Are you planning a trip to Uganda? Some preliminary research may help you land the lowest deals and avoid large crowds. Although it’s smaller than some of its neighbors, there’s much to do and see.
The country boasts stunning landscapes, unique wildlife, and kind locals. So, you can build lasting memories in Uganda if you visit at the right time.
Our guide will take you through the best time to visit Uganda, whether looking for the greatest weather, cheapest flights and hotel rates, or fewer crowds. You’ll also learn about the worst time to go to Uganda and how to have the best vacation.
Why You Should Visit Uganda
There are many reasons why you should consider making Uganda your next vacation destination. It’s among the best places in East Africa to spot the rare mountain gorilla species.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are the most famous gorilla-trekking destinations.
Furthermore, the country has a network of national parks and game reserves featuring animals such as leopards, hippos, zebras, lions, elephants, and more than 1000 bird species.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is a great place to go animal sightseeing. The country also ranks high in terms of picturesque landscapes.
It has wonderfully verdant forests, wetlands, and open plains, home to various plant and animal life. Uganda is a multicultural country with more than 45 dialects and languages.
Overall Best Time to Visit Uganda
The best time to visit Uganda is between its dry seasons, which include December to February and June to August. December marks the end of the rainy season.
It’s also the perfect time to go birdwatching since many migratory birds make their way into the region in December. Warm temperatures in January render it the perfect time to encounter endangered mountain gorillas.
Occasional rains might occur, but the skies are usually clear. You can see families moving through the verdant woodlands, providing a breathtakingly resonant encounter with Uganda’s flora and fauna.
The southern national parks are at their driest in February, so it’s the best month to undertake gorilla trekking since you won’t have to worry about slippery terrain.
During this time of year, the weather in north Uganda can get quite warm and dusty. June marks the beginning of the high season for Uganda’s luxurious safaris. Consider making your permit reservations beforehand.
Animals congregate near watering holes in July, making them easier to spot. The mud has dried up, so the trekking trails are much more manageable.
The hiking pathways are mud-free and much simpler to maneuver. August provides a perfect game-viewing experience. Besides lions and elephants, you’ll also encounter the elusive leopard.
Cheapest Time to Visit Uganda
The cheapest time to visit Uganda is between September and November. Although September marks the dry season’s end, the rains’ arrival timing can affect whether you encounter any showers.
It’s not the best time of the year to go gorilla trekking, but if you’re willing to take chances, you’ll land cheaper accommodations and travel deals.
October isn’t a hectic month to visit Uganda. Prices are fair, and now is a wonderful time of year to take advantage of discounts on gorilla trekking permits. While most game parks are still operational, the downpour can be somewhat unpredictable.
November is typically wet. Even though the drought-stricken grasslands in the countryside have a bright green color, there aren’t as many tourists this month since the weather isn’t that great.
As a result, game parks, accommodations, and travel agencies are likely to give reasonable rates to lure more customers. You can book in advance or use alternative routes to get cheaper flight tickets when traveling to Uganda.
Least Busy Time to Visit Uganda
The least busy time to visit Uganda is between March and May. Uganda’s rainy season starts in March, and it’s the best time to witness the animals in game parks giving birth.
Birdwatchers are also in for a treat as they see various colorful, flying creatures. The most rain falls in April. Some roads are closed during this period due to steady rain, and parks become quiet.
While it’s possible to go on a gorilla trip at this time, you should prepare for a wet and muddy hike. However, the gorillas are said to prefer the lower, warmer slopes in the rainy season, shortening your hike.
Uganda’s non-migratory wildlife means there’s still much to see in game parks like Queen Elizabeth. Nevertheless, the thicker foliage can make it more challenging to view the animals. Remember that the already bad roads may worsen, and vehicles get stuck.
Furthermore, you can’t cancel your gorilla permit if it rains heavily because departures proceed as planned. May is usually wet but doesn’t have as much precipitation as April.
Even though the weather can be quite unpredictable, it’s still an excellent time to travel across the country exploring beautiful landscapes. To pay less for your flight, consider budget airlines such as Ethiopia Airlines or Kenya Airways.
Worst Time to Visit Uganda
The worst time to visit Uganda is around September when the country experiences heavy rainfall. However, Uganda’s weather is pleasant most of the year, and most attractions remain open even during the wetter months.
Deciding when to visit Uganda depends on the type of wildlife you hope to see. The climate in Uganda’s equatorial region is warm and tropical, with minimal seasonal differences.
