"The safari circuit through western Uganda is arguably the most exciting in Africa, and certainly the most biodiverse. Sharing ecological affiliations with the West African rainforest and East African savannah, this best-of-both-worlds circuit staggers with its variety, which encompasses gorilla- and chimpanzee-tracking, game drives in search of elephants and tree-climbing lions, and boat trips along scenic waterways alive with hippos, crocodiles and birds. ”

- Philip Briggs

Uganda

Uganda harbours a remarkable diversity of wildlife. Where else, over the space of a few days, could one hike to within a few metres of gorillas and chimpanzees, navigate tropical waterways bustling with hippo and elephant, explore open plains grazed by thousands of antelope and attendant prides of well-fed lions, and tick a host of iconic birds ranging from the flamboyant great blue turaco to the uniquely peculiar shoebill?

The country’s western safari circuit incorporates six very different national parks.

Starting in the north, Murchison Falls is bisected by a wildlife-rich equatorial stretch of the Nile River and the sensational waterfall for which it is named.

Further south, Kibale offers superb chimpanzee-tracking, as well as the opportunity to see a host of other forest primates and birds, and access to a field of gorgeous crater lakes.

The steamy Albertine Rift west of Kibale is home to Semliki National Park, which harbours a wealth of Central African lowland rainforest mammals and birds unrecorded, while Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve is now perhaps the country’s most reliable site for the bizarre shoebill.

Queen Elizabeth is Uganda’s most biodiverse national park, a kind of Africa-in-microcosm whose highlights include boat trips on Kazinga Channel, and the game drives in search of the legendary tree-climbing lions of Ishasha.

Bwindi is the best place to track mountain gorillas, while nearby Mgahinga is most alluring for its scenic location below the (climbable) volcanic peaks of the Virungas.

The more low-key Lake Mburo protects a tract of acacia savannah that harbours many species more widely associated with the plains of Tanzania.

Although the tourist action is focussed on the west, eastern Uganda boasts a couple of major attractions, notably white-water rafting on Grade Five rapids along the Nile, and the remote savanna of Kidepo Valley National Park.

When to go

Find out when is best to visit

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DRIER PERIOD

A brief drier interlude before the more intense long rains arrive in March.

Its location so close to the equator means that temperatures throughout the year are very consistent, the variable in play is often altitude, which varies greatly across Uganda, this, therefore, has a corresponding effect on both temperature as well as rainfall. The majority of the regions in Uganda sit at fairly high altitudes, which moderates the temperatures, especially in the case of Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks where it can be really quite cool.

Although rainfall is possible through the year in most locations, there are main two wet seasons in Uganda. The first takes place between March and May, the second between September and November. There are some exceptions to this, such as Kidepo Valley National Park which has just one wet season.

The best time for a safari in Uganda is very much defined by the type of experience you are seeking. Many parks are good all year round, although you will find that one’s chances of a good sighting improve during the drier months of the year. Trekking Gorillas or Chimpanzee is not as influenced by the weather, although there is no doubt that the trekking is easier and more enjoyable during the drier times of the year.

DRIER PERIOD

A brief drier interlude before the more intense long rains arrive in March.

Its location so close to the equator means that temperatures throughout the year are very consistent, the variable in play is often altitude, which varies greatly across Uganda, this, therefore, has a corresponding effect on both temperature as well as rainfall. The majority of the regions in Uganda sit at fairly high altitudes, which moderates the temperatures, especially in the case of Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks where it can be really quite cool.

Although rainfall is possible through the year in most locations, there are main two wet seasons in Uganda. The first takes place between March and May, the second between September and November. There are some exceptions to this, such as Kidepo Valley National Park which has just one wet season.

The best time for a safari in Uganda is very much defined by the type of experience you are seeking. Many parks are good all year round, although you will find that one’s chances of a good sighting improve during the drier months of the year. Trekking Gorillas or Chimpanzee is not as influenced by the weather, although there is no doubt that the trekking is easier and more enjoyable during the drier times of the year.

