Uganda Safari Activities | Top 5 Uganda Wildlife Safari Activities
There are multiple Uganda Safari activities and experiences worth undertaking while on a safari holiday in Uganda. Sir Winston Churchill described Uganda as the Pearl of Africa for a good reason- an exceptional destination with distinct natural features and favorable climatic conditions. It is strategically lying on the Equator crossing and undertaking a Uganda safari lets you discover what makes Uganda a true Pearl of Africa.
When it comes to Uganda wildlife safaris, there is something for everyone- first or repeat travelers.
Uganda is undoubtedly every holidaymaker’s dream destination, presenting a range of opportunities ranging from primate safaris, birding, game viewing/wildlife safari, cultural encounters, hiking tours or mountaineering, zip lining, cave exploration, forest/nature walks, cycling, city tours to adrenaline adventures such as white-water rafting, boat cruise, bungee jumping and others.
Top Uganda Safari Activities
Gorilla trekking tops on the list of the numerous Uganda wildlife safari activities. Gorilla trekking in Uganda presents nature lovers a great opportunity to see majestic mountain gorillas.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are the two (2) only wildlife safari parks in Uganda where gorilla trekking can be conducted. The majestic mountain gorillas live in only 3 African countries- Uganda, Rwanda and D.R. Congo- with Uganda hosting over 21 habituated gorilla families.
Gorilla Trekking Guidelines
The following are a must to observe gorilla trekking rules while on gorilla safari in Bwindi or Mgahinga National Park;
- Keeping a distance of 8-10m from gorillas is a must do and never be tempted to touch them even when they rub themselves on you.
- The park authorities allow you to spend only one hour with gorillas.
- Trekking gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo is for persons above 15 years- this is a standard measure for all gorilla safari destinations.
- Don’t liter the forest which is the habitat of gorillas.
- Avoid direct eye contact with gorillas or when they are irritated, stay calm and follow the guide’s instructions.
- Valid gorilla permits are mandatory for everyone to be allowed to track gorillas.
- Any visitor with signs of illness/sickness/infectious diseases won’t be allowed to go gorilla trekking.
- Keeping low your voice is mandatory while in the wild tracking gorillas.
- Using flashlight camera during photography is never accepted and should be avoided or turn off the flashlight before taking pictures.
When it comes to primate adventures, Uganda is with no doubt the most preferred destination. It is one of the leading chimpanzee tracking destinations Africa boasts of, inhabiting up to 5050 chimpanzees.
These amazing apes live in various parts of Uganda but the most popular spots to visit to enjoy chimpanzee tracking experience include Kibale National Park. Kibale is a haven to all 13 primate species including 1500 chimpanzees and many habituated chimpanzee communities open for chimpanzee trekking with permits issued at USD200.
Other popular chimpanzee tracking spots in Uganda include Budongo Forest, Kyambura Gorge, Semliki National Park, Kalinzu Forest and Bugoma Forest Reserve.
In all the places set for chimpanzee trekking, tourists have higher chance of exploring how chimpanzees behave, take photos and a lot more. A section of orphaned chimpanzees also lives in the lush Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC).
Uganda is a birder’s haven- inhabiting a long bird list of over 1080 bird species. The different birds in Uganda range in various sites or territories making it the one of Africa’s most visited birding destinations.
A total of about 34 Important Bird Areas are in Uganda including Uganda wildlife safari parks such as Murchison Falls National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Semuliki National Park, Kibale National Park, Pian-Upe Wildlife Reserve, Mount Elgon National Park and more.
The other leading Uganda bird watching spots include Lake Bunyonyi, Mabamba, Mabira Forest, Budongo Forest, Entebbe Botanical Gardens.
The birds of Uganda to expect spotting on birding tour include red billed malimbe, long tailed hawk, Nkulengu rail, Great blue turaco, Shoebill stork, Congo serpent eagle, Orange weaver, Crested flycatcher, Papyrus gonoleks to mention but a few.
Game drives/Wildlife Safari
The 10 National Parks in Uganda, each has something unique to offer. 4 of them are savanna parks and they are the best for wildlife viewing or game drive including Kidepo Valley National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park and Lake Mburo National Park.
