Uganda is a unique Africa safari destination compared to its eastern counterparts. On your Uganda safari holiday, you should expect a more varied landscape from the savannah plains to the rugged western region filled with various game, primates, and unique bird species.
Most Uganda safari trips begin in Entebbe, where you find the only international airport, and head west to a wide belt that contains most of the safari destinations.
As you head west, the most outstanding feature is the beautifully terraced rugged landscape enveloped in emerald shades of green. Uganda sits in a basin between the eastern savannah plains and the western rainforest jungle ecosystem, forming magnificent terrain for an impressive variety of safari experiences.
A Uganda safari typically consists of a classic savannah plains game drive, a traditional boat safari, and trekking through the pristine rainforest jungles to find our cousin primates. Birding is outstanding, with more than 1050 bird species flocking the incredible variety of habitats. The most sought-after bird for a true birder is the grotesques prehistoric shoebill that hunts in the swampy areas of Entebbe and Murchison Falls National Park.
Although wildlife densities in Uganda’s big game safari parks don’t match eastern destinations, game viewing on Uganda safari trips is much rewarding. Tourist numbers in Uganda’s game parks are a mere fraction of those visiting the more developed destinations, making a safari in Uganda a more private experience. Lion, elephant, or leopard sightings are a moment to treasure, and you’ll seldom share such moments with swarms of vehicles.
Primate encounters in Uganda’s rainforest are still the best and most accessible in the world. With more than 1500 chimpanzees swinging in the forest canopies, Kibale National Park has remarkable chimpanzee trekking excursions out of Kanyanchu trailhead. Chimp sanctuaries like Maramagambo, Budongo, Semiliki, and Kyambura provide a meager chimp trekking experience but worth trying out.
The highlight of a Uganda safari journey is spending precious moments with the magnificent mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, 230 mi (480 km) from Entebbe. Bwindi and Mgahinga in the far southwestern border provide excellent gorilla trekking adventures with various safari lodges spread out in the four trailheads on the park’s boundaries. Travelers can also fly-in from Entebbe, or Masai Mara in Kenya, to a small airstrip and drive 3 hours to the gorilla park.
A Uganda safari is for travelers looking for the apex of primate safari experience in a natural setting. Uganda offers the best primate adventures in the world, with over 13 primate species and more than half of the last mountain gorillas within its borders.
Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale National Park is one of the top safari destination activities, promising dramatic primate encounters & trekking experiences.
Uganda safari is for travelers excited about getting down and dirty through the tall, tangled scrubs and ancient trees that carpet western Uganda’s rainforest with a machete, heavy boots, thick trousers, a ridiculous hat to keep the thorns out of your head, patience, and a sense of humor. Such dramatic encounters are exceptional, but even on a slow day, tracking chimpanzees is thrilling.
If the chicky chimps don’t excite you, the mountain gorillas in Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks will sure get your better nature side. With more than 500 mountain gorillas, five trailheads, and 20 habituated gorilla groups, gorilla trekking in Uganda is an exotic adventure that is hard to match on any Africa safari holiday.
The fact that gorillas as a species are on the brink of extinction and treks are a highly restricted activity, encountering wild gorillas is considered a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience. To watch a family of mountain gorillas relaxing in their lush forest home is an awe-inspiring privilege and a memory you would take away and remember forever.
Birding in Uganda puts any birdwatching enthusiast in the center of an excessive number of bird species, making Uganda a fabulous destination for keen bird-watchers. Bird-watchers will find a remarkable avian diversity of over 1050 bird species in the most accessible habitats to access than any other safari destination in Africa.
Like seeing the mountain gorilla, the highlight of birding in Uganda is viewing the appealingly grotesque Shoebill Stork that looks like it’s crawled straight out of Darwin’s evolution box, with its out-of-proportion features and a massive dirty-yellow bill that resembles an old battered shoe.
Uganda outshines all other safari destinations in primates and birding safari, but, in addition, it remains a superb destination for traditional private safari by vehicle or by boat, thanks to its lush habitats and variety of species. For travelers searching for something undiscovered, less crowded, fresh, and vibrant, a Uganda safari is a perfect choice.
Uganda safari experts recommend four to six days to get an incredible experience with Uganda’s unique attractions. However, the length of the safari will vary considering different factors.
Gorilla trekking trips usually start in Entebbe, where you fly-in, and spend a night on this lush Lake Victoria peninsula before flying to the southwestern mountain gorilla park the following day. Travelers with more time on their itinerary stay in Entebbe for an extra day to explore introductory Uganda safari attractions like Nganba Island, Botanical Gardens and do a little shopping for their long journey into the countryside.
Our safari experts recommend trekking the mountain gorillas twice. The first time may turn out overwhelming for first-timers who may miss the blissful moments, while the second time, you bag the cameras and excitement and relax around the imposing mountain giants.
After the gorilla trekking experience, an all-inclusive Uganda safari will fly visitors back into Entebbe or Queen Elizabeth National Park. Most safari packages will head onto the Uganda safari circuit, joining Queen Elizabeth NP for a game drive and boat safari. From Queen, they’ll drive Kibale National Park for the chimps trekking excursion before heading up north to the scenic Murchison Falls National Park for another game drive and boat safari.
Further northeast, at the very tip of the country, travelers can explore the undiscovered open spaces of lesser-known but most rewarding Kidepo National and Pian Upe Game Reserve.
An all-inclusive Uganda safari that covers all the country’s major attractions should be 14 days or more. A lesser duration will not give you the experience you should get from an Africa Safari holiday.
Uganda safari is good year-round, but the rainy seasons (March to May and September to November) can make getting around the destination challenging. The rain can also disrupt your primate trekking experience because of the slippery, uneven terrain and sudden downpours.
In general, December to January and June to August is the best time to visit Uganda on safari during the two dry seasons. The dry season is the best time for gorilla trekking in Uganda because the forest floors are less damp, trails are passable, and you’re sure you and your photography equipment will not get drenched in the torrential downpours. However, it would be best if you didn’t rule out rain because you’re hiking in a rainforest.
The dry season is also the best time to visit Uganda’s wildlife savannah reserves, when the skies are clear, less rain, more sunshine, and vegetation are less. The water holes are practically an animal magnet, and the animals gather around main water sources, making wildlife easier to spot. It is also the best time to take that boat launch safari on Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth NP and Victoria Nile in Murchison Falls NP.
The high or peak travel season in Uganda is usually the two dry seasons of June to September and December to January. Unlike Kenya and Tanzania, the savannah parks in Uganda during this time don’t feel as crowded, and you can almost privately enjoy vast savannah plains to yourself.
Because the best time to see mountain gorillas in Uganda is during the two dry seasons, gorilla trekking permits become scarce. We advise trekkers to book the gorilla permit months in advance, at least 4-12 months earlier, to avoid disappointments.
Well, that’s not all we have for you. Our consultants are ready to help you start planning your all-inclusive Uganda Safari, and there’s one essential thing to note: we customize all our trips to suit your taste and style of travel. By filling out a simple form and hitting that send button, a local expert will get straight back to you via chat, email, or call and help you put together a memorable trip to Uganda at no cost until you make confirmation. Fill out the form right now to get started!
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