It’s always important to ponder on a few issues before you even start planning your Uganda safaris, For example, What type and kind of adventure are you interested in? Is it the mountain gorillas, wildlife parks or sightseeing tours? Secondly, how much are you willing to spend while on your trip? How many are willing to take on this Uganda safari? Any special requirements?
Booking A Uganda Safari With A Tour Operator
Most tourists book their adventure with a tour operator or Uganda Safari Company since this is always the recommended idea. There is too much to organize and in Uganda where lodges are in parks and therefore have to be pre-booked, it’s always a brilliant idea to book your tour with a recognized agent. Think about the dirt roads, some with no sign posts, etc. You might want to use the GPS to get to the safari destinations, will that help you to track those animals? 97% of tourists who come to Uganda always use a tour company. We kindly advise against going on your own.
What Is The Likely Cost For A Safari In Uganda?
The most important element that affects the price or cost for a Uganda safari is the choice of accommodation. As you book your trip, ask your agent about the available hotel or lodging options. The classification is budget, mid-range and then the luxury. Some lodges change as high as $ 900 dollars and the budget about $ 150 per night. With budget accommodation, expect a basic room with just a simple bed! The luxury is always the best idea with almost all the best facilities available for your Uganda safaris or gorilla tours.
What Makes The Best Safari Package or Itinerary?
Some tourists choose to just go or gorilla trekking and then fly back to their home country. If you are visiting Uganda for the very first time, it’s important to arrange a safari with more days… something like 5 to 10 days. Some experiences should not be missed, for example a 5 day safari would take you to gorillas and Queen Elizabeth national park where you can see the tree climbing lions and other wildlife. With the 6 days, you can visit Murchison Falls National Park, with lots of wildlife, hippos, elephants, the might falls, birds and so much more. Among the tourist activities in Uganda include birding, wildlife sightseeing, launch cruises, community tourism, bungee jumping, nature guided uganda safaris walks, mountain climbing and so much more. With all these unique attractions, you need more days on safari to Uganda. Also note that the transfer time between the various parks affects the number of days you spent on a Ugandan safari.
Safari Attractions and Activities
- Uganda Gorilla Trekking Safari
Visit the mountain gorillas in Bwindi Forest National Park, a gorilla permit goes for $ 500 per person per trek.
- Chimpanzee Tracking. Over 5000 chimpanzees live in Uganda. These species are mainly found in Kibale Forest National Park and Budongo Forest.
- Uganda Safaris with the Wild: Visit parks such as Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls, Lake Mburo, Kidepo Valley. Animals expected include the tree climbing lions, elephants, leopard, hippos, crocodiles, zebra, giraffe, antelope, kob, hogs, and so much more.
- Birding Uganda Safaris: As a birdwatching destination, Uganda has over 1000 species of birds. One not to be missed is the shoe bill. Visit Mabamba Bay, Bwindi Forest, Murchison Falls, Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary and so much more for a true birders experience.
- Mountain Climbing: Trek Mount Rwenzori which has the highest mountain ranges in Africa. The other is Mount Elgon in the Eastern Part of Uganda.
- Cultural Tourism: Uganda has various cultural trails including the Buganda trail, Ankole, Busoga and so much more.
Bwindi Uganda Safaris
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is an impressive national park located in western Uganda at the border of Rwanda and D.R.C. it is composed of an old and large stretch of green rainforest which extends over 330 square kilometers and ascends from 1100 meters to 2400 meters. The green trees plus plants drip with moisture and are a habitat to numerous birds, primates and butterflies to mention just a few.
The highlight of any Uganda Safaris to bwindi is the opportunity to come face to face with the tranquil mountain gorillas that dwell in this forest. The excursion is quite challenging and involves ascending and descending the muddy moist trails. However, when you finally meet these peaceful giants, you will be marveled by this wonderful encounter given that they share 97% of their DNA with humans.
There are also several chimpanzees living in this forest so this is another wonderful opportunity to track these closest relatives of ours on any of our guided tours. Bwindi is very unique because it is the only existing African Forest in which gorillas and chimpanzees co-exist. Actually it does offer incredible experiences with the two primates, you can take on tanzania safari tours for more chimpanzee experiences.
Queen Elizabeth National Safari Adventure Uganda
Uganda not only offers gorilla and chimpanzee tours. You can enjoy a wonderful East African Safari in any of the game parks scattered in the country. Among them all, Queen Elizabeth National Park is perhaps the finest with a great array of African Wildlife and is very accessible right in Uganda’s western corner. Actually it is adjacent to Kibale Forest, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest as well as the Virunga Volcanoes hence can be entailed within a gorilla safari and chimp tracking.
