It is always perfect to begin a New Year with a safari vacation, something that will help begin the journey on a positive note. If you are wondering what place would be ideal for the same, the possibilities might actually be endless. Irrespective of that, Uganda in January does serve as an amazing African safari destination. January in Uganda coincides with a short dry season and it is considered one of the best times of year to visit the country.
The weather is perfect for trekking chimpanzees and mountain gorillas, as well as searching for rare and endemic birds in some of the best places to visit in Uganda.
The skies are usually clear, there is less rain and more sunshine. You can observe gorilla families and chimpanzee troops on the move through the lush forests, a spectacularly connective experience with Mother Nature and her wild creatures.
Weather in Uganda in January
When it comes to visiting Uganda in January, the very first thing that most people fret about is the weather. Uganda is in the middle of the Earth (straddles the equator line) which means that there is little year-round fluctuation in temperature.
January, is one hottest months of the year in Uganda, when the average daytime temperatures range is 24°C to 33°C with peaks of up to 40°C in the far northern region of the country. The mornings and evenings across the country are usually cool.
As the climate in Uganda is tropical, there is a possibility of some rainfall in January. But these are unlikely to affect your game activities, chimps and gorilla treks will still be undertaken. Pack rain gear, good hiking shoes, and plenty of sunscreen.
Crowds and Costs in Uganda in January
While January falls outside the primary tourist season of June to Early September, it is still one of the busiest times to visit Uganda.
Due to less rainfall compared to the months before and after, it has become a popular time to visit Uganda safari parks and other destinations. Safari prices will be near their peak; however, you will find accommodation options more plentiful and flights less expensive.
Please note that all gorilla-trekking destinations issue a limited number of gorilla trekking permits per day and there is limited accommodation available in the Uganda gorilla safari parks. Book as soon as you decide to go trekking to avoid disappointment.
Places to Visit in Uganda in January
One of the best places to visit in Uganda in January is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park as there is less mud and the trails are less slippery.
Bwindi has an equatorial location and averages temperatures in the mid-twenties (Celsius – mid-seventies in Fahrenheit), which means tropical conditions year-round.
But January’s drier days make trekking through the forest especially when the way ahead is lit up by great shafts of sunlight pouring in from an arboreal vaulted ceiling as butterflies dance in shimmering clouds. Back at camp, the sunnier weather means you can enjoy walks to local villages – and the scenery is simply stunning.
If you have like 7 days, you opt for our 7-Day Uganda Wildlife Safari | Chimps, Gorillas, Big 5 & More, where you’ll tick off the highlights of Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Murchison Falls, Kibale, Queen Elizabeth, and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks.
You will likely arrive at Entebbe International Airport, and while this small city on the shores of Lake Victoria will see more rain than other regions of Uganda in January, it’s still well worth taking a day to roam its beautiful Botanical Gardens.
Continuing south, you will soon reach Kibale Forest National Park, home to 13 species of primates. Track wild chimpanzees on foot and watch them play among the trees, then stop by the Bigodi Village to learn about African rural life in Uganda.
When you’ve had enough of the heat, head farther southwest through Queen Elizabeth National Park on the Great Rift Valley floor to Bwindi. With altitudes reaching 2,607 meters, the cool, dry mornings will be a welcome change. See wild mountain gorillas, or test your fitness with a gorilla trek in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. You can also continue to the beautiful Lake Bunyonyi for relaxation and canoeing or to Mgahinga Gorilla Park for a chance to see the rare golden monkeys and encounter the Batwa Pygmy tribe.
Things to Do in Uganda in January
As noted above, January in Uganda is is one of the time of the year to embark on what many consider one of the most profound wildlife experiences on the planet: a face-to-face encounter with endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.
Although mountain gorilla trekking is considered a year-round activity, you will certainly understand why they are called ‘rainforests’ when you visit around April or November. During the dry seasons (June to September and December to February) Uganda offers by far the easiest hiking conditions and the lowest risk of malaria.
There are only about 1063 mountain gorillas left on Earth and trekking into their natural habitats in places like Uganda and Rwanda is the only way to see these highly endangered apes, as they cannot survive in Zoos.
Uganda offers the most affordable and safest gorilla trekking on the continent and is one of the best places to visit in Africa in January for primate encounters. January is also a good time for game drives, boat safaris, and nature in Uganda’s savannah parks of Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls, Lake Mburo National Park, and Kidepo Valley National Park.
It is also well worth considering touring Uganda’s capital, Kampala, or the source of the Nile River in Jinja where you can enjoy several thrilling adventures like bungee jumping, white-water rafting, kayaking, quad biking, mountain biking, etc.
Other African Safari Destinations To Combine With Your Safari In Uganda In January
Uganda is easily combined with other top African destinations. Logistically, neighboring countries Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo are easily coupled with your Uganda safari adventure.
Meaning, that you can visit enjoy big game viewing and the Wildebeest Migration in Serengeti before trekking through the rainforests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Volcanoes National Park and Virunga National Parks. You can even end your trip with a beachside escape in Zanzibar for a bit of relaxation before heading home.
Tanzania - Serengeti National Park
January the start of the dramatic Serengeti calving season of the Great Wildebeest Migration. The first rains have beckoned the herds to the Ndutu area of Serengeti. Many females in the herd are heavily pregnant at this point, and some have started giving birth.
The predators are cashing in on the abundance of easy pickings. The big cats take the lion’s share, but hit-and-run jackals and hyena clans add to the drama.
It’s a bittersweet ballad, but if you’ve ever wanted to witness the circle of life played out as a live-action drama, the Serengeti is where to go on safari in January.
Tanzania – Zanzibar Indian Ocean Islands
If the view from your window in the northern hemisphere is of a cold and soggy January day, consider the fact that on East Africa’s balmy Indian Ocean coast, the water and air temperatures are nearly the same: a comfortable 25°C.
Zanzibar is the crown jewel in Tanzania’s coastal treasure chest and one of the finest African beach destinations in January. It’s the ideal grand finale for your Tanzania safari!
Explore the twisting alleys and colorful markets of historical Stone Town, bask on the exquisite beaches scattered around Zanzibar and its neighboring islets, and enjoy some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving conditions in the world.
Combining a beach holiday in Zanzibar with a Tanzania safari is effortless and highly recommended for one of the best African trips in January.
Kenya - Maasai Mara
Masai Mara is the flagship Kenya safari destination and delivers superb game viewing year-round. Due to its diverse landscapes, temperate climate, varied population of resident game, and wide-open savannah plains, there is always something to see. So why go on a safari in the Masai Mara in January? Well, you’re likely to have a wildlife area about double the size of New York all to yourself! The Wildebeest Migration and its entourage of spectators have moved on to the Serengeti, meaning there are much fewer safari vehicles around.
Rwanda - Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is a well-protected and monitored reserve chock-full of monkeys and forest birds. It also delivers Africa’s most accessible gorilla trekking safaris. Rwanda’s long dry season kicks off in June and lasts until about mid-September.
October to November sees a shorter rainy season, which is followed by a brief dry season from December to February. Although it can get a little more humid than the June to September period, Rwanda also offers some of the best African gorilla trekking trips in January because it sees fewer visitors than the long dry season.
Ready To Visit Uganda In January?
A trip to Uganda in January promises an adventure-packed holiday experience. From gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking, and bird watching to wildlife game viewing, the country offers a wide range of activities that you can enjoy. But remember that January is part of the busy tourist season in Uganda, so popular activities are advised to be booked in advance to avoid disappointment. Let us design your dream itinerary. Just complete our Uganda customized trips form with your preferences, and we will do the rest.