Why undertake Uganda Safari Tours
Uganda is biologically diverse with luxurious vegetation, a range of wild game and the people themselves. Positioned on the East African Plateau under the tropical sun receiving both rainfall and sunshine, the destination Uganda has rich fertile soils that favour the growth of natural and human grown elements. It was from this background that Winston Churchill crowned it the Pearl of Africa upon his safari visit to Uganda in 1907.
Whether we talk of the Uganda gorilla trekking safaris and tours in both Mgahinga Gorilla and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or the world class Chimpanzee trekking / Habituation experience in Kibale National Park, remarkable wild game viewing experience in Kidepo Valley, Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls and Lake Mburo National Park, there is a credible answer to as to why the Uganda Safaris should be undertaken.
The towering Mountain landscapes including the glacial Rwenzori Peaks rising to 5,109m above sea level, Mount Elgon with one of the world’s largest Caldera and the three (3) of the eight Virunga Volcanoes coupled with extensive Rift Valley flats, the lake basins of Lake Victoria and Lake Kyoga and the myriad of flowing Rivers including the World’s longest Nile River combine to make a safari tour to Uganda a life time adventure expedition.
What to See on Safaris and tours in Uganda
In the early stages of planning a Uganda Safari Tour, there is always a desire to known what are the available wonders that one can explore in Uganda. The destination Uganda as various slogans have always put it like the Land Gifted by Nature and the Pearl of Africa is a naturally endowed country whose magical excitements go beyond the ordinary.
Mountain Gorillas: Categorised as critically endangered on the IUCN Red list of Species, the Mountain Gorillas are only found in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda is credited to have in possession almost a half of the Mountain Gorilla Population with her gorilla park of Bwindi alone containing over 400 mountain gorillas. The Mountain gorillas are great Ape Species sharing 98% of their DNA with humans.
People and Culture: Being a heterogeneous nation, Uganda is ethnically diverse with over 65 tribal groups that are gifted with various customs, traditions, practices and celebrations to mark the given events of the year. Festivities like the Imbalu Circumcision among the Bagisu in the East of Uganda, the Empango Ceremony in Bunyoro and Tooro among others bring out the past to match with the present making the Uganda Safari visit worthwhile. The destination Uganda also feature unique tribal cultures like the Batwa and Indigenous Karimojong who are minority groups and endangered.
Wild game: Uganda like any other famous Africa Safari countries features the Big five of land animals including; Rhinos, Leopards, lions, elephants and Buffalos. The other beautiful wild game like Rothschild Giraffes, the Elands, Hyenas, the Jackals, the Impala, Jackson’s Hartebeest and Cheetah among others thrives here. The journey to explore all this in the wild takes you back in the days walking in the footsteps of the ancient explorers.
Chimpanzees: The Chimpanzees are part of the Great Apes and Uganda is gifted to have their highest count in the world. On the Uganda Safari tour to the verdant tropical forests of Budongo, Semliki, Kibale, Kyambura gorge, Kalinzu and the Island forest of Ngamba, Chimpanzee viewing experience is one of those remarkable safari activities that one can ever have in a life time. To be honest, the Chimpanzees with 99% of human DNA can do certain things as if they are humans.
Hills and Mountains: The destination Uganda features remarkable highlands that have got whatever it takes to mesmerise the Adventure Safari holiday enthusiasts. From the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains which rise to 5,109m making it the third highest in Africa to Mount Elgon an extinct Volcano rising to 4,321m making it the fourth in East Africa and eighth in Africa, the three Virunga Volcanoes namely; Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura, the Mount Moroto and Karamajong highlands not forgetting the most fascinating Kigezi Highlands popularly known as the Switzerland of Africa, the Mountaineering and active travellers have got their dream covered by taking up a Uganda Safari Tour.
Lakes, Rivers & Waterfalls: Uganda is one of the three East African countries that share Africa’s largest Lake and the world’s second largest fresh water lake – the Victoria locally known as Nalubaale. Other lakes include; Kyoga, Edward, Albert, George, Bunyonyi, Mutanda, Mburo and a range of volcanic explosion craters spread in the crater fields of Ndali Kasenda, Fort Portal, Katwe and Bunyaruguru. Besides the Lakes, Uganda is home the world’s longest Nile River which has the world’s powerful Murchison falls while the other main falls have been submerged by dam construction like Bujagali and Rippon Falls.
