Uganda lies astride the Equator in Eastern Africa, and is loved for its dense misty forests, snow-peaked mountains, glassy lakes and sprawling savannas. The country is landlocked and bordered by the Republic of South Sudan to the North, the Republic of Kenya to the East, the Democratic Republic of Congo to the West, and the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Rwanda to the South. What Uganda lacks in volume, it more than makes up with variety.

When Winston Churchill travelled here and saw the beautiful landscape with the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains, Lake Victoria, the dense misty forests, the waterfalls of Murchison Falls National Park and the tea plantations, he gave it the name “The Pearl of Africa”.

Whether it’s rafting the Nile for a world-class adrenaline adventure or tracking mountain gorillas in their misty habitat, Ikewana will ensure that you will have an incredible and life-enriching experience in Uganda.

Uganda's Climate

Although Uganda is located on the equator, its climate is warm rather than hot, and temperatures vary little throughout the year. For the majority of the year, i.e. between April and November, temperatures range between 16 – 26ºC (60.8 – 78.8ºF). However, during the warmer months from December to March, temperatures reach in excess of 30ºC (86 Fahrenheit). Evenings can feel chilly after the heat of the day with temperatures around 12 – 16ºC (54 – 61°F). Most regions of Uganda, apart from the dry area in the north, have an annual rainfall of between 1 000mm and 2 000mm. There is heavy rain between March and May, and between October and November, when road travel can become difficult in parts of the country.

  • Gorillas in the mist The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is renowned as a mountain gorilla sanctuary that can only be accessed by foot – making it a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all who venture through to find the gorillas.
  • Murchison Falls National Park Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda's largest park where you can follow up your morning wildlife drive with a cruise on the Nile to the base of the falls to enjoy hippo, crocodile and other animals that live in or near the water.
  • Adrenalin junkies If you’re after adventure, Uganda has no shortage of choice. For white-water rafting enthusiasts, there's the source of the Nile where you can plunge down Grade-5 rapids – or kayak or try the white-knuckle jet boat ride. Alternatively, opt for bungee jumping at the Bujagali Falls. Mountain climbers can test their endurance tackling the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Rwenzori Mountains (the "mountains of the Moon") with stunning views of the equatorial mist as your reward at the top.
  • From farm to cafe Savour deliciously brewed East African coffee using the best beans from the farmer’s field, straight to Kampala’s local coffee houses.

    Tree-climbing lions There is a lot to see whilst out on a game drive in the Queen Elizabeth National Park, not to mention spotting lions up in the branches of colossal fig trees in the Ishasha sector.
  • Chimpanzee tracking Enjoy a walk in the Kibale National Park to find and observe chimpanzees in the wild. A fascinating experience watching a species that we share over 98 percent of our DNA with, swinging from tree to tree, playing or feeding. Along the way, you may also see the fascinating black and white colobus, red tailed monkey or the grey cheeked mangabey.
  • Chill-out time Enjoy the intoxicating views at Lake Bunyonyi where the mist hangs low over the terraced hillsides and dugout canoes glide by on the still waters. Or take in magnificent sunsets and fine white sand beaches at Ssese Islands from the comfort of a hammock.
  • Capital: Kampala

    Language: English and Swahili are the official languages of Uganda.

    Currency: The local currency is the Ugandan shilling (USh), though most tour operators and upscale hotels quote in US dollars. ATMs are abundant and US dollars are widely accepted. Notes in circulation are USh1 000, USh5 000, USh10 000, USh20 000 and USh50 000, and commonly used coins are USh50, USh100, USh200 and USh500. It is worth noting that if you are paying in USD cash in Uganda, older issued US notes will not be accepted, and so to be safe take US dollars issued from 2013 or later.
  • Electricity: The voltage in Uganda is 220V – 240V running at 50Hz.