The park is situated at the bottom of the Mountain Rwenzori ranges and many of the adjacent tourist camps offer breath taking sights. It can be accessed in just 5 hours drive from Kampala.
Queen Elizabeth National Park prides in a series of wildlife among which are elephant, lion, leopard, antelope such as the national Ugandan kob. The park is also habitat to more than 600 species of birds – with a quarter of the total birdlife in Africa! It covers an expanse of close to 2000 square kilometers with undulating hills plus savannah plains, green rainforest, Kazinga Channel as well as crater lakes. This 32km long water-body connects Lake Edward with Lake George and fills to the rim with hippos plus crocodiles. Watching at these animals from a thrilling sundowner boat cruise on the channel is such a memorable yet exciting experience.
The park is extensive and the majority of tourists opt to stay within and about the Mweya Peninsula village. It is located on a grand waterfront at the foot of the Rwenzori Mountains and provides enormous game viewing. For those interested in getting off the beaten-track, the renowned Ishasha Sector is isolated, rugged and ready with its impressive tree-climbing lions. And you may continue to the stunning Lake Mburo National Park which is actually halfway between Queen Elizabeth and the capital Kampala.
Lake Mburo Safari Expedition
With just 250 sq kilometers, the national park will certainly leave you marveled and inspired! The Lake Mburo National Park is just 3 and a half hours drive from the capital Kampala, but worth this thrilling trip when one considers that scarcities like Shoebill stork as well as the White-winged warbler which are inhabited in this area and are readily seen. If this is insufficient to get you fascinated, think that Lake Mburo National Park is habitat to approximately 313 different bird species and the famous big five as well as many others!
Lake Mburo National Park’s terrain is complex and varied consisting of dry hillsides, lakes, rocky outcrops, swamps, bush thickets plus open savanna woodlands.
Mgahinga National Park Tour Uganda
Mgahinga National Park is situated in the southwestern Uganda, just on Uganda’s border with the adjacent Rwanda. It is part of the well-known Virunga Volcano ecosystem which also extends to Rwanda and the D.R.C. This volcanic region holds half of the enduring mountain gorillas in the world, with the remaining other half in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
It is actually the smallest of all Uganda’s national parks covering an expanse of 33 square kilometers but it is home to a great population of birds, plants as well as animals. The mountain gorillas continually move among the 3 countries so they actually do not stay here all through the year. on the other hand, the Nyakagezi group which is habituated is frequently seen in the region and certainly makes for a memorable “Gorillas in the Mist” occurrence.
Mgahinga basically comprises of steamy rainforests at the foot of volcanoes. The terrain is green and abundant with bamboo plus mosses, which are a much preferred food for the gorillas, plus dripping leaves as well as damp bark. The volcanoes are attractive and offer a remarkable background to one of the most magical nature’s gifts.
Kampala City Trips Uganda
Perhaps Kampala holds the biggest human population in Uganda of about 1.2 million and conveys a special charm not common in majority of the capital cities. Unlike majority of the African cities that are full of commotion, this is less wild in Kampala so you can always have time to relax.
It is very exciting to move about the streets in Kampala which have very colorful and attractive markets that deal in a variety of fruits, livestock plus vegetables that result into excitement and a disharmony of noise. There are several bars, nightclubs shopping malls, restaurants and theatres. The nightlife is so vibrant with numerous locals moving from one joint to another dancing all through the night. Better way to end your Uganda safari tour adventure.
In addition, Kampala is very safe as compared to the African standards and is among the few African cities where can enjoy a length city trek instead of taking a taxi. Kampala is located at a 1220 meter altitude and was name from luganda phrase that says “Kasozi k’empala” which is translated as the “hill of Impala” – an antelope species. It experiences average temperatures which don’t usually exceed 30°C making this wonderful Kampala city an ideal all-year round tourist destination.
The city is located only 34 kilometers north from the Entebbe International Airport so it is very possible to spend a night in the city at the start or finish of any Uganda Safari. Several travelers opt to stay in the city centre and pleasure in its sights & sounds, while others prefer to stay in the suburbs yet still others rather being near Entebbe by the Shores of the legendary Lake Victoria. You can alternatively journey 90km east of the capital Kampala to Jinja to enjoy White Water Rafting on the great river Nile. So Kampala should not just be looked at as a stopover as it has quite a lot offer you.
