The start of a new year often brings about annual resolutions, whether they be material or not. Some people aim to lose weight, buy a new car, or get married. One common resolution is to travel.
Over the past three years, travel has been uncertain due to disruptions and COVID-induced restrictions, causing many people to avoid it. However, with the world fully open and having resolved to live with COVID-19, this year is expected to see a return to certainty in travel.
Make a Uganda safari travel resolution
As such, travel is likely a prominent resolution for many people. The next question to answer is where to go? If you are a nature enthusiast and an African safari sounds like the perfect trip to you, have you been considering a mountain gorilla or chimpanzee trek in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Kibale National Park? If so, a Uganda safari including gorillas and chimpanzees trekking will help you fulfill that resolution. And to be honest, this isn’t just about us boasting.
CNN Travel best destinations to visit in 2023
CNN Travel has recently released its list of the best destinations to visit in 2023, and Uganda has made the cut. The country is looking to appeal to both regional and international visitors by offering more than just safaris and wildlife spotting.
In addition to its mountain gorillas and savannah game, Uganda has a lot to offer, including the shores of Lake Victoria, the Rwenzori Mountains, the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the Virunga volcano chain, and the Victoria Nile. There is also an emphasis on connecting visitors with local communities and immersing them in Ugandan culture.
To that end, last year saw the launch of the Uganda Cycling Trail, a 1,600-kilometer route with 22 stages that caters to all levels of cycling ability. Uzuri Uganda Safaris offers a range of tours in the country, including ones focused on great apes, wildlife, adventure, birding, and more.
What CNN has had to say about Uganda:
There’s considerable change brewing in Uganda’s travel offerings at the moment with the East African country looking beyond the traditional staples of safari and wildlife spotting to appeal to both regional and international visitors.
Keen to revitalize post-Covid tourism in all corners of the country, not just the big-ticket businesses offering wealthy visitors a glimpse of the Big Five beasts or mountain gorillas, it’s turned to marketing its other attributes.
And why not? From the expansive shores of Lake Victoria to the snowy Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda is a beautiful wilderness playground, with opportunities for adventure including treks through the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or up to the craters of the Virunga volcano chain or whitewater rafting along the Victoria Nile.
Safari/Trip Ideas to Uganda
Trekking up a mountain in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is Uganda’s most iconic experience for safari goers and nature lovers. Whether you are a solo traveler, a couple, a family, on your honeymoon, or a big group looking to bond in nature, a safari to Uganda to see the endangered mountain gorillas will be worth it. The experience will more than live up to its high billing.
In terms of gorilla tracking/trekking, visitors can choose to either go for the classic gorilla trek or the gorilla habituation experience. With the classic gorilla trek, visitors are only allowed 1 hour in the presence of the gorillas once they have trekked up to the specific gorilla family/group they have been allocated.
The gorilla habituation experience, on the other hand, is when guests get to spend 4 hours in the presence of one of the two gorilla families/groups that visitors can track on a habituation experience in the Rushaga sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Talk to one of our travel consultants at Uzuri Uganda Safaris to choose the experience that’s right for you.
To visit Uganda for a gorilla safari adventure, you need to secure your gorilla permits before anything else. Gorilla permits and habituation permits need to be secured 6 months in advance, with time to spare, especially if you intend to travel during the busy months of June, July, August, December, January, and February, when permits sell out quickly. Our advice is to talk to us once you have determined your travel dates, and we will be able to help you secure your permits.
In terms of gorilla permits, the price changed to USD 700 for foreign nationals, USD 600 for foreign residents, and Ugx 250,000 for East Africans, effective July 1, 2020. Habituation permits remained at USD 1,500 for foreign nationals, USD 1000 for foreign residents, and Ugx 750,000 for East Africans.
Uzuri Uganda Safaris can help you check the availability of either gorilla trekking or habituation permits by sending us an email or via WhatsApp (+256 772 425294) when you speak to one of our safari consultants.
Where to Stay?
The lodge where you stay on your gorilla safari depends on where your gorilla permits have been secured. If, for example, your permits have been secured in the Buhoma sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, we will propose the different accommodation options in the Buhoma sector that fit your budget. If your permits have been secured in the Rushaga sector, we will propose the options in Rushaga that fit your budget. Let us know your budget for your gorilla safari, and we will recommend a lodge that will provide comfort and value for your money.
Getting to Bwindi/Mgahinga
Booking your gorilla permits yourself and traveling by public transport is possible, but there are some potential pitfalls to be aware of. One potential downside of making your own arrangements is that you may end up incurring more costs. If, for example, you miss your bus or it breaks down, you may miss your gorilla trek. Gorilla permits are not refundable, so if you arrive a day late, you will have missed your slot. Most visitors, therefore, travel on a scheduled group tour or book an exclusive trip with every detail taken care of.
Another pitfall to avoid when arranging gorilla tracking yourself is booking accommodation that is a long way from the gorilla family you are tracking. You will have to be up very early on the morning of your trek, so you want to stay as close as possible to the park headquarters. Uganda’s gorilla families/groups are spread several hours apart, and the terrain and roads between the different sectors can be challenging.
When you book your trip with Uzuri Uganda Safaris, you can either get to Bwindi or Mgahinga by road when your driver/guide picks you up at your hotel in Entebbe/Kampala, or you can fly to Kihihi or Kisoro, which are close to Bwindi or Mgahinga. Aerolink offers daily scheduled flights from Entebbe to Kihihi or Kisoro, and charter flights can also be arranged. Speak to one of our travel consultants if you prefer this option. Here are a few safari programs we offer: