10 REASONS TO VISIT UGANDA
Known as the ‘Pearl of Africa’, Uganda is one of Africa’s hidden travel gems waiting to be discovered.
We’re great lovers of Uganda, the Ugandan people and of their approach to responsible and sustainable tourism. The efforts required to safeguard nature are reliant upon such fantastic work being done by both wildlife agencies, park authorities, organisations and local communities.
So let’s help you discover this extraordinarily rich-in-biodiversity country, with TEN REASONS why you should plan a visit to Uganda;
1. TREK TO VIEW MOUNTAIN GORILLA & CHIMPS
Uganda is home to twelve (12) habituated gorilla groups located in both Mgahinga and Bwindi National Parks. These gorilla groups are spread around the parks.
The time spent tracking gorillas in Uganda depends and varies from half an hour to eight hours depending on the gorilla movements. This activity starts with a briefing at 8am at the park headquarters of any sector you are booked to track, and after the tracking, you set off to the forest with the guide of the rangers who guide you to the spots where the gorillas may be found. You are allowed only one hour in the midst of these great apes so as not to distract their behavioral patterns.
June to September are the driest months, and March- May and October – December are the wettest months for gorilla tracking.
Chimpanzees can be viewed in Kibale Forest National Park to Budongo Forest, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable, Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary and Kyambura Gorge.
The best time to track chimpanzees is usually during the dry seasons, though some visitors may prefer an adventurous experience during the rainy seasons. The rainy season is usually between March to May and October to mid-December. Dry seasons are usually from mid-December to February and June to August.
2. THE SOURCE OF THE RIVER NILE
Not just a river cherished and storied throughout history, the Nile River covers a distance of about 4,132 miles and meanders through several African countries. The Nile isn’t just important for humans – the river and its banks are home to lots of wonderful wildlife – including all kinds of fish and birds, as well as turtles, snakes, hippos and one of our planet’s largest reptiles… the Nile crocodile!
3. A BIRDERS’ PARADISE
Over half of all bird species in Africa can be found in Uganda making it the richest African birding destination.
Though Uganda has only one Endemic bird (Fox’s Weaver), 23 Albertine Endemics occur here and are difficult or even impossible to find somewhere else.
These are Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Rwenzori Nightjar, Dawrf Honeyguide, African Green Broadbill, Red-throated Alethe, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Kivu Ground Thrush, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Short-tailed Warbler, Grauer’s Warbler, Collared Apalis, Mountain Masked Apalis, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Rwenzori Batis, Strip-breasted Tit, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Blue-headed Sunbird, Regal Sunbird, Strange Weaver, Dusky Crimsonwing, and Shelley’s Crimsonwing.
Don’t miss the rare, prehistoric–looking Shoebill. Uganda also offers the friendliness of the Ugandan people, incredible safaris, mountain gorillas and cultural tourism attractions found nowhere else in Africa!
4. FORGET GORILLAS, WHAT ABOUT TREE CLIMBING LIONS?
Uganda is one of Africa’s most diverse habitats, with 10 national parks, various large and small game reserves largely covered by vegetation and huge expanses of tropical forests rich in flora and fauna; and unique physical landscapes, lakes and rivers.
Whether or not you include a gorilla or chimpanzee trek in your itinerary, some of Uganda’s exceptional safari areas include Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Kibale National Park, Budongo Forest, Semliki Wildlife Reserve and Murchison Falls National Park to name a few.
Uganda’s famous tree climbing lions are found in Queen Elizabeth National Park and although lions often climb trees in other countries, those in Uganda could be classed as #trendsetters
5. OUTSTANDING VALUE FOR MONEY
Let’s first look at gorilla tracking. Whilst Rwanda have applied focus to the luxury tourism market, this includes their gorilla permit fees which currently cost $1500 USD per person per trek. The reason behind Rwanda’s permit pricing is understandable, as it helps fuel revenue into critical conservation initiatives. Uganda on the other-hand currently charge $700 USD per person per trek (base don international visitors).
