Uganda offers a unique travel experience because of several safari activities and National Parks in Uganda. Also known as “the Pearl of Africa”, Uganda is gifted by nature with many un-discovered activities and endowed with wildlife including, the endangered mountain Gorillas which can be trekked in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks. You can also see the African Big five (Lions, Leopards, Buffaloes, Elephants, and Rhinos). The Chimpanzees can also trek in several locations in Uganda a country blessed with several bird species, and mountains. All these combined means that you can only expect a unique Uganda safari experience when you visit the Pearl of Africa as there are several activities you can choose from together with many different cultures spread all over the country. Uganda is known to be the origin of the longest river in the World with its source being in the Eastern part of the country in Jinja the adventure capital of Uganda where travelers enjoy and participate in many adventurous activities such as White water rafting, Quad biking, Horseback riding, and Bungee jumping.
Best time to visit Uganda
The best time for most activities such as game viewing, Mountain Gorilla tracking, and hiking is during the dry season during the months of June, July, August and September. The wet season starts from March to May when there are high rainfall amounts. Budget travellers can still travel during the wet season to enjoy the discounted facilities of some lodges. On good days in the wet season, they can still proceed for their activities in the park. Most of the activities in Uganda are not affected by rain.
Uganda and Rwanda have no specific time for travellers to visit. The temperatures keep changing from season to season. The best recommended season of the year to visit the National Parks is the dry season. During these seasons, mountain Gorilla tracking is at its peak when all the trails and the ground are dry enabling travellers to hike through the forest. Game viewing in all National Parks is also best during the dry season as well as from February and March. And from September throughout October when large herds are seen surrounded on waterholes in the park making it easy to spot a variety of animal species. Uganda is also a bird-watching destination with a variety of bird species spotted in all national parks in Uganda. Birding activities are possible all year round in Uganda.
Uganda Safari Parks and Reserves
The top Uganda Safari Parks to visit while on your Uganda Safari include the following:
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the top destinations to visit for mountain Gorilla tracking. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is home to half of the remaining mountain Gorilla population in the world and this is the number one destination to track these giant species. While in Bwindi Forest, there are several other things you can see including different bird species, Forest elephants. There are also several nature trails and walks that you can visit. If interested in cultural interaction, you can opt to visit the Batwa people (Pygmies), a group of indigenous people who lived in the forests of Bwindi hunting and gathering before it was gazetted into a National park.
Murchison Falls National Park
For a variety of wildlife Murchison Falls National Park is the best park to visit for wildlife safaris in Uganda. It is home to four of the big five, the Elephants, Buffaloes, Lions, and Leopards with the Rhinos available to be tracked in the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary located in Nakasongola en-route to Murchison Falls National Park. The Murchison Falls National Park also previously known as Kabalega falls are also popular for having one of the strongest falls in the world, the Murchison Falls, located at a point in the park where the Nile forces its way through a gorge only 8 meters wide.
Kibale Forest National Park
The Kibale Forest National Park also is known as the primate capital of the world, is the home to 13 primate species including the Chimpanzees, L’hoest monkeys, Black White colobus monkeys, Red colobus monkeys, Valvet Monkeys, Baboons, and several others. This is the number one Chimpanzee tracking destination in Uganda and it’s therefore recommended to individuals looking for an experience with our closest cousins in the primate world, sharing about 99% of their DNA with humans. While at Kibale Forest National Park, one of the added activities you can do is visiting the Bigodi wetlands for a nature walk, rewarding with the sighting of more monkeys, Bird species, and Butterflies.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Your Uganda Safari cannot be complete without a visit to Queen Elizabeth National Park, one of the most popular parks in Uganda. While at Queen Elizabeth National Park, the top things to do include game drives in Kasenyi plains, and in the Ishasha sector to see the tree-climbing lions, visiting the crater lakes and salt licks, a Boat cruise on the Kazinga channel, Chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge or the Kalinzu forest reserve, visiting Maramagambo forest and the bat caves, community walks and visiting schools.
Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National Park is one of the closest safari parks to access from Kampala or Entebbe. This National Park is home to Zebras, Eland, Buffaloes, Impalas and Giraffes, and several other antelope species. You can also see the Leopards especially if you do the night safari. Lake Mburo National Park is also one of the parks in Uganda where you can view wildlife on a walking safari.
Mountain Rwenzori National Park
The Rwenzori Mountains National Park is popular for Mountain trekking, with many travelers coming to Uganda to hike this marvelous mountain popular for having a snow-capped peak known as the Margherita peak on Mount Stanley at an Elevation of 5,109 m above sea level. This region also lies across the equator and the heat from the equator melts the snow and water flow down the mountain through different routes forming rivers Nyamwamba, Nyamugasani, Mubuku in Kasese and river Mpanga in Fort Portal. Mt. Rwenzori stretches about 120km long and 65km wide with varied vegetation which harbors 70 mammal species and 217 bird species including 19 Albertine rift endemics and was declared a heritage site by UNESCO.
