Uganda

Wildlife photography holidays in Uganda may not yet be very popular, At least, not in the same way Kenya is, But when you get to discover the Pearl of Africa, you’ll want to hold on to it forever. 

Outside the capital Kampala -a real livewire, a vibrant melting pot of powerful sounds and titillating smells, and pure magic- there’s just so much to take in. You’re sure to be held spellbound by the pounding rain in the forest, the mist that sits atop the mountains, the lush greenery, and of course, the exotic wildlife. I certainly was. 

One of the most fascinating things about my stay in this country is how intensely intimate and personal my trip felt. When it was time to leave, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had just witnessed and been a part of something profound. I’ll try to provide a blow-by-blow account of my experiences, but remember, Uganda is better experienced than described. 

Table of Contents

Why Visit Uganda For Wildlife Photography?

With four of Africa’s big five animals, more than 120 mammals and 350 bird species, several species of monkeys and chimpanzees, and the incredible mountain gorillas making their homes in this country, the real question should be why not?

There’s hardly a more spectacular sight than a mountain gorilla in his element. It’s also a pretty rare sight, given that these beautiful animals are an endangered species. There are also hippos, elephants, buffalo, leopards, and lions, each of them utterly unforgettable, each of them altogether splendid. 

It’s easy to feel like a kid in a candy store as a wildlife photographer in Uganda. The terrain and flora are already breathtaking, and when you bring the animals into focus, it’s hard not to fall in love with the entire picture. 

Wildlife Species To Photograph In Uganda

These days, Rwanda is raking in the acclaim (and tourists) for their population of gorillas, but Uganda has the higher number of these animals. And mountain gorillas are the biggest attraction.

It’s easy to see why. An adult male gorilla (a silverback) is a phenomenon when you see them up close. They’re comfortable around humans (they’ll pretty much tolerate you), and you can snap away without your camera flash, so you don’t upset them. 

Leopards are leopards, mysterious and secretive. They’ll slink away once they spot you. Elephants and hippos do not mind the attention as much, though. It came as a shock to me to find out that monkeys are not the only inhabitants of the trees here. 

Apparently, lions can climb trees too! You’ll also find the crested crane, a remarkable bird. The crested crane is the national bird of Uganda, and the country’s senior male football team is named after it. 

The Best Time Of Year To Visit Uganda

There are two rainy seasons in the southern part of the country, and the climate is influenced by Lake Victoria. Lake Victoria regulates temperatures and increases rainfall in the area. It rains mainly throughout the year here. 

The story is different in the northern part of the country, which has a pretty dry climate, droughts a reasonably frequent occurrence. November to February is the driest part of the year here, so you probably shouldn’t schedule a visit during this period. The temperatures are bound to be surging then. 

In the south, March to June and November to December are particularly wet, so any trip made during these periods may be affected by unrelenting downpours. Any other time and you’ll have a peachy time. 

Where to stay in Uganda

I planned to make the most of my stay in this country by visiting as many landmark sites as possible, so I wasn’t planning on staying in a single location for long. However, I spent a few days in the capital Kampala, which was one of my best decisions. Kampala is the capital city, and there are loads of things to see and do here, including temples, mosques, and cathedrals, sometimes in the same street. The markets are also lively affairs, and the food is sumptuous. The accommodation was in the form of hostels, and it was affordable. 

From the capital, I went to the Queen Elizabeth National Park in the north. The hustle and bustle of city life were quickly replaced with a more sedentary pace, and the ornate buildings were replaced by towering hills. This view was similar in all the other places I visited: Isasha National Park, Kibale National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and Lake Mburo National Park. Prices of accommodation in these places were even cheaper than in the capital.

