Uganda, known as the “pearl of Africa,” has one of the most varied landscapes in the entire world, if not the entire planet. Uganda is the dream destination for those in search of the absolute pinnacle of primate safaris. Numerous chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, de Brazza monkeys, and a variety of other species can be found at Kibale and Queen Elizabeth National Park. In the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the last mountain gorillas are carefully protected. There is absolutely no exaggeration in gorilla trekking as life-altering. The destination is just as much sought after by birders, as Uganda boasts over a thousand species among its varied habitats. Uganda is home to Africa’s tallest mountain range and the origin of the world’s longest river. It is situated where the East African savannah meets the Central African rainforest. From the mountain gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to the tree-climbing lions of Queen Elizabeth National Park to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed majesty of Rwenzori Mountains National Park, a safari in Uganda display the country’s natural beauty in all its splendour.
WHY A UGANDAN SAFARI?
WHY EXPLORE KENYA?
One of the most interesting tourist destinations in Africa is Kenya. The primary lure is going on safari in renowned parks like the Masai Mara National Reserve, Amboseli, Tsavo National Parks among others, but this equatorial region of East Africa has a wealth of additional alluring sights. The gorgeous beaches, offshore reefs, and historic Swahili towns that border the Indian Ocean coastline are popular tourist attractions in Kenya. The chance to view the snow-capped peaks of Africa’s two tallest mountains is one of Kenya’s additional tourism attractions.
WHICH ARE THE TOP SAFARI ATTRACTIONS IN UGANDA?
Uganda has a variety of attractions, including wildlife areas, cities, beaches along the coast, and traditional communities.
Bwindi Impenetrable National park is home to more than half of the world’s remaining Mountain Gorilla population. These gentle primates are highly endangered species and the forest holds more than 360 individuals of the plausible 800 plus mountain gorillas in the entire world. The trek is limited to groups of eight. The limit on group size is to keep to gorillas safe from any airborne pathogens, but also to increase the chances of sightings, as larger groups often scare off these (surprisingly) timid animals. The imposing southwestern sloped hills and terraced volcanoes prove to be a formidable foe right away. This is gorilla country, and the only way to get there is by hiking through the dense, triffid-like undergrowth, up muddy hills, and down into jagged valleys. The arduous journey is made more magical by the rewards despite the high altitude and difficult terrain. Once contact is made, you have up to one hour to spend with the gorillas. The best time to visit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is between June and August, and then again in December through to February. These are the driest months, with the best chance of sunny skies and clear days perfect for wildlife viewing, although showers are always possible. Other creatures that call this dense jungle home include chimpanzees, L’Hoest’s monkeys, duikers, bushbucks, African golden cats, and the uncommon gigantic forest hog. The more than 350 different bird species that call the verdant woodland home will excite birdwatchers. Bwindi National Park consists of the common chimpanzee species (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii).This makes Bwindi Impenetrable www.saunterlandtours.com National Park the only gorilla destination in the world where mountain gorillas and chimpanzees share the same habitat. While on a safari in Bwindi, chimpanzees in Bwindi National Park can be spotted in Buhoma area in the north and Nkuringo sector in the south. Unlike other chimpanzee destinations, chimpanzees in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are not habituated.Considering the altitudinal level, chimpanzees in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park thrive in the highland rain-forest which is not a case with Kibale National Park which is a bit in a lowland area. Because they roam from place to place, exploring them in the wild becomes more challenging than if you tracked them in Kibale National Park or Budongo Forest.
Where to Stay:
Hotels: Agandi Lodge, Bakiga Lodge, Broadbill Forest Camp , Buhoma Community Haven Lodge, Buhoma Community Rest Camp, Buhoma Lodge , Bwindi Backpackers Lodge
Kibale National Park is most popular for its population of chimpanzees and is considered one of the best place to track wild chimpanzees on earth. In East Africa, the park has been named as the top location for travellers to find wild chimpanzees. Seconding the Mountain Gorillas of Bwindi Forest National Park, these monkeys are Uganda’s most fascinating and popular primates. Apart from Kibale Forest, which is the best location in Uganda for chimpanzee trekking, other places where travelers can go to observe chimpanzees are Budongo Forest in Murchison Falls National Park, Kalinzu Forest, and Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Kibale forest national park is home to about 70 forest wildlife (Mammals) including the buffaloes, forest Elephants and some of the antelope species however most uniquely the park is the habitat of the 13 species of primate amongst which include the endangered Chimpanzees. The forest contains approximately 375 bird species ranking the park as one of the top birding destinations in Uganda.
