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Uganda Luxury Safaris & Gorilla Tours

4.3/5  –  259 Uganda Reviews

Uganda has developed into a world-class safari destination offering luxury safari tours. Its tourism industry is now ready for a clientele looking for upmarket accommodations, a high level of service, good food and polished operations. Fodor’s Travel featured the country on its annual ‘Go List’ and rated it one of the top destinations to visit. Mountain gorilla trekking has turned into one of the must-do bucket list wildlife encounters in the world. Uganda is one of only three countries to offer this (the other two being Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo). While mountain gorillas have put Uganda on the travel map, the country has a lot more to offer, including classic savannah safaris.

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1-20 of 89 luxury gorilla trekking tours & safaris to Uganda

6 Questions About Uganda Luxury Safaris

 
 

6 Questions About Uganda Luxury Safaris

Answered by Ariadne van Zandbergen

Why should I choose Uganda for a luxury safari?

“An up-and-coming destination, Uganda has a lot to offer. Top-end luxury tourism is still in its early stages in Uganda, but all of its main destinations have at least a couple of lodges catering for the luxury market. New scheduled flights are now connecting popular destinations. And accessible charter flights are also opening up the country to people looking for a luxury safari. Gorilla trekking has been on many East African safari itineraries for a long time. However, this is still mostly done as an add-on to a Kenya or Tanzania safari for the luxury market. Uganda is becoming more equipped to offer luxury safaris, and travelers can now consider spending their safari in Uganda only. ”

1

What is included in a Uganda luxury safari?

“Uganda is following the trend of all-inclusive luxury safari packages. Many of the top lodges offer stays inclusive of all meals, activities, drinks and laundry. Some lodges even throw in a free massage to relax you after a day out on the bumpy roads in the parks. Check in advance for details of what is and isn’t included, to avoid any unexpected costs while on the road. Tips are never included, and they can add up. There are many people involved in making your luxury safari memorable. As well as the staff at the lodges (this often includes a private butler and housekeeper) and your driver and guide, there will be porters, park guides and trackers to tip as well. Your tour operator can advise you on the recommended amounts, but a general tipping guideline for the guide is $10-15 per person per day.”

2

Are gorillas the highlight of a Uganda luxury safari?

“For most people gorilla trekking is the highlight of their Uganda safari. It is an activity not to be missed and the main reason most travelers come to Uganda. Gorilla trekking has received a lot of publicity in recent years and is one of the highlights of African travel. Most budget travelers and even backpackers will fork out a relatively high price for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. You might even want to consider doing two treks as there are many different gorilla groups in Uganda, and each visit tends to be different. The composition of all the groups is different as well. Some groups have more than one silverback and some have a lot of babies. The two national parks in Uganda that offer gorilla trekking have a very different feel. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a thickly vegetated rainforest. And the gorillas in Mgahinga National Park are mostly found in the bamboo zone on the Virunga Mountain slopes.”

3

Can you describe a typical day on a Uganda luxury safari?

“The variety of habitats in Uganda makes for a balanced safari, with game drives, boat trips and forest hikes. There isn’t really a typical day, as it depends on the activities planned. A day on safari in one of the savannah reserves usually starts with a wake-up call before sunrise. After a steaming mug of coffee, you’ll be on your way to look for the big cats and other predators. Mid-morning, you might come back to the lodge for brunch. You’ll get some time to rest during the midday heat, taking advantage of your luxurious surrounds. Then you’ll go out again wildlife viewing on an afternoon drive, or maybe a boat trip. Other days, you might take a day trip into the park to reach interesting wildlife areas further away from your base. Days in the forest, where chimpanzee and gorilla trekking are the main activities, will be different. You will usually depart for the trekking after breakfast and return to your lodge or camp for a late lunch. After a morning clambering around slippery forest slopes, leisure is the priority in the afternoon. ”

4

What accommodation can I expect on a Uganda luxury safari?

“There is a variety of luxury accommodation available in Uganda. Some of the older lodges are relatively big hotels with most modern conveniences, such as 24-hour electricity, wifi access throughout the lodge, air-conditioning, and hairdryers in the rooms. The current trend, however, is more towards small, exclusive rustic accommodations, with only about eight to 10 tastefully designed units. There are a lot of different designs out there, with a trend towards using canvas and thatch. This is either in the form of a traditional standing safari tent under a thatched roof, or canvas on wooden frames (something between a room and a tent). The emphasis is on exclusivity and service, and the style of the architecture and décor is usually in keeping with the environment. You might be assigned a private butler and housekeeper. These people will take care of all your needs, from bringing you coffee for those early morning wake-up calls to cleaning your shoes after gorilla trekking. To keep the carbon footprint low, many of these lodges work on solar power and only have electricity at certain times of the day. Wifi might only be available in the communal lounge and hot ‘bush showers’ may have to be on request. ”

5

What are the typical costs of a Uganda luxury safari?

“For a luxury safari in Uganda one should budget a starting price of US$550 per person per day. Although, this is just an approximation because it is difficult to put an actual figure on the cost of a safari as there are a lot of variables. This price obviously depends on a lot of factors, and most Uganda luxury tours are tailor-made. Some of the parks and lodges in Uganda are very remote and your safari will probably be a mix of driving and fly-in. The parks don’t lend themselves to mass tourism, and while this is part of the appeal, it bumps up the cost of a luxury safari. There are some hidden costs on a luxury safari, such as tips for rangers and guides and fees for optional activities. Commonly included are accommodation, park fees, transport, a tour guide and three meals per day. Depending on your tour package drinks could also be included. Please be aware that tips for the guides add up. A general guideline is $10 to $15 per person per day. On a luxury safari some people tip even more.”

6

Uganda Safari Reviews

4.3/5 259 Reviews
Expert
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
4/5

Most people understandably come to Uganda for its mountain gorillas – half of the world’s population of around 730 lives in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, and spending that precious hour with them has become a “must-do” for...

Full Review

Expert
Lizzie Williams  –  
South Africa ZA

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
4/5

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...

Full Review

King Kenny  –  
Uganda UG
Reviewed: Apr 12, 2021
Amazing Murchison falls
5/5

I and my hubby booked a 4day Murchison falls trip, Esther was so helpful in all the arrangement process, email reply was prompt and very knowledgeable. We saw amazing wildlife, high concentration of animals and birds, beautiful sceneries...

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Zsolt Banyai  –  
Hungary HU
Reviewed: Feb 22, 2021
5/5

First of all, we have to define "safari destination". In my response, I rather took this as "wildlife destination", since neither Kibale nor Bwindi are really "safari destinations" for me. I saw 10 different pimates, which is...

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Nick Groocock  –  
Canada CA
Reviewed: Apr 3, 2020
I was mostly interested in the Kidepo Valley landscape - not the wildlife - and enjoyed every moment
5/5

I had been wanting - but that’s another story - to visit Kidepo Valley National Park for decades but the PLO Entebbe airport hijacking in 1976 put paid to a first visit. While I did visit Uganda in the early 1990’s our trans-Africa...

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Brandon Barnes  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Mar 16, 2020
Once in a lifetime trip!
5/5

We booked a 6 day trip with the tour company Home to Africa through this site. Everything about the trip was amazing. The wildlife and beauty of Uganda was amazing and the hospitality of the people is un-paralleled compared to every place...

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