Uganda Safaris

Visit Uganda

Discover the wonders of Uganda with Tranquil Safaris. Our Uganda safaris are carefully selected to give you a unique experience in the pearl of Africa. We provide special safaris that allow you to enjoy wildlife in peace. We arrange gorilla safaris, wildlife holidays, Mountain trekking, white water rafting and so much more. We also provide tailor made safaris.


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How To Experience Uganda


Where to Go in Uganda

Of course, there are very many places to visit while on a safari to Uganda, but we have listed some of the popular destinations with the different activities that can be done there. The destinations are mainly national parks which are found in almost every region of the country, and each national park stands out with its unique features and experiences.

For those interested in Gorilla trekking, Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga National Parks are the destinations to visit, they are located in the southwestern region of the country. In order to trek the mountain gorillas, trekkers need a trekking permit which costs $700 for foreign non-resident tourists. With the permit, there is an opportunity to spend at least an hour with the gorillas and also receive a certificate which shows that you trekked. You can check out our packages for Gorilla trekking experiences. Around these parks are communities with the indigenous Batwa people who have an amazing culture, their culture is thrilling. 

For more primates, especially the Chimpanzees, tourists visit Kibale Forest National Park. This park is found in the western region providing the best chimpanzee tracking experiences plus other primates like the baboons, black and white colobus monkeys among others. A permit to enable you track chimpanzees costs $200 per person. Also note that there are other places where you can track chimpanzees and they include; the Semuliki Valley, Budongo forest, Ngamba Island, Kalinzu forest and Kyambura gorge. 

From Kibale Forest, tourists can easily access other neighboring destinations like the Crater lakes, Rwenzori Mountains, the Bigodi wetland, Semuliki National park (the birder’s haven) and Queen Elizabeth National Park. Queen Elizabeth is famous for its big numbers of wildlife including the tree climbing lions found in Ishasha sector. A boat cruise through this park on the Kazinga channel is also an added experience. From this park, one can easily connect to Bwindi and then to Lake Bunyonyi. 

Is it your desire to simply relax after many days of travel around Uganda? Or you want to take your team for team building experiences? Lake Bunyonyi is the destination to visit. Lake Bunyonyi is Uganda’s deepest lake, with various islands. It is a very spectacular destination known for its tranquility and nice lodges. The activities that can be done on and near the lake are canoeing, cultural tours, birding, and community biking among others.

Tourists with an interest for Game viewing and sightseeing can choose Murchison Falls National Park. It being the biggest park in the country also means it has a lot to offer. That statement is true because the park has big numbers of wildlife species such as the Nile crocodiles, buffaloes, warthogs, elephants, hartebeests, antelopes, lions, giraffes and leopards as well as several bird species. The park also hosts a very strong water fall which makes its way through the 7m wide hole and plunges at 43m before it continues with its course with the Victoria Nile. 

Murchison water falls are very spectacular and thrilling, tourists take a boat cruise along the Nile to the bottom of these falls, they watch them fall beautifully and also opt to hike for about 45 minutes and get to the top of the waterfalls, to have both experiences of the top and the bottom. Other tourists who can’t hike, opt for a drive with their tour guide directly to the top to see the eye catching falls. Other activities to do in Murchison falls are Sport fishing, hot air balloon safaris, nature walks, private cruises and game drives.

A visit to Murchison is usually not counted complete without a stop for Rhino tracking at the Rhino sanctuary called Ziwa especially for the tourists coming from Kampala. The sanctuary is not located far from the park, it is approximately 3hours and a half journey time between these two destinations. 

For more wildlife viewing and cultural experiences; Kidepo Valley National Park is the destination for you. The park lies a bit far from Kampala which is about 10 hours while driving on the road but what it has to offer is very remarkable. Many say that it offers the true savannah experience, since it is situated in the North eastern part of the country which is mainly dry throughout the year, hence making it easy for wildlife viewing, since the grass is short and the land is flat for easy game viewing. 

