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Discover Western Uganda

Refundable, Rebookable, Authentic Uganda Safari

Refundable, Rebookable, Authentic Safari

Western Uganda

Encompassing the vast majority of the country’s parks and reserves, Western Uganda dazzles with its blockbuster wildlife, excellent birding and astonishing landscapes and natural attractions, making it the most popular region with travellers.

enter image description here Bwindi Lodge

In the southwest corner of the region, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to the majority of Uganda’s mountain gorillas, so it’s usually at the top of any safari itinerary. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, at Uganda’s most south westerly corner on the border with Rwanda and the DRC, is home to just one habituated gorilla group, which sometimes moves outside of Uganda’s borders, which means that finding the group here isn’t 100% reliable.

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Further to the north of the region, Queen Elizabeth National Park, with its open savanna and huge variety of animal and bird species, is the most popular safari destination, and while Murchison Falls National Park is less visited, it offers East Africa’s most impressive waterfall and spectacular wildlife in beautiful landscapes. Chimpanzee trekking is another top activity in Western Uganda: Kibale Forest National Park and Budongo Forest Reserve are two of the best places to go in search of our closest living relatives. Close the capital of Kampala, Lake Mburo National Park is the easiest wilderness area to access in Western Uganda, and while it can’t compete with other parks for scenery and wildlife diversity, it’s worth a visit for its special species not seen elsewhere.

Western Uganda isn’t just about wildlife: it’s also home to some of the country’s most astonishing landscapes, from the dramatic snow-dusted Rwenzori Mountains to the shimmering blue crater lakes.

Highlights

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Going gorilla trekking in the mountainous tropical rain forest of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is, without a doubt, one of Africa’s best wildlife experiences. It’s a thrilling adventure to hike through the lush, hilly forest to find your assigned gorilla group, but coming face-to-face with these majestic apes is a moment you’ll never forget. There are two options for gorilla trekking: you can either spend an hour with a habituated group, or pay more to spend four hours with a group that is in the process of being habituated. Aside from gorillas, Bwindi’s other animal life (l’Hoest monkeys, forest duikers, olive baboons, bushbuck and black-and-white colobus monkeys) and 350 bird species can be spotted on guided walks through the forest.

enter image description here Lake Bunyonyi

Close by to Bwindi, Lake Bunyonyi is a popular spot for people to base themselves in for a few days to go gorilla trekking in the park and then relax at the beautiful lake, which is surrounded by green terraced hills and small villages. There’s plenty to fill a few days here, from birdwatching and hiking to canoeing, swimming and mountain biking.

For primates, Kibale Forest National Park is hard to beat, boasting the largest number of primate species of any reserve in East Africa, from the rare red colobus monkeys and olive baboons to l’Hoest and blue monkeys, which you may be able to spot while going on the search for one of five habituated groups of chimpanzees.

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Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s most biodiverse wilderness area, playing host to a magnificent array of wildlife – 95 mammals and 20 predators – as well as habituated chimpanzees. The park’s standout highlight is the tree-climbing lions (there’s only one other place in Africa where they do this) so catching this sighting is particularly special, while the birdwatching is spectacular, with more than 600 species. Wildlife viewing on boat cruises along the Kazinga Channel for magnificent scenery and fantastic wildlife spotting (including Africa’s greatest concentration of hippos) are not to be missed. While you can go chimpanzee trekking in the park’s Kyambura Gorge, you have a better chance of seeing chimps at the nearby Kalinzu Forest.

The largest park in Uganda, the remarkably beautiful Murchison Falls National Park, has a lot to offer: East Africa’s most dramatic waterfall, wildlife and birdwatching from boat cruises along the Victoria Nile, large herds of elephant, giraffe and buffalo, as well as sightings of lion and leopard, and the chance to see one of Africa’s most sought-after birds, the elusive shoebill stork.

The snow-dusted, jagged Rwenzori Mountains – the “Mountains of the Moon” – Africa’s highest mountain range, soar up to 5109 metres high along Uganda’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. The mountains are protected by Rwenzori National Park, and provide thrilling landscapes for adventurous hikes and mountaineering trips.

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Treks can be anything from one day to a multi-day mountaineering expedition to the top of Mount Stanley, Africa’s third highest peak, and along the way you’ll be treated to scenery of cloud forests, tropical rainforest, bamboo glades, dramatic valleys and glacier lakes.

