(BPT) - If you’ve always wanted to see amazing wildlife in their natural habitats, you may wonder what country to visit, and how to plan your ideal adventure. Choosing Uganda, you'll see not only amazingly rich and varied landscapes, but also a variety of wildlife unlike any other country in the world.
Spend time discovering your options and you're bound to have an incredible adventure. Here are some tips to create your roadmap for a spectacular African safari.
1. Schedule the best times for your safari
When you’re booking a guided safari, you’ll note game drives are in the early morning and early evening. These are the times of day when temps are cooler and when animals are most likely to be out and about.
Even if you’re tired or are definitely not a morning person, don’t give up on early morning game drives, or you could miss out. Every game drive is unique, so no matter when you go, it will be a different experience.
2. Research the best regions to explore
A recommended trip is 10-12 days with time in three different regions of a country. Fortunately, Uganda’s regions are diverse enough to satisfy any traveler’s interests.
Here are examples of must-see areas:
- Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda's largest park. Enjoy a Nile River safari, take a hike up Murchison Falls, witness the endangered Rothschild giraffe population and more. Chimp trekking areas are nearby.
- Queen Elizabeth National Park’s southern sector is where travelers can spot the rare tree-climbing lions which are only found in a few places in the world. The park spans the equator so you can also snap a photo at one of the nearby monuments marking the spot where it crosses latitude 0. Chimp trekking areas are nearby.
- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are the only two parks where you can go gorilla trekking in Uganda. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Kidepo Valley National Park has topography so striking that it’s a top safari destination. You’ll see both vast savannah terrain and a mountainous landscape.
- Jinja is a city known as Uganda’s adventure capital — and the only place where you can safely whitewater raft on the legendary Nile.
- Rwenzori Mountains National Park is an outstanding area for the true adventurer to enjoy a long hiking expedition up Uganda’s “Mountains of the Moon,” where vibrant green vegetation gives way to snow and glaciers.
- Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is a must if your goal is to see the “Big 5” (lions, leopards, buffalo, elephant and rhino) while in Uganda, as this sanctuary is the only place in Uganda where you can find the white rhinoceros in its natural habitat.
3. Learn how to pack
Once your destinations are selected, figure out what clothing you'll need. For example, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a mountainous area with cool mornings and evenings, so dressing in layers is ideal. If you're planning on gorilla trekking, it’s recommended to bring gardening gloves for the hike as you make your way through the forest and support yourself on branches and vines.
Note: If you’re traveling during the pandemic, it is required that you have at least two N95 masks, surgical masks or double-layered cloth masks with filters to ensure a single use for each day of your visit.
Binoculars are recommended to spot not just animals in the distance and stealthy animals blending in with the landscape, but also to catch a glimpse of stunning birds that make Uganda their home.
4. Be open to new experiences
Game drives may be top of mind, but many other activities are available when you’re in a diverse and fascinating country like Uganda.
Here are other places you can add to your itinerary:
- Community visits. You can arrange to visit schools to interact with kids and view a special dance performance, interact with communities such as the Batwa, and learn how local women weave baskets, sew, cook and more.
- Nature walks. See a different viewpoint of the bush, full of spectacular details you could miss while driving.
- Birding. Most visitors to Uganda grow to appreciate the incredibly diverse birds living there. More than half of Africa’s bird species can be spotted in Uganda, and with the right itinerary, travelers can identify as many as 200 species in a single day.
- Coffee safaris. There are several coffee regions in Uganda where you can learn about the coffee process. Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) allows travelers to meet with local coffee farmers near Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and enjoy a delicious tasting.
To learn more about all that Uganda has to offer for your dream safari, visit UgandaWildlife.org.