What makes Uganda a top safari destination in Africa? Among the top Uganda safari tours include gorilla trekking of over 400 of there endangered apes, over 1000 bird species, 330 mammals and different primate species in the 10 National Parks . Find itineraries or tour packages for safaris in Uganda, best tour companies, hotels where to stay and cost of Uganda safaris.
Covid 19 Updates 2021: All tourist parks and destinations are open and safaris have resumed. You can now visit the gorillas in Bwindi and the Chimpanzees in Kibale Forest as well as Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park and Lake Mburo National Park.
Why visit Uganda?
So, why have a Uganda Safari ? What makes Uganda good for a safari is , gorilla trekking is best done here , the highest population 400 mountain gorillas, climb the Rwenzori mountains, see the tree climbing lions in Africa, enjoy white water rafting on the Nile, 1000 bird species makes it a top birding destination in Africa.
You will visit the superb Murchison falls , engage in sightseeing of Uganda’s savanna, wildlife, lakes and rivers. Uganda is one of the most hospitable countries in the world thus making it the best cultural safari destination in Africa.
What makes Uganda special is that its a less crowded safari destination as compared to the neighboring Tanzania and Kenya. This is a perfect way to spy on the safari animals.
Uganda is a better country for a safari vs Kenya or Tanzania because it not only has the big five animals, it has the big six. Besides the elephant, leopard, lion, buffalo and Rhino, it has the mountain gorillas that you cannot find in Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana or South Africa.
Besides the ordinary safari, you will be able to engage in fishing adventures and catch 150kg Nilo-perch which is hard to catch elsewhere in the world. You will see the snow covered Rwenzori mountains that standing over most of Western Uganda, its rain forests plus the jungles not seen in any other country within East African.
Which Safari Company or Tour Operator ?
There are many safari companies in Uganda, among the best Uganda safari tour operators include, Insight Safari Holidays, Kori Safaris and Wild Whispers Africa. Most of the companies can take you to both Uganda and Rwanda for gorilla trekking and wildlife tours. Its important to find out whether a tour operator belongs to a certain professional association such as Association of Uganda Tour Operators, Tourism Uganda, Africa Tour Operators etc.
Where to go while on a safari in Uganda ?
1.Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, See The Mountain Gorillas
Price: from US $1100
Duration: 3 Days Safari
The world’s highest population of mountain gorillas are found in Bwindi National park. Besides gorilla trekking, you can engage in the gorilla habituation experience, a full day with the gorillas at a cost of US$700, forest birding and nature walks as well as cultural experiences. Arguably the most biologically diverse area on earth, with half of only surviving world’s population of endangered mountain gorillas in the world, Bwindi impenetrable forest is a must go destination once in Africa.
2. Chimpanzee Trekking Kibale Forest National Park Uganda Safari
Price from $ 900
Duration: 3 Days Safari
Chimpanzee tracking is the pursuit of chimpanzees in the forest. This is done by following in the footsteps of the chimps. Safari tracker guides will enlighten you on how to track chimpanzees (and other primates like monkeys and baboons ) by reading clues left behind by these animals including footprints, dung etc.
About 1500 chimpanzees are found in Kibale Forest National Park. Located near the town of Fort Portal in the Western part of Uganda, east of the Rwenzori Mountains. The evergreen rain forest covers 766km2 and an altitude ranging between 110 and 1600m. This park joins with Queen Elizabeth national park. Kibale National Park is very good for chimpanzee tracking trips however Uganda safari chimps can also be sighted in Budongo forest in Murchison Falls national park and also in Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth national park.
3. Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda Safaris
Price from $ 730
Duration: 3 Days Safari
This is by far Uganda’s most scenic and visited game reserve. A massive variety of habitats including the savanna grassland mixed with various kinds of trees and grassy plains as well as different swamps and volcanic features which include volcanic cones and deep craters and tropical rain forests give the park its distinctive look. Queen Elizabeth National park is an ideal place to sight large game, go bird watching (612 species) on the Kazinga channel, and track chimpanzees in the Kyambura Gorge .Find tree climbing lions in Ishasha.
4. Kidepo Valley national park
Price from $ 1560
Duration: 5 Days Trip
Kidepo has 77 mammals, making it one of the best game drive parks in Africa.Over 475 bird species found here. Visit the Karamojong people, take walks to Lomej Mountains, Namamkweny Valley and Morungole Mountains.
