Family safari in Uganda

enter image description here Credit: Steven Dieveney

Uganda is a wonderful choice for a family safari holiday, offering some of the most memorable wildlife experiences on the continent, game drives in national parks without the crowds, island and lakeside beaches to while away relaxing days and more outdoors activities than you can shake a GoPro stick at.

For a family holiday in Uganda, Western Uganda is the top region to visit: home to most of the country’s national parks, reserves and natural attractions, it offers spectacular wildlife, astonishing landscapes to explore and lots of outdoors activities. For families with older children, mountain gorilla and chimpanzee trekking are two top highlights, while children of all ages can enjoy wildlife spotting in the most popular national parks of the region – Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls – and guided nature walks to spot birds and monkeys in the region’s beautiful rainforests, such as in Budongo Forest Reserve.

Central Uganda also has some wonderful attractions for families: children above the age of six can track rhinos on foot and go in search of shoebill storks in canoes at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, and for children who are under the age of 15 and can’t go chimp trekking, a visit to Ngamba Island chimpanzee sanctuary is a great alternative. Scattered in Lake Victoria, the Ssese Islands also make for a relaxing beach destination with some fun activities, such as wind surfing and fishing.

For active families, Eastern Uganda is home to the adrenaline capital of East Africa, Jinja, which lies at the source of the Nile River. For children above the age of eight, white-water rafting is a heart-pumping adventure and there’s plenty more fun to be had on the river, including boat cruises, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking. Then on land there’s bungee-jumping, horse-back riding, quad biking and mountain biking – more than enough to keep even the most energetic of children entertained for a few days.

Highlights

Highlights for families travelling in Uganda include wonderful wildlife encounters – tracking mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, rhinos and shoebill storks and seeing rescued chimps on Ngamba Island, exploring the savanna and rivers of Queen Elizabeth National Park and Murchison Falls National Park to see lions, elephant, giraffe, leopards and hippos, experiencing and learning about the amazing primates, birds and butterflies of Western Uganda’s biodiverse rainforest on guided walks and exciting activities, from windsurfing in the Ssese Island archipelago to white-water rafting on the Nile River.

Travel tips

  • Tracking mountain gorillas is a big reason why people travel to Uganda and it’s a wonderful activity to do as a family, but note that there is a minimum age limit of 15 for gorilla safaris (the same age limit applies for chimp trekking). Many other safari and wildlife activities also have an age limit – for example, rhino trekking at Ziwa is only for children above six.

  • Uganda’s roads are mostly unpaved and rough, which means that travelling by car between destinations can take a lot longer than you would expect, given the distance. If you’re self-driving or hiring a driver to travel around Uganda with your family, it makes sense to limit your itinerary to fewer places, spending more time in each destination, rather than trying to see all of the highlights on one trip.

  • There’s a risk of contracting several mosquito-borne diseases in Uganda. Malaria is the biggest risk, and children are particularly susceptible to catching severe and fatal malaria. It’s essential that you consult your doctor before travelling about taking antimalarial medication for your children, and that while you’re travelling you try to prevent them getting bitten by wearing suitable clothing, insect repellent and sleeping under mosquito nets.

  • Before you book any lodging, check up on the minimum age policies of lodges, as many of them won’t accept children under a certain age (and some don’t allow any children). Some lodges have a policy of only allowing children on game drives if you book a private vehicle and guide. Some lodges, however, are particularly child-friendly, offering family rooms and things like children’s menus and guided nature walks for kids, so it’s worth doing research on the best lodges for families before your trip.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)

day 1

Entebbe, arrival
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)

day 2

Semliki, a birders paradise
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)

day 3

Semliki, focus on Shoebill

day 4

day 5

to Kibale for some Chimps
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)

day 6

Kyambura Gorge, Queen
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)

day 7

Ishasha, Queen's wild side
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)

day 8

Bwindi and more forest birds
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)
  • Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)

day 9

Gorillas while you there

day 10

day 11

Fly Home

View Full Itinerary

You might also like

Central Uganda

Uganda’s central region is where most travellers will begin and end their journeys, flying in and out of the country’s only international airport in the town of Entebbe. The region has less to offer in the way of national parks and blockbuster wildlife than Western Uganda, but it is home to the buzzing capital of Kampala, a large expanse of beautiful Lake Victoria and its forested…

Western Uganda

Encompassing the vast majority of the country’s parks and reserves, Western Uganda dazzles with its blockbuster wildlife, excellent birding and astonishing landscapes and natural attractions, making it the most popular region with travellers. Bwindi Lodge In the southwest corner of the region, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to the majority of Uganda’s mountain…

Holiday destinations in Uganda

For many travellers to Uganda, seeing mountain gorillas in the lush rainforests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in the southwestern corner of the country is their top priority – an unforgettable wildlife experience. Chimpanzee trekking is another popular wildlife activity, and there are several places where you can go in search of our ape cousins, with Kibale Forest National Park…

Food and tipping in Uganda

Tipping in Uganda is not obligatory but many travellers do leave tips – and this extra money really helps boost the income of people working in the tourism industry. For restaurants, you can tip 10% for good service, and if you want to tip a taxi driver, then you can round up your fare. It’s usual to tip drivers, safari and gorilla tracking guides and porters at the end of a safari…

Shopping in Uganda

Kampala, Entebbe and Jinja have the best selection of arts, crafts, curio shops and markets. In Kampala, Exposure Africa is the largest craft “village” in the city where you’ll find everything from drums and wooden carvings (go for carvings made from renewable woods rather than indigenous hardwoods) to sandals, baskets and jewellery, while the Friday craft market on Ggaba Road is a…

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park, the second largest and most biodiverse park in Uganda, is the country’s most popular safari destination. Located in western Uganda close to the Rwenzori Mountains, the park encompasses a huge array of different landscapes, including wetlands, swamps and crater lakes, tropical forests, woodland and open savannah, which support a diverse range of wildlife,…

Popular Uganda Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

 | Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)

Birding Tour through Uganda (11 days)

This is a safari for the serious birder wanting to see exciting new bird species, as well as chimpanzees and mountain gorillas...

Chimpanzee | Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

Meet the Primates of Uganda and Rwanda (12 days)

See mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, golden monkeys and tree-climbing lions, take a boat cruise and visit Rwanda's genocide memorial ...

Ready to start your adventure?

+27 (0)21 422 3498
   discover.africa
    info@discoverafrica.com
    Mon - Fri: 8AM - 9PM GMT+2