Wildlife species that can be seen in Kidepo include the spotted hyenas, jackals, lions, zebras, cheetahs, buffaloes, elephants, bush pigs, oribis and leopards. Activities done in Kidepo include; nature walks, game drives, bird watching and cultural tours. Kidepo also has over 470 species of birds hence is also a good place for birding, the birds that can easily be spotted include, the ostriches, red and yellow barbets, dark chanting goshawks, little bee-eaters and kori bustards.

Other destinations include; Mount Elgon, Mount Rwenzori, Sipi water falls, Semuliki National Park, Sese Islands, Ngamba Island, Lake Mburo National Park, other amazing cultural and historical sites found in districts like Entebbe, Jinja, Fort Portal, Mbale and other areas. 

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FAQs About Uganda Safaris

When is the best time to visit Uganda?

The months of June, July, and August are ideal for seeing animals at waterholes. This is when vegetation is less dense. When vegetation is less dense, you can have a better animal sightings. From January to March and from June to July, Uganda has a tropical climate that averages 61°F-82°F yearly. During this time there’s also a lower chance of rainfall with daytime temps around 80°F. For gorilla trekking specifically it’s best to come in December through February due to drier trails. There will still be rain but it won’t be as wet if you were to come any other time. It’s also very important that you get your permit in advance. The reason why the late dry season is optimal for general wildlife viewing is because animals congregate around scarce water sources amidst thinned-out vegetation. Unlike some neighboring countries, Uganda avoids extreme cold, remaining warm year-round. A lot of people tend to avoid coming here between the time of June and July but this could actually work out for your advantage since there will be fewer crowds. During the wet seasons from March-May and September-November there tends to be more rain which makes the ground muddier however, gorillas/chimps can still be tracked down during this time.

Is Uganda Good For Safari?

Uganda is an excellent destination for safaris due to several factors:

1. Incredible wildlife diversity - Uganda has over half of the world's mountain gorilla population, which is why most tourists visit. You can also find chimpanzees, colobus monkeys and many other primates here and savannah parks are perfect for classic big game viewing with lions, leopards, elephants and more.

2. Remarkable birding - With over 1000 bird species in a tiny country, Uganda is considered one of the best destinations in Africa for bird watchers.

3. Stunning landscapes - The country has diverse and scenic landscapes including rainforests, savannas, wetlands and volcanic craters etc . Murchison Falls on the Nile River is a must see.

4. Fewer crowds – Unlike other destinations in East Africa like Kenya and Tanzania that receive over 2 million tourists each year , Uganda receives less than 1 million visitors annually . This gives you an opportunity to have a more exclusive experience with nature .

5. Unique experiences – In addition to tracking gorillas and chimps , there are so many unique activities that you can enjoy while on your safari including boat cruises along Kazinga Channel , hiking through lush forests e.t.c

6. Cultural interactions – Most of the safaris offer opportunities where clients get to interact with local communities and learn about their cultures and traditions.

Though it’s important to note that wildlife densities are lower than some high profile African destinations like Serengeti or Masai Mara , what makes up for this is the fact that you can do so much here within a short period of time due to its small size . Clients who have been on safari in other countries will tell you that when it comes to variety , Uganda wins hands down .

What are the most popular national parks in Uganda?

1. Murchison Falls National Park - The biggest park in Uganda that’s known for classic big game viewing of lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, antelopes and the famous Murchison Falls where the Nile plunges through a narrow gorge.

2. Queen Elizabeth National Park - Praised for its diverse landscapes from savannah to wetlands and the unique Kazinga Channel offering boat safaris to view hippos, elephants and more at the water's edge.

3. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park - A top destination for gorilla trekking safaris in the ancient rainforests with other primates like chimpanzees and colobus monkeys.

4. Kibale National Park - Considered one of the best places for chimpanzee tracking due to its high density of chimps. Also offers opportunities to see other primates and diverse bird life.

The others like Kidepo Valley, Lake Mburo, Mgahinga Gorilla and Rwenzori Mountains Parks are also noteworthy but these four seem to be consistently highlighted as Uganda's most popular by multiple sources for overall safari experiences.

