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Exploring The Pearl of Africa's Untamed Beauty: The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Uganda Wildlife Safari.

Wildlife Safaris in Uganda promise unforgettable adventures combined with breathtaking landscapes, exotic wildlife, and thrilling experiences. With its diverse range of habitats and wildlife, Uganda is a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. But planning a safari can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. That’s why we’ve created the ultimate guide to planning your dream adventure safari in Uganda. From choosing the best time to visit to selecting the right safari package, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to make your safari experience unforgettable. Whether you’re interested in tracking mountain gorillas, spotting the Big Five, or exploring the stunning landscapes of Uganda, our Uganda Wildlife Safaris guide will help you plan the perfect safari adventure. So, let’s get started on making your dreams a reality!

Highlights

The unique wildlife attractions in Uganda attract many first-time safari adventurers eager to explore these outstanding highlights.

  • Top gorilla encounters: Trek into the mountains and come face-to-face with a 400-pound silverback mountain gorilla in the impenetrable jungles and on the bamboo-clumped slopes of the Virunga mountains.
  • Best chimps experiences: Awkwardly follow a narrow rainforest trail listening out for a heart-throbbing pant-hoot chorusing of chimpanzees and spend unforgettable moments observing them in their natural habitat on a chimpanzee trekking adventure.
  • Excellent water safaris: Cruise the Kazinga Channel or Victoria Nile and get close to elephants, hippos, buffalo, and big game.
  • Uncrowded safari drives: Embark on a morning or evening game drive with an expert local guide to find the Big Five and other exciting animals in the savannah parks.
  • Top-notch birding spots: Marvel at more than 1000 colorful bird species found within the most accessible birding habitats on the continent.
  • Incredible adventures: Go bungee jumping or rafting grade-five rapids on the Nile, hike dead volcanoes, and summit the snow-capped Mountains of The Moon.
  • Immersive cultural encounters & ecotourism: Walk through native remote villages, meet Uganda’s hidden cultures and communities, and experience evocative traditions on a cultural trail.

Best time for Uganda Wildlife Safaris

The best time for safaris in Uganda is during the dry season, which runs from December to February and June to September. During this time, the weather is dry and sunny, and the wildlife is more visible as they gather around water sources. The dry season also offers the best conditions for gorilla trekking in Uganda, as the trails are drier and easier to navigate. December to February and June to July are ideal for birdwatching, as migratory birds flock to Uganda’s national parks. The wet season, which runs from March to May and October to November, may offer fewer crowds and lower prices, but the roads can be challenging to navigate in some areas. However, it is important to note that Uganda’s national parks are open year-round, and each season offers a unique experience. Take a look at the month-by-month analysis in the boxes below.

Tailor-made Uganda Safari Packages

If you love nature or enjoy wildlife adventure holidays, don’t miss the incredible opportunity to have up-close encounters with Africa’s iconic animals on a safari in Uganda. To help you plan your trip, browse this list of top eco-friendly and sustainable Uganda wildlife tour packages. Take a look!

Top places you must visit

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Bwindi Impenetrable is an ancient rainforest spread over steep ridges and valleys that form a protective habitat for almost half of the last mountain gorillas. It features on most Uganda tours and offers the best treks to see silverback gorillas and immerse in local cultures.

Kibale National Park

Kibale Forest and the nearby crater lakes are nature hikers’ dream places to visit in Uganda. The rainforest park has the densest population of primates, with 15 primate species jumping the forest canopy. It is in Kibale that you will visit wild chimpanzees up close.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth is the best park in Uganda for family safari holidays and big game viewing tours. Game drives will bring you close to the elephants, tree-climbing lions, and leopards, but just as well, boat safaris on the Kazinga channel have excellent encounters with thirsty animals.

