Uganda Wildlife Safaris
Uganda Wildlife Safaris- Uganda is one of the most popular destinations in Africa to visit for a memorable wildlife safari if not the best destination as she was described as “The pearl of Africa” by Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill in his book called “My African Journey” that was launched in 1908. Uganda possesses various tourism resources such as the numerous wildlife sighting protected areas that are dispersed throughout the country, Mountains for mountain trekking safaris, several water bodies like Lake Victoria, River Nile, and several other lakes and rivers. Uganda is one of the first four countries worldwide to have several ethnic tribes whereby each tribe has its unique culture and norms which makes her the best destination for cultural encounter safaris. Uganda has many adventurous tourism activities such as the Mountain gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable forest and Mgahinga gorilla national parks, Chimpanzee trekking, whitewater rafting experience, bungee jumping, horseback riding in the wilderness, and Rwenzori Mountains mountaineering trekking safari. On several occasions, the local people of Uganda have been ranked as the most hospitable people to travelers and this is what makes Uganda one of the best destinations that every traveler must-visits. Indeed the people of Uganda are so hospitable to visitors in terms of speaking, service, and offering directions. The uniqueness of Uganda’s climatic conditions and environmental attributes due to the country’s being situated on the equator brands her the most favorable tourism destination.
Uganda is a landlocked country without (no sea coastline) situated in the East African region but featuring several marvel water bodies of the world such as Lake Victoria which is the largest water body in Africa and second-largest freshwater body worldwide, the source of the river Nile, the longest river on African continents and second longest in the world flowing over 6,650 km (4,130 miles) through several African countries such as South Sudan, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt to pour its water into the Mediterranean Sea. Uganda is also amongst the countries in the great lake region which include the Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.), Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda. Uganda is the leading country with several lakes (69) in Africa that accounts for about 10% of the total number of lakes on the continent. Although it is a landlocked country, most of its borders are made by water bodies. Uganda is not as big as most of her neighbors especially Tanzania and Kenya. However, this has not stopped it from being one of the countries with the most interesting biodiversity incomparable to none of her neighbors. This has made Uganda be the best destination for tourists in the East African community.
Uganda has major 7 cities distributed in several regions of the country. These cities include the oldest city Kampala capital city and the newly created cities including Mbarara city, Mbale City, Jinja City, Arua city, Masaka city and Fortportal city dubbed the tourism city.
Where is Uganda located?
Uganda is a landlocked located in the East African region of Africa bordering Kenya in the East, South Sudan the youngest country in the world in the North, the Democratic Republic of Congo in the west, the Republic of Rwanda in the southwest, and the Republic of Tanzania in the South. The topography of the country slows downwards to the south Sudan country and that why there is a northerly tendency of river flows in the country. Uganda is traced in the Great Lakes region of East Africa and features different lakes such as Lake Albert, Edward, and Lake Victoria which makes great lakes region of East Africa. The presence of these water-based resources has made Uganda have an equatorial type of climate which is generally experienced in most parts of the country. However, it is important to note that the climate experienced in Uganda is not uniform because of the altitude an important factor in shaping the climatic conditions of an area. Uganda’s favorable climate conditions coupled with fertile soil have accelerated the rate of agricultural growth in the country. Similarly, forest vegetation, grassland, and wildlife parks and reserves in Uganda have boosted Uganda Wildlife Safaris due to better climatic conditions. As of today, Uganda has an approximate population of 45,340,387 million people as last updated by the United Nations data world barometer in March 2020.
How to travel to Uganda for Wildlife Safaris?
Visitors planning to travel for Uganda Wildlife Safaris and experiences, Entebbe international airport is the only country’s point of entry and exit for most of the international travelers. It is located near Entebbe town on a peninsular on Lake Victoria over 40 kilometers away from Kampala the capital city of Uganda. Entebbe international airport is under the management of the Uganda Civil Aviation authority which was previously referred to as the Civil Aviation Authority that was instituted by the act of the government of the Republic of Uganda. However, this was changed from the Civil Aviation Authority to Uganda Civil Aviation Authority after the presidents of Uganda authorized this amendment through signature in July 2019.
