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Uganda

Go on an immersive experience, an adventure-packed trip with soulful encounters and a truly memorable life-changing journey.

A Uganda safari is very different from the norm!

A Uganda safari offers guests an immersive experience, an adventure-packed trip with soulful encounters and a truly memorable life-changing journey.

 

Uganda, well known as the “Pearl of Africa”, is a country filled with mystery that seems to take you back in time. Your adventure will evoke an impression of a modern explorer in the untouched jungles of Africa. In Uganda, you can watch the endangered mountain gorillas thump their chests, tree-climbing lions survey the savannah, and hippos frolic in the River Nile while tracking wild rhinos and chimpanzees on foot. The most surreal experience one can ever imagine is getting up close and personal with a playful baby gorilla, and witnessing a nostalgic moment as the baby gorilla interacts with its nurturing mother or close-knit family members led by a gentle giant silverback.

 

Given its small size and landlocked location, Uganda might be a relatively unknown destination for most tourists looking for beautiful places to experience in Africa. Despite not having an ocean nearby, 25% of Uganda is made up of lakes and rivers, and it certainly packs in several stunning places of interest that make tourists want to return again and again.

 

Our unique trips in this region will take you through a series of epic adventures. To mention just the highlights: you will hike through the lush forests in search of primates (gorillas, chimpanzees, and monkeys), explore the vast wilderness for wildlife (lions, giraffes, hippos, zebras, e.t.c) and discover extinct volcano lakes, rivers and waterfalls that take you to the origin of the mighty River Nile.

 

Home to about half of the remaining mountain gorillas in the world, the mountainous, forested Bwindi National Park ranks among the top tourist destinations in Uganda for gorilla trekking. A Bwindi safari, however, includes a variety of other mammals, including shy forest elephants and enormous forest hogs, as well as 11 other primate species. Even the most seasoned of nature lovers will be in awe of the brilliant colors of Bwindi’s 200 butterfly species. Bird watching is excellent; keep an eye out for any of the 23 endemics among the 350 recorded bird species. The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a stop on most of our Ugandan safari itineraries as it pairs well with the nation’s savannah reserves like Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National Park.

 

While river cruises have long drawn daring tourists to this region of Uganda, Murchison Falls National Park is also home to a variety of primate species. Although baboons and colobus monkeys are frequently encountered, the chimpanzee troops offer the greatest thrills. Take a chimpanzee tracking safari in the park’s Rabongo Forest or the nearby Bundongo Forest Reserve to see man’s closest living relatives up close and in their magnificent natural habitat. Murchison Falls is one of the few locations in Africa where viewing chimpanzees is both safe and accessible.

 

It’s simple to overlook the traditional savannah experiences that can be included in a Uganda safari when gorilla and chimpanzee trekking are the main attractions. Queen Elizabeth National Park, the most well-known and easily accessible savannah reserve in Uganda, is home to elephant, buffalo, leopard, numerous antelope species, and the renowned tree-climbing lions of the Ishasha Plains. It also easily connects with Bwindi Forest. Don’t forget your binoculars when you go on a boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel to see elephants, hippos and crocodiles. Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the best places in the world to go bird watching—with its astounding 600 species of birds.

 

The park’s capacity to provide a wide variety of safari activities represents its true value for wildlife enthusiasts and discerning travelers. Maximize your game viewing and bird watching in the park by stopping at Kyambura Gorge or Kibale Forest. Here you will explore the green sliver of forest in search of chimpanzees and other primates. Twice daily chimp tracking through the forest is possible, and it’s a wonderful contrast to the rest of the park’s savannah game viewing.

 

While the Ugandan tourist attractions do not stop there, many of our Uganda safari itineraries include Queen Elizabeth National Park due to its popularity and accessibility. It also pairs well with chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest National Park and gorilla trekking in nearby Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.

 

Planning a Uganda safari? Our experts make planning your Uganda safari experience a walk in the park. To help you with your trip planning, browse through our travel guide to find expert advice on all things safari in Uganda and gorilla trekking. Get inspired with our sample itineraries and let our Wito experts customize a dream trip just for you! 

Planning a Uganda safari?  Here are the best months to go.

 

In order to see gorillas, the best months to travel are June through July, September through October, or December and January. By June, the rainy season has subsided, and you can avoid the crowds in September. While December and January provide another opportunity for dryer conditions, October’s brief rains do not significantly affect trekking conditions.

 

Planning your trek around the best times for a safari excursion is essential because many gorilla treks are done as an add-on to an East African safari. No matter when you decide to trek, superb guides, first-rate lodgings, and amiable locals who share your passion for the trip will guarantee a truly exceptional and unforgettable experience.

 

Select your preferred time to travel, then let a Wito Africa safari expert create an itinerary that meets your needs for a safari and incorporates the highlights of that season.

The ultimate guide to Uganda safaris & gorilla trekking:

Gorilla trekking is a bucket list adventure for many people – so we feel the privilege to help deliver such a dream experience for our guests with purpose, precision and passion.

 

There are many factors to consider when planning a Uganda safari and gorilla trekking. You should start by gathering enough information that will help you decide on the best destination.