Where to Stay:
- Hotels: Kibale National Park Lodges, Isunga Lodge. Lodge, Turaco Treetops. Lodge
Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park is the country’s most well-known and frequented wildlife refuge. The districts of Kamwenge, Rukingiri, Rubirizi, and Kasese are where the park is located in western Uganda. Queen Elizabeth National Park covers roughly 764 square miles. The park also includes portions of Lake George and Edward as well as the Kyambura Gorge, Maramagambo Forest, Kazinga Channel, and Lake George. The park was formerly called as Kazinga National Park when it was founded in 1952. The British Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to the country in the early 1950s greatly impressed the administration at the time, and as a result, a park was named in her honor. The variety of wildlife here is rich and sightings of giraffe, lion, zebra, hippo, crocodile, and elephants are common. The legendary tree-climbing lions are an exciting sight, as are any of the over 600 bird species that can be found here. Aside from your game drive, another delightful excursion is a boat trip on the Kazinga Channel www.saunterlandtours.com where you’re sure to spot hippos in the water and a hike through Kyambura Gorge, which teems with chimpanzees.
Where to Stay:
- Hotels: Elephant Plains Lodge, Kyambura Gorge Lodge, Ishasha Wilderness Camp, Mweya Safari Lodge, Katara Lodge etc
Murchison Falls National Park is reknowned for having the most powerful waterfall in the world. This is where the longest river in the world , River Nile, squeezes through a 7-meter gap and then drops down 45 meters. The Falls can be seen from the top, accessible by car or from the bottom accessible by boat, you can even walk to the top of the falls having been dropped off close to the bottom of the falls by boat. The River Nile snakes its way through Murchison Falls National Park and there is no better way to see the diverse wildlife than on a boat ride on the Nile. Hippos, Elephants, Buffalo, Giraffe, Bushbuck and Waterbuck are all in plenty not to mention the Fish Eagles, Kingfishers, Bee Eaters and Harrier Hawks can all be seen on a boat ride. Murchison Falls National Park is home to the largest number of Rothschilds Giraffe in the world, with around 60% of the entire population living in Uganda..The varied landscape of Murchison Falls National Park means that there are a large number of birds species. A boat cruise and a game drive will enable you to see a whole host of water birds and savannah dwelling birds. Whilst birding walks in the Kaniyo Pabidi Forest and The Royal Mile in Southern Budongo Forest will allow you to see forest bird species. But it is a cruise on the River Nile Delta that many birders come to Murchison Falls, for a chance to see the Shoebill Stork. Murchison Falls National Park offers one of the best chances in Uganda to see the lions and leopard. Enroute Murchison Falls Park, you can visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
Where to Stay:
- Hotels: Nile Safari Lodge , Murchison River Lodge, Twiga Safari Lodge, Pakuba Safari Lodge .
Kidepo Valley National Park is a captivating region of semi-arid savanna, seasonally flowing rivers, and low mountains and is situated in the remote northeastern region of Uganda, close to the borders with South Sudan and Kenya. It is stunning and easily accessible all year round. 77 different mammal species may be found at Kidepo, and there are many opportunities to see game there. There are 20 different types of predators, such as lions, leopards, and spotted hyenas. Black-backed jackals, bat-eared foxes, aardwolves, cheetahs, and caracals are endemmic to Kidepo in Uganda. The number of elephants has increased to about 650 (from 200 in the middle of the 1990s), the number of buffalo is thought to be over 10,000, and there are over 50 Rothschild’s giraffes, a population with significant international significance.The greater and lesser kudu roam the dense bush while zebra graze on the plains. Lucky explorers might even spot a white-eared kob, which is more frequently seen in South Sudan and Ethiopia. Discover the sense of vulnerability that every walk brings when you set out on a trail. You may experience the wilderness in all its grandeur while feeling www.saunterlandtours.com secure in your guide’s knowledge. The majority of the walking trails wind through the Narus Valley and last 2 to 3 hours. Given that most guests may comfortably go within a 5 km radius, the Narus Valley stroll is particularly well-liked. It offers you the chance to witness a wide variety of gorgeous creatures and birds against the backdrop of a breathtaking terrain. You may also have a cultural visit of the Karamajong people when visiting Kidepo.
