You can’t talk about African safaris without mentioning Uganda, the Pearl of Africa and a safari destination that will leave a mark in your heart. If you see beauty, relaxation and memorable experiences through history and culture, unmatched wildlife encounters, jaw-dropping mountain vistas, water sports, game viewing and stunning landscapes, then you need to undertake a Uganda safari.

About Uganda

Uganda is a small land-locked country in East Africa extending for about 93065 square miles, about the size of Great Britain and boasts of an amazing safari experience. Kampala, a verdant City in Central Uganda is the largest and Capital City of Uganda. This country is one of the friendliest and most beautiful places in the World with a myriad of ecosystems ranging from the towering Volcanic Mountains in East and West of the country, the thickly forested wetlands within the Albert Nile River as well as the Tropical rainforests within Uganda’s Central Plateau. As of 2020, the population of Uganda stands at 45, 741,007 people making it the 8th most populous country in Africa.

History of Uganda

Uganda’s history is bittersweet and dates back to the time the territory was occupied by people before the Republic of Uganda was even established. Old Stone Age evidence shows that this country was first inhabited by humans about 50,000 years ago. With the migration of the Bantu, Uganda’s thick forests were gradually cleared and lands converted into Agricultural lands to rear goats and chicken. Uganda became a British Protectorate in 1894 and gained Independence in 1962. This made then Kabaka of Buganda, Sir Edward Mutesa the first President of the Republic of Uganda and Dr. Apollo Milton Obote was elected the Prime Minister in April the same year. As of 2012, the President of Uganda is His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Tibihaburwa.

Location of Uganda

Uganda is found within the Eastern part of Africa, on the north-western shores of Lake Victoria and is bordered by the Democratic Republic of Congo in the West, South Sudan in the North, Kenya in the East, Tanzania in the South while Rwanda and Burundi to the south-west. The country is also set within the heart of the Great Lakes region in addition to being surrounded by three stunning Lakes that include Victoria, Edward and Albert. The country is also astride the Equator and over 800 kilometers inland from the Indian Ocean.

Gorilla Trekking

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda is one of the iconic tourist experiences and wildlife masterpiece for African safaris. This thrilling primate trekking experience is conducted in two amazing National Parks and with about 1063 mountain gorillas still existing on Earth today, Uganda is a haven to almost half of these huge creatures thus making it one of the three countries offering the experience. There are over 19 gorilla groups that have been fully habituated and already open for tourism/trekking. 18 of these groups are trekked within one of the four sectors (Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo) of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park while one habituated gorilla group is found/trekked in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The most amazing thing about these Parks is that they are found in the south-western side of the country meaning visitors who wish to visit both destinations can easily do it without so much stress.

The verdant swathe across the steep ridges within the Albertine Rift Valley of Bwindi is home to almost half the World’s population of these Great Apes. Bwindi offers both gorilla treks and Habituation Experience (opportunity to visit semi-habituated gorillas). It is also shelters over 90 species of mammals including 11 primate species, over 350 bird species including 23 of the 24 Albertine Rift endemics thus making it one of the top Important Birding Areas in the Country.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park on the extreme south-western part of Uganda is also a perfect destination to trek and spend time with mountain gorillas. It is the smallest Park in the country but covers the northern slopes of the three northernmost Virunga Volcanoes that include Sabyinyo, Muhabura and Gahinga.

National Parks and other attractions

From East to West, North to South, here are the other fascinating National Parks in Uganda plus their must-see attractions. These Parks include;

Murchison Falls National Park

Travellers yearning for exceptional safari experiences on iconic River Nile adventure always visit Murchison falls National Park. Four of the big five (lions, elephants, buffaloes and leopards), Topis, bushbucks, Rothschild giraffes, Defassa waterbucks, Oribis and Uganda Kobs are part of the 76 mammals species found in this popular Park but also expect over 450 bird species. The peak of this Park’s tours is the spectacular Murchison falls where waters of the Nile squeeze through a narrow gorge to make a beautiful waterfall.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Set within the western side of Uganda, Queen Elizabeth National Park was first established in 1952 as Kazinga National Park, then after the Royal visit of Queen Elizabeth II of England its named was changed in 1954. The Park is popular for its medley of wonders including exotic wildlife species-elephants, spotted hyenas, buffaloes, Hippos, Nile crocodiles, leopards, warthogs, Defassa waterbucks, Topis, Uganda Kobs, bushbucks, lions, chimpanzees and generally 95 species of mammals. It is also a birder’s delight with over 600 bird species. Visitors to Queen Elizabeth National Park are also treated to a breathtaking landscape in form of volcanic cones, deep and shallow craters, freshwater Lakes and many others.