 

Deciding on which reliable tour operator (s) to use for your dream African safari experience is not an easy task. With a sea of general online tour operators out there, it is hard to find the ONE that truly speaks to your discerning tastes and genuinely understands your travel needs and expectations.

 

When planning a trip to Africa with an unreliable tour operator, you will be solely responsible to deal with ever-changing new requirements and regulations that you are not used to. You will be staying in hotels you don’t know of, you might get the visa but forget the travel insurance or yellow fever vaccination, and you might pack for winter when it is summertime in Africa. Not knowing what to expect can turn your once-in-a-lifetime into a complete disappointment.

 

But when you allow us to plan a trip for you, we guarantee that your safari experience will be meticulously created just for you with your specific interests, travel style and schedule. Everything will be tailored to your preference, allowing you to enjoy a perfect balance of comfort, adventure and maximum wildlife viewing. We will only recommend the places we have stayed in and inspected thoroughly, and we can guarantee you will be safe.

 

Our unique approach to offering a stress-free safari experience starts with ensuring that you are well-informed about the specific requirements of the country you visit so you know exactly what to expect. Understanding how a safari operates, what is involved before and during, and what key points to consider when booking ensures an unforgettable safari adventure. Topics like when to visit, how to get there, and what to pack are addressed by safari experts. 

Top Tips for Planning Your Uganda Safari

One of life’s most unforgettable experiences is going gorilla trekking in Uganda, but this extraordinary adventure may leave you wondering what to expect and how to plan for it. You will never forget looking into the eyes of one of the most magnificent creatures on the planet in a setting that seems so far from normal life. You can observe the majestic animals as they exhibit their mannerisms and close family ties by going on a gorilla trek.

 

Knowing what to anticipate can help you have a once-in-a-lifetime experience on your African travel itinerary and make sure you are well-prepared for this extraordinary and life-changing experience. Depending on where you go on your gorilla trek, different countries have different fees and regulations regarding permits. A memorable experience will be ensured by careful planning.

 

 

Obtaining Your Gorilla-Trekking Permit in Advance

The daily quota of gorilla-trekking permits in Uganda is restricted to ensure gorilla conservation, so getting yours as soon as possible before your trip is essential to successful trekking. Depending on your travel dates, you may consider taking on this epic adventure outside the busiest trekking season. 

 

A Wito Africa safari expert will help you plan your trip to Uganda from start to finish and help secure your gorilla-trekking permit as soon as your travel dates are confirmed, giving you peace of mind.

Your Stay in Uganda

Best Uganda Accommodation

Uganda’s lodges are largely concentrated around the wildlife hotspots in the south and west of the country, which are best known for their mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and safari destinations like Kibale, Murchison Falls, and Queen Elizabeth National Parks. Although lodges and camps in Uganda are typically smaller, more intimate, and less opulently luxurious than those in Rwanda, Kenya or Tanzania, they still provide friendly service, comfort, and delicious food.

 

Your safety is always guaranteed with good service delivery because lodge and camp locations are always carefully selected. Our selection of lodging options in Uganda includes everything from budget-friendly tented camps to opulent lodges.

 

If you need assistance, just get in touch with our Wito Africa safari experts for guidance on choosing the best option for your needs and budget.

Visa and Passport Requirements

Every traveler to Uganda needs a visa. Visitors’ passports have to be valid for a minimum of six months before their departure date. Ugandan visas can be obtained at all major borders, including the Entebbe International Airport. Single and double-entry visas with three months validity can be obtained at a cost of about 30 USD, and extensions are available at the migration office in Kampala. We advise getting your visa upon arrival because it is the most straightforward process in Uganda.

 

If you’re planning to visit both Uganda and Rwanda, an East African Tourist Visa is the best option if you want to avoid paying twice for a single visa for each destination. Travel inside Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda is permitted with the East African Tourist Visa. You can apply for a visa online or get one when you arrive.

 

To complete the visa application online, we will provide you with specific information and all necessary links to the government website where you can apply for a tourist visa.

Recommendation for Your International Flights to Uganda

If all you need to do is book your international flight to Africa, we can recommend several reliable and cost-effective options for you! While most of our guests choose DELTA/KLM direct through Europe, other popular airlines are Emirates, Turkish and Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya and Qatar Airways.

 

Please let us know your exact requirements and we’ll do everything we can to meet them. If needed, we can even book a business-class flight for you if you’d prefer. Trust us, you’ll be all booked and on your way in no time!

What to Pack for Your Uganda safari & Gorilla Trek

Packing for a safari in Uganda

Uganda typically experiences warm daytime temperatures, so bring a lot of lightweight clothing. Pack long pants and long-sleeved tops, long socks to wear over your pants to protect against ants, a pair of light gloves to protect against nettles, a hat, and a raincoat if you’re going gorilla trekking. Most importantly, bring a pair of sturdy, comfortable hiking boots. Try to break these in before your trip rather than wearing them outright because you risk getting blisters.

 

Pack appropriately for the altitude because the mountains are frequently chilly and wet; include a change of clothes, a warm fleece, sunscreen, and insect repellent in your daypack.

