Uganda Safaris: Introducing The Pearl Of Africa
Our Uganda safaris and tours takes you to see wild mountain gorillas and chimpanzees, plus a variety of other Uganda wildlife in 10 national parks. From gorilla trekking tours to a safari game drive to see the Big 5 or cultural encounters we got you covered. Are you a group of friends planning a safari in Uganda or a solo traveler seeking to fulfill your personal experiences? How about a couple or a family affair, we tailor all our Uganda safaris to suit your interests and budget.
Top 8 Best Short Uganda Safaris | Uganda Tour Packages
These Short Uganda Safaris are Uganda tour packages that run for not more than 6 days. They are perfect for anyone in need of a bit of excitement but struggling to make time for an epic safari trip. These tour are adaptable to your interests.
The Top Uganda Safari Experiences
Uganda safaris offer something different to nearby neighbouring East African countries. Here, 10 national parks protect half of the world’s mountain gorilla population, along with chimps, a multitude of monkeys, birds, and savannah game.
Where else on Earth can you track wild gorillas in the dense misty rainforests, and the same day find yourself on the savannah plains in scorching heat looking for rare tree climbing lions?
Winding roads lead to places of stunning natural beauty and unique cultures for those who dare to explore the “Pearl of Africa”. There is a story at every turn, from wildlife to culture and particularly from locals, who are renowned for their warmth and friendliness. You may wish to include the following in your Uganda safari Package;
- Gorillas – Undeniably the highlight of the destination, and the reason why people visit Uganda for safaris, is to trek with the endangered mountain gorillas in Bwindi and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks.
- Chimpanzees – Track the chimps of Kibale Forest, Kyambura Gorge, Kalinzu Forest and Budongo Forest. Uganda is the best place to see wild chimpanzees in the world.
- Savannah game – Uganda also offers visitors traditional safaris alongside the gorilla trekking. You can spot the big five and the big cats in Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls, and Kidepo Valley National Parks.
- Tree Climbing Lions – Unlike most African destinations, here you can see lions relaxing in the shady trees rather than underneath them!
- Bird watching; Uganda has more 1090 bird species (11% of world’s total bird species). It is arguably the most attractive destination for birding in Africa.
- Boat Cruise – You can enjoy safari boat cruise on the abundant Kazinga Channel and the Nile River
- Conservation – Visit orphaned chimps at Ngamba Island or Uganda’s only wild rhinos in Ziwa Sanctuary.
- Incredible Combinations – Uganda’s location makes it perfect for combining with lots of other African destinations, including Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zanzibar beaches.
Popular Long Uganda Safaris | Uganda Safari Packages
Here are our well tested itineraries for longer Uganda safaris (7-21 days). We can offer you a customized safari based on what you want to experience, your safari budget and time-frame. Remember that our Uganda safaris can all be adjusted to fit your interests, so see these as inspiration.
Combined Uganda Safaris | East African Safaris
You can easily combine your Uganda safari with safaris in other East Africa countries: Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. You can visit enjoy big game viewing in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve or Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park before trekking through the rainforests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, and Volcanoes National Park. And once you’ve explored all the best places to visit in Uganda, end your safari holiday off with a beachside escape in the spice island Zanzibar for a bit of relaxation before travelling back home.
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FAQs About Uganda Safaris | Uganda Tours
Why visit Uganda, what are the major attractions?
Uganda is most famous for gorilla tours. And most tourists visit Uganda for gorilla trekking experiences. It is possible to go on a Uganda gorilla safari as an add-on to an East African safari in Kenya or Tanzania. But Uganda has lots more to offer, so consider visiting some of the savannah reserves and tracking wild chimpanzees as well.
Queen Elizabeth National Park offers a variety of safari activities such as game drive in Kasenyi Plains, chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura Gorge and a boat tour on Kazinga Channel. The wildlife here is diverse and one of the highlights is the tree-climbing lions in the Ishasha sector of the park.
