From the moment you land at Entebbe’s modern and efficient international airport, with its breathtaking equatorial location on the forested shore of island-strewn Lake Victoria, it is clear that Uganda is no ordinary safari destination. With an expansive golf course leading down to the lakeshore, and a century-old botanical garden alive with the chatter of acrobatic monkeys and colourful tropical birds, Entebbe itself is the least obviously urban of all comparably sized African towns. Just 40km away, sprawled across seven hills, is the capital Kampala. The bright modern feel of this bustling, cosmopolitan city reflects the ongoing economic growth and political stability that now characterises Uganda.
Ecologically Uganda is where the East African savannah meets the West African jungle. Here in this wonderfully lush country you can observe lions prowling the open plains in the morning and track chimpanzees through the rainforest undergrowth the same afternoon, the next day navigate tropical channels teeming with hippo and crocs before setting off into the misty mountains to track the endangered mountain gorilla – whose individual numbers are less than 700 in total.. Certainly, Uganda is the only safari destination whose range of forest primates is as impressive as its selection of plains antelope.
Yet there is more to the country than wildlife. The mighty River Nile is the setting for some of the world’s most thrilling white-water rafting. There are the snow-capped peaks of the Rwenzori – a tantalising challenge to dedicated mountaineers – and the Virunga Volcanoes, both of which offer highly rewarding hiking through scintillating highland scenery. The myriad islands of Lake Victoria and Bunyonyi are idyllic venues, as are the myriad forest-fringed crater lakes that stud the rift valley floor and escarpment. Whether you’re taking your first safari or a seasoned African traveller, Uganda – with its unique blend of savannah and forest creatures and its rare wealth of montane and lake habitats – is a special destination.
The climate, too, is highly agreeable, reflecting the combination of an equatorial location and medium to high altitudes, while amenities such as hotels and game lodges now rank with the very best has to offer.