Uganda

Uganda’s stunning scenery, welcoming people and incredibly varied wildlife combine to offer a unique safari experience for those in search of something a little different. You’ll find snow-capped mountains, lush rolling hills, lakes, forests, the Nile and vast tracts of open savanna. The big attraction is, of course, Uganda’s primates. This is your chance to spend time with endangered mountain gorillas and chimpanzees in the wild - an unforgettable experience. Add in a traditional safari, and you have a holiday of a lifetime.

You'll find a useful guide to Uganda and some of its attractions at the bottom of this page, along with a handful of sample safari journeys to inspire you, with guide prices. All our private safaris are tailor-made - there are many different combinations possible and we work with a multitude of camps and lodges and not just the ones shown in the sample tours. We are happy to suggest combinations using our personal knowledge and first-hand experience of these areas, but if you have a preferred lodge/camp please let us know.

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5 days
From £2620
Uganda Gorilla Fly In Safari

A once-in-a-lifetime trip to track mountain gorillas in the forests of Bwindi, Uganda.

11 days
From £6430
Uganda Forest & Lakes Drive-in Safari

A classic safari to Uganda including gorilla and chimp trekking and safari.

Attractions in Uganda

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Over half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas live here along with a huge range of rare and exotic birds. You can also spot chimpanzee and elephant hiding in this densely forested mountain range. Trekking through this forest is one of Africa’s true adventures.

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Attractions in Uganda

Kibale National Park

13 different primate species can be found here including red colobus monkeys and chimpanzees, who are as interested in watching you as you are in them. You may even be lucky enough to glimpse the elusive forest elephant who live in the dense foliage

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Attractions in Uganda

Lake Mburo National Park

Uganda’s most accessible savanna wildlife area is just a 3 1/2 hour drive from Kampala. Swamp fringed lakes form a spectacular 50km wetland system surrounded by acacia woodland. Giraffe were reintroduced in 2015.

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Attractions in Uganda

Murchison Falls National Park

On a visit in 1907, Winston Churchill described this area as, “Kew Gardens and the zoo combined on an unlimited scale.” It still doesn’t disappoint. The huge Nile River squeezes through a tiny cleft in the rocks, thundering out in a frenzy of white water before meandering off across the plains.

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Attractions in Uganda

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Uganda’s most popular and scenic park stretches from the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains to the shores of Lake Edward. It is home to an impressive mix of wildlife including elephant, buffalo and a large hippo population, and can be explored by boat.

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Map

Camps
Attractions

When To Go

Although Uganda lies on the Equator and enjoys a tropical climate, most of the country lies on a plateau some 900-1,830m above sea level which keeps temperatures cooler than on the coast. The hottest months are December to February when the temperature reaches 29 degrees Celsius. The main rainy seasons are from April to May and October to November, although it can be wet at any time as the Real Africa team discovered during their most recent visit in August 2019.

**The optimum time for gorilla trekking is considered to be June - September inclusive, and alternatively January and February. It is essential to book as far in advance as possible due to availability of permits.****

What To Do

Uganda is most famous for its primates and to see them, especially the gorillas, you need to be fairly fit. Treks into Bwindi Impenetrable Forest can last five hours on steep and uneven terrain. Rushaga in the south offers the most challenging trekking at an altitude of around 2,900m and the easiest tends to be from Buhoma in the north. Trekking is well worth the effort as you get to enjoy an hour in the company of endangered mountain gorillas making the way home much easier! See below for more info!

Uganda offers far more than primates however and there are many options for exploring this beautiful country.