Murchison Falls National Park offers outstanding wildlife game viewing as well as spectacular scenic beauty. You can take a boat trip on River Nile to the famous Murchison Falls or to the delta area. The latter is particularly rewarding for birders, and sightings of the prehistoric looking shoebill birds are very common in this area.
More remote is Kidepo National Park. This park offers a true African wilderness experience and is home to many species that don’t occur elsewhere in Uganda, including cheetah. Primate lovers should go to Kibale Forest National Park as it offers the most reliable chimpanzee trekking in Africa.
Is it safe to travel to Uganda?
Uganda is generally safe to visit and for tourism. It is a politically stable country with securely operated borders. However, Uganda is no different to the rest of the world. If you plan to spend time in a city, take precautions as you would in your home country. Petty theft is common in cities, but physical attacks on tourists are extremely rare.
Safety tips for cities:
- Don’t wander around the streets after dark.
- Ask your hotel about unsafe areas and avoid them.
- Leave expensive jewellery at home and wear a cheap plastic watch.
- Don’t carry cameras and video cameras in full view.
- Keep your money and passport in a money belt and out of sight or in the hotel safe.
- Dress like a local, or at least casually.
- Use your cell phone discreetly, and not while driving.
You will spend most of your Uganda holiday in a relatively remote and wild area where crime of any sort is extremely rare.
Further Reading: Is It Safe To Travel To Uganda in 2023?
What to expect on a safari in Uganda?
Uganda safaris offer a variety of experiences. Each of Uganda national parks offers a very different experience and set of safari activities. The country is very beautiful, with many scenic highlights and landmarks such as Murchison Falls on the Nile River in Murchison Falls National Park, the volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains in Mgahinga National Park, true rainforest in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, and a string of Rift Valley lakes in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Wildlife viewing in Uganda’s savannah reserves is not as overwhelming as in Kenya and Tanzania, but there is a good variety of animals to be seen. Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls National Parks offer excellent safari cruises to supplement wildlife game drives.
Most tourists in the country will track gorillas and many will also track chimpanzees. You need to be relatively fit and you must prepare for relatively difficult hikes on mountain slopes through thick forest vegetation. Uganda receives quite high rainfall year round. And while most rainfall occurs in the afternoon, you may well get wet on occasion. Uganda is a top Africa safari destination for slightly adventurous visitors who enjoy viewing wildlife as well as hiking.
What to pack for a safari in Uganda?
- While Uganda has no strict dress code, women travellers are advised to dress conservatively.
- Comfortable, casual clothes are best.
- Muted colours and neutral tones such as beige, khaki and green are recommended for game viewing and primate trekking.
- Bright colours like red, yellow, purple and white are not advisable on safari.
- Game drives and primate tracking are usually conducted in the early morning and late afternoon, which can be very cold, especially during rainy season.
- Warm clothing is recommended for the cooler months, and light clothing for dry season months.
- You advised to carry a good antihistamine cream for your Uganda safaris tours which you can use in case you are bitten by any bugs while on safari.
Do you need a visa to visit Uganda?
A Uganda visa is required by most nationalities. Additionally, your passport must be valid for at least six months from your departure date. Passports should have a minimum of 2–4 clean pages for visa and entry/exit stamp. You can also apply for the East African Tourism Visa (Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda) online by credit card.
And application must be made to the country where you are first due to visit. You will pay the visa fee of US dollars 50 for a single Uganda Entry visa/Tourist Visa (or US dollars 100 for an East Africa Visa). Please you have a vaccination certificate for yellow fever. Keep electronic and physical copies of your documents and vital information, as well as a few passport photos, in your luggage.
Leave a few with friends at home (passport, insurance docs, bank and credit card details, 24-hour emergency contact number, and contact details of relatives or friends).
Further Reading: Visa Requirements For Uganda: Uganda Visas, Costs 2023
Uganda Safari Cost, What Is The Price Of Safari In Uganda?
