Many travel to Uganda and Rwanda to catch sight of the mystical, mountain gorillas living in the dense mountain forests.
Rwanda and Uganda’s attractions don’t stop there. The hippo-filled rivers, abundant birdlife, serene lakes and villages filled with enthusiastic locals consistently capture the attention, imagination and hearts of travellers worldwide.
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Gorilla Tracking In Uganda, Rwanda & Congo
The appeal of watching wildlife in their natural environment continues to capture the imagination of millions around the world. Multiple generations of exceptionally talented natural history filmmakers and wildlife cameramen have brought Africa into our living rooms. Collectively, they paint a vivid picture of the habitat and lifestyle of those creatures with which we share our precious planet. But there’s something especially captivating about watching an animal whose mannerisms and body language can be so similar to our own. Gorillas enthrall and terrify in equal measure, their immense bulk a threat and yet intensely beautiful. Charismatic, engaging and expressive, it’s not surprising we see so much of ourselves in their faces when we learn that over 98% of our DNA is shared.
But for many, it’s simply not enough to watch on the small screen. We yearn to venture into the world of these magnificent creatures and see for ourselves how they interact with their environment and each other. Mountain gorillas are among the most critically endangered of the planet’s species and though conservation efforts continue, numbers are still worryingly small. To be able to watch from such a close distance is an enormous privilege and one that we cannot take for granted that our grandchildren may be able to replicate.
Travelers to Uganda and Rwanda can incorporate a gorilla trekking safari into their holiday itinerary and enjoy a wildlife adventure of a lifetime. Hiking through verdant rainforest, it’s possible to follow experienced guides and trackers deep into the heart of the gorillas’ territory. The terrain is challenging, the gradients steep and the paths slippery, but the reward is immense. Though such an experience doesn’t come cheap, this is one bucket list experience that you cannot afford to put off. These gentle and shy beasts deserve our respect, and our time. Read More
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Quick Uganda holiday information
Uganda at a glance
|Capital city:||Kampala (population 773,463)|
|Language:||Swahili, English, Ganda|
|Time zone:||(GMT+03:00) Nairobi|
|Electricity:||Type G (Irish/British 3-pin)|
Culture and customs
Uganda is home to many different tribal groups, and a wide variety of different customs and traditions can be observed depending on where you travel in Uganda. Spontaneous dance and song is a hallmark of African culture and this is not an exception in Uganda, where tribes and villages will often greet groups of newcomers with rousing song and dance. Greeting others is a very important part of Ugandan culture and not greeting or acknowledging someone you are passing or meeting can be seen as impolite, especially in rural areas and villages. Shaking hands is an appropriate greeting when meeting someone for the first time and often both hands are given for a handshake.
Food or drink is often extended to visitors, even though many Ugandans have very little, and it is viewed as impolite to decline an offer of food or hospitality. Accept willingly and graciously eat or drink what has been offered to you. Generally, most of Uganda’s population lives in rural or regional centres, although urban areas are rapidly expanding and modern influences are infiltrating Ugandan society at a fast rate. With this modernisation, some of the old ways are dying out as younger Ugandans become more adept at using technology, although many still live tribal lives based on hunting and agriculture.
Uganda's Geography and environment
Uganda sits in East Africa and shares borders with Sudan, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Kenya. Despite being landlocked, Uganda still has access to fresh water via surrounding lakes (Lake Victoria, Lake Edward and Lake Albert). As a well-watered country with rich soil, much of Uganda’s land is used for agriculture and cash crops. Coffee, cotton, tea and tobacco plantations are common sights, as are farms of plantains, corn and cassava. The rest of the country is a combination of woodlands, swamp, forest and savanna, as well as pockets of protected nature reserves and national parks.
Top 10 Amazing Animals of Uganda
1. Mountain Gorilla: Be transfixed by the wonder and majesty of Uganda’s highly endangered mountain gorillas. The challenging trek through the steamy jungle of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is all worth it once you’re beholding these beautiful beings.
2. African Elephant: Population numbers of the mighty African Elephant continue to grow in Uganda’s nature reserves and national parks. Catching sight of one of these brilliant beasts while on a game drive is a truly breathtaking experience.