WET SEASON

The exact start and end of the rains are always a little uncertain, but generally, this period is the wettest time of the year.

Its location so close to the equator means that temperatures throughout the year are very consistent, the variable in play is often altitude, which varies greatly across Uganda, this, therefore, has a corresponding effect on both temperature as well as rainfall. The majority of the regions in Uganda sit at fairly high altitudes, which moderates the temperatures, especially in the case of Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks where it can be really quite cool.

Although rainfall is possible through the year in most locations, there are main two wet seasons in Uganda. The first takes place between March and May, the second between September and November. There are some exceptions to this, such as Kidepo Valley National Park which has just one wet season.

The best time for a safari in Uganda is very much defined by the type of experience you are seeking. Many parks are good all year round, although you will find that one’s chances of a good sighting improve during the drier months of the year. Trekking Gorillas or Chimpanzee is not as influenced by the weather, although there is no doubt that the trekking is easier and more enjoyable during the drier times of the year.

WET SEASON

The exact start and end of the rains are always a little uncertain, but generally, this period is the wettest time of the year.

Its location so close to the equator means that temperatures throughout the year are very consistent, the variable in play is often altitude, which varies greatly across Uganda, this, therefore, has a corresponding effect on both temperature as well as rainfall. The majority of the regions in Uganda sit at fairly high altitudes, which moderates the temperatures, especially in the case of Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks where it can be really quite cool.

Although rainfall is possible through the year in most locations, there are main two wet seasons in Uganda. The first takes place between March and May, the second between September and November. There are some exceptions to this, such as Kidepo Valley National Park which has just one wet season.

The best time for a safari in Uganda is very much defined by the type of experience you are seeking. Many parks are good all year round, although you will find that one’s chances of a good sighting improve during the drier months of the year. Trekking Gorillas or Chimpanzee is not as influenced by the weather, although there is no doubt that the trekking is easier and more enjoyable during the drier times of the year.

WET SEASON

The exact start and end of the rains are always a little uncertain, but generally, this period is the wettest time of the year.

Its location so close to the equator means that temperatures throughout the year are very consistent, the variable in play is often altitude, which varies greatly across Uganda, this, therefore, has a corresponding effect on both temperature as well as rainfall. The majority of the regions in Uganda sit at fairly high altitudes, which moderates the temperatures, especially in the case of Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks where it can be really quite cool.

Although rainfall is possible through the year in most locations, there are main two wet seasons in Uganda. The first takes place between March and May, the second between September and November. There are some exceptions to this, such as Kidepo Valley National Park which has just one wet season.

The best time for a safari in Uganda is very much defined by the type of experience you are seeking. Many parks are good all year round, although you will find that one’s chances of a good sighting improve during the drier months of the year. Trekking Gorillas or Chimpanzee is not as influenced by the weather, although there is no doubt that the trekking is easier and more enjoyable during the drier times of the year.

DRIER PERIOD

A brief drier interlude before the more intense long rains arrive in March.

Its location so close to the equator means that temperatures throughout the year are very consistent, the variable in play is often altitude, which varies greatly across Uganda, this, therefore, has a corresponding effect on both temperature as well as rainfall. The majority of the regions in Uganda sit at fairly high altitudes, which moderates the temperatures, especially in the case of Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks where it can be really quite cool.

Although rainfall is possible through the year in most locations, there are main two wet seasons in Uganda. The first takes place between March and May, the second between September and November. There are some exceptions to this, such as Kidepo Valley National Park which has just one wet season.

The best time for a safari in Uganda is very much defined by the type of experience you are seeking. Many parks are good all year round, although you will find that one’s chances of a good sighting improve during the drier months of the year. Trekking Gorillas or Chimpanzee is not as influenced by the weather, although there is no doubt that the trekking is easier and more enjoyable during the drier times of the year.

DRIER PERIOD

A brief drier interlude before the more intense long rains arrive in March.

Its location so close to the equator means that temperatures throughout the year are very consistent, the variable in play is often altitude, which varies greatly across Uganda, this, therefore, has a corresponding effect on both temperature as well as rainfall. The majority of the regions in Uganda sit at fairly high altitudes, which moderates the temperatures, especially in the case of Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks where it can be really quite cool.