 

All important and specific information will be provided to you in a booklet (along with your itinerary) to help you prepare well for your safari in Uganda with us. See our Africa Safari Guide for more information on what to bring on a safari in other destinations.

Arrival & Getting Around Uganda

Main International Airports

Uganda’s international entry point is Entebbe International Airport, which is 35 kilometers from Kampala. Most visitors travel through Nairobi. In Uganda, private charter flights are very expensive; instead, most tourists choose to take road transfers in minibuses or 4X4 vehicles.

 

Despite its small size, Uganda lacks adequate infrastructure, and its roads are frequently in disrepair. During the rainy season, long days spent traveling by car are to be expected. In most cases, open-sided 4X4s are used for game drives in national parks.

 

Meet & Greet – Wito Africa Uganda Safari Team

Upon arrival in Uganda, you’ll find your private driver/guide at the airport, holding a signboard with your group name on it, and a big smile! Next, he or she will help you gather your belongings and hop into the vehicle for a road transfer to your first overnight accommodation in Uganda.

Your Safari Vehicles in Uganda

In Uganda, game drives and guided road transfers are done in closed 4x4s with large windows and pop-up roofs. The vehicles we use for safaris offer maximum wildlife viewing and uninterrupted views of the African wilderness. Two to three rows of seats are typical in a closed 4×4 game drive vehicle, along with a pop-up roof hatch that can be raised for game viewing and taking pictures.

 

Depending on your travel party, we have two types of spacious, luxury Land Cruisers; a 6-passenger seater (three rows) and a sub-extended 4-passenger seater (two rows). The jeeps are driven by an experienced safari guide, and they are fitted with everything one might need to enjoy game viewing or wildlife photography.

 

When you book exclusive use of a safari vehicle and private safari guide, there will not be any strangers/new members joining your safari in Uganda unless it has been previously arranged by the people travelling in your group.

 

To enhance your experience on safari in Uganda with us, we will also include a tea/coffee basket for your picnic while you are out and about in the bush, bottled drinking water, some snacks and soft drinks!

Uganda Landscape & Wildlife

Uganda’s Landscape & Wildlife

Uganda’s elevated geographic location results in a more temperate climate than its equatorial location might imply. It is situated in a basin that lies between the eastern and western branches of the Rift Valley. Aside from the forested mountain ranges that frequently define its borders, a large portion of the country is over 1000 meters above sea level and relatively flat. One of Africa’s most well-watered nations, Uganda has a landscape that boasts lush and green for most of the year, though northern Uganda degrades into semi-desert. Lakes, rivers, and wetlands cover 25% of the country.

 

In such an environment, biodiversity is astounding. Mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, and other forest animals can be found in Uganda’s montane and lowland forests. On the other hand,  its savannah parks, Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls offer classic game viewing, though not to the same extent as Kenya or Tanzania. Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Forest, chimpanzee encounters in Kibale Forest, and bird watching are just a few of Uganda’s wildlife highlights. With over 1 000 species recorded, Uganda is one of the top birding destinations in the world.

Uganda People, Culture & Language

Many of Uganda’s 34 million inhabitants live in the better-watered south and west, with the Baganda, the largest of the nation’s numerous ethnic groups, dominating Kampala. There are about 40 regional tongues, but Swahili and English are the official languages of Uganda.

 

Although Islam is prevalent in Uganda’s Asian communities, Christianity still dominates the religious landscape. It is important to note that Ugandans value their heritage highly.

 

Visitors to Uganda would do well to follow the country’s conservative cultural norms. Visitors frequently compliment the friendliness and politeness of the inhabitants, saying that greetings are a formal affair and may include questions about the well-being of your family. In contrast, hurried greetings and demands for action are generally frowned upon.

Uganda History & Economy

The pygmoid Batwa were a hunter-gatherer society that had lived in Uganda for at least 50 000 years before Central African farmers and cattle herders uprooted them. A sophisticated pre-colonial history emerged with the rise of political dynasties in the area when the Buganda Kingdom was already well-established when Arab and European explorers, traders, and slavers arrived. Uganda was colonized by Britain and gained independence in 1962; however, social stability and economic growth didn’t occur until the middle of the 1980s, following the disastrous regimes of Milton Obote and Idi Amin.

 

Agriculture is the primary industry in Uganda, a country with fertile soils and consistent rainfall. The export market is dominated by cash crops like coffee, tea, and tobacco, but the majority of agriculture in Uganda is subsistence farming, employing about 75% of the workforce. While tourism has proven to be an ever-growing sector of the economy, significant mineral, gas, and oil deposits are set to be exploited in the future.

Section

Climate

  • 14°C to 27°C is the average year-round temperature in Uganda.
  • March through May and September through December are wet months.

For information on the best seasons for gorilla trekking, consult the best time to visit Uganda.

 

You can contact us by email or call to speak with one of our Uganda safari experts at 1-315-805-4040 to enquire about the best time to visit the country and how to best adapt to the climate.