Budget safari in Uganda cost from $150 per person per day, mid-range from $300 per person per day, and top-end luxury safaris start at around $600 per person per day. Uganda is one of the affordable Africa safari destinations. However, if you want to see the Mountain Gorillas, then you need to budget $700 for the permit alone. Visiting Uganda during the low seasons/rainy season (October to November and March to April) helps reduce your safari costs. Read more about Uganda safari prices or contact us for a tailored quote.
What type of accommodation do you expect on a Uganda safari?
Most accommodation options in Uganda have en-suite and private bathrooms/toilets, hot water, clean bedding, good food and well-stocked bars. Expect the following broad comfort levels:
- Budget: This is basic accommodation, usually in very remote areas. Large tents or reed/pole huts are the norm, as are pit toilets and safari/bucket showers. Water is often heated over a fire. Furnishing is basic but caters for your needs.
- Midrange: Comfortable furnishings, running hot and cold water, flush toilets.
- Luxury: Comparable to 4- and 5-star lodge/hotel standards.
- High end: A clear rung above luxury. Furnishings and attention to detail tend to be noticeably superior. Staff members often outnumber the guests.
How many days are needed for a Uganda safari?
Uganda safaris length varies depending on your interests, budget, specific parks, and desired activities. Typical duration ranges from one day to around 2 weeks. Gorilla trekking a major highlight – requires at least three days. Uganda has 10 parks, most of which offering different wildlife experiences and landscapes.
- Gorilla focused: 3-5 days
- Multiple parks: 7-10 days
- Extended with more activities: 10-14+ days.
How much does it cost to see gorillas in Uganda?
A Uganda gorilla trekking permit currently costs US$700. While this might seem expensive, it is a bargain when compared to the US$1,500 permit fee for gorilla trekking in Rwanda, which is currently the only other country where these gentle giants can be safely tracked.
Uganda has two gorilla parks: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Park. Both offer a comparable experience where you can spend one hour with a gorilla family after you have reached their location. The group size is limited to eight people.
A new activity, offered in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park only, is the Gorilla Habituation Experience. One semi-habituated family can be tracked by a limited group of 4 visitors every day, which can stay for 4 hours. The price for this special experience is US$1,500.
What Is The Best Time Of Year For Uganda Safari?
Wildlife in Uganda is best viewed during the dry season months. This is when there is less vegetation to hinder your view, when animals are more likely to congregate near water sources. And when the trails are less muddy and slippery for gorilla and chimp trekking. The prime months for game-viewing and primate trekking tend to be from June to early September.
On the other hand, most animals have their babies during the wet seasons, when there is more to eat and drink. Babies are a delight to watch, and predators can hunt very successfully at this time because the young animals are easy prey. Further Reading: Best Time To Visit Uganda
More Uganda Safaris Tips And Advice
1. Food In Uganda
Quality (and quantity!) of food in Uganda will impress you. Every establishment will have its own style, ranging from sophisticated international dishes to indigenous Ugandan fare.
Expect attention to detail, even with fireside snacks and hors d’oeuvres. Even the most rustic safari camps that cook over coals often put extra effort into producing the most appetizing meals. Please let us know your dietary requirements so we can inform the catering services on your Uganda safari trip about your needs, whether for health or religious reasons.
2. Laundry Services
The majority of hotels and lodges in Uganda offer a daily laundry service, some for a small fee other for free. However, you will be required to wash your own underwear with soap provided by your lodge, or request soap from the lodge manager.
Most washing is done by hand, and cultural restrictions in Uganda mean that many safari lodge staff members will not wash other people’s underwear. Please don’t hand in your delicate or the very expensive clothing. The laundry process at some lodges can be rudimentary and could cause damage to your clothes. You can plan on a 24-hour turn-around for your washing (though rain delays can occur).
Often, tipping is a sensitive issue – for the recipient and you. You can tip about US$15–20 per day to our guide/tracker to share between them and about the same for general staff (porters, cooks, cleaners, fire makers, waiters, guards etc) to share. Some safari lodges in Uganda have an anonymous tipping box for all staff.