Although rainfall is possible through the year in most locations, there are main two wet seasons in Uganda. The first takes place between March and May, the second between September and November. There are some exceptions to this, such as Kidepo Valley National Park which has just one wet season.

The best time for a safari in Uganda is very much defined by the type of experience you are seeking. Many parks are good all year round, although you will find that one’s chances of a good sighting improve during the drier months of the year. Trekking Gorillas or Chimpanzee is not as influenced by the weather, although there is no doubt that the trekking is easier and more enjoyable during the drier times of the year.

DRIER PERIOD

A brief drier interlude before the more intense long rains arrive in March.

Its location so close to the equator means that temperatures throughout the year are very consistent, the variable in play is often altitude, which varies greatly across Uganda, this, therefore, has a corresponding effect on both temperature as well as rainfall. The majority of the regions in Uganda sit at fairly high altitudes, which moderates the temperatures, especially in the case of Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks where it can be really quite cool.

Although rainfall is possible through the year in most locations, there are main two wet seasons in Uganda. The first takes place between March and May, the second between September and November. There are some exceptions to this, such as Kidepo Valley National Park which has just one wet season.

The best time for a safari in Uganda is very much defined by the type of experience you are seeking. Many parks are good all year round, although you will find that one’s chances of a good sighting improve during the drier months of the year. Trekking Gorillas or Chimpanzee is not as influenced by the weather, although there is no doubt that the trekking is easier and more enjoyable during the drier times of the year.

WET SEASON

The exact start and end of the rains are always a little uncertain, but generally, rainfall can be expected at any time during this period.

Its location so close to the equator means that temperatures throughout the year are very consistent, the variable in play is often altitude, which varies greatly across Uganda, this, therefore, has a corresponding effect on both temperature as well as rainfall. The majority of the regions in Uganda sit at fairly high altitudes, which moderates the temperatures, especially in the case of Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks where it can be really quite cool.

Although rainfall is possible through the year in most locations, there are main two wet seasons in Uganda. The first takes place between March and May, the second between September and November. There are some exceptions to this, such as Kidepo Valley National Park which has just one wet season.

The best time for a safari in Uganda is very much defined by the type of experience you are seeking. Many parks are good all year round, although you will find that one’s chances of a good sighting improve during the drier months of the year. Trekking Gorillas or Chimpanzee is not as influenced by the weather, although there is no doubt that the trekking is easier and more enjoyable during the drier times of the year.

WET SEASON

The exact start and end of the rains are always a little uncertain, but generally, rainfall can be expected at any time during this period.

Its location so close to the equator means that temperatures throughout the year are very consistent, the variable in play is often altitude, which varies greatly across Uganda, this, therefore, has a corresponding effect on both temperature as well as rainfall. The majority of the regions in Uganda sit at fairly high altitudes, which moderates the temperatures, especially in the case of Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks where it can be really quite cool.

Although rainfall is possible through the year in most locations, there are main two wet seasons in Uganda. The first takes place between March and May, the second between September and November. There are some exceptions to this, such as Kidepo Valley National Park which has just one wet season.

The best time for a safari in Uganda is very much defined by the type of experience you are seeking. Many parks are good all year round, although you will find that one’s chances of a good sighting improve during the drier months of the year. Trekking Gorillas or Chimpanzee is not as influenced by the weather, although there is no doubt that the trekking is easier and more enjoyable during the drier times of the year.

WET SEASON

The exact start and end of the rains are always a little uncertain, but generally, rainfall can be expected at any time during this period.

Its location so close to the equator means that temperatures throughout the year are very consistent, the variable in play is often altitude, which varies greatly across Uganda, this, therefore, has a corresponding effect on both temperature as well as rainfall. The majority of the regions in Uganda sit at fairly high altitudes, which moderates the temperatures, especially in the case of Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks where it can be really quite cool.