How to Plan Your Uganda Safari Like a Pro

 

This is what you’ve come to see in Africa: a family of gorillas led by a watchful but kind silverback male, glossy black against the rainforest’s luminous green. Young gorillas wrestle each other like wrestlers. Maternal females cluster in grooming groups and periodically reprimand the young, while the patriarchal silverback keeps an eye out for their environment. 

 

Since gorilla populations are only counted in the hundreds rather than the thousands, even in protected reserves, gorilla trekking offers one of Africa’s most profound wildlife encounters. Due to their small population, gorillas are so uncommon. Trackers can recognize each gorilla individually based on the names, faces, and personalities.

 

The last protected areas of the central rainforests are some of the parks on the continent where Africa’s great apes can still be found living in their natural habitat. Due to the money gained from tourists going on gorilla treks, populations are gradually expanding. Importantly, even scouts who may have formerly killed gorillas and other primates for their fur are now their protectors and make a living by protecting what they once killed. It is a success story for conservation, and gorilla trekking tourism must continue for the species to survive.

 

Your trip of a lifetime is calling. Are you ready to explore the jungles of Uganda?

 

The most life-changing and intimate wildlife encounter in Africa is, without a doubt, spending time with gorillas in the wild. If you’re debating whether to go gorilla trekking in Rwanda or Uganda, think about whether you’d want to go gorilla trekking as a stand-alone experience as an add-on after a safari or if you want an adventure that includes several activities in a particular country. Both nations are ideal for a gorilla trek, but knowing how long to stay in each place and why might help you choose.

 

When planning a Uganda safari, it’s crucial to have answers to frequently asked questions. Having all your pre-safari inquiries answered would make things easier for you as you start planning your journey to Africa. The best part is that you will have the assistance of your Wito Africa Safaris expert to plan everything.

 

We can save you time, money, headaches and heartache by helping you plan your dream safari. To start planning your Uganda safari, please call us at 1-315.805.4040 or send our safari experts a message via email.

 

To help you prepare well for your trip to Uganda, our safari experts have compiled a list of frequently asked questions and answered everything for you, including:

How long should I spend on safari in Uganda?

If you’re looking for a unique experience that lets you explore beyond going gorilla trekking, then visiting Uganda is your best bet. This country offers epic adventures that take you from the Queen Elizabeth Park safari circuit to the breathtaking Murchison Falls to the chimpanzee trekking in Kibale. Spend a minimum of three nights and no less than seven days close to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, which offers a wide range of cultural experiences. Consider unwinding before or after your trek.

 

A Wito Africa safari expert can advise you on how many days to spend in each location when you’re ready to start planning your Uganda safari.

What are the best places to visit in Uganda?

6 Best Places to Visit in Uganda

Given its small size and landlocked location, Uganda might be regarded as a relatively unknown destination for most tourists looking for beautiful places to experience in Africa. Despite not having an ocean nearby, 25% of Uganda is made up of lakes and rivers, and it certainly packs in a lot more amazing places of interest that make tourists want to return again and again.

 

The mountainous, forested Bwindi National Park ranks among the top tourist destinations in Uganda as one of the best locations for gorilla treks. The country is also home to sizable savannah reserves, lowland rainforests, and beautiful lakes, which together make for one of the largest wildlife experiences in Africa. However, Uganda’s tourist attractions continue far beyond a traditional African safari adventure.

 

  1. Kampala: Capital City & Gateway to Uganda

Busy Kampala is Uganda’s commercial, political, and logistical center as well as one of East Africa’s most hospitable cities It is a typical African capital with a compact, high-rise center surrounded by sprawling suburbs. The only international airport in Uganda is located 35 kilometers away in Entebbe, close to Lake Victoria. Many tourists will stay the night here or in Kampala before and after their Uganda safari because it is the main entry and exit point for the country.

 

  1. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest: Gorilla Trekking & Rainforest Wildlife

Don’t let Bwindi’s intimidating name deter you; it’s actually accessible and regarded as one of the best locations in Uganda for gorilla trekking. Naturalist trackers and guides will lead you into Bwindi, and the effort will be repaid with a magical experience in this mighty forest. Spend an hour watching a family of gorillas in their natural rainforest habitat before slipping away and returning to your cozy jungle lodge. A gorilla trek is challenging, wet, muggy, and unpleasant, but the experience is truly amazing.

 

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a portion of the vast green canopy of rainforest that covers the Rift Valley mountains shared by Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is known as one of Africa’s most biologically diverse forests. And thankfully, it’s not as difficult to get to as its name might imply. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda offers the best gorilla trekking because it is home to about half of the remaining mountain gorillas in the world. You’ll spend a magical hour with the greatest of the great apes after expert guides lead you deep into this teeming ecosystem in search of habituated gorilla families. 90% of daily gorilla sightings are successful, and because of these conservation-focused treks, the gorilla population is increasing.

 

A Bwindi safari, however, includes a variety of other mammals, including shy forest elephants and enormous forest hogs, as well as 11 other primate species. Even the most seasoned of nature lovers will be in awe of the brilliant colors of Bwindi’s 200 butterfly species. Bird watching is excellent; keep an eye out for any of the 23 endemics among the 350 recorded bird species.