If you have time, extend your uganda safari to these places:

Lake Mburo

Lake Mburo National is the smallest and closest wildlife park to the city, 230 kilometers outside Kampala. This small park is usually included on Ugandasafaris as a buffer between Kampala and Bwindi and offers decent wildlife sightings

Murchison Falls

Murchison Falls National Park is located in the northwestern region, a bit far from the famous western safari circuit, but worth a first-time visit. Here, you’ll marvel at the mighty waterfall, cruise the Nile, and take a game drive to get close.

Kampala

Kampala is a place you must visit while on holiday in Uganda. The vibrant capital offers a diverse range of cultural experiences, including bustling markets, museums, restaurants, nightclubs, and traditional music and dance performances.

What is the cost of safari in Uganda?

It costs between $350 and $1500 per person per day to go on safari in Uganda, including transport, meals, and guide fees, but not permits. Take a look at the summary cost table below:

 BudgetMid-rangeHigh-end
Vacation Camps & Lodgesunder $150$150 – $400over $400
Restaurants (per meal)under $15$15 – $30over $30
Safari Vehicle (per day)under $100$100 – $250over $250
Local Guide (per day)under $50$50 – $150over $150

Most Uganda safari packages offer an all-inclusive (full-board) per-person rate, including taxes, and assuming double occupancy. A few lodges operate on a half-board rate, and rare ones offer bed & breakfast except city hotels.

To plan a perfect itinerary and budget for your Uganda safari holiday, follow these simple recommendations:

  • Your itinerary should include a night in the city, a day for traveling to the national park, trekking with gorillas, and visiting other national parks for wildlife viewing and chimp rainforests.
  • Remember that traveling between destinations can take an entire day and should be included in your budget.
  • Your budget should cover flights, accommodation, food, and activities. To maximize your budget, consider traveling during the low season when there are fewer tourists and prices are lower.
  • You can also save money by booking a Uganda tour package through a licensed local tour operator, which can provide a more authentic experience and is often more affordable. These operators are now verified by trade associations to protect visitors.

Selecting the best safari experience in Uganda.

If you’re planning a safari holiday package in Uganda, you have the option to choose from guided group tours or private tours to get a unique experience that combines wildlife, culture, and adventure. You can go on game drives in national parks such as Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth, and Kidepo Valley, where you can spot elephants, lions, giraffes, and many other animals. Unique to Uganda is chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest and Budongo Forest, which gives you the opportunity to observe these primates in their natural habitat. The highlight of Uganda safaris is the epic gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park to see endangered mountain gorillas up close. But you must not miss a boat safari along the Nile River or the Kazinga Channel that gives you a front-row seat to wildlife viewing. Cultural encounters in remote villages are worth extending your holiday trip to learn about the traditional way of life.

Mountain Gorilla Trekking

Trek through the misty impenetrable jungle to encounter gorillas, the world’s largest living primates, on their own turf. The silverback’s sheer size and beguiling humanlike interactions will leave you spellbound.

Chimpanzee Trekking

Trekking chimpanzees through ancient woods at the base of the Rwenzori Mountains for the most dramatic jungle encounters on the African continent. Uganda offers the most thrilling primate adventures.

Guided Nature Walks

Leave the confines of a safari vehicle and venture into the big game country and backcountry trails on foot for hours or days, spending nights under the starlit skies at remote lodges and camps.

Meet the locals and explore cultures

As a first-time visitor, you can experience Uganda beyond the gorillas and animals. Watch in on a traditional dance, visit hidden communitys, walk through remote communities and explore Uganda’s diverse cultures.

Wildlife viewing game drives

Sit in the back of a four-by-four truck with large windows and open roofs custom-made for classic game viewing. Drive deep into the wilderness to watch your favorite animals, like lions and elephants, up close

Boat safaris to watch wildlife

Be part of the unique experience of watching wildlife behavior from the comforts of a houseboat, one of Uganda’s top safari activities. You’ll come an arms-length close to animals like hippos, Nile crocodiles.

Bird watching safaris


For birdwatching nerds, Uganda offers some of the most accessible bird habitats registering over 1000 bird species. Explore Uganda’s top birding spots, including naturally rich national parks and other protected areas.

