7 Best Safari Experiences in Uganda
A wide selection of safari experiences easily included on a single journey’s itinerary makes Uganda a favorable safari destination. From immersive city cultures to remote hidden tribes, expansive big game savannah plains, to rainforests populated with primates and birds, you will have something for every day you travel in Uganda.
Let’s take a look at the seven best safari experiences in Uganda that any tourist can choose to have on their itinerary.
1. Mountain Gorilla Trekking
Gorilla trekking in the mountain rainforests of southwestern Uganda is undoubtedly on the top of the best safari experiences in Uganda. Seven of every Uganda safari trip include a gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Trekking deep in the mystical jungles searching for a family of mountain gorillas and spending sixty minutes sitting quietly in their presence beats most wild adventures in Africa. Uganda has one of the most active primate conservation programs and collaborating with Rwanda and the DR Congo government has saved the endangered primates from extinction.
Today, Uganda protects more than half of the last mountain gorillas. It provides incredible opportunities for visitors to spend uninterrupted moments with habituated gorilla groups in protected parks. Gorilla tourism has incredibly increased the survival chances for mountain gorillas in their range.
Over 1000 mountain gorillas survive between two populations. One of the populations is entirely within the Ugandan border, with about 500 individuals protected in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The other population roams the slopes of the Virunga Mountains between three national parks, including Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Virunga NP in DRC, and Mgahinga NP in Uganda.
About twenty (20) gorilla groups in Uganda have been habituated to human visits and are available for gorilla tourism, and a few others are reserved for research. What makes Uganda a favored destination for gorilla experiences is the gorilla habituation experience, which allows visitors to spend about 4 hours with gorillas and the typical gorilla trekking experience of 1 hour.
On a gorilla trekking safari experience in Uganda, you’ll fly into the country and spend a night in or near the capital. The next day, you travel about 500 km southwest to the country’s extreme corner. You’ll also spend a night in a lodge outside the park. The experience of staying right outside the jungle is something to look up to, especially for nature lovers.
Gorilla trekking excursions start early at 7:30 am from five trailheads in the park’s boundaries. You will have spent a night close to any of the five trailheads at the starting point on time. You’ll join other trekkers at the trailhead and spend almost half the day in the forest, including paying for the allowed time with the gorillas.
You can book your entire journey with a local operator. However, make sure you organize your trip with a licensed and trusted operator to process your trekking permit, book your accommodation, and transport you to the park. Such is Encounter Africa Safaris Ltd at email@example.com.
2. Chimpanzee Trekking
Right under the gorilla experience, chimpanzee trekking is one of the top two unmissable safari experiences in Uganda. Tracking chimpanzees is an assured way to connect to our primate history and bond you with human’s closest relatives. Looking straight in the eyes of a wild chimpanzee that lives in its natural forest and seeing the similarity it shares with us is an unforgettable experience.
Chimpanzee trekking experiences in Uganda occur daily in Kibale National Park and Budongo Forest. These early morning treks bring visitors a few feet close to the wild primates, allowing the visitors to stay with the chimps for an hour guided by expert local guides. It is a must-do experience for adventure lovers and forest walking enthusiasts.
However, chimpanzee trekking demands moderate physical fitness. Chimps are active primates and, within their natural range, can move from 2 km to 10 km in a day. So keeping up with their movements during your visit is an active experience that may drain your limbs of energy. Therefore, do some simple exercises before booking your chimpanzee trekking experience in Uganda.
The chimpanzee trekking experience costs $200 for a permit in Kibale Forest or less in other forests like Budongo and Kyambura Gorge. There is a wide selection of safari accommodation within trekking center distance for budget and high-cost choices. You could spend about $100 to $900 per night on a room with decent amenities and meals.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to help you plan your chimpanzee tracking experience in Uganda with trusted local expertise.
3. Wildlife Watching Game Drives
Uganda offers incredible wildlife watching game drive experiences with good privacy in less crowded safari parks. Big animals are present, including lions, elephants, giraffes, hippos, buffalo, zebra, and many antelope species.