Uganda alone hosts over 330 mammal species including the big game- lions, elephants, leopards, buffaloes, rhinos. However, 3 National Parks protect four/4 of the big five game for instance Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Golden Monkey Trekking
Golden monkey tracking is one of the many unique primate experiences you should expect to enjoy while on safari in Uganda. This is offered in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Uganda’s smallest park- occupying up to 33.7sq.kms of land area within the Virunga Region.
Golden monkeys are distinct and they dwell within the Virunga Area including Mgahinga National Park in Uganda; Volcanoes National Park in the D.R. Congo and Volcanoes National Park Rwanda.
Other Interesting Uganda Safari Activities to Participate include;
Mountaineering is one of the most interesting Uganda safari activities any adventure seeker shouldn’t miss to undertake. There are multiple hiking or mountaineering opportunities in Uganda including Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mount Elgon, Rwenzori Mountains.
Mount Elgon is one of the exceptional hiking spots in Uganda and it is notably a home to one of the world’s calderas and Wagagai peak, the highest peak.
Sipi Falls- hiking the Sipi Falls should be a must do while on Uganda safari. The Sipi Falls are a composition of 3 or triple falls and they are located 270kms in Kapchorwa. The waterfalls attract several nature lovers who come to enjoy hiking adventure.
Virunga Volcanoes- Uganda is a host to 3 of the 8 Virunga Volcanoes set within Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. They include Mt. Muhabura 4127m, Mount Sabinyo 3660m, Mt. Gahinga 3474m and these are found within the Mgahinga, Southwestern Uganda.
Uganda is with no doubt an exceptional cultural safari destination in East Africa, offering thrilling and unforgettable cultural encounters to enthusiastic cultural travelers.
There are 4 main regions in Uganda- Central, Western, Eastern and Northern each with amazing traditions, cultures, norms and more. Over 56 tribes are in Uganda which makes it a distinct place with unique cultural heritage, traditions and beliefs.
Batwa cultural encounters- The Batwa pygmies are among the amazing people to interact while on Uganda wildlife safari holiday. The Batwa the original forest occupants lived in Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park prior establishment of the 2 parks in 1991.
The Batwa encounter can be enjoyed before or after gorilla trekking in Mgahinga National Park or Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Southwestern Uganda.
Karamojong cultural experience- visit Northeastern Uganda and enjoy authentic African cultural experiences in the Karamojong communities. The Karamojong cultural experience can be enjoyed while on tour in Kidepo Valley National Park, Bokora Corridor, Pian-Upe Wildlife Reserve and other parts of Karamoja region.
Cultural sites in Kampala- Located in Central Uganda is Kampala capital city, Buganda Kingdom. There are countless cultural sites to visit in Kampala including the Uganda Museum- East Africa’s oldest museum- established in 1905. The Uganda museum today sits along Kira Road and other museums worth visiting include Ssemaggulu Royal Museum.
Other cultural sites/centers in and around Kampala Ndere Center where different dances are displayed by different tribal groups. Kasubi tomb site where royal and Kings of Buganda are buried with some already laid to rest here.
White water rafting is one of the bucket-list Uganda safari activities. This is conducted at the Source of the falls taking you through amazing grades including Grade 5 for extreme rafting or embark on Grade 3 for a full day rafting.
Uganda safari activities can also be combined with exciting experiences such as canoeing/canoe riding, horseback riding, boat cruise, nature walks, camping, cycling and others.
Best time to go for Uganda Safari
Uganda wildlife safari activities are enjoyable all year-round. Though generally Uganda can be visited all year round, the dry season is the best time of the year to have the most of Uganda wildlife safari holiday.
The dry months across most Uganda wildlife safari destinations begin from June, July, August to September or December, January to February.
Most parks become strikingly beautiful with lush vegetation especially during the wet or rainy seasons/months of the year that is from March, April to May or October to November. The two wet or rainy seasons are characterized by heavy rains across various National Parks or destinations.
What to pack for Uganda wildlife Safari tour?
When packing for Uganda wildlife safari tour, consider having essential items. And depending on the wildlife safari activities or experiences you plan to engage in, the following are a must-have for gorilla trekking or chimpanzee tracking adventure- waterproof hiking boots, daypack, pants, sweater, medical/first aid kit, insect repellents, safari hat, long sleeved shirt, rain jacket or poncho, anti-malaria medicines, bottled water, sun glasses.