What is the best time to Visit Uganda?

If there’s one country that provides a small slice of everything then it is Uganda, that’s why it is known as the “Pearl of Africa”. From the breathtaking landscapes (such as snow-capped peaks, hillsides and Mountains, sweeping savannah plains, Valleys, and others), diverse wildlife species, a plethora of birds, rich cultures and traditions, and most importantly friendly and welcoming people.  However, the number one question that most travelers have is “When is the best time to visit Uganda?” The answer lies in what activities you intend to do during your Uganda safari. Just like anywhere else, there are seasonal variations in the country’s weather that travelers ought to keep in mind when planning Safaris to this extraordinary country.

Our article provides detailed information on what travelers need to know about the different seasons and weather. What are you more uncomfortable with? Crowded safari destinations or cold weather? Trying to decide when to take a safari to the beautiful pearl of Africa can be challenging, and a balancing act between thronged destinations and high coasts, or wet, cold, and uncomfortable weather.

Best Time to Visit Uganda

The dry season

Like any other safari destination in Africa, the dry season is an incredible time to visit Uganda but comes with several downsides that include more travelers at different destinations as well as higher prices for tourist activities and accommodation.

With our experience in organizing Uganda safaris, we can assure you that there is no truly bad time to visit Uganda. At any time of the year, you will be treated to breathtaking landscapes as well as numerous outdoor adventures that make the Pearl of Africa a second-to-none Safari destination. Nonetheless, we understand that if it is a safari of a lifetime, you would want to ensure that there is a good chance of nice weather as well as seclusion away from the crowds. Here’s what we consider to be the best time to visit Uganda;

Visiting Uganda in the dry season- June to August and December to February

The months of January, February, June, July, and August are the best for visiting Uganda and are considered part of the dry season. The Dry season is the busiest time of the year to travel to Uganda with July and August being the most popular months among safari goers. The temperatures are quite pleasant, the days are sunny, and the humidity is low.

However, downpours can still be expected but they are wonderful for wildlife viewing. Considering these months are dry, vegetation is sparser hence less obstructions when viewing animals also, wildlife tends to gather around water holes providing unforgettable wildlife viewing experiences.  

June is considered the beginning of the peak season and if you yearn for a luxury Uganda tour, it would be a good idea to plan your safari around this time. If gorilla trekking is one of the adventures to opt to undertake during this month, then it could be a good idea to purchase permits in advance (at least 6 months before the intended trekking date). This will save you the last-minute disappointment.

July is another wonderful time to visit Uganda, especially for wildlife safari and primate tours (gorillas, golden monkeys, and chimpanzees). Considering several watering points have dried, animals will gather around permanent/or the few remaining water holes to quench their thirst, thus providing one of the most unbeaten wildlife viewing opportunities. Also, reduced rainfall means vegetation is shorter and sparser hence it becomes easier to spot animals during game drives.

On-foot activities such as gorilla trekking in Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks, Chimpanzee trekking, and mountain climbing are less challenging during the dry season. Hiking trails are clear of mud, less slippery, and less demanding to navigate.

Visiting Uganda in September, October, November, and early December

September normally marks the end of the dry season and Uganda begins experiencing downpours towards the end of this month. Gorilla treks begin becoming less popular this month and are mostly the brave and enthusiastic visit to Uganda in September. Generally, the rainy season is not the ideal time for visiting Uganda as heavy rains as well as high humidity levels across the majority of the country keep away visitors.

October to November 

October and November mark the climax of the second rainy season in Uganda, and undeniably less busy for many activities. Many travelers avoid Uganda during these months for several reasons, but the most critical is that hiking trails become muddy, slippery, and challenging to navigate. These are considered part of the low season for tourism.

However, there are always two sides to the same coin. The wet season has several advantages that include seclusion/less crowding of Uganda’s National Parks. Additionally, you are likely to save on accommodation and other travel costs as several Safari Lodge/Hotels/Tented Camps offer discounted/or low season rates for travelers. We always say these months are great for accommodation bargains, as most accommodation facilities offer low-season discounted rates. Some are even deserted, especially on weekdays, providing only a fraction of the rates they would normally charge during peak season.

This means that even luxurious Safari Lodges like Nile Safari Lodge in Murchison, Bwindi Lodge, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest camp in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mount Gahinga Lodge in Mgahinga National Park or can be rented for far less than the normal rates.  And much as there will likely be daily downpours, they are normally for a short time.

Nonetheless, all safari destinations in Uganda are open and accessible during the wet season, although rains can be a little unpredictable.

December

The wet season ends in early December hence making it also a great time to visit Uganda, the Pearl of Africa, especially the southern and Northern safari destinations. It is also fantastic for wildlife viewing, and birding tours as many migratory birds arrive in the country.

When it comes to hiking or mountain climbing, they can be done all year round in Uganda, although the general dry season is the best time to conquer the slopes and high peaks in Uganda. The mountains you can conquer in Uganda include Mount Rwenzori (Africa’s third-highest peak), the Virunga Volcanoes (Sabyinyo, Muhabura, and Gahinga), as well as Mount Moroto in Karamoja sub-region.

Ultimate Uganda Safari Packing List

Plan an ultimate packing list depending on what adventures you plan on undertaking. However, regardless of season, it is important to pack sleeved shirts. Comfortable and lightweight safari pants in neutral colors, gardening gloves. If planning to do mountain climbing, gorilla trekking, golden monkey tracking or chimpanzee trekking, a good camera with enough memory space and extra batteries (or should be well charged). A sizeable backpack, a re-usable water bottle, waterproof backpack, sturdy hiking boots, cotton socks, a safari hat, a pair of binoculars, a first aid kit. Toiletries (toothbrush and toothpaste, hand and body lotion, hair comb/brush, and deodorant), gaiters, an insect repellant, and travel documents (passport, e-ticket, safari itinerary, and others).

In conclusion, Uganda is a great safari destination. Anyone who chooses to experience its natural beauty should be prepared for rain and shine regardless of the time of the year. Regardless of the season, be assured of memorable experiences as long as adequate preparation is done. It might also interest safari goers that Uganda has everything to offer.

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