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What to do in Uganda? – tips for safari planning

If you are planning a safari to Uganda you are probably busy looking into what activities and places to include, basically “what to do in Uganda?“. The reason for starting to plan a safari to Uganda is for many the dream of meeting the mountain gorillas as this is an activity that is unique to this area, these gentle giants only live in the mountains shared by Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Besides the mountain gorilla trekking Uganda is pretty unfamiliar to most and when they start thinking of travelling to see the mountain gorillas they don’t know what else is here. As Uganda is a country blessed by nature there are many possibilities!

 

To start with Uganda has savannas rich in animals in several national parks. Game-drives give you the chance to see lions, leopard, elephant, zebras, buffaloes and more, note though that all can’t be seen in every park . Of the ten national parks found in Uganda four can offer you classic game-drives. These are Queen Elizabeth national park, Murchison Falls national park, Lake Mburo national park and Kidepo Valley national park. Each of these parks are known for different characteristics.

• Murchison Falls national park is the giraffe paradise of Uganda as well as have the impressive Murchison Falls where the Nile is pushed through a waterfall.

• Queen Elizabeth national park has tree-climbing lions in the southern Ishasha sector (a behavior that is unique to lions in two locations in the world) as well as the Kazinga channel where hippos can be seen in abundance.

• Lake Mburo national park is known for its zebras. Here you are sure to see these beautiful creatures while on a game-drive.

• Kidepo Valley national park is Uganda’s hidden secret. This less visited park in the far north offers untouched nature and great game-drive opportunities.

What to do in Uganda?

Besides the classic game-drives a great way to see the savanna animals is during a boat-cruise. You then get the chance to spot hippos, buffaloes, crocodiles, elephants and an abundance of birds in the waters and on the shores. Boat-cruises are possible on Kazinga channel in Queen Elizabeth national park, on the Nile in Murchison Falls national park and at the lake in Lake Mburo national park. Of these we usually recommend the two first locations. Another option is to go on foot for a safari walk to get a close to nature experience. This can be done in Lake Mburo national park, at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary (where rhinos are being reintroduced to Uganda) and in Kidepo Valley national park.

 

Being a country rich in primates Uganda offers more than the gorilla trekking. Here you can meet our close cousins the chimpanzees as well as trek to see Golden monkeys and in the forests you have the chance of spotting black & white colobus, red-tailed monkey and more. For chimps trekking there are several options of locations where groups of chimps have been habituated to people. The most well known location is Kibale Forest national park where it is possible to do a regular chimps trekking as well as spending a full day with the chimps by participating in habituation. Other locations for chimps trekking is Budongo Forest in Murchison Falls national park, Kyambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth national park and Kalinzu Forest close to Queen Elizabeth national park. At all of these locations you have good chances of a great sighting. For Golden monkey trekking you need to go to the south of Uganda and Mgahinga Gorilla national park where this activity is offered.

 

The primate Uganda is most well known for, the mountain gorilla, can be trekked in two different national parks in Uganda. The most common to visit is Bwindi Impenetrable national park where 12 of the 13 habituated mountain gorilla groups in Uganda can be found. Here there are four areas for gorilla trekking; Ruhija, Buhoma, Nkuringo and Rushaga. A gorilla trekking permit is bought for a specific area. The last group of habituated mountain gorillas is found in Mhahinga Gorilla national park. Read more about mountain gorilla trekking.

What to do in Uganda
Uganda safari experiences

For the adventurous thinking of what to do in Uganda there are options for a Uganda adventure safari like rafting on the mighty Nile in Jinja and mountain hiking in the Rwenzori mountains or on Mount Elgon as well as possibilities for mountain biking in a few locations. For these activities there are different levels of difficulty so you can pick something that fits you, whether it is a full 7 day hike to Margherita peak or a few hours nature walk in the beautiful nature along the base of the Rwenzori mountains.

 

As Uganda is a birders paradise it is for sure a top country for a birding safari. For the enthusiasts birding can be the main focus of the safari and for others they can appreciate spotting beautifully colored birds along the way. Several different habitats are found within Uganda such as savanna, forest, swamps, lakes and mountains. This makes it so that the number of birds adds up to 1025-1065 bird species in Uganda. One of the more unique looking birds is the great shoebill stork that can be seen in wetlands and would be appreciated by most with its prehistoric look.

 

Uganda is a country with a rich culture and friendly welcoming people so combined with nature you can include some community tourism and cultural experiences if you like. Community walks in villages are offered at several locations and a visit to a school can most of the time be arranged without problem (depending on school holidays). For culture you can see a dance performance by Ndere troops in Kampala, visit the Kasubi tombs (burial site for Buganda kings) or make a visit to the Batwa people around Bwindi Impenetrable national park to mention a few options.

 

Being a country rich in possibilities there is off course more such as a city tour of bustling Kampala, the botanical gardens and wildlife educational centre in Entebbe, Ngamba island chimpanzee sanctuary, Sipi Falls, Bigodi wetlands, the source of the Nile in Jinja and relaxation at beautiful Lake Bunyonyi in the south or at Ssese Islands in Lake Victoria.

 

And lastly not to forget in a summary of what to do in Uganda the journey between parks is for sure an experience in itself adding to your safari as you enjoy the views from the window. Seeing landscapes change between savanna, forest, green rolling hills, cultivated land and impressive mountains.

Come for a tailor-made Uganda safari with us.
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