Uganda Safari Activities
The things to do in Uganda are very many and as well very unique in the world. Uganda is a country that is blessed with so many kinds of wildlife and varied nature features which even the natives of the country many a time do not realise. The friendly nature of Ugandans is an added bonus. Below are some of the things you can do while in Uganda.
Gorilla trekking Uganda Safaris
Gorilla trekking is one of the major tourist attractions in Uganda owing to the fact that Uganda is one of the few countries in which you can find the endangered mountain gorillas. Uganda has the largest gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable national park. This activity is a must for Uganda safaris. You will contact a trusted tour company which will assist you in attaining a gorilla permit which will give you access to go see these gorgeous animals. Though this is a very interesting experience trekking, it is not for the faint hearted as well. This begins very early in the morning with an early breakfast for energy boost followed by a brief at the park’s offices before setting out into the wild.
Touring the capital, Kampala
Despite being the capital city of the country, Kampala is a major trading centre and one of the busiest towns in the country. There are several restaurants scattered all over the town where you will be able to try and enjoy African dishes or even enjoy a ride on a ‘bodaboda’ (a motorcycle taxi). If you are here for a short time i would recommend one to two days to exhaustively explore Kampala. During this time you will be able to see Ghaddafi mosque an impressive prayer centre for the muslims, Kabaka’s palace, the historic seat for the king of Buganda, Ba’hai temple a place of worship for people who practice the Ba’hai faith, Namirembe cathedral sitting at one of the hills of Kampala, Nakasero hill, Owino market the busiest market in Kampala full of enthusiastic traders selling loudly. It is literally a mental chaos that you will need to keep watch of your bag and step. The Uganda national museum that showcases Uganda’s cultural heritage with displays of natural historical and ethnological exhibits. All this and more will leave you wondering on how all these amazing features happen to be in just one city, a true addition to Uganda safaris.
Spanning the equator
The Uganda’s equator is a major landmark in the country. The imaginary line that divides the world into two halves is a source of attraction here as people what to have a feel of the area in which it passes. At this point you will have the opportunity to put one foot in the northern hemisphere and the other in the southern hemisphere. It is such an amazing feeling to know that you are standing at both sides of the word at the same time. At the equator the sun rises and falls rather fast, with equal length of days and nights. People living around the equator experience warm temperature for most of the time throughout the year making it a little hard to tell the difference in seasons.
White water rafting
This may not be the first thing you think of when you imagine a trip to Uganda but once experienced it is a major highlight in the trip. After you land at Entebbe International airport just outside the capital, you will have a smooth two and half drive to rafting base on the banks of the Nile in Jinja. January and February or June through September is the ideal time to go rafting as this is the dry season where the sun is strong and the skies are clear. Enjoy the thrashing force of the White Nile where you hold strongly onto the paddles with some parts which have strong rapids you will fall out of boats. The deafening roar of the Nile and the yelling of the guide to mind rocks as you roll down the Nile will have your adrenaline at its peak and a worthwhile adventure at the end of the day.
Enjoy a chimp Uganda safari to Kibale Chimp tracking and habituation. Here you will get an opportunity to accompany Kibale researchers and habituation at chimpanzee during their daily activities. You will embark on walks as you track chimpanzees beginning from the Kanyachu visitor centre and this lasts for 2-3 hours. You will be cautioned about keeping a safe distance you and the chimps of about 8m. People with diseases too such as flue may not be allowed to track the chimps to avoid zoonotic diseases. Chimpanzee tracking is by far a very fascinating experience and you will be given enough time (maximum an hour) to be in the presence of these amazing creatures as they swing from one tree to another, feed, play about with each other or progressively run in circles around you.
Enjoy cultural encounters in Bwindi
You can begin with a cultural tour at Buhoma which has such a dramatic setting and enjoy a 3 hour village walk. Here you will get an opportunity of visiting handcraft shop that sells fabrics, wood carvings and beeswax candles and also enjoy cultural performances from the Batwa community around. You will then head to Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation which is set in a lush hillside bordering the forest and the view is spectacular. Get an opportunity to wind back to the times of stone age by visiting Nicholas the blacksmith. A nature walk in Buniga forest discovering the hidden treasures is such a glorious moment. You can also take a guided tour and meet the residents and enjoy storytelling, learning about their culture or dancing to beat of their drums.
Photography sessions in the wild
We all agree that photography is the key to ever lasting memories of the most fascinating encounters. Having a very good camera by your side as you explore the beauty of Uganda is the best thing you can ever do for a tour. As the day progresses and the light shades vary, persons fascinated about photography look out for the best angles to take pictures. You will be in position to take one of the most unique fascinating shots for example, a gapping hippopotamus, a silverback gorilla carrying its juvenile, or even lions fighting. The dramatic scenes of nature make such an outstanding masterpiece art for photography and you don’t want to ever miss this.
