How to Plan your African Dream Safari – Step by Step Advice
Practical Advice and Tips that help you to plan the perfect African Safari in Uganda
That African Dream Safari is on almost everyone’s bucket list. Any Safari, including the one that you are considering, takes planning. Here you find practical Advice on “How to plan the perfect African Safari, a step-by-step guide to an ideal African Holiday that suits you.
An African differs from visiting Europe, the UK, Ireland, or most places in the US or Canada. Most African Safaris take place in the wilderness and not in towns such as New York, London, Berlin, Paris, or Rome. An African Safaris focuses not on visiting Cathedrals, Museums, or Time Square in NYC but wildlife, primates, and exotic birds.
Unlike other parts of the world where you will find superhighways, expressways, and Autobahns, here in Africa, roads in the wilderness are like the ancient elephant paths.
An African Safari is about Places in the wild, surrounded by wild animals, near primates, and colorful birds.
Safari Planning is like the discovery phase of your Safari. For many, a fun time to get to know before you go and embark on your Safari, a Swahili word that means “Journey.” A Safari, for most, will be an inner and outer journey of discovery.
There are some crucial points to consider to planning your Safari. It would be best if you determined where to go, how long, what to pack, and the budget for your Safari. Today, we will tell you where to start and how to plan the perfect African Safari.
Plan the perfect African Safari-A Step by Step Guide to Safari Planning
1. Which Country should I visit for my African Safari?
Africa is a vast continent made up of 54 nations. Safaris occur in Sub-Saharan Africa, where there are nine Wildlife Safari Destinations: South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, and Rwanda.
Four Safari Destinations are in the southern area of the African Continent, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia. While Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda are in East Africa.
Not knowing about the African continent’s vastness, some think they can visit South Africa, Tanzania, and Kenya plus Uganda or Rwanda.
The cost and hassles of African air travel and visa costs will considerably drive up the cost of your African Dream Safari. Most African Travel would advise focusing on One Country, which is especially true for first-time African Travelers.
Which Country should I visit for my African Safari?
Consider Uganda – It is the Pearl of Africa. The first explorers became enamored with Uganda and wrote about it glowingly. Lonely Planet thinks Uganda is Africa Condensed into a small country the size of the US State of Oregon.
Uganda is one of the most bio-diverse counties globally, filled with various scenic wonders, abundant wildlife, and the most Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees in East Africa. Here you can see the Big-5 plus track Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees.
Uganda is Africa as you imagine it but only better. Here you can still take a safari without the crowds. Consider Uganda, the Pearl of Africa.
2. Decide what Season to go on Safari in Uganda:
Uganda, because of the Rwenzori Mountains, the Great Lakes such as Lake Albert and Lake Victoria offer you a temperate climate with Holiday Weather all year long. The best to visit Uganda months can be broken down into High Seasons, the dry season, and low Seasons, which are the rainy seasons.
The Time of year is a key to a successful Safari in Africa. Two main seasons will affect your safari planning, dry and rainy. During the dry season, rainfall is rare except in Uganda’s Rainforests. The air is dry, and temperatures vary widely between hot and cold. Savannah vegetation will be sparse, and animals must fight for survival.
While the heat during the day may make your Safari uncomfortable, it’s important to remember that this is the Best Time of the year to spot wildlife. With little water, animals concentrate around riverbeds, lakes, and watering holes, giving you more chances to see wildlife readily.
It is easier to spot wildlife during the dry season since there is less foliage on the trees and bushes. However, temperatures will rise in Savannah Parks to above 30°Celsius, and Kidepo Valley Park will be hotter during its dry season.
On the other hand, the rainy season will be cooler, and the landscape will be green and lush. The rainy season is usually the off-season or shoulder season for safaris. It is much harder to spot game as the animals now have a surplus of water and don’t have to travel to riverbeds and waterholes to drink.
The rainy season is also when the state of the roads degrades. However, if you time it right with the shoulder season, you can find fewer crowds and lower prices because luxury lodges reduce their rates.
Month by Month – High Seasons are the Dry Seasons of the Year
The busiest seasons of the year are from Mid-June to September. October is the shoulder season’s transition month, moving toward the rainy season. September and October have fewer tourists.
The Other High-and Dry Season is from mid-December to March, and March is the transition or shoulder season month.
Low Seasons – Rainy Seasons of the Year
April to Mid-June is part of the rainy season. Luxury Lodges lower their rates during those times, but dates vary lodge by lodge. The benefits for some are fewer people, and the Savannah parks begin to bloom afresh.
November into Mid-December is the other rainy season. Rainy Season in Uganda does not mean Monsoon like the weather. Most rain falls at night, and the sun still comes out, but the trails are muddy.
Gorilla Trekking and Chimpanzee Trekking take place in Rainforests. There it can rain anytime. However, most rain falls at night or during the early pre-dawn morning hours.
Safaris occur all the year, and Safari-Goers always have an extraordinary time.
