Uganda Safari Holidays

Gorilla, chimps and big game all inhabit Uganda, where the East African savannah runs in to Central African rainforest, generating astounding diversity

The only country where it's possible to encounter both Mountain Gorilla and Chimpanzees and undertake a first-class classic "big-game" safari

From the semi-desert of Karamoja, to the snow-capped mountains of the Rwenzoris and the "impenetrable" Bwindi rainforests: Uganda seems to capture the eclectic natural beauty of the whole African continent.

Uganda is an extraordinarily green and beautiful land. Straddling the equator it is approximately the size of the UK, with no less than a sixth of the country covered in fresh water - a combination of numerous Rift Valley Lakes, the mighty Nile and mammoth Lake Victoria.

The biggest attraction are the mountain gorillas, of which approximately 300 (a third of the surviving global population) live in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Several habituated families can be reliably visited in well-organised, small trekking parties. Chimpanzee tracking, with the option of a full-day habituation experience in the Kibale Forest, is another alluring possibility.

Apart from the great apes there are several national parks sheltering more familiar East African wildlife - lions & leopards, elephants & giraffe, hippo & hyena:

Queen Elizabeth National Park is the best park in Uganda for big game. We particularly like the wild and remote Ishasha sector, famed for its tree-climbing lions, situtated on the doorstep of gorilla country. An astounding 547 bird species have been recorded in QENP, among the highest figures for any single protected area in the world.

In the arid north-east of Uganda Kidepo Valley is cut-off from the rest of the Ugandan Parks, accesible only by air, which definitely adds to the feeling of wilderness and splendid isolation. Part of Kidepo's attraction is the chance to see some of the 28 dryland specialist mammals not found anywhere else in the country, including charismatic Bat-eared Foxes, caracal and cheetah.

Murchison Falls is named for the famous cataracts where the Victoria Nile rushes through a 20 foot wide gorge crashing on to rocks 150 foot below. Fish dazed by the ride are easy prey for one of the largest concentrations of crocodiles in Africa lurking below. Superb game-viewing and sport fishing is possible here.

Semliki Game Reserve is the site where the savannah and forest coverge, making for compelling wildlife-watching with buffalo, lion and leopard occuring in the same habitat as forest hog and mangabeys.


- The Daily Beast

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Africa's Great Apes

Where, when and how

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It's not just about the Great Apes

Uganda is rightly known for it's gorillas and Chimps, but there is so much more to this diverse country

Because the Great Apes are such a big draw in Uganda there’s a common assumption that they are the sole attraction, this is a massive misconception. Uganda should merit shortlisting for a safari even were the country, as in most of East and southern Africa, completely devoid of Gorillas and Chimpanzees, or encountering these particular primates have little appeal to you. ALL the mammals that collectively represent the cast of a classic safari can be seen here, and seen well - lion reliably loll in fig trees in Ishasha, cheetah stalk the plains of Kidepo, leopard and hyena are widespread, as are giraffe, elephant and buffalo.
The official Ugandan mammal checklist boasts an extremely impressive 132 ‘larger mammals’ (no bats, rats or other peripherals) and while it’s true that primates are prolific, this isn’t at the expense of carnivores (seven cats, three hyenas, Wild Dog & Bat-eared Fox all present) or herbivores with over a dozen large antelope thriving, including eland, roan, Greater and Lesser Kudu alongside the ubiquitous, eponymous kob.
Paradoxically, the misconception that Ugandan wildlife is not the of same caliber as the more celebrated areas only serves to make it a better experience for the enlightened few.

The country receives a fraction of the number of visitors that make their way to the Masai Mara, Serengeti, Kruger, Etosha or Chobe each year. Added to this the parks are many and disparate, so there’s not one single circuit, meaning that encountering massed ranks of safari jeeps at a sighting, a uniquely effective way to destroy the ambience, is virtually unknown. Over time this will likely change and Uganda will one day take its rightful place among the safari luminary, but until that happens it’s possibly the best kept secret on the continent.

ALL the mammals that collectively represent the cast of a classic safari can be seen here, and seen well - lion reliably loll in fig trees in Ishasha, cheetah stalk the plains of Kidepo, leopard and hyena are widespread, as are giraffe, elephant and buffalo”

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BEST TIME TO GO TO UGANDA - understanding a complex climate

As a rule the best wildlife viewing months in Uganda are during the dry seasons from June to mid-September and December to February.

Primate trekking, particularly for Gorillas and Chimpanzees are a big part of any safari to Uganda. Because the habitat for these Great Apes is rainforest, which be definition is wet, you can never avoid rain completely. 

If combining Great Apes with a savannah safari then you may want to steer clear of the wettest months: March, April, May, October, November - although the chance of encounterring less people and benefitting from low season rates on accommodation and permits can have its own appeal. 

Uganda's equatorial climate is significantly tempered by its elevated altitude. There's regional variation in rainfall patterns across the country. In western Uganda and the Lake Victoria region it can rain at any time of year, however as a rough guide the wet-seasons are from mid-September to November and from March to May.

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How to travel in Uganda

Uganda is particularly blessed in having multiple disparate attractions within reasonably easy reach of each other

"Safari" is a Swahili word derived from the Arabic "safar" - both of which mean journey. In English it has come to mean a mission to observe, or historically hunt, big game.

