When to visit Uganda
Uganda sits on the Equator, so temperatures are hot and very pleasant throughout most of the year. Most national parks in other East African countries, like Kenya and Tanzania, are formed of dry and vast savannah plains, Uganda is the opposite. The country is extremely green and lush.
Uganda is home to tropical rainforests, moist swamps, and dramatic forested mountains. It is also very diverse in its altitude – for example, temperatures are cooler in Bwindi National Park as you are much higher in altitude compared to Kidepo National Park in northern Uganda which has a lower altitude and drier savannahs. As a result, each national park in the country has its own microclimate and offers good conditions throughout the year.
December to March
The short rains in November (and sometimes early December) will have stopped, so these months are a good time to travel for dry, warm and pleasant conditions. For chimpanzee and gorilla trekking, the forests and ground will have started to dry, which will make the trekking more manageable. It is worth bearing in mind that December is a busy time of the year to travel, as a lot of tourists look to go away for a Christmas holiday. It is advisable that you book your trip in advance, especially if you are wanting to do multiple chimpanzee or gorilla treks.
April to May
This is the rainy period in Uganda. Sporadic and intense showers can equate up to 285mm of rainfall but, as Uganda is a tropical climate, temperatures will still be warm and comfortable throughout. Although a Uganda itinerary is still possible during these months, some of the camps and lodges are closed which means your accommodation options will be limited. The ones that do remain open will offer low season rates and attractive discounts, so that’s worth bearing in mind. Gorilla permits are also reduced during this period to make it a more affordable experience. But remember to pack waterproof trousers and a raincoat!
June to September
As with other countries in East Africa, this is a dry and warm period, offering great game sightings and trekking conditions. July is deemed the coldest month in Uganda but daily temperatures are still warm – from 17° to 26° Celsius. This is a great time of the year to go on a game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, or even Kidepo in the northern part of the country, as the weather is pleasant, the sightings will be better.
With that said, it is also one of the busiest time to head to Uganda, especially as it is the summer holiday period for many families across the world. Most of the safari lodges will offer peak season rates so it is advisable that you book your Uganda itinerary in advance to get the accommodation you want. It is also worth noting that gorilla permits need to be booked in advance and, with only a handful of permits sold to tourists every day, this is a priority if gorilla trekking is high on your list.
Short Rainy Season
October to November
This is a period of short rains in Uganda – dry savannahs start to become verdant and dense with thick vegetation, making wildlife sightings more difficult and less frequent. The forests, like Kibale and Bwindi, become much wetter and slippery so chimpanzee and gorilla trekking is more challenging. This isn’t to say it cannot be done during this time, but it is not recommended for clients who are older or less fit. For those keen on bird-watching, November is a great time to travel to Uganda as it marks the best bird-watching season (November to April). During this time, migratory birds arrive and there are hundreds of species to look out for.
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