3. What do you want to see and do on your African Safari?
Here are some of the Things to do and See – Activities that can be part of your Safari in Uganda
- Gorilla Trekking: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – Mgahinga Gorilla Park – Gorilla Habituation Experience – 4 hours with a Gorilla Family – 4 permits only
- Chimpanzee Trekking: Kibale Forest, Kalinzu Forest, Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth Park, Semliki Park. The best park for Chimpanzee Trekking is in Kibale Forest, where 12 other primates reside.
- Nocturnal walk in Kibale Rainforest: An out-of-the-ordinary experience where you encounter the rainforest creatures of the night.
- Golden Monkey Trekking: The Golden Monkey is a beautiful, endangered monkey. They live in the Bamboo Forest of the Virunga Volcanoes in Mgahinga Gorilla Park.
- Savannah Wildlife: Kidepo Valley Park, Murchison Falls Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, Semliki Park, Kabwoya and Pan Upe Wildlife Reserves, Lake Mburo Park.
- Hot Air Balloon Safari: Take place at dawn in Murchison Falls Park, the largest and most popular Savannah Park in Uganda. A traditional Sparkling Wine Bush Breakfast follows the Hot Air Balloon Safari.
- Hiking – Climbing: Mgahinga Gorilla Park Volcanoes, Bwindi Impenetrable in and near Queen Elizabeth Forest, the Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon, including the Foothills, Mount Elgon, Kidepo Valley, Lake Mburo Park, Semliki Park, Kibale Forest.
- Off-the-Beaten-Path Locations in Uganda: Uganda without the Crowds
- Authentic Africa: You can still find it in Uganda, in places like Kidepo Valley Park, Africa, as it was 50 years ago.
- Nile Adrenaline Pumping Adventures in Jinja: White Water Rafting, Kayaking, mild to wild.
- Birding: Uganda is the best destination for birders in Africa.
- Cultural Encounters in Uganda include Time with the Batwa, Karimojong, and Ik Peoples.
- Relax and Chill out: At the end of the Safari, spend a couple of days on the Tropical Sandy beach Ssese Islands. Bulago Island’s Pineapple Beach resort is the perfect spot.
4. How many Days will I need for my African Safari?
The number of days depends on the activities that you choose. A 3-day Gorilla Trekking Safari is like dipping your toes into a swimming pool and calling it swimming. Ten days or longer allow you to immerse yourself in Safari Life and give you various activities and places.
Below are some examples of safaris for you to consider. All safaris are changeable to your liking.
- 3-Day Gorilla trekking or Habituation Safari: Three days is the minimum Time for a Gorilla Trekking or Habituation Experience Safari.
- 5-DAy Gorilla Wildlife Safari: The Safari includes Gorilla Trekking and wildlife, including the Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha.
- 5 Day Gorilla – Chimpanzee Trekking Safari: Trek Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Chimpanzees in Kibale Forest.
- 8-Day Gorilla Trekking – Hiking – Dugout Canoeing – Volcano Climbing Safari: Trek Gorillas in the Buhoma region of Bwindi Forest. Hike through the forest to the southern area. There you trek gorillas again. Hike to Lake Mutanda. Climb a Volcano in Mgahinga Gorilla Park.
- 8-Day Gorilla Trekking – Wildlife – Chimpanzee Trekking Safari: Gorilla Trekking or Habituation Experience in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
- 12-Day Gorilla – Chimpanzee – Wildlife Safari: A safari includes Gorilla – Chimpanzee Trekking, Queen Elizabeth Park, Murchison Falls Park, and Rhino Trekking.
- 14-Day Gorilla – Chimpanzee Wildlife – White Water Rafting on the Nile: The Safari includes Gorilla – Chimpanzee Trekking, Queen Elizabeth Park, Murchison Falls Park, Rhino Trekking, and Jinja on the Nile with White Water Rafting.
- 20-Day Gorilla – Chimpanzee- Wildlife – Jinja on the Nile – Mount Elgon-Sipi Falls – and the remote Kidepo Valley Park: This Safari takes in most of Uganda.
The above suggested Safari types gave you the number of days required to incorporate various activities into your Safari.
Decide on a Budget for your Gorilla Safari in Uganda
Setting a budget is not an easy task unless you have been blessed in life and have abundance. If you want to maximize your African Experience and, at the same time, stay on budget, you need to set how much you are willing to spend for the Safari alone. The flight to and from Uganda is not included in the Safari Price, so you must add that to your African trip’s overall cost. Of course, fares vary depending on your place of departure and travel dates.
The Cost of your Safari is determined by the activities you include and the type of lodges you wish to stay in. Based on our tour operator experience, we suggest you use midrange or luxury lodges and hotels for a more satisfactory and meaningful African safari experience.
Your Safari Cost comes down to the Following Factors:
- Type of accommodation that you will use: Quality Midrange or Luxury Lodge.
- The level of service you would like: Luxury and Exclusive Lodges offer the best assistance with highly trained and competent staff. Exclusive Lodges will provide world-class service, including a private butler and house cleaner.