In a remote part of the region on the western side of the Rwenzori Mountains and lying alongside the border with the DRC, Semliki National Park sees few tourists due to its isolated location and undeveloped infrastructure, but those who do make it out to the park are rewarded with one of the best forest birding hotspots in Africa. The park protects one of Africa’s oldest forests, and with it, a remarkable number of bird species – more than 400 – as well as 300 butterfly species. Highlights include Central African birds such as black-wattled hornbill and Congo serpent eagle that aren’t found in any other place in East Africa.

enter image description here Serpent eagle | Credit: David Hoddinott

Dozens of crater lakes formed by volcanic activity some 10 000 years ago stud the landscape between Fort Portal and Kibale National Park like blue jewels. These photogenic lakes, which are fringed with tropical forests home to monkeys and an incredible diversity of bird species, offer plenty of hiking and birdwatching opportunities, with trails leading you through small villages and tea plantations, as well as other activities such as canoeing and fishing.

Practical Information
  • Western Uganda is best visited during the drier months of June to August and December to February, when it’s easiest to go gorilla trekking in hilly Bwindi and the wildlife viewing in the parks is at its prime. Travelling during the rainy low season months of March to May and September to November does have its budget-friendly benefits though – you’ll get cheaper room rates at hotels and lodges and it is possible to get discounted gorilla trekking permits, but be prepared for muddy roads, torrential downpours, challenging hiking and low visibility for wildlife.

  • If you want to go gorilla trekking, you need to book your permit several months in advance through the Uganda Wildlife Authority or through a tour operator, as there’s a limited number of permits that sold every day and during the most popular months for trekking (June to August) the permits can sell out five months in advance. For chimpanzee habituation experiences it’s best to book around three months in advance.


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Plan your safari with confidence. Refundable deposits and flexible rebooking terms standard on your Uganda safari.
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Uganda Safaris

These recommended tours for Uganda can be tailor-made to match your budget.

When is the best time to travel to Uganda?

Peak Low Mixed
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Uganda in January

January is the dry season in both the north and south of Uganda. It’s a hot month, with daytime temperatures peaking in the high 20s in the south and in the 30s in the north. It’s a good time to go gorilla trekking and visit national parks in the south of the country, but it’s too hot and dusty to be an ideal time to visit Kidepo Valley National Park in the north.

Uganda in January

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January is the dry season in both the north and south of Uganda. It’s a hot month, with daytime temperatures peaking in the high 20s in the south and in the 30s in the north. It’s a good time to go gorilla trekking and visit national parks in the south of the country, but it’s too hot and dusty to be an ideal time to visit Kidepo Valley National Park in the north.

Uganda in February

Credit: Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp February is a relatively dry month in Uganda, so it’s a good time to visit national parks in the south and go gorilla trekking. In the north of the country it’s particularly hot and dusty and not an ideal time for wildlife viewing.

Uganda in February

enter image description here Credit: Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp

February is a relatively dry month in Uganda, so it’s a good time to visit national parks in the south and go gorilla trekking. In the north of the country it’s particularly hot and dusty and not an ideal time for wildlife viewing.

Uganda in March

Credit: andBeyond March marks the start of the first rainy season of the year in southern Uganda, while it’s still dry in northern Uganda. It’s not an ideal time to travel for gorilla trekking and wildlife viewing.

Uganda in March

enter image description here Credit: andBeyond

March marks the start of the first rainy season of the year in southern Uganda, while it’s still dry in northern Uganda. It’s not an ideal time to travel for gorilla trekking and wildlife viewing.

Uganda in April

April is the wettest month in Uganda. Some park lodging is closed and roads in some parks may be impassable due to rain. It’s low season for tourism, which means you can find discounted rates at lodges and hotels and you may be able to get discounted gorilla trekking permits.

Uganda in April

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April is the wettest month in Uganda. Some park lodging is closed and roads in some parks may be impassable due to rain. It’s low season for tourism, which means you can find discounted rates at lodges and hotels and you may be able to get discounted gorilla trekking permits.

Uganda in May

May is another rainy month across Uganda, although it’s not as wet as April. It’s still the low season, so you can find discounts on lodging and gorilla trekking permits.

Uganda in May

enter image description here

May is another rainy month across Uganda, although it’s not as wet as April. It’s still the low season, so you can find discounts on lodging and gorilla trekking permits.

Uganda in June

June is one of the driest months of the year in the south of Uganda, while it’s the rainy season in the north of the country. It’s one of the best months for wildlife viewing in the parks in the south, and it’s also a great month for gorilla trekking. It’s the start of the peak season in Uganda, and you’ll need to book far in advance for gorilla trekking permits and lodging in popular spots.

Uganda in June

enter image description here

June is one of the driest months of the year in the south of Uganda, while it’s the rainy season in the north of the country. It’s one of the best months for wildlife viewing in the parks in the south, and it’s also a great month for gorilla trekking. It’s the start of the peak season in Uganda, and you’ll need to book far in advance for gorilla trekking permits and lodging in popular spots.

