Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has an exceptional range of altitude and is one of Africa’s most extensive belts of primary montane forest. Although there is a fine array of birdlife, the prime attraction is its mountain gorillas (over 300), and four family groups have been habituated to allow human approach.
Where: Kanungu District
Ideal for viewing: chimpanzee, golden monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey, L’Hoest’s monkey, mountain gorilla
Excellent for: Gorilla trekking
Lying east of the Ruwenzori Mountains, this forest habitat is home to an amazing 13 species of primate. Tracking a noisy chimpanzee family is a thrilling experience, and the sheer wealth of wildlife will delight naturalists. The birdlife is also outstanding. We recommend an overnight stay here to maximise viewing.
Where: Kamwenge District
Ideal for viewing: chimpanzee, grey-cheeked mangabey, L’Hoest’s monkey, red colobus monkey, bushpig
Located in Uganda’s northeast corner on the border with South Sudan, Kidepo Valley is one of the most isolated national parks in Africa, yet it is home to a unique and special array of wildlife, including cheetah. This region of idyllic savannah is crisscrossed by large riverbeds and rocky hilltops.
Where: Karamoja Region
Ideal for viewing: cheetah, eland, lion, red-throated bee-eater, ostrich
Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris
Lake Mburo is a small, attractive park of rolling hills, grassland and a large papyrus-fringed lake. Effectively an extension of the Tanzanian plains, it has almost 70 species of mammal and good density of plains game. Once covered by open savannah, it contains much woodland and forms part of a 50 kilometre-long wetland.
Excellent for: Vehicle safaris, River safaris, Birdwatching
This is Uganda’s smallest and probably most scenic national park, forming part of the larger conservation area of Virunga. Mgahinga is dominated by three extinct volcanoes and primarily supports groups of mountain gorilla, although bird species and other wildlife are also present.
Where: South west Uganda
Ideal for viewing: Cape buffalo, African elephant, golden monkey, mountain gorilla, serval
Excellent for: Walking safaris, Gorilla trekking
Murchison Falls National Park is renowned for its scenic beauty and abundant flora and fauna including the fascinating, endangered shoebill. Bisected by the meandering Victoria Nile, the river plummets through a narrow cleft in the rocks, resulting in the thundering raw of the powerful Falls.
Where: Masindi District, Uganda
Ideal for viewing: chimpanzee, Nile crocodile, Rothschild’s giraffe, shoebill, Ugandan kob
Excellent for: Vehicle safaris, Birdwatching
This sanctuary in Lake Victoria is home to around 50 orphaned chimpanzees that have been rescued from throughout Uganda and are unable to return to the wild. Here they enjoy the run of the island, safe from harm. Day or overnight visits are possible to watch the feeding sessions and explore the island.
Queen Elizabeth National Park offers Uganda’s best open-country birds (over 600 species) and wildlife (over 100 mammals). Often described as “The Pearl of Africa”, it has rolling grassland, tropical forest, volcanic crater lakes, papyrus swamp and lakeshore, giving it one of the highest biodiversity rates in the world.
Where: Kasese District
Ideal for viewing: black bee-eater, chimpanzee, giant forest hog, red-tailed colobus, Ugandan kob
Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris, River safaris
Uganda’s oldest protected area is a 500 square kilometre reserve that lies in the Rift Valley, between the Rwenzori Mountains and Lake Albert. Its diverse habitats of riverine forest, woodland and acacia savannah support a wealth of wildlife, and the area is also rich in birdlife, with some 400 recorded species.
Uganda harbours a great variety of mammals and birds which are simply not found elsewhere in either East or Southern Africa. Major tracts of forest are easily accessible here, providing unmatched opportunities to see primates such as the chimpanzee, golden monkey or the famous mountain gorilla. Uganda also has plenty of game-viewing.
3 recommended trips.Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.
Immerse yourself in a life changing experience on this six night trip, tracking gorillas in the depths of Uganda. Trekking through the steep, densely forested hills and then finally coming across these amazing creatures camouflaged in the vegetation is an inspiring, unforgettable and privileged moment.
When to go: Jan-Dec
Duration inc. flights: 7 days
Price inc. flights: From £2,895 pp
Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
Uganda is a land full of stunning landscapes and remarkable wildlife. This itinerary begins in the mists of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in search of mountain gorillas, and culminates in a relaxing stay on the tranquil shores of Lake Victoria, with wildlife highlights such as lion, leopard, elephant and chimpanzee in between.
