Best Safari in Uganda: Because of the variety of unique attractions, visiting Uganda should be on any African traveler’s bucket list. With a variety of enthralling safaris, visiting Uganda is more like traveling to Africa once and knowing Africa at large. Both first-time and experienced travelers can enjoy their stay in Uganda because it has so much more to offer, including adventure tours, cultural tours, primates tours, wildlife tours, water experiences, hiking tours, and birding tours. All of this and more will blow your mind by the time you leave because Uganda will forever be a part of your life.
Mountain gorillas are the most popular tourist attraction in Uganda, accounting for a much larger portion of the country’s export earnings than any other attraction. Uganda is home to half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas and mountain gorilla encounters are only possible in two Ugandan national parks: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. These are the only remaining species of guerrilla in the world, and they can only be found in the Virunga Mountains in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. One can express a desire to see gorillas in Congo or Rwanda.
However, neither of those destinations compares to the value of gorilla trekking in Uganda. It has been reported that Uganda has half or more of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas; trekking gorillas in Uganda is more adventurous; there are 99% chances of visitors spending time with the gorillas; gorilla trekking permits are relatively cheaper; and visitors have the opportunity to do gorilla habituation experience.
These creatures can only be found in two national parks: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The parks are located in Uganda’s southwestern park, near the Uganda-Rwanda border. Seeing these gentle giants in their natural habitat as they go about their daily lives offers one of the best safari in Uganda experiences
Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda is the second most popular tourist attraction in Uganda, with over 5,000 chimps, and is thus one of the Best Safari Activities in Uganda. Chimpanzee trekking is best and most commonly done in Kibale Forest National Park, a moist, evergreen forest with a diverse landscape. Kibale forest is one of Africa’s last remaining lowland and montane rainforests, home to 13 primates, including the largest population of chimpanzees, as well as 70 mammals and 375 bird species. Chimpanzee trekking is a popular activity that allows visitors to interact with humans’ closest animal relatives.
Kibale National Park alone is estimated to have around 1,500 chimps, with the remainder found in Budongo Forest, Kalizu Forest, Kyambura Gorge, Ngamba Island, Bugoma Forest Reserve, and Semiliki National Park. An encounter with chimps allows one to consider how they behave, their lifestyle, their vocals, and how they relate to human ways of life. Many more people should have the opportunity to learn about their ways of life from experienced guides. These treks make it one of the Best Safari in Uganda experiences.
Rich in avian diversity, Uganda is one of the best birding destinations in Africa, with over 1,073 different bird species recorded, which accounts for 50% of Africa’s bird species and 11% of the world’s species. This extensive bird list is contained within a small territory, resulting in one of Africa’s highest concentrations of birds. The incredible diversity of habitats, unparalleled in Africa, is the reason Uganda is home to such a diverse range of birds and attracts so many migrant birds throughout the year. Uganda is unique in that it shares Africa’s major ecological zones, each of which has associated bird species, many of which are range-restricted.
Uganda has up to 34 IBAs (Important Birding Areas), many of which have been developed for birdwatching and birding tours. In addition, the Ugandan birding community is identifying new bird-rich areas across the country and establishing birding trails. Even though Uganda has approximately 34 birding destinations, some of the best birding spots in Uganda include the Mabamba swamp, Semuliki national park, Entebbe botanical gardens, Mabira forest, Lake Bunyonyi, and all other forests, national parks including Queen Elizabeth National Park, and reserves, including the Bugoma and Katongo reserves.
Some of the birds to look out for on a Uganda birding safari include the Capuchin, white-tailed/Piping hornbill, blue-headed, crested flycatcher, Orange Weaver, and Red-billed Malimbe, as well as the Papyrus Gonolek, Caruther’s Cisticola, Black-wattled hornbill, Congo Serpent Eagle, Lyre-tailed Honeyguide, Nkulengu Rail, and Long-tailed Hawk. Most visitors, however, come to Uganda to see the Shoe Bill stock bird, which is the most sought-after bird in Africa. Seeing the shoebill bird hunt for mudfish and other fish in the swamps is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Mabamba, Murchison Falls National Park, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, and Lake Mburo National Park are the most common places to see the shoebill.
