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Uganda Safaris

Rightly known as “the Pearl of Africa”, Uganda is a compact, rich and fertile country with endless unspoiled rainforest, roaring Murchison’s Falls and a rich honeypot of biodiversity. Uganda offers something entirely different to nearby neighbouring countries in East Africa and is a destination ripe with adventure. From the famed gorilla trekking Bwindi Forest National Park; watching Golden monkeys leap from branches in the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park; to viewing stunning cascades at Sipi Falls, Uganda is a real treat when it comes to African travel. Here, ten national parks protect half of the world’s mountain gorillas, along with chimpanzees, a multitude of monkeys and a classic safari checklist including leopards, lions, elephants and hippos. Where else in the world can you experience tracking the endangered mountain gorillas through the forests, and the same day find yourself on the plains in scorching heat searching for the elusive tree climbing lions?

Tourism is relatively new, and as such Uganda does not have the extensive infrastructure of the aforementioned countries, but what this country does offer is authenticity, fewer crowds and a lot more variety than one would expect in its own individual way. Winding roads lead to places of grand beauty and unique cultures for those who dare to explore. There’s a story at every turn, from wildlife to culture and especially from locals, who are renowned for their warmth and charm.

Why NWS for your Uganda Safari?

NWS originally started as World Primate Safaris back in 2005; when it comes to primates we are the experts with a long history of sending clients on transformative gorilla tracking expeditions. Our team of destination specialists have extensive experience tracking gorillas and thanks to our in-depth knowledge of the gorillas and what constitutes a top-class gorilla tracking safari, we are recognised as one of the leading authorities in gorilla tourism, awarded by both Travel+Leisure and Conde Nast for our expertise in this area. Our exclusive safaris dig a little deeper than the norm. We can include scenic helicopter transfers offering a remarkable bird’s-eye view of this endangered habitat. Working closely with conservationists, we can offer the change to join habituation safaris and more. Limited to just two gorilla families in the southern part of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you can enjoy the rare opportunity to spend a full day in the company of conservationists and researchers.

How Much Does Uganda Cost?

For a 6-day safari in Uganda, we recommend a starting price of £6,000 per person. This will generally include gorilla permits, accommodation and private guides. If you are looking to stay in some of Uganda’s most iconic and best loved lodges, you’ll need to increase the budget to £20,000 per person including private helicopter transfers, multiple gorilla permits and private guides.

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UGA St Uganda Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Mountain Gorilla Shutterstock Gudkov Andrey

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The Uganda Safari Experience

Staying purely within this landlocked country, a Ugandan safari can now completely cater to your needs without you needing to go further afield. A good week to ten days can afford you gorillas, chimpanzees, and savannah game, negating the need to travel further afield and keeping costs within reason. On your travels you will meet and discover one of the friendliest populations on the African continent, hospitable, generous, and forgiving. As well as exploring the vast wildlife highlights on your Uganda safari, make sure you spend time to stop, listen, and enjoy the hospitality of the Ugandan people themselves.

You may wish to include the following in your Uganda itinerary:

  • Mountain Gorillas - Undoubtedly the highlight of the destination, and the reason for most visitors, is to track the endangered mountain gorillas.
  • Savannah Game - Here, you can experience traditional safaris alongside the gorilla tracking, spotting the big five and the big cats.
  • Tree Climbing Lions - Unlike most African destinations, here you can see lions relaxing in the shady trees rather than underneath them!
  • Incredible Combinations - Uganda’s location makes it perfect for combining with lots of other African destinations, including Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and beaches.
  • Track Chimpanzees - Track the chimps of Kibale Forest and Kyambura Gorge
  • Boat Cruise - Enjoy a boat cruise on the abundant Kazinga Channel
  • Conservation - Spend time with a doctor from the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project

Where to stay in Uganda?

Standards vary in Uganda from smaller intimate lodges to luxury eco-lodges, as tourism is relatively new in Uganda and accommodation range is more limited than some other African destinations, with many of the lodges being located near or in the heart of th National Parks to offer close proximity and ease of access to wildlife. Read more about where to stay in Uganda.

When to go?

The best time to visit Uganda depends on the wildlife you'd like to see as the climate is good all year round. Average temperatures in Uganda are around 21.5°C or 71°F, dropping to a minimum of 12°C or 54°F at night time, with altitude also affecting this. Being on the equator, rainfall ranges between 1,000 and 2,000 millimetres each year, but depending on time of year these can be short bursts which give rise to clearer skies. Read more about when to go to Uganda.

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Uganda Safaris FAQs

What wildlife can I see in Uganda?

A relatively small country, Uganda landscapes are intense which means its wildlife offering is unexpectedly large. Some of the wildlife you can expect to see include:

  • Mountain gorilla
  • Chimpanzees
  • Monkeys (including baboons and golden monkeys)
  • Lions
  • Leopards
  • Buffalo
  • Elephants
  • Birds (over 1,000 species live in Uganda)

Check out our Uganda wildlife guide for more information on the incredible animals that populate the country.

What languages are spoken in Uganda?

Uganda is a linguistically diverse country with over 40 languages spoken across its various regions. Whilst English is the official language of Uganda and used in government, education and business, some of the other major languages spoken in Uganda include:

  • Swahili
  • Luganda
  • Runyankole-Rukiga
  • Lusoga
  • Acholi
  • Lango
  • Alur
  • Iteso
  • Lugbara
  • Rutooro
  • Runyoro

What injections do I need to go to Uganda?

Before travelling to Uganda, it's advisable to consult a travel health professional for personalised guidance on vaccinations. Generally, vaccinations recommended include Yellow Fever (required for entry), routine vaccinations like MMR and DTaP, Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, Meningitis, and Polio. Due to the risk of malaria, consult a healthcare provider for antimalarial medication and follow preventive measures. Consider vaccinations for Rabies if interacting with animals and discuss cholera vaccination if relevant. Ensuring up-to-date vaccinations and adhering to health precautions will help safeguard your well-being during your trip to Uganda.

What to do before going to Uganda?

Before travelling to Uganda, make sure your passport is valid and apply for a visa if required. Purchase comprehensive travel insurance, understand local customs and etiquette, and stay informed about travel advisories.

Can you brush your teeth with tap water in Uganda?

It is generally recommended to use bottled or purified water for brushing your teeth in Uganda, especially if you are not accustomed to the local water supply. While some urban areas might have treated tap water that is safe for locals to use, the quality of tap water can vary, and travellers may be more susceptible to waterborne illnesses.