Kampala

Columbo is both the capital and economic hub of Sri Lanka, so, any visit to the country will be incomplete without touching base here. This city is a vibrant blend of languages, people, and cultures. In spite of its cosmopolitan and modern appearance, there are still vestiges of the city’s colonial heritage in its very fabric. There’s just so much to see, taste, and do here, and thankfully, there are lots of accommodation options for people who want to.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Wasgamuwa provides a nice contrast to the bustle of the capital. It’s more laid-back, so instead of shopping blocks or commercial buildings, the most common sight here is the smiling face of locals. Oh, Wasgamuwa is also the home of the Wasgamuwa National Park, one of the best things that happened to the drive for conservation. Spending a night or two here is also pretty easy. 

Kibale National Park

Wasgamuwa provides a nice contrast to the bustle of the capital. It’s more laid-back, so instead of shopping blocks or commercial buildings, the most common sight here is the smiling face of locals. Oh, Wasgamuwa is also the home of the Wasgamuwa National Park, one of the best things that happened to the drive for conservation. Spending a night or two here is also pretty easy. 

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Wasgamuwa provides a nice contrast to the bustle of the capital. It’s more laid-back, so instead of shopping blocks or commercial buildings, the most common sight here is the smiling face of locals. Oh, Wasgamuwa is also the home of the Wasgamuwa National Park, one of the best things that happened to the drive for conservation. Spending a night or two here is also pretty easy. 

Lake mburo

Wasgamuwa provides a nice contrast to the bustle of the capital. It’s more laid-back, so instead of shopping blocks or commercial buildings, the most common sight here is the smiling face of locals. Oh, Wasgamuwa is also the home of the Wasgamuwa National Park, one of the best things that happened to the drive for conservation. Spending a night or two here is also pretty easy. 

How To Get Around Uganda

There are several through which you can get around in the country. Transportation costs are relatively cheap, and between the BodaBodas (local bicycles), public buses, local taxis, and private cars for hire, you can quickly move from one point to another within the country. Whether you’ll get to your destination in time is another matter entirely, though. The roads are generally in bad shape.

BodaBodas are very ubiquitous in Kampala and are great for moving around within the city. They are very cheap and are pretty fast. However, you can only move within the city with them; longer distance traveling will require other means.

Public buses are great for inter-state travels, but they operate a very chaotic schedule because they only move when the bus gets filled.

Then there are taxis, which are really minibusses. These taxis are also very cheap and pretty reliable, but be ready to squeeze in with about 14 other passengers. Depending on the driver, that number could even be more.

Ultimately, your best option for travelling around Uganda is private hire and driver from a reputable tour operator.

Is It Safe To Travel To Uganda?

The country’s security situation has vastly improved in recent years. Political stability is practically a given these days, and violent crime is becoming increasingly uncommon. 

Some portions of the capital Kampala, like most other cities, may be dangerous, and petty theft is frequent. If you stay alert and avoid ostentatiously exhibiting your assets, you will not lose any of them.

Malaria is also quite prevalent in the country, and you should take precautions while there. Use insect repellents, sleep beneath mosquito nets, and get potent anti-malaria medicines from local pharmacies.

What To Pack For A Photography Trip in Uganda

Depending on which part of the country you’re planning to spend more time in, your gear may fluctuate as wildly as the weather in Uganda’s regions. Here’s a list of things I consider essential for a backpacking trip to the country:

 

  • Your Backpack: There’s little chance of you forgetting to bring this one along since that’s where you’ll be stashing all your stuff. Given that you’ll be hauling it over rough terrain, you should consider choosing one that won’t put too much pressure on your back.
  • Breathable Shirts: The northern part of Uganda is pretty hot almost throughout the year, so it’s a brilliant idea to pack several light shirts in your backpack.
  • Hiking Shoes: Even if you’re not specifically planning to go hiking, you’d still need to bring hiking shoes with you. The parks are situated in hilly jungles, and there’ll be a fair amount of hiking to be done if you choose to go on a safari.
  • Water Bottle: It’s essential to stay hydrated in the country, and Uganda’s hot weather will take a lot out of you. Always take a water bottle along with you wherever you go.
  • Camera: For capturing those spectacular moments, and there will be several.
  • Swim Suit: It’s better to be prepared if an opportunity to hit the water shows up or if you’ve included a trip to one of the many beaches in your itinerary.
  • Outer Shell Jacket: These jackets are essential if you’re heading into the jungle. It frequently rains there, and it’s better to be prepared if the weather turns.

