Game Viewing in Uganda
Game Viewing & Game Drive Safaris in Uganda
With 10 national parks, various large and small game reserves and an endowment of natural resources, largely covered by vegetation and huge expanses of tropical forests so rich in flora and fauna; and unique physical landscapes, lakes and rivers, Uganda has always been home to a diverse wildlife that forms a bedrock of Uganda’s tourism industry.
The Pearl of Africa boasts of over 330 mammal species, of which none are critically endangered, 7 are endangered, 21 are vulnerable, and 17 are near-threatened. The wealth of invertebrate life of more than 100,000 species has been identified countrywide and an astonishing 1,200 butterfly species, including almost 50 endemics, have been recorded, not forgetting birdlife of over 1,000 specifies including the Albertine rift endemics.
Here, both animals and nature are in complete harmony with each other. A wide range of wildlife exists in the national parks and game reserves, providing one of the distinctive tour destinations on the continent. Parks like Kidepo Valley and Queen Elizabeth are easily accessible yet not crowded, offering a wonderful game drive and wildlife experience.
These parks offer safe and excellent environment for Uganda safari opportunities since they are; including game reserves, wildlife animals and all visits to the parks are monitored and carefully protected by the Uganda Wildlife Authority with its team of rangers.
Game Viewing Transport
Several transport means can be used within the national parks to go game viewing off-the-beaten-tracks. This is dependent on the travel agent organizing your trip but at Freka we include road transportation on every safari package we organize. Our safari vehicles are custom made to give you the top-notch comfort driving off-the-beaten-tracks.
There are scheduled local flights to almost all the national parks by Aero Link, with daily departures to Kisoro, Kihihi, (Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park), Mweya, Kasese (Queen Elizabeth National Park, Rwenzori Mountains National Park, and Kibale Forest National Park), Semliki (Semliki National Park), Bugugu and Pakuba (Murchison Falls National park), Kidepo (Kidepo Valley National Park).
Charters can be organized to any part of the country, thus seek advice from your local operator for clarification and booking terms.
Over the years private investors have been powered by government to build great accommodation facilities both within and nearby all the parks in the country and this varies from high end, mid-range to budget establishments with the Uganda Wildlife Authority managing campsites in most of the national parks.
Whether your interest is birds, primates, butterflies or wildlife, Uganda has got you covered and most of these being in close to undisturbed environments, which are not heavily populated giving you the chance to exploit everything in their very natural habitat.
When to go?
Game drives and views can be done at any period of the year, although many travelers prefer dry seasons (between January – April, and July – October); while others prefer wet seasons (between October – January and April – July).
What kind of Experience Should You Expect?
Uganda has a fairly high population and human habitation reaches right up to the borders of many of the parks. A striking feature that is most often seen in the areas near the rainforests is the use of terraced agriculture, which rings the hills in thousands of shades of green. Beginning at the main point of arrival in Entebbe, most game viewing safaris will head west to the broad belt of national parks that form the western border. Due to the country being situated right on the meeting point of the eastern savannah and western jungle ecosystems, Uganda has excellent terrain for a wide variety of safaris, from traditional game drives through golden grassland seeking lion or elephant to strapping on your hiking boots and trekking through lush rainforest.
The birding is superlative, with the variation in habitat attracting a vast array of species, including the crowning glory of the shoebill, a highly sought-after sight for the true birder. The traditional Big Five parks of Uganda, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Murchison Falls, do not yet match the game densities of their contemporaries to the east. That said, the game viewing is still very much alive and well and the parks boast a mere fraction of the tourist numbers that may dilutes the experience for those visiting the more developed destinations. A sighting of lion, elephant or leopard here is a moment to treasure and is seldom shared with other vehicles.
How long to stay?
The length of a typical Uganda game viewing safari will vary. Those seeking to track gorillas will fly into Entebbe and often overnight on the shores of Lake Victoria before flying out to the south western parks the following morning. Experts recommend tracking the gorillas twice, as the first time is often a little overwhelming and guests don’t take it all in. After the gorilla experience, visitors usually fly back to Entebbe to continue their safari elsewhere or to head out onto the Ugandan safari circuit with visits to Kibale, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Murchison Falls. Further north, at the very tip of the country, travellers can explore the untouched open spaces of lesser-known parks like Kidepo. On average, however, stays range between four to six days.
When should I go?
Uganda is a good year-round destination, but the rainy seasons (March to May and November to December) can make game viewing logistics a little tricky. Rain also increases the difficulty of tracking in Bwindi, Mgahinga and Kibale, rendering the mountain slopes muddy. Uganda has a major advantage in terms of temperature – although its location is equatorial, the high altitude eases the heat, meaning that the weather remains temperate all year round. The high season for Uganda safari falls in line with other East African destinations, which means during the winter months in the southern hemisphere, from June to October.
Tourist Activities To Do in Uganda
Mountain gorillas can only survive in the wild, so trekking into their native forests is your only chance to catch a peek. This adventure activity into the misty jungles to see the elusive creatures is what ia known as Gorilla Trekking or Gorilla Tracking to some travelers.
In Uganda, visitors pay up to 600 USD to spend one hour in the presence of endangered mountain gorillas, the country’s most famous wild residents. Yet, for a fraction of the cost, did you know you can spend an entire day observing chimpanzees in their natural habitat?
Golden Monkey Trekking
The endangered golden monkeys of the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda offer a unique trekking experience. These playful creatures are found in the bamboo forests set high up in the park, so expect a fairly lengthy uphill trek to around 7000 to 9000 feet above sea level to find them…
White Water Rafting
For the go getters that want to feel the right amount of adventure adrenaline, this here is the real deal. Adrift go things down there near the source of the mighty Nile river. You know, the longest river in the world (6,853 km/4,258 miles.