Uganda in July

Because of its low rainfall, July is one of the best months for safaris and gorilla trekking in southern Uganda. In parks such as Queen Elizabeth National Park, animals are congregating around water sources, making them easier to spot. This is also a great month for gorilla trekking, as the mostly dry weather means that the paths are easier to hike on. It’s one of the most popular months for travel, however, so you’ll need to book ahead for gorilla trekking permits and lodging.

Uganda in July

enter image description here

Because of its low rainfall, July is one of the best months for safaris and gorilla trekking in southern Uganda. In parks such as Queen Elizabeth National Park, animals are congregating around water sources, making them easier to spot. This is also a great month for gorilla trekking, as the mostly dry weather means that the paths are easier to hike on. It’s one of the most popular months for travel, however, so you’ll need to book ahead for gorilla trekking permits and lodging.

Uganda in August

August is another excellent month to visit southern Uganda. Falling at the end of dry season, August is a great time for gorilla tracking, and there’s superb wildlife viewing in national parks with dry vegetation and animals congregating around water sources.

Uganda in August

enter image description here

August is another excellent month to visit southern Uganda. Falling at the end of dry season, August is a great time for gorilla tracking, and there’s superb wildlife viewing in national parks with dry vegetation and animals congregating around water sources.

Uganda in September

In September, the second rainy season of the year begins in southern Uganda, while the rainy season continues in northern Uganda. It’s not an ideal month to visit national parks or go gorilla trekking, but if you’re willing to put up with heavy thundershowers, challenging roads and difficult hiking to find gorillas, then you’ll be able to save on lodging costs with low season rates, and you may be able to get discounted gorilla trekking permits.

Uganda in September

enter image description here

In September, the second rainy season of the year begins in southern Uganda, while the rainy season continues in northern Uganda. It’s not an ideal month to visit national parks or go gorilla trekking, but if you’re willing to put up with heavy thundershowers, challenging roads and difficult hiking to find gorillas, then you’ll be able to save on lodging costs with low season rates, and you may be able to get discounted gorilla trekking permits.

Uganda in October

October is another rainy month in Uganda, and it’s not an ideal time to visit if you’d like to see wildlife and go gorilla trekking.

Uganda in October

enter image description here

October is another rainy month in Uganda, and it’s not an ideal time to visit if you’d like to see wildlife and go gorilla trekking.

Uganda in November

After April, November is the second wettest month in Uganda. Few tourists visit this month because it’s difficult to spot wildlife in the national parks (and some roads and lodging may be closed) and the muddy paths and thundershowers make gorilla trekking in Bwindi more challenging.

Uganda in November

enter image description here

After April, November is the second wettest month in Uganda. Few tourists visit this month because it’s difficult to spot wildlife in the national parks (and some roads and lodging may be closed) and the muddy paths and thundershowers make gorilla trekking in Bwindi more challenging.

Uganda in December

The rains ease off in December, making it a good month for travel to both southern and northern Uganda, although it’s not the ideal time for wildlife viewing in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Uganda in December

enter image description here

The rains ease off in December, making it a good month for travel to both southern and northern Uganda, although it’s not the ideal time for wildlife viewing in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Our Recommended

Tours in Uganda

These recommended tours for Uganda can be tailor-made to match your budget.

Our Destination Expert

Alice Lombard Alice Lombard Alice Lombard Alice Lombard Alice Lombard Alice Lombard

Meet the Team

Alice Lombard

Alice is Discover Africa’s Sales & Product Manager, responsible for managing the Discover Africa Sales Consultants as well as all the products and itineraries that we promote.

About Alice

What does Alice love about African travel?

The people, the culture, the diverse scenery, the wildlife and of course the food & wine.

What African countries have you travelled to?

Zimbabwe (Victoria Falls), Botswana (Okavango Delta, Linyanti, Chobe), Namibia (Southern), Zanzibar, Kenya (Mombasa and Malindi), Mauritius and South Africa.

What is Alice’s favourite place in Africa?

Victoria Falls and Cape Town.

Contact Discover Africa

Send us a message, to ask any questions, or request a tailor-made safari or experience.

Call Discover Africa on +27 (0)21 422 3498

Get in touch to find out more about the tours on offer or request a personalized no-obligations quote.

Megan Warrington Megan Warrington Megan Warrington Megan Warrington Megan Warrington Megan Warrington

Meet the Team

Megan Warrington

Megan is an Africa Concierge Expert at Discover Africa, she is responsible for compiling travel programs for people in search of their dream safari in Africa.

About Megan

What does Megan love about African travel?

There is always a new adventure around the next corner.

What African countries have you travelled to?

South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana and Tanzania.

What is Megan’s favourite place in Africa?

Namibia

Contact Discover Africa

Send us a message, to ask any questions, or request a tailor-made safari or experience.

Call Discover Africa on +27 (0)21 422 3498

Get in touch to find out more about the tours on offer or request a personalized no-obligations quote.