Hiking to the 100 meter Sipi falls
Sipi falls is a powerful yet beautiful waterfall filled with an intensive green colour. Your guide will help you meet the local community that lives around the falls who have fascinating stories about the falls. You will then proceed to begin your hike and you will be challenged by the steep leather that will shake your knees and break loads of sweat. But once there you will be amazed at the spectacular sight that you will not at all recall the hustle you have gone through up there. Enjoy the cool breeze and the splashes of water in your face and don’t forget to take as many pictures as you can to remember this day and also keep a face of this beautiful God made feature.
Watch the magic of drum makers
Many of you enjoy the sound of the percussion instruments especially drums but have you taken interest in knowing how these drums are made to come up with such a lovely melody?
As you travel from Entebbe, there is a particular place that is famous for making drums and here you can make a stopover and see how these drums are made using wood and leather. These skilful energetic men swiftly and effortlessly pull the skins onto the specially curved wood and tighten them to make drums of all sizes. They make their work seem so easy. They can easily explain why and how each drum comes up with the different sound it produces. You can even purchase one or two for yourself.
Visiting local markets, Spice up your Uganda safaris
Uganda being an agricultural country it is indeed a food basket and you will find alot of food on sale in local markets which are usually flooded by both buyers and sellers. In the heart of Kampala is Nakasero market which is known to have every kind of food stuff that you have. There are also other local markets all over the country and you will enjoy buying fresh food stuffs for yourself and even seeing some food for the very first time.
Enjoy spending time on the shores of Lake Victoria and also visit Ssese island.
Lake Victoria is the largest lake in the continent and the second largest fresh water body in the whole world. Every many beaches have been set up on its shores and you can go to one of these and lay in the sun at its shores as you enjoy a freshly prepared fish. On Lake Victoria are also an archipelago of 84 islands known as Ssesse islands which attract lots of people on Uganda safaris. The easiest and largest island is called Bugala and this can be accessed using a ferry from Masaka or using a boat from Kampala. You will be mesmerized at seeing locals going about their daily activities especially fishing in the very hot sun. Men in bare feet standing in the water washing their fishing nets with so much ease or women drying silver fish in the sand.
Visit tea plantations
The western part of the country particularly Fort portal is famous for its green lush of tea plantations. As you enter the town of Fort portal, this is the sight that welcomes you. Fields of tea plantations lined up on the hills give that part of the country a unique and beautiful curvature. You can always visit these tea plantations and even an opportunity to see the work that goes on in the fields that is to say see the workers pick the leaves and also see the process of producing the tea leaves in the factory.
Visit the largest manyatas you can ever find in East Africa
Karamoja in the northern part of Uganda is one place that has the most manyatas in the whole of East Africa. In the earlier days these were nomads though this is changing with time. They were regarded hostile and many avoided to make their way to their place fearing for their lives. Nowadays, Karamojongs are more friendly and hospitable. Many are willing to embrace changes and they are very glad when people visit them. Though reaching there is a little hard if you don’t have your own transport, taking a tour there is worthwhile not only to see the manyatas, but also their rich culture which is still very strong and not about to be diluted.
Rhino Safari in Uganda
Ziwa Rhino sanctuary is one good place you will be able to see a good number of Rhinos which you cannot find in other national parks around the country. There are over 15 white rhinos living in a safe big walled enclosure which is aimed at protecting the animals from poachers who are responsible for their extinction in 1982. Rhinos were just reintroduced beginning with a male and female rhino that were got from Kenya. The Uganda Wildlife Authority then began a breeding program to revive the lost treasure. You will have the opportunity to be in close reach with these adorable creatures. There are plans of releasing them back to the wild once they reach a comfortable number but as of now you will enjoy them in their enclosure.
Canoe Uganda Safari, Lake Bunyonyi
This is a big volcano lake having more than 29 small islands scattered across the water giving it a magical appearance. It lies in the South western part of the country between Kisoro and Kabale and is indeed a natural wonder given its unspeakable beauty that radiates miles away. Enjoy the early morning sight as the Lake Bunyonyi islands weave through the candy like streams of mist or the afternoon warm glow that bathes the island. You can also hire a canoe and enjoy a canoe ride on the natural breezed lake. Relax your evening at one of the most exquisite accommodations that surround the lake for example Arcadia lodge, having a meal to excite your taste buds as you enjoy the view.
