Best time to visit Uganda
Uganda can be visited through the year for a safari but most tourists prefer to visit between June to August and also December to February. These months are also referred to as the peak season. You need to book gorilla permits months in advance to avoid missing out. The high season is characterized by little to no rainfall hence allowing visitors to take part in activities without interruption. The low season is in March to May and October to November. The low season is also the time when there is a lot of rain in the country hence affecting park roads and forest trails. It is important to note that all seasons and months have their advantages. The rain season receives fewer visitors hence allowing you to explore the parks without many crowds. The rains bring new life to the vegetation and the whole country looks very green and beautiful.
The Main Activities While On A Safari In Uganda Are:
- Gorilla tracking tours in Bwindi Impenetrable forest Park and Mgahinga Gorilla Park.
- Chimpanzee tracking in Budongo forest, Kibale and Mgahinga.
- Kampala City Tour involving Cultural and religious tours to the Ndere centre, Uganda museum, Kasubi tombs and the Uganda Martyrs shrine Namugongo.
- Nature walks and landscape viewing.
- Spotting the big five – Elephants, rhinoceros, Leopard, Lion and buffalo.
- Fishing in the great Lake Victoria, Lake Albert, Lake Edward, Lake Mburo, Lake Kyoga, Lake Kwania, Lake Bunyoyi, Lake Bisina and the River Nile in Jinja. The main species of fish caught are Nile perch, Tilapia, mud and lung fish.
- Bird watching (over 1035 species).
- Swimming and rafting in the various crater lakes, rivers and beaches.
- Climbing Mountain Elgon and Hiking the Rwenzori mountains.
- Quad Biking.
- Bungee jumping over the Nile.
- Cultural and heritage tours
Uganda tour – Major attractions
Murchison Falls National Park:
Located in Northwestern Uganda (Masindi District), Murchison falls national park is the largest conservation area in Uganda. Located in an area covering over 3,800 km², the park is named after one of its top attractions – The Murchison falls. The Murchison falls is formed at a point where the river Nile passes through a narrow gorge before going down about 42 meters in a mighty roar. Because of past insecurity in the country and unrestricted poaching, the park is not as it used to be. The park has however recovered because of more recent conservation efforts.
The waterfall may be a top attraction but the park is teeming with wildlife.
The park has the largest population of the now endangered Rothschild Giraffes in East Africa – numbering over 1000. Visitors on a Uganda Wildlife tour should expect a memorable cruise up and down the river Nile to see elephants, lions, giraffes, Nile crocodiles, hippos, buffaloes, antelopes and birds feeding along the river banks. The Budongo forest in the park is famous for chimpanzee trekking as you can see in our 4 days Murchison falls safari package. The park is also famous for white water rafting at the Karuma falls – A collection of rapids just before the Murchison falls.
Queen Elizabeth National Park:
Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda covers 2,056 sq. km and is located near the border with the DR Congo. It is the most visited park in Uganda and famous for the tree climbing lions in Ishasha and the Uganda Kob. Visitors on a Uganda wildlife safari love the park for the beautiful green scenery and collection of plant, animal and bird species. The park has over 500 bird species among which include the King fisher, flamingos, eagles and storks. The endangered Shoebill Stork is also found in the park. The park contains different species of trees, craters, savanna grasslands, swamps, lakes and other volcanic features.
A 3 Days safari to Queen Elizabeth National Park provides the best chance to spot the big five while on a wildlife tour in Uganda. The park has buffaloes, hippos, baboons, elephants and various species of antelope. One can spot Nile crocodiles in Lake Edward and Lake George, birding and game viewing at the Kazinga Channel or track chimpanzee at the Maramagambo forest. If you are planning on a Uganda tour, the best time to visit Queen Elizabeth National Park is during the dry season.
Kidepo Valley National Park:
The spectacular Kidepo valley national park is located in the remote north eastern corner of Uganda and covers about 1,440 km2. The park receives fewer visitors on a Uganda tour because of its remote location but is second to none for variety and sheer abundance of flora and fauna.
