Uganda Holidays: an Overview

In the 1960s Uganda was Africa's most popular tourist destination, but a certain Idi Amin put paid to that. Although it remains one of the world's poorest countries Uganda has emerged from the wilderness of political instability and tourism is once again, deservedly, on the up. It's not hard to see why that might be. The obvious attraction of a Uganda holiday is the plentiful primates, both gorillas and chimps, that so few other African countries can boast. Then there's the fact that landlocked Uganda may lack a coast but remains one of the lushest countries in Africa, dotted with picturesque lakes, wetlands and rivers.

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Why we think you’ll love it

  • One of the most striking features is the lushness of the country - from the air, much of the country seems to shimmer
  • Any country that's home to a place called Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park has got to be worth a visit, right?
  • Uganda's landscapes are diverse and stunning, from the vastness of Lake Victoria (the size of Ireland) to the intensely farmed and intricately terraced hillsides outside the National Parks

More on Travelling to Uganda...

Uganda's southern border is dominated by Lake Victoria, her blue waters funneling into the Nile, which journeys the length of Uganda. Yet more water is locked up in the glacier-capped and mysterious Rwenzori Mountains - the so-called 'Mountains of the Moon' - that fringe the western border. In fact, unlike many other African countries Uganda seems to adhere to natural borders rather than arbitrary colonial-era straight lines, with the far north bound by the Sahara and the east transforming into arid plains.

But for us, and in spite of the spectacular wildlife and landscapes, the highlight of any Uganda holiday is the Ugandans themselves. This is a country best explored by road and there's something hugely heart-warming about the waves and smiles from everyone you pass by on the road. The people you meet at lodges and National Parks are, to man and woman, extremely friendly and the guides supremely knowledgeable and amongst the very best in Africa.

Sold? We certainly are, and it gets better. Uganda is a country of great contrasts and presents opportunities for extraordinary experiences throughout the year, from gorilla and chimpanzee tracking, mountain climbing, whitewater rafting and excellent viewing of the wide variety of flora and fauna found in the National Parks.

Although the wildlife is not always prolific, Uganda is home to over 1,000 species including many that are endemic, and each park presents something different. Twitchers should note that the birdlife is second to none.

Did you know

  • The average church service in Uganda lasts between four and six hours
  • The bicycle is the main mode of transport
  • There is a rule in Uganda that if you cut down one tree you need to replant three
  • Banana is a very famous fruit in Uganda - you can even get wine produced from bananas
  • The country was referred to as the pear of Africa by Winston Churchill
  • Fried grasshoppers are a delicacy in the country

Top picks for Uganda

Bwindi Lodge

Bwindi Lodge

Uganda

Bwindi Lodge is the ideal place from which to explore the forests of Bwindi for their elusive inhabitants, habituated gorilla and chimpanzee groups.

Where to stay

Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge

Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge

Uganda

Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge is situated high on Nteko Ridge in Nkuringo, bordering the South Western corner of the Bwindi National Park. At 8500ft the views from the lodge are glorious, looking out to the Virunga mountain range of Rwanda and the Congo and across the Great Rift Valley.

Where to stay

Ndali Lodge

Ndali Lodge

Uganda

Ndali Lodge sits on the edge of Lake Nyinambuga – a flooded volcano crater in the Bunyaruguru crater lake region of Western Uganda, and is the perfect overnight stop for anyone heading from Queen Elizabeth National Park to the Murchison Falls National Park.

Where to stay

Mihingo Lodge

Mihingo Lodge

Uganda

Mihingo is a peaceful lodge on a kopje adjacent to Lake Mburo National Park and is the perfect stop off point on the journey to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.

Where to stay

giraffes by river

Murchison Falls

Uganda

Uganda's largest national park, Murchison Falls is split by the gushing waters of the River Nile and is home to a rich population of big game and primates. Located in the northwest of Uganda, this region may be more off the beaten track but with wildlife like elephants, hippos, chimpanzees and giraffes on show, Murchison Falls packs quite the safari holiday punch.

Where to go

Kyambura at sunset

Kyambura Gorge Lodge

Uganda

Kyambura Gorge Lodge boasts one of the finest views in all of Africa, situated as it is overlooking the 300ft deep Kyambura Gorge and the beautiful savannah and craters of Queen Elizabeth National Park, with the Rwenzori Mountains as a brooding backdrop.

Where to stay

Elephants in Kidepo National Park

Wildlife in Uganda

Uganda

The wildlife (and primarily the primates) often grab the headlines, but Uganda’s landscapes are equally stunning, from the vastness of Lake Victoria (the size of Ireland) to the intensely farmed and intricately terraced hillsides outside the National Parks. And on the subject of National Parks, Uganda’s offer a huge diversity of landscapes and wildlife experiences making it perfect for safaris.

What to do

Ishasha Wilderness Camp

Ishasha Wilderness Camp

Uganda

Ishasha Wilderness Camp is located on the Ntungwe River in the remote southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Where to stay

three mountain gorilla

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Uganda

Home to half of the world’s remaining Mountain Gorilla population; Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is prime primate territory. With Mountain Gorilla on the critically endangered list, it’s also one of the few places in the world where you can trek with these great apes (Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo being the only others).

Where to go

Apoka Safari Lodge

Apoka Safari Lodge

Uganda

Apoka is the only lodge in the middle of Kidepo Valley National Park in the heart of the Narus Valley.

Where to stay

monkey close up

Kibale National Park & Semliki Wildlife Reserve

Uganda

On the western border of Uganda, Semliki Wildlife Reserve protects 85 square miles of lush rainforest and low lying wetland. A little further east, Kibale National Park is packed with beautiful crater lakes and plantations and offers some of Uganda’s best chimpanzee encounters.

Where to go

yawning leopard

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Uganda

Sandwiched between Lake George and Lake Edward on the south west border of Uganda, Queen Elizabeth National Park is known for its varied topography, from bushy grassland to swampy vegetation, and the wonderfully diverse catalogue of wildlife that inhabits it, making for one of the most interesting safari landscapes in this part of Africa.

Where to go

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