Climbing Uganda's mountain peaks

Hike the Rwenzori Mountains’ botanical heaven to the glaciated peaks, and summit the Virunga Volcanos through gorilla-infested rainforests to places where vegetation morphs into cloud-covered peaks.

What is the cost of safari in Uganda?

Wildlife Safaris in Uganda promise unforgettable adventures combined with breathtaking landscapes, exotic wildlife, and thrilling experiences. With its diverse range of habitats and wildlife, Uganda is a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. But planning a safari can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. That’s why we’ve created the ultimate guide to planning your dream adventure safari in Uganda. From choosing the best time to visit to selecting the right safari package, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to make your safari experience unforgettable. Whether you’re interested in tracking mountain gorillas, spotting the Big Five, or exploring the stunning landscapes of Uganda, our Uganda Wildlife Safaris guide will help you plan the perfect safari adventure. So, let’s get started on making your dreams a reality!

It costs between $350 and $1500 per person per day to go on safari in Uganda, including transport, meals, and guide fees, but not permits. Take a look at the summary cost table below:

 


 

 BudgetMid-rangeHigh-end
Vacation Camps & Lodgesunder $150$150 – $400over $400
Restaurants (per meal)under $15$15 – $30over $30
Safari Vehicle (per day)under $100$100 – $250over $250
Local Guide (per day)under $50$50 – $150over $150

Most Uganda safari packages offer an all-inclusive (full-board) per-person rate, including taxes, and assuming double occupancy. A few lodges operate on a half-board rate, and rare ones offer bed & breakfast except city hotels.

To plan a perfect itinerary and budget for your Uganda safari holiday, follow these simple recommendations:

  • Your itinerary should include a night in the city, a day for traveling to the national park, trekking with gorillas, and visiting other national parks for wildlife viewing and chimp rainforests.
  • Remember that traveling between destinations can take an entire day and should be included in your budget.
  • Your budget should cover flights, accommodation, food, and activities. To maximize your budget, consider traveling during the low season when there are fewer tourists and prices are lower.
  • You can also save money by booking a Uganda tour package through a licensed local tour operator, which can provide a more authentic experience and is often more affordable. These operators are now verified by trade associations to protect visitors.

Accommodation options for your safari

Uganda offers various holiday accommodation options for safari travelers. Luxury lodges provide private rooms, fine dining, and exceptional service, while budget-friendly campsites offer a more rustic experience with basic amenities and a closer connection to nature. When selecting accommodation, consider its location and proximity to national parks and wildlife reserves, as well as the level of luxury and your budget. Some lodges offer all-inclusive packages, while others charge separately for each service. Take a look at our carefully curated list of lodges and camps that are perfect for wildlife safaris in Uganda.

Papyrus Guesthouse Entebbe

From $85 pp

Papyrus Guesthouse is an eco and cozy lodge in the suburbs of Entebbe, about 15 minutes from Entebbe International Airport. It is an excellent choice for safari travelers who hope to relax in Entebbe after/before their international flight.

Number 5 Boutique Hotel

From $190 pp

The Luxury Hotel Number 5 is a quaint suburban boutique retreat nestled in the quiet colonial part of Entebbe. It’s about 15 minutes drive from Entebbe International Airport, the primary entry point to Uganda.

Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge

From $300 pp

Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge is thoughtfully comfortable and concentrates on cheerful African hospitality, which complements its superb location and function as the best base for gorilla trekking safaris in the south of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Turaco Treetops Lodge

From $95 pp

Turaco Treetops is a lush semi-luxury lodge on the edge of Kibale National Park. It’s got stunning views of the forest canopy, the massive Rwenzori mountains, and the creator lake decorated landscape of the region.

Katara Lodge

From $200 pp

Katara Lodge sits on escarpment farmland overlooking Queen Elizabeth National Park’s northeastern sector in western Uganda, A pleasant intimate, and simple safari lodge with eight cottages overlooking the vast park’s savannah plains.

