According to Winston Churchill, Uganda is ‘the Pearl of Africa’, and to many people, it’s one of the most friendly and beautiful countries in Africa. Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa with a beautifully rich and diverse landscape.
You will find though that travellers are flocking to Uganda’s beautiful mountains so that they can meet the rare mountain gorilla, the bulkiest of living primates, and among the most peaceable. They have been under threat for years due to poaching for their meat which is considered a luxury in the wealthy areas and occasionally they will be killed when they accidentally get caught in traps that are set for other animals. However, conservation measures have firmly been established and their numbers are on the increase.
All along the western border of the DRC, towering mountain ranges, known as the Ruwenzoris (Ptolemy’s ‘Mountains of the Moon’) take your breath away. More incredible scenic splendour awaits you at the regions to the north of Kampala around the Murchison Falls.
Even though Uganda is an equatorial country, due to its altitude it is a lot cooler than you would normally associate with similar regions on the equator. Even though you can gorilla trek at any time of the year, the best times for trekking are during the dry periods of June – Sept and then January – February.
Why go to Uganda?
* White-river rafting on the Nile River
* Visit the chimps on Ngama Island
* See the rare mountain gorillas
* Visit the Murchison Falls National Park
* Take part in a community project
* Birding in Queen Elizabeth II National Park
* Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (gorillas)
* Queen Elizabeth National Park
* Lake Bunyoni
* Rwenzori National Park
Weather in Uganda
As mentioned earlier, even though this is an equatorial country one can expect cooler temperatures, wet weather and no real Winter or Summer. It is the altitude that is modifying the climeate. Southern Uganda is very wet with rain throughout the year. The shores of Lake Victoria in the north (Entebbe) you will find the rain falls from March to June and from November to December. When you travel further north, the area does become drier.
The north-east side of Uganda generally has the driest climate with droughts that occur. On the south-west side near the border of the DR Congo, heavy rains can be expected all year round.
The average temperature is about 26 degrees Celsius with the hottest months being in January and February (reaching 33°C). In the south there are two wet seasons – mid September to November and March to May. It is best to avoid gorilla trekking during these months because the ground will be very slippery and difficult to navigate.
Best Time to Visit Uganda
Due to the very heavy rainfalls that occur from March to May and September to November, if you are going on a gorilla trek it is going to be a difficult and uncomfortable trek. However, you will find that gorilla permits are cheaper during their low season. If you don’t want to experience a challenging trek and don’t mind paying extra, go to Uganda during the two dry seasons: January to February and June to September.
For game viewing in Uganda’s savannah parks the end of the dry season (March and October) is a good time because the animals tend to congregate around watering holes and you will have plenty of time to view them and enjoy a relaxing way of spotting your animal favourites instead of a bumpy safari drive. If you are a twitcher (bird watcher) then all year round you will find plenty of species to spot and study.
How to get to Uganda (By air)
Entebbe International Airport is Uganda’s main entry point which is situated near the town of Entebbe. From there it is relatively easy to take a vehicle to get around the country. On your Uganda Tour airport transfers will be arranged by us. Entebbe is located approximately 40km from Kampala (the capital) and will take you approximately one and a half hours on the road.
Facts on Uganda
Full name: Republic of Uganda
Capital city: Kampala
Area: 237,000 sq km; 91,506 sq miles
Time Zone: GMT/UTC +3 ()
Languages: English (official); Swahili (other); Ganda (other)
Religion: Roman Catholic (33%); Protestant (33%); indigenous beliefs (18%); Muslim (16%)
Electricity: 220V; 50HzHz
Electric Plug Details: British-style plug: 2 flat blades & 1 flat grounding blade
Country Dialling Code: 256
Visa Details: Click Here
Money matters: Per Capita Income: US$220, Currency: Uganda Shilling (Ush)
Medical matters: Yellow fever, HIV/AIDS, Typhoid, Hepatitis, Cholera, Malaria, Bilharzia (Schistosomiasis)
Where to go to in Uganda
The town of Jinja is filled with old Asian-style buildings. The neighbouring town of Jinja is built over the opening from Lake Victoria, renowned as the source of the River Nile.
Entebbe and Ngamba Chimp Island
In the 19th century, Entebbe was the colonial centre of Uganda, and, until 1962, the capital city. This charming, sleepy place is characterised by botanical gardens and colonial buildings. If you hunger for some eccentric wildlife, hop on a traditional canoe or motor boat to Chimp Island, a special sanctuary for chimpanzees on a beautiful forested island. These chimpanzees were illegally removed from the wild, so authorities confiscated them and put them here. You can get a good close-up view on the raised platform, especially during feeding time.
Kampala (capital) is situated on the hills on the northern edge of Lake Victoria, and is the booming capital of Uganda. It’s a modern city, and since the damage it suffered from civil conflict in the past, its services are being improved every day. New buildings have sprung up, with shops and markets being well stocked once again.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
One of the last remaining habitats of the mountain gorilla, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of Uganda’s most recently created national parks. Almost half of the gorillas left in the world live here, which is estimated to be only 330 of them.
Sipi Falls is a showstopper, and arguably the most beautiful waterfall in all of Uganda. These days it’s much more accessible than it used to be via one of the best roads in the country. You can go on some of the excellent walks that are on a network of well-maintained local trails, with beautiful scenery beaming from every direction.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park lies in the western arm of the Great East African Rift Valley, and is centred around Lake Edward and Lake George. During the launch trip along the Kazinga Channel, you’ll have a great chance of spotting hippo, buffalo, elephant and many different birds.
Murchison Falls is the biggest national park in all of Uganda. The River Nile runs through it, and many a wildlife species has made this park its home.
On your way to tracking gorillas at Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks, you’ll overnight at either Kabale, a small rural town in south-western Uganda, or Lake Bunyonyi nearby. When in Kabale, you have to experience its fresh-food market. The town’s the major trading centre for south-western Uganda, because the region is so heavily populated and extensively cultivated. The market’s narrow passages are lined with wooden stalls that are piled high with colourful fruit, vegetables, beans, grains and nuts.
A few million years ago Lake Bunyonyi was a volcano. Today it’s the deepest crater lake in Uganda and one of the few lakes in the country that is Bilharzia-free. It’s around 1980m above sea level, and bird lovers would love this place. Over 200 species of birds can be spotted here, thanks to the alluring surrounding forests, farms and gardens.