A Uganda safari is becoming highly sought after with its diversity of wildlife and incredible bird life. Known as the Pearl of Africa; it is a country with fantastic natural scenery and a rich mosaic of tribes and cultures. Be captivated by its beauty; overwhelmed by the friendliness of its people and intrigued by all that Uganda has to offer.
Uganda is a small (approximately the size of Great Britain), landlocked country. It is bordered by Sudan to the north, Congo to the west, Rwanda and Tanzania to the south, and Kenya to the east. Lake Victoria forms part of the southern border. This is the second largest lake in the world forming the source of the Nile. The Nile is the second largest river in the world. This provides the adventure seeker with some grade 5 rapids that will make your hair stand on end.
The capital Kampala is sprawled across seven hills and 40km from the international airport of Entebbe. From the moment you arrive, it is clear that Uganda is no ordinary safari destination. Entebbe is located on the forested shore of island-strewn Lake Victoria.
A Uganda safari
What makes Uganda such a unique safari destination is its remarkable concentration of primates (the highest on earth). There are approximately 880 surviving mountain gorillas in the wild. Approximately 400 of these are found in Bwindi, Uganda. Gorilla tracking is a year-round activity, with no season as such. The rain forest is moist. It rains very often in Bwindi; even in the dry season.
Uganda has over 1,000 bird species. Some of which are endemic to the country; mainly in the Albertine region. These constitute 67% of Africa’s and 11.1% of the world’s total population. Making the country a must-visit for bird lovers. Some of the most interesting birds include; the crested crane (recently named ‘Gray-crowned crane’), Shoebill, Wattled plover, Saddle Billed Stork, Pelican, African Pygmy Geese; and Narina’s Trogon.
These special birds; such as the Shoebill and the numerous spectacular endemics of the Albertine Rift Valley; are difficult or impossible to find elsewhere. The huge bird list is so remarkable given the small size of the country of over 235 000 km². This makes it arguably, the richest African birding destination.
Fishing is also a major attraction to Uganda; with the Nile Perch being the prize catch (largest freshwater game fish in the world).
People and culture
Uganda has long been a cultural melting pot. As evidenced by the existence of more than 30 different indigenous languages belonging to five distinct linguistic groups. And an equally diverse cultural mosaic of music, art, and handicrafts. Uganda is a friendly country with rolling green hills, huge rivers and lakes, and rugged mountains. There is a remarkably low level of crime and hassle directed at tourists.
Uganda is very progressive in its developments as an environmentally friendly destination. With community-based Ecotourism projects mushrooming. And a mood of social enlightenment characterized by the progressive and much-lauded policies towards curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS and promoting women’s rights.
A guide on when to visit Uganda for a safari
Uganda experiences a temperate climate even though the majority of the country is within the Tropics; with temperatures between 16 – 26’C for the majority of the year; from April until November. However, during the warmer months of December until March; temperatures reach in excess of 30’C.
Uganda’s climatic seasons always change from year to year. However, it is always a little dry throughout the year; apart from the rainy seasons between April to May and September until November.
Where to visit in Uganda
This country offers such incredible scenery so there are many places to visit, but the main attractions are:
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Kibale National Park
Murchison Falls National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park