safaris in Uganda are one of the top and best East African safaris! We organise Uganda tours to the top tourist destinations for the best unforgettable African safari experiences.
Uganda, also known as the ‘Pearl of Africa’ was called so by Winston Churchill in his book, “My African Journey” in 1908 for its natural beauty. Thus, it is one of the must-visit destinations in the world!
Tourists on Uganda trips are headed for amazing scenery, a favorable climate, and various other beautiful attractions. Major destinations include Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Murchison Falls National Park.
Uganda internationally boasts the best place for spotting the endangered Mountain Gorillas in Africa, with about 50% of the estimated 1,063 global population.
The Uganda Gorilla trekking tours mainly take place in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site designated in 1994. However, tourists can also do gorilla tracking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Kibale Forest National Park also has the best Uganda chimpanzee tours in Africa. Out of the over 5,000 Chimpanzees in Uganda, most of them live in Kibale National Park.
Uganda is not only a rich primate destination in Africa but also for other safari tours. Commonly, there are also the Uganda wildlife safari trips that are widely done in the four savannah national parks including Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, and Kidepo Valley National Park.
Additionally, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is also an amazing destination to track the only Rhinos in the wild, remaining in Uganda. The wildlife adventure thus gives visitors a lot of game-viewing experiences including the big five and other animal species.
Uganda is also home to over 1,090 bird species with about 50% of African birds and 11% of the birds in the world. Best bird watching Uganda tours occur in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Kibale National Park Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, and Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
Famous birds to spot on birding tours include Shoebill, Grauer’s Broadbill, African Fish Eagles, and Green-Breasted Pitta. Other amazing Uganda tours include Bungee jumping, Kayaking, White Water Rafting on the River Nile, and hiking the famous Mount Rwenzori. Uganda trips are currently safe and are favorable at any time of the year.
The safari spots boast eco-friendly accommodations for your comfortable holidays. Read below to find out more about safari in Uganda.
Types of Safaris in Uganda | Categories of African Safari in Uganda Vacations
Below, we discuss the various amazing types of Uganda safari adventures.
Uganda Gorilla Trekking Tours | Uganda Gorilla Safari Trips
Gorilla trekking safaris are the most famous Uganda safari type occurring in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. This endangered group of primates only occurs in the Virunga National Parks in Uganda Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda holds its highest number with Bwindi National Park alone protecting almost 45% of their estimated total which is 1,063.
Long-sleeved clothes and strong sturdy shoes are the best for your Gorilla trekking adventures. Note that the best season for your Gorilla trekking Uganda safari tour adventures is in the dry months of June-August and December-February when the trekking trails are drier, thus easier to navigate through. A Gorilla safari can either be arranged in a group safari or even a private tour to Uganda.
How Much Is A Gorilla Safari In Uganda?
The cost of Uganda Gorilla trekking tours either in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park will depend on various factors which include among others the,
- The number of days on the Gorilla trip
- Choice of accommodation on the Uganda gorilla safari
- The season of your visit for the Uganda gorilla safari holiday
- Whether it is a group tour or a solo private tour
- Whether you are using a tour operator or not
However, depending on any or all of the above factors, you may spend between $1,500 on a budget safari to $5,000 on a luxury tour.
Is Gorilla Trekking Worth The Money?
Yes, Gorilla trekking in Uganda is worth the money because of various reasons including the following.
- Uganda protects its highest population of about 50% and over 20 Gorilla families in both the two trekking destinations, that is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla NP.
- Gorilla trekking contributes to the conservation of the natural habitat for these Mountain Gorillas since they cannot survive in the zoo.
- By participating in the activity, you also help to support the local communities who are paid to provide you with the Gorilla trekking services for example the rangers, guides, drivers, porters, cooks, and many others.
Additionally, other vulnerable local communities like the Batwa Pygmies are also supported by the funds raised from the trekking experiences.
