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3-Day Uganda Gorilla Trekking & Safari Tours

4.4/5  –  351 Uganda Reviews

There’s so much to see in Uganda, so much scenic variety and wildlife diversity, that the biggest dilemma when booking a 3-day safari can be choosing which highlight to visit. Or perhaps not! Actually, for anyone who places gorilla trekking near the top of their travel bucket list, the choice is probably a no-brainer. Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks are the most budget-friendly places in Africa to see wild mountain gorillas, and both form popular goals for a 3-day tour. But there are other great options in Uganda too, from chimp trekking in Kibale National Park to Big Five safaris in Murchison Falls National Park, and here we explore the pros and cons of them all.

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5 Questions About 3-Day Uganda Safaris


5 Questions About 3-Day Uganda Safaris

Answered by Philip Briggs

Is 3 days enough time to see gorillas in Uganda?

“Yes, it is. Assuming you travel by road rather than using domestic flights, 3 days is the minimum duration of a gorilla trekking safari out of Kampala (Uganda’s capital) or nearby Entebbe (site of its main international airport). This is because it’s a 10-hour drive from Kampala/Entebbe to Bwindi/Mgahinga, so you need to spend 1 night at a lodge close to the trekking trailhead on either side of your gorilla visit. That said, while it is perfectly possible to track gorillas on a 3-day road safari out of Kampala or Entebbe, it will be quite a rushed trip that involves a lot of driving. If you don’t fancy spending the best part of 2 full days traveling from and to Kampala/Entebbe, you could think about flying, which is more costly but cuts down the travel time. Alternatively, you could look at extending your itinerary to incorporate visits to Queen Elizabeth and/or Kibale National Parks. Quite a number of Uganda gorilla safaris now start and end in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. This is because the drive from Kigali to Bwindi/Mgahinga is shorter – between three and six hours, depending on where exactly you’ll be trekking – but gorilla trekking permits in Uganda are far cheaper than in Rwanda (US$600 per person as opposed to US$1,500).”


Where should I go on a 3-day safari in Uganda?

“Although gorilla trekking in Bwindi/Mgahinga is the most popular 3-day Uganda safari itinerary, there are plenty of other worthwhile options. A top choice for those hoping to see the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino) in 3 days is a safari combining 2 nights in Murchison Falls National Park with a lunchtime stop to track white rhinos at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. A highlight of Murchison Falls is a boat trip to the base of the falls along a stretch of the Nile inhabited by hippos, crocodiles and plenty of tropical birds. Elephant, buffalo and giraffe are often seen from the boat or on game drives north of the river, where you also stand a fair chance of encountering lion and – if you are very lucky – leopard. Another popular option for a savannah safari is Queen Elizabeth National Park, which also hosts four of the Big Five. Overall, however, Queen Elizabeth’s location makes it better suited to being twinned with nearby Bwindi on a longer itinerary than to being the subject of a stand-alone 3-day visit. If you want to see great apes, but gorilla trekking stretches your budget, an excellent option would be chimp trekking in Kibale National Park, which is also notable for its beautiful crater lakes and diversity of forest monkeys and birds. Finally, if wildlife ranks lower on your priorities than adventure activities and walking, a great 3-day combination would be white-water rafting on the Nile near Jinja and a visit to Sipi Falls on the foothills of Mount Elgon.”


What kind of accommodations can I expect?

“Uganda has accommodation to suit most tastes and budgets. If you’re looking to cut costs, the most affordable option is generally camping, which can be done at organized campsites in and around most national parks and other tourist attractions. When it comes to lodges, these range from comfortable and unpretentious midrange tented camps to exclusive state-of-the-art installations that positively exude bush chic. While the quality of your accommodation will generally reflect the cost of your safari, you’ll almost invariably be booked on a full-board basis that includes all meals.”


What is the best time of the year for a trip in Uganda?

“The best time to travel in Uganda is during one of the two Dry seasons, which run from June to August and December to February. Travel conditions are also reasonably good in September and October, but less so during the main rainy season, from March to May (April is the wettest month in most parts of the country). Travel during the rains is most arduous if you’re going to be tracking gorillas or chimps. This is because the rainforest floor tends to be very muddy and slippery during the rains, and there’s also a higher chance of storms disrupting the experience (though this can happen at any time of year). Rain is less of a consideration overall if you’ll be traveling to a savannah reserve such as Murchison Falls or Queen Elizabeth.”


How much will a 3-day safari in Uganda cost?

“A 3-day Uganda safari might cost anything from US$650 per person to more than US$4,000, inclusive of all park and activity fees, accommodation, meals, transport, and services of drivers and guides as required. That’s a pretty wide price span, admittedly, but it reflects the varied options available for 3-day safaris. The first big factor in determining the price of a tour package will be whether or not it includes gorilla trekking. If it does, then the price will have to incorporate a trekking permit, which costs US$600, meaning that the very cheapest 3-day gorilla safaris work out at around US$1,200 to US$1,400 per person. By contrast, a 3-day budget safari to somewhere like Murchison Falls will work out far more cheaply, typically around US$650 to US$900 per person. Other big factors that influence the cost of a safari are the quality of accommodation you’re booked into, and whether or not any domestic flights are involved.”


Uganda Reviews

4.4/5 351 Reviews
Mark Eveleigh  –  
United Kingdom UK

Mark is a travel writer who grew up in Africa and has written over 700 titles for Condé Nast Traveller, Travel Africa, BBC Wildlife and others.

Fantastic wildlife and some of the friendliest people in Africa make Uganda unbeatable

I spent a month travelling around Uganda with a self-drive, expedition-prepared Landcruiser and visited almost every national park in the country. Uganda was a revelation! I had not expected such a richness of wildlife or such great...

Full Review

Sue Watt  –  
United Kingdom UK

Sue is an award-winning writer who specializes in African travel and conservation. She writes for national newspapers, magazines, Rough Guides and Lonely Planet.

Great apes, great landscapes, great adventures

Most people understandably come to Uganda for its gorillas. Almost half of the world’s population of around 1,060 mountain gorillas lives in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla national parks, and spending that precious...

Full Review

Dieter Fenner  –  
Switzerland CH
Reviewed: Feb 22, 2024
very beautiful country, pleasant climate, with friendly people and delicious food

we booked a safary by Karumuna Safari. we got the chance to see lots of the beauty of the country, especially the western part. we came across many different landscapes, from very fertile parts to the savannahs'. also the many different...

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Mateusz  –  
Poland PL
Reviewed: Feb 22, 2024
Excellent country, with beautiful nature, kind and polite people, safe place to visit.

Uganda is marketed as the pearl of Africa and this is true! This country is green, with beautiful nature and animals (GORILLAZ!). The country is safe. People are kind and polite. The food is delicious. If you go to Uganda, you should book...

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Dilsher Nawaz  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Feb 18, 2024
We went gorilla trekking , Uganda provides an idea opportunity

Beautiful visit we visited Kampala, Lake Victoria, Jinja to see the origin of the Nile and last but not the least Gorilla trek in the Biwindi Impenetrable Forrest. Beautiful country very safe with hospitable people. Very easy and safe to...

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John Wall  –  
Canada CA
Reviewed: Feb 14, 2024
5 Day Safari with Gorilla Viewing

My daughter and I spent 5 Days in Uganda on safari and viewing the mountain gorillas. Both the culture and scenery were amazing. We always felt safe and Home to Africa was an efficient tour company. Highly recommended!!

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