Passport and Visa Information

People from a limited number of countries, including Angola, Ireland, Jamaica, Singapore, and others, are permitted to enter the country without a visa for up to three months. If you are not from one of those countries, you will require a visa to visit the country.

You may either get a visa on arrival or apply for one online before traveling to Uganda.

Other Places To Visit In Sri Lanka

Uganda is full of captivating and beautiful sights, and if you can manage it, you should consider visiting more places.

Do you like to spend your day relaxing in a calm, attractive, and natural setting? Prepare to be awestruck by the Ssese Islands’ mix of golden sands, sun-kissed beaches, and lapping seas. The island is regarded as Uganda’s finest leisure destination, with Bulago and Buggala Islands also on the list. It’s worth a visit.

You don’t want to miss the magnificent Murchison Falls in northwest Uganda, whether you’re going by boat on the Victoria Nile, on a Safari trip, or on vacation. Take in the sight of massive streams rushing through a small canyon and smashing into powerful, deafening waterfalls. It’s one of nature’s most spectacular sights.

The beautiful Lake Bunyonyi is another place that looks like it’s been cut out of a picture book.

My Suggested Itinerary for a Wildlife Photography Holiday in Uganda

Kampala City

1-2 Days

Uganda is full of captivating and beautiful sights, and if you can manage it, you should consider visiting more places.

Do you like to spend your day relaxing in a calm, attractive, and natural setting? Prepare to be awestruck by the Ssese Islands’ mix of golden sands, sun-kissed beaches, and lapping seas. The island is regarded as Uganda’s finest leisure destination, with Bulago and Buggala Islands also on the list. It’s worth a visit.

You don’t want to miss the magnificent Murchison Falls in northwest Uganda, whether you’re going by boat on the Victoria Nile, on a Safari trip, or on vacation. Take in the sight of massive streams rushing through a small canyon and smashing into powerful, deafening waterfalls. It’s one of nature’s most spectacular sights.

The beautiful Lake Bunyonyi is another place that looks like it’s been cut out of a picture book.

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

2 Days

Uganda is full of captivating and beautiful sights, and if you can manage it, you should consider visiting more places.

Do you like to spend your day relaxing in a calm, attractive, and natural setting? Prepare to be awestruck by the Ssese Islands’ mix of golden sands, sun-kissed beaches, and lapping seas. The island is regarded as Uganda’s finest leisure destination, with Bulago and Buggala Islands also on the list. It’s worth a visit.

You don’t want to miss the magnificent Murchison Falls in northwest Uganda, whether you’re going by boat on the Victoria Nile, on a Safari trip, or on vacation. Take in the sight of massive streams rushing through a small canyon and smashing into powerful, deafening waterfalls. It’s one of nature’s most spectacular sights.

The beautiful Lake Bunyonyi is another place that looks like it’s been cut out of a picture book.

Kibale National Park

2 Days

Uganda is full of captivating and beautiful sights, and if you can manage it, you should consider visiting more places.

Do you like to spend your day relaxing in a calm, attractive, and natural setting? Prepare to be awestruck by the Ssese Islands’ mix of golden sands, sun-kissed beaches, and lapping seas. The island is regarded as Uganda’s finest leisure destination, with Bulago and Buggala Islands also on the list. It’s worth a visit.

You don’t want to miss the magnificent Murchison Falls in northwest Uganda, whether you’re going by boat on the Victoria Nile, on a Safari trip, or on vacation. Take in the sight of massive streams rushing through a small canyon and smashing into powerful, deafening waterfalls. It’s one of nature’s most spectacular sights.

