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Your safari to Uganda

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Why go to Uganda?

Uganda offers a wide variety of ecosystems and a high biodiversity count, making it a popular country for those seeking something different.

If you are passionate about primates or birds, Uganda is the country for you! Gorilla trekking options are arguably the best in Africa. There are several chimp trekking options, and the diversity of other primates on offer means you always have something to watch. And for birdwatchers, the variety of habitats, from highland to lowland forests, savannah and many rivers feeding huge wetlands and lakes, means that your bird list will grow exponentially - including the iconic shoebill. There is no shortage of other wildlife, from lions and elephants to hippos and giant forest hogs.

Scroll past the safari packages below to find out EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW about a safari in Uganda

Everything you need to know about Uganda

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable NP offers arguably Africa's best highland gorilla trekking experience in ancient rainforests with some of Uganda's highest levels of biodiversity and exceptional birdwatching opportunities.

Kibale National Park

Kibale NP is Uganda's premier chimpanzee-trekking destination and a rewarding birdwatching location in conjunction with the neighbouring Bigodi Wetland.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth NP offers a classic safari with a few twists. Habitats include acacia woodland, grass savannah, lakes, rivers, dense papyrus swamps, rainforest and extinct volcanic crater cones with lakes. In addition to species such as leopards, elephants, hippos, buffaloes and giant forest hogs, the park is known for the famous tree-climbing lions in the southern Ishasha area and chimp trekking at Kyambura George.

Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls NP hosts the Nile River and dramatic Murchison Falls - where this mighty river forces its way through a narrow rock gap before plunging into the chasm below. This is predominantly savannah-woodland dotted with Borassus palms and encompassing tracts of tropical forests, grassland and wetlands. In addition to a mix of savannah wildlife such as lions, hyenas, elephants and giraffes, many people visit this park to find shoebills in the dense papyrus marshes.

Budongo Forest

Budongo Forest, which lies adjacent to Murchison Falls NP, offers an excellent chimp-trekking experience. Some of the chimpanzee families have been researched and habituated for over 30 years, and your guides can recognise individual chimpanzees on sight, which only adds to what is already a profound and humbling experience.

Mabamba Swamp

Mabamba Swamp is a Ramsar Important Bird Area and bird watchers' dream destination. It's located on the edge of Lake Victoria, within easy reach of the cities of Kampala and Entebbe. This is arguably the best place in Africa to find shoebills.

Semliki Valley

Semliki Valley (including Semuliki National Park and Semuliki Wildlife Reserve) is one of Uganda’s more remote wilderness regions. Unspoilt by mass tourism, Semliki includes lowland tropical forest and savannah grassland – to ensure an astonishing array of biodiversity. The valley hosts elephants, buffaloes and various other common species - but it is the bird species that attract many guests. This is the eastern fringe of the vast Ituri Forest that occupies much of the nearby DRC, all the way to the Congo River 500km to the west. Avian candy on offer includes Congo serpent eagle, lyre-tailed honeyguide, red-billed dwarf hornbill, black dwarf hornbill, black-casqued hornbills, Nkulengu rail, spot-breasted ibis, Oberländer’s ground thrush, blue swallow, blue-shouldered robin-chats, western nicators and Bate’s nightjar.

Kidepo National Park

Kidepo NP in the remote northeast corner of Uganda has a true wilderness feel and is a great destination for the adventurous traveller. Predator sightings are better than elsewhere in Uganda - lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena. There are good numbers of elephant and buffalo.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla NP covers the northern slopes of three volcanoes. Although Uganda's smallest national park, Mgahinga has great biological importance as a home for mountain gorillas.

Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo NP lies halfway between the capital city of Kampala / airport city of Entebbe and the gorilla and chimp trekking havens in the country's west - a convenient stop-over for those driving this route. The park offers a selection of antelope, buffalo and occasional leopard and excellent birding on the lake.

Jinja and the White Nile

Jinja lies on the shore of Lake Victoria, where the White Nile River exits the lake and commences its journey north to Egypt after merging with the Blue Nile. Just downstream of Jinja is the adventure centre of East Africa, offering activities such as white water rafting and bungee jumping.

Uganda's climate

The most popular time to travel to Uganda is when there is the lowest chance of rain.

Uganda enjoys a typical equatorial climate - mild and pleasant, albeit with plenty of rain. Temperatures in specific locations are fairly constant month-to-month but can vary significantly between locations - depending on the altitude and the presence of large bodies of water.

The dry seasons - the best time to visit - are from June to August and December to February. There is often light cloud cover in both of Uganda's dry seasons. This helps to moderate the temperatures but also occasionally brings light rain showers. Uganda's rainy season lasts from about March to May and September to November when you can expect persistent rain.

Note that gorilla and chimp trekking during rain is also an extremely rewarding experience. The trails may be slippery, but fewer tourists results in a more private encounter.

Gorilla trekking

Places: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Gorilla trekking has been described by many as a life-changing experience. Time spent with this fellow great ape is a humbling and profoundly spiritual experience that has to be at the top of your bucket list.

Perhaps more importantly, your gorilla trek has become a vital financial lifeline for conserving the last remaining mountain gorillas and their highland habitat. Read more about gorilla trekking here

Chimp trekking

Places: Kibale National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park and Budongo Forest

Spending time with chimpanzees - our closest genetic ancestors - is a humbling experience. Chimps are more active than gorillas, and finding them as they forage widely can be challenging.

Once found, expect a fascinating encounter as they play, bicker, mate and care for their babies. If you are lucky, you may hear them pant-hooting - a truly evocative sound. Few fortunate tourists get to witness chimps hunting monkeys. Read more about chimp trekking here


Places: Mabamba Swamp and Murchison Falls National Park

The shoebill (Balaeniceps rex) is one of Africa's most sought-after birdwatching encounters. From the front, this giant prehistoric-looking bird resembles an old university professor - big-nosed, peering over his spectacles. From almost any other angle, though, he’s a total hoot.

The most predictable place to see shoebills is at Mabamba Swamp near the airport town of Entebbe. Local fishermen help track these highly endangered birds, and your search will be conducted in a wooden boat - in the many deep-water channels of this large papyrus swamp. Expect also to tick off other avian candies, such as blue swallow, pallid harrier, papyrus gonolek, lesser jacana, white-winged warbler, Viellot’s weaver, palm-nut vulture, Clarke’s weaver and Carruther’s cisticola.

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