It is smaller than the United Kingdom but boasts a spectacular array of landscapes – from snow-capped mountains and savannah to lush swampland and impenetrable forests.
Its remote, unspoilt parks teem with wildlife such as the famed East Africa big game species of lion, elephant and buffalo as well as primates and over a thousand species of birds. Uganda, and its neighbour Rwanda, share the unique responsibility of conserving a population of critically endangered mountain gorillas and chimpanzees, funded in no small part through the trekking fees levied on visiting guests. Arriving at Entebbe airport in the capital Kampala visitors can embark on a full safari itinerary encompassing the best of the diverse parks, or simply a short excursion to the southeast for gorilla trekking.
- The Virunga Volcanoes and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest are home to the last of the mountain gorillas.
- Home of the renowned Murchison Falls – see the mighty Nile river and encounter big game.
- Kidepo Valley – the rising star of safari destinations, remote and untouched.
- Queen Elizabeth National Park – boasts one of the highest biodiversity ratings of any reserve in the world, this park is home to almost 100 animal species as well as more than 600 types of birds.
- Experience the breathtaking beauty of Africa’s Rift Valley.
A wide variety of accommodation can be found, though the majority would be safari lodges or camps. For those hoping to go gorilla trekking there are several well-located and scenic lodges to choose from. The recommended lodges are of a high standard, although not as high as their ultra-luxurious counterparts in Kenya and Tanzania. It is strongly recommended that you reserve all your accommodation as far in advance as possible.
Peak season for gorilla trekking is usually from June to November, although there are great savings to be had traveling in the slighty wetter low season. This is usually April to May and October to November with the wettest month being April.
Uganda is a wonderful family destination. However, if the sole purpose of the trip is gorillas, please note that in order to protect gorillas from disease, no children under 15 or people with illnesses may go tracking.
Uganda is a small landlocked country that sits on the northern shore of the vast Lake Victoria. Relatively populous and tucked away in the Great Lakes region of East Africa, Uganda is one of the most vibrant emerging safari destinations in the world. Its mesmerizing views, astonishing biodiversity, opportunities for gorilla trekking and lower temperatures made it the safari destination of choice and a Uganda safari is rapidly rising to its deserved spot among the top experiences in East Africa.
Uganda is striking in many ways. A paradise for primates, it is home to a multitude of species, ranging from chimpanzee to golden monkey and mountain gorilla. Its elevation above sea level lifts it out of the heat of the Equator and into more temperate climes, while the variations in terrain, drainage and altitude create an incredible variety of scenery and habitat. Uganda is located where the savannah of East Africa meets the jungles of central Africa, meaning that you can view lion and elephant in sweeping grassy plains one day and track primates through lush rainforest the next.
The abundance of water makes for a wide variety of river adventures, from superb white water rafting at Jinja to more sedate river cruises viewing vast numbers of hippo and crocodile along the country’s western border. Boasting one of the highest mountains in Africa, Mt Stanley, the Ruwenzori Mountain range, also known by the colourful name of the Mountains of the Moon, is higher than the Alps and rises along Uganda’s western border.
The glaciers and montane forest of the mountains are a stark contrast to the savannah and lowlands of the central areas. Though amazingly scenic, high rainfall and rugged terrain mean that these mountains are notoriously difficult to explore when compared to popular trekking destinations such as Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya.
Much of the country is defined by water and the Nile River is said to have its source here. The mighty river itself curves through the country from northwest to southeast. Uganda is also a birders’ paradise, with well over 1 000 recorded species, including the fascinating shoebill.
In comparison with its neighbours, Uganda sees fairly low numbers of tourists, meaning that its national parks are uncrowded. The country’s main attraction is undeniably the imposing mountain gorillas, the last of their kind. They make their home in the forests along the south western border of Uganda, mostly in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Impenetrable Forest. This park is home to over half the remaining wild mountain gorilla in the world.
Summer (October – April)
Winter (May – September)
Long Rains are from March to May, although in many places it rains lightly every day for a large part of the year.
Uganda and Rwanda are both near the Equator. As a result the climate does not change much, this makes both countries all year round destinations. Tropical with temperatures averaging about 26ºC (78ºF) during the day and about 16ºC (48ºF) during the evening. The warmest period is December to February. The rainy season in the South is April to May and October to November with the wettest month being April. In the North the wet season is April to October and the dry season is November to March.