Uganda is home to the world’s highest concentration of primates including half of the last remaining mountain gorillas. Take the opportunity to track these giants as well as chimpanzees and golden monkeys. Other wildlife highlights include tree-climbing lions and shoebill storks, whilst the impressive scenery of mountains and crater lakes never fails to impress, or why not take to the Nile on a white-water rafting adventure. It’s really not hard to see why Winston Churchill once described Uganda as the ‘Pearl of Africa’.
Uganda is a wildlife lover’s paradise with plenty to see and the chance to get off-the-beaten-track in an unspoilt setting, with lots to keep even the most adventurous of spirit enthralled. The primary attraction of visiting Uganda is the mountain gorillas, but there are more traditional safari experiences to be had too as well as wonderful hiking and exciting rafting on the Nile.
Often overshadowed by Rwanda its more publicised neighbour, Uganda offers exceptional encounters with mountain gorillas, with over half of the world’s remaining population found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. What sets Bwindi apart from gorilla trekking in Rwanda is the unique chance to be involved with a habituation programme. As well as mountain gorillas, there are 10 other species of primate found here including chimpanzees and 350 species of birds.
Kibale Forest National Park is home to the largest concentration of primates in Africa, with 13 species found here. The highlight of visiting Kibale is the opportunity to track chimpanzees, and for particularly keen naturalists, the rare opportunity to take part in a chimpanzee habituation experience where you can spend a day observing them.
Uganda’s most traditional safari experience is on offer in Queen Elizabeth National Park with plenty of game to spot, including the chance to track tree-climbing lions in the Ishasha region of the park and visit the only fully-habituated population of chimpanzees which are found in the neighbouring Kyambura Gorge. Another of Uganda’s highlights is Murchison Falls National Park, the largest park in the country and where the mighty Nile is forced through a small cleft to creating the impressive Murchison Falls from which the park gets its name.
If you’re after impressive natural beauty and breath-taking wildlife encounters head to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park which has a magnificent setting in the Virunga Mountains on the border with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. There are mountain gorillas here, although they are more mobile and sightings less guaranteed than across the border in Rwanda or in Bwindi, but in terms of beautiful scenery and the added chance to track golden monkeys and interact with the local Batwa tribe, it’s an experience which is hard to beat.
For those looking to get truly off-the-beaten-track, the remote Kidepo Valley National Park offers a true wilderness experience with outstanding game viewing and birding on offer and just one camp in a park which is similar size to the Masai Mara – you could quite literally find that you have the whole place to yourself.
Trekking gorillas has long been the top of many a bucket list and it is always an incredible experience to see the mountain gorilla at close quarters in its natural habitat. One of the key decisions to make is where to track them – Rwanda and Uganda both have their advantages and disadvantages – here we give you the rundown so that you can choose which destination will suit you best.