Although the animals are not as concentrated as in Kenya and Tanzania, wildlife watching is one of the best safari experiences in Uganda because of the fewer tourists within the national parks.
Uganda has four big-name national parks that offer safari game drives as good as anywhere else in Africa. All of them are family-friendly, with a good selection of lodges and camps for kids. Fortunately, you can also comfortably add a game drive safari to primate experiences in southwestern Uganda on the same trip, which no other country can offer.
The best safari experiences in Uganda for game drives occur all year through Lake Mburo, Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls, and Kidepo Valley National Park. Lake Mburo, the smallest national park, has excellent safari experiences for the whole family, including walking safaris, boat trips, and horseback riding safaris that get you an arm’s distance to big animals.
Queen Elizabeth National Park, very famous to most tourists, has the best game drives and boat safari experiences that get close to big animals like lions, buffalo, hippos, elephants, leopards, and small animals like antelope and warthog.
The wildlife attractions of Murchison Falls National Park in the northeast, with the world’s most powerful waterfall, have exciting boat ride experiences on the Nile River. The boats bring tourists close to the river banks, where big and small wild animals come to cool down and drink in the summer heat. A game drive in the park’s vast savannah plains brings you close to lions, elephants, giraffes, leopards, buffalo, hippos, and big Nile Crocodiles.
Another unique safari experience in Uganda is coming close to wild Rhinos in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, the only protected place where you can see the nearly extinct species. The sanctuary offers an experience to track Rhinos on foot with expert trackers.
Further north in the isolated arid region mixed with vast plains and mountainous landscapes is Kidepo Valley, National Park. Head to the extreme northeastern part if you’re looking for a private experience watching big wild cats and enjoying the landscape views.
Or email us to help you put together memorable wildlife-watching experiences of your life.
4. Wildlife Viewing Boat Trips
Boat trips are some of the best means of viewing animals up close without interrupting their daily activities. Uganda offers some of the best wildlife viewing experiences in the comfort of a boat on the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo, and the Nile in Murchison Falls National Parks.
The best wildlife viewing in a boat is on Kazinga Channel, a hippo swamped freshwater channel that links Lake Edward to Lake George, bisecting Queen Elizabeth National Park into two. From the ship, you can view hippos, giant Nile crocodiles, elephant and buffalo herds, and many other animals and birds on the channel’s shore. You can join any launch trips happening in the afternoon or hire a private speed boat to explore the channel.
The launch safari on the Nile in Murchison Falls National Park is also one of the famous safari experiences in Uganda that brings you close to wild game. However, most tourists take it for the experience to the bottom of the mighty Murchison Falls, where waters of the Victoria Nile squeeze through an 8-meter-wide gauge and plunge 45-meter down with a thunderous roar.
The launch trip starts from Paraa a couple of times a day and rides upstream, showing a fantastic diversity of plant & animal species, including elephants, giraffes, and buffaloes, on the river banks. You can view Nile crocodiles, hippos and many aquatic birds lined on the river banks up to the bottom of the falls. The same experience occurs downstream in the Nile Delta, where visitors meet the mighty shoebill, one of the rarest stork-like birds in the world.
You can reach the jetty and join the launch trip in the afternoon, but most travelers want the tour operator to take care of all the planning. For that, please write us an email at email@example.com.
5. Bird Watching
Birding experiences in Uganda offer a treat of rare and colorful bird species. The chance for bird-watching enthusiasts to improve their birding lists dramatically. You can see more than 1,000 bird species in various habitats across Uganda – from montane forests to agricultural lands, wetlands, lakes, and savannahs. Uganda’s Albertine Rift regions in the west and the equator regions attract biodiversity of endemic species, making for the best bird spotting experiences in the country.