Wildlife Viewing Safaris in Uganda | Uganda Wildlife Safari Tours
All the 10 national parks in Uganda, managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority are beautiful wildlife safari endpoints in Uganda. However, major wildlife safaris in Uganda occur in the four savannah parks and Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. You may majorly explore these wild animals through game drives, boat cruises, or nature walks.
Major and most sought-after of all the wildlife species to encounter during your Uganda wildlife safaris & tours include Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Rhinos, Buffaloes, Giraffes, Hippos, Cheetahs, Hyenas, Hippos, Zebras, Primates. Various Antelope species for example the Uganda Kobs.
The top safari destinations for wildlife encounters include:-
- Queen Elizabeth National Park: Queen Elizabeth National Park boasts more than 96 mammal species with unique species such as the tree climbing Lions in Uganda and various wildlife. There are also over 600 bird species in the park.
- Murchison Falls National Park: Murchison Falls National Park is among the best places for spotting mammals is about 144 mammal species. There are also about 556 bird species in the park.
- Kidepo Valley National Park: Kidepo National Park in Northern Uganda is dubbed a true African wilderness, boasting about 77 mammal species and the only place where you will see the Cheetahs!
- Lake Mburo National Park Uganda: Lake Mburo National Park, the smallest savannah park in Uganda boasts about 68 mammal species with the highest Leopard concentration per square Kilometre in the whole of East Africa. It’s also the only Uganda national park to see the Impala Antelopes.
- Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary: Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is the only Uganda destination to track and see Rhinos in the wild! You can visit the destination either on a group tour or a private tour.
Gorilla Habituation Experience Safaris in Uganda Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Habituation is the experience of spending long hours with primate groups so that they become used to the presence of humans. The Gorilla tracking experience is quite similar to the trekking adventure, only that with the habituation experience, you spend 4 hours. It is also an adventure in which you move with other trackers, researchers, scientists, and rangers in the misty jungle.
This lifetime experience offers you a great chance to learn about the amazing behaviors of the primates as you track Mountain Gorillas in their natural setting. The Gorilla tracking experience only occurs in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park currently on the Bikingi Gorilla family in the Rushaga sector. The activity is best for travelers researching Mountain Gorillas and it is best done in the dry season.
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience Tours in Uganda Kibale National Park
The Chimpanzee trekking experience is also an amazing adventure that involves spending a half or full day with a Chimpanzee group in the company of researchers, doctors, rangers who ensure safety, and other trackers.
The experience is thus a chance to learn about the various behaviors of these primates.
However, you can also have this amazing adventure in Budongo Forest a beautiful tropical forest adjacent to Murchison Falls National Park, which protects about 600-700 Chimpanzee species.
Uganda Adventure Safaris | Uganda Adventure Tours
Adventurous travelers to Uganda can undertake several adventure activities like
- Mountain hiking: The most famous Mountain hiking destination is Rwenzori Mountains National Park, but others include the Virunga ranges in Mgahinga Gorilla National and Mount Elgon in Mount Elgon National Park found in Eastern Uganda.
- Ziplining tours in Uganda: This is best done in Mabira Forest and Lake Bunyonyi.
- White water rafting: on the River Nile in Jinja on Itanda Falls.
- Bungee jumping: in River Nile.
- Horseback riding tours: in Lake Mburo National Park and Jinja along the Nile River.
- Mountain biking (cycling tours) in Uganda: Mostly done in the Mpanga tea estate in Fort Portal.
Other amazing adventure activities to do in Uganda include,
- Quad biking in Jinja, Eastern Uganda.
- Kayaking on River Nile.
- Horseback safaris in Lake Mburo National Park.
- Jet boating along the Nile River, the longest river in the world which is 6,650km long.
- Tubing on the Nile.
- Hot air balloon safari experience in Murchison Falls National Park.
Kampala City Tour | Kampala Day Tour
Kampala is a thrilling city, full of different activities, people, cultures, and ways. A day trip will lead you to explore destinations such as,
- The markets, like Owino Market.
- Taxi park tour.
- Kasubi Royal tomb, which was a former burial ground for Buganda Kings.
