Best Time of the yearcto Visit Uganda – When to travel to Uganda Guide and Tips
Uganda is a compelling destination known for the diverse cultures and hospitality of the people, varying landscapes and a wide range of wildlife species including the prominent critically endangered mountain gorillas. Tourists planning to visit Uganda for a safari usually ask themselves the question of “when is the best time to visit Uganda?”Uganda experiences a tropical climate with some places especially around Budongo forest and Bwindi Impenetrable forest experiencing equatorial climate. Due to the climate and location of Uganda to the equator, the country can be visited all year round for tourism. The presence of Lake Victoria with its unique weather patterns to the Climate also makes Uganda a suitable travel destination throughout the year.
Uganda experiences two (2) seasons that is the dry and wet seasons with rainfall ranging between 1000 millimeters and 2000 millimeters per annum, and average temperatures of about 21.5 Celsius degrees. These temperatures can however drop up to 12 Celsius degrees in the evening/night hours. There are two rainy seasons that is October to November where shorter rains are experienced and from mid-March to end of May where longer rains are experienced. There are also two dry seasons which include June to September and December to February. The drier months are considered the best for wildlife viewing because there is less or shorter vegetation ensuring visibility and animals also concentrate around water point which makes it easier to sight them.
However the changes in climate makes it difficult to predict the weather in Uganda, in that even when it is considered a rainy season, the sun can still shine and when it is considered a dry season it can rain cats and dogs then shine brightly thereafter. Whether rainy or dry seasons, no safari activities are cancelled but resume normally. For example even when it rains, gorilla tracking dates can never be cancelled or postponed because whether rainy or dry season the possibility of it raining is always high in Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks
There are seasons that are considered suitable for visiting Uganda for tourism. The dry seasons are considered the best time to visit Uganda for tourism be it gorilla tracking or any other wildlife safaris. Majority choose to travel to Uganda from June to September or from December to February because during these months, most destinations in Uganda are sunny and these months are the peak seasons. More still December (especially the last weeks) is usually the busiest of all the months because most tourists always travel for Christmas vacations in National Parks. It is therefore advisable to plan for accommodation in advance to avoid being letdown when most accommodation establishments are fully booked. Gorilla permits should also be booked 6 months in advance to enable tourists to participate in Gorilla trekking in the peak seasons.
The low season due to the rainy season is not preferred because the roads become impassable, gorilla trekking trails become muddy and slippery. The animals also tend to hide away during the rainy seasons and prefer seeking shelter in warmer and drier areas. Nonetheless, the low season is also a good option because there are fewer tourists hence the jungles (during gorilla tracking) become less crowded/congested and lodges are not fully booked or other lodges even reduce their rates, and there is plenty of food for the mountain gorillas meaning they can be easily sighted on the lower slopes without moving very far and also discounted gorilla permits are offered to tourists to encourage more tourists to travel during this season. A Gorilla permit which costs $600 is reduced to $450 during the low seasons.
Other activities like game viewing in the savanna National Parks are ideal in the dry seasons from December to February or in September and October because animals usually concentrate at water points due to the scarcity of water. For birding, it is carried out all year round but breeding mostly takes place in the wetter seasons making bird activity to be higher in this particular season. For the case of the Migratory bird species like the flamingos, they can be seen during the months of November to April.
In conclusion, Uganda can be visited all year round but the dry season is the best time to visit Uganda for gorilla trekking or other wildlife safaris to National Parks for a memorable experience, unlike the rainy seasons where the paths leading to the parks are impassable, gorilla tracking trails are muddy and slippery, but the rainy season does not mean that tourists should not visit Uganda. They can visit but are recommended to use 4WD vehicles that can go through the muddy roads.