Uganda

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Uganda

By African standards, Uganda is a postage stamp-size country, roughly the size of Great Britain, sandwiched between Kenya, Rwanda, Congo, Sudan and Tanzania.

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Most of the country is 1,000m above sea level and there are three mountainous areas – the Rwenzoris, Mount Elgon and the Virunga volcanoes.

In Western Uganda lies the magnificent Queen Elizabeth National Park (QE), with the ice-covered peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains as a backdrop. It is rich in wildlife, including the tree lions at Ishasha, and is a haven for bird-watchers. Chimpanzees can be seen in the steeply forested sides of the Kyambura Gorge, near Queen Elizabeth National Park, and the Kibale Forest. Further south, in the chain of eight blue Virunga volcanoes strung out on the borders of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo, at the heart of Africa, lives the mountain gorilla. The combination of volcanoes, volcanic lakes and steeply terraced hillsides make this a dramatic area. The remaining mountain gorillas live further north in the Bwindi forest.

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Quick Facts

Capital
Kampala

Population
41.5 million

Area
241,038 sq km (93,065 sq miles)

Major Languages
English, Swahili

Major religion 
Christianity, Islam, indigenous beliefs

Monetary Unit
Ugandan Shilling

Flight time from London
12 hours

Time Difference 
GMT + 3

When to go
January, February, March

The best time to go Gorilla Trekking is late December to early March, as the weather at this time of year is generally (although rain falls in Uganda throughout the year).

April, May, June
There are two rainy seasons. The long rainy season takes place from March until the beginning of June. Someone may avoid trekking in the “official” rainy season only to find that it pours throughout their visit during another period.

July, August, September
July to August are also considered a good time to travel as they are some of the driest months. Certainly travelling straight after the rains (July) will ensure less dust for the long vehicle transfers between locations.

October, November, December
This is the rainy season but, like anywhere, weather is never predictable. The short rainy season takes place from October until mid-December.

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Highlights

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park (QE), in the western arm of the Great East African Rift Valley, is centered around Lake Edward and Lake George.

Serene and teeming with animals Queen Elizabeth boasts one of the highest biodiversity ratings of any game park or reserve in the world, with almost 100 mammal species and an incredible 606 bird species. To support such biodiversity the vegetation is hugely varied from open savannah to rainforest, from dense papyrus swamps and crater lakes to the vastness of Lake Edward. The launch trip along the Kazinga Channel is especially good for viewing hippo, buffalo, elephant and a vast array of birds.

The beautiful steeply forested Kyambura Gorge nearby is home not only to chimpanzees but also the red-tailed monkey, black and white colobus and many bird species.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is thought to be one of the most biologically diverse forests in Africa and one of the oldest dating back to over 25,000 years ago.

On the eastern edge of the Albertine Rift Valley, the rainforest is attractively swathed over steep ridges and valleys rising up to an altitude of 2,600m. The forest used to stretch down to the Virunga Mountains on the Rwandan border but this huge tract of forest was broken up about 500 years ago when agricultural people moved into the area.


Wildlife of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

More than half the world’s population of mountain gorilla reside within Bwindi and these are the main focus of visitors. However, there are also healthy populations of chimpanzees, L’Hoest’s monkey, red-tailed monkey and colobus as well as 5 species of duiker and bushbuck. A small population of forest elephants also live within the forest and although the animals themselves are rarely seen, the tell-tale signs of their presence are often encountered.

Bwindi is also home to around 350 bird species of which 23 are endemic to the Albertine Rift and at least 14 are found nowhere else in Uganda.

Kibale Forest

This 760km² area of rainforest, interspersed with patches of grassland and swamp, supports a rich variety of fauna, 250 species of animal and over 300 birds.

Kibale Forest has thirteen species of primates – among the highest number recorded in an African forest – including the chimpanzee, the vervet monkey and the red colobus. Tracking the noisy chimpanzee families racing through this verdant forest is a thrilling experience. Together with Bigodi Wetland nearby, many forest and swamp birds can be seen of which the Prigogine’s ground thrush, the only bird that is endemic to Uganda, can be found.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park (QE), in the western arm of the Great East African Rift Valley, is centered around Lake Edward and Lake George.

Serene and teeming with animals Queen Elizabeth boasts one of the highest biodiversity ratings of any game park or reserve in the world, with almost 100 mammal species and an incredible 606 bird species. To support such biodiversity the vegetation is hugely varied from open savannah to rainforest, from dense papyrus swamps and crater lakes to the vastness of Lake Edward. The launch trip along the Kazinga Channel is especially good for viewing hippo, buffalo, elephant and a vast array of birds.

The beautiful steeply forested Kyambura Gorge nearby is home not only to chimpanzees but also the red-tailed monkey, black and white colobus and many bird species.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is thought to be one of the most biologically diverse forests in Africa and one of the oldest dating back to over 25,000 years ago.

On the eastern edge of the Albertine Rift Valley, the rainforest is attractively swathed over steep ridges and valleys rising up to an altitude of 2,600m. The forest used to stretch down to the Virunga Mountains on the Rwandan border but this huge tract of forest was broken up about 500 years ago when agricultural people moved into the area.


Wildlife of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

More than half the world’s population of mountain gorilla reside within Bwindi and these are the main focus of visitors. However, there are also healthy populations of chimpanzees, L’Hoest’s monkey, red-tailed monkey and colobus as well as 5 species of duiker and bushbuck. A small population of forest elephants also live within the forest and although the animals themselves are rarely seen, the tell-tale signs of their presence are often encountered.

Bwindi is also home to around 350 bird species of which 23 are endemic to the Albertine Rift and at least 14 are found nowhere else in Uganda.

Kibale Forest

This 760km² area of rainforest, interspersed with patches of grassland and swamp, supports a rich variety of fauna, 250 species of animal and over 300 birds.

Kibale Forest has thirteen species of primates – among the highest number recorded in an African forest – including the chimpanzee, the vervet monkey and the red colobus. Tracking the noisy chimpanzee families racing through this verdant forest is a thrilling experience. Together with Bigodi Wetland nearby, many forest and swamp birds can be seen of which the Prigogine’s ground thrush, the only bird that is endemic to Uganda, can be found.

Where to stay

These are just a selection of the properties we can personally recommend. Please get in touch to hear more about our full portfolio.

Bwindi Lodge

Bwindi Lodge in Uganda offers a truly unique Ugandan jungle safari experience. It overlooks the primeval Bwindi forest, home to gorillas, monkeys, chimpanzees and birds. The lodge has recently been completely refurbished and now offers unequalled comfort and style.

take me to Bwindi Lodge

Kyambura Gorge Lodge

This eclectic contemporary safari lodge has been converted from an old coffee store to create a breathtakingly beautiful space. Kyambura Gorge Lodge is located on the edge of Queen Elizabeth National Park with sweeping views of the rolling savanna, the distant mountains of the moon, and the sunken Kyambura Gorge.

take me to Kyambura Gorge Lodge

Mount Gahinga Lodge

Mount Gahinga Lodge nestles in the foothills of the Virunga volcanoes on the border of Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC. Because of its varied habitats, in addition to tracking the endangered golden monkeys the area is also famous for birding, with about 180 bird species.

take me to Mount Gahinga Lodge

Get in touch with us now to start planning your journey

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