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Mountain Gorilla, Bwindi, Uganda

Uganda Holidays

If wildlife is your thing, Uganda is the ideal place to meet mountain gorillas, encounter Rothschild’s giraffes and spy on tree-climbing lions.

Congolese rainforest meets eastern savannah with dramatic effect. Troops of chimpanzees swing through the vines of Kibale and mountain gorilla families shelter within Bwindi’s dense forests.

Although renowned for its iconic primates, Uganda possesses a remarkable diversity of wildlife. Lions climb the trees of Queen Elizabeth National Park, shoebills shelter beside Murchison Falls and Rothschild’s giraffes roam the Kidepo Valley.

Young lion in a tree, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda
Lion, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda
Beautiful butterfly Blue Pansy, Junonia oenone green leaf, Uganda, Africa
Kibale, Uganda
Great Blue Turaco, Uganda
Great blue turaco, Uganda

Safari highlights of Uganda

  • Find tree-climbing lions snoozing on the branches of shady fig trees
  • Spot hippos and crocodiles basking in the waters of the Kazinga Channel
  • Encounter elephants and forest buffalos in the wild Semliki Valley
Kibale National Park, Uganda
Kibale National Park, Uganda
Monkey, Ndali Lodge, Kibale
Kibale, Uganda
Chimp, Kibale, Uganda
Gorilla Hand Close Up, Bwindi Forest, Uganda

Highlights of a primates experiences in Uganda

  • Trek in search of the mountain gorilla families of Bwindi
  • Spot red colobus, L’Hoest’s and numerous other monkey species
  • Track troops of chimps in Kibale Forest and Kyamburu Gorge
Gorilla family in wild, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
Mountain gorillas, Bwindi Impenetrable National Par, Uganda

Highlights of a Uganda holiday

  • Fly in and out of Bwindi by light aircraft for two back-to-back gorilla treks.
  • Catch tiger fish and Nile perch – some of the largest fish on the continent – staying on the banks of the Nile River.
  • Combine gorilla trekking in Bwindi with time spent in Kenya. Encounter mountain gorillas, before searching for predators and plains game in the Masai Mara.
  • Stay at Apoka Lodge in Kidepo; experience some of the most dramatic scenery in East Africa, in one of the remotest lodges.
  • Trek for mountain gorillas in their two different habitats – the volcanoes of Rwanda and the forests of Uganda.
  • Search for shoebill storks amongst the lakes of Semliki. These rare and ancient birds stand tall amongst the wetlands – their favourite hunting grounds.

Explore Uganda

  • Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Kibale
  • Kidepo Valley National Park
  • Murchison Falls National Park
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park


A selection of activities and experiences you could consider including in your holiday to Uganda.

Gorilla Trekking

Trek in search of the mountain gorilla families of Bwindi.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Cruise the Kazinga Channel

Spot hippos and crocodiles basking in the waters of the Kazinga Channel.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Chimpanzee Trekking

Track troops of chimps in Kibale Forest and Kyamburu Gorge.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Murchison Falls

Visit the spectacular falls, with a walk up to the viewpoint at the top to fully appreciate their scale and power.

Suggested lodge

Shoebill Storks

Head out into the marshes and look for the elusive shoebill stork. This is one of the best places in Uganda to spot them.

Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Illona Cross

Born in a small South African town, I have always followed my passion for nature and discovery. After studying Nature Conservation in Pretoria, I was one of the first women to complete a very tough cadetship in the Natal Parks Board. It was here where I cut my teeth in African wildlife management.

Talk with our experts
  • 01285 880 980

Chris Johnston

25 years ago, my first trip to Africa took on a life of its own. I planned for three months, I stayed for two years. Whilst there, I was mistaken for a priest, attacked by sharks and arrested. Yet the countless, clattering journeys opened my eyes to the beauty of the landscapes and the grace of the people. My recent trips are undoubtedly more comfortable, but the welcome is as warm as ever and the best experiences are still those I never see coming.