Which Tour Operator to take you on Uganda Safari Tours
Uganda has a range of credible Safari operators that are licensed by the Ministry of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities and signed up members of Association of Uganda Tour Operators a Professional body that brings together all the tour operators in Uganda. Therefore, this is one of the considerations that any Uganda Safari tour planner should first look up to when looking at potential tour companies.
However, since we have seen that many are registered and licensed, the traveller can go ahead to select a credible company depending on the reviews that its past clients have written about it on Independent forums like Trip Advisor and Safari bookings. The better the reviews, the higher are the chances that you are likely to get the same experience with that company.
Other aspects like the rate of responsiveness, knowledge of the product and the affordability also matter while selecting the Uganda Safari tour Company to use. Wild Gorilla Safaris and Prime Safaris & Tours Ltd have performed well all these aspects thus can be relied upon.
Where to go on Uganda Safaris
The destination Uganda is very diverse and world travellers can select from a myriad of micro-destinations spread all over the country on where go while on safari in Uganda.
Murchison Falls National Park as a Uganda Safari Tour destination
Murchison Falls National Park located in Uganda’s North West direction is the largest National Park stretching to 3,840km2 intersected by the Nile River forming the southern and northern sections which interestingly feature a different ecosystem. Established in 1952, Murchison Falls National Park is among the best wild game parks for a Uganda Safari Tour as it offers chances of viewing the Big five namely; Rhinos thriving in the nearby Ziwa Sanctuary, Lions, Elephants and Buffalos. The park is also home to the world’s powerful Murchison Falls from which the park derives its name.
Murchison also offers possible sights of Shoebill bird species, the highest concentration of Rothschild Giraffes, Uganda Kobs, the Jackson’s Hartebeest, Nile crocodiles among others. These combine to make the Uganda Safari tour to Murchison worthwhile.
Queen Elizabeth National Park as a Uganda Safari Tour destination
Queen Elizabeth National Park lies in the west of Uganda is the second largest of Uganda Safari parks covering 1978km2 comprising of beautiful rift valley flats marked by open savannah, dense forest tracts of Maramagambo, the range of water bodies like Lake Edward, Lake George and their joiner Kazinga Channel. Queen Elizabeth National Park is 417km about 7 hours drive from the main capital meaning that it can be explored even in two days mini-break Uganda holiday tour.
The tree climbing lions that thrive in its southern sector of Ishasha are among the most popular attractions in the park. Other impressive attractions include the Chimpanzees thriving in the 100m deep Kyambura gorge, over 600 species of birds and the aquatics along Kazinga Channel like Nile Crocodiles and Hippos.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is a world Biosphere Reserve because of the range of enclave Communities thriving in the park.
Kidepo Valley National Park as a Uganda Safari Tour destination
Kidepo Valley National Park lies in the North east of Uganda and covers 1442km2 of virgin wilderness filled by counts of beautiful wild game, fascinating landscapes and flowing streams and seasonal rivers. The extensive game drive ideally conducted in the Narus Valley where possibilities of exploring remarkable animals like Cheetah, lions, leopards, elephants, Rothschild Giraffes, jackals, the Hyena, Buffalos among others is magical. The scenic drive to the famous Kanangorok hot springs traverses the fascinating landscapes to the north of Apoka, Kidepo Valley crossing the Sand River before approaching the hot spring area close to the border of Sudan. This area offers impressive sights of Ostrich only found in Kidepo on Ugandan standards.
Kibale National Park as a Uganda Safari Tour destination
Kibale National Park is lies in the West of Uganda with a geographical coverage of 795km2 comprising of mainly tropical rain forest that is very diverse having survived the last ice age.
This Uganda Safari site is also popularly known as the Primate Capital of the World features 13 species of Primates among which include the Common Chimpanzees one of the Great Ape Species with 99% DNA close to humans. This presents ground for Chimpanzee trekking safaris in Uganda to Kibale National Park.
