TOP 15 UGANDA SAFARIS A LIST OF BEST DESTINATIONS AND ACTIVITIES
What are the most popular Uganda safaris? Which parts of Uganda must you visit and what tourist activities must you not miss?
Finding it hard to look for the best Uganda safaris? If you want to go on a safari in Uganda but perhaps afraid of the cost or having a terrible trip or boring experience? Relax! Our guide has laid it all for you, be it a budget or luxury African safari. Whether you are looking for gorilla trekking in Uganda or visit to the wildlife of Murchison falls, Uganda has something for everyone. All safaris are either group or private trips for you and your loved ones.
#1 Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
Visit the mountain gorillas in Bwindi Forest National Park, a gorilla permit goes for $ 700 per person per trek. A 3 days Bwindi gorillas tour should enable you see these giants. 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 Safari adventures to bwindi is the opportunity to come face to face with the tranquil mountain gorillas, a population of about 400 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. 120 mammals are also found in Bwindi Park.
How much does it cost to go gorilla trekking in Uganda?
Its costs $ 700 per person per hour for each gorilla permit. If you are to visit Rwanda, the gorilla permit costs $ 1500 and in Congo gorilla permit costs $ 400 as of 2020
Is Gorilla Trekking in Uganda Safe?
All the gorilla parks in Uganda are considered safe. There has no security issue in Bwindi. All tourists are accompanies by an armed guard in Bwindi.
Why is Gorilla Trekking So Expensive?
Gorilla Permits are expensive due to the amount of money needed for the conservation efforts of these critically endangered species.
#2 Visit Murchison Falls
The most exciting thing about Murchison Falls National Park are the mighty falls. Take a hike to the top of the falls
You can visit Murchison Falls at any time of the year. Among the activities include game drives within the park where you can see the lions, giraffes, water bucks, elephants, heart beasts, antelopes and warthogs. A 3 hour boat ride on the Nile is such a thrilling experience where you see the Nile crocodiles, hippos and elephants on the river banks. There are plenty of accommodation including Parra Safari Lodge and Red Chill Lodge, Heritage Lodge and Pakuba lodge. A Murchison Falls Safari costs about $ 500 per person on a private tour and about $ 400 per person on a group safari.
Park entrance fee is USD $40 for foreign non resident.
30 for foreign residents and 20000 UGX for East Africans.
Travel Time: 6 hours by Road.
Tree Climbing Lions Of Uganda
There is this popular question, Do lion climb Trees? The answer is YES! Lions climb trees in Uganda! This happens in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The only other place in the world where you see this is in Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania. Else where, lions do not climb trees.
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 a game viewing drive 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.
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.
Queen Elizabeth NP 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.
Kibale Chimpanzee Tracking & Habituation
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. Besides Kibale You can take a 1 or 2 day Ngamba Island Chimpanzee safari.
Cost of Chimpanzee Permit in Kibale.
Chimpanzee Permit costs USD $ 150 per person ( non foreign residents) during high season
Low season costs USD $ 100. November, May & April
East Africa Residents Pay 100,000 UGX
Full Day Tracking Costs USD $ 200
Climb Mount Rwenzori
Trek Mount Rwenzori which has the highest mountain ranges in Africa. The other is Mount Elgon in the Eastern Part of Uganda. Visit the 3rd highest in Africa, 16,700 ft above sea level. Margherita is the highest peak followed by Mount Stanley, Speke and Mount Baker. Rwenzori is a UNESCO World heritage site. Getting to Rwenzori mountains will take you 6 hours. Besides climbing the peaks, you can go birding and also visit Ruboni cultural village. You cannot trek Rwenzori without a guide.
Entrance Fee for Rwenzori Mountains National Park is USD $ 35.
One Day Trek Costs USD $ 40 each
Go Birding in Bigodi, Lake Mburo & Bwindi
As a bird watching destination, Uganda has over 1000 species of birds. One not to be missed is the shoe bill. Visit the Mabamba Bay, Bwindi Forest, Murchison Falls, Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary and so much more for a true Uganda birding safari experience for the experienced and casual birders in Africa. We reccommend Uganda safaris package of 7 days or more.
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!
Tour Kampala City
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 tour. 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 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.
Sipi Falls Safari
Sipi falls is a powerful yet beautiful waterfall filled with an intensive green color. -Sipi falls is comprised of 3 falls, height 328, 278 , last one 246 feet.On this Uganda safari trail, 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.
Go Rafting On The Nile
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 your Uganda travel adventures. 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.
Ssese Island Beach Holidays & Lake Victoria Tours
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 archipelagos of 84 islands known as Ssese 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 can be seen standing in the water washing their fishing nets with so much ease or the women drying silver fish in the sand.
Agro tourism in Uganda, Farm Trips
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 Cultural Villages in Uganda
Karamoja in the northern part of Uganda is one place that has the most manyatas (villages) 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 making 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 cultural safari 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.
Canoeing at 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 touring Uganda.
Visit The Caves of Amabeere Ga Nyina Mwiru
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.
Rhino Sanctuary Safari
Zziwa 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.
FAQs About Uganda Safaris
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.
How Do You Book A Safari To Uganda?
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.
How Much Does A Safari Cost 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 wildlife safari 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.
