Safari Guide

Best Safaris in Western Uganda

Uganda is a land locked country in East Africa located bordered by Kenya in the East, Tanzania in the north, Democratic Republic of Congo in the west and Sudan in the north. Uganda is blessed with geographical and cultural diversities including a number of lakes, rivers, mountains, forests, savannahs, grasslands, woodlands, water falls, traditional customs among others. It is the reason for the name Uganda the pearl of Africa as named by Sir Winston Churchill in his book “My African Journey”.

However the western region of Uganda hosts majority of the National parks and tourist attractions that attract travelers over and over including Bwindi impenetrable National park and Mgahinga National park in south western Uganda known for gorilla trekking, Kibale National park known for chimpanzee trekking other primate walking, Queen Elizabeth National park the second largest National park after Murchison Falls National park with the highest concentration of wild life, Lake Mburo National park well known for game viewing, Semuliki National park with sempaya hot springs that attract travelers because their water is too hot to the extent of boiling eggs and make them ready, mountain Rwenzori National park the highest block mountain in Uganda and second highest in Africa after mountain Kilimanjaro. Each of these National parks offers different experiences on your safari to western Uganda. Western Uganda has the most breath taking and memorable safaris which include;

Mountain gorilla trekking safaris

Mountain gorillas are endangered species that are found in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo only in the Africa and the whole world. But mountain gorilla safaris in western Uganda are done in Bwindi and Mgahinga National parks situated in south western Uganda in the extreme end of Kanungu and Kisoro district respectively.

Bwindi impenetrable National park is home to over 450 mountain gorillas and almost half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas. Bwindi impenetrable National park has 4 sectors where gorillas are found and gorilla trekking is carried out including Buhoma sector in the north, Ruhija sector in the east, Nkuringo and Rushaga sectors in the southern part of the park. These sectors have over 18 gorilla families that can be trekked by people who are 15 years and above. Mgahinga National park has only one gorilla family called Nyakagezi habituated for trekking bringing it to a total of 19 habituated gorilla families in Uganda.

Gorilla trekking is done throughout the year but best advisable during the months of January, February, June, July, August and December when there is little or no rain fall and when the trails are less slippery.

Gorilla safaris in western Uganda makes your safari memorable as you encounter with the endangered species in their natural habitats very early in the morning guided by the ranger guides. Each gorilla family allows only 8 members per day for a maximum of 1 hour for observation and photography.

Gorilla trekking in western Uganda costs 600 US dollars per person currently but it will increase to 700 US dollars starting 1st July 2020 for foreign nonresidents, 600 for foreign residents and 250,000 Ugandan shillings for East African residents.

However, there is gorilla habituation as well in Bwindi impenetrable National park in Rushaga sector which allows travelers to spend 4 hours in the presence of the mountain gorillas compared to trekking which only allows only 1 hour, but the cost for gorilla habituation is 1500 US dollars for foreign nonresidents and 1000 US dollars for foreign residents.

However your gorilla safari can over chances to the Batwa community the ancient people of the forest, this can be done in the evening after gorilla trekking and learn about their ancient life style in the forest, traditional dances and other forms of entertain which makes your safari memorable.

Chimpanzee trekking safaris

Chimpanzees are also apes under the primate class which are close relatives of humans with 98% human DNA. Chimpanzees in western Uganda can be found in several destinations including Kibale National park the major destination for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda and the whole world.

Kibale National park has over 1500 and highest number of chimpanzees and other 12 primate species, bird species, Kyambura gorge game reserve in Queen Elizabeth National park with variety of chimpanzees, Budongo forest reserve with quite a number chimpanzees after Kibale National park, Toro Semuliki forest reserve also chimpanzee trekking destination and Kalinzu forest in Bushenyi district close to Queen Elizabeth with over 50 habituated chimpanzees.

Chimpanzee trekking is done early in the guided by the ranger guides to locate the chimpanzees, on encounter with the primates, travelers are allowed only 1 hour in the presence of the chimpanzees by people who are 15 years and above. Kibale National park and Budongo forest reserve also offers chimpanzee habituation experiences which allow travelers to spend the whole day in the presence of the chimpanzees.

Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National park costs 150 US dollars currently and will be 200 US dollars starting 1st July 2020 while habituation is also 200 US dollars, chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura, Toro Semuliki and Kalinzu is 50 US dollars all managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority and chimpanzee trekking in Budongo is 80 US dollars but managed by Budongo Eco lodge.

Wildlife safaris

The western Uganda wildlife safari offers different wild animals which are found in the different National park destinations in western Uganda. There is a hug diversity of wild animals that can be seen on your wildlife safari including, elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, leopards, warthogs, spotted hyenas, Uganda kobs, giraffes, zebras, oribis, Topis, duikers, water bucks, cheetahs, jackals among others.

Wild life safaris in western Uganda are done in Queen Elizabeth National park in western Uganda stunning the districts of Kasese, Kamwenge and Rubirizi. Queen Elizabeth National park is the second biggest National park in Uganda with variety of wild animals like elephants, lions, antelopes, hippos, crocodiles, impalas, Elands and so on which are normally sighted during game drives, primates like chimpanzees, monkey species like black and white colubus, vervet monkeys, olive baboons, L’hoest’s monkeys, civet monkeys among others.

There are several sectors in the different parts of Queen Elizabeth National park where wild animals can be sighted including Mweya peninsular, Kasenyi plains, Kazinga channel, Kyambura game reserve, Maramagambo forest, Kalinzu forest and Ishasha sector which is famous for tree climbing lions.

Wildlife safaris can also be done in Lake Mburo National park located in Kiruhura district which approximately 244 km from Kampala. Lake Mburo is the smallest savannah park in Uganda famous for wildlife viewing. Lake Mburo is home to over 68 animals including zebras, impalas, Topis, Elands, giraffes, Uganda kobs, buffaloes, bush bucks, leopards, hyenas, jackals among others. However it is important to note that there are no elephants and lions in Lake Mburo National park.

Wildlife safaris are done in Semuliki National situated in Bundibugyo district at the border with Democratic Republic of Congo. Semuliki National park also is home to over 60 mammal species including African elephants, leopard, Mona monkeys, buffalos, hippos, African civet among others that are seen during game drives in the park.

Murchison falls is another destination for wildlife safaris and game viewing. It is the largest National park located in north western Uganda covering an area of 3840 square kilometers. The vegetation of Murchison falls National Park is made up savannah, riverine forest, woodland which shelter several animal species like elephants, lions, leopards, Rothschild giraffes, chimpanzees, kobs, hartebeests, hippos, oribis among others that are viewed the game drives.

Boat safaris

Western Uganda is one of the best places for boat safaris and there is popular destination for boat cruise including boat cruise on Kazinga channel in Queen Elizabeth National park.

Boat cruise on Kazinga channel. Kazinga channel is the longest and widest natural channel in Africa with the highest concentration of wild animals and bird species. There are over 400 bird species, elephants, buffaloes, hippos among others. The boat cruise on kazinga channel is done in the morning and afternoon for 2 hours, it is one of the activities that you cannot miss when you come to Queen Elizabeth National park.

Boat cruise on Lake Bunyonyi. Lake Bunyonyi is the second deepest lake in Africa after Lake Tanganyika with 29 islands. It is also known as a bird paradise because it hosts very many bird species where it derives its name Bunyonyi meaning “small birds” in the native language. There is boat cruise on lake Bunyonyi which offers memorable experiences especially cruising to the different island with different historical back ground like the punishment island where the bakiga girls who got pregnant before marriage were taken in isolation to die, then the Akacuraniko which means upside down and many others with their own history that also shelter many wild animals, birds and primate species.

Boat safari on Lake Mutanda. A visit to Lake Mutanda is an interesting adventure that cannot be missed on your safari to western Uganda. The lake has many interesting activities that can be engaged in on your visit for a boat cruise especially after gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable National park. The activities include nature walks, birding, game viewing among others.