The offices of the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority are based in Entebbe Municipality for easy management of the country’s sole international airport and other domestic airfields. The climatic conditions at the airport are favorable and attractive to various bird species which even you will spot once you made a step away from the Airport. Some of the birds include African fish Eagle, white egrets among others. Entebbe international airport operates numerous passenger flights and other many airlines land and takes off at Entebbe airport. The major airlines which land and take off at Entebbe include Uganda airlines operating majorly in Africa, Rwanda air, air Tanzania, Brussels Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Egypt Air, Air India, Turkish airlines, aero link Uganda, FlyDubai, KLM, Africa express, Qatar Airways, Fly emirates among several different airlines that you can choose to travel with to Uganda. However, some of the flights do not operate direct flights to Entebbe international airport as they make stopovers in several countries before or after Entebbe international airport. Some of the flights stop in Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Bujumbura, Nigeria, and Dubai, and therefore you must confirm your next destination to avoid getting lost of your destination.
Qatar Airways and Gulf Air were added later. The world’s largest airline Delta (from America) also opened an office in Uganda and this makes Uganda accessible by all visitors from different parts of the world.
In a move to drive her economy and boost the tourism industry, Uganda revamped her airlines, Uganda airlines that had spent more than 8 years without working. The Uganda airlines operate direct flights to all East African countries and in other destination countries including Somali, Bujumbura, dar es salam, Mombasa, Kilimanjaro, and several others.
Entebbe international airport emerges other airfields that are spread across the country for visitors and travelers who wish to reach various destinations faster instead of using road transport. These airfields and airstrips provide an opportunity for the operation of domestic flights. In Uganda, the domestic flights are operated by the Aero link Uganda limited and Eagle air and Kajjansi Executive Aviation which operates several domestic and chartered flights to different airfields. These airfields include Pakuba airfield, Kasese airstrip, Kisoro airstrip, Mweya airstrip, Soroti airfield, Tororo airfield, Arua airfield, Masindi airfield, Gulu airfield, Mbarara airfield, Masindi airfield, Moroto airfield, Jinja airfield among others. These airstrips or fields are where most of the travelers who fly from Entebbe international airport base to link up to National parks such as Queen Elizabeth national park, Murchison falls national park, Kidepo Valley National park, Bwindi and Mgahinga gorilla parks, and Semuliki National park among others.
Still, the airport is served with several airport taxis that are always packed at the airport after the arrival terminal on standby to provide you with the best transportation to your hotel in case you need it after land at the airport. Visitors traveling to Uganda are always picked at the airport by their contacted local tour companies and taken to their booked lodges nearby Entebbe town, Kampala city, or any other part of the country.
Like any other international airport to land at Entebbe international airport, you need some requirements which include, a valid passport for at least six months. This is a major travel document that authorities at Entebbe international airport will be requiring from you.
Vaccination is another important requirement before accessing Entebbe international airport. You need to have taken a yellow fever vaccine and you need to show a yellow book as the evidence while at the airport.
You should posse a validated tourist visa. This can be booked online by paying $50 US dollars or you can apply for it upon your arrival at the Entebbe international airport. The tourist visa can last for 3 months from the day you get it. You can as well obtain an East African single entry visa at $100 valid for 3 months which will enable you to visit almost 3 of the East African countries without any restriction that is Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda.
Uganda’s road network is improving one can drive from one border to border within one day because of the good road connections. Numerous attractions in the country can be early connected without any problem and the security system is good whereby you can drive any time of the day without any scare.
What describes Uganda’s Culture?
Besides Wildlife Safaris; Uganda is a country that is rich in culture mainly of people and their ways of life. The culture of Uganda is a combination of diverse ethnic groups that are well presented by various tribes where the Ugandan people belong. Currently, there are over 54 ethnic tribes that make up the big population of Uganda. Each ethnic tribal group has its uniqueness in beliefs, customs, traditions, and norms. It is very hard to find an ethnic group with similar attributes. The majority of the people are of Bantu origin and mostly they stay in central Uganda, western Uganda, and southern Uganda.