Sample Cost of a Safari
3 Day Gorilla Safari, 1 pax, $2500, 2 pax $ 2100,3 pax $ 1900, 4 pax $ 1800, 6 pax $ 1600
5 Day Uganda Safari, 1 pax, $3500, 2 pax $ 2700,3 pax $ 2500, 4 pax $ 2300, 6 pax $ 2100
6 Days Uganda Tour 1 pax, $3600, 2 pax $ 2800,3 pax $ 2600, 4 pax $ 2400, 6 pax $ 2200
7 Days Adventure Safari pax, $4500, 2 pax $ 4300,3 pax $ 4000, 4 pax $ 3800, 6 pax $ 3700
8 Day best of Uganda 1 pax, $5000, 2 pax $ 4800,3 pax $ 4600, 4 pax $ 4300, 6 pax $ 4000
9 Day Vacation Holiday Trip 1 pax, $5500, 2 pax $ 5000,3 pax $ 4600, 4 pax $ 4400, 6 pax $ 4200
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 big 5 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.
Is it Safe To Travel To Uganda?
It is safe to travel to Uganda for your safari or any other business. The rebels are no longer threatening in this country. All the National parks and safari areas are well protected by the Government forces and police. There are no dangerous places in Uganda but that doesn’t mean that you should leave your property unattended to.
Can I Hire A Car For A Safari In Uganda?
You can always hire a car to take you to the wildlife parks or other tourist destinations. However you need an experience Uganda safari guide to take you to these places, self drive is not always the best options.
Where is The Best Safari in Africa?
Most tourist visit Uganda and Rwanda for gorilla tracking experience but and or Masai Mara in Kenya or the wildebeest Migration safari in Tanzania. Other Safari countries in Africa include, Botswana, Zambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Malawi. Most African safari outfitters are able to arrange a trip in almost all these countries once you book with them. The best safari in Africa can be experienced by visiting Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.
Best Time of the year for taking Safaris in Uganda
The best time to visit Uganda is from the months of June, July, August and September. During the months of March, April and May, Uganda experiences the highest rainfall. You can as well visit Uganda through out the year. The average temperatures from January to December range from 16 to 39 °C
Want To See More than Uganda?
If you are interested in visiting more than one African destination, you could go gorilla trekking in Rwanda or combine your gorilla trek with the wildebeest migration in Tanzania and Kenya safari destination of Masai Mara. Other popular destinations in Africa include Victoria falls in Zambia and Kruger National Park in South Africa. For the luxury safaris, Botswana tours are also advised.
What To Bring On your safari To Uganda?
You can pack binoculars, safari jackets, khaki clothing, safari boots, vests, insect repellents, a good camera, water bottle and so much more. Just in case you forget something, there are travel shops spread all over the country. Be sure to contact your safari operator to present to you a packing list before you travel to your destination. Tipping on a safari is also allowed. You don’t have to carry loads of cash, there are banks within the country to help you withdraw. Most of them accept are visa cards.
Travel Accessories: a light backback, hiking boots for gorilla trekking, walking shoes, sun glasses or hats.
Clothes: Khaki is good on safari. Neutral colours are the best. Bright colors especially red should be avoided, lightweight breathebale pants warm gloves, rain jacket, long sleeved fleece.
Beauty & Health: Sun cream, insect repellents, lotion, anti bacteria gel and wipes, pain killers, creme for itches and rashes.
Electronics: Camera,memory cards, flash light, head light, Uk plug adapter.
What Type Of Food Should I Expect in Uganda?
Uganda is considered one of Africa’s food baskets. In almost all parts of the country, you will find fresh food and vegetables. Matooke (bananas), rice, posho, irish potatoes, sweet potatoes include so much more. Fresh fish Nile perch from lake Victoria is a must on your menu. Taste local chicken or unfrozen beef.
How To Get To Uganda ?
There are so many ways to get to Uganda, by flights there are always deals online, major international airline companies do operate and take flights to Entebbe which is the main Entry. British Airways offer direct flights to Entebbe. Other airlines include KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Qatar Airways, Emirates and much more. Entebbe International Airport (EBB) is less than 30 minutes drive from the Kampala capital city. A tourist Visa for East Africa costs USD $ 100. You can obtain a visa through the ministry of internal affairs online visa application. You must have a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate.
How Do I Select The Best Safari Company in Uganda?
Uganda has over 600 safari companies that take you around the country and beyond. Choosing a tour operator requires you to look at the customer reviews on tripadvisor and africa tour operators websites so that you get to know what other travellers are saying. Also ensure that they are members of Association of Uganda Tour Operators, are linsenced by the ministry of Tourism. Be sure to ask what the price includes and what it doesn’t. Most safari companies accept credit cards.
The company must be able to provide you with a detailed itinerary including the destinations, activities, transfers and accommodation. Most companies provide both private safaris and group tours. Make your preference known.
Is Tipping Allowed in Uganda?
Uganda is a hospitable country and tipping is not a mandate. It is is all up to you to be generous to a good service rendered to you considering the less wage structure in most accommodations and food restaurants in Uganda. About USD $10 to USD$ 50 should be okay and acceptable. Some places combine the tips and share it amongst all the workers of that place.
When to choose a private or group safari in Uganda
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