YPA founder Nick Bay’s love affair with Uganda goes way back. He first traveled to the country in 2004 when he was backpacking across Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania, using buses to get from A to B and staying with local families along the way.
Needless to say, Nick loved Uganda and it’s still very much on his radar. Here are five reasons why he says you should consider Uganda for your next African safari:
- It’s one of the most diverse safari destinations in Africa. Uganda is crossed by the equator and offers many diverse habitats, from volcanic mountains and open savanna plains to the lush Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. These varied terrains offer a great diversity of species, especially if eco-trekking and gorilla trekking are on your to-do list.
- It’s known for its value, but it won’t stay like that forever. Not much has changed in Uganda from a tourism perspective in the last 20 years, but the landscape is slowly changing to accommodate travelers interested in more high end, lower volume lodging. Essentially, that means that now is the time to visit. Volcanoes Safari (one of the pioneers of gorilla and chimpanzee ecotourism in the country), Sanctuary Retreats and the Uganda Safari Company have some beautiful lodges and luxury tents.
- It’s the perfect destination for gorilla trekking. Uganda is one of the top gorilla trekking destinations, and best of all, you don’t have to overnight in order to connect the dots to reach your destination. Trekking is slightly more challenging in Uganda, however, so expect to walk about 6 -7 hours in order to reach the gorilla families, up and down peaks and valleys.
- It has more water-based activities than Kenya and Rwanda. If hippo sightings and water activities float your boat, then Uganda has plenty to offer. The Kazinga Channel that links Lake Edward and Lake George in Queen Elizabeth National Park is a must-visit for beautiful hippo pods, happy elephant herds, birding, game viewing, fishing, and white river rafting.
- It relies on tourism to keep its conservation efforts alive. Traveling in Uganda made a huge impact on Nick because he says he was able to see first-hand how forests and areas outside of the protected national parks are cut down. As you all know, at YPA we choose our travel partners very carefully and we’ve got a long-standing relationship with Great Plains Conservation. We’re looking forward to an exciting new project of theirs that’s on the go in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (in the south-west part of the country) to increase a forest conservation area without displacing people. Watch this space for an exciting new accommodation option in 2024/2025.
If you’re considering Uganda for your next safari, you won’t be disappointed. While there are no true 5-star accommodation options (yet!), there are plenty of lodges that offer a soft landing. As Nick says, “If you’re ok with glamping plus a little adventure, Uganda nails it!”
Bwindi camps are often included in honeymoon itineraries due to their sheer value for experience, and another plus is the fact that it’s easy to add on a Uganda gorilla trek to an existing Maasai Mara itinerary without overnighting in a city. The Ugandan people are incredibly warm and friendly, and many of the locals speak English, which makes traveling within the country easy and enjoyable.
Let’s chat about how we can help you put together a safari experience that’s beautifully off the beaten track and unique.
Images: Sanctuary Retreats Gorilla Forest Camp