Uganda shelters over half of the earth’s mountain gorillas
, and most of these live in the mist-shrouded Bwindi Forest. Visiting one of the 11 habituated families
is Uganda’s most compelling activity, as a 2-6 hour trek through the rainforest culminates in an eye-to-eye encounter with one of our closest relatives. All tours are regulated through the Uganda Wildlife Authority - so you can be sure that your fee is reinvested into the national park and the gorillas' protection.
Chimpanzees also inhabit several of Uganda’s forests, and with abundant permits costing a fraction of those for gorillas, a half-day tour is highly recommended. These noisy primates are much more animated than the gorillas – watching them is exhilarating.
Uganda’s national parks are a well-kept secret. Lusher than their Kenyan counterparts, with rivers and lakes for cruising as well as standard game drives. Dented with volcanic craters against a mountain backdrop, the landscapes alone are spectacular. Thousands of hippo and buffalo, along with elephant, lion, giraffe, leopard and over 1,000 species of birds can be seen here – without bumping into hordes of other visitors. Top spots are Queen Elizabeth for game, Bwindi for gorillas, Mgahinga for volcanoes and golden monkeys, and Murchison Falls for vast savannah and the mighty falls themselves.
Visitors to Uganda credit it with being one of the friendliest nations in Africa. Still very much tribal, culture varies widely across the country – be sure to catch the wonderful music and dance, traditional demonstrations (medicinal plants, cooking, weaving) or consider a home stay alongside one of the national parks.