Although rainfall is possible through the year in most locations, there are main two wet seasons in Uganda. The first takes place between March and May, the second between September and November. There are some exceptions to this, such as Kidepo Valley National Park which has just one wet season.

The best time for a safari in Uganda is very much defined by the type of experience you are seeking. Many parks are good all year round, although you will find that one’s chances of a good sighting improve during the drier months of the year. Trekking Gorillas or Chimpanzee is not as influenced by the weather, although there is no doubt that the trekking is easier and more enjoyable during the drier times of the year.

DRIER PERIOD

A brief drier interlude before the more intense long rains arrive in March.

Its location so close to the equator means that temperatures throughout the year are very consistent, the variable in play is often altitude, which varies greatly across Uganda, this, therefore, has a corresponding effect on both temperature as well as rainfall. The majority of the regions in Uganda sit at fairly high altitudes, which moderates the temperatures, especially in the case of Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks where it can be really quite cool.

Although rainfall is possible through the year in most locations, there are main two wet seasons in Uganda. The first takes place between March and May, the second between September and November. There are some exceptions to this, such as Kidepo Valley National Park which has just one wet season.

The best time for a safari in Uganda is very much defined by the type of experience you are seeking. Many parks are good all year round, although you will find that one’s chances of a good sighting improve during the drier months of the year. Trekking Gorillas or Chimpanzee is not as influenced by the weather, although there is no doubt that the trekking is easier and more enjoyable during the drier times of the year.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Uganda’s most important tourist hub, Bwindi protects a landscape of steep hills and swampy valleys in one of Africa’s largest and most ancient montane rainforests. It has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its biodiversity. Bwindi is the best place in Uganda to see mountain gorillas.

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Jinja & Bujagali Falls

Jinja & Bujagali Falls

Extolled by geographers as the Source of the Nile, Jinja now doubles as the adrenalin capital of East Africa, with activities ranging from white-water rafting and kayaking to bungee jumps and horseback safaris.

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Kampala & Entebbe

Kampala & Entebbe

Situated 40km apart on the Lake Victoria hinterland, Kampala is a bustling modern capital with limited appeal to tourists, while the altogether more attractive port of Entebbe is the site of Uganda’s only international airport.

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Kibale National Park

Kibale National Park

Perfect for chimpanzee-tracking, it's said that this large tract of rainforest has the greatest primate diversity in East Africa. There are guided walks through the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary to spot birds, and the volcanically-formed hills outside the park offer many beautiful crater lakes.

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Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo Valley National Park

Uganda’s most remote and third-largest national park vies for the title as the country’s most alluring safari destination. Dense populations of elephant, buffalo and lion inhabit the circuit through the Narus Valley, yet the rugged scenery and lack of tourists create a real wilderness atmosphere.

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Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park

A popular and convenient place to break up the long drive between Kampala/Entebbe and Bwindi, this low-key national park protects a tract of acacia woodland that harbours several antelope and bird species with a limited distribution elsewhere in Uganda.

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Mgahinga National Park

Mgahinga National Park

Protecting the Ugandan portion of the Virunga Mountains, this small but exceptionally scenic national park offers daily gorilla-tracking excursion, and a host of other rewarding but challenging activities.

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Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park

Uganda’s largest national park supports plentiful elephant and buffalo, substantial numbers of lion, and the world's largest surviving population of Rothschild's giraffe. Game drives are rewarding, but the show-stealer is the launch trip upriver to the base of East Africa’s mightiest waterfall.

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Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Uganda’s premier safari destination, QENP has a remarkable and biodiverse variety of terrestrial and freshwater habitats. Highlights include the tree-climbing lions of Ishasha, the chimpanzees of Kyambura Gorge, and the herds of buffalo and elephant seen from boat trips on the Kazinga Channel.

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Semliki Valley

Semliki Valley

The spectacular Semliki Valley has a truly magnificent location hemmed in by the towering Albertine Rift escarpment to the east, the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains to the south, and the vast Lake Albert to the north. It incorporates two of Uganda’s most rewarding and little-visited protected areas.

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Explore our sample itineraries for a little inspiration

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