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By African standards Uganda is a relatively small country located in the heart of the continent. Sandwiched between Kenya, Rwanda, Congo, Sudan and Tanzania, it is roughly the size of Great Britain. Nicknamed the ’Pearl of Africa’ by Winston Churchill, Uganda’s attractions are truly dramatic. It is most well known as a last haven for the great apes and one of the world’s finest birding destinations.
Uganda offers a fascinating mosaic of landscapes from thick forests to plains studded with crater lakes, to verdant mountains and valleys. What also sets Uganda apart is the range of activities that visitors can participate in besides traditional vehicle-based game drives. Bush walks, game boat cruises on the Nile River and Lakes Albert and Edward, night game drives, gorilla trekking and world class white water rafting are just a few.
One of Uganda’s most outstanding features is its forests, lakes and mountains. Most of the country is high above sea level and it is watched over by three mountainous areas - the Rwenzoris, Mount Elgon and the Virunga volcanoes.
Uganda has a number of national parks and game reserves. The rain forests of Mgahinga and Bwindi are the natural habitat of some of the last surviving mountain gorillas in the world, and the Kibale Forest contains the highest density per square mile of primates in the world, including the infamous chimpanzees. Queen Elizabeth National Park, with its wide-open plains, gigantic lakes and ancient volcanic craters offers visitors a chance to see a full spectrum of African game. The bird life is also profuse with over 520 bird species recorded here.
Murchison Falls National Park, bisected by the mighty Nile, offers the chance to see the rare and enigmatic Shoebill Stork and game cruises by boat are rewarded with sightings of giant Nile crocodile, hippo, and a host of plains game that come down to the water’s edge to drink. To crown it all are the Murchison Falls - a location where the entire river is forced through a gap in the rock only six metres wide.
WHEN TO GO
Uganda has a pleasant tropical climate, with little year round fluctuation in temperatures which range from a maximum of 25C to 30C during the day and a minimum of 12C to 18C at night
Bird watching is good all year round with a large variety of resident species found throughout the country. These are also supplemented by a large number of migrants between November and April.