Cultural safaris

Cultural safaris in western Uganda are a component because Uganda is a culturally diverse country with over 54 tribes. When it comes to cultural safaris in western Uganda Queen Elizabeth National park is the best place to visit with several cultural groups like Nyanzibiri community cave which means 2 lake in the native language, Leopard village located close to muhokya village managed by the socio economical management that promotes culture and wildlife conservation. Those who tour the leopard village have a chance to visit the traditional huts of Basongora, Bakonzo and Nyabindi ethnic groups then kikorongo women community where you enjoy songs, dances, fire making, visit the Kikorongo African art and craft workshop and learn about weaving baskets among others.

A visit to the Batwa community deep in Bwindi and Mgahinga forests. The batwa trail and batwa experience are one of the major cultural activities that cannot be missed on your cultural safari to western Uganda. Learn about the batwa people also referred to as the people of the forests that co-existed with the wild animals before they were evicted after gazetting their areas as national parks. Learn about their way of life as hunters and gathers, enjoy their traditional dances, hand craft making and so on. You can go for the batwa trail in Mgahinga National park of batwa experience in Bwindi impenetrable National park

Visit and encounter the fascinating cultures of Toro on western Uganda cultural tour. Learn about the “Empaako ceremony” which involves giving pet names to the children at birth. The pet names include Akiiki, Amooti, Adyeeri, Ateenyi, Abwooli, Acaali among others, visit the King’s palace overlooking Fort Portal town where the king resides. There is the Karambi tombs where the Toro kings are buried that is visited during your cultural safari in western Uganda.

Mountain hiking safaris

Hiking mountain Rwenzori in western Uganda is the best experience you can have on your safari in western Uganda. Mountain Rwenzori is the highest block mountain Uganda and third highest in Africa after mountain Kilimanjaro in Tanzania at 5895 meters above sea level, mountain Kenya in Kenya at 5199 meters above sea level then mountain Rwenzori at 5109 meters above sea level with the highest peak known as margherita.

Hiking Mountain Rwenzori is done in seasons, which are from January to March and June to October. Usually January to March is too cold compared to June to October where there are higher chances of encountering snow at the peak.

Western Uganda is a great destination in Uganda where you can go for your different fascinating safaris like gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking, boat safaris, cultural safari among other which offer you great experiences on your safari.

Safari Guide Travel Tips

5 Steps to Booking a Uganda Safari Online

Planning a memorable Uganda safari can be a night mare wondering where to start from and not sure how it will go. In this article we shall give a highlight of what is necessary for a memorable safari.

Search for a Trip

Make friends with Google and get to a search engine to find a find a safari agent. The best way to search is to include specifications and key word, let say gorillas safari in Uganda, a 4 day safari in Uganda. This key word will help you bring related articles and safari companies that you will be likely to choose from.

Make a choice among the appeared searches, choose as many as you can and search about by visiting their websites, check to see if they are functional and up to date with their contact numbers and Google map directions.

Send an Enquiry

Send an inquiry to each of your selected tour operators by filling in the forms on their sites. The forms usually include names, nationality, package activity, and then your budget for safari. This helps the tour consultant t know what the client wants and will answer in according to the need. Due to difference in time zone, the reply may not income instant but will surely come if the site you inquired on is operating.

Compare the Offers

Compare the packages and cost each safari tour has presented and gage with your expectation and means. There will always be a difference in price but it’s good to consider average in the same price range not to high and not too low.

Compare the accommodation, look through all the listed accommodation and check out their facilities on their websites. Accommodation   is usually grouped in classes, budget, midrange and budget. This will also help you in determining a memory safari. Good accommodations gives comfort and make you enjoy your stay.

Narrow Down with a Local Tour Operator

Follow the tour operator you have selected on plat forms like safari booking, Trip advisor for other information like reviews from the previous clients. Bad reviews about the service provided, scam of money should help you narrow your choice of tour operator.

Check for membership, registered and licensed tour operators should be members of the tourism association, for example Association of Uganda tour operators, TUGATA ,UCOTA, UTA, Atta and so many other related association. Registered members are easy to track through such associations.

