UGANDA HIKING SAFARIS

TREKKING & MOUNTAIN HIKING ADVENTURES IN UGANDA

Introduction

Uganda hiking safaris offer an incredible opportunity for adventurers to explore the "Pearl of Africa" for its awe-inspiring landscapes, rare wildlife, and vibrant cultural heritage. 

Among the myriad adventures this captivating country offers, hiking safaris are truly unique experiences, promising a blend of diverse terrain, close wildlife encounters, and rich cultural immersion. Join us on a captivating journey through Uganda's wilderness on trekking safaris highlighting the following key features:

Diverse Terrain: One of the standout features of Uganda's hiking safaris is the sheer diversity of terrain. You can traverse dense forests, conquer towering mountains, hike around volcanic craters, explore remote nature trails, and immerse yourself in the culture of local communities, all within a relatively compact geographical area.

Rare Wildlife Encounters: Uganda is home to some of the world's most sought-after wildlife, including the majestic mountain gorillas. Hiking safaris here offer the chance to witness these gentle giants in their natural habitat, along with other iconic creatures like chimpanzees, golden monkeys, and a plethora of bird species.

Cultural Immersion: Beyond its natural beauty, Uganda is a country rich in culture and tradition. Hiking safaris often provide opportunities to interact with local communities, learn about their way of life, and even participate in cultural activities. It's a chance to better understand the people who call this extraordinary place home.

Types of Hiking Safaris in Uganda

Gorilla Trekking: The crown jewel of Uganda's hiking experiences, trekking to see the endangered mountain gorillas is an awe-inspiring adventure that will stay with you forever. Gorilla trekking permits are highly sought after, and it's advisable to book them well in advance.

Mountain Hikes: Uganda's mountain ranges offer a variety of hiking experiences, each with its unique charm and challenge. The Rwenzori Mountains, often referred to as the "Mountains of the Moon," are known for their glacier-capped peaks and unique flora. Mount Elgon offers a more accessible trek with diverse landscapes and spectacular calderas. The Virunga Mountains are famous for their gorilla treks and provide a glimpse into the world of these incredible primates.

Volcano Hikes: Explore the dramatic volcanic landscapes of Uganda, including hikes around the Virunga volcanoes and Mount Sabinyo, where you can stand in three countries at once.

Nature Trails: Discover the beauty of Uganda's national parks and reserves through serene nature trails, perfect for birdwatching and wildlife enthusiasts. Popular options include trails in Murchison Falls National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Community-Based Treks: Immerse yourself in the local culture by participating in community-based treks. These hikes provide a unique opportunity to connect with Uganda's diverse ethnic groups, such as the Batwa in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

UGANDA HIKING SAFARI PACKAGES

CUSTOMER REVIEWS

If you're looking for an amazing hiking adventure in Africa, Uganda is the perfect destination to visit. The country offers a wide variety of trekking options suitable for everyone. You can explore the Mountains of The Moon, hike dormant volcanoes, and even have close encounters with incredible gorillas. Numerous happy adventurers have shared their fantastic experiences in our reviews. If you need some inspiration, feel free to take a look at our Uganda hiking safari reviews from previous visitors.

  • star ratingThe whole experience, from start to finish, was absolutely amazing. Adams is THE MAN!! Everything ran seamlessly, from pick up to drop off. Adams was great at keeping us entertained... read more

    Sarah B
    July 28, 2023

    star ratinggreat agency - we had an amazing experience using Encounter Africa, very professional staff, super reactive, reliable and friendly. the hotel selection that was proposed was very good value for money and the... read more

    edouard h
    August 21, 2023

    star ratingOUR TRIP WAS INCREDIBLE - My partner an I had the most incredible vacation! It is difficult figuring out which safari company to choose since there are so many. BOOK THIS ONE!! We travel the... read more

    Seeheathergo
    July 21, 2023

    star ratingUganda the Beautiful - Writing for my husband as he did a solo tour in Uganda: Absolutely amazing journey and wonderful country. Encounter Africa delivered everything that they said they would, and Patrick... read more

    Kristine K
    August 14, 2023

    star ratingExcellent experience with Encounter! - Seamless experience from start to finish. Great communication with Denis when booking. Denis gave me several options for lodges/tours and provided guidance along the way when deciding which was the... read more

    NYCgirl04
    July 9, 2023

    star ratingExceptional service and an amazing experience!  - Excellent service - Was able to curate my own trip with assistance from the company. Everything was so easy and payments safe too. Easy booking, great communication, great driver/guide, really... read more

