With towering peaks, great waterways and incredible biodiversity, Uganda is grand-scale Africa.
At the very heart of the epic African experience, Uganda offers a kaleidoscope of geographical contrasts. The country’s natural beauty, big-ticket wildlife and welcoming people are now earning it a spot on savvy travelers’ bucket lists.
Uganda overwhelms with sheer scale: in the southeastern quarter, shimmering Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest by area. It’s also a major source for the Nile, the world’s longest river. And in Uganda’s majestic west, the Rwenzori Mountains National Park boasts Africa’s third-highest peak. A glacier (one of only three in Africa) is even found in surprising Uganda, which is becoming increasingly popular for outdoor sports like white-water rafting.
Uganda’s vast stretches of wilderness, which include savannahs, tropical forests, estuaries and mountains, are also home to an appropriately varied wildlife population. The country hosts over half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas, unique tree-climbing lions, and many more of Africa’s signature species (including elephants, zebras, giraffes, hippos, crocodiles, and over 1,000 species of birds).
Exploring Uganda’s Wild Places
Uganda’s experienced operators offer activities including encounters with mountain gorillas, high-adrenaline outdoor sports and richly rewarding cultural immersion experiences.
A member of Wild Places Africa – a company committed to wildlife conservation – Uganda Safari Company operates trips which include gorilla tracking, biking through rain forests and savannah, white-water rafting on the Nile and more.
Another leading operator, Great Lakes Safaris, offers more monkey business and innovative adventures like hot-air ballooning. Great Lakes also organizes cross-border tours and cultural safaris.
Indeed, while there are “very few places you can go on the continent and be alone, and not surrounded by other tourists,” Uganda “is still unspoiled and unique; it is almost like you are discovering Africa,” says Roni Madhvani, director of another leading firm, Marasa.
Marasa’s historic and luxurious escapes dot Uganda’s wildest places; these include Paraa Safari Lodge, built in 1954 and featuring original decor. Located in Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park, the lodge – and its sublime swimming pool – overlook the Nile, where Humphrey Bogart’s classic film The African Queen was shot. Marasa’s newest getaway, Silverback Lodge in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, provides access to rare animals like mountain gorillas.