East Africa is made up of seven popular countries including Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, D.R. Congo and Burundi including the beautiful Uganda which is filled with wonders and authenticity. Uganda is a land-locked country, neighboring some of the above-mentioned countries only apart from Burundi which is located south of Rwanda. Uganda covers an area of 93,065 square kilometers where by 76,101square kilometers are land and 16,965 square kilometers covered by water.
Uganda is decorated with green vegetation, blessed with primates, reptiles, birds, big 5 and beautiful scenery dotted with crater lakes and rivers plus many more which resulted in her nickname, the "Pearl of Africa". Uganda obtained this slogan when Winston Churchill was on his adventure to Uganda and finalized by writing a book in the year 1908 known as "my African journey".
Uganda is home to ten national parks, all protected and conserved under the management of Uganda wildlife Authority. Most of these national parks are found in western parts of the country namely Kibale, Semuliki, Rwenzori Mountains, Queen Elizabeth, Mgahinga, Bwindi, and Lake Mburo national parks. In the north, there is Murchison Falls and Kidepo National Park while Mount. Elgon is the only national park located in eastern Uganda.
Each of these protected areas consist and harbor different attractions that enable wildlife safaris to become colorful and enjoyable. Their beauty ranges from blossoming flowers, birds, mountains and hills, primates, butterflies, caterpillars, reptiles and many more. Travelers have a high chance of spotting these creatures on any kind of Uganda safari.
These attractions have enabled amazing activities for example gorilla trekking which is done in two national parks in Uganda – Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Bwindi national park hosts almost half the number of mountain gorillas in the whole world and therefore this national park is home to many gorilla families, about 20.
Mountain gorillas are rare primate species with much fir, oval shaped head and gigantic physique. They live in families, also called groups and each family is led by one dominant male called silverback.
To be allowed to take this activity, one must purchase a gorilla permit from Uganda wildlife authority or through a licensed tour operator. All gorilla treks start from respective sector headquarters, either Buhoma, Rushaga, Ruhija or Nkuringo.
Travelers can also opt to do chimpanzee trekking adventure which is quite interesting with these great primates grooming each other, climbing up in the trees, how they take care of young ones, screaming happily and many more social behaviors all providing a smile on visitors’ face and make their safari more memorable.
Chimpanzee trekking is done at Kyambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Budongo forest reserve in Murchison falls National Park, Kalinzu forest and Kibale National Park which is the primate capital of the world with a total of 13 primates including chimpanzees.
Not only does Uganda provide chimpanzee and gorilla trekking adventures, but also a trek to meet another omnivorous primate, known as golden monkey. This experience can only take place in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park which is home of over 3500 golden monkeys. The park covers an average area of 33.7 square kilometers and consists of other wildlife and bird species apart from golden monkeys.
A cultural encounter in Uganda is worth participating in since Uganda is home to over 52 different tribes. The most interesting is the Batwa cultural encounter, which takes place either after golden monkey adventure in Mgahinga or gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national.
The experience reveals the secret of how the Batwa used to survive in the forest and their day-to-day lifestyle.
In case your safari heads to Kibale National Park, don't miss the ''Kinyege dance" with Isunga community tours for the Batooro and Bakiga people experience.
During any Uganda safari, game drives should be your first eye-pointer since it's quite interesting where one gets a chance to spot different wildlife including the big five such as forest elephants moving alongside the road, the roaring lions sleeping in the road where you feel like passing but you can't, leopards, Rhinos, buffalos, antelopes, giraffe, warthog, zebras, Impalas, the Uganda kob and many more, either during early morning drive, or late evening when animals are rushing for their dens. Night game drives are famous for nocturnal life.
For those that like to keep themselves physically fit and adventure more, hiking mountain Rwenzori is the best experience that takes you 7 days to and from to reach margarita peak. The way to the summit is through a forested area therefore, a lot of beautiful sightings will be noted such as beautiful flowers, the rare three-horned chameleon and many bird species recorded like Rwenzori turaco, ruwenzori nightjar, ruwenzori puff back, mountain buzzard, black duck, rufous spraw hawk and others.
Birding in Uganda will never leave un-happy with their sweet melodies, beautiful colours, how they fly over in the air and many more. Many places offer to bird though it can be carried out everywhere. Such places include Mabamba wetlands purposely for the shoe bill, Semuliki national Park - the true birder's haven for Green-breasted Pitta, and many other places.
From any point, many birds are recorded such as green wood hoopoe, Marico Sunbird, speckled mouse bird, northern black flycatcher, African grey hornbill, common scimitabill, emerald spotted wood dove and many others.
Other activities include boat cruise normally best done on Kazinga channel in Queen Elizabeth, River Nile in Murchison falls where you take a chance to view the raging waterfalls. Spot animals like hippos, crocodiles, and other water birds such as kingfishers, black crake, pelicans, fish eagle, palm nut vulture and many others. Fly like a bird in the air while zip lining enjoying the fresh air of Lake Bunyonyi.
You can also take part in adventurous activities such as white water rafting on river Nile rapids, bungee jumping in Jinja where two legs are tied together with a bungee and you jump from a high elevation, kayaking, canoeing, hot air ballooning and many others that you can do while on your safari to Uganda.
On the other hand, for those planning to have a safari in Uganda, remember to carry binoculars to be able to view distant species, cameras to take photos, rain proof backpacks to keep your gadgets safe, snacks, rain jackets, long trousers, sun screen, strong hiking shoes, insect repellants and many more for the best of your trip.
Uganda has only two seasons - dry season which runs from December to February and June to August. During this period, all trails are reachable giving easy accessibility, the vegetation is quite dry and short hence offering great views.
Rainy season starts from March until May and November to early December. During this period, vegetation is green and discounts are offered to give a chance to budget travellers also discover new places. Therefore, for those interested in knowing what could be the best time to travel, it just depends on one's choice.
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