The Northeastern part of Uganda is occupied mainly by Nilotic of Iteso, Lugbaras, Acholi, Karamajong, and others. This offers an opportunity for travelers to come and explore cultural groups of the Ugandan people. The Bantu people are different from the Nilotic almost in everything. You can come and take cultural safaris to encounters the majority of such tribes and people. Because of very many tribes, it was hard to determine the national language but the influence of colonial British that colonized Uganda made Uganda have English as its official language and the Kiswahili is now the second official language. However, more than 52 tribes in Uganda each speak its native language while in their own homes and places of residence. In terms of population demographics, Uganda has one of the youngest populations in the world with the majority of her citizens under the age of 15 -35 years.
In terms of religion, the majority of Ugandans are Christian making the majority of the population with 85.5 Percent and this is followed by Muslims with twelve percent and the rest of religions taking up the remaining percentage. This means that majority of Ugandans are Christians.
Bananas are the most consumed foods in Uganda which are locally known as Matooke, Posho from maize, sweet potatoes, rice, millet, groundnuts, green vegetables, and yams. In terms of local drinks such as Malwa, Bushera, Muramba, Kwete with most of these drinks consumed in western and eastern parts of the country.
The major transport system in Uganda includes both public and private transport services. Public transport services include Bodabodas, Taxis, and Buses. Bodabodas are found everywhere around the country and it is the easiest way to move within major cities and towns which helps travelers to avoid traffic gym. Public transportation is in form of buses and taxis can be found in their respective parks or stations.
Why Visit Uganda?
Uganda is naturally gifted with nature featuring numerous natural resources that are exciting to encounter during your Uganda safari ranging from water bodies, mountains, and a variety of wildlife species and forest reserves. Uganda is popularly known as the home to half of the world’s remaining population of the endangered mountain gorillas, the biggest population of chimpanzees our closest relatives with 98.8% human DNA which makes Uganda an outstanding destination for primate safaris, the finest country for the spectacular wildlife species sighting in their untouched natural habitats including Big five safaris, thrilling culture this is because Uganda is one of the countries with many different ethnic tribes whereby each tribe has its uniqueness, offering a variety of most adventurous safaris such as whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, mountaineering safaris on Rwenzori mountains, mount Elgon, Mount Sabinyo.
Uganda has several 10 national parks (Protected areas) that are inhabiting different wildlife species and are perfect destinations for wildlife safaris, these include Bwindi impenetrable forest National park, Murchison falls National park, Queen Elizabeth National park, Semuliki National park, Kidepo valley National park, this is a game reserve, Kibale forest national park, Lake Mburo national pbirsark, Mgahinga gorilla national park, Mount Elgon national park, Mt Rwenzori mountains national park, several wildlife game reserves such as Pian Upe wildlife reserve, Katonga wildlife reserve, Semuliki wildlife reserve, and several forest reserves like Budogo forest reserve, Kalinzu forest reserve, and Mabira forest reserve. These National parks, wildlife game reserves, and forest reserve offer a basket full of activities that will surpass your expectations once you visit them Uganda.
National Parks in Uganda.
Queen Elizabeth National park is located in southwestern Uganda with about 96 mammal species and 600 recorded bird species, many reptiles, and insect species spreading into several districts including Kasese, Rubirizi, Rikungiri, and Mitoma. It is one of the most visited national parks in Uganda by both local and international travelers according to the recent tourism statistics which is attributed to its rich in biodiversity and varied ecosystems. A safari to Queen Elizabeth national park will enable to encounter a variety of wildlife species during your morning, evening, and night game drives, boat cruise launch on the famous Kazinga channel, such as herds of huge Elephants and caped Buffaloes, the beautiful Uganda Kobs, the aggressive hippopotamuses, and Nile crocodiles, the shy Leopards, pride of health lions, many primates including the intelligent chimpanzees, countless bird species and the spectacular tree-climbing lions of Ishasha section and you can as well take village tours to Katungulu, Hamukungu, Kasenyi, and Kazinga and go for salty lake Katwe tours in Katwe Kabatoro Town council.
Murchison Falls National park is the biggest, one of the oldest, and most visited national parks for Uganda Wildlife Safaris, situated in the northwestern part of Uganda spanning into four districts including Bulisa, Kiryandongo, Nwoya, and Masindi. It is a home base to over 76 wildlife mammals such as primates like chimpanzees, four mammals of the big five families of the African Jungle, big predators of the Jungle, and many cats, over 451 bird species including the rare shoebill stork. When you Visit Murchison falls national park, you will explore the “Murchison Falls” which are said to be the world’s strongest falls, a variety of wildlife species during wildlife sighting game drive, chimpanzee trekking, guide nature walk, boat launch on the Victoria Nile River, sport fishing, hot air baron and white water rafting. The park is dissected by the mighty River Nile, the longest river in Africa that forms a spectacular Murchison falls within the park. Murchison falls national park has been graced with famous tourists with the recent ones being Kanye West and wife Kim Kardashian and Jidenna.
