According to travel experts, Uganda is one of 2024’s hottest travel destinations, and it’s easy to see why. It’s replete with culture, untamed wilderness and massive accommodations thanks to a speed growing tourism industry. While a trip to Kampala and its surrounding is likely on any traveler’s bucket list, the most magnificent sights are found in the bush — specifically on the western circuit and its private reserves.
With roaming wildlife in Ugandan national parks, captivating sunsets and plenty of accommodations to choose from ideally this depends on your budget; Uganda provides a romantic backdrop for adventurous honeymooners. But planning a Ugandan safari can be a daunting task. Here are a few tips to help you decide when to go, where to stay and what to expect.
When to Go
You can visit Uganda anytime of the year, the weather is moderate except in the months November – December then April – May when rainfall is a little bit heavy but the rest of the months are sunny throughout the year and are the best for safari, meaning less foliage and easier game-spotting. During the rainy season the climate is also more moderate and your risk for malaria is lower than in the summer. Another bonus! This isn’t peak tourism season, meaning many of the safari lodge prices are substantially lower.
Where to go
Bwindi Impenetrable forest National Park, this ancient forest and a world heritage site since 1994 is home to half a population of world’s most endangered species the Mountain Gorillas. Coming face to face with these gentle giants is the most thrilling moment on earth, is your best bet for a safari as well. For your honeymoon, spring for a luxury lodge in one of the private game reserves, like Silverback Lodge, or Buhoma Lodge, each of which are located near the starting trek point inside rain forest Park. The park does allow self-drive safaris, but the region’s private reserves offer expert guides, trackers and potters. A maximum number of eight tourists are allowed to visit each family group per day, making for a more intimate experience in the Ugandan bush.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Uganda’s second largest game reserve, the diverse beauty from the foothills of the Rwenzori mountainous ranges in the east through the lush savannah grassland to the tropical green rain forests in the west, this make it possible variety of wildlife to supported in the same park. You can spot 4 of the big 5 animals in this park, trek the closest human cousins the Chimpanzees in Kyambura gorge, meet the unique tree climbing lions of Isasha Sector, south of the park.
Activities to experience in the Queen Elizabeth Game Park include game drives to view awesome wildlife buffaloes, Elephants, Lions, lots of antelopes, warthogs, on a lucky morning can spot a Leopard and beautiful different bird species some of which are migrants from Europe and Kenya. The boat cruise is considered the most rewarding and a highlight to any safari to this park due to the fact that it takes you up close to animals like hippos, Crocodiles, the crater experience is also outstanding as it enables you to view many crater lakes found in this great rift valley. Prepare to be spoiled if you choose to stay at a luxury safari lodge. The most honeymoon-worthy properties — often visited by celebrities like Elton John, Bono and Justin Bieber — are Mweya Safari Lodge, Kyambura game Lodge and Kingfisher. These lodges offer state-of-the-art facilities, impeccable decor and furnishings, five-star cuisine and attentive service. Each property is intimate, featuring only 3 to 5 suites, allowing for complete seclusion. Wedded bliss will ensure as you’re wowed with breathtaking views, romantic dinners under the stars and close wildlife encounters.
Murchison falls National Park
This Uganda’s largest park, the Murchison Falls Game Park is bisected by river Nile, Africa’s longest river. The park supports lots of wildlife including the four of the big five, variety of antelope species and birdlife is outstanding, the captivating boat cruise up to the bottom of the falls takes you close to the pool largest of the number of hippos is Africa. In the east of the park is where you find Budongo Forest known for tracking human closest relative the Chimpanzees other wildlife include Giraffes, Jackson’s beast, Wathogs and on your way back to Kampala have a stopover at zziwa Rhino sanctuary to track Few remaing Rhinos in Uganda.
Luxury Paraa Safari Lodge feature a more modern take on accommodations (think contemporary wood and steel furnishings), while Redchili features an extravagant style bandas and tents and outside fireplaces. Even though these properties offer modern conveniences, such as spa and gym facilities, the surrounding environment is what makes these accommodations so unique: Lodges are smack dab in the middle of the bush, with few walls or barriers to the outdoors. You’ll be closer to the action — so close that you’ll have to be escorted through the bush to your suite.
Ssese Island Beaches
Ssese is the biggest island found in the middle of Lake Victoria; Board a scheduled 3 hour ferry right from Entebbe near the Airport with your self-drive rental car to this beautiful magnificent Island, enjoy the sand beaches, boat rides, Quad biking, guided walking safaris, fireplace.
The luxury safari beach lodges like Brovad Sand Beach hotel and Garden Resort operate on an all-inclusive basis. Rates include accommodations, alcoholic beverages — including premium liquor — and guides forest walk and Village walk each day (led by an expert guide and tracker). Rates also include three meals a day and snacks upon request.
Some travelers may be pleasantly surprised by the level of culinary sophistication in the bush, which ranges from upscale European cuisine to local specialties like braai — a unique South African barbecue. On-site sommeliers are also skilled at pairing South African wines with each course. Many meals are served under the stars or in the middle of the wilderness for an extra touch of romance. The only a la carte expenses are spa services and excursions outside of the hotel.
Packing for an African safari can be challenging because of the varying weather conditions and the terrain so, check out these packing tips before you go. If mountain gorilla trekking is on your checklist then this is a must, Jungle boots, Rain Jacket, pair of trekking truck trousers
An exotic Ugandan safari should on your honeymoon short list if you’re a couple seeking an unforgettable adventure enhanced by unparalleled luxury. Uganda truly has it all: astounding wildlife, awe-inspiring landscapes, epic sunsets and magnificent food and wine.