When is the best time to visit Uganda? Our destination experts share an overview.
Travel in Uganda is possible throughout the year, but the dry months are considered the best time to travel to the country. These months are also best for gorilla trekking. Although Uganda’s climate can be generally described as tropical, it still differs in different parts of the country, and the temperatures in the higher regions of Mount Elgon and the Ruwenzori Range can drop well below freezing.
January remains peak tourist season in Uganda. It’s largely dry throughout the country, with temperatures hovering around the high 60s and 80s. The reduced rainfall means its a good time to head for the safaris and gorilla spotting!
- Trek through the forests of Bwindi, home to more than half of the world’s population of the highly endangered mountain gorilla
- Make the most of the dry conditions and hike to Mt Elgon
Expect the warm and dry conditions to prevail for most of the month with daytime temperatures averaging in the high 60s. Towards the month though, the rains start to set in as the wet season beckons.
- This is one of the best times to go chimpanzee tracking in the lush tropical rainforest of Kibale National Park, home to more than 1,000 chimpanzees
- Head to the bird paradise of Semliki before the rains set in and try and spot the 40 Congolese bird species that are only found here!
This is the start of the long, wet season in Uganda. But you can expect periods of sunlight after the bouts of rain! This is possibly the last month to view the migratory birds in the wild before the leave the region.
- Make a trip to the Semliki Wildlife Reserve, one of the best localities for sightings of the enigmatic, swamp-dwelling shoebill
April is possibly the wettest month in the country. Some parks may be closed and trekking will be difficult in those that are open, owing to the wet conditions.
- Savor the region’s traditional dance and music during a dinner-theatre performance by the Ndere Troupe at the Ndere Center in the capital city of Kampala
The wet conditions persist in May as well, so do factor that in when making your plans. But this is also the time the landscape is at its greenest, making for great photographic opportunities!
- Marvel at the majesty of the Nile at Murchison Falls, whose banks are thronged with hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes, elephants and more!
With the rainfall abating, June marks the start of the high season in Uganda, especially in the south of the country. Expect daytime temperatures to average in the mid-60s.
- See the volcanoes of Uganda as you climb up the Virungas
Largely dry conditions make this one of the best times for gorilla tracking and wildlife safaris – the national parks beckon! But high season means you will have to book well in advance!
- Head to Uganda’s most popular wildlife reserve, Queen Elizabeth National Park for boat safaris and chimpanzee tracking
- Encounter elephants, hippos, antelopes and baboons during your classic game drives at Queen Elizabeth Park
- Witness the lions in Ishasha
The high season continues through this month, making it again one of the best times to visit Uganda – wildlife sightings are great and temperatures average around 77°F.
- Trek through the largely flat-terrain of Budongo Forest, characterized by its biodiversity
- Walk through the botanical gardens of Entebbe
- If you want a break from the wildlife, head to Bujagali for a range of adventurous activities
This is the last month of the dry season, but keep your rain gear handy as you could witness sudden bursts of sharp rainfall! Temperatures hover in the mid-60s and this is the time the crowds start thinning out.
- Head to the far northeast, to the remote, Kidepo Valley National Park replete with dry-country species
The rains usually set in around this time so be prepared for muddy and wet conditions should you choose to head for a safari during this time!
- Take a break at Lake Albert with a range of relaxing activities
This is among the wettest times in the country. Spotting wildlife may not be the easiest around this time and conditions will be especially wet and muddy underfoot.
- Given the unpredictable weather, plan a trip to Bulgao Island and relax on its beautiful beach
With the rain abating and conditions become drier, wildlife sightings become easier, making this a fairly popular time to visit Uganda, especially around Christmas and New Year’s!
- Explore the beauteous ‘Mountains of the Moon’
- This is the time the migratory birds return to Uganda, so head to Lake Mburo and try and spot the highly secretive African finfoot
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Best time to visit Uganda by season
In most regions of Uganda, you can expect an average of 1,000 to 2,000 millimeters of rainfall, but the rainy season and its duration may vary within the different regions. In general, it can be said that long rains occur from April to June and shorter rainfall can be expected between October and December. During this time it seldom rains all day and brief, strong showers are followed by mostly sunny weather. In the Lake Victoria basin, higher humidity with showers almost all year round can be expected due to the high water evaporation of up to 75-80%. Humidity is significantly lower in the remaining part of the country. The dry season lasts from June to October and from December to March.
Note the seasons for when planning your Uganda trip:
Long wet season: April – June
Short rainy season: October – December
Drying time: June – October, December – March.
What to Pack
Safari wear should be comfortable and casual. Evenings and early mornings can be chilly so warm sweaters are recommended. Flat, comfortable sports or trekking shoes are most suitable for walking should you intend to join any walking safaris. We recommend you bring warm clothes, including a fleece or a light woolen sweater and socks, apart from typical safari gear. During the day it can get quite hot, so don’t forget your sunglasses and a high SPF sunscreen, as well as a sun hat with a small brim. Some specialist trips, i.e. mountain climbing, require extra items of clothing and footwear. Many hotels, lodges and camps have swimming pools so you are advised to bring swimsuits. Due to limited space in the vehicle and in light aircraft, we advise you to keep your luggage to the minimum. We suggest you pack your luggage into a small bag of no more than 15 kgs – the luggage limit for local flights issued by the airlines. Almost all safari lodges and camps provide same-day laundry service.
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The lush tropical rainforest of Kibale National Park has one of the highest diversity and density of primates in Africa, totalling 13 species including more than 1,000 chimpanzees and so…
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