3. Black and White Colobus Monkey: These curious creatures are fond of grunting, roaring and croaking – so they aren’t hard to find. Look for their white faces in the treetops while walking in Uganda’s national parks.
4. Black Rhinoceros: Although critically endangered, it’s still possible to see black rhinos in the Ugandan wild. Conservation projects have gone a long way in seeing the population numbers improve so with luck, you’ll spot a couple while on a game viewing safari.
5. Leopard: These stealthy predators are relatively difficult to spot as they are masters of staying silent and blending in with the scenery. Watching a leopard stalk prey is a tense, exciting and riveting experience.
6. Lion: There is simply nothing more thrilling than casting your eye on a pride of regal lions. Whether they are lying in the sun or going in for the kill, lions are captivating creatures to watch.
7. Hippopotamus Hippos are synonymous with the African bush. Spot them lurking underwater and basking on the riverbanks along the rivers and channels of Uganda.
8. Chimpanzee: It’s fun to watch cheeky chimps swinging and playing in unadulterated bliss in the trees of Uganda’s forests.
9. Golden Cat: You’ll be lucky to catch a glimpse of this famously elusive feline. The African Golden Cat is a solitary creature, which favours living alone in the tropical and cloud forests of Africa. If you’re lucky enough to see one, count your blessings as they are simply remarkable.
10. Ostrich: These flightless feathered friends are commonly found in the savanna of Northern Uganda. Be amazed at their size and impressive plumage, as well as their remarkable ability to run at top speed.
Health and SafetyGorilla Tracking Africa takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
From Australia?Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/
From Canada?Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/
From UK?Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
Best time to visit Uganda
For sunshine and hot weather, visit Uganda from late December to late February as this is the dry season. June to September is also a good time to travel as you can expect warm temperatures and little rain. The wet seasons run from March to May and October to November – during this time downpours are frequent and often create less accessibility on roads and within some national parks.Image credit: Intrepid Travel
Uganda's Food and Drinks
We believe that one of the best ways to experience a country is by eating! Whether you're sampling street food, savouring a cheap eat or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world.
Things to try in Uganda
This local dish of mashed plantains, often cooked in a nut sauce and served with meat or fish, is a favourite with locals and can be found pretty much everywhere in Uganda
2. Chai Tea
While coffee is grown widely in Uganda, most is shipped out for international sale so locals drink tea instead. Chai tea is popular, which you’ll find at markets, kiosks, cafes and restaurants.
3. Fresh Fruit
Mango, pineapple, avocado, banana, plantain, passionfruit and jackfruit are all plentiful in Uganda. Buy from a market or roadside stall as a refreshing, cheap snack.
Shopping in Uganda
Uganda has loads of interesting markets to visit, although many handicraft items are produced in neighbouring Kenya. It's a good idea to check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to bring certain items back into your home country. Australia and New Zealand generally have strict quarantine laws.
Things to buy in Uganda
The practise of making traditional baskets is quite developed in Uganda. Choose from assorted shapes – from shallow dish-shaped basketry to deeper bowls and baskets. Materials range from raffia to millet and banana fibre.
2. Paper Beads
Throughout Uganda there are many workshops and organisations that sell beautiful and colourful beaded necklaces made from recycled paper. These creations not only cut down on waste by utilising recycled paper, they also usually provide employment for local women.
3. Bark Cloth
Tribes from South Uganda have been creating bark cloth for centuries, and it’s still available for sale. Nice finds include journals, notepads and photo albums made from a combination of bark cloth and recycled paper.
For Ugandan Christians, Christmas Day is a time of holy reverence and family get-togethers. Most Ugandan’s dress up in their finest attire, go to church for a long service and spend the afternoon and evening eating beef. With many Ugandan’s living simple lives, eating beef is a rare pleasure reserved for Christmas.
Books about Uganda
The Teeth May Smile but the Heart Does Not Forget by Andrew Rice
Girl Soldier by Faith McDonnell and Grace Akallo
The Impenetrable Forest: My Gorilla Years in Uganda by Thor Hanson
Abyssinian Chronicles by Moses Isegawa
The Last King of Scotland by Giles Foden