Gorilla Trekking in Uganda, Bwindi Forest National Park and Mghahinga Nat Park
Set at the equator, Uganda is made up of four regions(Central, Eastern, Northern and Western) on an area of 236, 580 sq km, with its capital at Kampala.
The country is fortunate to harbour Lake Victoria, the second largest lake in the world forming the source of the Nile, the second largest river in the world.
Uganda lies astride the Equator in Eastern Africa between longitudes 29 East and East and between latitudes 4 North and South, at an average altitude of 1,100 meters above sea- level. The total area is 236,580sq.Km. We are bordered by the Republic of South Sudan to the North, the Republic of Kenya to the East, the Democratic Republic of Congo to the West, and the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Rwanda to the South. Uganda experiences a temperate climate even though the majority of the country is within the Tropics with temperatures between 16 – 26’C for the majority of the year(April – November). However, during the warmer months (December – March) temperatures reach in excess of 30.
This information portal guides you on how attractions, where to stay, securing a gorilla safari permit, what to wear, when to go ? and recent news about the Mountain gorillas in Uganda.
What to see and explore in Uganda
- Semuliki Wildlife Reserve.
How to get to uganda
From outside East Africa, Uganda can be accessed by either road or Air and mostly by Air to Entebbe Airport. Water transport can also be used to travel in and around our destinations especially the ferry crossing from the Southern part of Murchison Falls National Park to the Northern part of Murchison Falls National Park. There are Launch cruises to the bottom of the falls in Murchison Falls National Park and along the Kazinga channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Also Ssese islands are easily accessed by water from either Nakiwogo or Bukakata, some business people use the ferry to travel to Kisumu in Kenya and Mwanza in Tanzania.
Airports in Uganda
All frights from outside the country only have safe landing at Entebbe International Airport which is the only international airport in the country. There is a plan of developing some other airstrips to attain international status too but apparently, one Airport stands out in Uganda. Some airstrips frequently used by travelers in the country include; Arua Airstrip, Moyo Airstrip, and Kololo Airstrip usually for business. For tourism purposes, the airstrips that have been developed for easy connection to the different destinations in the country include; Apoka, Pakuba, Bugungu, Kasese, Mweya, Kihihi, Kayonza and Kisoro.
Airlines Connecting to Uganda
Depending on where you are coming from, Uganda can be accessed by international airlines, and inter-Africa airlines. Also domestically, only one airline connects you to the different destinations in the country that is; Eagle Air. International Airlines include; Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, British Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Emirates Airlines, and Brussels Airlines. Inter-Africa airlines include; Ethiopian Airlines, South African Airways, Egypt Air, Air Tanzania, Air Uganda, Kenya Airways, Rwandair Express, Fly 540, and Precision Airlines. There are also charter flights arranges to the different parts of the country offered by Kampala Aero Club, Ndege Juu Ya Africa, Air Serv, and Eagle Air.
Getting to Uganda
Direct flights are available from London by British Airways, Brussels by Brussels Airlines, Instanbul by Turkish Airlines, and Amsterdam by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. There are direct flights from Doha by Qatar Airways, Dubai by Emirates Airlines. There are no direct flights from America but there are connections through code sharing airlines from Europe and South Africa. The only direct flights between Uganda and other African countries are; Ethiopian airlines to Addis Ababa, Egypt air to Cairo, Kenya Airways to Nairobi, Rwandair Express to Kigali, and South African Airways to Johannesburg. Charter services can be arranged on request by the leading service providers to include; Kampala Aero Club, Ndege Juu Ya Africa, Air Serv, and Eagle Air or by simply getting in touch with Kawira Safaris.
Getting to Uganda by Road
The Road transport network connecting other countries to Uganda is good for any visitor to reach the country. By road, Buses such as; Akamba, Kampala Coaches, Jaguar, Gaagaa, Easy Coach, Modern Coast, Baby Coaches, run between Kampala to Nairobi, Bukoba, Dar-es-salaam, Kigali, Bujumbura and Juba. There are a variety of standard services from which you can choose to whichever destination you would wish to be. Very often these buses have schedules to the different cities outside Uganda and it is recommended that you check with the respective bus for when they travel to and from a particular city to and from Kampala. Beware of prior booking for these services as last minute bookings may lead to you failing out to get a seat on the bus.
Traveling on Water
There is a regular inland ferry connecting Nakiwogo in Entebbe and the Ssese islands on Lake Victoria and one between Bukakata pier near Masaka town and Ssese islands on Kake Victoria. These islands are one of the most visited places in the country by both local and international visitors majorly for relaxation. The ferry from Nakiwogo leaves at around 1:30pm and leaves Ssese islands at 8:00am arriving at Nakiwogo at around 11:00am. Usually this journey takes about 3 hours on water.
Frequently Asked Questions
Entering Uganda has never been easier than today, there’s no complications in entry requirements, since all you need is a VISA, which may be got at a consular, high commission or Embassy of Uganda in your area. Alternatively, as long you have your credentials and a few of the following vaccinations (most of which are optional), you can still get a VISA on arrival at Entebbe International Airport, Uganda – our major entry point.
- Yellow fever vaccine is essential.
- Hepatitis A and B, Mengitis, tetanus and typhoid are also recommended if you expect to get closer to wild animals.
Applying for a Visa:
You can apply for your visa online, through our immigration department.
You can also acquire a visa at Uganda’s High Commission or Embassy in your country of residence or on arrival at Entebbe International Airport, if you travel with all your relevant documentation and identification.