- Kabaka’s Lake is the biggest man-made lake in Uganda.
- Gadaffi Mosque with amazing panoramic view.
- Namugongo Martyrs Shrine, a religious site in Uganda.
Kampala City tour usually occurs on the first or the last day of Uganda safari tours and it is best done in the dry season when the roads are dry and thus easy to pass.
Agro Tours in Uganda | Agro Safaris in Uganda
Uganda is also an ideal destination for agro-tours. 80% of the country’s population depends on agriculture, thus, you will have a memorable guided agro tour in both small-scale and large-scale firms in some of the famous destinations. For example, you will get the opportunity to explore;
- Coffee farms around Queen Elizabeth National Park and those on the Mount Elgon foothills.
- Banana plantations in western Uganda, especially in the Mbarara district.
- Tea plantations for example Mpanga Tea Estates in Kabarole district, near Kibale National Park.
- Cattle farms, especially those near Lake Mburo National Park.
To experience these amazing tours, we can organize a private tour or group expeditions for you.
Top Tourist Attractions in Uganda – What to See in Uganda on a Safari
Uganda is among the top destinations in Africa with amazing tourist attractions. Major ones include the following.
Primates of Uganda
Uganda has various primates, with major ones including the endangered Mountain Gorillas, Chimpanzees, and Golden Monkeys. Other primates in the country include Olive Baboons, Black-And-White Colobus Monkeys, Vervet Monkeys, Red-Tailed Monkeys, and Bush Babies, among others.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Kibale forest national park are the best destinations for primate safaris in the country with Bwindi Impenetrable National Park being famous for Mountain Gorillas and Kibale forest national park being the best place to track Chimpanzees.
Game Animals in Uganda
There are various wild animals to see in Uganda covering the big five in top wildlife destinations such as,
- Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Murchison Falls National Park
- Kidepo Valley National Park
- Lake Mburo National Park
- Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
- Kibale Forest National Park
Below is a list of the most sought-after and common animals to see on your Uganda tour.
- Nile Crocodiles and,
- Numerous Antelopes like Elands, Uganda Kobs, Hartebeests, Bushbucks, etc.
Beautiful Birds in Uganda
Uganda is a rich birding destination, with over 1,090 bird species including forest birds, water birds, migratory bird species, and Albertine Rift endemics, among others.
Below are the most sought-after birds in Uganda
- Great-blue Turaco
- Yellow-throated Bee-eaters
- African Fish Eagles
- Green-breasted Pitta
- Grey-crowned Cranes
- Double-toothed Barbets
- Handsome Francolin
The best birding destinations in Uganda include:
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Kibale Forest National Park Queen Elizabeth National Park are all in western Uganda on the Rift Valley floor.
Murchison Falls National Park and Kidepo National Park in northern Uganda.
Other Amazing Attractions in Uganda Include:
- Scenic mountains including the amazing snow-capped peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains and Mountain Elgon in Mount Elgon National Park.
- Beautiful lakes like Lake Victoria which is the biggest lake in Africa and Lake Bunyonyi which is the second deepest lake in Africa.
- Beautiful islands, for example, the Ssese Islands in Lake Victoria and Lake Bunyonyi. Lake Bunyonyi holds about 29 dazzling islands.
- Lush tropical rain forests like Mabira Forest, Budongo Forest, and Kibale Forest National Park.
- Beautiful rivers like River Nile with its source on Lake Victoria.
- Beautiful cultures like the Batwa (Pygmies) around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park and the Karamojong and IK people of North Eastern Uganda.
- The beautiful waterfalls at Murchison Falls National Park.
Best Places to Visit in Uganda | Destinations in Uganda to Visit?
Below are the major destinations to visit on your Uganda tour.
National Parks in Uganda
How many safari parks are there in Uganda? There are 10 national parks most of which are located in Western Uganda covering the savannah parks, Mountane, and rainforest national parks in Uganda.