The golden monkeys are one of the most unique primates to see on a Uganda safari, making Golden Monkey Trekking one of the Best Safari Activities in Uganda. The golden monkeys can only be found in Mgahinga National Park, the smallest national park in the Virunga Mountains, covering an area of about 33.9 square kilometers. The golden monkeys’ unique appearance due to their outstanding golden-orange/brown color makes them such a sight, and their playful nature and fast speeds make the experience both enjoyable and difficult to capture in a photograph – but all the more worthwhile. Golden monkeys, like gorillas, are critically endangered and can only be found in the same mountains of Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo.
Mountain climbing in Uganda is one of the Best Safari Activities in Uganda, offering adventurous beautiful scenery, and hiking through established mountain trails. Hiking in Uganda occurs in protected areas, but there are opportunities to hike to other hills and mountains. Hiking for several days is possible on Mount Rwenzori and Mount Elgon. These mountains have been designated as part of Mount Rwenzori and Mount Elgon national parks’ ten national parks. Mount Rwenzori is Uganda’s highest peak and Africa’s second snow-capped peak, after Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
The intensity of the endeavor is what makes climbing Mount Rwenzori more dangerous. While both Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro are higher than Mount Rwenzori, Rwenzori is the most difficult of the two to climb. This is because Mount Rwenzori is a mountain range that requires you to ascend to the top of the range then descend several times a day and the next day until you reach the top of Margarita peak (Mount Stanley). Hiking Mount Rwenzori takes at least 8 days to reach the peak at 5,901 meters above sea level, and the length of the hike is dependent on your physical ability and strength. However, this is not for everyone, and caution should be exercised before attempting to climb Mount Rwenzori.
Rhinos were nowhere to be found in Uganda due to the extinction of rhinos in national parks, particularly Murchison Falls National Park, caused by poaching and political instabilities many years ago. However, today, a non-governmental organization is known as the Rhino Fund took on the responsibility of reintroducing rhinos in Uganda. So, thanks to the existence of the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary located close to Murchison Falls National Park in the Nakasongola district, visitors can still explore the Big Five game today. Rhinos can be trekked on foot at the Sanctuary, and the guides will share all of the information about how they plan to reintroduce them into Uganda’s national parks, as well as any other information you need to know about Rhinos.
Because Uganda is one of the best African countries for cultural and traditional experiences, cultural tours are a major activity in the Best Safari Activities in Uganda. Uganda is divided into four regions: the Northern, Eastern, Western, and Central regions, which harbor the country’s 56 tribes, making it a destination with diverse cultural heritage and beliefs. These can be seen in how Ugandans organize their ceremonies and rituals, how they carry out traditional practices, and how they sing and dance with unique traditional equipment.
The River Nile’s mighty current, electric breeze, and adrenaline-pumping waves make white water rafting a must-do activity on your Uganda safari. This thrilling experience lasts approximately 6 hours along a 25-kilometer stretch of the Nile River. Water rafting is not for the faint of heart; it is for those with wild hearts who want to explore the Nile one rapid immersion at a time. There are several options, including Grade 5 Extreme Rafting, Raft River Board, Grade 3 Full Day Rafting, and 2-day water rafting. After this thrilling activity has quenched your thirst for adventure, local music, bonfires, barbeque, and dancing await you on the Nile’s banks.
Kampala is Uganda’s capital, and it currently sits on 22 hills. Exploring Uganda without visiting her capital Kampala, whether by bicycle, vehicle, or on foot, would be an injustice to your Uganda safari. The Uganda Martyrs Shrine in Namugongo, Rubaga Cathedral, Namirembe Cathedral, the Bahai Temple, the Hindu temple, and the independence monument, Kasubi tombs, all contribute to Kampala’s greatness. While the sights are impressive, don’t forget to eat a Rolex while on your Kampala tour; it’ll seal the deal.
Other Fascinating Safaris that travelers to Uganda can enjoy include;
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White Water Rafting