Thick clouds of mist envelop the rainforest of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and give it a mystical face. A very special atmosphere for a very special experience, because mountain gorillas live here in the wild. The gorilla tracking is certainly the highlight of any Uganda travel, but the “Pearl of Africa” is also home to chimpanzees, Shoebill, African gray parrots and other wildlife. Not to forget the natural spectacles of the country: Lake Victoria, the White Nile and water masses of the Murchison Falls, which tumble down with a loud roar.
About lions and leopards and the unique Lake Bunyonyi
If you want to travel to Uganda, you probably think first of all of the mighty mountain gorillas – and a visit to these animals should of course be on every to-do list. But if you take a closer look at Uganda as a travel destination, you will quickly discover that there are just as numerous other wild animals such as elephants, hippos, lions or leopards that are worth watching. In addition to gorilla tracking in the rainforest, you can also devote yourself to the colorful diversity of animals on an extensive safari in the savannah. Not to forget Lake Victoria with its seemingly endless masses of water, which every day attracts numerous wild animals that want to quench their thirst from the dusty savannah. And if you have enough time, you should n’t miss Lake Bunyonyi with its 29 islands and glide comfortably in the dugout canoe.
Travel information in brief
You can travel to Uganda all year round without further ado. In general, a distinction is made between three climatic zones: equatorial climate around Lake Victoria, tropical climate near the equator and semi-desert in the north of the country on the border with Sudan. The tropical climate zone with pleasant temperatures between 21-28 ° C (sometimes up to 32 ° C) includes most of Uganda and Kayunga and is determined by two main rainy seasons (March / April and October / November).
Currency / money
The Ugandan Shilling is the official currency of Uganda. In Hiematland we recommend to stock up in euros or USD, which can be exchanged for the shilling in Uganda. There are ATMs in Uganda, but they rarely work in rural areas. It is therefore advisable to always have some cash with you in addition to your credit card. If you want to take USD with you, please make sure that the notes were issued after 2009. With USD you can usually pay in cash on site.
You need a valid yellow fever vaccination to enter the country. Vaccinations against diphtheria, polio and tetanus are also recommended, as well as medical prevention against malaria. If a yellow fever vaccination is already entered in your vaccination certificate, you do not have to do anything more. Refreshing every 10 years is no longer necessary according to WHO guidelines from May 17, 2014. Please be sure to contact your general practitioner well in advance of the start of your journey, who will inform you about all necessary vaccinations.
Visa / entry
Citizens from EU countries and Switzerland need a visa to stay in Uganda and a passport that is valid for at least 6 months (beyond the end of the trip) as well as a valid yellow fever vaccination. The visa must be applied for online or directly at the Ugandan embassy. The visa fee is approximately USD 50 and must be paid by credit card.
Natural spectacle and numerous animal observations in Uganda
Anyone who hears the name Uganda as an animal watcher immediately thinks of gorillas and chimpanzees. Fog rinds move through the dense rainforest, the typical jungle noises penetrate the ear and everything feels warm and adventurous. Uganda is more than that, everyone should be aware of that who goes to Uganda. Kibale National Park is known as one of the best places in the world to encounter chimpanzees in the wild. There are now more than 600 chimpanzees living here again, thanks to sophisticated protection efforts and thanks to the travelers who pay a lot of money for chimpanzee tracking.
The Murchinson Falls are fed by the Nile, which flows into a beautiful waterfall through a gorge that is only seven meters wide. Over forty meters, the masses of water tumble noisily into the depths. In the national park of the same name, many animals are attracted by the water. Among many others also hippos, elephants, crocodiles and the associated predators such as lions and leopards.
The famous Lake Victoria is also a must-see attraction on your to-do list. We recommend you to visit the beautiful botanical garden, a wonderful introduction to a Uganda nature tour. And the older of our guests will surely remember Johnny Weißmüller, who swung himself from tree to tree as Tarzan in his famous films – the recordings were shot here.
But of course gorilla tracking is the absolute highlight of every Uganda trip – especially for all nature travelers. In the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park it is about 2 to 6 hours on foot through the rainforest to the part where the gorilla families live. It is a strange, even sublime feeling to watch the gorillas in their natural environment. “Experience the beauty of nature and protect it” is our motto and we follow this on all of our trips.
We run a small nature conservation project in Uganda together with Ugandan partners. We want to save the critically endangered Sitatungas, of which there are only twenty left in the area we visited. We work closely with the village population, to whom we offer more money through income from tourism than through poaching a rare species of antelope.
What is there to eat in Uganda? Good question. A traditional main course is “Matooke”. The steamed plantains are considered the national dish of Uganda. “Pocho” (cornmeal porridge), sweet potatoes, rice, cassava and pumpkin are also popular dishes and are often combined. For those who are hungry in between, there is the so-called chapati, flatbread baked in oil. Very tasty and it is also offered combined with all sorts of other things. So z. B. as “Chikomando”. The chapati is cut into small pieces and served with a lentil stew.