Uganda is a unique Africa safari destination compared to its eastern counterparts. On your Uganda safari holiday, you should expect a more varied landscape from the savannah plains to the rugged western region filled with various game, primates, and unique bird species. General game viewing is excellent year-round, thanks to significant concentrations of wildlife, temperate climate, and wide-open landscapes. Expect game viewing in generally closed 4x4s with three rows of seating and a pop-top roof hatch. Accommodation is mainly in authentic traditional lodges and tented camps. And Uganda is best for a safari combination of primates viewing, guided bush walks, cultural tours, game drives, and boat safaris.
Most Uganda safari trips begin in Entebbe, where you find the only international airport, and head west to a wide belt that contains most of the safari destinations.
As you head west, the most outstanding feature is the beautifully terraced rugged landscape enveloped in emerald shades of green. Uganda sits in a basin between the eastern savannah plains and the western rainforest jungle ecosystem, forming magnificent terrain for an impressive variety of safari experiences.
Expect a Uganda safari to typically consist of a classic savannah plains game drive, a traditional boat safari, and gorilla trekking or chimpanzee tracking through the pristine rainforest jungles to find our cousin primates. Birding is outstanding, with more than 1050 bird species flocking the incredible variety of habitats. The most sought-after bird for a true birder is the grotesques prehistoric shoebill that hunts in the swampy areas of Entebbe and Murchison Falls National Park.
Although wildlife densities in Uganda’s big game safari parks don’t match eastern destinations, game viewing on Uganda safari trips is greatly rewarding. Tourist numbers in Uganda’s game parks are a mere fraction of those visiting the more developed destinations, making a safari in Uganda a more private experience. Lion, elephant, or leopard sightings are a moment to treasure, and you’ll seldom share such moments with swarms of vehicles.
Primate encounters in Uganda’s rainforest are still the best and most accessible in the world. With more than 1500 chimpanzees swinging in the forest canopies, expect the most exceptional chimpanzee trekking excursions out of the Kanyanchu trailhead in Kibale National Park. Chimp sanctuaries like Maramagambo, Budongo, Semiliki, and Kyambura provide a meager chimp trekking experience but are worth trying out.
The highlight of a Uganda safari journey is spending precious moments with the magnificent mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, 230 mi (480 km) from Entebbe. Bwindi and Mgahinga in the far southwestern border provide excellent gorilla trekking adventures with various safari lodges spread out in the four trailheads on the park’s boundaries. Travelers can also fly-in from Entebbe, or Masai Mara in Kenya, to a small airstrip and drive 3 hours to the gorilla park.