoods and leaves a zero negative footprint on nature.
Please email us to start the chat about traveling with your family to Uganda on safari. You can use our online form to guide you on initiating a conversation or direct email at firstname.lastname@example.org.