Accommodations are another vastly different cost to consider when compared with Rwanda, with Uganda’s accommodation often being a very affordable option for travellers, with average nightly rates for excellent accommodation of 35-50% less comparable to Rwanda. Rwanda being a good comparison in terms of activities and attractions offered.
Uganda offers a significant, natural and overall exceptional experience for less.
6. CULTURAL DIVERSITY
Uganda is home to more than 50 different indigenous languages and is a one stop centre for a rich African cultural experience, ranging from Bantu in the Central, West, South-west, and East, to Nilotic groups of people in the North, North-East and North-West. Ugandans are remarkably hospitable and hail from a diversity of rich cultures and lifestyles with each tribe having its own distinct cultural values that describe who they are. All these values are based on tribal traditional activities from all spheres of life; including, food and welfare, traditional dances, clothing and organization of societies.
Currently, the dominant kingdoms in western Uganda include, Tooro and Bunyoro, and the famous Batwa community which tourists may visit as part of their itinerary with Captured In Africa.
Visitors to Uganda may also catch a performance of a traditional Entogoro, Ekitaguriro or Kiganda dance. There are a variety of cultural tours available for those wanting a closer look at Uganda life.
7. BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE AND WARM SMILES
In a 2020 Expat Insider Survey, Uganda received the highest marks for friendliness.
Uganda has come very far since the turmoil of the 1970’s and whilst Uganda still a way to go to be fully-inclusive to all people, we fully expect this beautiful country & its people to continue progressing positively.
8. RAFT, CANOE, CRUISE YOUR WAY TO ADVENTURE
The rivers, lakes and wetlands cover about 18% of Uganda’s total surface, including Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa and the source of the Nile river, the longest river of the world. Enjoy activities such as canoeing in several locations including the shores of Lake Victoria, or take time out with a relaxing and yet absorbing boat cruise on the Kazinga channel in Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls in Murchison Falls National Park, Lake Victoria and Ssese Islands – along these trails you’ll be able to see scenic wonders of forests, rocky islands; reptiles, wildlife, and a myriad of birdlife.
For the more adventurous there’s water rafting at Itanda falls in Jinja, the rafting base on the banks of River Nile in Eastern Uganda. Breath-taking!
Or how about hiking up Mt. Rwenzori?
9. EXCELLENT YEAR-ROUND CLIMATE
Uganda is ever green with an equatorial savanna climate. You’re likely to see both rain and sunshine in the same day which keeps the temperatures favourable for travelling, whether gorilla tracking or on safari in search of lions. Travellers can expect little year-round fluctuation in temperature. The hottest months are January and February when the average daytime range is 24-33°C (52-91°F) with peaks of up to 40°C/104°F in the far north. The south has two Wet seasons: from mid-September to November and March to May, but it can really rain at any time. The north, has one continuous Wet season from March to November and a more obvious Dry season from December to February.
Uganda is an excellent option for when travellers need or want to avoid high season travel.
10. ECO-TOURISM & CONSERVATION FOCUSSED
Uganda has gone to amazing efforts to promote a responsible tourism industry, including conservation efforts to protect its natural heritage.
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) manages 10 National Parks; 12 Wildlife reserves; 5 Community Wildlife Management Areas; and 13 Wildlife Sanctuaries. But conservation sadly and thankfully doesn’t stop there… along with Captured In Africa, Udanda Wildlife Authority recognizes the local community as a key stakeholder in ensuring the protection of wildlife both inside and outside Uganda’s protected areas.
Uganda Conservation Foundation (UCF) is a not for profit organisation registered in the UK and Uganda which is dedicated to protecting Uganda’s national parks, protected areas and conservancies, through a range of projects.
Wildlife Conservation Society and Lion Recovery Fund tackling human-lion conflict in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Ngamba Island is a peaceful home for rescued chimps and is home to 50 orphaned chimpanzees rescued from across East Africa. Deeply committed to and involved in both field conservation and community education, the sanctuary works closely with the Ugandan government and wildlife authorities.
Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) promotes biodiversity conservation by enabling people, gorillas and other wildlife to coexist through improving their health and livelihoods in and around Africa’s protected areas and wildlife rich habitats.
Let’s take you to enjoy beautiful Uganda!
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