 

The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a stop on most Ugandan safari itineraries and pairs well with the nation’s savannah reserves like Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National Park. We’ll make sure your Bwindi Forest gorilla trek will be an unforgettable adventure. There is dedicated gorilla trekking lodging both inside and outside the forest. Talk to us about the best lodging options for your needs.

 

  1. Murchison Falls National Park: River Cruises, Birding, and Game Viewing

You’d anticipate a diverse range of animals at Murchison Falls and you’d be right because the Nile River neatly cuts through Uganda’s largest park. For traditional big game species like elephants, buffalo, lions, and hippos, this is the place to go in Uganda. Murchison Falls is home to nearly 500 species of birds in addition to chimpanzees and colobus monkeys in its forests. The highlight, however, is a boat ride to the magnificent falls, where the rumbling Nile thunders through a 7-meter gap in the Great Rift Valley Escarpment.

 

Explore a Murchison Falls Safari

Although gorilla trekking excursions in mountainous rainforests may be Uganda’s most well-known attraction, Murchison Falls National Park (also known as Kabarega National Park) is the kind of destination that has safari tourists sitting up and taking notice. Murchison Falls, in northwest Uganda, close to Lake Albert, offers the setting for a traditional savannah safari with the usual cast of elephant, hippo, buffalo, and giraffe, as well as lion, leopard, spotted hyena, and the occasional cheetah. The Murchison Falls, the park’s main draw, is however created by the Victoria Nile, which divides the area into its northern and southern halves.

 

River cruises are a must-do activity on a Murchison Falls safari because they take place as the river is forced through a 7-metre-wide fissure and tumbles through a rocky canyon to create a magnificent waterfall. In addition to enjoying the drama of the Falls, you can enjoy good game viewing from the comfort of the boat. Keep an eye out for hippos and crocodiles. You can also enjoy amazing bird watching thanks to a bird list with over 500 species.

 

While river cruises have long drawn daring tourists to this region of Uganda, Murchison Falls National Park is also home to a variety of primate species. Although baboons and colobus monkeys are frequently encountered, the chimpanzee troops offer the greatest thrills. Take a chimpanzee tracking safari in the park’s Rabongo Forest or the nearby Bundongo Forest Reserve to see man’s closest living relatives up close and in their magnificent natural habitat. Murchison Falls is one of the few locations in Africa where viewing chimpanzees is both safe and simple.

 

One of our unique Uganda itineraries will take you to the Murchison Falls National Park. The park offers cozy lodging, and it’s simple enough to combine with other fantastic places to visit in Uganda. Talk to us about the best ways to combine going gorilla trekking in the storied Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and searching for the big 5 safari animals in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

 

  1. Queen Elizabeth National Park: Game Viewing, Birding, Chimps, and River Cruises

Queen Elizabeth National Park, the most well-known and easily accessible savannah reserve in Uganda, is home to elephant, buffalo, leopard, numerous antelope species, and the renowned tree-climbing lions of the Ishasha Plains. It also easily connects with Bwindi Forest. Don’t forget your binoculars when you go on a boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel to see hippos and crocodiles. Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the best places in the world to go bird watching—with its astounding 600 species of birds.

 

Discover a Queen Elizabeth National Park Safari

It’s simple to overlook the traditional savannah experiences that can be included in a Uganda safari when gorilla and chimpanzee trekking are the main attractions. With 610 different bird species (more than the entire British Isles! ), Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the world’s most biologically diverse parks and the top destination for viewing wildlife in Uganda. The park, which is in southwestern Uganda, is best known for its tree-climbing lions, but guests on a safari there can also anticipate seeing elephants, hippos, crocodiles, buffalo, and a variety of antelope species.

 

The park’s capacity to provide a wide variety of safari activities represents its true reward. Given the rewarding game viewing and bird watching along the way, a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel is practically required. Meanwhile, Kyambura Gorge offers a green sliver of forest to explore and is home to chimpanzees and other primates. Twice daily chimp tracking through the forest is possible, and it’s a wonderful contrast to the rest of the park’s savannah game viewing.

 

Many Uganda safari itineraries include Queen Elizabeth National Park due to its popularity and accessibility. It also pairs well with chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest National Park and gorilla trekking in nearby Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. The accommodations range from cozy lodges for families to remote tented camps, and the activities include everything from boat cruises and game drives to expertly guided nature walks, chimp treks, and breathtaking bird watching.

 

  1. Kibale Forest National Park: Birds, Butterflies, and Primates

Kibale Forest, which is quickly rising to the top of the list of must-see locations in Uganda, provides tourists with an intimate and eye-opening glimpse into life in a tropical rainforest. The clouds of brilliant butterflies and gorgeous forest birds more than makeup for the difficulty in spotting large mammals. In fact, Kibale is most well-known for its primates. Visit the majestic forest on chimpanzee treks with a guide to see how many of the other 12 primate species you can find.