Some of the parks to visit in Uganda include,
- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: This is a famous Mountain Gorilla destination. Visitors to this park will always top up their safari to Lake Bunyonyi.
- Murchison Falls National Park: Murchison Park is known for holding the most powerful waterfalls that flow from the Nile River.
- Queen Elizabeth National Park: Queen Elizabeth National Park is a famous destination for Uganda wildlife-watching safari tours.
- Kibale Forest National Park: Kibale National Park is a famous destination for primate safaris, especially for Chimpanzee safaris.
- Lake Mburo National Park: This is a famous destination for morning walking tours.
- Mgahinga National Park: It is popular to track Mountain Gorillas and Golden Monkeys (Golden Monkey trekking).
Uganda Game Reserves
Uganda game reserves are also among the most ideal destinations to visit for wildlife encounters on your private tour. There are 12 national reserves in Uganda and the major ones include.
- Pian Upe Game Reserve in North-Eastern Uganda near Kidepo National Park.
- Kyambura Game Reserve near Queen Elizabeth National Park.
- Kabwoya Game Reserve is famous for horseback safaris in Uganda after Lake Mburo National Park.
- Matheniko Game Reserve near Kidepo National Park.
- Toro-Semuliki Game Reserve.
The Source of the Nile in Jinja
Jinja town at the source of the Nile is among the best destinations for a safari to Uganda. The amazing Nile River is an amazing place to explore on your tours for various adventures like White Water Rafting, Bungee Jumping, Tubing, and Kayaking on the Nile.
Sanctuaries in Uganda
Uganda, the Pearl of Africa has over 13 sanctuaries, and below are some of the prominent ones.
- Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary: This is the only destination in Uganda where you will spot Rhinos in the wild. It is an important en route for travelers visiting Murchison Falls National Park.
- Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Lake Victoria: This is an important place that protects some orphaned Chimpanzees and thus an important Chimpanzee watching destination.
- Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary around Kibale National Park: is an amazing destination for primate tours and birding safaris.
Uganda has about 506 forests with common ones including:
- Budongo Forest, near Murchison Park: One of the best places for Chimpanzee trekking and walking safaris.
- Mabira Forest: This is an amazing natural forest, famous for ziplining.
- Kalinzu Forest Reserve: This is near Queen Elizabeth National Park and a famous place to do Uganda Chimpanzee trekking safaris.
- Maramagambo Forest in Queen Elizabeth National Park: This is a common destination for nature walks and primate tours.
Mountains in Uganda
Mountains are also one of the best places to go while on your Uganda tour.
- Rwenzori Mountains: Mountain Rwenzori is mainly visited for Mountain hiking safaris, rising to 5,109m above sea level. Mount Rwenzori, also known as the Mountains of the Moon, has snowcapped peaks and it is an amazing destination for international hiking experiences.
- The Virunga Volcanoes: These lie along the Mgahinga National Park and they include Mount Bisoke, Mount Gahinga, and Mount Sabyinyo.
- Mount Elgon: This Mountain is found in Mount Elgon National Park, in the northeast of the country is another famous destination for Mountain hiking adventures.
Cultural Sites in Uganda
Cultural sites are one of the top destinations for Uganda tourists especially those on a private tour to visit and common cultural sites include,
Kasubi Royal Tombs in Kampala: This UNESCO World Heritage Site 2001 was a former burial ground for the Buganda kings. It is uniquely constructed traditionally and will teach you a lot about the Buganda Kingdom, hence one of the must-visit destinations of the country.
Amabere Ga Nyinamwiru Caves Area: Located in Fort Portal, the Amabere caves are one of the important cultural sites of the Tooro Kingdom. It is a common place for visitors to visit Kibale National Park, especially on an en-route drive stop at Fort Portal.
Sezibwa Falls: It was a former ritual ground for the Buganda Kings and a beautiful place that tourists to Mabira Forest or Jinja source of the Nile visit. Other amazing cultural sites in Uganda worth visiting include the Uganda Museum, Kabaka’s Lake, and Mengo Palace.