If you are planning for a Uganda safari trip, it is important to be aware of the best time to travel because of the uncertain patterns of the weather in the region. Located along the equator, Uganda is situated at an average altitude of around 1,000m characterized with high temperatures (average annual temperature at 280C ). This makes it an all year destination with major tourist activities including gorilla trekking, chimp tracking, game viewing, boat cruises, whitewater rafting and mountain climbing among others. Almost all Uganda safaris are best done during the dry spell because that way you don’t have to worry about missing out on anything when it rains.
Generally, Uganda experiences two climatic seasons; the rainy season and the dry season. However much the country receives rainfall anytime of the year, the heaviest rains fall during the wet/rainy season which runs from March-May and October-November. On the other hand, the two dry seasons run from June- September and December to February which are regarded as the peak seasons.
Dry season: June-September & December-February
These months are characterized with higher temperatures throughout the day. They are the drier months and are considered to be the best time for wildlife viewing. June to September is the big peak season while the other (Dec-Feb) as well records a relatively higher number of visitors.
In Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga national parks in southwestern Uganda and Kibale national park in the west, trails are dry and trekking is not strenuous hence being the preferred time for primate trekking. Plentiful sunshine forces many animals to gather around water points while most grass is also short and animals can easily be seen.
Prices of safari packages are normally higher in the peak season because travelers are many and most services like accommodation are at higher rates.
Wet/Rainy season: March-May and September-November
Uganda experiences two wet seasons; March-May has longer and heavier rains while in September, October and November, there are short rains and sunshine after the light downpours. You however need not to worry about travelling during the wet season because it doesn’t rain all day and won’t limit all the day’s activities. However, some locations may be inaccessible because roads/trails are slippery or covered with running water. A number of lodges reduce the prices of their services during the wet season, making it the ideal time to travel for people that are on a tight budget.
Gorilla trekking is still possible during the wet season as the gorillas stay around the lower slopes because temperatures are cooler and there is plenty of food. This makes treks shorter. On rainy days, gorilla trekking is not cancelled; trekkers get going for the activity after the rain.
Migratory birds are present in parks from November to April.
Things to pack for a Uganda safari
Some items to carry especially clothing will depend on the activities you are going to do on your safari while others cut across.
- Carry a long-sleeved shirt/t-shirt or blouse, long trousers, rain jacket, sweater, strong hiking boots and socks if you are going for gorilla trekking
- Pack loose clothing for activities like game drives, birding
- A few warm clothes for cold evenings
- Sandals or flat open shoes
- Wide brimmed hat
- Insect repellant
- Sun screen
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