Though remote, Kidepo valley national park is a true nugget of Uganda’s nature with great savanna landscapes and rising mountains in its background. It covers an area of 1,442km2 with an altitude of 900-2750m. The population of visitors here per day (an average of six visitors daily) is not high.
5. Murchison Falls National Park Uganda Safari
Price from $ 850
Duration: 3 Days Tour
This is the largest conservation area in Uganda covering an area of over 3,840km deriving its name from its famous waterfall; the Murchison falls. These falls are formed when the Victoria Nile powerfully forces its way through a narrow cleft as it thrusts 43m down with a thundering cascade. in addition, visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. These falls form the center piece and this is the most visited. See Murchison falls safari
6. Lake Mburo National park Uganda Trip
Price from $ 350
Duration: 2 Days Trip
This is one of Uganda’s smallest wildlife parks although very rich in wild game. Plentiful of bird life flourishes here with more than 315 different bird species, a rich animal life including 68 different mammals like impala, leopards, buffalo, jackals and hyenas to see on a Uganda safari. Aside all this, it is only here that you will find zebras.
7. Sipi falls Uganda safari
Price from $ 250
Duration: 2 Days Tour
Sipi falls is arguably the most gorgeous chain of waterfalls in Uganda sitting in the foothills of Mt. Elgon as they overlook a vast plain. The falls have three levels all with unspeakable beauty although the 95m main drop attracts more visitors to this place and more to that, Sipi’s lodging looks out over it. Spending a night or two in this spectacular but peaceful place is an encounter you cannot afford to miss.
8. Lake Bunyonyi
Price from $ 300
Duration: 3 Days Adventure
This is at most the loveliest lake in Uganda. The lake contains 29 islands and most of these are inhabited and terraced for agriculture. Enjoy seeing school children paddle dug-out canoes through the misty morning as crested cranes fly overhead in the wake of the morning. This is a true birding paradise. Watch the blue headed sunbird, cardinal wood peckers and others. Visit in small groups with your local guides.
9. Lake Mutanda
Price from $ 720
Duration: 3 Days Safari
Lying just north of Kisoro, this scenic lake makes a relaxing base from which you can explore the area as well as track the famous mountain gorillas in the nearby Bwindi National Park. The misty Virunga ranges in the background, papyrus swamp with plentiful opportunities of Uganda safari hikes, bird watching and a range of water activities all to yourself leave you envying the inhabitants of this place.
10. Rwenzori mountains Trekking
Price from $ 1050
Duration: 6 Days Climbing Tours
This impressive range of mountains is located on the border between Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Its highest snow capped peak Margherita stands at a height of 5109m. It stretches to about 110km in length. This UNESCO world heritage site includes an astonishing range of landscapes, from the bizarre afro-alpine moorland to the thick tropical vegetation on the lower slopes and lastly the glaciers at the highest reaches in the southern hemisphere.
11. Mount Elgon National Park Hiking
Price from $ 480
Duration: 4 Days Hiking Safari
This park lies on the border between Kenya and Uganda. Mountain Elgon by far has the largest surface area any extinct volcano in the world has with a caldera that covers over 40km2 at its top. This is the second highest mountain in Uganda after mountain Rwenzori and its highest peak Wagagai sits at a height of 4,321m.
12. Ssese islands Holidays
Price from $ 230
Duration: 3 Days Tour Safari Tours
This is a lush archipelago of 84 islands sitting along the north-western shore of Lake Victoria. The stunning white sand beaches make Ssese Islands a great place to kick back, relax to a good book read after your Uganda safari. You can enjoy a good canoe ride but you are advised against swimming due to the risks of biharzia and the occasional visits of wildlife hippos or crocodiles.
13. Semuliki national park
Price from $ 730
Duration: 3 Days Safari Tours
The parks spans to a 220sqkm of valley floor that constitute a link between the heights of the huge steaming jungles of central Africa and East Africa. Intriguing wildlife as well as sulphur hot springs that can be spotted on a short day walk all call this home.
14. Lake Victoria Trip
Price from $ 100
Duration: 1 Day Tour
Aside being the chief reservoir of the Nile, it is also the largest lake in Africa and the second world largest fresh water lake. In the centre; great plateau there is a shallow depression in which Lake Victoria fills with its waters and this stretches between the Eastern and western rift valleys. You can also visit the river banks of the nile in Jinja.