Kidepo Valley National Park
The Kidepo Valley National Park is by far Uganda’s top wildlife safari destination. Located in the unchartered northern region of the country also known as Karamoja, the Kidepo Valley never ceases to amaze those interested in a unique safari experience and cultural extravaganza. Kidepo Valley National Park sits on the rugged, semi-arid valleys between the borders of Uganda, South Sudan, and Kenya. This is a home to about 77 mammal species and 475 bird species and it has two seasonal rivers- Kidepo and Narus, which disappear and leave pools during the dry season.it is mainly covered with open Savannah and this makes it easy to view the game at distant areas.
Mount Elgon National Park
This National Park is situated on Mount. Elgon is an extinct volcano at the border of Uganda in the East and Kenya in the west with a width of 80km and 3000m above the sea level. It is one of the oldest volcanoes said to be over 24 million years. Mountain Elgon National Park in Uganda and Kenya protect the slopes of this mountain as a major trans-boundary conservation area which was declared a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve. In Uganda, this area is occupied by two tribes of the Bagisu who consider the mountain to be a representation of their original father Masaba and they believe that he came from one of the caves on the slopes of the mountain. Another tribe here is the Sabiny. This National Park is famously known for having the world’s largest caldera and the mountain is a source of rivers like River Sipi which forms the epic Sipi falls. These falls give a very beautiful background for photography. Mountain Elgon National Park has over three hundred species of bird species some mammals, caves, and beautiful vegetation.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
This is the smallest but most interesting National Park in Uganda covering a total area of 33sqkm. It is positioned in the south-western extreme corner of Uganda, on the lowlands of the extinct Virunga volcanoes that are shared among Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo and each takes the responsibility to protect its Park. This National Park can also be reached by air from Entebbe International Airport to Kisoro Airstrip and you are advised to make bookings for the fight in advance. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park was gazetted in 1991 mainly to protect the endangered mountain Gorillas. Besides Gorillas, this National Park is also well known for the Golden monkeys and the indigenous Batwa group of people.
Semliki National Park
Semliki National Park is found in the south-western corner of Uganda covering a total area of 220sqkm and an average of 715 above sea level. This National Park has lowland tropical savannah vegetation which hosts 441 bird species, 53 mammal species, 9 diurnal primate species and prominently recognized for the wondrous male and female Sempaya hot springs. There is a distance of about 59km from Fort Portal to the Sempaya gate in Bundibugyo district on a road that meanders around the steep slopes of Mountain. Rwenzori.
Wildlife and Birds in Uganda
Uganda has got 10 National Parks, 12 Wildlife reserves and 5 community Wildlife management areas, and 13 Wildlife sanctuaries. These National Parks display the best in East Africa with their Rift Valley landscapes and tropical forest making dramatic backdrops to an extensive variety of flora and fauna. The National Parks offer traditional, savannah safaris along with boat safaris, forest walks, mountain hiking, and wildlife research activities. Uganda is unrivaled in the continent as a bird-watching destination with over 1,000 species of birds, several of which are found nowhere else on the planet. It is also home to 13 types of primates including almost half of the World’s endangered Mountain Gorillas and our very close relatives the Chimpanzees.
Western Uganda is home to most of the country’s National Parks and reserves and is the best region to visit for wildlife. The standout highlight of this region is the Gorilla tracking experience in Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, in Uganda’s southwest corner. While seeing mountain Gorillas is the main reason people travel to Bwindi National Park, there’s more wildlife to spot in the misty forests of the National Park, from nine other primate species, such as black-and-white colobus and l’Hoest monkeys, as well as forest duikers, elusive forest elephants and more than 200 butterfly species and the endangered Golden monkeys in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Kibale Forest Reserve is also a primate capital with 13 resident species; it boasts the largest concentration of primates in the country and the biggest diversity of primates of any East African reserve. Tracking Chimpanzees is the main draw to Kibale Forest, although spotting olive baboons, black-and-white colobus, l’Hoest, and blue monkeys are also highlights in themselves.
