Gorilla Trekking & Big Game Viewing in the Pearl of Africa
In his 1908 book titled My African Journey, Winston Churchill referred to Uganda as the ‘Pearl of Africa’. The nickname neatly sums up the East African country’s rich beauty in three simple words, encapsulating everything from its vibrant colours and lush vegetation to the magnificent wildlife that roams its plains. Today, the moniker is as valid as ever, as Uganda has grown into one of Africa’s most coveted travel sojourns.
A safari in Uganda is undoubtedly one of the most unique adventures you’ll experience on the continent. With over 20% of its land dedicated to wildlife reserves, the country remains largely untouched, leaving the country’s gorgeous landscape to take centre stage on Uganda safaris.
The wildlife in Uganda is immense and diverse, affording visitors unique experiences that can be found in few other places in the world. Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda are the country’s premier wildlife destinations, offering classic big game viewing, chimpanzee trekking and river cruises, as well as a chance at seeing the famous tree-climbing lions. While Kibale Forest National Park provides accessible and enlightening insight into life in a tropical rainforest when on guided chimpanzee treks. And we can’t forget the wonders that lie in Uganda’s rainforests. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park protect more than half of the world’s total population of mountain gorillas – making them two of the best locations to enjoy a life-changing gorilla trek.
With so much to do and see, here are our favourite reasons to book a Uganda safari:
1. Search for Great Apes and Other Primates in Uganda's Verdant Rainforests
Uganda is home to the highest density of primates and gorillas in the world. The expansive rainforest jungles of this landlocked country in East Africa are home to 20 species of primates, including mountain gorillas, chimpanzees and golden monkeys.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda has become one of Africa’s most powerful wildlife experiences and because of its success, the endangered gorilla population is on the incline. Trekking for great apes in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest boasts a 90% success rate at finding habituated family groups. Meaning, you have an all-but-guaranteed opportunity to spend an hour face-to-face with these majestic creatures as they interact with each other in their natural habitat. December to February and between June and August are considered the best time to visit Uganda for trekking for mountain gorillas and chimpanzees.
Mountain gorillas are not the only primate you’ll have the privilege of seeing up close in Uganda. Kibale Forest is home to the globe’s highest population density, with 13 primate species currently inhabiting the area. Naturally, this makes Kibale Forest the premier destination for chimpanzee tracking. You can round off your primate trekking experience by hiking the slopes of the Virunga Mountains in Mgahinga National Park in search of the gorgeous golden monkey.
- Spend time observing mountain gorillas in Uganda when gorilla trekking in Bwindi Forest and Mgahinga National Park.
- Search for chimpanzees in Kibale Forest and golden monkeys on the slopes of the Virunga Mountains.
- The life-changing opportunity to watch primates interact with each other in their natural habitat.
2. Extraordinary Wildlife Encounters in Uganda's Hidden Gems
Although Uganda is renowned for its great ape treks, the country is also a fantastic wildlife destination. Queen Elizabeth National Park is the country’s premier destination for classic game viewing. Being one of the most biologically diverse parks in the world, the national park offers potential sightings of elephants, hippo, crocodile, buffalo and a variety of antelope species, to name a few. However, the stars of the show are undoubtedly the famous tree-climbing lions that call the park home.
- Opportunity to see the world-famous tree-climbing lions of Uganda.
- Enjoy classic game drives through the park, as well as guided nature walks and boat cruises.
- The Kazinga Channel Boat Cruise offers rewarding game viewing and bird watching.
- Chimpanzee trekking and sensational bird watching are also on offer.
3. Relish in the Breathtaking Views of Uganda's Lakes & Mountain Ranges
Uganda’s landscape boasts outstanding features like the second-largest freshwater lake in the world, as well as the source of the longest river, the strongest waterfall, and Africa’s tallest mountain range. From the fertile, lush basin of the Great Rift Valley and magical rainforest of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to the glistening water of the Kazinga Channel and striking vistas of the Virunga Mountains, it’s a nature lover’s paradise.
We can’t forget to mention Uganda’s most extraordinary natural beauty, the Rwenzori Mountains. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is a breathtaking sight to behold, offering stunning scenery of waterfalls, lakes, rivers, glaciers and forests. Experience the captivating terrain up close through hikes, boat cruises or even mountain biking excursions.
- Explore the lakes, rainforests, savannas and mountain ranges through hikes, game drives, boat cruises and mountain biking excursions.
- Soak up the breathtaking sights that inspired the nickname, ’Pearl of Africa’.
- Luxury lodges in Uganda all offer magnificent views of the surrounding scenery.
4. Enjoy a Crowd-Free Safari that Easily Combines with Other Top Destinations
Compared to its neighbours in East Africa (such as Tanzania and Kenya), Uganda sees fewer visitors. One of the first questions we are asked is: Where is Uganda? A true hidden gem, Uganda is relatively unknown to many outside of Africa. However, this is fantastic news for safari-goers seeking a crowd-free trip. A safari in Uganda affords a more private, personalised and exclusive experience, where there are little to no other guests around during your stay.
In addition to the smaller crowds, Uganda is easily combined with other top African destinations. Logistically, neighbouring countries Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Congo are easily coupled with your Uganda luxury safari. Meaning, you can visit enjoy big game viewing and the Great Wildebeest Migration in the Masai Mara or Serengeti before trekking through the rainforests of Bwindi National Park, Volcanoes National Park and Odzala-Kokoua National Park. And once you’ve ticked off all the places to visit in Uganda, end your trip off with a beachside escape in Zanzibar for a bit of rest and relaxation before heading home.
- Undiscovered, raw and authentic safari experience in one of Africa’s best-kept secrets.
- Enjoy exclusivity, privacy and personalised service throughout your trip.
- Gorilla treks and game drives away from mass crowds.
- Combine your Africa gorilla tours with other popular destinations, like the Masai Mara, Serengeti and Zanzibar.
5. Enriching Cultural Experiences with the Local People of Uganda
In addition to the rich, diverse wildlife and natural landscape, Uganda is also renowned for its people. Happy, generous, friendly and welcoming are the words closely associated with the Ugandan people. They are known as sociable, exuberant extroverts who are more than willing to welcome and help every visitor to their country.
Beyond the friendliness and warmth of the population, the people of Uganda are also some of the most fascinating individuals you’ll ever meet. Over 50 tribes with different cultures call Uganda home, making it a cultural melting pot of various indigenous people. One of the highlights of visiting Uganda is immersing yourself in the culture and learning from the Ugandans as they share their colourful dress, music, dance, food and languages with you.
- Meet the local Batwa community and learn traditional crafts, like weaving a basket and carving a mark.
- Cultural visits to the local Nkingo and Bigodi villages, meeting people from Ugandan tribes.