Connect With Uganda's Unique Wildlife Through Hands-on Immersive Experiences

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Travelers can take part in research and give back while visiting The Pearl of Africa

With more than 340 mammal species of all sizes, from endangered mountain gorillas to tree climbing lions, Uganda is a unique destination offering a diverse range of wildlife activities that bring travelers face to face with some of the most majestic animals on the planet. A number of organizations have curated exclusive wildlife encounters where visitors can tag along with researchers and conservationists, or accompany experts into the bush.

Ideal for those seeking hands-on encounters with the country’s wildlife from a scientific point of view, the Uganda Tourism Board invites travelers to experience these immersive adventures:

For the adventure of a lifetime, primate lovers can go beyond the traditional gorilla trek with an all-day habituation experience only offered in the Rushaga Area of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. During this one-of-a-kind experience introduced in 2016, travelers join researchers, trackers, rangers, and conservationists to locate and spend time with a gorilla family that is being trained to get used to human presence, a process that takes about two years. Setting this four-hour experience apart from the conventional trek is its intensity, as groups follow gorillas through the lush rainforest, and its intimate set-up, as groups are limited to four visitors. Traditional gorilla trekking allows up to eight visitors in each group who spend one hour with the gorilla family once it is located. Permits for the gorilla habituation experience are US$1,500 per person and should be reserved in advance by emailing the Uganda Wildlife Authority at info(at) or through qualified tour operators and travel agents. Regular gorilla trekking permits are US $450 per person in April, May, and November and US $600 per person all other months. They can be booked in the same manner as the habituation experience.

Travelers can channel their inner Jane Goodall by spending a full day with chimps in their natural habitat while helping Uganda Wildlife Authority rangers habituate them for human observation. Similar to the gorilla habituation experience, small groups of no more than four guests and a ranger take chimpanzee trekking up a notch, spending all day in the forests of Kibale National Park and Budongo Forest in Murchison Falls National Park. Groups arrive as the chimps awake from their nests at dawn, follow these fast moving primates throughout the forest, and end the day as these primates build their new nests for the next day. The habituation experience is best in March, April, May, and November when fewer tourists are in the parks. Permits for the chimpanzee habituation experience are US$200 per person and should be reserved in advance by emailing the Uganda Wildlife Authority at info(at) or through qualified tour operators and travel agents. Regular chimp trekking permits are US $100 per person in April, May, and November and US $150 per person all other months. They can be booked in the same manner as the habituation experience.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of Uganda’s three national parks where Africa’s big cats can be found roaming the savanna. However, as the human populations surrounding the national parks continue to increase, the country’s lion population has been jeopardized by human-wildlife conflict due to agricultural encroachment. The Uganda Carnivore Program is one organization dedicated to the monitoring, research, and conservation of these predators. Travelers interested in learning more about their work can take part in a predator tracking providing an up-close look at Uganda’s majestic lions while directly supporting conservation efforts. During the early morning safari, participants will locate lions off the beaten path with an experienced predator tracking research team led by wildlife veterinarian Dr. Ludwig Siefert. The lion tracking safari is US$50 per person payable to the Uganda Wildlife Authority. A US$10 donation is also requested per participant and will directly support community conservation in the area surrounding the park. The lion tracking safari can be booked in Queen Elizabeth National Park at the Uganda Wildlife Authority visitors centers on Mweya Peninsula and Queen’s Pavilion or through qualified tour operators and travel agents.

Many of Uganda’s chimps call the forests home, but those who are not part of a family in the wild receive extra TLC at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary. Located off the shore of Entebbe in Lake Victoria, Ngamba Island is home to more than 40 orphaned chimpanzees rescued from areas throughout Uganda. Participants experience what it is like to be a caregiver as they take part in two feedings and assist staff with everything from medical checkups, to research and monitoring, preparing holding areas, and more. Not only does this full-day experience bring visitors up close and personal with these playful primates, but it also provides the opportunity to engage in chimp conservation as proceeds support their continued care. The Caregiver For a Day Experience is US$100 per person and takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reservations can be made by emailing reservations(at) or through qualified tour operators and travel agents.

Editor Note: High-res images can be downloaded here.

Known as the “Pearl of Africa,” Uganda is located in East Africa and offers some of the continent’s most diverse wildlife viewing, dramatic landscapes, and immersive cultural experiences. Uganda is home to more than half the world’s population of endangered mountain gorillas, and trekking to observe these gentle giants in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is one of the world’s top “bucket list” travel activities. Safari opportunities abound in savanna, forest, and wetland settings throughout 10 national parks, where visitors can come face to face with “The Big Five” – lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo – as well as giraffe, zebra, chimpanzee, hippopotamus, crocodile, and more than half of all bird species found in Africa. Among Uganda’s extraordinary natural attractions are the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains; expansive Lake Victoria, which forms the source of the Nile River; and Murchison Falls National Park. Air service to Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport is available on carriers including KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Qatar Airways, Emirates Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Etihad Airways, South African Airways, EgyptAir and Ethiopian Airlines. For more information, please visit

Media Contact:
Ashley Norman
PHG Consulting

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PHG Consulting
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