What is the Average Cost of a Safari in Uganda?

The price of a Ugandan safari varies depending on the level of accommodation and activities. In my quick search, I found the average cost per person, per day to be between $150 all the way to $1000+. Here’s a breakdown by experience:

Budget Safari Cost: $150 - $350 per person per day

What's included: Basic accommodation (camping or budget lodges), transportation, guides, park fees

What's not included: Gorilla trekking permits

Mid-Range Safari Cost: $300 - $550 per person per day

What's included: Comfortable lodges/tented camps, transportation, guides, park fees

What may or may not be included: Gorilla trekking permits ($800 per permit)

Luxury Safari Cost: $600 - $1000+ per person per day

What's included: Upscale lodges/tented camps, private guides/vehicles, all park fees

Typically includes gorilla trekking permits ($800 per permit)

As you can tell from above pricing options which had different experiences and luxuries involved. There is no telling how much money will need to be spent on your individual desires but here are things that impact the cost...

1. Gorilla Trekking Permits – This is a biggie at $800/person for foreign non-residents.

2. Accommodation Level – Luxury lodges range from around $300-$2500+/night and budget options go for around 80-185/night.

3. Group Size – The larger the group size can help with sharing costs like transportation which means lower overall cost.

4. Safari Duration – Longer safaris tend to have lower costs vs shorter ones because of course less days means more concentrated attention from staff.

5. Parks Visited – It goes without saying that some parks are just more expensive than others so keep that in mind.

6. Transportation – If you’re planning on flying between parks then just know it's more expensive than land transportation.

Uganda is a little bit more affordable than its neighbors but like mentioned before the gorilla trekking experience does add up quite a bit. A 3-4 day gorilla trek could start around $3000 per person and 7-10 day safaris can range from $5000 to over $10,000 per person for luxury accommodations and services.

What are the best Uganda safari activities?

Gorilla Trekking – This is considered the “premier” activity, where you take a guided hike through a rainforest like Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to spend an hour observing endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

Chimpanzee Trekking – Another iconic experience is trekking to see chimpanzees, our closest genetic relatives, in places like Kibale National Park and Kyambura Gorge.

Wildlife Safari Game Drives – Uganda offers classic savannah game drives to view lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, antelopes and more in parks like Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth.

Boat Safaris – Taking powerboat or canoe cruises along rivers or channels like the Kazinga Channel to view hippos, elephants and other animals from the water.

Birding – With over 1,000 species recorded so far, Uganda is one of Africa’s top birding destinations with hotspots like Bwindi and Mabamba Swamp for the iconic shoebill stork.

Cultural Experience – Many safaris include visiting local communities, traditional villages and experiencing cultural dances/performances.

Other activities include nature walks or hikes (like the Virunga Volcanoes), adventure sports like whitewater rafting, quad biking and bungee jumping in areas like Jinja.

So even though gorilla and chimpanzee treks are major highlights for many travelers visiting Uganda — these can be combined into three-week trips — there is an incredibly diverse range of safari activities across its varied landscapes and national parks.

What Wildlife Animals will You see in Uganda?

On a safari in Uganda, you’ll see so many animals! Including:

The Big Five:

Lions—look for them in Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth, and Kidepo Valley.
Leopards—you’re especially likely to encounter these at night on drives in Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls, Kidepo Valley, and Lake Mburo
Elephants—forest or savannah varieties occur in many parks like Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth.
Cape Buffaloes—are common in Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls, Kidepo Valley, and Lake Mburo.
Rhinoceros can only be seen at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary after having been reintroduced

And Other Key Animals:

Rothschild's Giraffes are found in Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley

Hippos are all over the rivers/lakes of Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth

Nile Crocodiles have their highest concentrations along the Nile River in Murchison Falls

29 other Antelope species include the Uganda Kob and Bushbuck

Chimpanzees are especially famous for chimp trekking at Kibale Forest

Mountain Gorillas can be trekked for at Bwindi and Mgahinga parks (with about half the global population)

Birding is also incredible. The country has over 1,000 bird species. Along with Shoebill Stork which is usually found in marshes like Mabamba.