Kidepo Valley National Park according to CNN travel, Kidepo Valley National Park is amongst the 8 finest wildlife destinations in Africa. With the sweeping plains of Kidepo and Narus Valleys overshadowed by the brooding mountainscape of Mount Morungole (the sacred peak of the mysterious Ik people,) this park has a huge appeal just for the scenery alone. Kidepo Valley National Park features a wealth of interesting biodiversity species including Uganda’s big 4 animals in the wildness. These animals include lions, buffaloes, elephants, and leopards. There are other delightful wild animals they are found in Kidepo valley beside the big 4 animals and these include hyenas, bushbucks, zebras, eland, giraffes, and the duikers, many primates and primate species. On your safari to Kidepo valley national park, expect to see a lot of bird species that will keep your eyes very stack, many mammals during your morning, evening, and night wildlife sighting game drive, meeting the Karamajong and Ik people for the unique cultural experience.
Kibale forest national park is popularly known for Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda and the whole of East Africa. Kibale Forest National Park is situated in the Southwestern part of Uganda covering the districts of Kabarole, Kamwenge, and Kibale. The park hosts half of the African population of chimpanzees with over 1500 individual chimpanzees and this puts Kibale National park in a better position for both chimpanzee tracking and habituation tours in Uganda and African in general. Kibale forest national park harbors other 12 species of primates that include white and vervet monkeys, Red colobus monkeys, baboons, Mangabey, pottos, and Galagos among others. Safaris to Kibale will make you engage in chimp trekking and habituation, where you will encounter with most intelligent creatures the chimpanzees, a variety of birds species, where you will spot over 375 species, engage in nature walks or hiking, and visit the Kibale Association for Rural Environment Development and the Bigodi community through cultural encounters in Kibale Forest National Park.
Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park is known for harboring half of the world remaining population of endangered mountain gorillas and it is because of this that Bwindi impenetrable forest national park was declared as the UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. The park is the major reason as to why most visitors visit Uganda. Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park is cited at the border areas of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo majorly in the district of Kanungu. Bwindi Impenetrable forest National park shelters over 120 species of mammals and over 350 species of birds which some of them are endemic to the Albertine region. The park is well known for mountain gorilla trekking with over 19 well-habituated mountain gorilla families. The Bwindi impenetrable national park provides exciting gorilla trekking and habituation activities to travelers, bird watching activities such as white-tailed flycatcher, Ruwenzori turaco and offers opportunities for travelers to explore the Batwa community trail whey will encounter the short touted people who once inhabited Bwindi before it was turned into a national park.
The Rwenzori national park also is known as the mountains of the moon as described by Alexandrine Ptolemy is located in the southwestern part of Uganda in the Kasese district. The Rwenzori national park harbors more than 60 mammal species and over 200 species of birds. The park encloses the Rwenzori mountains which were covered by snow on its highest peak margarita. Tours to Rwenzori National Park will enable visitors to climb the Rwenzori mountains up to the highest peak, engage in bird watching activities to explores different bird species such as the olive woodpecker, Rwenzori batis, montane masked, red-faced woodland warbler, strange weaver, sparrow hawk among others, wildlife viewing, cultural tours to Ruboni village for different local community lifestyle, nature walks encounters to Kilembe copper mines and participating in forest and foothill hiking.
Mountain Elgon National Park is also one of Uganda’s spectacular parks well situated in the eastern part of Uganda at the border with Kenya. The park is spread into the districts of Kapchorwa, Sirobko, Mbale, and Suam. The park was also declared as the UNESCO biosphere reserve and its main tourist attraction includes mountain hiking to calderas and to highest peaks Wagagai which stands at 4321m, Sudek at 4303m, Koitobos at 4222m and Mubiyi at 4210m. Mountain Elgon national park features 23 species of mammals and over 300 bird species. Mammals include few populations of elephants, buffaloes, duikers, and others. Encounter the interesting primates inform of white monkeys, red-tailed and blue monkeys are commonly seen. Commonly bird species in Mountain Elgon national park the exciting white-browed Combec, green Hylia, mountain yellow warbler among others. Other activities include mountain climbing and hiking, cultural encounters, forest exploration, and many more species.