Most visitors start their bird-watching safari experiences around Lake Victoria. The Mabamba swamp waters are the best place to watch the highly prized shoebill and many other specials, including the blue swallow, pallid harrier, papyrus gonolek, and swamp flycatcher. Other unique sightings around the city lake include the pygmy goose, white-winged warbler, lesser jacana, Viellot’s weaver, palm-nut vulture, grosbeak weaver, black-headed weaver, Clarke’s weaver, and Carruther’s cisticola, and northern brown-throated weaver.
The entire southwestern Uganda safari circuit up to the northeastern belt offers the best bird-watching spots in the country. However, nothing beats the rainforests of Kibale and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks, the heart and soul of the best bird-watching safari experiences in Uganda.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is the make-and-breaker of birding lists and is home to many endemic and rarest bird species. The forest boasts about 350bird species, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics and 14 not recorded anywhere else in the country.
Walking through Bwindi’s forest birding trails could put you in the path of some of the most famous inhabitants, the mountain gorillas, forest elephants, chimpanzees, and over one thousand butterfly species. Such an experience will stay with you for a lifetime.
6. Whitewater Rafting on The Nile
No place in Africa has the best rafting experiences than at the birth of the mighty Nile River in Jinja. Jinja alone is famous with tourists for its adrenaline adventures enlisted on the best safari experiences in Uganda list. Here, you will experience some of the world’s finest grade 5 whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, horseback riding, and quad biking adventure activities. Whether you are a solo traveler looking for fun, a random tourist, or a high adventure enthusiast, you’ll find something near the Nile source in Jinja City.
Whitewater rafting in Uganda is considered one of the best one-day safari experiences, especially if you are an active adventurer and want to know how Ugandan cultures intermix with contemporary east and western cultures. It is an excellent addition to the other five safari experiences in Uganda listed above.
7. Hiking and Mountain Climbing
Uganda does not fall short of hiking and mountain climbing attractions, offering some of the best adventure safari experiences on the continent. From world-renowned forest trails to snow-capped peaks above the clouds, there’s a hiking trail through tunning beauty and the quality of the experiences to the visitors. The southwestern region is covered in stunning landscapes and vegetation, offering unique animal and birdlife encounters on the trails.
Whether you prefer long walks in ancient forests or hipped for a multi-day mountain climbing challenge, Uganda has a hiking spot for every type of hiker.
The Rwenzori Mountains standing elegantly on the western border, protect 996 square kilometers of magical lakes, vegetation, rocky outcrops, cliffs, high glaciers, and snowy peaks; a hiker’s dreamland. A multiple-day hiking experience to the 4th highest peak in Africa at 5,109, Mount Stanley’s Margherita Peak, is of the most revered safari experiences in Uganda.
If you’re just starting out for active walking, look to the eastern border at Mount Elgon National Park. Mount Elgon stands 4,321 meters at Wagai with triking features, including one of the largest intact calderas globally. The warm springs by the Suam River, Kitum, Ngwarisha, Chepnyalil, and Makingeny caves. The 200 ft wide and 660 ft Kitum cave walls contain salt deposits, a magnet to wild elephants. You could be lucky to meet them in the area.
On the southwestern border, Virunga extinct volcanoes Mount Muhavura, Gahinga, and Sabinyo, offer some of the most adventurous safari experiences in Uganda. Mgahinga National Park protects the base of the three volcanoes on the Ugandan side, creating a natural home for uncountable animal and plant species, including the endangered mountain gorillas. Mountain gorillas attract most visitors, though!.
Not far from Mgahinga, another independent rainforest that covers the mountainous landscape of the Rift valley, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest holds the highest number of mountain gorillas of the other three protected forest reserves. Bwindi is a nature hiker’s heaven, offering some of the oldest forest trails in the world. And most of them are a day’s hike through the ancient forest.
You should book some of these safari experiences in Uganda.
Uganda is one of those new cool players in the African travel market. Game safaris experiences that the colonial players killed off are slowly returning. Uganda even has an extra card that beats the competition, hands down.
Uganda has the most adventurous primate experiences at the most affordable prices and one of the world’s most successful sustainable tourism programs. You will have the best safari experiences with us planning your trip. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for s free quotation.