Where to Stay:
- Hotels: Apoka Rest Camp, Apoka Safari Lodge, Buffalo Base Uganda, Kakine Selfcatering Campsite, Nga’Moru Wilderness Camp among others etc
Rwenzori Mountains National Park protects the highest parts of the 120km-long and 65kmwide Rwenzori mountain range. The Rwenzoris, often known as the legendary Mountains of the Moon, are located in western Uganda near the Congo border. The lower slopes are covered in moorland, bamboo, and lush, damp montane forest, while the equatorial snow peaks contain the third highest point in Africa. The highest point – Mount Stanley’s Margherita Peak – is 5,109 metre making it the fourth highest point in Africa. On top of Mount Stanley, standing at 5,109m high, there are five other glacial mount Rwenzori peaks that make up Mountain Rwenzori. These include Mount Speke (4,890m), Mount Baker (4,844m), Mount Gessi (4,715m), Mount Luigi da Savoia (4,627m) and Mount Emin (4,791m) on DRC side. From June to August and from December to February is the perfect time to visit/climb/hike/trek Rwenzori Mountains National Park, otherwise, it can be visited throughout the year. For mountaineers the climbing window from June to August is the best times to attempt an ascent to Margherita Peak of Mountain Rwenzori. From mid-June to August, the dry months may sound like the ideal time to visit the Rwenzori Mountains. The small window of opportunity opens up for mountaineers, eager to glimpse Mountain Rwenzori at it’s best, yet it is a season during which the mountains can receive less amounts of rainfall. The Rwenzori Mountains National Park is about a 4-6hour drive from Kampala depending on the route. A scheduled chartered flight can be arranged from Entebbe International Airport to Kasese Airstrip, which is then followed by a 40 minutesdrive to the Rwenzori mountains National Park.
Where to Stay:
- Hotels: Ruboni Community Camp, Sandton Hotel Kasese ,Ruwenzori Travellers Inn, Hotel Margherita. etc
The small but lovely Lake Mburo National Park is conveniently adjacent to the road that links Kampala to the western Ugandan parks. It is the smallest of Uganda’s savannah national parks and is surrounded by more than 500 million years old Precambrian metamorphic rocks. In addition to zebras, impalas, elands, buffalo, oribi, Defassa waterbuck, leopard, hippo, hyena, topi, and reedbuck, it is home to 350 different kinds of birds.
Where to Stay:
- Hotels: Kigambira Safari Lodge , Mihingo Lodge, Mburo Eagles Nest , Kigarama Wilderness Lodge,. Lake Mburo Luxury Tented Camp, Mburo Safari Lodge.
The Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located between 2,227m and 4,127m above sea level. It was established, as its name implies, to safeguard the endangered rare mountain gorillas and golden monkey that live in its extensive forests. Mgahinga gorilla national park is termed as the destination where Silver meets Gold basically due to the fact that the park harbors both the Golden monkeys and the mountain gorillas in an area of 33.9 Square Kilometers of land making it the smallest park in Uganda ,the pearl of Africa. Like any other forested park, Mgahinga gorilla national park as well harbors plenty of bird species with over 185 bird species recorded including the species endemic to Albertine rift, the forest birds, Migratory birds, water birds and many more. Some of these bird species include Rwenzori Turaco, Ibis, Handsome francolin, Rwenzori Nightjar, Dusky Crimson Wing, Grey-capped Warbler, Yellowvented Bulbul, Rwenzori Batis and many more. Being part of virunga massif, Mgahinga gorilla national park protects 3 stunning volcanoes including Mount Gahinga at 3,474M which lies with the park, Mount Muhavura also termed as Muhabura at 4,127m that is shared amongst Mgahinga gorilla national park Uganda and Volcanoes national park Rwanda and finally Mount Sabyinyo/ Sabinyo shared across all the 3 parks in Virunga massif including Mgahinga gorilla national park Uganda, Virunga national park Congo and Volcanoes national park Rwanda. Apart from the above mentioned attraction, Mgahinga gorilla national park thrills with yet other fascinating tourist attractions including Mammals like Elephants, Buffaloes, Forest hogs, warthogs and many other attractions like the Garama caves that are very crucial in the life of the Batwa people as their sacred place.