 

  1. Lake Mburo National Park: Serene Game Viewing & Birding

A perfect overnight stop for guests traveling between Lake Mburo and the gorilla trekking forests of the southwest is Kampala, the capital of Uganda and its main entry point. The great mixture of wetland and woodland habitats supports a wide variety of mammals and birds. Mburo’s serene atmosphere and comforting views offer much-needed relief after a taxing journey, even though heavyweights like the elephant are absent.

How can I fully enjoy a wildlife experience in Uganda?

Your wildlife experience may take place in the comfort of a 4×4 vehicle, on foot, on a boat cruise, or a canoe, depending on where you go. The diverse location and modes of transportation present numerous incredible ways to experience wildlife and the beauty of Uganda’s safari. The drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park take you through open landscapes and ideal forests, home to tree-climbing lions.

 

You can also explore the Kazinga Channel on a boat cruise. You will see elephants swimming across the water, hippos bobbing up and down near the water’s edge, and crocodiles sleeping on the banks. As you meander through Murchinson Falls, keep an eye out for creatures large and small among the reeds and nearby trees. Walking safaris and night game drives are available at some lodges and camps.

 

 What to Expect During Your Gorilla Trek

Even if you mentally and physically prepare for your trek, you should be ready to feel incredibly humbled when you finally encounter these gentle giants. You can expect to be led by a knowledgeable guide and assisted by friendly porters as you navigate trails that wind up through branches and bush by stepping up, over, around, and under dense vegetation. You will start your trek from a central location, where you can either drive to the trailhead or start your journey. As you enter the surreal surroundings of untamed jungle terrain, excitement will quickly increase.

 

The duration of the hike it takes to meet a family of gorillas can range from 30 minutes to three hours. During that hour, you will have the opportunity to observe their calm but potent presence. Eat your packed lunch on the mountainside before slowly descending the majestic terrain with your guide and porters.

Will I definitely see gorillas in Uganda?

Guides generally know where the various families are because they are closely monitored and in contact with either researchers or trekkers daily. As a result, you have a 99% chance of seeing them. Although an overnight thunderstorm or an unexpected encounter with a predator could cause a troop to move unexpectedly in a completely different direction, scouts will pick up their trail again. On a gorilla trekking expedition, it is rare for tourists to miss the apes.

 

Your ranger will instruct you to leave everything but your camera when you eventually come across a gorilla family. Then, without threatening them, he will bring you close enough to observe the gorillas closely. There are no barriers standing between you and the gorillas, only respect. The gorillas have grown accustomed to human observers and are fearless when engaging in their normal jungle life/activities, such as foraging, grooming, and napping. The young ones’ constant curiosity about people and their playful demeanor try the patience of their teenage gorilla babysitters. 

 

It’s lovely to see the gorilla family in their peaceful state, but keep in mind the family’s imposing silverback male patriarch is keenly aware of your presence. We advise you to spend some of your time with the gorillas taking pictures, but also set aside at least 20 minutes to observe them; you’ll feel much more like you’ve seen them in their natural environment.

What it's like to go gorilla trekking in Uganda?

No matter how many times you’ve dreamed of it, it’s impossible to imagine your first encounter with a gorilla. It is hard to picture the scene, even though you have an idea of how they will appear and possibly what they will be doing. You are in a dense, unexplored forest, and the guides’ machetes have cut a small path through it to the gorillas. For many miles, there are no artificial sounds. You can smell the presence of the apes. Move a little bit nearer. She is there, bouncing around on two legs and displaying unquestionable dominance with her arms.

 

It is simple to take a few steps back with the arm waving and vicious stare. Goosebumps cover your arm as the guides grab you and shove you forward as the tension builds. Several troop members are now visible, all looking in your direction. As it emerges, the silverback is twice the size of the others, with muscles rippling beneath its dense black and silver hair. There are no fences or barriers present. To ensure you understand that this is their domain and you are merely a visitor in their home, the gorillas are speaking to you directly. Few things in the world can compare to the feeling of exclusivity and intimacy as a first impression.

 

The distance between you and the gorillas during the trek is seven meters. But since they do not follow human conventions, they may approach even closer. There is a lot to take in, so you gradually narrow your focus on the individuals by separating males from females whilst observing the gestures that bind the family together. You can take the postcard photos closer up, and the habituated troop can exhibit a wide range of behavior over an hour. As you make your way back to the trailhead, you’ll understand why this is one of the best wildlife encounters. It’s not only about the gorillas and their habitat; it’s also about the silent communication happening around you.

How fit do I have to be to participate in the gorilla & chimpanzee trekking?

Participation in gorilla and chimpanzee trekking activities requires only a basic level of mobility and fitness. The more fit you are, the better for any strenuous activity. However, this does not imply that if you want to go gorilla trekking, you must be able to bench press three times your body weight or compete in a triathlon. The trekkers will be divided into groups based on their age and fitness level, and those who are older and less fit will typically be assigned to the gorilla family closest to the trailhead. You won’t be separated from family or friends, but you will need to slow down to the pace of the slowest trekkers to maintain the group’s safety. 

