Where to go on a safari before or after a conference in Uganda
Where to go on a safari before or after a conference in Uganda. Traveling to Uganda for a safari is one of the most satisfying and memorable holidays on the African continent. Uganda is the Pearl of Africa, and for a good reason, there are several safari destinations that you can visit before or after a conference.
Most Popular Safaris
We have been on numerous safaris in Uganda, organizing game drives in the different national parks, gorilla trekking, boat cruises, and bird-watching expeditions, and we know the best destinations for tourists to visit when they are in the country for a conference. Planning a safari in Uganda must be done on time if you want a good deal on the safari. Below is a list of the different safari destinations to visit before or after a conference in Uganda.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park is the 2nd largest national park after Murchison Falls National Park and one of Uganda’s most preferred safari destinations. You can visit Queen Elizabeth before or after the conference and participate in activities like game drives, boat rides along the Kazinga channel, and bird watching. Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to over 615 bird species (the highest number of recorded bird species in the country) and wildlife species like the climbing lions found in the Ishasha sector, crocodiles, warthogs, buffaloes, antelopes, warthogs, and elephants.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Found in southwestern Uganda, Bwindi is a top tourist destination and one of the places to go for a safari before or after a conference. It is home to the endangered mountain gorillas with half the world’s population. The only other places where gorilla trekking takes place are Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Bwindi has four sectors where gorilla trekking is done, and these are the Buhoma, Nkuringo, Ruhija, and Rushaga sectors. Each of these has gorilla families you can trek.
You need first to purchase a gorilla permit which is $800 for foreign non-residents, 300 000 UGX for East African citizens (Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, and South Sudan), and $700 for foreign residents. The permit has to be purchased early enough to be able to participate in the trek.
Other activities carried out in Bwindi include bird watching, primate walks where you get to see other primate species, including vervet monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons, and black and white colobus monkeys, among others, taking on the Batwa trail, and participating in the gorilla chimpanzee habituation. The best time to visit Bwindi is June to September and December to February.
Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga National Park in southwestern Uganda is another safari destination you need to check out if you want to enjoy a gorilla trek experience and golden monkey trekking. The park is near the border of Rwanda and DRC, making it accessible from both countries. The main activity in Mgahinga is gorilla trekking with one gorilla family known as the Nyakagezi gorilla family. Visitors need a gorilla permit to trek Nyakagezi, and this can be bought through a trusted local tour operator or directly from the UWA. The cost of the gorilla trek permit is the same with Bwindi and there are no discounts offered even during the low season.
Golden monkey trekking is also carried out in Mgahinga, and just like gorilla trekking, you also need to purchase a trekking permit and follow all the trekking rules and guidelines. Golden monkeys are an endangered species, and that is why the rules are emphasized. Other activities in Mgahinga include the Batwa trail walk, a visit to the local communities, primate watching, and bird watching. The best time to go for a safari to Mgahinga is June to September and December to February, also known as the dry season.
Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s largest and oldest national park, opened in 1952. The national park is home to the thunderous Murchison Falls, believed to be one of the most powerful falls in the world, and these can be visited while on a safari to the park. It is filled with both woodland and grassland savannah vegetation, acting as a home to a wide range of animals like crocodiles, buffaloes, leopards, antelopes, elephants, warthogs, spotted hyenas, lions, and kudus, among others. Activities carried out in Murchison Falls National Park include game drives in two sessions (one in the morning and another in the afternoon), boat rides along the River Nile, hikes, and bird watching, among others.
Murchison Falls National Park is also home to the Kaniyo Pabidi forest and Budongo forest, where chimpanzee trekking is carried out. Kaniyo Pabidi and Budongo forest are home to a few chimpanzees that are best trekked during the dry season, but you will still need a trekking permit to gain access to the chimpanzees, and these need to be purchased in advance. Murchison can be visited all year round, but the best time is the dry season from June to September and December to February.
Kibale National Park
Kibale is home to the highest number of primates in the country, for example, olive baboons, Mangabeys, red-tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, Pottos, Bush babies, and over 1500 chimpanzees. Kibale National Park is home to the highest number of chimps and the best place to go for chimpanzee trekking. There are also other wildlife species in the park apart from the 13 different species, including warthogs, antelopes, forest elephants, buffalos, and over 370 bird species. Activities that are carried out in Kibale include chimpanzee trekking and chimpanzee habituation, photo safaris, bird watching, cultural trips, and guided nature walks.
Semuliki national park
Semuliki was first gazetted off as a game reserve and later turned into a national park in 1993. The park, located in western Uganda, is home to over 400 bird species and wildlife that can be seen during game drives around the national park. Some of the wildlife species in Semuliki include hippos, crocodiles, forest elephants, target rats, monkeys, and bush duikers among others. Activities tourists get to participate in while in Semuliki include bird watching, guided nature walks, and game drives.
Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park located in northeastern Uganda is a gem that is rarely visited but one of the best places to visit before or after a conference in Uganda. Kidepo was turned into a national park in 1962 and is the most isolated park in the country, located in a remote area. Kidepo Valley National Park is home to over 470 bird recorded bird species and 75 mammal species, all of which can be seen throughout the year. Two valleys make up the national park: the Narus Valley, where most of the wildlife species converge after the seasonal Kidepo Valley dries up, and the Kidepo Valley. Kidepo means ‘to pick whereas Narus means ‘soggy ground’, and here the water retention is higher as compared to the Kidepo valley which becomes dry during the dry season.
Wildlife that you can spot while on a game drive in Kidepo include leopards, cheetahs, lions, waterbucks, zebras, giraffes, hartebeests, reedbucks, Nile crocodiles, Uganda Kob, striped hyenas, antelopes, jackals, bush duikers and wild dogs among others.
There are several activities you can carry out in Kidepo Valley National Park. These include hiking up the Morungole mountain, which has excellent views of the Narus and Kidepo Valley, A visit to the IK people who are the inhabitants of Mount Murongole (the IK culture is almost extinct and this is chance to get to know about their unique culture of hunting and their way of life), bird watching and some of the bird species to look out for include Jackson’s hornbill, Abyssinian roller, Pygmy falcon and yellow-billed hornbill among others.
Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National Park is Uganda’s smallest national park approximately 30 kilometers from Mbarara and 240 kilometers from Kampala city. It is the closest national park to the president’s hometown (Kiruhura district). The national park was gazetted off in 1963 but pastoralists would still take their cattle to graze until 1983 when it was granted a national park status. Wildlife in Lake Mburo National Park includes hippos, crocodiles, hyenas, leopards, reedbucks, waterbucks, elands, zebras, and antelopes among others.
Some of the activities carried out in Lake Mburo National Park include boat cruises along the Lake, which gives tourists a chance to explore the national park from a different angle. Game drives are both in the morning and afternoon, and this is one of the parks that offers night game drives conducted with an experienced guide. You also get to engage in cultural tours where you learn more about the locals, fishing and spot fishing along the Lake, and bird watching.
The Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary was established in 3005 after the reintroduction of rhinos in the country. The white rhinos were extinct in Uganda due to constant poaching and wars in the 1970s in both Murchison Falls National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park. Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is the only place in Uganda where you can track and see Rhinos, with the current number of Rhinos at 22 from the 6 that were introduced in the country in 2015. The trained Ziwa ranchers and the Uganda Wildlife Authority do the conservation of the white Rhinos.
The sanctuary is also home to other wildlife species including hippos, crocodiles, antelopes, and monkeys among the 40 mammal species found in the area, and it is also home to over 300 bird species. The sanctuary has more than 65 trained rangers to guide you when carrying out the different exercises and for security.
Activities carried out in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary include Rhino tracking, where you get to watch the endangered rhinos on foot, take photos and learn about their different habits, guided nature walks around the sanctuary without fear of being attacked since most of the animals in the sanctuary are kept behind fences, enjoy bird watching with sights of the blue-spotted dove, African black crate and shoebill among others.
Located in eastern Uganda in the Kapchorwa district, Sipi Falls is a getaway for both couples and other tourists. It is known to be the most romantic place in Uganda with three magnificent falls each falling at a different height. The first waterfall drops 100m, the second waterfall 75m and the third waterfall 85m. The first waterfall is the easiest to get to and the last one is hard but they all have beautiful sceneries when hiking and when you get to the top.
The Sipi Falls are also the starting point for tourists planning on hiking up Mount Elgon and the best place to visit the falls is during the dry season although you can still visit during the wet season. Other activities besides hiking the falls include a trip to the Arabica coffee plantations nearby where you can see the process of planting, harvesting, sorting, and processing the coffee. This is also your chance to taste a freshly made cup of Arabica coffee, a visit to the local communities where you can learn more about the Gishu culture, hike the Elgon mountain, Abseiling, bird watching, visit the Pian Upe wildlife reserve, fly fishing and take a walk through the town.
Jinja city is known as a haven for tourists because of the many safari activities, both fun and adventurous, carried out in the different safari spots across the city. Jinja is in Eastern Uganda, and the first attraction to see as you head to Jinja is the Mabira forest. You get to taste the delicious roadside chicken at Namawojjolo before proceeding to Jinja and some of the activities you can carry out. At the same time, in Jinja include Horse riding along the banks of River Nile, Quad biking with free training for all those that have never engaged in the activity, White water rafting on River Nile, Boat rides, Source of the Nile visit, and Bungee jumping among others.
Located in southwestern Uganda in the Kabale District, Lake Bunyonyi is one of the most beautiful Lakes in Uganda and Africa and one of the best honeymoon destinations in the country. The name Bunyonyi means ‘small birds’, and this was because the many small islands that are found on the Lake are home to a large collection of bird species. It is a great place to relax after visiting the country’s different national parks.
Lake Bunyonyi has twenty-nine islands, each with a wonderful story behind its name. Some of the Islands include Akampene Island, Bushara Island, and Bwama Island. Some of the activities carried out on Lake Bunyonyi include swimming (the water is bilharzia-free), Canoeing to the different Islands, mountain bike rides, bird watching (the Lake has over 205 bird species), exploring the local villages, Island hopping, fishing, and shopping from the local market.
Contact us to know more about what to do in Uganda on safari.