Where to Stay:
- Hotels: Mount Gahinga Lodge, Mucha Hotel Kisoro, Travelers’ rest hotel, Amajambere Iwacu Community Camp etc
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT KENYA
There are various attractions in Kenya ranging from wildlife zones, cities, coastal beaches, cultural villages among others.
Like a pearl, Uganda is little but priceless; its brilliance comes from the vivid greens of Africa’s tallest mountains, magnificent waterfalls, dense forests, and imposing valleys.The finest places to trek to see the endangered mountain gorillas and to experience Uganda’s parks are its national parks.In Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, half of the world’s remaining gorillas are found. In contrast, groups of other primates—including chimpanzees and 10 other species of monkeys—dominate the landscapes and parks. But Uganda isn’t just about monkeys; in parks like Queen Elizabeth National Park, Rwenzori Mountains National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Kibale Forest, and Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, you can see animals that are typically found on the savannah, like giraffes, zebras, and impalas. Uganda is the home to the Nile River’s source, the last remaining mountain gorillas in the world, and huge and varied natural wildlife reserves; Blessed with year-round tropical summer weather, more than 50 native tribes, a diverse cultural legacy, snow-capped mountains, natural river rafting locations, and a thriving nightlife. a large number of untapped natural resources and a young, educated population.
The best time to visit Uganda is during its two dry seasons: between December and February, and between June and August, when conditions are particularly good for trekking to see mountain gorillas and chimpanzees. Game spotting in national parks is also good at this time, as well as between February and March. Large numbers of wildlife can be seen at waterholes from September through to early October.Temperatures barely change throughout the seasons, sitting around 24°C to 30°C, so you can visit Uganda all year round. The country is also fabulous for bird spotting at any time of year.
Before Chimpanzees are trekked by visitors, to ensure that they get familiar to visitors, they are first tracked by park authorities (Park Rangers) who first carry out a Chimpanzee habituation process before tourists are invited to visit. Chimpanzee habituation is a process that is undertaken to get the Chimpanzee used to human presence before visiting them. This is a daily activity done for hours in a day and takes up to two years to fully habituate the chimpanzees. Many years back, visitors had 20% chances of meeting the Chimpanzee in the wild, whilst today Chimpanzee trekking is 99% guaranteed. Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda involves walking through the jungles of rain forests in search of them for about 2-5 hours depending on the location of the primates and on finding them, visitors are limited to only one hour in the presence of the endangered primates.
If you are booking a road safari in Uganda, a 6 seater a closed-sided pop up roof 4×4 safari van or landcruiser is the best option.
Generally safaris follow a typical pattern each day. Activities are mainly game drives in a pop up roof safari vehicle. In some destinations, you may undertake guided walks. The morning begins with a great breakfast before the first drive / activity which starts at or just after sunrise. There are great opportunities to see wildlife at this time since it is still fairly cool and animals are most active. Typically depending on the safari destination, you may choose to do a full day game drive or split the game drives into morning and evening game drive.The morning activity usually ends by late morning with guests returning to the camp / lodge for breakfast / brunch. Guests generally relax at the camp / lodge for the middle of the day. This is because the animals are quite inactive during the heat of the day – seeking shelter in the shade. Guests have lunch and enjoy the camp or lodge facilities (lounge / hammocks / swimming pool etc) or some properties offer short walks or visits to a hide. The second main activity will be in the late afternoon and perhaps end at a scenic point to view the sunset (depending on safari destination). Guests later return to the camp / lodge for drinks and dinner.
Apply for Uganda Evisa via https://visas.immigration.go.ug/
- Once the application is submitted it will be studied by an Immigration Officer. Please note that during the approval process additional information may be required. The new required information can be submitted electronically through ―Manage your applications.
- The decision taken on the application will be sent electronically through the email provided by the applicant.
- If approved, an approval letter will be sent as an attachment to the email provided. Click on the link to download it.
- This travel authorization does not guarantee entry into Uganda. Travelers will be subjected to secondary verification where necessary before personalization.
- Present a valid travel document of not less than 6 months validity to the Immigration officer at the port of entry