When to go: Dec-Oct
Duration inc. flights: 13 days
Price inc. flights: From £5,295 pp
Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
Take a unique primate safari, gorilla trekking in Rwanda’s Parc National des Volcans and Bwindi National Park in Uganda, as well as tracking the equally fascinating chimpanzee in Uganda’s Kibale Forest. Observing these magnificent apes in their natural habitat is a wildlife experience of a lifetime.
When to go: Jan-Dec
Duration inc. flights: 14 days
Price inc. flights: From £6,795 pp
Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
When to go
Gorillas are best seen from late December to early March and May to early October. All other periods are rainy and, though challenging, tracking is easier as they are less active.
Mar to May: The wettest season of the year
Jun to Oct: The most pleasant time to travel
Nov to Dec: Two months of light rain freshen everything up
Jan to Feb: A brief lull between the short and long rains
Mar to May: Long rains, but a good time to see animals and their young
Apr to May: Gorillas descend to lower altitude to feed on bamboo shoots
Jun to Aug: Dry season – best time, good time to see mountain gorillas
Sep to Nov: When the short rains fall
Dec to Feb: Short dry season – good time to see mountain gorillas
Where to stay
12 recommended places to stay:
Situated in the heart of the Kidepo Valley National Park in northeast Uganda, Apoka Safari Lodge sits in a stunning location with breathtaking views across the savannah plains and distant mountains. The lodge has ten spacious canvas rooms and a rock swimming pool, which overlooks a waterhole.
This lodge is situated within Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and less than five minutes walk from the start point of the gorilla trekking. It comprises eight comfortable cottages, each with its own private verandah, which affords wonderful views of the surrounding forest canopy.
This stunning eco-lodge overlooks the primeval forest of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, home to gorillas, chimpanzees, monkeys and birds. Accommodation consists of eight spacious wooden cottages, and guests often spend hours on the terrace watching the varied wildlife moving through the tree canopy.
This luxurious lodge is situated high on Nteko Ridge, on the southern edge of Bwindi National Park, just a short walk from the control point for tracking the Nkuringo group of mountain gorillas. Accommodation consists of eight stone cottages, two of which are double-roomed family units.
In the remote southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park on the Ntungwe River, the luxurious Ishasha Wilderness Camp accommodates guests in ten well-appointed en suite tents. On a clear day you can see the Virunga Volcanoes lying to the south, and the Rwenzori Mountains to the north.
Situated on the edge of the Kyambura Gorge and Queen Elizabeth National Park, this small lodge has stunning views over the surrounding lush savannah, with the Rwenzori Mountains in the distance. From here you can go chimp tracking and enjoy vehicle safaris or boat trips, and there are also guided walks.
This exclusive retreat beside Lake Mburo National Park consists of 12 spacious tented rooms on wooden platforms with thatched roofs, all with exceptional views. The infinity pool overlooks the valley below where zebra, bushbuck, buffalo, eland, impala and warthogs can be seen drinking at the waterhole.
Mount Gahinga Lodge nestles in the shadow of the dramatic Virunga Volcanoes, on the edge of Mgahinga National Park, and is the ideal place to stay for tracking gorillas in Nkuringo. Other activities include climbing a volcano, birding or nature walks, or simply taking in one of Africa’s most breathtaking landscapes.
Mweya Safari Lodge is a large, first class accommodation, located on a peninsula within the heart of the spectacular Queen Elizabeth National Park. All rooms have en suite facilities and boast private balconies looking out across the famous Kazinga Channel with its large hippo population.
Pineapple Bay can be found on Bulago Island in the serene waters of Lake Victoria, and offers eight large chalets, including some suitable for families. Located less than an hour’s boat journey from Entebbe, it is easily accessible and offers a perfect place to relax after your Ugandan safari adventure.
This exclusive eco-lodge stands in a secluded position in the lush Kibale Forest, home to 13 species of primate including chimpanzees. Eight luxury safari tents on raised wooden platforms are covered by thatch to blend perfectly with the environment, and there is also an opportunity to stay in a tree house.
Semliki Safari Lodge is a beautiful small tented lodge nestling on the crest of Uganda’s Wasa River Valley, ideally located for chimpanzee tracking. Tents have permanent thatched roofs and are furnished with a large four-poster bed, with private verandahs providing panoramic views across the bush.