    KittyK1
    August 12, 2023
  • star ratingAn amazing lifetime experience to see the most beautiful animals. Loved it! - I can wholeheartedly recommend this tour. It was awesome! My guide and driver for the 5 days was Stephen. He was friendly and knowledgeable. It was great meeting him. The... read more

    Jonathan B
    August 3, 2023

    star ratingAmazing experience!  - My husband and I did the three day gorilla trekking tour. We had an amazing time! Our driver Martin really made the experience. When we travel we like to try... read more

    Serene S
    July 4, 2023

    star ratingAmazing trip to Uganda - I booked my trip with Encounter Africa Safaris. It was a five das trip As a solo traveller. Dennis, the organiser, was extremely helpful and caring during the whole... read more

    anamK1018DQ
    July 25, 2023

    star ratingGreat Safari Tour - Wow, what an amazing tour we had. Gorillas, chimps, tree climbing lions, elephants and much more. Our guide Jason was really knowledgeable and very easy going. Thanks alot for a... read more

    Lewis B
    July 28, 2023

    star ratingWe did the 3 day Gorilla Tracking Safari and it was a truly once in a lifetime experience. Leading up to the event, Dennis was wonderful for communicating and Godwin,... read more

    Jasminejuwvipart
    August 27, 2023

    star ratingWorth every penny! - We did the two-day Gorilla Trek excursion from Kigali, Rwanda to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and back.

    SimonGeo98
    July 10, 2023


Popular Hiking Destinations in Uganda

Uganda boasts a range of hiking destinations that promise unique and awe-inspiring trekking experiences. Here are the top five places to go hiking in Uganda:

Rwenzori Mountains

Often referred to as the "Mountains of the Moon," Rwenzori's beauty lies in its glaciers, diverse flora, and varying ecosystems as you ascend its slopes. The Rwenzori Mountains offer hikes of varying difficulty, from relatively moderate treks to more demanding climbs suitable for experienced mountaineers.

Accommodation and Facilities:

  • Luxury: Equator Snow Lodge, Rwenzori Turaco View Camp, Ihamba Lakeside Safari Lodge
  • Mid-range: Ruboni Community Camp, Trekkers Hostel, Rwenzori Mountaineering Services
  • Budget: Trekkers Hostel, Rwenzori Travellers Inn, Rwenzori Mountaineering Services

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi is renowned for its remarkable mountain gorilla population, representing almost half of the world's total. The thick forest provides a challenging yet rewarding environment for trekkers. The gorilla trekking terrain varies from moderately difficult to strenuous, mainly due to the rugged landscape.

Accommodation and Facilities:

  • Luxury: Buhoma Lodge, Mahogany Springs Lodge, Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge
  • Mid-range: Gorilla Mist Camp, Bwindi Jungle Lodge, Silverback Lodge
  • Budget: Buhoma Community Rest Camp, Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp, Trekkers Tavern Cottages

Mount Elgon

Mount Elgon impresses with its vast caldera, stunning waterfalls, and unique flora and fauna. It's an excellent choice for those seeking a mix of adventure and natural beauty. Mount Elgon offers hikes ranging from moderate to challenging, making it accessible to both intermediate and experienced hikers.

Accommodation and Facilities:

  • Luxury: Mbale Resort Hotel, Mount Elgon Hotel and Spa, Wash and Wills Hotel
  • Mid-range: Sipi River Lodge, Lacam Lodge, Mbale Backpackers
  • Budget: Noah's Ark Hotel, Crow's Nest Mbale, Moroto Hotel

Virunga Mountains

The Virunga Mountains are famous for their gorilla trekking adventures, allowing visitors to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Hiking in the Virunga Mountains can be challenging due to the steep and rugged terrain, necessitating a good level of fitness and hiking experience.

Accommodation and Facilities:

  • Luxury: Virunga Lodge (Rwanda), Mount Gahinga Lodge (Uganda), Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge (Rwanda)
  • Mid-range: Gorilla Valley Lodge (Uganda), Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge (Rwanda), Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge (Uganda)
  • Budget: Kinigi Guesthouse (Rwanda), Amajambere Iwacu Community Camp (Uganda), Muhabura Hotel (Rwanda)

Karamoja Mountains

The Karamoja region offers off-the-beaten-path hiking experiences, allowing for unique encounters with untouched landscapes and local communities. Hiking in the Karamoja Mountains can vary in difficulty, providing options for both beginners and more experienced hikers.

