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Uganda Fly-in Safaris
Whether it's a quick air hop to track gorillas, or a longer trip covering half a dozen national parks, a fly-in safari is the best way to maximize how much of Uganda you see in a short time. And there's a lot to see. The biggest draw is the mountain gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks. But this underrated East African country is also a great place to track chimps and rhinos on foot, to cruise along tropical waterways alive with hippos and to enjoy game drives in search of lions, elephants and giraffes. You’ll also marvel at landmarks such as Africa’s largest lake, the world’s longest river and the snowcapped Rwenzori peaks. A fly-in safari allows you to make the most of Uganda’s stunning diversity.
Top Rated Operator
3-Day Fly to Kidepo Valley National Park
$2,000 pp (USD)
Uganda: Private tour
You Visit: Entebbe (Start), Kidepo Valley NP, Entebbe (End)
NGONI Safaris Uganda
5.0/5 – 113 Reviews
6-Day Luxury Flying Uganda Special
$7,000 pp (USD)
Uganda: Private tourLuxuryLodge & Hotel
You Visit: Entebbe (Start), Murchison Falls NP, Kidepo Valley NP, Entebbe Airport (End)
Great Explorers Safaris
5.0/5 – 4 Reviews
7-Day Kidepo Valley National Park Wonders
$4,200 pp (USD)
Uganda: Private tour
You Visit: Entebbe (Start), Sipi Falls (Highlight), Kidepo Valley NP, Murchison Falls NP, Entebbe (End)
5.0/5 – 3 Reviews
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6 Questions About Uganda Fly-in Safaris
Philip is an Africa-specialized travel writer who first visited Uganda in 1988. He has returned on numerous occasions to research his Bradt Guide to Uganda (first published in 1993 and now in its 9th edition) and to lead wildlife tours and bird-watching safaris.
6 Questions About Uganda Fly-in Safaris
Are fly-in safaris recommended in Uganda?
“A Uganda fly-in safari is recommended if you are constrained by time limits more than you are by budget. Although Uganda is a relatively compact country, many of its key attractions lie long distances apart, and driving times are slow. The strategic use of domestic flights will allow you to hop quickly between places of interest. This is particularly the case if you want to combine gorilla trekking and one or both of the two main northern national parks (Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley) in an itinerary of fewer than 10 days. There are disadvantages to flying, too. The first and most obvious is that it will greatly increase the cost of a safari. It also means you miss out on seeing the rural landscapes and small towns that lie between attractions. However, if you're pressed for time and not too bothered about costs, then a fly-in safari is well worth considering.”1
How many days is the minimum for a fly-in gorilla trekking safari in Uganda?
“It is possible to track gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park on a 2-day, 1-night fly-in safari out of Entebbe (which is the site of Uganda’s main international airport). This would involve a morning flight from Entebbe to Kihihi (for northern Bwindi) or Kisoro (for Mgahinga and southern Bwindi). You would then transfer to your lodge for the night, trek first thing the next morning, and fly back to Entebbe that afternoon. While several operators offer 2-day safaris of this sort, it is quite a rushed itinerary. And you might be forced to cut your trek short if you have difficulty locating gorillas. For this reason, a 3-day fly-in trip, staying at a lodge near the park for 1 night either side of your trekking activity, would be better.”2
Do I need to charter a plane on a fly-in safari in Uganda?
“No, you don't usually need to charter a plane on a fly-in safari in Uganda. A domestic airline called Aerolink operates daily scheduled flights that connect Entebbe International Airport with most other points of interest along Uganda’s popular western and northern safari circuits. Destinations include Semliki (Toro-Semliki WR and Semuliki NP), Mweya (Queen Elizabeth NP), Kihihi (northern Bwindi NP), Kisoro (southern Bwindi NP and Mgahinga Gorilla NP), Pakuba (Murchison Falls NP) and Kidepo (Kidepo Valley NP). These flights are all that is required for most fly-in packages. A charter will only be necessary if your trip includes somewhere more off the beaten track, you have unusual timings, or scheduled flights are booked solidly.”3
What are the luggage restrictions on a fly-in safari in Uganda?
“The luggage weight restriction for most domestic flights is 15kg/33lb. Up to 5kg/11lb of this can be carried as hand luggage. Collapsible assistive devices such as wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, walking sticks, prams and strollers are not treated as part of the 15kg/33lb allowance. Hold luggage (checked baggage) should be carried in a soft bag no more than 60cm/24in high, 45cm/18in wide and 33cm/13in deep. If you know your luggage will exceed 15kg/33lb, it is possible to book an extra seat, which allows you up to 75kg/165lb of extra luggage.”4
What kind of aircraft can I expect on a Uganda fly-in safari?
“Most domestic flights in Uganda use light aircrafts. Most widely used is the Cessna Grand Caravan, a versatile, comfortable and reliable fixed-wing plane that first took to the air in 1982 and can carry up to 11 passengers. Travelers who have not previously flown in a light aircraft should be prepared for the plane’s greater sensitivity to turbulence and stormy weather. This can make the flights quite hard-going for people who are prone to motion sickness, and terrifying to nervous fliers, but it is normal and nothing to worry about.”5
What are the typical costs of a fly-in safari in Uganda?
“For a longer fly-in safari (6 days or more), you’re typically looking at US$750 to US$1,000 per person per day. For a shorter safari, such as a 2- or 3-day gorilla trekking itinerary, the daily rate is likely to be around US$1,000 to US$1,200 per person. This price will usually be all-inclusive, with the only extras being tips and in some cases drinks. When you look at itineraries for your Uganda holiday, you will quickly realize that fly-in packages are far costlier than driving tours of the same duration. This is largely because light aircraft flights in Uganda are very expensive. But it’s also because fly-in safaris tend to be aimed at big spenders and use the most luxurious available accommodation. This high cost can be offset to some extent by the fact you’ll see a lot more in a shorter time on a fly-in safari, because it cuts out lengthy drives.”6
Mark is a travel writer who grew up in Africa and has written over 700 titles for CNN 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...
Lizzie is a reputed guidebook writer and author of the Footprint guides to South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Mountain gorillas, chimps and birds in lush, well-watered and incredibly green hills and valleys
Most of the superlative descriptions you read about Uganda are totally true, and it really is a place of shimmering lakes, lofty mountains and mysterious forests. Best known as the place to see mountain gorillas, no safari to the country...
EXCEEDED ALL EXPECTATIONS!
I spent 12 days in Uganda as part of my trip with Speke Uganda Holidays and they were without doubt the best days of the trip! Uganda blew me away with its diverse natural beauty. Africa's tallest mountain range, the snowcapped Rwenzori...
The gem of African safaris
The absolute best experience of African safaris. We have previously been to Kenya, Tanzania, Senegal, South Africa. We liked how nature and animals are treated with respect. Hotels built in nature parks do not have gardens, because the...
A happy green place where our fellow creatures are appreciated and respected.
Uganda was my 7th African country. It is the best place to see primates in their natural habitat. The parks are well taken care of and offer excellent opportunities to see abundant wildlife. I used Home to Africa and my guide and driver...
Presence of primates makes Uganda outstanding!
Having a chance to see mountain gorillas and chimpanzees was an unforgettable experience possible in Uganda. An eight-day trip revealed a lot of animal species, including lions, leopards, giraffes, hyenas and more than fifty bird species....