15. Goldens Monkeys of Mgahinga
The golden monkeys also called Cercopithecus Mitis Kandti. There are very few places in the world where you find this magnificent wildlife creature. Most tourists adds to the list of exciting trekking experiences as you watch the soaring mountains of the Virunga. Other widlife primates found here.
Where To Stay On a Ugandan Safari ?
National Park lodges range from Budget to 5 Star facilities, all set to pamper every single need throughout your stay within this African Wild. Reside in lodges, or tented camps set in traditional style, or the beautiful bandas, enjoy the delicious meals delicately prepared by their professional chefs.
Best places to Stay in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for gorilla trekking (US $ 700 – $1500)
- Clouds Lodge
- Mahogany Springs
- Sanctuary Gorilla Camp
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has several hotels and lodges where you can stay. Its important to choose your accommodation based on the gorilla group or region that you are going to track.
Best Lodges in Kibale Forest National Park) (US $ 400 – $800)
- Kibale Primates Lodge
- Kyaninga Lodge
- Crater Safari Lodge
Best Lodges in Queen Elizabeth National Park
1. Ishasha Wilderness Camp.
Best Lodges in Murchison Falls National Park
Lake Bunyonyi Hotels
1. Bird Nest Lodge
Lake Mburo National Park Hotels
- Mihingo Lodge.
Top Rated Hotels in Kampala
- Kampala Serena Hotel
- Pearl Of Africa Hotel
- Latitude 0 Degrees
- Golden Tulip Canaan Kampala
Best Time To Visit Uganda For Safaris ?
The best time to visit Uganda is between December-February or June-August, when there are 2 dry seasons.
June-August is the peak of the dry season. This is when waterholes will be full and thick grasses have turned parched brown, which enables animals to be easily spotted from a distance. Great bird watching happens now.
You can got to Uganda any time of the year, with temperatures at around 24°C to 30°C, the climate is generally warm. The best month to visit Uganda is July.
- Best time to go for gorilla trekking in Uganda is June, July, August. (Bwindi National Park & Mgahinga Gorilla)
- Best time for birding in Uganda is December, January and February.
- Best time for game viewing safaris in July, August, December and January.
- March, April and May is rain season, probably not the best time to visit the pearl of Africa.
How Much Does a Uganda Safari Cost ?
Lets try to do some costing together. Right? A Uganda gorilla safaris permit per person goes for $ 700 as of 2021. Accommodation ranges from 150 to 900 depending on where you choose to stay. Roughly a simple 3 day safari to Bwindi should cost about $ 1200 per person, that should be the cheapest. Other destinations such as Murchison Falls National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park could cost about $ 1000 for budget safari travelers. If you are to travel with other people, the price is incredibly reduced. If they are 2 of u, its possible to save over $ 300 on a 3 day trip.
- Average Cost of Safari in Uganda is US$ 200 per person per day.
- Permit to see the gorillas of Uganda costs US $ 700 per person per day.
- Chimpanzee tracking permit costs $200 (Kibale National Park)
- Park entrance fees is US$40 ( Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Lake Mburo and Kidepo)
- Cost of golden monkeys permit in Uganda is US $ 60 per person per hour.
- A Luxury safari lodge is $ 300 per night
- Budget or cheap Safari accommodation is $ 100 per night.
- You can hire a car to take you to the parks at $100 to $200 per day.
- Trekking Mount Elgon (National Park) costs $ 90 per day.
- Boat cruise on Queen Elizabeth National Park costs $ 30 per shift.
- Rhino Visits at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary costs US$50 per person.
Best Safari Itineraries
A 3 day safari to see the gorillas would be sufficient for those with little time. A week in Uganda is enough to cover the best 6 National parks but cannot cover all the attractions in the designated National parks and reserves.. A 4 day safari normally combine one that one traveler destination. A safari can be tailor made to cover your interests such as game drives, mountain gorillas, Rwenzori trekking, water rafting, watching birds, boat cruise and other adventures.
List of Best Animals To See On Uganda Safari
- The Mountain Gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park & Mgahinga National Park.
- Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha in Queen Elizabeth National Park
- The African Elephant in Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Chimpanzees in Kibale National Park
- Zebras in Lake Mburo National Park.