- Quality of Meal: Luxury and exclusive will serve restaurant-style meals. Some exclusive Lodges have their kitchen staff trained by renowned international chefs at exclusive Lodges. The rate of the meals will exceed some of the restaurants in Kampala. Midrange serves tasty and sumptuous meals. Many meals will be European, Asian, and African fusion meals. Dietary needs can be met, including Halal, Vegan, Vegetarian, and Gluten-Free. Certified Kosher meals are not possible; however, kosher-friendly meals can readily be served.
- The quality of the Safari Tour: You want a full-service safari with an experienced driver-guide.
- Activities you choose: Gorilla Trekking Permits are $750, Chimpanzee Permits are $200, and Hot Air Balloon Rise is $380. Just three activities with costs that will increase the cost of your Safari.
Other Safari-related expenses:
- Tips and Gratuities on Safari: See our tipping page for more information.
- Drinks such as Sodas and Alcoholic Beverages: Some excluded include non-premium alcoholic beverages for their guests. You incur a bill for sodas and Beer, Wine, and Spirits at most lodges.
- Activities not included in the Itinerary: At rare times, safari-goers may consist of an activity not previously included in the Safari.
- Souvenirs-Gifts: Are not included in the price of the Safari.
- International Airfares, Visas, medical insurance, and comprehensive travel insurance.
- Vaccinations: Are not included in the Safari Price.
Uganda Gorilla Trekking is less than half the price of what it is in Rwanda:
Uganda is the premier primate destination in East Africa. Uganda has more Mountain Gorillas than any other East African Union country. It also has more permits, all without compromising on the Gorilla Trek. Additionally, lodging is lower in price than in Rwanda. This has led to the excellent gorilla Trekker Migration to safe and affordable Uganda.
6. Go on your Safari with a Local for the best African Safari Experience:
Most Visitors and Tourists know little about Uganda, and what they think they know about Uganda turns out to be wrong. Now you want to plan and implement your Safari without knowing the lay of the land.
You need to plan for the distances, Drive Times, Road Conditions, vehicles, lodges, hotels, and a driver. By now, you might be ready for a one-stop planning experience and book your Safari with us instead.
We are not confused, and we know the Country quite well. We live and work here, and Safaris are our Business. While on Safari with us, you are going with a local, and your Ugandan driver-guide knows things you will never find researching on the Internet.
You are the center of their attention when you go with a local tour operator on a private Safari. You cannot even get background information from Bradt’s Guide to Uganda.
For an enriching African Safari, Experience goes with a local tour operator. It will give you the lowest price and most information, and your driver-guide will not need a GPS device.
7, What should I pack for My trip to Uganda?
What you need to pack for your trip to Uganda depends on why you visit the Country. If you are coming on Business, we suggest that you dress more formally for a convention. Ugandans like to dress smart, especially in the capital city of Kampala.
If you are coming for a Safari, what you will pack will depend on the type of Safari you will be on.
Check with your airline as to luggage limitations from your Country. North Americans will have more generous luggage limitations than Europeans.
- Packing for a Safari: This page covers general safaris and gives you a packing list you can download.
- Gorilla Trekking Safari: Gorilla Trekking requires different clothing and gear, as does a Savannah Park Safari.
- Fly-In Safari: On a Flying Safari, you deal with weight restrictions of 15kg. You can have more luggage, but there is an excess charge.
As you can see, coming for a Safari, you will need to pack differently than coming as a volunteer or business visitor. Every visitor, while visiting Uganda, should make plans to spend a few days in the African Wild, even on a mini safari.
8. Booking your African Dream Safari:
The Booking Process with Kabiza Wilderness Safaris
Contact us and tell us what you would like to include in you Gorilla-Chimpanzee-Wildlife Safari. Let us know whether you would like a midrange or luxury Safari
Planning your Safari
With your input we create the private, luxury or midrange Safari Itinerary that fits you. Permits are bought, Lodges are booked.
On the date of your choice - your African Dream Safari in Uganda begins
Advice on Booking your Flight to your Safari Destination:
Try to resist the temptation to book a flight deal before you have a good idea of your safari plans. First, having your safari plans and booking flights is always better, giving you more freedom to pick a wildlife safari that suits you and your budget. Also, having set travel dates (due to flights ) limits your choices, and you could miss fantastic travel deals.
Planning your African Safari in Uganda:
You need someone who knows Uganda, has the latest information – adds value to your Safaris, and takes the Chaos and Confusion out of the mix when planning your Safari.
For over a Decade, Kabiza Wilderness Safaris has created memorable Hakuna Matata – No Worries, Gorilla, Chimpanzee, and Wildlife Safaris in Uganda, where we live and work. We focus on Uganda and Rwanda, which is what we know best.
We give you value-added Midrange and Luxury Safaris where you do not have to worry about your accommodations but focus on the Safari Experience.
We make planning your Safari easier, you give us your ideas, and we weave together the Tapestry that Turns out to be your Safari.
Contact us soon – you will be glad you did…We know Uganda – we live here and have been in the Business of offering Safaris for over a decade since 2008. We are a member of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators and licensed by the Uganda Tourism Board.