Why Travel Here
Uganda safaris can encapsulate much of what’s wonderful about the continent, within the borders of a single nation. Despite its strategic location, bridging the Great Lakes and the classic East African safari destinations, Uganda receives noticeably fewer visitors than either Kenya or Tanzania. This lends an air of discovery and exclusivity to Uganda safaris that can occasionally be missing elsewhere.
A roll-call of Uganda’s key safari destinations contains some of the most evocative place-names in African travel. Bordered by Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania, Uganda offers experiences that are reminiscent of each of these countries, while still being distinctly different.
Uganda has long enjoyed a reputation as being one of the friendliest safari destinations, and has been impressing travellers with its hospitality since the days of Winston Churchill.
From the towering Rwenzori mountains (a living botanical laboratory studded with peaks and waterfalls) to the tangled wonderland that is Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (home to half of all remaining mountain gorilla), Uganda really delivers when it comes to exploring upland habitats with unique wildlife.
Queen Elizabeth National Park offers a more conventional – but no less compelling – safari experiences, while Murchison Falls demonstrates Nature’s power in its purest and most undiluted form.
On the map
Through The Year
Unique as Uganda is, it’s conventional in some respects – one of which is its climate, which tends to follow the typical East African pattern of two of each season (wet and dry) per year, one noticeably longer than the other. While this suggests predictability – and planning and packing can be done with confidence as a result – there are regional variations which are worth noting.
The short rains refresh and rejuvenate the savannah, making this a beautiful time for Uganda safaris. Water and food is widely available for wildlife, so the animals tend to spread out. Holidaymakers predominantly follow suit, making this a wonderfully uncrowded time to explore the country. Similarly, this is a peaceful time of year for gorilla trekking; with significantly fewer visitors, permits are generally easier to arrange.
In accordance with the four-season patter, the short rains are followed immediately by a much drier season. Rain is unlikely during this period, which means that most safaris are conducted beneath blue skies and glorious East African sunshine. As this dry season advances, game tends to concentrate once again around the diminishing waterholes – and the predators follow their prey here. Reaching mountain gorilla becomes easier as forest and mountain paths dry out.
The long rains bring new life to Uganda, with plants and trees bursting into bloom, and many plains species giving birth to ensure that their young arrive on a scene that’s amply provisioned. A safari at this time certainly reveals Uganda at its lushest and loveliest. Mountain gorilla often descend lower down the slopes at this time of year, making treks to see them significantly shorter. It’s also an excellent time of year for birding.
As with the earlier dry season, this is a particularly popular time to visit Uganda (although with generally lower visitors than other East Africa destinations, this is all relative). It’s an excellent time of year to go trekking to locate mountain gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, as the paths are easily navigated. Game in the open-country national parks becomes more condensed, which means they are easier to locate.