Planning A Family Safari in Uganda
A family safari in Uganda will usually include wildlife viewing game drives with supporting activities and accommodation facilities that excellently suit children and their parents. Young travelers above 15 years will get excited trekking the chimps and mountain gorillas in Uganda’s southwestern rainforests; a unique life-changing wilderness experience.
Uganda offers incredible family safari experiences with much-needed privacy in less crowded safari parks and great outdoor activities. The island and beach resorts are perfect for lazy holidays, and the metropolitan cities, cultural villages, and remote jungle will keep the whole family occupied with activities throughout the trip.
A family safari in Uganda will need you to plan for a week or two and select family-friendly attractions that will involve fewer hours of movement to give the family more time to enjoy being away. Knowing which activities suit your children’s ages, interests and abilities will be vital in planning a successful family holiday. We give you more tips in planning the family holiday in Uganda below;
Plan for at least a week or two
Uganda is a small destination, compared to its neighbors, with extensive safari activities that would require at least a week or two for a family traveling together to enjoy fully. Even if you’re considering less movement between attractions, children will need some time to normalize from the long continental flight to Uganda, get used to the weather, and catch up on their expectations.
The family can spend a week around cultures that children can easily relate to, like city walks, site visits, community walks, island and beach stay. You can then spend the second week in the remote wilderness, viewing wildlife or trekking primates.
Family safari activities will need good spacing, with more relaxing, to avoid fatigue and create more memorable and exciting moments in the young minds. Children get bored quickly, and it’s essential to keep their curiosity aroused when traveling to faraway places.
Therefore, when planning your family safari in Uganda, allow for more time on the trip to create more relaxing and exciting hours in family-friendly attractions.
Select family-friendly attractions & accommodation
Uganda presents many safari attractions, but not all are family-friendly. Some safari parks, lodges, and camps have age restrictions to manage young travelers’ expectations. It would be wise to check the age restrictions of your selected attractions and places to stay and plan accordingly.
The best safari activities for children below 10 are in Uganda’s savannah parks in the West. Specifically, Lake Mburo has excellent activities for kids like game viewing, walking safaris, horseback riding safaris, quad biking, and boat rides to get close to big animals.
Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda’s most famous park, offers the best game drives and boat safaris for families to get close to big game like lion, hippo, buffalo, leopard, elephant, and small ones like antelope, warthog, and zebra.
Although only above 15-year-olds can trek the primates in Uganda’s rainforests, the younger ones can watch the orphaned chimps at Ngamba Island on Lake Victoria or UWEC Zoo in Entebbe, two great introductory Family attractions to Uganda’s incredible variety of animal species in the wild.
Teenagers can take on the challenging hours of walking with wild chimpanzees in Kibale and gentle mountain gorillas in Bwindi; it will give them something to talk about for many years. However, it would require some amount of patience to drive long hours and reach the gorilla parks. Prepare the young travelers’ expectations on the gorilla trekking experience; here’s how to prepare for gorilla trekking in Uganda.
The northerly attractions of Murchison Falls National Park take the family to the world’s most powerful waterfall with an exciting boat ride on the Nile River, whose banks are scattered with big and small wild animals. The vast park will require the family to spend more than three days enjoying its incredible attractions. A game drive will bring the kids close to lions, giraffes, elephants, buffalo, leopards, hippos, and massive Nile Crocodiles.
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is great for the family to track Rhinos on foot, an exciting venture into the wild savannah, searching for one of the world’s largest land mammals.
For relaxing family safari days, stay at the camp or lodge with great family-friendly activities like a walk in the nearby communities to experience native cultures or searching for tiny animals that excite the children. Places like Lake Bunyonyi lakeside and Lake Victoria islands have incredible beach views and are perfect for relaxing private days for the whole family.
Consider your children’s ages.
Family safaris in Uganda are suitable for children over five years who have the attention span to appreciate the wilderness. We also know that most travelers come to Uganda for gorilla trekking and to see other primates. However, not all family members can get close to our primitive forest cousins but only those above 15 years. If you’re traveling with children below 15, rule out taking them into the gorillas and chimps forests.
Most safari camps and lodges around gorilla parks are not child-friendly due to their extreme remoteness and rugged locations. However, your safari planner can help you find a safari lodge to keep your child (5-10) busy while the adult family members trek into the thick forest to find the mountain gorillas.
Uganda’s National Parks will allow you to take your toddlers, but you have to consider which activities they can engage in and find suitable child-friendly camps to keep them busy when you decide to take a different activity. Many safari lodges in savannah parks offer child-friendly activities.
Game drives and boat safaris in Uganda are suitable for teenagers and adults. These usually last about 3-5 hours in the wilderness. However, if you’re taking teenagers, consider short hours in the wilderness to serve the right amount of curiosity.
Family members’ abilities and interests
Talk about this trip with the whole family before planning the safari and know their interests, what they would like to see, experience, and what activities they can do. Give them the various experiences and activities available on the trip and allow them to choose.
Then, let your safari operator know all the family’s choices to include them in the itinerary and advise you on what is possible.
A typical Uganda safari day starts very early morning before the sun’s heat scorches the dirt. Game drives can head out in the late afternoons or early evenings for morning sleepers.
Family safari activities in Uganda include game drives, boat safaris, bird watching, exploring the source of the Nile River in Jinja, Kayaking, Quad Biking, Canoeing, Rafting, nature walks, game viewing walking safaris, horseback safaris, biking, and primate trekking.
Consider including sustainable activities.
A family safari in Uganda is a great way to introduce the family to native African cultures, and sustainable activities like community visits are the best way to connect with culture.
Uganda presents some of the most engaging cultural and community experiences for family travelers. From the Kampala or Entebbe city’s back streets to the remote villages close to the national parks, you’ll get thrilling, unstaged cultural encounters to leave the whole family amazed.
Uganda’s cities’ best cultural encounters can include a market-day visit, a backstreet city walk, a home visit to test local home-cooked meals, and an evening story-telling evening in the hotel lounge.
The remote community experiences would involve walking through a native village community, listening to stories and dancing to local tunes by village entertainers, visiting a crafts village, a day within a home to experience their daily chores, cow milking, harvesting, coffee and tea making experiences.
Best time of the Year
Although you can visit Uganda any time of the year, the ideal time to go on a family safari in Uganda is around school vacations, winter holidays, and summer breaks.
Most travelers plan their African safaris based on weather patterns, and Uganda has more distinct dry and wet seasons but also a tropical climate. The driest seasons great for family travel in Uganda are December and February. Between June and August, conditions are particularly good for trekking to see mountain gorillas and chimpanzees. Game spotting in national parks is also good at this time, including between February and March.
The family can get close to large numbers of wildlife in Uganda from September through to early October.
Many travelers avoid the wet seasons of March to May and September to November because of the unexpected downpours and unnavigable roads. Still, the savannah scenery is greener during this time, and you’ll see plenty of wild animals.
Planning your family safari with Encounter Africa.
Encounter Africa Safaris is a family-owned tour company that will put your family’s interests at heart. We want to make sure that the whole family, including the youngest that can’t speak for themselves, gets a piece of the fun, exciting, and relaxing time in Uganda.
We’ll select the best family-friendly lodges and attractions to keep everyone engaged and relaxed during their holiday. Send us an email at email@example.com to give you the best options available for the best family getaway.