Why We Chose Uganda for Our African Safari

I’m not sure where the inspiration actually came from to vacation in Uganda, only that when I found it- I knew it was right. I was first captured by the prospect of the African Safari, the gem of many bucket lists, but when I started reading itineraries and found chimpanzees and gorillas were on the docket, I knew we had to go. I am so glad I followed my gut on choosing Uganda. Not only was Uganda unbelievably beautiful, we also found some of the nicest people we’ve ever met while traveling. Some of the people we met, we still keep in contact with! I hope we are able to get back sooner rather than later. If you’re considering Uganda for your African safari, look no further! Here are some of those highlights and some things to think about when planning your own safari.

Why Uganda

There are quite a few African countries that offer safari tours. The most popular ones are probably Kenya and South Africa but with popularity comes crowds. I’ve heard that in some places you can be with lines of jeeps in certain parks and game drives. We absolutely loved Uganda and it’s not over crowded with tourists. We were able to see the Big 5 (Water Buffalo, Lions, Leopards, Elephants and Hippos) and MUCH more. We saw Crocodiles, Hyenas, Waterhogs, Baboons, multiple types of monkeys, Zebras, etc. And what’s special about Uganda is its the primate capital of the world. Beyond the game drives, we were able to go on treks through the forest to see Chimpanzees and Gorillas in their natural habitat. Words can’t describe what it’s like to be up close and personal with a family of gorillas. You can only do Gorilla tracking in Uganda and Rwanda as those are the only places mountain gorillas call home. Tracking in Rwanda is much more expensive and you won’t get to experience as much diversity in the trip as in Uganda. In Uganda we experience savannas, rainforests and mountains. It felt like every couple of days we went to a new ecosystem entirely. 

Our Tour Company- Primate World Safaris

Your relationship with your tour guide, and company, can make or break an African safari. Honestly, I stumbled upon Primate World Safaris on a responsible travel website and after doing some research on the company, they seemed like a great choice. I could not have chosen a better company to experience Uganda with. Jackson and his team have thought of every aspect of a beautiful and immersive vacation. We had the itinerary so we knew what to expect on most days but our guide George (who is like family now!) quickly personalized our trip on the go. We stopped at tea plantations, did extra game drives, visited the source of the Nile and even a local brewery- none of which was on the original itinerary. He just knew that these are the types of experiences we wanted and he made them happen (oh, and we didn’t miss one pre-planned itinerary experience either!). I loved Primate World Safaris so much that I am currently building a portion of my travel agency business around sending groups and individuals their way. 

The Package Details

Most, if not all, African safaris are an all inclusive package. They include everything from the activity fees, to lodging and food. While African safaris aren’t cheap in general, some can come off as much less expensive than others. It’s important to read closely to what you’re getting. I recently came across a 15 day safari that spanned 4 or 5 different countries for only a couple thousand dollars per person. That seemed like an amazing deal until I looked closer and realized that it was all camping and almost no food was included. Those aren’t bad things, but if you weren’t expecting that, it could definitely come as a shock. Bruce and I paid around $5,000 a person for 16 days in Uganda. All our food, activity fees (all the game drives, Chimp, Rhino and Gorilla tracking) and accommodations were included. Those things add up very quickly and while the exchange rate in Uganda is extremely favorable to most western countries, the fees are usually set for tourists, meaning they are priced similarly to other popular tourist destinations (like $20/per person for national park entrance). 

I would suggest at least 8 days for an African safari. Although there are shorter trips, we think that you need at least 8 days to acclimate to the time changes so you can take it all in during your trip. If it’s in the budget, I would strive to do a 10 day safari. That will give you more opportunities to visit different parts of the country and really see how beautiful Uganda is. Like I mentioned, we did 16 days and still wanted more! You definitely won’t be board on this trip, no matter how many days you’re there. 


Our accommodations on this trip were absolutely beautiful. Each one had its own unique personality and fit the locations so well. We were in the mid-tier of their accommodations so there were even nicer places and some that were on a less expensive tier as well. I would recommend the mid-tier to almost anyone. 

**All photos below were taken off different balconies we had at our accommodations**


The food was also great on this tour. I have a generally sensitive stomach and I didn’t have any issues the entire time I was in Uganda. Our guide took us to places he personally liked or that were in the lodges and all the food was great. Some lodges had multiple course meals and some were buffets, like I said, each one had its own unique personality. Our favorite food was actually the buffet in one of the safari lodges. It had such a good, homemade flavor that the fancier lodges just couldn’t compete with (in our opinion!). 

Responsible Travel

Its important to vet your company and make sure that they engage in responsible travel practices. Uganda (and many other African countries) have fragile ecosystems that over-tourism could easily destroy. Not only that, it’s important that the locals are not being exploited by the lodges or tour companies. Our company only partnered with lodges and activities where they protected the local environment and supported the communities around them.  

The Itinerary

Our itinerary was jam-packed with activities. While we love that type of travel, if you aren’t used to it, it could be overwhelming. Everyday we had multiple things planned and only one day did we have more than an hour or two of downtime. We know that George planned it that way because he knew we were excited and wanted to take it all in. I’m sure he would adjust if he felt it was too much for the guests but George is also an exceptional guide. When choosing an itinerary, make sure to read through each part and imagine what that would actually look like in a day. Here are some examples of things we did (that were apart of the original itinerary!):

  • White River Rafting in the Nile River (Class 5 rapids)
  • Rhino Tracking on Foot 
  • Chimp Tracking on Foot (3-4 hours of hiking)
  • Community Tour in Kibale (another 3-4 hours of walking and this was the same day as the chimp tracking)
  • Crater Lakes hike and community tour 
  • Visiting Markets 
  • Visiting the Salt Lakes in Queen Elizabeth 
  • Around a dozen game drives (and those paths are BUMPY, it will wear you out just being in the car for a few hours on those roads)
  • Gorilla tracking (can be 3-6 hours of hiking in dense forest) 
  • Community Tour in Bwindi 
  • 5 or so boat rides

And that’s just a sampling! 

Overall our trip to Uganda was incredible. There was nothing we would have changed about our experience (except we wish we could stay longer!) and we can’t wait to go back.

Are you looking to do your own safari? What questions do you have- leave them down below!

Meet the Bargers

Bruce and Shelly are a 30-something couple always on the lookout for cheap eats, wildlife sightings and a good brewery. They started traveling together ten years ago and haven't looked back. They travel internationally at least three times a year and have been to 42 states, all while holding those pesky 9-5 jobs. They hope you can take these travel tips and live the life you've only dreamed about!

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