Uganda is an excellent choice for a family adventure holiday, offering a variety of memorable wildlife experiences, game safaris in less crowded national parks, beach destinations on islands and lakes, and plenty of outdoor activities. The western region of Uganda is particularly well-suited for a family safari holiday, as it is home to most of the country’s national parks, reserves, and natural attractions. Here, families can enjoy spectacular wildlife, breathtaking landscapes, and a range of outdoor activities. For families with older children aged 15 and above, mountain gorilla and chimpanzee tracking are must-do experiences, while children of all ages can enjoy wildlife viewing in popular national parks like Queen Elizabeth National Park and Murchison Falls National Park, as well as guided nature walks through the rainforests of Uganda to spot a variety of birds, monkeys, and other animals.
Uganda is a great destination for a family safari holiday, offering a range of activities and attractions suitable for children of all ages. In Western Uganda, families with older children can enjoy mountain gorilla and chimpanzee tracking, while younger children will enjoy wildlife viewing in popular national parks such as Queen Elizabeth National Park and Murchison Falls National Park. Children over the age of six can also track white rhinos on foot and search for shoebill storks in canoes at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
Central Uganda offers younger children the chance to visit the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary and relax on the beach at the Ssese Islands.
Eastern Uganda’s Jinja is perfect for active families, offering a range of high-octane activities such as white-water rafting, kayaking, bungee jumping, horseback riding, stand-up paddleboarding, quad biking, and mountain biking for children over the age of eight. Other highlights for a family safari holiday in Uganda include guided nature walks in the rainforests, boat rides on the Kazinga channel, and walking safaris in Lake Mburo National Park.
In Uganda, the opportunity to walk with gorillas and chimpanzees and stand just meters away from these incredible animals is an unforgettable experience. The forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park provide the perfect setting for a thrilling and physically demanding adventure that is suitable for older kids and adults.
Taking a drive through the rolling hills and stunning landscapes of southwestern Uganda is another enjoyable activity for the whole family. Exploring the untamed natural beauty of the region with your children can help them appreciate the beauty of the natural world.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is a great destination for a family safari, offering opportunities for game drives, boat rides, and birdwatching. The park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including elephants, buffalo, lions, and various antelope species. The Kazinga channel is particularly popular for its boat rides, which allow you to get close to hippos, crocodiles, and elephant herds.
A guided walk in Lake Mburo National Park is a unique and exciting way to get up close to the park’s wild animals, including impala and zebra herds. You can also take a bike ride or walk through the wilderness, observing small animals and giraffes as you go.
The cities of Kampala and Entebbe offer a rich tapestry of cultural experiences for the whole family, including the chance to try local and international cuisine, learn about different languages, music, and dance styles, and go sightseeing.
In the evenings, you can also experience the traditional cultures of regions such as the semi-arid Karamojong region in the northeast, the Busoga festivals of the east, and the southwestern aboriginal tribes. These cultures are known for their sky-jumping dances, unique dress styles, body piercings, and other interesting cultural practices that may be unfamiliar to many visitors.
Gorilla trekking and chimpanzee tracking are popular activities for visitors to Uganda, but these experiences may not be suitable for families with children under 15 years old. Some safari lodges do offer babysitting services for parents who want to go on the early morning trekking excursions.
If you have young children and still want to see chimpanzees, you can visit the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary or the UWEC zoo in Entebbe, where the primates can be viewed from behind a protective fence. For a more immersive jungle experience, you can also book nature walks in Kibale Forest National Park, Kyambura, and Budongo Forests.
It’s worth noting that mountain gorillas live at high elevations between 8,000 and 13,000 feet, and the nights can be quite cold. It’s important to allow your children to acclimatize to the altitude before engaging in any active adventures in southwestern Uganda. You may also want to consider booking more nights at a safari lodge near the visitor center so that your whole family has time to get used to the environment.
The international airport in Entebbe is located about a 7-8 hour drive from most western Uganda attractions, which can be a long and tedious journey for children. It may be helpful to schedule breaks along the way with fun activities like visiting museums, cultural centers, and taking photos. Alternatively, you can consider taking domestic flights between remote destinations to reduce travel time. Uganda has several small airstrips with scheduled flights between national parks and the international airport in Entebbe.
Some popular stops for a family safari in Uganda include the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary on the way to Murchison Falls National Park, the Equator crossing, the Igongo Cultural Center, Mbarara Town, and Lake Mburo National Park. It may be more rewarding for your children to focus on a few destinations and spend more time there, rather than trying to pack in all the highlights on a single trip.
Malaria is a significant risk for children traveling in Uganda, and even adults are at risk of severe and potentially fatal malaria. Be sure to consult with a doctor about taking antimalarial medication before your trip, and take precautions to prevent mosquito bites by wearing appropriate clothing and using insect repellent and mosquito nets.
When booking family safari lodging, it’s important to check the minimum age policies of lodges and camps with your trip planner. Many camps have a child policy that allows infants under 5 years old to share a room with their parents for free, while children between 5 and 12 years old may be eligible for a special child rate. Some lodges also offer family rooms that can accommodate the entire family and provide child-friendly services like special menus and guided nature walks for kids.
It’s worth taking the time to research the best lodges for families before your trip to Uganda. Safaris in Uganda can involve long hours of travel and staying in remote areas with limited facilities, so it’s important to be prepared for the demands of the trip. It may be helpful to break up game drives and time in the bush into shorter periods to make the experience more manageable for your family, and to plan your trip carefully well in advance.
The best time for a family safari holiday in Uganda is typically June, July, August, September, October, December, January, and February, when the weather is generally favorable with little chance of heavy rainfall. This makes for dry walking trails and an increased chance of seeing more animals on the arid plains. Primate experiences are particularly good from June to September, although it is also peak season in the country and prices for lodges and other service providers may be higher due to the higher number of travelers. It is a good idea to start planning your family safari in Uganda well in advance to ensure availability and secure the best possible prices.