People travelling in a group often end up pooling tips and presenting this at the end of the Uganda safari. Some prefer to tip directly. An important point to note is that this is entirely at your discretion.
One golden rule: Never tell your safari guide or tracker that you are going to give them a tip depending on them finding certain animals or birds. This is unfair and may pressure them to break the rules to please you. This could cause damage to our environment and wildlife.
4. Children And Age Limits
Please let us know the age of your children so that we can advise on the best child-friendly safari activities in Uganda and lodges. Some Uganda safari lodges have age restrictions. But well-behaved children over 8 are usually permitted, although some lodges only allow children older than 12.
Please be considerate of your fellow guests, as noisy children can disrupt their safari holiday. There is no upper age limit on Uganda safaris tours. Please let us know your age and fitness level for Uganda safaris involving any form of physical exercise (such as bush walking, mountain climbing, gorilla trekking or chimpanzee trekking). We will then suggest the best options that suit you. The minimum age for gorilla trekking in Uganda is 15 years, and for chimpanzee trekking safaris 12 years.
Malaria is a potentially serious disease which is transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquito. There is a high risk throughout the country except for high-altitude Mountains over 2,000m/6,500ft, including Mt Elgon and the Rwenzoris. All Uganda safari parks are high-risk zones. The highest risk of transmission is during the rainy season months of March to May and October to December.
Please consult your personal doctor for advice on malaria precautions before you safari to Uganda. Your doctor may recommend malaria prophylaxis and other malaria precautionary measures. When travelling in Uganda, take all precautions possible. Wear trousers long sleeves, socks and apply a good mosquito repellent to any exposed skin; particularly before it gets dark (the anopheles mosquito is active at dawn and dusk). Always sleep under a mosquito net.
Should you experience any combination of fever, headache, nausea, flu-like aches or disorientation while or after a safari in Uganda, get yourself tested immediately – malaria responds best to treatment when detected early.
6. Other Diseases
Consult your doctor before travelling to Uganda for advice on necessary vaccinations and precautions for diseases such as yellow fever, typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A and B, cholera and rabies. Please always carry your “International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP)” (or “Yellow Card”) with you as it is mandatory in Uganda. Further Reading: What Vaccinations Do You Need To Travel To Uganda?
The Equatorial African sun in Uganda is powerful and can be harmful. Overexposure can cause sunburns and skin cancer. You are advised to always use sunblock and a wide-brimmed safari hat – especially if you are on foot, in a boat, or in an open safari vehicle.
It is very important that you drink plenty of water to limit the effects of dehydration on your Uganda safaris tours, especially during the warmer months. Tulambule Uganda safaris and most Uganda safari lodges provide bottled water. Tap water in Uganda is not safe to drink and don’t even use it to brush your teeth. Note that coffee, tea and alcoholic beverages act as diuretics and can contribute to dehydration.
As far as cash is concerned, US Dollars and local currency (Uganda shillings) are accepted in Uganda. Banks and foreign exchange bureaus are available at Entebbe International Airport (the main entry point to Uganda), Kampala city and other main towns. However ATMs do not dispense US dollars notes, you will get only local currency.
Avoid buying Uganda shilling from street dealers. Officials and vendors may not always be able to issue large amounts of change, so please carry small denominations of cash where possible. VISA and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards, with American Express and Diners only accepted at very few lodges (due to their high fees). Some lodges accept tipping by credit card, but most prefer cash placed in an envelope or in the communal tip box.
Having some Uganda shillings and USD on hand is recommended, however, you will not require large sums of cash while on safari in Uganda as most lodges are all-inclusive unless of course, you wish to do curio shopping (markets will require cash). We advise against using traveller’s cheques as they are accepted only by a small minority of restaurants and lodges.
10. Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is vital for travel anywhere in the world, and you should purchase it within 14 days of paying the deposit for your Uganda safari trip. Ensure your travel insurance package covers cancellation or curtailment of the safari, emergency evacuation expenses, medical expenses such as hospitalization, repatriation expenses, and damage/theft/loss of personal bagg