The average temperature in Uganda is about 71 degrees Fahrenheit, with nighttime lows averaging around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Being on the equator means it doesn’t constantly rain in Uganda, even during the wet months.
The average annual rainfall here is between 40 and 80 inches.
However, in between showers, the skies become clear and sunny. Restaurants’ rates in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, remain constant all year round, but you may get deals during the wet season at the parks’ lodges and camps.
Things to Consider
Here are several things to remember when visiting Uganda:
- Security. Uganda is generally safe for tourists. However, it’s still essential to maintain vigilance and keep your belongings close. Also, be wary of scams and avoid carrying huge amounts of cash.
- Visa requirements. Most foreign nationals require a visa to enter Uganda. The visa process can take several weeks, so ensure you apply in advance. You can apply for your visa online through the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration.
- Money. The official currency of Uganda is the Ugandan Shilling. ATMs are available in cities but can be hard to find in rural areas. Major restaurants, supermarkets, and game parks accept credit cards.
- Transport. Public transport is limited in Uganda, so renting a car or joining an organized tour are usually your best options. If you rent a car, ensure to have a valid international driver’s license.
- Tipping. There’s no standard guideline for tipping in Uganda. Like in other parts of the world, a tip isn’t mandatory, but it’s always appreciated if you feel you’ve received good service.
- Language. Most people in Uganda speak English. While fluency will vary with their education level, you shouldn’t have trouble conversing with the locals.
- Use your bargaining skills. Ugandans charge tourists inflated prices, so if you’re good at negotiating, you may score great.
- Socialize. Ugandans are known for their warm hospitality. You may anticipate seeing the locals flashing friendly smiles at you in the streets. As you go about your day, you’ll also notice kids staring at you and calling you a mzungu (slang for “white person”).
- Sidewalks are uncommon. If you consider sidewalks as an obvious thing, you may wish to reconsider that. It may not be a problem on rural roads, but it’s a disaster in busy urban areas.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most popular questions people ask when visiting Uganda:
What is the best time to visit Uganda?
The best time to visit Uganda is from December to February. During these months, the temperature is cool, humidity is low, and there’s little rain. That renders it easier to explore the country, go on safari or climb mountains.
What are the hottest months in Uganda?
Uganda has a tropical climate, meaning it’s hot and humid all year round. The hottest months are January and February, when temperatures range from 70 to 83 degrees Fahrenheit, with peaks of over 86 degrees in the country’s northern parts.
How many days should I spend in Uganda?
Plan on spending at least ten days there to get the most out of your time in Uganda. Within that time frame, you can visit the country’s top sights without a rush. However, if you’re planning to visit many cities and rural communities for an authentic cultural immersion experience, you could spend even three weeks there.
Is Uganda safe to visit?
Yes, Uganda is safe for tourists. However, you’ll still need to exercise caution when walking at night. Avoid carrying your backpack from the back if you don’t want to be a victim of pickpocketing. As in any other state, that’s likely to occur in congested areas. Obey the local laws and research areas before visiting to ascertain they’re safe.
Is it cheap to visit Uganda?
Yes. Compared to other states in East Africa, including Rwanda, Tanzania, and Kenya, the country is the cheapest safari destination. Most prices in the country are in Ugandan Shillings and US Dollars.
What should I wear in Uganda?
When it comes to dressing, Uganda is quite liberal. When visiting holy attractions, you may need to cover yourself. Otherwise, anything will work as long as you’re respectful.
Is it safe to drink tap water in Uganda?
Unfortunately, Uganda’s tap water isn’t safe for consumption. Even natives must boil it and then let it cool to make it drinkable. You can find bottled water in most convenience stores and supermarkets. Ensure the bottled water is well sealed and the expiration date hasn’t passed.
Do I need vaccinations to travel to Uganda?
Yes, you’ll need vaccinations to travel to Uganda. The Ugandan Health Ministry mandates that all travelers provide proof of yellow fever vaccination. In addition, be sure to consider getting the DTP, Hepatitis A, and malaria vaccinations.
Is gorilla trekking worth the money?
Yes, gorilla trekking is worth every coin. It’s an incredible experience that will stay with you for a lifetime. You’ll get to observe wild gorillas up close, learn about their behavior, and take some amazing photos of these gentle giants in their natural habitat.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Uganda?
The best time to visit Uganda is between December and February. Before making your travel plans, ensure to do some research and check the most current travel advisories. You can have a safe and enjoyable trip to Uganda with just a little effort. So what are you waiting for — book your trip today!