This central African country was rightly described by Winston Churchill as the ‘Pearl of Africa’ on account of its lush and exquisite scenery. As the source of the Nile and home to tranquil lakes, winding rivers, hills blanketed in thick jungle, and Africa’s highest mountain range, what also attracts many visitors here are its delightful people, tropical wildlife, and of course the highest concentration of primates on earth. Most notably the majestic yet rare Mountain Gorilla.
The country is at its best during its two dry seasons between December and February and between June and August, when conditions are particularly good for trekking to see mountain gorillas and chimpanzees.
Where in the world?
Uganda is located in eastern Africa, west of Kenya, south of South Sudan, east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and north of Rwanda and Tanzania. It is in the heart of the Great Lakes region, and is surrounded by three of them, Lake Edward, Lake Albert, and Lake Victoria. While much of its border is lakeshore, Uganda is landlocked with no access to the sea.
Your designated SCC guide will be there to meet you at Entebbe International airport and take you to your hotel which is only a few minutes drive away. The rooms combine the modern comforts one expects today with the charm and character of the original 1940’s home.
After breakfast, take a short flight from Entebbe to Kibale Forest National Park. Your lodge is set against the stunning backdrop of Lake Kyaninga and the Rwenzori Mountains beyond. The lodge is the spectacular result of one man’s vision and six years of unwavering commitment to creating an experience of Africa’s beauty unlike anything else.
Kibale National park covers an area of about 795 sq km and is acknowledged to have the highest density of chimpanzees worldwide. With at least 60 species of mammal, including 13 species of primate, Kibale really can’t be missed and if you weren’t a keen bird watcher before, the 335 recorded species found here will do all they can to change your mind. A true gem of a national park.
Take a comfortable stroll around Lake Kyaninga, the Rwenzori Mountains and the beautiful rolling hills of Fort Portal. This walk takes about an hour and half and in addition to the stunning views, there are also good chances of seeing Vervet monkeys, Black and White Colobus monkeys and of course a wide array of birds. A guide is not necessary but available free of charge.
After a relaxing breakfast, take a short flight to Bwindi. Bwindi Park covers 32,000 hectares and is known for its exceptional biodiversity, with more than 160 species of trees and over 100 species of ferns. Many types of birds and butterflies can also be found there, as well as half of the world’s gorilla population. Your accommodation is situated in one of the most intimate, secluded, beautiful and most importantly natural settings in the world and only around 2 minutes away from the gorilla tracking starting point.
Gorillas can be tracked year-round, although they are easier to track in the dry season. The hike, which requires a reasonable amount of fitness, will be through the spectacular rainforest and bamboo covered slopes of the park, accompanied by expert guides and trackers. The walking can sometimes be tough and long, but when you catch a glimpse of a magnificent silverback and his family, your journey will be well worth the effort. When sighted, visitors will be guided to within six meters of the gorillas. It is an extraordinary feeling sitting in the dense rainforest, knowing you are in the company of these rare creatures. You are allowed an hour with the gorillas before returning to the base station.
Your accommodation is a bird watchers dream. Located on an open piece of land with a river running through. Head out for a complimentary tour around the extensive gardens with a resident bird watching expert. Return to the lodge for breakfast before your onward flight to Entebbe to catch your international flight home.
“SCC very easily helped us with organising a quick trip into Uganda to see the Gorillas and we spent a few extra days exploring Kibale and the enjoying the birds and other primates. We saw Colobus monkeys and De Brazza monkeys which was a bonus.”
Simon Keeble, September 2018
Reasons to visit
A full day spent tracking mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is probably the most remarkable wildlife experience on earth.
Kibale National Park
Kibale National Park boasts the highest concentration of primates in all of Africa. Its thirteen species include black-and-white colobus monkeys and impish grey-cheeked mangabeys and not forgetting the chimpanzees.
Raft the Nile
The surge of white water that runs 20 kilometres downriver from Lake Victoria rivals the Lower Zambezi. It is a heart-thumping ride that is ideal for any adrenaline junkie.
Swim in a crater lake
There are dozens of volcanic crater lakes in and around the Ndali-Kasenda region of western Uganda, but shimmering Kyaninga is the jewel. Fringed with forest and gliding hornbills, the lake is a mesmerising granite blue.
Hike the Rwenzori
It’s a good eight or nine days to complete the Kilembe Trail in the southern section of the park, however much shorter routes are available. The rewards for this trek are considerable, remote walks through a pristine wilderness of craggy peaks, glacier lakes and a lunar landscape dotted with giant groundsel plants.