 

Your guides will pause when necessary for a break, to drink water, take in the scenery, or even to have a snack. They are very skilled at gauging how the group is doing. Water and possibly energizing foods like roasted cashews or peanuts, bananas, apples, chocolate bars, muffins, small sandwiches or bread rolls, and regional specialities like “rolled eggs,” it is a type of cold omelette, are included in packed lunches.

 

Trekking is always more convenient during the dry season. Mud can make trails slick and the hike more difficult during the rainy season. Additionally, primates may seek shelter from the rain in nests or trees, making them more elusive and difficult to spot. You may want to bring a pair of compact binoculars to get a clear view of their facial expressions and antics.

 

Since some gorilla families will be on the move constantly rather than just lounging around, munching leaves, and enjoying the sun, you’ll need to be able to keep up with them. Be advised that gorillas are much better suited to moving through their rainforest habitat than we are. 

Why go gorilla trekking?

Because mountain gorillas in Africa can only be found in the wild and cannot be kept in zoos, trekking to see them in their natural habitat is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The two prime places to see mountain gorillas are Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda. Their population has decreased to an estimated 900 individuals, mountain gorillas desperately clinging to life in these two remote sanctuaries. As a result of hunting and deforestation, they are seriously endangered.

 

Bush meat hunting and wood harvesting in Congo have had a severe impact on the possibility of the western lowland gorilla surviving. Lowland gorillas, the smaller and less shaggy cousins of mountain gorillas, primarily live in lowland swampland and secondary forests. Gorillas in the lowlands are in grave danger. Research on primates and gorilla trekking tourism has made people who live adjacent to the Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo cherish conservation more

 

Thanks to investments and employment development in the area, communities are working together on research and tourist projects for a better future for the Congo Basin and all its citizens. Odzala-Kokoua National Park is home to one of Africa’s most diverse primate populations and about 100 variety mammal species. Sitting a few meters away from a family of gorillas and observing your humanity reflected in their social rituals and warm brown eyes is one of the most therapeutic and intimate wildlife interactions you can have in Africa, if not the entire globe.

 

Most importantly, we feel inspired to take guests to these remote areas of East Africa as it allows a chance to connect them with nature up close and personal whilst supporting conservation efforts. The conservation fees you pay to access the parks provide the funds necessary to protect these endangered gentle apes and help empower local communities that work in tourism. Thanks for helping us make a difference!

Can I touch gorillas?

No. You run the risk of being seriously hurt because they are powerful wild animals and unpredictable. In addition to being highly vulnerable to human diseases, gorilla populations are already gravely threatened by logging, poaching, and human encroachment on their natural habitat. You are not only not allowed to interact with them, but you may also be required to wear a face mask in some situations and maintain a constant distance of at least seven meters (22 feet) from them. Make sure you are in excellent health before you travel and take precautions not to pick up any diseases during your flight because you won’t be allowed to go on a gorilla trek if you’re sick.

 

To avoid upsetting the gorillas, keep in mind that you are only permitted to spend an hour with them after you locate them. The opportunity to see these creatures in the wild is extremely rare, so don’t spend your entire time behind a camera. Instead, put your camera down after a few minutes and simply observe them.

When is the best time to visit Uganda for a wildlife safari & gorilla trekking?

The best months to visit Uganda for a wildlife safari and gorilla trekking are June through July, September through October, or December and January. By June, the rainy season has subsided, and you can avoid the crowds in September.

 

While December and January provide another opportunity for dryer conditions, October’s brief rains do not significantly affect trekking conditions. Planning your trek around the best times for a safari excursion is essential because many gorilla treks are done as an add-on to an East African safari.

 

No matter when you decide to trek, superb guides, first-rate lodgings, and amiable locals who share your passion for the trip will guarantee a truly exceptional and unforgettable experience.

 

Select your preferred time to travel, then let a Wito Africa safari expert create an itinerary that meets your needs for a safari and incorporates the top attractions of that season.

Do I have to use a porter?

Even if you feel fit enough to handle the terrain, altitude, humidity, and even the daypack during your gorilla trek, we strongly advise you to use a porter if their services are made available to you. You will be supplying a living for many villagers in the neighborhood for a small sum of money—roughly $20.

 

Former poachers become porters. Many will be forced to return to finding and capturing or killing gorillas for bush meat or the illegal wildlife-trafficking trade if they can’t find work or make a living in the gorilla conservation field. Poaching syndicates’ incentives can be very profitable for underprivileged villagers with few other options for making a living. It is preferable to kindly accept their assistance, pay the fee (which will be equivalent to a few coffees back home), and contribute to the ongoing preservation of gorillas.

How does my trip help local communities in Rwanda and Uganda?

We are a local tour operating company. We grew up in the African tourism industry, so we understand that tourism can be a force for good. Our mission is to help contribute to the local economy by ensuring that the money from tourism stays in the area.

 

While our company is headquartered in Tanzania, all the team members—including the guide and driver—are natives of either Uganda or Rwanda. This is a legal requirement to obtain permits, and it also aligns with our corporate values. The restaurants, lodges, and other establishments we will be visiting are all locally owned, so the money spent on the trip will go directly to support the communities you will be visiting.

What medication do I need to take for a trip to Uganda?

Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss any necessary travel vaccinations and other medications, such as those to prevent malaria or yellow fever, that you may need to take both before and during the trip. You may also need a Yellow Fever certificate if your travel takes you to other African countries; you can find out more information on the CDC website.

How should I fly in and out of Uganda?

Uganda’s international entry point is Entebbe International Airport which is 35 kilometers from Kampala. Most visitors travel through Nairobi. In Uganda, private charter flights are expensive. Instead, most tourists opt for road transfers in minibuses or 4X4 vehicles.

Despite its small size, Uganda lacks adequate infrastructure, and its roads are frequently in disrepair. Long days spent traveling by car should be expected during the rainy season. In most cases, open-sided 4X4s are used for game drives in national parks.

Can Wito Africa Safaris help me with flights?

While we will help you book all your domestic flights within Africa, our personalized service takes the hassle out of finding and booking the best international flights for your upcoming vacation. Our Wito Africa experts will help you through the entire planning of your safari experience.

 

Finding the ideal flight for your trip is made simple by using the same personalized service you can get from planning a trip with Wito Africa. We offer support and a free consultation on flights and ticketing.

Why book gorilla permits in advance?

Gorilla permits can be scarce and could get sold out, especially during the peak season. We recommend booking your gorilla permits six months in advance. The daily quota of issued permits in Rwanda and Uganda is restricted to ensure gorilla conservation. So, get yours as soon as possible before your trip is essential to a successful gorilla trek. 

 

Since gorillas are in grave danger of extinction, trekking is strictly controlled in Africa’s gorilla parks. Permits are expensive and difficult to obtain. It takes the kind of firsthand experience, and local expertise you get from our Africa safari experts to travel to such remote locations and guarantee the best chances for a successful gorilla trek. Please speak with our Wito Africa safari experts; they will be happy to help.

 

How long will I spend with the gorillas?

There are strict guidelines regarding how long you may be with the animals for your safety and that of the animals. Trek details will be given to you by your ranger during the morning briefing at the park headquarters, but the maximum time spent by visitors with the gorillas is one hour.

Can children go gorilla trekking?

The age restriction for the gorilla trek is 15 years old. The authorities in Rwanda, Uganda, and Congo DRC have restricted children under 15 years from going on a gorilla trek because kids may not be able to remain calm when encountering the great apes. 

Do I need travel insurance?

Once you’ve committed to your ideal safari adventure, it’s strongly advised that you get travel insurance. You must have comprehensive coverage for the unexpected, and starting your journey with that peace of mind is a wise choice.

What do I need to know before going on my first gorilla trekking?

Trekking for gorillas in a mountainous rainforest involves hours of walking through a thick jungle following a scout who uses a machete to cut a path through the undergrowth. The guides will ensure you take plenty of breaks, so you should be at least walking fit and equipped for a challenging environment. We advise donning thick cotton outer socks, knee-high gaiters, and well-worn hiking boots that cover your ankles.

 

Because gorillas are particularly susceptible to human illnesses, you will not be allowed to embark on a gorilla walk if you have a cold or any other contagious sickness.

What type of clothing should I wear?

When you reserve your safari with Wito Africa, you’ll get paperwork that includes a thorough packing list. But suffice it to say that you should dress comfortably and casually. Wearing clothing in shades of khaki, olive, brown, and tan improves your chances of spotting wildlife and has the added advantage of hiding dirt. Additionally, you should resist the urge to overpack because laundry services will be available in a lot of the locations we visit.

Will someone meet me at the airport?

Absolutely. We would like to extend a warm welcome to you as one of our valued visitors to our country. After clearing customs at the airport of your arrival, a member of the Wito Africa Safaris staff will welcome you and drive you as quickly as possible to the convenience of your hotel.

Will the lodges and camps have WiFi?

All the places you’ll be staying have WiFi, but it’s typically only accessible in the main common area or has bandwidth and speed restrictions. This is because camps try to minimize their effects. It can be difficult to connect in the bush. We encourage you to use this chance to detach from your always-on life and live in the present.

What currency does Uganda use?

The Uganda Shilling is Uganda’s official currency. It is advisable to purchase some local currency upon arrival because using the Uganda shilling makes it much more convenient to buy souvenirs and artefacts while traveling from one destination to another. The US dollars are widely accepted throughout the nation, but using cash is recommended. While traveler’s checks and credit cards are accepted in many lodges near Kampala, they come with high transaction costs.

Your Wito Africa safari expert will be able to guide you on the amount of cash you should have at hand.

 

How does tipping work on a Uganda safari?

In Uganda, tipping between 10 and 15 per cent of the total cost is typical for excellent service. Typically, tips are given in US dollars or Ugandan shillings. Tipping is optional when participating in a gorilla trek. The highest tipping you give should go to your porter (if you choose to have one), and a second tip should be split between your guides, trackers, and security personnel.

Your Wito Africa safari expert will advise you on general tipping guidelines at the point of booking. However, tipping is not compulsory. It should be done at your discretion.

What if I have a question that is not listed here?

If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, we invite you to contact us by emailWe’ll always get back to you within 12 – 24 hours.

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