Uganda, possibly more than anywhere else on the continent, offers the ability to both journey and watch wildlife. All the National Parks bar Kidepo are accesible by road and it is perfectly possible to weave your way accross country taking in several completely contrasting areas without spending marathon sessions in a vehicle. By far the best way to do this is with a private vehicle and guide who willl be with you throughout and engaging specialist local guides in each location. Having wended your way west or north at the end of your safari you can fly back to Entebbe and out, having got a really good feel for the country and its fauna.   

If there were one more thing I could do, it would be to go on safari again”

- Karen Blixen

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Ugandas Great Apes


Uganda's Gorillas and Chimps combined with some excellent classic safari country

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Uganda's Big Game


Classic safari Uganda-style in Queen Elizabeth National Park and Kidepo

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Natural High shines rays of adventurous light into some of the least explored, most exciting corners of the wider world”


The journey to meet some of planet Earth’s last Mountain Gorillas ought to have an element of pilgrimage to it

These days scheduled flights can get you from Kampala to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in a couple of short hours. However, if time allows, we think it’s worth considering the slow route and going overland.

There’s something about the time taken; ten hours or so, perhaps stopping on the way in Lake Mburo National Park, followed by the steep and strenuous walk through the dense forest undergrowth, that serves to underline quite how special an opportunity this is. 

It feels appropriate that the journey to meet some of planet Earth’s last  Mountain Gorillas ought to have an element of the pilgrimage to it.  Time to contemplate.

Only 150 years ago many in the west believed Gorillas to be as mythical as the unicorn, and in the past few decades that analysis has come perilously close to being the case. 

These days though, albeit in the face of a continuing threat of total global extinction, Bwindi’s Gorillas are for the moment a story of success.  With numbers in recent years increasing to 400, half of the population of the world’s Mountain Gorillas now live in Bwindi.

With time restricted to one hour in the presence of the Gorillas, it could be argued that it’s a long way to go, one hell of an uphill struggle to get there and only a short time when you get there. 

But then without the support of dedicated conservation efforts, aided by the tourist dollar that supports the communities around Bwindi this could more truthfully be said to apply to the plight of the Gorillas themselves.

It feels appropriate that the journey to meet some of planet Earth’s last Mountain Gorillas ought to have an element of the pilgrimage to it. Time to contemplate.”

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Uganda's Highlights

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Home of the iconic mountain gorilla

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Uganda's Highlights

Murchison Falls & Lake Albert

Uganda's largest park and home to the famous falls

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Uganda's Highlights

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Famous for it's tree-climbing lions

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When is the best time to visit Uganda?

Uganda, where the eastern savannah meets the central African rainforest creating one of the most biodiverse regions in the world and coupled with it...
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Our experienced travellers include:

Alex Edwards
Alex Edwards
Vanessa Janion
Vanessa Janion
Catherine Ronan
Catherine Ronan

It takes genuine local knowledge to craft trips that go beyond the ordinary.

All of us at Natural High have over 20 years’ experience in the countries we offer. We’ve lived there, worked there and arranged countless one-off journeys for clients. We live to travel – and love to share our tips on what’s really worth doing. For expert advice (and a traveller’s tale or two), speak to one of our team. They’ll be happy to let you in on their travel secrets, and help you plan a tailor-made trip that’s truly unforgettable.


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"Natural High arranged a trip to remember ...accommodation first class, transportation on very long road trips was excellent. Spotless . air conditioning .. food and water. Rhino and Tiger sightings to die for.. local agents left nothing to chance ... we felt in the safest hands ... then when we off grid the virus struck... Natural High and their local Agent Banyan took total control and got us from the back of beyond to UK in very worrying and uncertain times. All without us being able to do anything at our end ...outstanding attention to detail. Worth every penny."


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"This was our first holiday to be organised by Natural High. We made the enquiry on New Year’s Eve for a departure in February and within a few days they had produced a wonderful-sounding itinerary in Costa Rica. There were helpful notes for packing as they seem to have someone there who has been to any chosen destination. We did do some groundwork for flights but left it to Dial-a-Flight who were also most efficient. We visited the office as it is very local to home and everyone there was cheerful and interested in our upcoming trip. We were presented with a leather file which turned out to be the most useful item en-route for all our paperwork ..... and it smelled lovely!
The holiday was one of our best ever. Not just because we saw a plethora of wildlife, but because there was always someone waiting to whisk us to another destination, be it to the airport, from the airport or a boat to a lodge etc. And they did it with great charm and humour and were always very knowledgeable about any queries we had.
For the last 8 days we had a driver/guide who was just outstanding. He was very familiar with the 3 remaining lodges where we stayed and his rapport with the other staff and guides helped to ensure that we were really well looked after. He was a skilled naturalist, had a great sense of humour and was always putting our welfare first - he made a wonderful companion for the trip.
All of the above meant that it was a really relaxing holiday so that we could maximise our time looking at the flora and fauna of Costa Rica.
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Everything is so well planned and organised that you can just sit back and really enjoy your holiday. We couldn’t recommend husky sledding in the north of Sweden more. We all agreed it was one of the best family holidays ever."