How Do You Book A Safari in Uganda?

Here are the typical steps to book a Uganda safari:    Research and choose a reputable local tour operator. Look for ones that are members of associations like the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) and have good reviews.    Ask about the safari packages they offer based on your interests, budget, and preferred travel dates. Most have pre-designed packages listed on their website.    If needed, work with the operator to make sure your itinerary matches up perfectly with what you want for parks, activities, accommodation style, etc.    The operator is going to check if there are any openings available for your dates and provide you with a quote covering costs like accommodation, transportation, guides, permits, etc.    If you’re really set on going gorilla or chimpanzee trekking then it’s best that you secure all necessary permits well in advance. This can be 3-12 months prior for peak seasons and this is typically guided by the operator.    After approving your itinerary and pricing you’ll pay a deposit (typically 20-40% of the total cost) to keep all bookings secured.    As your trip date gets closer you’ll have to pay off everything else which is usually due around 2-4 weeks prior to the safari start date.    The final documentation will be provided by the operator before your arrival. This includes things like a detailed itinerary, vouchers, and contact information before your arrival   Finally! Start your safari! You'll meet up with the rest of he team upon arrival in Uganda Booking gorilla/chimpanzee permits and desired accommodation early (especially for peak season) is key. By using our trusted local operators makes planning much easier!

How Do you apply for a travel visa to Uganda?

Here are the typical steps to apply for a visa to visit Uganda: 1. Visit the official Uganda Electronic Visa/Permit Application System website at 2. Click "Start New Application" and select "Visa" as the type, "Ordinary/Tourist Visa" as the category, and "Single Entry" as the subcategory. 3. Fill out the online application form with accurate personal details, passport info, and travel specifics. Provide an email to receive the approved e-Visa. 4. Upload supporting documents like passport bio-data page, photo, yellow fever certificate, travel itinerary, and proof of accommodation. 5. Pay the visa application fee online, typically around $50 USD for a single-entry tourist e-Visa. 6. Submit the application and you'll get a confirmation number to track the status. 7. Wait 2-7 business days for processing. You'll receive the approved e-Visa by email once ready. 8. Print out the e-Visa approval letter to carry with your passport when traveling to Uganda. 9. Present the printed e-Visa, passport, and yellow fever certificate to immigration on arrival for final entry approval. 10. It's recommended to apply at least 2-4 weeks before travel to allow sufficient processing time. Make sure to provide accurate information and genuine documents. Tour operators can sometimes assist with the process or provide invitation letters if needed. Following this online system allows you to obtain the required e-Visa conveniently before your Ugandan safari.

Is Uganda A Friendly Destination?

Uganda is widely viewed as a welcoming country, people are friendly and chatty. People seem particularly open to cultural exchanges during safaris and the country’s cultural heritage is praised. But here are a few things to keep in mind:
   Safety: Precaution is advised from tourists due to crimes, terrorism threats, and harsh anti-LGBTQ+ laws passed in 2023.

     - LGBTQ+ visitors risk prosecution and persecution.

   Cultural norms: Public displays of affection are frowned upon due to social conservatism. Additionally, interracial couples may receive additional attention or be called “muzungu” (foreigner) — though not necessarily in a derogatory way.

   Disrespecting local customs should be avoided at all costs.
While the general population is described as hospitable hosts, safety remains a concern in certain areas that require vigilance. As long as travelers exercise reasonable caution, Uganda's friendly nature can likely shine through during a safari experience.

What Cultural norms should i be aware of?

The importance of proper greetings, using both hands when greeting elders, and learning basic local language greetings Dressing modestly, especially in rural areas, and avoiding revealing clothing or public displays of affection Using the right hand for greetings, eating, giving/receiving things Showing great respect for elders by not arguing, interrupting, and letting them go first Being aware of closer personal space norms when conversing Removing shoes when visiting homes and politely accepting food/drink offerings Avoiding sensitive public discussions around sexuality, politics, controversial issues Asking permission before taking photos of people and not photographing security personnel/installations.