Besides Primates, Kibale National Park features 351 beautiful tree species some of which are 55m tall and 20 years old not forgetting 375 species in birds thrive in the park offering rewarding forest walks and birding opportunities.
Lake Mburo National Park
Located in the South west of Uganda at 240km abut 3 – 4 hours drive from Kampala, Lake Mburo National Park is noted to be the smallest of all the Savannah Uganda Safari parks. The park is known for containing the only population of Impalas in Uganda, the largest population of Burchell’s Zebra, Elands and the first beneficiary of Rothschild translocation from Murchison.
Lake Mburo National Park beauty cannot be better explained without mentioning its historical Precambrian rocks dating back to 500 million years ago which are not only habitat to some species like Klipspringer and snakes but also of great cultural attachment to the native settlers of the land.
The 350 bird species most of which are acacia dwelling species including the threatened Red-faced Barbet only found here in the whole of Uganda combine with the rest to make Lake Mburo National Park an amazing Uganda Safari tour site.
Semliki National Park
Semliki National Park lies in the West of Uganda stretching over 220km2 containing the East Africa’s largest tropical low land forest. In 1993, the park was gazetted protecting the loveliest Sempaya hot springs both male and female that feature a high boiling geyser sprouting up to 2m high with over 100 degrees Celsius.
The Uganda Safari Tour site of Semliki National Park contains 441 bird species with the highest number of Albertine endemics along with 53 species of mammals. Most the tree species are of Congo forest biome extending from the great Ituri forest. The diversity of Semuliki Forest National Park can be attributed to its survival from the last Ice age that happened 12 – 18,000 years ago.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park
The Rwenzori Mountains National Park stands as the third highest peak in Africa and the highest Mountain in Uganda rising to 5,109m above sea level with glacial peaks. Established in the year 1991, the Rwenzori Mountains National Park was later declared a World Heritage Site in the year 1994.
The Mountain is remarkably known for its unique flora with five distinct vegetation zones including the giant Lobelia, colourful mosses and giant tree heathers.
The Park shelters the 120km long along with 65km wide Rwenzori Mountain range and it is a home to 70 species of mammals and 217 species of birds.
The native Bakonzo and Bamba have inhabited the foot hills of Rwenzori Mountains for centuries and feature considerable cultural attachment to the park.
Mount Elgon National Park
Located to the East of Uganda, Mount Elgon National Park is one of the prime Uganda Safari tour mountaineering sites stretching to 1,121km2 comprising of Africa’s 8th highest Mountain though it was at one time the highest on the continent. Apparently, it takes the fourth position in East Africa but has one of the world’s largest volcanic caldera.
Mount Elgon rising to 4321m above sea level presents impressive adventure climbing experience with the shortest route – Sasa Trail taking 4 days. The Mount also features the World’s largest volcanic base stretching to 4000km2.
The Ndorobos, Bagisu and the Sabiny are traditional native tribes surrounding the Mountain and have over the years depended on it for survival including the extracting on Bamboo Shoots locally known as Malewa for food. Culturally, the Bagisu consider Mount Elgon to be an embodiment of their founding father Masaba.
When to go on Uganda Safari Tours
Going on a safari in Uganda can be done all year-round since Uganda Safari attractions are not seasonal. However, the dry months offer good wild game viewing possibilities since the grass is short, the shrub vegetation is not dense and the animals are always close to the water points. The dry season months are always December, January, February, June, July, August and early September.
Uganda Wildlife Authority extends discount on permits for Uganda gorilla trekking activity in the months of April, May and November reducing the price from $600 to $450. Thus, travellers interested in taking advantage of the reduced price can travel in that period.
Where to Stay on a Uganda Safari Tour
Uganda following decades of political stability has attracted foreign and local investment in the tourism and hospitality sector. A range of proprietors have invested in construction of Safari Lodges, Permanent Camps, Basic Campsites and Contemporary hotels.
Therefore, depending on which destination that you will be visiting, the amount of money that you have budgeted for accommodation and the general facilities of interest would determine where to stay on your Uganda Safari.
Most of the Uganda Safari lodges feature en suite facilities with hot showers even those in the budget category. The rooming arrangement is always presented in Single, Double and Twin rooms. Exceptions of triple and family cottages also exist at some lodges.