- Golden Monkeys of Mgahinga National Park
- Rothschild Giraffe in Murchison Falls National Park
- Cape Buffalo in Kidepo Valley National Park
- Rhinos @ Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
- Hippos i the banks of river nile / Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Uganda Kob found in Queen Elizabeth National Park & Murchison Falls
- Leopard in Kidepo Valley National Park
What is the Weather like in Uganda ?
Uganda is located at the equator. The conducive weather is another reason why the country is among the must visit destinations on the African continent. It experiences a temperate climate which makes it possible to enjoy the various safari activities all year round such as game drives, birds watching and gorilla tracking. Be sure to take the right safari clothing suitable for an African safari, be it safaris in Tanzania , Kenya holidays or other East Africa holidays.
What Makes Uganda Different from any other Traveller Destination?
Uganda – unique unlike any other country in Africa hidden to many is symbolic ; Uganda boasts of the most impressive scenic Wonders – the significant River Nile, the very powerful waterfall – the Murchison Falls, the highest Mountain Range the Mt. Rwenzori – the Mountains of the Moon, the Virunga Volcanoes, the most wonderful in all of Africa with Lake Bunyonyi plus Lake Mutanda. The boat cruise at Kazinga channel, Queen Elizabeth National Park gives you a chance to see variety of wild animals along the shores. Most visitors love the tropical beach Islands, the rare Mountain Gorillas, impressive wildlife Chimpanzees – this is the true representation of African wilderness all compacted into a tiny nation.
List of What To Pack For A Ugandan Safari
- Travel Documents: Passport, insurance, flight tickets, covid test docs, yellow fever vaccines, cash, safari itinerary. Uganda gorilla permit issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority.
- Safari Clothes: The best clothing for safari is Khaki (light brown and Olive). Other safari wear include Jumper, water proof jacket, adjustable sleeves, long flowly skirts and gloves.
- Safari Shoes: Light weight hiking shoes and jungle boots to track mountain gorillas. Include flip-flops or sandals.
- Sun Protection: Sunscreen cream, moisturizers and glasses.
- Adventure Gadgets: iphone or mobile phone, camera, memory card and headlamp.
- Toiletries: wipes, tampons for women and teeth accessories.
- Medical Kit: Hand sanitizer, protective masks, Bandage, antiseptic, anti-diarrhea, painkillers and bug repellent.
- Donations: Be sure to find needy communities especially children.Think of what to carry.
How To Get To Uganda
Flights to Uganda
Most prominent airlines fly to Entebbe International Airport. These include Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways, Delta, KLM and Turkish Airlines. Covid 19 guidelines include sanitation at its peak, wearing of masks is mandatory and middle seats remain empty during flights.
As you plan your travel to Uganda, note that most airlines have an allowance of 20kgs. Think about what you carry into and out of Uganda, its important to leave room for souvenirs. Most of the mentioned items are actually found in supermarkets in Kampala where you can go for a pre-trip shopping.
Getting Around Uganda
- If you have a pre booked trip, you will be in a safari vehicle provides by your tour operator or safari company. You will have your local guide with you all the time since this will be a private tour. Most private journeys whether both luxury or budget are encouraged when it comes to an African safari.
- Taxi is the commonest way of getting around Kampala and other areas. It accommodates 14 people but during the restrictions, it takes less than a half number. Cost per day is about $ 5 to cross from one district to another.
- Boda boda is a motorcycle spread all over the country. We encourage you to use Safe boda as they provide helmets. Cost per day is about US $ 10
- Special Hire Taxis are not very pocket friendly. A full day could easily cost you US$ 80
- Buses are available. Great if you are moving to places far by 200km from your location such as Fort portal, Kasese, Mbale, Kisoro, Masinde enroute Ziwa Rhino sanctuary and wildlife parks in Eastern Uganda, Southern Uganda and northern Uganda.
- Air Travel. Aero link takes you to different national parks for luxury wildlife safaris. Consult your tour operator for prices.
- Water transport is used to visit Ssese Islands and chimpanzee trekking in Ngamba.
Above and Beyond Uganda
When you analyze traffic, Make tourists who come to Uganda often go to other East African destinations for safaris and tours. Notably, Rwanda safaris are prefer to double mountain gorilla trek in 2 different East African safari countries, i.e Uganda and Rwanda. Other tourists combine their Ugandan safari with visits to Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Congo. For more detailed information about the country and wildlife, please contact us.