The charges for Uganda’s Visa start from US$ 50 and above. For more details check out Visa and Passes page on Immigration website.
East Africa Tourist Visa:
The East Africa Tourist Visa will allow travel between Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda with the same multiple entry visa. This visa is the result of a joint initiative made by the Heads of States of the respective partner countries to boost regional travel and create opportunities for tourists to explore the diversity of East Africa.
Travelers from any country can obtain a multiple entry visa that will allow entry to the Republic of Kenya, the Republic of Rwanda, and the Republic of Uganda for tourism over period of 90 days.
- Eligible Person: Tourist, no restrictions on country of origin
- Dependents: All persons must apply in their own right.
- Travel Documents: All tourists must have an official and genuine international passport, valid for not less than 6 months from the time of visa application.
- Visa Fees: 100 USD per visa
- Validity of Visa: 90 days
- Single of Multiple Entry: Multiple entry to all three countries
- Work or no Work: Work is not permitted
- Visa Extension: An East Africa Tourist Visa shall not be extended.
- Country of Entry: The holder of the East Africa Tourist Visa shall enter the region from the country that issued the visa and move within the two other countries without applying for another visa or paying another visa fee.
- Movement of persons: The holder shall also be allowed to move out of the Republic of Kenya, the Republic of Rwanda, and the Republic of Uganda and return without having to pay for another visa. This will only be applicable for the validity period of the visa (90 days from visa approval).
For more details on the East African Tourist Visa visit www.visiteastafrica.org.
Uganda experiences a temperate climate even though the majority of the country is within the Tropics with temperatures between 16 – 26’C for the majority of the year(April – November). However, during the warmer months (December – March) temperatures reach in excess of 30’C.
In general, the climate of Uganda is mainly influenced by: the dry N.E. and Northerly air masses which cause the dry weather in much of the north the dry South Easterlies which becomes moist after blowing over Lake Victoria thus causing the wet conditions in much of the south. The presence of Lake Victoria which supplies moisture that make the south moist. Were it not for Lake Victoria, Uganda would be a drier country due to continentality. Note that in detail, just like in any other region, the micro-climatic experiences of Uganda are more than as just simply described above due to microconditions that vary from place tho place. for instance, temperatures on mt Elgon at the eastern border with Kenya, and on the Ruwenzori mountains on the west, may fall up to sub zero while the northern arid and semi arid ares may occassionally be as warm as 40oC. Yet rainfall experiences may also vary beyond the indicated extremes.
Ugandan food is the arguably the best in Africa .
Only in Uganda will you find places that can give you variety of fresh food as compared to other countries, they include yummy banana dishes, stews, pastes and juicy fruits and drinks.
Uganda’s culture weaves a yarn of variety not only through the manner of dress, language and other characteristics but also in its variety of dishes.
Nearly every tribe or region has a delicacy or specialty.
Most of the highly ranked hotels and restaurants serve traditional dishes in form of buffets but often come within a short distance of really preparing authentic traditional dishes.
The most popular local dish is matooke (bananas of the plantain type) which is best served with peanut sauce, fresh fish, meat or entrails. Matooke really goes with any relish.
The best and most respectable way the Baganda cook it is by tying up the peeled fingers into a bundle of banana leaves which is then put in a cooking pan with just enough water and then left to steam.
This style of cooking preserves all the flavours. When ready and tender, the matooke is squeezed into a soft and golden yellow mash. In Buganda, the food production process revolves around the banana plants.
Endowed with lakes and rivers, Ugandans have a chance to enjoy different varieties of fish as a supplement of Uganda food varieties.
Uganda being crossed by the equator has a modified equatorial climate with two rainy seasons and because of this people tend to associate these rainy seasons with the best times to trek gorillas. This is true because when it is raining, it becomes hard to hike and trek in the impenetrable forest because of the heavy rains that make the trails too slippery. That notwithstanding, some gorilla families need to drive for some time to reach at the beginning of the trail heads and because of this, if you don’t have a four wheel drive vehicle you might not make it to the gorillas. Besides that, vegetation tend to grow something that reduces chances of proper visibility and photography. All the above combined, the best time to visit the gorillas is to avoid the most rain seasons in Uganda.
Thus the best time is in June, July, August, September and part of October but because of global warming it is even becoming very hard to predict when it is going to rain or not. The above are just the views of the Author but might not necessarily present the real facts on ground and opinions of other people.
Kindly contact us for more information about warm and wet season and the best time to trek gorillas.
Gorilla Trekking gear guide, Good quality walking boots if trying any hikes or even climbs, warm layers of cloth for the cold evenings and clothing for wet weather remember it becomes cold and wet at this high altitude. However during the day, the sun is strong even when cloudy therefore always remember to carry and wear sunscreen as well as a sun hat. In addition, you may have to carry along waterproof bags to safeguard cameras plus additional equipment for the hike. Water plus snacks are additional recommended items plus a packed lunch for people doing full-day expeditions.
You can visit the mountain gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. See this link for Rwanda Gorilla Trekking
Nature walks in Bwindi area, visit the Batwa, Munyangwa River and so much more.
The diverse habitats in Uganda’s most ancient forest imply that is the perfect habitat for a diversity of bird species, with about 350 recorded different species, with 23 endemics. More info about Birding in Bwindi
Are you finding it hard to make up your mind on which tour company to book your safari with? Let us know what your thoughts are we customise something for you.