Uganda, or the ‘Pearl of Africa’, as it was famously dubbed by Winston Churchill, is characterised by relatively dry and flat savanna in the north, with verdant mountains in the West, and vast dense and remarkably lush forests in the central region. The nation is home to an astonishingly diverse range of African wildlife including the highly endangered mountain gorilla which can be found in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. A popular spot for wildlife watching is Queen Elizabeth National Park, which hosts four of the Big Five, a flock of flamboyant flamingos and the rare tree-climbing lions of Ishasha. Outdoor enthusiasts can get their adrenaline fix with plenty of whitewater rafting, kayaking, hiking, quad biking and horse riding facilities on offer. Add to this some friendly locals, a burgeoning cultural scene, and a capital city full of lively bars, clubs and restaurants, and it is easy to see why Uganda has gained itself a reputation as 'Africa's friendliest country'.
Days 1 - 2
Situated on a peninsula in Lake Victoria, the former seat of Uganda’s government, Entebbe is just a short drive from the current capital and offers plenty to keep visitors amused. This charming town features tree-lined streets and serves as an excellent base from which to explore the surrounding area. Tourists can look forward to spending days on beautiful beaches along the banks of Lake Victoria, stroll through the fields and forests of the magnificent Botanical Gardens, or pay a visit to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, a haven for country’s orphaned chimps.
Days 2 - 4
Straddling Uganda’s lush equatorial rainforest, Fort Portal is a striking designated tourism city of Uganda that rests in the Western Region of the country, north-west of the bustling city of Mbarara. Perched at an elevation of around 1500 metres, Fort Portal offers sublime scenery with views over the Ruwenzori Range and the Mufumbiro volcanoes, as well as flourishing landscapes with it being a verdant tea-growing area. This friendly town's central location makes it a convenient base from which to explore the scenic surrounding landscapes. Adventure seekers and nature lovers alike can track the chimps in the magical Kibale Forest National Park, explore the enchanting Crater Lakes or enjoy the delightful hot springs and dynamic central African wildlife of Semuliki National Park. Don't miss culturally significant Kabarole Main Mosque.
Northern Queen Elizabeth National Park
Days 4 - 6
One of the most popular parks in Uganda, the Queen Elizabeth National Park lies in the western region of the country. In the northern part of the park, visitors can look forward to boating along the Kasinga Channel, which is home to the largest population of hippos in the world and an abundance of Nile crocodiles. Along the banks, an incredible number of birds and wild animals flock to the river’s edge. At Kyambura Gorge, fondly known as ‘Valley of the Apes’, chimpanzees are at home in a world of lush tropical rainforest spread with canopies, and three salty crater lakes are decorated with swathes of pink flamingos. On the western shore of Lake George, the vast Kasenyi Plains are inhabited by lions and several interesting bird species.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Days 6 - 8
Located in southwestern Uganda, the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is said to be Africa’s oldest rainforest. It is world-renowned for its excellent gorilla-sighting opportunities - the forest is home to half of the remaining mountain gorillas on earth. This experience takes place among a rugged landscape of dense jungle, cascading waterfalls, sparkling mountain streams, deep valleys, and steep ridges. The untouched forest has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its breathtaking natural beauty and unique ecological significance, and aside from the amazing gorilla interactions, there are other drawcards such as a network of forest walks, over 340 species of bird to spot, and a variety of brightly-coloured butterflies. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the spectacular Virunga Volcanoes, three of which are still active.