Compare the relationship you have  attached to the tour operator you selected, for this you have to base on the quick response and how knowledgeable how the tour consultant is, the many options one on suggesting for you to have for a memorable safari. A safari is not alone about wild life there other activities you can engage.

Make a Decision & Book

Make a decision on the tour operator to take on for your memorable safari, after the all the precautions and the steps you have taken, of course there is one lucky tour operator who has satisfied your inquiry with your budget and expectation. Feel free to place your confirmation mail.

Await your memory safari by making a payment. Once you confirm a safari you are then required to make a deposit of 30-70% of the total cost to help in buying permits and securing accommodations.

Depending on your arrangement and communication with the tour operator, you can pay by credit card, direct transfer to the company account, pesapal or by cash on arrival.

Safari Guide

Smart Ideas to Planning a Gorilla Trek

It’s very essential to plan your gorilla safari to Africa so that your gorilla trekking safari become a memorable one in your entire life below are some of the ideas to planning a gorilla trek.

The Destination:

After developing the idea of tracking mountain gorillas in Africa, the second thing you should think about is to know the destination where you going to see these giants. Uganda, Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of Congo have prime locations for gorilla trekking. The perfect option for value and almost guaranteed sightings is Uganda, tracking in Uganda is done in Bwindi impenetrable national park which is located in the southwestern part of Uganda 7-9 hours’ drive from the capital city Kampala to the park headquarters, while Volcanoes National Park, in Rwanda, is typically known as the best place to track. The park is located in the northwestern part of Rwanda in RuhegeriMusanze district in a drive of about 2-3 hours from Kigali Rwanda’s capital and its largest city.

The Climate:

When planning a gorilla trek in Uganda or Rwanda you should also consider the climatic condition, In both countries, it rain heavyfrom March to May, and lighter rainy seasons is from October to mid-December. The republic of Rwanda is at a higher altitude than Uganda, making temperatures slightly cool. However whatever month, gorilla tracking experience remains breathtaking.

Packing list:

These are also very essential when preparing a gorilla trek to Africa, these include Hiking boots with ankle support, since tracking is done in the forest, this will give a good support to hike through the forest; a dry pack for camera gear; waterproof pants and jacket since tracking is gorillas is done in a tropical rain forest it can rain at any time; gaiters; gloves; binoculars, walking stick is provided by the lodge to give you support when in the forest, mosquito repellent to prevent from mosquito bites, a water proof bag is also essential to carry your accessories like Note book, camera among others.

Safety Tip:

Safety measures are also very essential when planning a mountain gorilla trek in Africa, Both countries Uganda and Rwanda are considered safe without any political insecurity, though caution is recommended near the Congolese border because of civil unrest.


Yellow fever required; hepatitis A, typhoid, meningitis, rabies, and antimalarial recommended.

Book a gorilla permit first:

In Bwindi impenetrable national park only 88 permits are on market each day and only 8 people are allowed to track in each gorilla group, and it takes 7-9 hours traveling from Kampala Uganda’s capital and its largest city, and about 1 and half hour to reach the park headquarters so you are recommended to book your accommodation to one of the three entry points and particularly on your entry point noted on your permit. Rwanda has 80 permits per day and also in each gorilla family only 8 members are allowed to track each day. In both countries, gorilla permits are on a very high demand so they get finished very early, it’s better to book gorilla permits prior to your tracking dates at least 2-5 months to avoid disappointment. Uganda gorilla permits costs USD 600 in the high seasons and USD 350 during the low seasons of May, April, and November, and Rwanda gorilla permits are at afee of USD750 per person per tracking each day, the price include a ranger guide

Rent Your Own Porter:

If you want a porter, their available at the park headquarters at a fee of just 20 usd$ per day, he can assist you with your backpack and your water, and if it means lifting you they can do to support you and continue with your gorilla trek.

Go with a first camera:

You are allowed to take as many photos as you can, however a flash camera is not allowed, remember you are only allowed one hour to stay with these amazing giant apes in their natural habitat and this will probably be your one chance to see them in the wild.

Visas: Required for Uganda (available upon arrival)