Talk with our experts
  • 01285 880 980

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Communication was particularly good and helpful when flight changes occurred during trip, and we needed support through an unplanned connection city


Frequently asked questions about Uganda

How close to the gorillas do you get in Uganda?

The official rule is seven metres, designed to stop germs passing from humans to gorillas. But these are wild animals and like any wildlife, you should keep your distance. Sometimes, the gorillas will move around and, as they have not been told about the seven-metre rule, they can get much closer than this. Whilst this should not be encouraged, they are inquisitive animals, particularly the younger ones. Should they approach you, follow your guide’s instructions.

How fit do I have to be for Gorilla Trekking in Uganda?

Anyone can do the trek as long as they prepare for it beforehand. By its very nature, walking in a mountain rainforest, where paths are steep and muddy at altitudes in excess of 2,500 metres, is a challenge, but doing some light exercise prior to your holiday, (walks, jogging, swimming or any other cardiovascular activity) will allow you to enjoy the trip that much more.

The guides are also very good at setting the pace of the trek so that it is comfortable for everyone and the walk itself through the forest is part of the experience and not a route-march. The guide will be stopping en-route to point out things of interest, take on water and allow you to enjoy the view. Like anything, however, the more you prepare, the more you will enjoy it.

You will also be given the choice to hire porters before each trek, who are there to help carry bags and steady you as you go – they are brilliant. We are also here to help prepare you as much as possible, so if you have any concerns or questions, please call.

What advice would you give on photography in Uganda?

Uganda offers some wonderful photographic opportunities given the incredible diversity of scenery, people and wildlife found here. Starting with the primates, gorillas and chimpanzees are notoriously difficult to photograph as they are dark subject matters usually in shadow, so you will need to use a high ISO. A good zoom lens is essential – with a minimum of 300mm required, but more if looking to get some excellent close-ups. It is also important to remember that there is a lot of moisture in the forests, so you will need to keep your cameras dry as the lenses can fog up very quickly.

The camera should also be protected against the dustier parks, such as Queen Elizabeth National Park and Kidepo. Given the scenery in Uganda is so spectacular, from snow-capped mountains and active volcanoes to rolling savannah and dramatic mountain rainforests, it is worth considering taking a wide-angled lens.

The people in Uganda are also incredibly photogenic – markets are fantastic places to get some great shots. It is always nice to strike up a conversation with someone before even asking if you can take their picture. Not only is this polite, but will put them at ease and make for much more natural shots. Please do not be offended if they decline. Children are usually delighted to have their photograph take, but again, always ask first. Avoid any financial transactions for this, rather buy something from their stall. Finally, it is best not to take pictures of any military or government personnel of buildings.

What should I take when I go gorilla trekking in Uganda?

Contrary to many people’s opinion, gorilla trekking in Uganda is not hot and tropical. Bwindi Forest (where you trek) is a mountain rainforest so is therefore cool and damp, getting very cold in the early mornings and late evenings. As you begin your trek, you need to wrap up warm but as the trekking progresses, you will start to get hot, so it is best to have lots of light layers that can be taken off and put back on as required.

We also recommend strong walking boots or shoes, sturdy trousers, sunglasses, sun lotion (it is equatorial so whilst not hot, the sun can be intense), a sun hat, and waterproof jacket. It is also worth considering taking gardening gloves with you, as you will be pulling at and climbing over thick vegetation on the walks.

Some clients take energy bars/supplements with them, which can be eaten whilst walking to help keep their energy levels up. You will also be given a packed lunch (water, sandwiches, fruit) so you won’t go hungry.

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Mountain gorilla, Bwindi, Uganda
Bwindi, Uganda

Conservation Through Public Health

We support projects right across the planet. Explore below to see where and how we’re making a difference – in some cases, we can even arrange a visit as part of your tailor-made itinerary.

Village Health and Conservation Team (VHCT) volunteers work to protect gorillas by providing household-level health services to community members in Bwindi, Uganda. This includes information on hygiene, sanitation and, where necessary, medical referrals.

Read more about The Steppes Fund For Change

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise set us apart. So too our curiosity. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

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