This hidden gem is in many ways a great reflection of how Africa used to be before greater human interference. It has been described by CNN Travel as among the top three parks in Africa. Kidepo Valley National Park in Uganda is a collection of stunning mountains and un-spoiled Savannah. On a safari in Uganda, one can view wild dogs, lions, cheetah, leopard, giraffe, oryx, buffalo and hippopotamus. The park is also home to bush babies, elephants, ostriches, baboons and about 220 bird species. One can also spot the Kananorok hot springs at the northern part of the park. The animals share space with nomadic pastoralists like the Karamajong and the Ik people living high up the Morungole Mountain. Visitors on a Uganda wildlife tour should expect a special treat during their safari to Kidepo National Park.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park:
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park is found in the south western corner of Uganda and neighbors the Dr Congo’s Virunga National Park. Because of its landscape and biological diversity, Bwindi is considered a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO and has often been referred to as the Switzerland of Africa. The breathtaking green and beautiful forests of Bwindi National Park contain half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. The rest can only be found in Rwanda and The Democratic Republic of Congo. Mountain gorilla tracking is considered among the top three activities worth considering while visiting Africa and on a Uganda safari. Gorilla trekking in Bwindi National Park to see the endangered mountain gorillas is a once in a lifetime experience and cannot be compared to anything else. Apart from Gorilla tours, Bwindi is home to Colobus monkeys and is a birders paradise. Some of the bird species include bee-eaters, chap-ins flycatchers, black billed turaco and African green broadbills. The best time for birding while on a Uganda tour is during the wet season, when all resident and migratory birds gather to feast on the abundant forest fruits and insects.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park:
Mgahinga is located in the southwestern part of Uganda and famous for gorilla trekking. Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga involves visiting the one habituated mountain gorilla family found in the park. In Uganda, Golden monkeys can only be found in Mgahinga. One would need to cross over to Rwanda to view more golden monkey groups. The park is not all about monkeys and gorillas. Jackals, woodland elephants, buffalo, leopard and a few antelope species roam the park. Visitors on a Uganda safari to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda can also hike one of the three Volcanoes (Mount Sabinyo, Mt. Muhavura and Mount Gahinga) found in the park or go for the Batwa trail and cave exploration. If you are targeting the gorillas specifically, then you may find the 3 days Mgahinga gorilla safari package interesting.
Kibale Forest National Park:
The park is found near the Rwenzori Mountains and shares a border with Queen Elizabeth national park. The forest is famous for chimpanzee tracking – The best place to track Chimpanzee in East Africa. Chimpanzees can be found in other parts of Uganda and Africa but the sheer numbers (1500) in Kibale forest guarantees you a close interaction with them while on a Uganda safari. Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest can be combined with nature walks and a visit to the Bigodi swamp. Other than chimps, the park contains 13 other monkey species like the red colobus, L’Hoest’s and grey-cheeked mangabeys. Giant forest hogs, antelopes and over 100 butterfly species are found in the park. Kibale National park in Uganda has sections covered by swamps and grasslands and is a good location for birding – Over 290 species.
Lake Mburo National Park:
Lake Mburo is Uganda’s smallest but most accessible park from Kampala. Lake Mburo is the main water body among 12 others found in the park. In Uganda, Zebras are found in Lake Mburo National Park. The park is a birders paradise with over 300 species that congregate at the lake and its swampy shores. The massive woodland benefits from the absence of elephants in the park. The parks Savannah grass teems with antelopes, buffaloes, leopards, jackals and hyenas. The dry season provides the best time to spot animals while on a safari as they gather to drink water at the lake Mburo.
Mount Elgon National Park:
The park is found in Mbale district in the Eastern part of the country and lies on the border between Uganda and Kenya. Mount Elgon is the key attraction in the park. The mountain is an extinct volcano with a caldera spanning about 42km2. The Wagagai summit is a favorite among hikers as are hot-springs and other features that make Mount Elgon National park so captivating. The mountain slopes are littered with natural forests, bushes, waterfalls, caves, gorges and canyons. The park is also filled with different bird species and primates (Colobus Monkeys, blue monkeys and vevert monkeys among others). A safari in Uganda should include a visit to this park.