Gorilla trekking

With a gorilla population of about 335 gorillas,  Bwindi in Uganda is home to nearly half of all known mountain gorillas. The National Park is a thick jungle, covering a steep upland terrain of ridges and valleys. It makes gorilla trekking a challenging experience and one you should prepare for. You meet early in the morning and hand in a copy of your passport so that the Uganda Wildlife Authority guides can sort everyone into groups taking their age into account. Each group is allocated a guide and gorilla family to track. You listen to a briefing before departing. Sometime the trek starts at the briefing point and sometimes you will need a lift to the start point - it depends on where your family is located. Often you need to walk for 4-5 hours to see a family group (depending where the gorillas have moved to within the park). When you find the gorillas you are allowed one hour with them. When we last visited in August we trekked for around 2 hours each way covering a distance of around 12 km. We recommend you hire a porter as this helps the local community. Porters cost $15 US. They will carry your back pack and help you on the steep sections. Your guides greatly appreciate (but do not expect a tip) - we recommend giving around $20 US per trekker to the head guide for dividing up. The guides do a great job and work hard to ensure you have the best experience possible. You can do this when you arrive back at the finish point.** If you would like to meet the Gorilla Doctors (vets) please ask for details. 

Lake breaks

What could be better after all your efforts in the forest than some time to relax with a beautiful lake view? The lakes in Uganda's south-west enjoy stunning vistas. There are plenty of activities should you fancy but for us it's lovely to take time out, sit on the balcony and watch the world go by. We love Lake Mutanda and Lake Bunyonyi. 


Chimp tracking

Visiting the chimps is usually much less tiring. At Kibale you normally find them quite quickly and again are allowed to stay with them for up to an hour before leaving them alone. Especially with the chimps its sometimes hard to work out exactly who is observing who! When visiting the chimps you can stay at the nearby Crater lakes, an extraordinary series of long extinct volcanic now filled with water and forming a network of lakes.

Other attractions

While the primates are the undoubted stars of a Ugandan safari holiday, there is still plenty more to see and enjoy. A more traditional safari experience can be enjoyed at the Queen Elizabeth National Park. This large reserve, situated between Lake George and Lake Edwards , is home to nearly one hundred mammals including lions, leopards, elephant and buffalo. It also has excellent flora (with five distinct climatic zones within its borders) and over 500 species of bird. Game-viewing can be done by vehicle or by boat, usually along the Kazinga Channel which connects the two lakes and is home to lots of hippos. There is a reasonable choice of lodges and camps within the park. We recommend having a night or two in QENP and an additional night in the Ishasha southern sector for giving you the best possible choice of seeing tree climbing lions. 

The other unique sight to consider when going on a safari holiday in Uganda is a visit to Murchison Falls. This is one of our favourite places to vsit.

Situated in Murchison Falls National Park, which is part of the largest conservation area in Uganda, the Nile (part of the Victoria Branch which joins the Blue Nile from Ethiopia in the Sudan) falls over 40 metres through a gorge only 7 metres wide. The roar as over 300 square metres per second of water forces its way through is quite something and you can view the Falls from both the bottom and top. We like to combine a river cruise with a short hike - on our visit in August we crusied to the bottom of the Falls (about 90 minutes) game viewing along the way and then did the 45 minute Top of the Falls hike, being met at the top by our driver/guide. You can do this in reverse if you prefer walking down rather than up!

There is also Game viewing in Murchison Falls, with wildlife recovering after the widespread poaching of the Amin years. You may see the Ida Amin hotel in ruins if you visit the Pakuba section of the park - this is where the BBC filmed a wildlife documentary.

A Rhino breeding project is currently underway at Ziwa in an effort to restore the Big five to the area. Ziwa is a perfect stopover between Entebbe/Murchison. 

If you want to get off the beaten track then do not miss Kidepo in the north of Uganda. We have a really exciting new itinerary which combines Kidepo and Murchison. This is a fantastic trip!

Why We Love

Uganda is a wonderful destination, with a different feel to many of its neighbours. The areas you visit are green and lush, areas of jungle and plantation all framed by an amazing natural beauty. With Lake Victoria lying on its southern border it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that there is plenty of water about. It is this lush forest that has made it home to some of the last families of mountain gorillas as well as other primates such as chimpanzees.

Uganda offers a very authentic safari experience and there is loads to do - not just gorillas!