Accommodation and Facilities:

    • Luxury: Kara-Tunga Guesthouse, Nga'Moru Wilderness Camp
    • Mid-range: Apoka Safari Lodge, Kara-Tunga Guesthouse, Nga'Moru Wilderness Camp
    • Budget: Kara-Tunga Guesthouse, Nga'Moru Wilderness Camp

Kampala City Hike

Explore the capital city's scenic hills, historical sites, and vibrant culture on an urban hiking adventure. Suitable for beginners, with various trails catering to different fitness levels.

Accommodation and Facilities:

  • Luxury: Serena Hotel Kampala, Sheraton Kampala Hotel, Golden Tulip Canaan Kampala
  • Mid-range: Cassia Lodge, Fairway Hotel and Spa, Protea Hotel by Marriott Kampala
  • Budget: Red Chilli Hideaway, Nomadz Hideaway, Bushpig Backpackers

Trekking Difficulty Levels and Routes

Whether you're a novice hiker or an experienced mountaineer, Uganda has something for everyone. Trails are categorized into various difficulty levels, and experienced guides will ensure your safety:

Beginners: Nature trails and shorter hikes are ideal for those new to hiking. Consider the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary or the Bigo Bya Mugenyi Trail in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Intermediate: Hike to scenic viewpoints or undertake moderate mountain hikes like the Sipi Falls trek in Mount Elgon or the hike to the top of Nyiragongo Volcano in the Virunga Mountains.

Experienced: For the adventurous, conquer the challenging peaks and treks that Uganda offers, such as the challenging ascent of Margherita Peak in the Rwenzori Mountains or the challenging gorilla trekking experiences in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Wildlife and Nature Encounters on Hiking Safaris

Rwenzori Mountains: Hiking in the Rwenzori Mountains brings you face-to-face with unique wildlife, such as the Rwenzori turaco, Rwenzori batis, and the elusive Rwenzori three-horned chameleon. The lush forests are also home to various monkey species like the Rwenzori colobus and blue monkeys.

Virunga Mountains: The Virunga Mountains offer a chance to encounter the critically endangered mountain gorillas, as well as golden monkeys and a variety of bird species. The dense forests echo the calls of these incredible creatures, providing an unforgettable wildlife experience.

Mount Elgon: Mount Elgon is a haven for birdwatchers, boasting over 300 bird species. As you hike through diverse habitats, you may spot the endangered Lammergeier, Jackson's Francolin, and the Black-collared Apalis, among others. The mountain is also home to small antelope species like the duiker and bushbuck.

Cultural Immersion

Cultural immersion is an integral part of Uganda hiking safaris, allowing you to connect with local communities and learn about their traditions, lifestyles, and cultural practices.

Visitors can engage in activities like traditional dance performances, storytelling sessions, and handicraft demonstrations. In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, for example, the Batwa Experience offers a glimpse into the unique culture and history of the Batwa people, the original inhabitants of the forest.

Participating in community-based tourism initiatives in the Karamoja region allows travelers to experience the vibrant culture of the Karamojong people. Activities like traditional dances, cattle herding, and homestays give visitors a deep insight into their way of life.

Hiking Tips, Support and Logistics

Permits 

For gorilla trekking and chimpanzee tracking, permits are essential and should be booked well in advance through the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Permits can sell out quickly, so plan your trip and secure permits as soon as possible. For mountain hiking permits, booking your hiking permits early helps the ground operator plan and ensure everything is ready for your adventure.

Best Times to Visit

The best time for hiking safaris in Uganda is during the dry seasons: December to February and June to September. The weather is favorable, and trails are in better condition, ensuring a more enjoyable hiking experience.

Health Precautions

Before traveling, consult your healthcare provider for necessary vaccinations and health advice. Malaria is prevalent in Uganda, so taking prophylactic medication is recommended. Additionally, ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies.

Packing Essentials

Pack appropriate clothing for varying temperatures, including layers, waterproof gear, and warm clothing for mountain hikes. Sturdy hiking boots with ankle support, a good quality backpack, a first aid kit, water purification tablets, insect repellent, and a wide-brimmed hat are essential.

FAQS: Frequently Asked Questions About Uganda Hiking Safaris

We've compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions to help you plan a successful trekking safari in Uganda.

Q1: Are permits required for gorilla trekking in Uganda?

Q2: What is the best time to visit for gorilla trekking in Uganda?

Q3: Are there age restrictions for hiking safaris in Uganda?

Q4: Is it safe to hike in Uganda?

Q5: Can I hike independently or do I need a guide?

Q6: How fit do I need to be for mountain hikes in Uganda?

Q7: Are there facilities for overnight stays during mountain hikes?

Q8: What is the maximum group size for gorilla trekking?

Q9: Are there any ethical considerations for engaging with local communities?

Q10: How can I contribute to conservation efforts during my hiking safari?