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary:
This is a Rhino reserve along the way to the Murchison falls national Park. The objective of the sanctuary is to protect the country’s rhinos and eventually restock the larger parks. Rhinos have succumbed to poaching for their valuable horns in many of Uganda’s parks.
The sanctuary helps protect rhinos from poachers and human interference hence giving them a safe place to reproduce. The park has over 60 rangers and guards and visitors can see the Rhinos up-close and interact with conservationists to gain knowledge about the project and Rhinos. Most tour companies include a stop-over at the Ziwa Rhino sanctuary when organizing Uganda safaris to Murchison Falls national park.
Apart from Rhinos, rangers can help one spot monkeys, antelopes, crocodiles and hippos. The sanctuary is a great place for relaxing, nature walks and canoeing while spotting about 240 species of birds.
Uganda tour – Other Tourism destinations
With its 29 islands, Lake Bunyonyi is widely regarded as the most beautiful lake in Uganda. The lake is located near the border with Rwanda and close to the towns of Kabale and Kisoro. Although the lake is one of the deepest in Africa, it is the sheer scenic beauty that sets it apart from others and makes it attractive to both visitors on a Uganda tour and locals. It offers great romantic spots to relax and watch the day pass by as you plan your next activity while visiting Uganda on a safari. One can also go watch the traditional dances of the Batwa Pygmies or hop from one island to another spotting the different island villages, schools and settlements by boat. The lake is close to Bwindi Impenetrable forest and visitors enjoy stopping by on their way to track mountain gorillas.
The source of the Nile
A trip safari in Uganda should be completed with a two day visit to the source of the Nile in Jinja involving whitewater rafting. River Nile is one of the three longest lakes in the world and passes through several countries as after leaving Uganda among which includes Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt. Jinja is a small, quiet, relatively well planned former industrial town with beautiful scenery. You can visit the Bujagali falls or go boat riding along the river Nile as you spot several large crocodiles. The river Nile also provides spots for camping, fishing, rafting, kayaking and the now popular bungee jumping.
The scenic Ssese Islands are an archipelago of 84 islands found in Lake Victoria. Locals and visitors on a Uganda Wildlife tour love to take their vacation in the island’s quiet sandy beaches. The journey to the islands from Entebbe takes 3 hours by ferry or 45 from Bukakata. The route through Entebbe by ferry will take you through the beautiful Lake Victoria and fishing villages. The largest island is Bugala in Kalangala town. Other islands worth visiting while on a safari in Uganda include Bulago and Bukasa which all have excellent white sand beaches. Fishing and tourism are the main economic activities in the islands. Visitors on Ssese Islands tour will have opportunities to spot several bird species, monkeys, crocodile, hippos and a few antelope species.
Uganda Wildlife Education Centre
The centre is located in Entebbe and set up by the Uganda government for education and wildlife conservation purposes. The centre was recently revamped and has grown considerably in recent years. The population and variety of animals, birds and reptiles has increased. Those visiting Uganda for short workshops and conferences can find the Entebbe zoo a perfect place to get a taste of what Uganda has to offer in terms of both flora and fauna.
The Rwenzori Mountains
Uganda is blessed with several mountains but the Rwenzori mountains stands out. Located at the border between Uganda and DR Congo, tourists love hiking to the top of the snow-capped Margherita peak. The mountain slopes are covered with dense forests that are inhabited by primates, forest hogs and several bird and butterfly species. While visiting Uganda on a safari, a stop by these beautiful mountains will reward nature lovers with amazing scenery.
The Sipi falls are some of the most stunning waterfalls in Uganda. Located at the foot of Mount Elgon, the Sipi Falls are one of the most visited waterfalls in Uganda. There are three levels with the top level attracting more travelers.
If you are into extreme sports then you can’t say no to this Uganda Destination. The River Nile offers adventure activities such as white-water rafting, bungee jumping, tubing, sunset cruises and so much more.
Semuliki National Park
This popular Uganda Safari Destination is known for its hot springs. Explore the steamy jungle and the intriguing wildlife of Semuliki National Park.
Visit The Fort Patiko which was originally a slave trade center established by the Arabs to sell slaves to Iran, Iraq, and Kuwait, etc. during your Uganda Safaris.