Semliki National Park

Located in the western district of Budibugyo, Semliki is one of the most recently gazetted National Parks in Uganda, established in 1993. It is renowned for the awe-inspiring Sempaya hot springs where you can boil eggs in 15 minutes as well as extraordinary primate species including De Brazza’s monkeys, chimpanzee, L’Hoests monkeys and black and white colobus monkeys. There are also elephants, pygmy antelopes and plethora of bird species in Semliki National Park,

Kidepo Valley National Park

This is the remotest and rarely explored National Park in Uganda, found in the north-east of the country. Road trips to this Park last over 10 hours but are worthwhile given the high concentration of unique wildlife species, phenomenal landscapes, numerous bird species and a totally exceptional wilderness experience. Expect 77 mammal species, over 475 bird species and many other attractions you will never experience in other parts of the country.

Mount Elgon National Park

Set within the Uganda-Kenya border is Mount Elgon National Park established in 1992 to protect over 1110 square kilometers of mountain range, hot springs, waterfalls, Caves, animals and birds.

Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park in western Uganda is the smallest savannah Park in the country with only 370 square kilometers. It is the nearest to the Capital (Kampala) and is known for unique wildlife species-impalas, zebras, common elands, spotted hyenas, Hippos, leopards and many others in addition to over 350 bird species.

Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park is one of the country’s most stunning Tropical rainforests and haven to the highest chimpanzee population in Uganda. Travellers to this Park can witness first-hand experience of meeting face to face with high diversity of primates including grey-cheeked mangabeys, black and white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys and many others.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park

The Rwenzori Mountains range standing along Uganda-Democratic Republic of Congo border is known for one of the most breathtaking landscapes in the World. This 1000-square kilometer Park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site given its stunning natural beauty. Travellers here are guaranteed of experiencing the most fulfilling mountaineering experiences, wide range of unique flora and fauna (including the rare three-horned chameleons), beautiful Glaciers and fascinating sceneries.

Most Interesting Tourist Activities during Uganda Safaris

If you seek game drives in typical African savannah plains, mountaineering, guided nature walks, village and community walks, Horseback rides, adventurous water sports, Boat cruises, sport fishing, experiential tours, Birding, hot air  balloon safaris, riveting City excursions and mountain biking, just book for Uganda Safaris.

Game Drives

Both day and evening game Drives in Uganda are conducted within the savannah National Parks and Wildlife Reserves-Murchison falls, Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo, Kidepo Valley and Semliki National Parks as well as Pian Upe and Katonga Reserves and with views of Rothschild giraffes, olive baboons, zebras, Defassa waterbucks, impalas, lions, Hippos, warthogs, leopards, striped and spotted hyenas, cheetahs, serval cats and many others. Some of these animals are found in specific Parks/Reserves while others are found in every safari Park.

Chimpanzee Trekking

Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda can be enjoyed in Kibale Forest National Park, Budongo Forest, Kyambura Gorge, Semliki National Park and Kalinzu Forest among others. Nothing beats the feeling of staring into the eyes of our close cousins and this is possible during Uganda safaris.

Village and Community walks

Uganda has the most beautiful villages where travellers can always experience authentic cultural experiences with typical activities being traditional dance performances, local beer brewing, farm visits and many others.

Bird watching

Uganda is not a fairytale but a true heaven on Earth with over 1000 bird species (10% of the World’s recorded bird species). There are more than 33 Important Bird Areas in the country in form of National Parks, Forest Reserves, Wildlife Reserves, Protected Wetlands and the most surprising thing about Uganda is that birding can take place in your backyard.

Where to stay during Uganda Safaris

Uganda’s safari destinations feature numerous places to stay ranging from homestays, Guesthouses, Motels, Resorts, Hostels, Safari Lodges, Camping grounds, Tented Camps to Hotels. Wherever the night finds you, a number of places exist to offer comfort, delicious meals and unforgettable stay. Some of the accommodation facilities that stand-out are Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Kampala Serena Hotel, Ndali Lodge, Mount Gahinga Lodge, Mihingo Lodge, Chobe Safari Lodge, Apoka Lodge, Wild Waters Lodge, Mweya Safari Lodge, Ishasha Wilderness Camp, Semliki Safari Lodge and many others.

When to visit for Uganda Safaris

The dry season is the best time for Uganda Safaris. For gorilla trekking, the ground is dry during the dry season-January, February, June, July, August, September and December hence making it less hectic to hike through the dense vegetation and steep slopes to search for the mountain gorillas. When it comes to game drives, animals tend to converge at water points hence making the dry season perfect for game viewing.

What you must know before you visit Uganda

Some of the quick facts you must know before visiting Uganda include;

  • Travellers from almost all countries require visa when visiting Uganda.
  • Yellow fever vaccination certificate needed when visiting Uganda.
  • Uganda is safe for all visitors including lone/sole travellers except caution has to be used when walking with valuables in crowded places and moving at night.
  • Avoid drinking tap water while in Uganda.
  • The local currency us Uganda Shilling although Park entrance, upmarket Hotels and Safari Lodges accept Foreign currencies.
  • We eat Rolex and not wear it. Get a chance to taste Rolex, street food during Uganda Safaris.
  • Tipping is not mandatory in Uganda but it doesn’t hurt to appreciate good service offered.

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