Katara Lodge

From $200 pp

Katara Lodge sits on escarpment farmland overlooking Queen Elizabeth National Park’s northeastern sector in western Uganda, A pleasant intimate, and simple safari lodge with eight cottages overlooking the vast park’s savannah plains.

Rwakobo Rock Lodge

From $155 pp

Rwakobo Rock Lodge is a wilderness retreat secluded on a rocky outcrop at the edge of Lake Mburo National Park’s northern border. The lodge provides private getaways in the locally-styled cottages dotted around a massive granite outcrop, with stunning views over the wilderness plains.

Apoka Safari Lodge

From $775 pp

The pioneer luxury safari getaway is located on a picturesque rocky kopje overlooking the Narus valley in the southwestern sector of the park. The lodge has a relaxed classic safari feel, quietly providing a peaceful and private wildlife experience from the privacy of your veranda.

Mount Gahinga Lodge

From $880 pp

Nestled in the foothills of the Virunga Volcanoes, Mount Gahinga Lodge is an exclusive vacation lodge with a tranquil charm enthralled by the dramatic backdrop of three of the extinct Virunga volcanoes. Its rustic charm creates an absorbing atmosphere of tranquility and the region’s history.

Essential Information

Uganda is a great safari holiday destination with few tourist crowds compared to its neighbors. Group tours are small, and popular wildlife sites are still relatively unconstrained. The country’s forested and game reserves are accessible to independent travelers, and off-the-beaten-track gems like the Ssese Islands, Katonga Wildlife Reserve, Sipi Falls, and Kasenda Crater Lakes are relatively affordable. Uganda has a healthy reputation for safety, with low levels of crime against tourists. Independent travelers face minimal day-to-day hassle, and the locals are warm, friendly, and relaxed hosts. Here’s some essential holiday travel information to help you understand navigating Uganda.

Phone & Internet Connection

Many phone networks cover Entebbe, Kampala, large towns, and tourist areas, but signals may be inconsistent. Local SIM cards are affordable, and international calling bundles make it easy to call home. It’s best to unlock your mobile phone before arriving, which can be done in Kampala but may delay your Uganda wildlife safari. Wi-Fi of varying quality is available for free in nearly all countryside lodges.

Health & Vaccines

When traveling to Uganda, it is important to have proof of yellow fever vaccination upon arrival at the airport. The Ministry of Health recommends Hepatitis A and B vaccinations, and those traveling to rural areas should also consider the typhoid vaccine. Malaria is a risk in Uganda, so consult with your doctor on antimalarial options. At the very least, sleep under a mosquito net at night and wear insect repellent during the day. It is also recommended to drink bottled or filtered water.

Safety

Uganda is generally a safe place for tourists, but it’s recommended not to wander alone at night, especially in urban areas. Ugandans are welcoming people but hold traditional beliefs, so public displays of affection are generally frowned upon. LGBTQ+ travelers can travel through the country without issues, as Ugandans don’t discriminate based on race and sexuality.

Money

When traveling around Uganda, use shillings to pay for items at local shops and restaurants. Larger hotels and tour companies may accept U.S. dollars and credit cards. You can withdraw local currency at ATMs or exchange dollars, euros, and pounds at the airport, forex branches, or local banks. Bills printed before 2006 may not be accepted.

Entry Visa

A three-month tourist visa costs US$50 and can only be obtained online at visas.immigration.go.ug. Applicants must submit a completed form, two passport-sized photos and at least three days before travel. You can not get on arrival at Entebbe International Airport. Passports must be valid for six months from the intended travel date and have at least one blank page.

Best Time To Go

Uganda, located on the equator with an average altitude of around 1,000m, is a year-round destination for wildlife safaris. March-May and Oct-Nov have the highest rainfall, but gorillas can still be found, although trekking can be slippery and slower. Accommodations and gorilla permits can be cheaper at this time. The best time to visit Uganda and go on safari is June-Sep, which is the peak season, but Uganda remains unaffected by mass tourism, and you won’t have to worry about crowds.