Uganda Safari Lodges
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
- Buhoma Lodge
- Mahogany Springs Lodge
- Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge
- Bird Nest Resort
Kibale Forest National Park
- Primate Lodge
- Turaco Tree Tops
- Kibale Forest Camp
- Chimpanzee Guest House
Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Mweya Safari Lodge
- Elephant Hub Safari Lodge
- Kasenyi Safari Camp
- Bush Lodge
Murchison Falls National Park
- Paraa Safari Lodge
- Pakuba Safari Lodge
- Bakers Lodge
- Twigar Safari Lodge
Uganda Weather & Climate
The Climate and Weather of Uganda throughout the year are vital in preparing your African safari adventure because who would want to get stuck in the jungle with a heavy downpour. Here we take a look at all-weather seasons in Uganda to help you plan your Uganda safari with the right information. Uganda enjoys tropical weather conditions that are perfect all year round with temperatures between 16-28°C most of the time. Being crossed by the Equator line, its climate is mitigated by an altitude of 900m to 1800m. The climate is influenced by its topography with high mountains, hills, an elevated plateau, and plenty of water lakes. There is little fluctuation in temperatures because there is no real winter or summer. In general, temperatures are pleasant with warm or hot days and cool or cold nights.
The dry season is experienced from December to February and June to July. The wet season is from September to November and March to May. This means that the dry seasons have fewer rains but the national Parks remain wet during these months. The northeast which is more subjected to drought, however, has one continuous wet season from March to November and dry season from December to February. The wet season does not necessarily mean there are heavy rains throughout the day. Rain can be experienced at night and maybe a few hours of a downpour during the day. One can still enjoy a holiday in this season.
The presence of Lake Victoria which provides moisture to the south thus induces precipitation in the western shores. Without this lake, it would be dry and arid throughout the year.
Due to the Equator line running through Uganda, sunrise will come at around 6:30 am and sunset is around 7:00 pm, throughout the entire year.
Is Uganda safe for tourists?
Uganda is a safari destination in East Africa whose government has done all it can to ensure that the local people and all foreigners are safe and secure. There are no reports of insecurity by attacks from rebels or terrorists. All areas from the airport, to towns and to different destinations are safe for stay. As a responsible company, we have better lodges we recommend for a more comfortable stay. Always avoid crowded areas and take care of your property to prevent theft issues.
Uganda is generally safe for travel however, the below is meant for travelers exploring a post-pandemic world. Otherwise, this guide for Uganda safety, which covers everything from the coronavirus to what solo travelers, should keep in mind.
Dreaming of Uganda adventure safari but unsure how to start planning because of the coronavirus? We can help jumpstart your African safari to Uganda by working with a local to build a bucket list. You’ll get personalized recommendations for when travel is safe again. Plus, locals will include ideas for how you can enjoy Uganda culture at home.
When you are ready to start planning your African safari, we are ready to guide you in crafting your experience in your unmatched style. Reach out to our expert safari consultants to get it all started and we’ll share with you all the resources you’ll need from the planning phase to the experience and back home.
Uganda Safaris and tours
Uganda also dubbed the Pearl of Africa is a unique adorable country and yet still undiscovered by many. In the East of Africa, Uganda is a country gifted with a mesmerizing beauty, coupled with rich beautiful sceneries, spectacular vegetation, waters, mountains and fascinating flora and fauna.
Wildlife safaris in Uganda are mostly done in National Parks including Queen Elizabeth, Kidepo Valley, Lake Mburo and Murchison Falls National Parks. Other safaris in Uganda range from visiting interesting cultural and traditional sites, historical monuments, and religious sites. Uganda is additionally an ideal destination for cultural safaris and tours because of the abundant tribes whose culture and traditions differ.
Safari in Uganda avails the most fantastic lifetime experiences for any traveller who finds their way into this African Pearl. Harbouring more than half of the World’s remaining Mountain Gorillas, Gorilla tracking expeditions have become the highlight of any Uganda tours and safaris. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks spice up with a wide range of attractive flora and fauna, and a fascinating adventure with warm people and culture, not only educative but also filled with fun.
Exclusive primate safaris and tours in Uganda like Gorilla tracking and Chimpanzee tracking are done in tropical rain forests which are seemingly rainy almost all the time throughout the year, while the dry savannah National Parks attract a wide range of safari activities such as game drives, scenery viewing, birding watching trips and many others.
Uganda harbours Africa’s biggest freshwater lake, Lake Victoria which also doubles as the only true source of the River Nile. The Nile River is the World’s longest River covering a distance of over 5,100 miles from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea in North Africa.
With its shimmering islands, Lake Victoria is a true source of adventure and relaxation along its extensive sand beaches. The only Bahai’ temple in Africa is situated right in the city of Kampala, standing high on top of a hill for those who would like to learn more of the Bahai’ history and beliefs.
The jagged Rwenzori Mountains in the far south-west corner is just a right spot to test your adventure enthusiasm and it is Uganda’s tallest mountain and East Africa’s largest block mountain, formed as a result of faulting. Despite its height, and the fact that it lays along the Equator line where temperatures are apparently high, the Rwenzori Mountains remain covered by snow almost all year round.