Located in the heart of Africa in the Albertine Rift, Uganda lays claim to offering some of the finest wilderness areas on the continent. Home to approximately half the world’s remaining mountain gorillas, Uganda has a well-deserved reputation as one of the finest wildlife destinations in Africa.
Explore The Pearl of Africa, home mountain gorillas, shoebills and more
While the focus for many visitors to Uganda is, understandably, the mountain gorillas, there is a lot more on offer when trying to create a varied and multi-layered safari. With an enviable position in the staggeringly biodiverse Albertine Rift, Uganda offers a myriad of wildlife experiences few destinations can match.
From trekking deep into Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in search of some of the world’s last remaining populations of mountain gorilla, to going in search of the elusive shoebill stork in the wetlands of Murchison Falls, or enjoying a rafting trip on the Nile before refreshing yourself with some of the finest coffee in the world – Uganda packs the best of the continent into one small country.
While historically, Uganda has been no stranger to turbulent politics, the future is bright and tourism has never played a more critical role in this country than now. It’s regarded as one of the safest destinations in Africa. The friendliness, warmth and generosity of its people is a constant theme among client feedback when visiting Uganda.
Geographically, Uganda shares borders with South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania. A landlocked and mountainous nation, it is in stark contrast to many of its neighbouring countries. Trekking opportunities deep into The Rwenzori Mountains – home to some Africa’s last remaining glaciers – present a landscape you would be forgiven for thinking is in the high Andes, rather than the middle of Africa.
In terms of accommodation, Uganda is very well-catered for, covering the range from high end lodges through to simpler and more intimate tented camps. The capital city, Kampala, often overlooked by visitors, is home to international standard hotels, such as The Sheraton, and the simpler yet perennially popular Boma Guesthouse.
Where to explore
Kibale National Park
Venture into this lush tropical rainforest and be surrounded by the highest density of primates in Africa. Five groups of wild chimpanzees are habituated to human contact, making the chances of having an up-close encounter higher. Beyond the obvious drawcard, there is in addition over 250 species of butterfly and 370 species of bird that call the park home.
Kidepo Valley National Park
Hidden away in the northeast of Uganda, Kidepo is Uganda’s most isolated park. But for those who make the journey through the wilder frontier region of Karamoja, they would tell you it ranks amongst Africa’s most beautiful wildernesses. This grassy savannah outlined with soaring mountains is notable for harbouring a variety of animals you can’t find anywhere else in the country, including bat-eared foxes, aardwolves, caracals, kudus, and cheetahs (like this one!)
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Located in south-western Uganda, Bwindi is home to half of the world’s surviving mountain gorillas, and the steep mountain rainforest is also known for having more than 160 species of trees and over 100 species of ferns, making it a biodiversity hotspot.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
It wouldn’t be a luxury safari without including this premier national park in your itinerary. Queen Elizabeth lived through the troubled 1980s and has since placed an emphasis on anti-poaching laws, helping to recover and protect the wildlife population. You can be guaranteed to see an extensive range of wildlife. Not just a birdwatcher’s paradise, it’s also where you can find only two known populations of tree-climbing lions. We would recommend taking a private boat trip along the Kazinga Channel, later in the day as the resident wildlife comes to waters edge to drink – wildlife watching at its simplest. In addition there is the lesser known chimps of Kyambura Gorge, an isolated group who can be more challenging to reach and to follow, but offer a more private and intimate experience than elsewhere.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park
The misty mountains of Rwenzori (some of the tallest in Africa) were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The thick tropical rainforest makes it a haven for rare plants and animals, including the Rwenzori climbing mouse and the red duiker, and for the bird lovers, there are over 240 species of these feathered friends. Known as the Mountains of the Moon, Rwenzori is an adventurer paradise with hiking trails, climbing opportunities, and white-water canoeing.
Murchison Falls National Park
The Murchison Falls National Park, one of the very best in Uganda, is divided by the Victoria Nile – centred on a gorge where the Nile crashes through the rock and descends dramatically towards Lake Albert, falling in a thunderous waterfall 43 metres high. The remoteness of this park exposes you to the exclusive sightings of elephants, Rothschild giraffes, lions, Ugandan antelope, waterbucks, buffaloes, hippos, and crocodiles.
The best time to visit Uganda
The drier months of June to September offer the most reliably dry weather, as well as December into February. However it should be noted that the weather is changeable year round, and rainfall can be expected at any time of the year.