The Emerald of Africa
Uganda is home to a number of rare primates and is one of the only countries where you can trek to see the mountain gorillas and chimpanzees in the wild. Hike through the dense and diverse vegetation of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or the Kibale Forest National Park to find these rare and wonderful creatures.
But the country has a lot more to offer. Explore Murchison Falls National Park or take a game drive through Queen Elizabeth National Park. Keep an eye out for a chance to see the famous tree climbing lions and congregations of hippos wallowing in the Ishasha River. Uganda is wild and untouched and waiting to be explored.
Gorilla & Chimp Trekking
The tangled and wild jungle of Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest supports some of the last remaining wild mountain gorillas on earth. On the bucket list of many, trek in the heart of Uganda in search of these unique apes. Although a challenging activity, locating and observing these elusive creatures is something you’ll never forget.
It typically takes between two and seven hours to locate your allocated gorilla family and you will then have the opportunity to spend time quietly observing and these charismatic primates.
Inhabiting areas which are not easily reachable, gorillas reside where there is an abundance of food plants near the ground. Cherish each moment as you watch them forage and play.
The chimpanzees are found in the Kibale Forest, a tropical jungle of varying altitudes in South Uganda. There are over 1,500 chimps here, the highest concentration in Uganda. The park also has 13 different species of primate which means it has the densest population in East Africa.
A must-do experience, with an all-day trek there’s no telling where the chimpanzees will lead you. Their movements are unpredictable, whether it’s uphill, downhill or on even through the dense vegetation. Follow in the footsteps of these agile chimps. The trek can sometimes be challenging, walking at a fast pace through thick forest, for rare and up-close encounters.
Queen Elizabeth & Kazinga Channel
Founded in 1952 the park was originally named Kazinga National Park; however, it was later renamed to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II.
The wide savannah plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park are dotted with towering candelabra trees and winding rivers flow between the volcanic lakes. The park itself is cradled in a giant rift valley, where the Rwenzori Mountains carve the skyline in the distance.
The park not only has many unique vistas, it’s also a haven for wildlife. Home to over 95 mammal species and over 600 bird species, many people also travel to the park in the hope of seeing the famous tree climbing lions. This phenomenon is so rare that there are only two documented populations of tree climbing lions on the planet.
The Kazinga Channel is a 32-kilometre long natural channel that links Lake Edward and Lake George, and is a dominant feature of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The channel attracts a wide range of bird and animal species of all shapes and sizes. It also has one of the world's largest concentration of hippos and Nile crocodiles, and the best way to experience the channel is of course by boat.
Lakes & Waterfalls
Located in the North of Uganda lies Murchison Falls National Park offers one of the best all around safari experiences in the country.
Take a hike down the cliffs that make up the majestic falls for the most spectacular views of the River Nile as it blasts through a narrow gap in the gorge. Experience the falls in all its beauty on a Nile River cruise where you can spot the abundance of wildlife as you make your way to the falls.
There are many lakes dotted throughout the country, our top three: Lake Nkuruba, Lake Bunyonyi and Lake Mutanda.
There are also many crater lakes to explore in the west of Uganda. Fort Portal is dotted with picturesque crater lakes, some over 400m deep. These crater lakes are breathtakingly beautiful and offer some of the best hiking trails in the area. The wild trails lead you around several scenic crater lakes, tribal villages, tea plantations and cascading waterfalls.
On a sunny and clear day, you can also see the tallest African mountain range in the distance – The Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon.
When to go
January / February: Uganda’s dry season, this is one of the best times to visit Uganda, although rainfall can be expected here in any month. Wildlife spotting is particularly good at this time of year as the vegetation is less dense. This is also a great time for trekking to see mountain gorillas and chimpanzees.
March / May: One of Uganda's wet seasons. The parks are vibrant green and animals start to give birth to their young. It's also a birding paradise as it’s a great time to spot migratory birds. Heavy rain showers are frequent so the roads can often be in bad condition.
June / August: Considered one of the best times to visit Uganda and considered a dry season, although rainfall can still be expected. Wildlife can be seen seeking out waterholes. This is also a great time for gorilla and chimp trekking.
September /October: Rainfall can be expected although this is also a good time of year to visit as there are still excellent opportunities to see a lot of wildlife as the vegetation remains low.
November / December: These months are also considered the wet season; These months, the dry plains gradually turn emerald as heavy rains fall across the country. This is also a great time for trekking to see mountain gorillas and chimpanzees, as well as for spotting a variety of migratory birds.
Gorilla Trekking in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Chimpanze Trekking in the Kibale Forest
Queen Elizabeth National Park
The famous tree climbing lions (Queen Elizabeth)
Boat trips on the Ishasha River
Kibale Forest National Park
The Bigodi Wetlands
Murchison Falls National Park
The Batwa Tribe
The official languages of Uganda are English and Swahili. Luganda is widely spoken across the country and in Kampala (along with many other African languages).
Tipping of around 10 - 15% is customary in Uganda for good service. Tips are usually given in Uganda Shillings or US Dollars. If you are doing a gorilla trek, tipping is at your discretion - your porter (if you choose to take one) should usually receive the highest tip, with a second tip distributed between your guides, trackers and security personnel.
The currency of Uganda is the Shilling (UGS). If you are bringing cash, US dollars should be ‘big head’ dollars dated 2000 or later. Larger denominations give you a better exchange rate.
Small packing list: Toiletries, insect repellant, sun screen, sunglasses, swimsuit, rain coat/umbrella, plug converter, hand sanitizer, passport, hiking boots, headlamp, external charger, camera and a backpack with a zipper for everyday use and warm but lightweight clothes.
Casual, modest apparel is best in Uganda. If you wear skirts, they should be knee-length or longer. Jeans/trousers and t-shirts are most commonly worn.
A valid passport and tourist visa are required to enter Uganda.
Different countries will have different rules for travelers, but you can generally expect to get some form of immunization for Yellow Fever and Typhoid. A rabies immunization may be recommended.
A prophylaxis is frequently prescribed for malaria protection, and you can also get a “just-in-case” treatment for diarrhea.
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