Alice Lombard Alice Lombard Alice Lombard Alice Lombard Alice Lombard Alice Lombard

Meet the Team

Alice Lombard

Alice is Discover Africa’s Sales & Product Manager, responsible for managing the Discover Africa Sales Consultants as well as all the products and itineraries that we promote.

About Alice

What does Alice love about African travel?

The people, the culture, the diverse scenery, the wildlife and of course the food & wine.

What African countries have you travelled to?

Zimbabwe (Victoria Falls), Botswana (Okavango Delta, Linyanti, Chobe), Namibia (Southern), Zanzibar, Kenya (Mombasa and Malindi), Mauritius and South Africa.

What is Alice’s favourite place in Africa?

Victoria Falls and Cape Town.

Contact Discover Africa

Send us a message, to ask any questions, or request a tailor-made safari or experience.

Call Discover Africa on +27 (0)21 422 3498

Get in touch to find out more about the tours on offer or request a personalized no-obligations quote.

Matthys van Aswegen Matthys van Aswegen Matthys van Aswegen Matthys van Aswegen Matthys van Aswegen Matthys van Aswegen

Meet the Team

Matthys van Aswegen

Matthys is Discover Africa’s Senior Travel Consultant, with over 13 years experience in the travel industry and a keen eye for photography.

About Matthys

What does Matthys love about African travel?

Diversity and abundance of landscapes, cultures, wildlife, beaches, food and everything you can think of.

What African countries have you travelled to?

South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mauritius and Tanzania.

What is Matthys’s favourite place in Africa?

Cape Town

Contact Discover Africa

Send us a message, to ask any questions, or request a tailor-made safari or experience.

Call Discover Africa on +27 (0)21 422 3498

Get in touch to find out more about the tours on offer or request a personalized no-obligations quote.

Adelle Bell Adelle Bell Adelle Bell Adelle Bell Adelle Bell Adelle Bell

Meet the Team

Adelle Bell

Adelle is Discover Africa’s Senior Travel Consultant and has been in the travel industry for the past 10 years. She is a FIT specialist and has extensive experience in planning and executing dream itineraries in luxury travel.

About Adelle

What does Adelle love about African travel?

You have not lived if you have not experienced an African Safari - the early morning safari drives with the African sun rising in the distance, the smell of morning freshness, coffee in the Bush. You have got to experience a morning in Africa!

What African countries have you travelled to?

South Africa (Kruger National Park, Sabi Sands and Phinda Game Reserve), Botswana and Mozambique.

What is Adelle’s favourite place in Africa?

Kruger National Park

Contact Discover Africa

Send us a message, to ask any questions, or request a tailor-made safari or experience.

Call Discover Africa on +27 (0)21 422 3498

Get in touch to find out more about the tours on offer or request a personalized no-obligations quote.

Antoinette Van Heerden Antoinette Van Heerden Antoinette Van Heerden Antoinette Van Heerden Antoinette Van Heerden Antoinette Van Heerden

Meet the Team

Antoinette Van Heerden

Antionette is a Travel Consultant at Discover Africa, with 5 + years experience in the travel and tourism industry. She specializes in luxury safari packages.

About Antoinette

What does Antoinette love about African travel?

Adventure combined leisure travel makes for the best trip!

What African countries have you travelled to?

South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

What is Antoinette’s favourite place in Africa?

South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.

Contact Discover Africa

Send us a message, to ask any questions, or request a tailor-made safari or experience.

Call Discover Africa on +27 (0)21 422 3498

Get in touch to find out more about the tours on offer or request a personalized no-obligations quote.

Outstanding customer service from my trip facilitator Alice Lombard

Dr. Darrin Porcher

20 Sep 2021

Planned and executed well to the last detail

Kathleen

20 Aug 2018

100% thrilled with Discover Africa and Matthys

Jodi

14 Mar 2019

Matthys designed a perfect safari for my family which ensured we had the trip of a lifetime!

Rhona

15 Aug 2020

Ruchimechi- Mana Pools, wonderful and patient experience with Alice our tour operator.

Sal Marsilio

15 Nov 2019

Definitely referring my friends. We still talk about our trip

Pradeep Tagare

04 Aug 2014

Outstanding, Knowledgeable, trustworthy, friendly and very customer responsive service!

Alana

23 Apr 2022

Excellently planned custom trip that included Kilimanjaro, safaris and beach time

Beth - 56 year old adventurer

29 Jul 2019

Cape Town, penguins, breathtaking views. Thank you Discover Africa

Courtney and Kurtis

01 Jan 2013

Friendly contact and quick responses

Thomas

03 Feb 2017

A trip that was easy to organise and hard to forget.

Lexi Spheris

09 Jun 2015

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