The beautiful Lake Bunyonyi is another place that looks like it’s been cut out of a picture book.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

3 Days

Uganda is full of captivating and beautiful sights, and if you can manage it, you should consider visiting more places.

Do you like to spend your day relaxing in a calm, attractive, and natural setting? Prepare to be awestruck by the Ssese Islands’ mix of golden sands, sun-kissed beaches, and lapping seas. The island is regarded as Uganda’s finest leisure destination, with Bulago and Buggala Islands also on the list. It’s worth a visit.

You don’t want to miss the magnificent Murchison Falls in northwest Uganda, whether you’re going by boat on the Victoria Nile, on a Safari trip, or on vacation. Take in the sight of massive streams rushing through a small canyon and smashing into powerful, deafening waterfalls. It’s one of nature’s most spectacular sights.

The beautiful Lake Bunyonyi is another place that looks like it’s been cut out of a picture book.

Ishashia National Park

2 Days

Uganda is full of captivating and beautiful sights, and if you can manage it, you should consider visiting more places.

Do you like to spend your day relaxing in a calm, attractive, and natural setting? Prepare to be awestruck by the Ssese Islands’ mix of golden sands, sun-kissed beaches, and lapping seas. The island is regarded as Uganda’s finest leisure destination, with Bulago and Buggala Islands also on the list. It’s worth a visit.

You don’t want to miss the magnificent Murchison Falls in northwest Uganda, whether you’re going by boat on the Victoria Nile, on a Safari trip, or on vacation. Take in the sight of massive streams rushing through a small canyon and smashing into powerful, deafening waterfalls. It’s one of nature’s most spectacular sights.

The beautiful Lake Bunyonyi is another place that looks like it’s been cut out of a picture book.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

3-4 Days

Sri Lanka is a montage of breathtaking sights and historic places and there’s just so much to take in. 

But it’s real beauty can not be seen from the city. Yes, Columbo is beautiful and it’s temples are well worth a visit but more  than a day or two and you’re just wasting value time with nature.

However, you can’t be in Columbo without visiting Viharamahadevi Park (formally Victoria park) and witnessing the Grey-headed flying fox bats which take up residency in the park in their hundreds.

Staying at the XYZ, you can grab a tuk-tuk for a around £1, to the parks entrance. Walk to the furthest point of the park and you’ll soon see these beautiful flying mammals up in the treetops. Dusk is the perfect time.

Lake Mburo National Park

2 Days

Sri Lanka is a montage of breathtaking sights and historic places and there’s just so much to take in. 

But it’s real beauty can not be seen from the city. Yes, Columbo is beautiful and it’s temples are well worth a visit but more  than a day or two and you’re just wasting value time with nature.

However, you can’t be in Columbo without visiting Viharamahadevi Park (formally Victoria park) and witnessing the Grey-headed flying fox bats which take up residency in the park in their hundreds.

Staying at the XYZ, you can grab a tuk-tuk for a around £1, to the parks entrance. Walk to the furthest point of the park and you’ll soon see these beautiful flying mammals up in the treetops. Dusk is the perfect time.

Helpful Resources

Now that we have all the information we need, it’s time to plan your wildlife photography holiday to Uganda!

Here are some helpful resources to help you get your trip started:

Flights: Skyscanner and Expedia are the best places to start looking for cheap flights and great deals from your home country.

Accommodation: Skyscanner and Expedia are the best places to start looking for cheap flights and great deals from your home country.

Home Stays: Skyscanner and Expedia are the best places to start looking for cheap flights and great deals from your home country.

Travel: Skyscanner and Expedia are the best places to start looking for cheap flights and great deals from your home country.

Travel Insurance: Skyscanner and Expedia are the best places to start looking for cheap flights and great deals from your home country.

Day Trips & Tours: Skyscanner and Expedia are the best places to start looking for cheap flights and great deals from your home country.
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