    When to go: June to September: The best bet weather-wise as it is not too hot and there is minimal rainfall. January to February: The perfect climate to head for the hills to climb the Rwenzoris or Mount Elgon. October to November: Can be rainy, but fewer travellers means gorilla permits are much easier to obtain. Gorilla Trekking: the best time to visit Uganda for gorilla trekking is during the country's two dry seasons: January and February and from June to September. Safari: Game viewing in Uganda's savannah parks is best at the end of the dry seasons – February and March and September / early October – when wildlife is concentrated around water sources. Bird watching: Fantastic all year round but is at its peak between November and April when migrant species are present.
  • What to wear: Pack lightweight clothing as temperatures are generally warm during the day. If you are going gorilla trekking, pack long trousers and long-sleeved tops, long socks to wear over your trousers as protection against ants, a pair of light gloves to protect against nettles, a hat, a raincoat and comfortable hiking boots. If you’re going mountain climbing, then pack according to the altitude and remember that mountains tend to be cold and damp.
  • Airports: All flights from outside the country land at Entebbe International Airport (EBB) which is the only international airport in the country. It is located near the town of Entebbe, on the shores of Lake Victoria, and approximately 40.5 kilometres (25 mi) by road south-west of the central business district of Kampala, the capital city. Some airstrips frequently used by travellers within the country include Apoka, Pakuba, Bugungu, Kasese, Mweya, Kihihi, Kayonza and Kisoro.
  • Area: The total land area of Uganda is 199 810 Km2 (77 147 sq. miles), which is about the same size as Oregon or Cambodia. It is a landlocked country and lies astride the Equator in East Africa. Its bordering countries are the Republic of South Sudan (to the north), the Republic of Kenya (to the east), the Democratic Republic of Congo (to the west), and the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Rwanda (to the south). The greater part of Uganda consists of a plateau about 4 000 ft in height. Along its western border are the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains which are the tallest mountain range in Africa reaching heights of over 16 000 ft, while on the eastern frontier Mount Elgon rises to 14 178 ft. By contrast, the Western Rift Valley, which runs from north to south through the western half of the country, is as low as 3 000 ft on the floor of Lake Edward and Lake George and 2 000 ft on the flow of Lake Albert. Uganda has four of Africa’s seven great lakes, including Lake Victoria which is the second largest body of fresh water in the world.
  • Getting around: Lake Victoria has a ferry service which connects Port Bell and the Ssese Islands. There are train services from Kampala to Kasese and Tororo but the service is slow, uncomfortable and erratic. Bus services connect all the main towns but they can be slow, crowded and they make frequent stops. Minibuses and shared taxis are a good way of getting around and they have fixed rates and leave when full.

    There is a cross border Bus Service (Scandinavia Express Services) between Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Most of the roads between the main centres in the south are connected by roads, but in the north, the roads are in poor condition and often very badly potholed. During rainy periods roads can be inaccessible. Driving is on the left-hand side of the road and a valid driving licence, issued by your country of residence, is required.
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda's most popular National Park which incorporates a wide variety of habitats that range from wetlands and savannah to lowland forest. Wildlife include giraffes, zebras, hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes and elephants, and the famous tree-climbing lions in the remote Ishasha sector of the park which make for a fascinating highlight. It offers prime bird viewing with over 600 bird species, as well as being a perfect place to enjoy chimpanzee trekking done within the Kyambura Gorge where there are several habituated Chimpanzees. A boat cruise is yet another option within Queen Elizabeth National Park and is done on the impressive Kazinga Channel – a 40 kilometre long natural channel that links Lake Edward with Lake George.

    Visitors get the opportunity to see a variety of yawning hippos in the water, as well as water birds, buffaloes, elephants, zebras, the Uganda-kobs, topis, water bucks, bush bucks, reed bucks, duiker, mongoose, swamp antelopes, spotted hyena, warthog, forest hog at the water’s edge.

    Murchison Falls National Park Situated approximately 350 kms north west of Kampala, is one of Uganda's largest national parks covering an area of over 3 840 km2. The mighty Nile river divides the park into the north and south sections with the spectacular Murchinson Falls dropping some 40 metres through a narrow crevice. The river attracts large numbers of game, and a boat ride up the river provides the perfect opportunity to see and photograph the animals. Wildlife viewed in this park include elephants, Rothschild giraffes, lions, Ugandan kobs (antelope), waterbucks, buffaloes, hippos and crocodiles, not to mention some 460 species of bird (including the magnificent shoebill stork).
  • Rwenzori Mountains National Park The Rwenzori Mountains National Park lies in the western part of the country along the Congolese border, and is a UNESCO World heritage Site due to both its beauty and biodiversity. Here the tallest mountain range in Africa is found and several of the peaks are permanently covered by ice and glaciers. The fabled “Mountains of the Moon” are a world-class hiking and mountaineering destination. Its three highest peaks in the range are Margherita (5 109m), Alexandria (5 083m) and Albert (5 087m), all on Mount Stanley, the third-highest mountain in Africa. The best time of the year for hiking is during the dry seasons from mid-December to the end of March, and from June to mid-August.

Destinations in Uganda