Semuliki valley national park is one of the latest proclaimed national parks in Uganda spreading 220 kilometers located in western Uganda in the district of Bundibugyo in the Bwamba sub-county. Semuliki National park features over 59 mammals species which among others include large savannah elephants, buffaloes, warthogs, crocodiles, and antelopes commonly Uganda kobs. Semuliki also has over 400 bird species which include the blue-headed flycatcher, grey crowned crane, and capuchin babbler among others. You can also cite different primates in Semuliki National Park which include Colobus monkeys and the intelligent chimpanzees. Semuliki national park is most interesting for travelers who intend to do primate walks which lasts for 2-3 hours, boat rides on river Semuliki, hiking the gorge of Nyaburongo, and participate in Savanah game drives.
Mgahinga Gorilla National park is best known for its precious gorilla trekking safaris. It is situated in the Kisoro district in the southwestern part of Uganda. Mgahinga National Park is one of the three parks that form the Virunga Conservation Area, the other two parks include Volcanoes in Rwanda and Virunga in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mgahinga is the smallest national park in Uganda with three dormant volcano mountain volcanoes which are identified as mountain Sabinyo, mountain Gahinga, and mountain Muhavura. The park offers different activities to travelers which include gorilla trekking and other primate walks. The Nyakagezi family is the only gorilla family in Mgahinga that is available for trekking. The park still features other primates such as white colobus monkeys, golden monkeys among others. The other activities include golden monkey trekking, birding watching safaris, mountain climbing, and cultural encounters.
Lastly, Lake Mburo national park is located in western Uganda in the district of Kiruruha just a few kilometers away from Mbarara City and its a best national park for Uganda Wildlife Safaris to spot a number of zebras. Lake Mburo national park was firsts a hunting area by the natives before it was turned into a game reserve in 1963. Lake Mburo game reserve was later upgraded to a game park in 1983 in abid to eliminate illegal Banyankole pastoralists who were allegedly supporting the rebels led by President Museveni. Lake Mburo National park is one of the smallest savannah parks in Uganda featuring unique tourist activities including boat cruise at Lake Mburo, bird watching, sport fishing, horseback riding, game drives, nature walk safaris, visits to Igongo cultural center, Rubanga forest walks, and many others.
What makes Uganda the pearl of Africa?
Uganda was named the pearl of Africa by Winston Churchill in his book called “My African Journey” that was published in 1908 following his visit to Uganda in 1907 because of the various magnificent tourist attractions that the country hosts such as a variety of animal and bird species from the mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, the Big five animals, the natural landscape with both hilly and relatively flat, the waterfalls originating from several rivers, the mountainous natured areas and hospitable people. All these make Uganda the best destination and the summary of Africa in terms of tourism destination safaris.
For the best adventure activities, Uganda the dreamland for all wildlife safaris & travel experiences such as mountain gorilla and other primate experiences, a variety of wildlife species including the big five mammals of the Africa jungle, bird watching tours, mountaineering trekking safaris, cultural encounter safaris, most adventurous experiential activities such as the whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, zip-lining, horseback riding, and quad biking, and many other activities. So, Uganda has a slice of everything that you can find in other countries on the African continent. Therefore, you use one visa to have experience in entire Africa when you visit Uganda.
When to visit Uganda for Wildlife safaris?
Uganda can be visited throughout the year since all the protected areas and other tourist attractions remain open all year round. Tourists can therefore visit Uganda all time. Besides, some of the safari activities are best done in different months or seasons of the year. Mostly safaris activities in all ten national parks such as game drives in Murchison falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Lake Mburo National park, primate safaris such as Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla Park are done best during the dry season from (Mid-May to September and from December to February). West season in Uganda is characterized by heavy rains that come in the months of (March, April, May, October, and November which is also considered as low season. However, during the wet season, you can enjoy discounted accommodation facilities adjacent to various national parks.