Nature Walk Uganda Safaris, Mabira Forest
The Kampala- Jinja highway goes through a portion of Mabira forest. Very many people pass right through it as they go to Jinja even tourists but very few make a stopover and miss to realise what awaits them beyond the main road. In the whole of East Africa it is only here that you will fine super canopy skyway zip-lines. Track the rare Uganda Mangabey monkeys, enjoy birding (315 species) or nature walks on the well maintained trails. You can then catch a delicious meal in the up-market rainforest lodge or in the budget Griffin Falls camp as you conclude your trip.
Lake Mutanda has a collection of fun activities you can do and spectacular things you can see and find more enjoyable near to the lake. This lake is by far the most scenic lake in the whole of Africa and be ready to go hiking through the hills or even Uganda safaris to Bwindi impenetrable forest from here. The fresh water lake is located in Kisoro district southwest of Uganda. It sits at the foothills of the Virunga mountain range at an altitude of 1800 meters. You can spend your time at Mutanda Lake resort which is perched at the peninsula in Lake Mutanda. Here you will have the whole sight to yourself.
Kabwoya wildlife Uganda Safaris
This is an off beaten tourist track down the Western Albertine rift escarpment lying between Fort portal and Hoima. This is one place you can stop over as you travel from Kibale forest to Murchison falls park. It occupies isolated but scenic plains. There is plentiful of birdlife species similar to that of Murchison falls national park or Toro-Semiliki game reserve although the game is not yet as much. The game walks offer a fabulous scenic and unique way to see and smell the grassland habitat.
Enjoy so many fun things like game drives, fossil hunting, nocturnal game drives, fishing for Nile perch, nature hikes and walks, birding, mountain biking, ATV Quad biking, and horseback riding safaris. To enjoy African life and culture visits can be arranged.
Tree Climbing Lions Uganda Safaris
Ishasha is one of those tourist places which is very famous mostly for its tree climbing lions. Lions keep the whole day climbing trees or resting. Ishasha has a very beautiful sight you will find nowhere else in Africa. Most of them will be in the sycamore fig trees along with the acacia trees. These trees are big enough to offer as much support and shelter to the tree climbing lions as they need, especially in the rainy season. Enjoy driving around as you take memorable moments on your camera and also see other animals that are inhabitants of this place like elephants, antelopes, and buffalos name it. One of the things you are most likely to find amazing in Ishasha is the fact that the manes of the male lions are black.
Cross the Kazinga channel
Kazinga channel is a connecting point for two lakes Edward to the west and George to the east. It is 32 kilometres long and is among the most important features in Queen Elizabeth Park. It is at this point that you can get such wonderful views of the whole park. Every many animals, birds as well as reptiles are drawn to the shores of the channel all year round and it is one f those few places with a large number of hippos and Nile crocodiles. To get a better view of these animals, you will need to go on a boat cruise which is usually done from 3pm to 5pm.
Spend a day at Ndere Cultural center.
If you are one of those people that enjoy cultural performances, this is the perfect place to spend your day. Ndere is a cultural troupe that has been around for so many years and has mastered all East African dances that they perform them like they authored them. The entertainment is very captivating all the way with the dancers performing very energetically and happy till the end. They promote traditional skill and knowledge using music, dance and drama. You can give away your Sunday from 6pm to 9pm to enjoy a high-energy show or a Friday from 7pm to 9pm to enjoy afro jazz.
Visit Kasubi tombs
One thing you will find very common in Africa is the fact that culture is held with so much pride including all that that symbolises or reminds future generations to come the culture that has been preserved for years. Kasubi tombs is a burial ground for the kings of Buganda, one of the chiefdoms in Uganda. It was built in 1882 as a palace for the kings but later turned into a burial ground in 1884. As of today, four tombs lie in the main building which was crafted in a very unique architectural design, circular and surmounted by a dome. It had been maintained with its orginal organic materials that were used when building it that is to say wood, thatch, reed, wattle and daub but unfortunately it caught fire in the recent past and they replaced some of these with modern materials that can resist fires.
The ‘Amabeere ga nyina mwiru’ caves Uganda Safaris
This unique feature can be seen en-route to Queen Elizabeth national park. The caves are located in Fort portal in the western part of the country. It is advisable to have a bright flash light and preferably pair of boots as you enter the caves. In the company of a local guide, you will head down the think jungle path and you will be greeted by a waterfall that is lovely in a very simple way tumbling down from the cliff. The name is loosely translated as the “breasts of Nyina Mwiru.” There is a history behind this that you need to hear for yourself.