Hiking through the damp and humid Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, anticipation building in your chest as the arduous ascent continues may not seem to some like the ideal vacation pastime. But the resulting experience of witnessing a troupe of mountain gorilla in their natural habitat is beyond expectation, more than justifying every single footstep.Yet with spectacular waterfalls, expansive grasslands, towering mountains and expansive lakes, there is so much to see and do in Uganda.
Come for the great apes, stay for the myriad other experiences! Former British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill once declared Uganda ‘the pearl of Africa’, though with its rich rainforests, verdant grasslands and network of waterways – including the upper reaches of the Nile – perhaps ‘the emerald of Africa’ may have been more appropriate.Nature abounds throughout this lush and fertile nation, ranging across jungle, plains and snow-capped mountains in a country of warm hospitality, unique fauna and breathtaking vistas.
Though some of its valleys present the more familiar semi-arid plains so synonymous with Africa, much of Uganda is abundant in waterways and lush vegetation. This can make game viewing a little more challenging but also exquisitely unique, with many animals rarely found anywhere else and landscapes exhilaratingly variable.From snow-capped mountains to vast grasslands, Uganda is exquisitely captivating, providing a wealth of incredible landscapes and destinations to explore.
As a generalization, Uganda isn’t known for its luxury accommodation. Tourists tend to visit the country with a specific purpose – predominantly to see gorilla and chimpanzees – so accommodation is somewhat focussed more on functionality than luxury. That said, for those wishing to enjoy their stay beyond the nature watching, a handful of boutique residences offer exquisite quality.
Kidepo Valley National Park combines traditionally-styled rustic dwellings with indulgent modernity to create accommodations that simply ooze African appeal. The handbuilt lodges are evocative of tribal dwellings, with nuances of colonial camps and all the trimmings you could wish for of a more contemporary hotel.
Safari camps can also be found in Uganda, resting upon the lush plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park and providing prime residence for birdwatchers. The area is also home to an African rarity – tree-climbing lions. Not known for their arboreal agility, lion usually reside at ground level, leopard taking advantage of this by carrying their fresh kill into trees and out of the reach of their adversaries. From your luxury tented camp, you can journey out across the park in search of the lion perched amongst the broad branches of fig trees.
If Uganda has one utterly redeeming feature in its accommodation it is in outlook. The spectacular landscapes and meandering rivers provide spectacular locations for several luxury lodges, whether overlooking some of the country’s stunning lakes or nestled into the oxbows of the several riverways.
With gorilla as the main attraction, some accommodation is created simply to give you a comfortable nights’ rest prior to your explorations of Bwindi’s Impenetrable Forest. However, luxury abounds even here, and a handful of venues provide exquisite accommodation for those wishing to spend several days in the region or simply enjoy a more opulent starting point for gorilla trekking.
BEST TIME: Dec-Feb & Jun-Sept are drier, making gorilla trekking more pleasant
CLIMATE: LOW: 59-80ºF (15-27ºC) Jun – Sep / HIGH: 63-84ºF (17-29ºC)Nov – Apr
SEASONS: DRY: Dec – Feb & Jun – Aug / WET: Mar – April & Sep – Nov
BEST FOR: Something different. Perfect for avid hikers, photographers & adventurers
Uganda is so much more than simply gorilla trekking, though of course, this holds exceptional appeal. Take the time to explore your options and discover all that Uganda has to offer.
Three to four days will suffice if the primates are your primary focus, but 10 to 14 days are required to truly do the country justice. Uganda’s varied landscapes and destinations present myriad opportunities for game viewing, walking, accommodations and adventures. If you are a safari enthusiast looking for something a little different or a first-timer open to unique experiences, Uganda will give you ample enjoyment.
Uganda has two dry seasons and two wet. November, April and May are best avoided, but any other time of year is hospitable. Some months may present a little rain, but rarely will a deluge dampen your experience and, with a light raincoat, your vacation won’t be a washout.
January to February and June through August are considered the prime times. Gorilla watching is more pleasant in these drier seasons and, while the plains are semi-arid, the previous season’s rains tends to keep the grasslands fairly lush despite the reduced precipitation.
It would be recommended to remain somewhat open-minded in regards to your Ugandan accommodation. Luxury can be found – and adequately arranged by your Travel Designer – but it may not be the most convenient or appropriate choice given certain experiences.
If you wish to delve into Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or visit the chimps of Kibale Forest, it is worth saving additional time by opting for more rustic accommodations. Though still of a reasonable standard, you’re unlikely to find deluxe service or accommodations well located for certain adventures.
Visas are required for most visitors, and inoculations may be recommended. We suggest you contact your travel designer or a travel medicine specialist for advice.
International flights will arrive at Entebbe airport via European transfers. From there, some internal flights are available but much of the travel is overland. While this will likely mean many hours spent in vehicles throughout your trip, it does also give you plenty of opportunities to see a wide array of landscapes and to take in more of this fascinating nation.
English is predominantly spoken throughout Uganda and you should have no communication difficulties throughout your journey.
Guiding is impeccable, particularly in both Kabale and Bwindi forests, and you will benefit from incredibly talented and informative guides throughout your journey.
Cuisine is not exceptional, as in other more culinarily-renowned countries, but is more than acceptable and, though perhaps lacking a little imagination, is both prepared and presented exceptionally well.
Wow, wow, wow!! We are back in LA now, recovering from jet lag and still in shock and awe regarding our experience. From the moment we landed in South Africa to the moment we touched down in LA, our experience was seamless and amazing.
- Amy Lundberg
We were thrilled with the trip. It was as good as or better than described at every turn. The prep, attention to detail, willingness to make changes and ensure we were ready and prepared was outstanding. Our Travel Designer was awesome!
- Betsy Robertson
Choosing a safari expert is never easy given the choice and lists upon lists of "top suppliers"....but we made the BEST choice for us....why....because above all, Rothschild listened ....really listened to what we wanted to experience.
- Dawn Jacobs
It was a well organized trip. It was easy to get around since we were guided through all of our itinerary. Everyone was pleasant and very helpful. This is an excellent way to travel. Rothschild Safari did very well and brought a fantastic African experience to us.
- George Kowalski
My trip was beyond AMAZING! I truly enjoyed every moment. The itinerary allowed me to experience a variety of different activities all of which I enjoyed! When I originally thought of going to Africa I was just thinking of safaris. This trip opened my eyes (and my family/friend's) to so much more Africa has to offer.
- Jackie Smith
Trip was PERFECT!! Every single detail was planned out and the accommodations and people were wonderful. This trip exceeded all of our wildest expectations. Every place we stayed was just lovely and each each camp had a different vibe, which was really neat. Everyone we worked with was outstanding.
On behalf of the Moravec’s and the Stone’s……thank you for arranging a trip of a lifetime. Every detail was accounted for and all the recommendations were perfect. It honestly could not have gone any better.
Meggan Woody and Kim Killick were extraordinary at crafting THE PERFECT safari for our family of 8. They both listened (actually 'read' my email) to EXACTLY what we wanted, within the budget that we needed, and miraculously pulled off miracles in obtaining the properties that we wanted!
Every aspect of my trip went according to plan and the plan Rothschild's help me to orchestrate was magnificent! I loved every lodge that I was blessed to be in! They were all very different yet all high end and very accommodating.
It was the most exciting, scenic, inspiring trip we've ever taken. To say it was a trip of a lifetime doesn't begin to capture our experience. Pam Langhoff and the Rothschild team did an outstanding job of helping us plan this trip.
Mary & Rob Johannigman (& family)