Once referred to as the ‘Pearl of Africa’ by Winston Churchill, Uganda has in recent years started to reclaim its reputation for safari. Bordered by Tanzania and Kenya, this small landlocked country is a lesser-known but worthy option, especially for those who have already seen many of the more commonly visited destinations. While its primary drawcard is the endangered mountain gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, there is more to Uganda than just gorilla trekking – including game viewing comparable to that found at other top wildlife hotspots, the source of the Nile River at Murchison Falls, and chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest National Park.
Uganda has a warm tropical climate, with the mountainous areas slightly cooler. The hottest time of the year is from December to February. The country experiences heavy rain between March and May, making roads in some areas hard to navigate. The best time for trekking is during the dry seasons – between January and February, and then June to August – with wildlife viewing in general best at the end of the dry seasons when game concentrates around the water sources.
A visit to Uganda needn’t be expensive, but if the purpose of your visit is for gorilla trekking, it does come with some unavoidable costs – such as the permit needed to enter the national parks. Your accommodation costs will depend entirely on the type of lodging you choose, so base this on your budgetary constraints. If you are trekking however, you will need to spend a minimum of two nights near your park of choice due to logistics around trekking times. While in the cities, getting around is cheap if you use public transport (the motorcycle taxis are the fastest as they can navigate around traffic, which is often congested), as is dining out if you opt for local food (Western style food will cost more).