Whether you are a first time safari goer or a seasonal traveler, Uganda is one of the destinations that you should consider visiting on your next African safari.
With its unique blend of savanna national parks and tropical rainforests, Uganda is a destination like no other.
This relatively small East African country boasts of a wealth of mountains, rivers and lakes, great habitats to unique flora and fauna.
To someone who has never been to Uganda, this small country which is almost the size of Oregon is located just astride the Equator.
This beautiful evergreen country is located at a point where the East African savanna plains meet the West African tropical rain forests.
This unique geographical setting provides for a rare mix of wild animals that are protected in ten Ugandan national parks.
Imagine observing lions prowling the open plains in the morning combined with tracking the chimpanzees through a rain forest on a single safari of just three and more days!
On a safari of just a week, you will navigate the tropical channels teeming with hippos and Nile crocodiles and well get to look into the pensive eyes of the rare mountain gorillas in the misty mountains of Bwindi Forest and the Virunga Mountains.
Though you can enjoy many great safari experiences in Uganda, here are the best five adventure activities that you should not forget to include in your next Uganda Safari through the Pearl of Africa;
Getting Personal and up-close with the Mountain Gorillas
Uganda is indeed blessed with a diversity of wildlife! However a wildlife safari story cannot end without visiting the tropical rainforests of South Western Uganda and seeing the gorillas in their natural habitat.
This wildlife safari experience is highly rated by travelers who have gone on gorilla watching ex[editions in Uganda.
A gorilla safari is a very memorable and exciting wildlife safari experience is hard to describe by words.
Every morning, an expedition starts from five different trailheads in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Park into the jungles to look for the great cousins of ours.
The guided walk takes about 3-8 hours of hiking through a mist-covered forest and you will get to meet one of the habituated family of gorillas that colonized these montane habitats.
The experience is quite upclose and personal since you will meet the gorillas with no fence.
At a distance of 7 meters, you can look into the pensive eyes of the gorilla; observe how they are feeding, grooming and playing with each other.
A full hour of watching these apes costs US$700 while a session of four hours costs US$1500.
Would you like to join this amazing experience? Travelers looking to this experience are advised to plan ahead!
Since this activity operates along guidelines of ecotourism, the number of visitors looking to gorilla watching is regulated and a maximum of only 8 visitors are allowed to visit a gorilla family.
Therefore, you should plan and book your gorilla pass well in advance 3-12 months before your actual travel dates).
White Water Rafting, Nile River Jinja Town
Uganda is the known source for the mighty River Nile, the second longest river in the world.
This mythical and Biblical river flows from a small town called Jinja in Eastern Uganda and travels a journey of 3,000km before emptying into the Mediteranean Sea of Egypt.
The journey of an estimated 90 days is punctuated by a series of falls that include the beautiful Murchison Falls, one of the most beautiful falls along the Nile.
The world’s longest river Nile has a series of rapids and you can enjoy white water rafting the Nile in Jinja.
There is a variety of grade 5, 4, 3 and 2 rapids attracting both white water rafting hard cores and amateurs from around the world looking for the thrilling adventure.
The Nile has made Jinja, the adventure capital of East Africa. Other adventures not to miss are; kayaking, jet boating, bungee jumping, quad biking along the river banks etc.
You ca stay in Jinja for 2 nights, and experience lots of adventures including, horseback riding, cycling, quad biking, zip lining and more.
Tracking the Chimpanzees in Kibale Forest National Park
Uganda is the best destination to see chimpanzees in the world! The less known Kibale Forest National park is dubbed the primate capital of the world.
This tropical rain forest is to the highest concentration of chimpanzees in the world.
The park boasts of thirteen different primates including the IUCN red listed Red Colobus monkey, Ugandan mangabey, grey checked mangabey, black and white Colobus monkeys etc.
Therefore, Kibale Forest is a terrific destination that you should not miss if you love primate watching!
On a short safari to this park, tourists can do chimpanzee tracking as well enjoy an off-the-beaten track adventures like nature walks, birding and night stays in the tree tops to catch with nocturnal primates.
Wildlife Safari Through Savanna National Parks
Uganda is still a pristine safari destination with some of the least explored wilderness parks. Some of the less explored Uganda national parks are; Kidepo Valley National Park, Semuliki National Park which is part of the vast Ituri Forest and Pian-Upe Wildlife Reserve.
Though Uganda cannot compete with the popular wildlife experiences like the wildebeest migration in Kenya or Tanzania, the country presents opportunities to tourists to view wildlife not used to human prescence without the crowds!
On a traditional safari through the national parks like Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth national park and Lake Mburo National Park, you will enjoy classic game drives in small groups.
A wild game safari will offer you opportunities to encounter a plethora of wildlife including lions, leopards, hyenas, African elephants, buffaloes, giraffes etc. Do not miss out the cheetahs in Kidepo Valley National Park as well as zebras and impalas in Lake Mburo!
The country boasts of a variety of antelopes including the Uganda kob, eland, impalas, duikers, oribi and many more. Aquatic mammals not to miss on safari include the Nile crocodiles as well as hippos!
Though there are quite long drives to connect to some of the national parks your journey is filled with great lessons about the rural Africa including cultural experiences, amazing scenery of the country as well as the green environments.
There are also opportunities for experiential wildlife tourism including lion tracking, hippo and bird counting, mongoose tracking in the Queen Elizabeth National Park.
With over 1,060 birds recorded by visitors, Uganda has the highest number bird species in Africa.
Its bird checklist represent 11% of the world’s list of recorded bird species. Whether you are an avid birder or a beginner, Uganda offers excellent opportunities for bird watching.
Bird enthusiasts looking for some of the Albertine rift endemics that include the African green broadbill, short-tailed warbler, shoebill stork, papyrus gonolek, Rwenzori batis, etc frequent the country.
Areas that are highly recommended for birding safaris in Uganda include Bwindi Forest, a destination with over 340 birds, Semuliki National Park known for holding central African Congo basin species of birds, Queen Elizabeth National Park a single destination with over 600 birds as well as Kidepo valley National Park that is best known for hosting birds of prey.
The Murchison falls, Kibale Forest and Rwenzori mountains are also amazing places that you should not forget to include in your journey plan.
All in all Uganda is a rewarding country with unique safari experiences that you will not find elsewhere in the world.
A safari through mesmerizing tracts of bush savannah teeming with as well as lash expanses of tropical rainforest, shimmering lakes and rivers is quite different from the African safari through Kenya, Tanzania or South Africa.
There are many packaged safaris that have been carefully crafted to include the above experiences as well as the diverse culture, art, food and history.
The Ugandan people who are well known to be the friendliest and welcoming people in Africa are waiting to host you on your next trip.